One year on

A year on and our house looks a little different – we have grass and render!

Mosaic Landscaping did a great job for us!


We really love the bluestone pavers


The firpit had definitely had some use in the cooler weather.


The pool has had a workout over summer – the bench seat the whole way along the length has been great for smaller kids.

I realised we didn’t post any photos after handover either so here are a couple

Alfresco area:

Kitchen:

Bedroom 3:

Family room:

Another bedroom

End of week 35

This week we had a pre-handover inspection. We brought along Craig from Craig Rynne Construction as our independent building inspector.

Funnily enough, Clarendon had engaged their own ‘independent’ inspector for the walkthrough and had also had their Post handover/Warranty Guy and the SS along for the inspection.

It was a bit weird having the three “team Clarendon” guys looking over our shoulder while we walked around with team homebuyer (Me, Min and Craig) but that’s what happened.

I feel they were there really just to assess the brick issue and I expected them to discuss with us what they thought of the bricks and how they proposed to rectify them but that didn’t happen.

We spent probably three hours going over the house. I don’t think Craig thought he would be spending that long there. In terms of the inspection (excluding the brick issues) there were a lot of little issues. Mostly paint related issues eg runs, holes, etc. We also learnt that they put a 2-pak finish on the treads of the stairs and a different clear finish on the rest of the timber parts of the stairs. I guess this is because they need to have a harder, more durable finish on the actual steps. Unfortunately the 2pak finish was ‘lazily’ painted over the stringers and posts in parts and the colour variation is very obvious.

As i said there were lots of little minor things (paint, cracked tiles etc) that i expect Clarendon to have sorted by 12 May so i’m not going to list them all here.

There were a couple of annoying things like parts of the cornice having a lot of gap filler used – probably because walls/ceilings were level/straight.

Oh and there was the insulation in the ceiling. I almost didn’t bother to stick my head up as the SS had said it was all laid out. NOPE it wasn’t. Opened the man hole and straight away saw that that aircon ducting tubing was over the man hole. Poked my head up and couldn’t believe that there was no insulation up there. it wasn’t until I turned right around when I saw that the insulation was still in the big pink bags it comes in.

That reminds me, our SS did show us some pictures of insulation in the back bedroom walls that hadn’t been installed. It kind of looked like our house so I guess that’s as good as we will get.

Anyway we got through the inspection. We sent our big list of issues/defects to Clarendon on Tuesday night. Unfortunately Craig is still yet to send us his report and Clarendon has advised that they are awaiting his report before telling us what they are going to do about the bricks. Technically I don’t know why that is, but makes no difference as the bricks are FU….- wait family friend site – the bricks are not up to standard and they are going to have to do something about them.

They have mentioned the nawkaw product a few times but are yet to definitely say this is what they will be using or when it will be happening.

Anyway, hopefully going through all of this means we should have a smooth handover day!

 

message to self – put some pictures up!

End of week 34

So big news this week! On tuesday morning we received an email from our CSC saying that we have reached Practical Completion  and that Handover will be on 12 May 2016!

Needless to say we are pretty happy that this has finally come round!

We have booked into do our inspection on Tuesday 3 May which should give Clarendon some time to fix any little issues and will also give us time to get the bank sorted so that we have a cheque ready.

We still have concerns regarding how Clarendon are going to fix up the bricks and mortar. They apparently had a representative from PGH out on site last Friday but we haven’t heard how that went.

We did notice that our mortar on our garage wall seem to have been smeared with something. Maybe a bleaching agent to try and make the mortar more uniform in appearance?

There was also a guy at the house today working/looking at the bricks. Not sure what he was doing as we just did a drive past.

Anyway the bricks are a know part. We are really hoping that the inside will be a walk in the park in terms of any issues. I would love there to be none but know that is unrealistic. We are paying the best part of half a million dollars for this house so I feel we can expect a pretty good quality product. I’m pretty sure our SS has given it a pretty thorough going over as they other day when I looked through the window we had all these red stickers all over the place. since then, we’ve had the painters back on site for a couple of day, a tiler as well I think.

Anyway, I’m really looking forward to getting in and have a really good look at it all.

We got a copy of “Guide to a new house PCI (Pre-Completion Inspection)” by Brian Ashworth (available at anewhouse.com.au) . It comes with some handy tips and some room checklists. It is certainly a good starting point when nearing this stage!

I’ll post some photos on Tuesday!

 

 

 

End of week 33

Our temporary fencing was removed yesterday!

Fence gone

 

The site and house look so much better with the fence gone!

Though we have jokingly said that maybe Clarendon have declared our build a basket case and are removing all evidence of their involvement! ha No I don’t think it’s that bad! ha

 

In terms of completion it seems we are still moving forward towards a handover date of 13 May 2016. Given the fence was taken down yesterday I asked to be kept informed of any changes to the handover date – I was hoping it may have moved forward. The reply was a definite “No changes to handover data and there won’t be”.

I’m happy enough with that – really hope Clarendon can deliver by then.

Brick Issues

So still going on about our bricks. We have looked up the QBCC standards on this just to make sure we aren’t going off for no reason.

3.12 Cleaning, mortar smears and stains – Within 12 months from date of completion of the work, stains, mortar smears and damage caused by cleaning are defects if they are visible from a normal viewing position.

So we do have brick defects.

After not receiving any updates by COB on Friday last week I sent off an email to our SS, Area construction manager and our CSC asking for an update by Monday (18/4/16) on a range of things but particularly on our air con, bricks and mortar concerns. To my surprise and to his credit our SS replied to the email on Friday night. The update addressed some of the points I had asked about but didn’t fully alleviate my concerns – but there is only so much you can do through email.

One extra thing I did ask for was an opportunity to escalate my concerns above the Area Construction Manager. Unfortunately our Area construction manager didn’t seem to think this was necessary and didn’t pass on any contact details.

However, I quick google of product reviews leads you to the product review website and to the clarendon review page. Rather than post a one sided review,  I emailed the productreview@clarendon.com.au email address and  they got back to me very quickly. The contact there (and they are for the NSW Clarendon Homes) forwarded my enquiry on to the General Manager of Clarendon Homes in Queensland.

On Monday afternoon I received a call from the General Manager. I was able to discuss the concerns I have with the brick work and the mortar. He seemed to take it on board and said he would follow it up.

I have since sent him another email of all of our concerns and he has been very good at replying and providing me an update of what is actually going to happen as part of the review of the bricks with PGH and with the mortar.  At this stage PGH is coming on site on Friday 22/4/16 to review the bricks with Clarendon and the mortar colour expert should be on site next Tuesday 26/4/16 to look at fixing the mortar colour issues.

I am leaving it in Clarendon’s hands to come up with a satisfactory solution, but it was good to get a decent explanation on what is happening.

So a lot of back and forwarding on the continuing brick issues.

Work performed in week 33

In terms of actual progress this week, well then fence has come down and when i drove past there was a timber floor company van out the front. Hopefully they were there to finish up the timber stairs (there are no other timber floors in the house). And there seemed to be a bit of insulation chucked around the site so hopefully they have laid out the roof insulation.

I’m not holding my breath for an update this week – though I really would appreciate one. I think we have upset our SS and ACM. It is a shame and disappointing, but all we are asking is that our brand new house is built to the building standards. And the fact that Clarendon seemed to be more worried about looking after ‘their contractors’ than looking after Clarendon’s reputation and their customers is disappointing.

 

 

 

Brick comparison

This is an example of how our bricks should be (albeit that we have off-white mortar and this is very white mortar).

moon_dust_highres

But this is an example of our bricks as they currently are:

our moondust

Certainly not what was displayed.

Fingers crossed our SS gives us a good solution today!

End of week 32

I have been a bit quiet on the blog the last few weeks.

However there has been plenty going on at our build!

My last post was about our bricks. To update the story we have since had the ‘acid wash’ of the bricks.

To say this has fixed our concerns would be a joke. Unfortunately like many things on this build, what should have been a step towards completion has resulted in more issues!  I’m honestly sick of it and really hope clarendon can sort it out.

As expected by us, the acid wash didn’t fix up:

  • the difference between the colour of the mortar of the replaced bricks and the existing bricks. The new bricks definitely have a grey mortar as opposed to the off white mortar.
  • The wonky bricks

What we didn’t expect and came as a nasty little surprise was that the ‘acid wash’ appears to have stripped off the colour of a lot of the moon dust bricks. It looks atrocious. The colour under the moondust colour is now showing through on so many bricks – I’m really at a loss at how they are going to fix this!

We did a bit of a search on the PGH Bricks website to see what could possibly have caused this. The website states that the bricks should be cleaned within ‘2 to 14 days of being laid’. Unfortunately the ground level bricks were laid back in December and not washed until late March! The only other way they get ruined during the clean is if the water pressure is excessive. (http://www.pghbricks.com.au/~/media/pgh/cleaningguide/pgh018-a4-cleaning-guide-page_hr-pdf.ashx)

We have again left this in our SS’s hands. An email from him this week said he had met with ‘an expert in matching mortar and colouring bricks’ to rectify brick issues on Tuesday. I will do a drive past this evening and see if anything has been rectified.  I don’t hold much confidence in some miracle fix but am hoping this can be turned around!

Ok so the short version – bricks are still not up to scratch.

Moving on.

As I mentioned at the start we have had a lot happening on our site.

Painting – Its now been painted!  Yay! The colour was Winter Ice and from our super quick look it looks great. Of course there are a few touch ups to be done but that I guess is to be expected.

Electrical – all our lights and ceiling fans and electrical appliances have been installed. It seems to have gone well. We did have to get to new bulbs for our lights that we bought way back May last year from Freedom. Freedom were really good about it, especially since it had been so long since we purchased them, and they just replaced the bulbs for us.

Fitout – fitout has continued with some of our cupboards now with shelves!

 

Pictures are better than my dribbling so here are some pics!

 

Main Bathroom

main bathroom 2main bathroom

 

Ensuite

ensuite

 

Downstairs Bathroom

downstairs bathroom

Lights over the stairs

lights above stairs

 

Downstairs linen

downstairs linen

Kitchen

kitchen

 

What next!

Looking at the house there isn’t much more to be done with Clarendon!

  • Kitchen tap needs to be changed over to the right one
  • Laundry door handle and lock needs to be changed over to the right one
  • Butlers sink needs a tap
  • Possibly a little bit of extra tiling / fixing some chipped and broken tiles
  • Painting touch ups
  • Bricks need to be addressed (this may be the tricky one).

So we are still working off a handover date of Friday 13 May 2016 given to us by the Construction Area Manager back in March. However, our SS has said he will set a Handover date this week. Hopefully it is a little earlier than 13 May!

Bricks. AGAIN!!!

Popped past the house today and had a look at the brick rectification.

I was a bit disappointed by the difference in the mortar colour. Here’s a few pictures.

imageimageimageimageimageimage

Less than impressed.

I have emailed our SS and CSCand CAM and our SS got back to me advising (tonight too after business hours) that we should reserve judgement till after the acid wash.

So I guess we will wait till after the acid wash.

I will say it was great that our SS got back to us so fast. He certainly has been good since he came on board.

he also gave us a good update on the work that has happened this week. They are still working towards 12 May.