Friday, 29 July 2011

Contract...attempt one

Our final specs and plans arrived by email yesterday at 4:30pm, ahead of our 9:30am contract meeting today.   It was pleasing to see that all of our selections made it into the paperwork :)

A few mistakes however:

- we removed the option to make the bathroom shower double length at our studio M appt, which they correctly deleted from the spec, but was still depicted on the plans.

- the Studio M consultant accidentally chose awning windows when we upgraded to the 300 series for the living rooms, but we wanted to keep them sliding. I got her to correct it, but somehow they were still listed as awning in the spec, and therefore drafting had also changed all the plans to awning...argghhh!

- the cost of the power pit hadn't been removed, despite numerous conversations and emails that we have booked this in ourselves. This will now be changed to a temporary power pole instead.

- the skylights we requested for the kitchen (Velux) came in at twice the cost I was expecting. The retail price of the skylights is $2775, so I expected somewhere between $3500-4000 with installation, plastering, painting, etc. However, at $6600 my eyes were watering! They fit between standard truss spacings so it's not like they had to re-engineer the roof!  So we asked this item to be removed.

I'm not sure if M have a customer feedback process (no doubt they do) but I will be recommending they have a process to supply all costings prior to contract preparation, in order to avoid the dreaded 'bill shock'.  I never imagined they would give you some costings for the very first time less than 24 hours before they ask you to sign the contract.  How are you supposed to keep costs within a budget?

- we also took the opportunity to delete the allowance for refrig air-conditioning. With the budget as it is, we're not likely to go ahead with it, so didn't want to have all the progress payments overinflated to account for something we know we won't go ahead with. We'll get aircon installed after handover.

- a small blessing that M have just changed door suppliers or I wouldn't have realised the sliding door to the rumpus room was wrong! At $2000 I would have been devastated!  I discovered the error by looking up the door model on the new supplier's website to make sure it looked the same as the Corinthian door we'd originally chosen and found it looked nothing like it!  Upon referring back to the Prelim Contract and looking up the old door model I found it has been incorrect all along!  Sooooo glad I checked!

Thank you, thank you, thank you M for changing suppliers!

This is the door we thought we were purchasing (as per most of their display homes):




This is the door that was actually listed in our spec (to my horror):



Fixed in a nick of time!


At the end of the meeting the consultant advised us that we could sign the contract and a list of all the variations today, but we weren't keen, given I know how bits of loose paper go missing/ignored and I didn't want to risk another round of misinterpretations between us, the Consultant, their Drafting rep and then their Estimating rep.   Just as importantly, the contract cost would be $20k overinflated and this would mean a heap of credits would be given to us at various stages of the build.   In my opinion if you know it's not right, fix it now!  I would rather delay the build and take the time now to have a neatly bound contract we can all hang our hats on when questions arise during build, than a rush to start and then face a barrage of battles through foreseeable discrepancies. Not to mention that our money is better served in our own bank account offsetting our existing interest payments!

So we have elected to go back in the drafting queue for another 2 weeks.  I'm happy to know we can still proceed with our tiling appointment next week, so not everything has come to a standstill.

It also buys more time for demolition.  I spoke to our gas & elect retailer yesterday and they have no record of our disconnection requests from our demolisher, who assures me he has already faxed them through.  Given they have a 15-20 business day lead on meter abolishment, this concerns me greatly.

So I'm off to chase this up now...

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Kitchen Appliances

In preparation for our Contract appointment this Friday I did another read through of the Preliminary Contract yesterday and noticed that under our credit item for kitchen appliances (we chose not to take up the appliances offered and supply our own) it says:

"...Note: Model No's and brochures showing cut-out sizes, connection details and megajoule ratings must be supplied prior to final plans and a clarification variation raised confirming exact Model No's and connection details otherwise M's standard cut-out sizes and connection points will remain..."

Oops!  "...supplied prior to final plans..." umm....that would be TODAY!

Needless to say, I dashed to the kitchen appliance store yesterday and got a quote for the appliances we've been considering. (It's good being on Maternity leave at the moment and being able to get to a store at a few hours notice - between O's nap and meal times of course!)

We were originally intending to hold off purchasing the appliances until the internal fit-out because I was concerned about warranty timelines, however the woman at the kitchen store advised me they will hold the stock for us until we're ready for installation and that the warranty doesn't commence until delivery.  Yay!

So the specs have now been provided to M and our CSC confirmed they are being incorporated by Drafting today.  We should get final plans and specs tomorrow.

So here's the kitchen appliances we chose:

Qasair 900H Rangehood

Bosch 76cm 4 burner Gas Cooktop


Neff B46E64 Oven

Miele G5500 SCi Dishwasher
(with a Laminex Lustrous Elm front panel which we'll get made up later)

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Background Change

Thought I would change the background to our street. We think it is Gorgeous!!! Worth every cent.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Electrical Selection

Well this had to be the most lacklustre appointment so far (apart from the site costs at the Preliminary Contract appointment).

We went to the appointment well organised, with our own pencilled plan & spreadsheet of all the costs from the price list sent through when our appointment was booked the week before. However, the final result was a very pared down version of what we'd chosen at home. From the outset the consultant pointed out that our house has to be 6 star rated, which means all external lighting has to be on sensors. This added a $366 single item to our bill. I have since queried M to find out whether we will be credited this cost, as at our Preliminary contract meeting they pointed out the house design is only 5 star and they would provide items to get it upgraded at their cost (although the example given was possible double glazing of some windows). Hopefully they'll come through on this one...

The next issue was any down lights we want dimmers on have to be LEDs because compact fluro down lights don't work with dimmers. At about $90 per LED downlight plus $56 for wiring the thing, I couldn't stomach it. Our main priority is getting power points where you need them as it's painful running wires down walls post build. An additional 24 power points came in just under $1000.

The extra powerpoints and a few external lights at the front for security, and at the back so I don't kill myself getting clothes off the line in the dark (yes, in Summer I often forget the clothes are on the line till I'm ready to go to bed!) and it all of a sudden got quite expensive. We had to have 1 extra light circuit and 3 extra power circuits and an upgrade to the meter box, which consumed all the remaining electrical budget, adding an unexpected $1200. So we got drastic and left all internal lights standard.

After getting home Paul realised the internal switchboard location wasn't marked on the plan. I emailed the consultancy and asked the question. The response was that the standard plan didn't have one. All circuits are wired to the external meter box. Every house and apartment I've ever lived in (in total about 10 different places) have had an internal switchboard. I just took it for granted that it was standard! Imagine having to go out in the dark/rain, etc. to reset your safety switch. Needless to say I asked whether it was an option and it was for $970. Given the upgraded meter box is $500 we were happy to ditch that and pay extra for the internal switchboard.

So a grand total of over $4000 and that's with dodgy baton lighting with white plastic cowl shades and no wiring for our home theatre system. :(

Another disappointment on the day is that we have to wait who knows how long for a hydronic heating quote. I asked when we booked the electrical appointment whether we'd be covering the hydronic heating and was told it would be discussed but was done by another third party, as is refrig aircon. On the day the consultant said they would send the plans to the hydronic company for quote, but they couldn't say how long it would take. I wish they'd sent the plans when I first asked the question 2 weeks ago. There was absolutely no reason why it couldn't, given there was no information gathered at the electrical consultation (e.g heated towel rails to bathroom & ensuite). I'm a bit worried because this is a huge cost ($12k for my last house) and I don't want to go to the contract meeting without the cost known. Our CSC said he would send the updated plans & spec 2 days before the meeting, but if there's still unknown costs in there we'll be rescheduling to a later date.

Think I'll take it upon myself to call the hydronic company on Monday and just check they've actually received a request for quote...

Friday, 15 July 2011

Colour Selections


What could have been a long and arduous day turned out to be quicker and more decisive than I'd envisaged. All the pre-work over the last month of visiting display homes, brick display centre and browsing websites paid off. Every time we liked the standard options I cheered a 'win' to dollars saved!


So here's our chosen specifications:


Facade: Californian
Gutters & Downpipes: Colorbond Monument
Fascia, Eaves & Garage Door: Colorbond Dune
Windows & Portico Beam: Timber Stain Dark Oak
Roof Tiles: Bristile Classic Charcoal

Bricks: Austral Melbourne 76 Series Hawksburn

Windows to side & rear: Black aluminium sliding 300 series
(100 series pictured)
Dining Room Sliding Door

Timber Flooring: Boral Silkwood Spotted Gum

Internal Paint: Dulux Whisper White

Cornice: 75mm Scotia


Skirtings & Architraves: 67mm Pencil Round


Internal Door Handles: Venice


Bath: Stylus Newbury

Bath Tapware


Basin: Caroma Liano Square Inset (couldn't find a pic with single taphole...)


Basin Mixer



Shower Rail - Ensuite & Bathroom

Paulie's raindrop shower - Ensuite

Shower Mixer

The Throne / Porcelain Bus... ;)



Bathroom & Laundry bench: Laminex Sorrel

Bathroom & Laundry cupboard: Laminex Hazelnut Wood

Ensuite vanity: Laminex Smokey Sapelle

Kitchen cupboards: Laminex Lustrous Elm

Kitchen Bench: Caesarstone Osprey

Must include the kitchen sink!

Kitchen & Laundry Mixer


Ridiculously priced Rumpus Room door (gotta have one 'feature' I guess!)