Thursday, December 23, 2010

Best Christmas present ever. We moved in!

Finally - an update! Its all happened so quickly and we havent had a moment to edit the blog. But here goes...

We did our PCI on the 14th and completed handover the same day! We hired a private building inspector (howard ryan - recommended!) who picked up on a few things here and there, but nothing major, all cosmetic. There were still a few items waiting to be ticked off at that stage but it was easier for us to do the handover on the same day.

So. since the last update, the following has happened:
Bathroom mirrors installed, appliances done (GAS!), a few paint touch ups, aircon control panel (finally) and our home theatre bracket was installed as well.

We were thrilled to see that gas appliances were installed. We accidently signed off on having electric. I enquired about it a few months after when I noticed, but they said it was too late as it had all been ordered. However, much to our suprise, we got gas afterall!

We had our driveway completed yesterday and it looks fanstastic. Internet is installed (very fast!) and our side fence went in last week as well. So at least we have a tiny bit of privacy!

Next big ticket items we need to complete:

- Get blinds! (we have a quote so far)
- Finish unpacking boxes (80% done)
- Complete the fencing (33% done)
- Start on the landscaping (ahhh!)
- Purchase a bit more furnature
- Complete the home theatre

A few notes about the build process.

We had absolutely no idea about building, we came into it complete novices. However now we feel a bit like experts!
The hardest part was getting through and signing off on all the documents, with the bank and with the builder.
I have followed many blogs and found that everyone does have a difference experience, but overall ours was actually enjoyable. Sure you get the odd hickup here and there, but I must admit that McDonald Jones were a pleasure to deal with. We cannot fault them, they produced our house three and a half months earlier than required.

It must be difficult for them as they are completely at mercy to the trades people they contract to perform the work, but they must be doing something right, and when something does go wrong they strive to correct it as quickly and painlessly as possible. Would I build again with them? absolutely.

There is still so much to be done on the house itself. We are just so proud to own our very own home, building better than buying? you bet!

Now there is still some pictures I have to post up of the final product, when I get time to take a few snaps I'll post them up. Until then, MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Photo updates

We have a few more photos of the progress that happened this week. First and foremost our carpets are done. They look so good, and we are very happy with our emergency re-selection. Probably more-so than the original choice.

The shower screens also finally appeared. Last but not least, we have shelving throughout the house, in the wardrobes, pantry and storage cupboards.

Above: picture of our splashback

Above: completed walk-in wardrobe

Above: Ensuite shower screen

Above: Wardrobe complete.
Camera doesnt seem to capture the paint properly in this photo..

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Nearing the end

So we are nearing the end of this part of our construction journey. Last weekend we saw all the tiles laid and completed. They still had not been cleaned, but they look fantastic. On monday the aircon went in and the splashback was installed in the kitchen. The splashback is much darker than we remember but still looks good. There is a 900 mil run-off down the sides and look a bit odd, we just thought it would be on the back wall not the sides. The paint has been touched up and should be in top shape.

On friday this week the carpet is due to be installed, the shower screens should have gone in and all other little things completed. We cant wait to see the finished result!

We have an official inspection of the house on the 14th of December, with an anticipated handover of on the 16th or 17th. The only thing that can stop us is the bank! - we have given them all the documentation they require, which includes the final progress payment request, letter stating that the final payment needs to be a cheque, and a copy of our house insurance. The next step is that they will aranage a valuator to visit the property. Once that is done a cheque will be requested and we should be able to pick that up from our local branch.

We will not get the keys until the cheque is handed over, so we are holding thumbs that the bank will be able to process this quickly.

We have also organised our own independant inspector to join us for the pre-handover walkthrough. We hope he will find nothing wrong, but we would like a trained eye to look over everything and make sure it is all OK.

Anna and I are both really excited, we are in the process of packing our things and making plans for the move!

Monday, November 29, 2010


We did our usual rounds on the weekend and found that all our power point, lights and general electrics were mostly completed. This follows a hickup we had earlier in the week. Apparently the carpet we picked in February was unavailable, and the order in ETA was the end of January. Being only weeks off completion, that was not an option. So me made the journey to lockwood carpets at Moorebank and reselected 3 possible choices, to ensure that one would definitely be in stock!

Our experience at lockwood was.... colourful to say the least. Never the less we have a carpet ordered and it will be installed late next week. However, which carpet, is still a mystery.

The home theatre pre-wiring went in, and we had an addition of a tv aerial on our roof. All the doors have been fitted with handles. The lights have been installed with their standard fitting, so once we move in, we will get our own electrician to change them over to downlights and save $$$

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Painted! - painting is complete

We took our regular saturday morning drive out to the house, hoping to catch a tradesman at work so we could gain entry and poke around. Lucky for us, we found several painters hard at work. By the time we had arrived, at least 80% of the paintwork was done. Apparently they started on Thursday. The internal walls are painted in Taubmans Pebble Bay, and the skirting are Crisp White. They also painted the eaves, drain pipes, front, laundry and internal doors, exterior cladding and the front feature wall. The kitchen benchtops are in, along with the benchtops in the bathrooms. The wet area tiling is all done and looks fantastic, cant wait to see the rest of the flooring complete. By sunday all the painting was completed.

Our builder has told us that they will have us in before christmas, a good 3 months early!
I had expected the front feature wall to be a dark red, but the colour is actually much ligher than expected (more than the photo shows).
Sometimes that small colour chart you have to choose from yeilds unexpected results!

We celebrated today by purchasing a lovely new leather lounge suite that should be available as soon as we move in.

Next: the bathroom fitting go in on thursday. After that the remaining items are the electricals, internal door handles, aircon, tiling and carpets for the bedrooms.

Below: Garage painted

Above: En-suite tiles
Below: Bathroom tiles

Below: before the front feature was completed.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tiling and Progress

We received a call on friday afternoon advising that we should be onsite saturday morning to review our tile selections, and make sure everything is correct.

After a slight delay (the tiler was an hour late), we got to see the tiles we selected so long ago. While we were waiting the bricklayers were out again to put bricks under the front and laundry doors. We took full advantage of our free pass inside the house, looking at all the work that had progressed while we were locked out. The bathroom cupboards are in, skirtings and window frames are done.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Whose coming for dinner? We're at lockup!

We snuck out on Saturday night to take a look after hearing some gossip that they were installing the kitchen on Saturday morning. We found all the doors and windows firmly sealed. Using my trusty hand-powered torch provided by Landcom, we peered in and found the makings of a kitchen! - We also have a garage door which looks amazing, things are really rolling along quickly, and we are hoping that the "in before christmas" dream is a possibility.

The internal doors are coming along nicely, and they seem to be at least 70% done from what we could see.

Sunday morning rolls on, and after a few early morning purchases (new dining room table, a light fitting and some bar stools) - we snapped some shots of our house in the light. We managed to get one good picture of the kitchen through the dining room window.

The drain pipes have finally attached, we also have a front door, and we promise that both wont be aqua blue, when the house is done...

On a side note: HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANNA.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Walls, ceilings and tiles.

Progress on the insides! Today we visited the house to find that about 70% of the gyprocking completed and all of the insulation. The ceilings are all done as well! - The rooms are staring to take shape, and some appear bigger than expected. On the outside, the bricks have been cleaned and look fantastic. We are really happy with our colours - Cant wait to see the feature wall at the front completed.

On Friday, I got a call informing us that the tiles we selected for our bathrooms are no longer available. So today we headed off to ColourTile in wentworthville, who supply the tiles to McDonald Jones. The actual selection was a lot greater than McDonald jones offered at their selection centre. The salesman seemed to praise McDonald Jones, which is always a good thing.

Above: shot of me and the cleaned bricks. The box on the wall seems to be the telstra lead-lin for the house, although there seems to be more than just a phone line? foxtel perhaps?. After the fibre optic fiasco, we ended up getting copper in our street with a hope of fibre in the future. I figure the developers opted to save money by waiting for the NBN rollout rather than doing it themselves.

Above: Our bedroom with walk-in wardrobes for Anna (right) and me (left). On a side note, I'm planning to a lock and key on my side, haha.

Above: A picture of the main room, the wall at the end is the kitchen, middle - dining room, and the bit you cant see will be a lounge area.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Roof Completed

Another major milestone, our roof is 100% done. Although we haven't seen the final result in person, our lovely neighbours and site supervisor have been keeping us up to date. The whole process took about a week, even with all the rain that poured down. We cant wait to get out here to take a look for ourselves!

The guttering was all completed last week, but
bricks are still not quite completed. We ran out of bricks (twice) which slowed the process down as the brick layers moved on to other jobs. They were scheduled to be completed yesterday, but with all the rain we had during the week, they were too water-logged to continue. In the end, it didn't matter as the roof took over where the brickwork stopped. However, we have been informed that the remaining brickwork will be completed by tomorrow! We are so excited, it looks like a house!!!

Next steps will be all things electrical, and various internal works. Now that we have a roof, the weather should be less of an issue! Here are a few more pictures of the roof progress during the week.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Finally, some progress!


After numerous set-backs and bad weather, the bricking has begun. The bricks were delivered around two weeks ago, but since then our site supervisor left, the area manager took over, and then another site supervisor came onboard. While we were waiting, some minor plumbing for the gas and water pipes was completed.

The bricklayers were actually out on saturday AND sunday which came at quite a shock. They managed to get all this done over the weekend, so they are moving at a good pace. Apparently if the weather behaves itself, they should be done by the end of the week.

While we were there, Anna decided to touch up on her brick-laying skills. Perfect!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Frame almost complete

We were out at the house again on saturday, and we were pleased to see some real progress on the frame. It seems as although it is about 80-90% complete, and it should be done either today or Tuesday (31st).
It was good to see the termite barrier (orange stuff) getting put down as well. While we were out there, we met our lovely neighbours behind us, and the neighbours next to them.

We had a great time chatting about our experiences building so far.

Today we had a bit of a turn of events. we shot off a quick text to our site supervisor, to tell him that the frame looks great, and ask when we can expect the bricks to arrive. A few seconds later I got a call from somebody else! Apparently, our site supervisor is no more at McDonald Jones. We never even got to meet him. Anyway, the guy taking over said he needs a few days to familiarise himself with where our old supervisor was at. I just hope this does not mean any delays.

We have already contacted our client liaison to discuss the situation, and to make sure we will not be forgotten about. Hopefully we can expect a brick delivery late this week/early next week. The bricking can then begin, although the weather outlook for later this week is not good. Anyway, here are some pictures of our frame progress.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Frame Arrived

Its good to see some progress happening after two weeks of inaction!

We got some pictures from our neighbour and a message to say our frame had arrived, which is good news (thanks guys!) We got an SMS from our builder last week Tuesday to say our frame had arrived, but that ended up being a mistake - not that the SMS's were ever reliable....

So hopefully we will see some action on the frame this week and have some visible results by the weekend :-)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Slab Complete

The first major construction milestone has been reached! On saturday we were onsite to witness the pouring of the slab. Many many concrete trucks came and went, and now we have a beautiful slab of smooth concrete, that would make even cadbury jealous.

We weren't around to watch all the wooden frame come off, but it looks like they did a good job. We nearly ran short of concrete on the last bit.

But the concreter managed to squeeze ever centimeter out of the pipes, and we also got a handy donation from another truck that was pouring just down the street. Which is good news, because left over concrete is bad for business (they leave it on your doorstep, as returns are not accepted).

I believe the next step is to let the slab cure, then build up the frame.