Thursday, 9 February 2012

Day 132: Tiling Complete & Phone Trenching

Yesterday was one of those days where being naive to building standards and tolerances was overwhelmingly frustrating.  I was on site to witness the phone trenching, specifically so I could get photos of the path across our front yard, and just as importantly, the depth.

The Telstra Pit on our nature strip that we paid to have moved before construction commenced, is at the front left of the property (when facing the house), whereas all the services are being attached to the right hand side of the house, necessitating a pipe installation diagonally across our entire front yard.  For electricity this isn't an issue, as we had the pit installed on the right, water is in the middle of the property and gas I wouldn't have a clue as to the path (a call to Dial Before you Dig will fix that one).  However, I was concerned that the telephone trench wouldn't be installed deep enough underneath the location of the proposed new driveway, particularly as we'll be cutting out a bit of the existing fill to reduce the slope somewhat.  So I felt it worthwhile to be onsite to influence this.

I'm glad I did.  The two guys doing the phone line installation asked the question of the driveway before I even had a chance to state it, and they helped me measure the depths at various points along the trench (being very obviously pregnant probably helped!) and get photos of the trench before they backfilled.

My earlier reference to building standards refers to the discovery made during the trenching process; a discovery that had me baffled and feeling somewhat flat: that our water pipe is located a mere 15cm from the surface and even worse, our newly connected stormwater pipes are less than 5cm deep!  Literally only a sweeping of dirt to cover the pipes!  So you pay to have this stuff installed, and then you sever and crush it all during landscaping and then you pay someone else to install it deeper!  I wish I knew if I had any rights to demand a deeper installation.  A Google search last night revealed nothing useful.

Black water pipe
and equally shallow stormwater connection

Whilst on site I took a look at the completed tiling job also.  On the whole, he's done a great job of getting the porcelain rectified tiles level - there's only about 3 or 4 lips that I could find and the only one that is a slight annoyance is one under my feet in the ensuite shower.  But the main floor areas, bath tops and walls are quite flush.

However, the standards and tolerances issue reared its ugly head in this area too...

The main toilet and laundry floors are 3 and 4mm lower than the metal edging at the doorway, leaving a lip of a sharp metal edge.  Again - what's the tolerance for tiled edging at the doorway?  I think I'll give Beaumonts a call today and ask.  The bathroom and ensuite floors are level with the top of the edging, so are nice and smooth exit from these rooms thankfully!

4mm lip on tile edging to toilet

There's some fairly big gaps in the corners of the showers also, and I wonder if the caulking will cover this neatly or be large and glaringly white on the taupe and charcoal tiles.

All this gives rise to the notion that Paul and I will get a building inspector to conduct PCI with us.  We need someone who knows how long a scratched window can be, or a chipped door or brickwork.  It's easy to think you're being too pedantic with these sorts of cosmetic imperfections.  An investment in some professional third party advice to ease that uncomfortable knot in the pit of my stomach will be well worth it!


  1. Hi just wondering what size and colour tiles did you choose in your shower? We're after something similar. Cheers Brad

    1. Hi Brad,

      In the ensuite shower the floor and side walls are called 'Off White FB-Porc Polished Sealed Rectified 450x450' and the back feature wall is 'Aristo Black DC-Porc Textured Rectified 300x600'. Both are from Beaumont Tiles. We would have chosen the taupe tile in the same size as the charcoal one but the 450 square taupe tile was in Metricon's standard range so we kept to that to save cost (we already incurred extra labour charges for polished porcelain rectified tiles and the feature tile). We felt ok to have the different sizes as the colour contrast was enough not to have the lines match up and still look ok.


  2. As a site supervisor from a small vic building company I find this crap so annoying that clients take multiple photos of every thing and rant and rave about stuff they have no idea about. Eg (tiles) let the tilers finish there job and then if there is a problem it should get fixed. The corners get siliconed up and are very neat but you would rather run your mouth and coplain. LET THE TRADESMEN FINISH THE JOB. by the look of it you are allowed to wander through the job and take photos at will whenever suits. It is a work safe issue to be on the job unsupervised and to be in the way of tradesmen when they work ( how about you google the regs for that) . Lastly it is commonly known that metricon build a shit home but hey I geuss you got sucked in by the flash display home bells and whistles and you get what you pay for.

  3. :( Unsubscribe

    I did ring the comms company beforehand and ask if they were ok with me turning up to take photos.
    The tiler has finished the job. Will wait and see if the silicon is neat - I know not everyone does a neat job (my current bathroom as a case in point, whereas my previous house was an awesome job).

    I've been really happy with my choice of builder and have a great site super.

    I understand where you're coming from, I work in IT and the projects are often scrutinised and criticised. It's the nature of being a client, spending money that is by no means pocket change and having fear that people won't care about the outcome as much as you do...and of course being human and having preconceived expectations...

  4. Very diplomatic towards the last comment Nat! Note sure I would have been the same. This blog is your own...You can post photos or write about whatever you like! No one is forcing 'Anonymous' to read, I wonder why he is????

    I'm sure all the tiles will be fixed, I do wonder how there is a lip in the toilet floor if it is all laid on the same slab??? Perhaps I have misunderstood?

    The look good either way :)

  5. The main water polly should be at least 225mm deep per building code but usually they go 300mm deep. Its hard to get ur water cold in summer if the polly is to close to the surface

  6. Nat,
    We used a independent building inspector to review post frame stage. Not the usual point for a review but we had quite specific concerns we wanted addressed and the weight of an independent inspector does add value - in my opinion anyway. His name is Rob Simpson from 'building check pty ltd' - 9817 2234 - his business operated from Kew. He is very technical and we were very happy with his report and it was reasonable priced. I believe his business partner is excellent re handover queries as she has a eye for imperfections.