Friday, 29 June 2012

Day 273: Settlement!!

Yes, that's right, we have the keys!  The day we've been waiting for finally came yesterday.  We have a stack of reading to do regarding the Service period, all the various certificates and warranties, and of course there's the myriad of post-handover tasks we had lined up for ourselves...

We have either paid in full or have deposits on the following items and now begins the task of organising delivery and installation:
  • Air conditioning - I called the air conditioning company last week and checked their current lead time for installation. Fortunately it's only 5-7 days at the moment and it only takes a day to install. I don't want the hassle of the plaster dust and covering furniture so we won't move until that's done. 
  • Light fittings - our spare room is full of light fittings from Luke, Beacon and Ikea and we have another pending delivery from Matt Blatt. I can't wait to get rid of all those ugly cowl shades throughout the house! 
  • Curtains - Victory have had our curtains and blinds waiting in their warehouse for a few months now. 
  • Kitchen Appliances - We purchased our rangehood, stove, oven and dishwasher over a year ago and they've been sitting in the retailer's warehouse for that long. I hope they can find them! Fortunately the warranties take effect from delivery - not purchase date! I've also got an installer lined up. 
  • Sofa - We purchased a King Furniture sofa a few months ago, which was scheduled for delivery on the 6th of June. I was able to extend that for 2 weeks without charge, but as of last week we are now paying $40 a week for King to store it. So they'll be my first phone call! 

We also have a quote to redirect the stormwater in the opposite direction across the front of the property and down the Southern side of the boundary to the kerb and channel (it currently slopes and exits the property on the North side). This is a council requirement that we move the stormwater outlet as it's presently in the location of our new driveway. I asked the drainage guys at the start of the build to do this, but my request was too late in the process. I should have picked it up on the original construction drawings. It's $2-3k we could have used for the new driveway and crossover.

The concreting quote we have is a few thousand over the figure I thought I'd generously budgeted, which is a concern as we really would have liked the driveway in for moving day, but we still need to get a couple of other quotes for comparison. The concreting work consists of:
  • Exposed Aggregate driveway in VicMix 'Bahrain Ivory' 
  • New crossover on the North side of the property 
  • Reinstate the old crossover on South side of the property to nature strip, kerb and channel 
  • Coloured concrete path along Northern side of the house in VicMix 'half black' 
  • Concrete slab to rear of property (as a base for future paving or tiles). The concreter suggested we may as well do the same coloured concrete as getting a separate truck for a small amount of plain concrete would likely cost more than ordering a little extra of the coloured concrete
VicMix Exposed Aggregate: 'Bahrain Ivory'

VicMix Coloured Concrete: 'Half Black'

We still need to get quotes for retaining walls along the driveway, front of the property and backyard. This work needs to occur before the concreting. The expensive part is dumping the soil we need to excavate - at $60 a tonne it's a costly exercise on top of the actual landscaping requirements! I'm thinking of scouring the local papers to see if anyone is requesting fill. I remember when they were building Eastlink they had ads in the paper all the time asking people for landfill. That may be a way to save a little money perhaps...

Arghhh, it's not a good time to be on a single income! Slowly but surely we'll get there!

I'm still not motivated to pack - especially with a two and a half week old baby who it feels is rarely out of my arms. Even when he is, his older brother takes his place for some cuddles and attention. Paul and I are juggling children, meals and I'm sleeping in averages of 1.5 hour blocks.  And now Oli has contracted another virus, which has also hit Paul with flu like symptoms.  Who's got time or energy to pack?!!  Seriously contemplating foregoing more money and getting the movers to do it...

Come to think of it - instead of sending flowers when Lucas was born, we should have asked friends to contribute to a 'moving fund'! Ha! Hindsight is a wonderful thing...

Wednesday, 27 June 2012


The Site Manager called this morning to advise that all but one defect had been rectified and he expected QA to sign off when they inspect later in the afternoon.  The only outstanding item was that the fencer had not been to fix the leaning fence in the backyard due to the 3 days of rain late last week he was behind finishing another job.  This won't hold up handover thankfully!

He asked whether we'd received our final invoice, as that was the only other milestone for Settlement, and I advised I hadn't so he said he'd chase that.

Later this afternoon I received the final invoice via email from our CSC and at 5:30 I made a call to the Site Manager to say all was in order and would we have settlement tomorrow?

The Site Manager was at the house when I rang, and he sounded stressed.  When I asked if QA had signed off he said yes, no problem there...but...the plumber had called him this morning when he was connecting the gas meter to the house and discovered there was a gas leak...somewhere in the house, but who knows where!

So when QA arrived at the house just after lunch he was greeted by a plumber on the roof and some supervisors all trying to find the source of the leak.

Don't you love a long-winded, dramatic explanation?  This is how the SS explained the situation to me.  I can't describe how numb I was feeling, waiting for him to finish his explanation and get to the punchline.  In my head I'm thinking, "Do they have to pull out plaster to try and trace the leak?  How long is this going to delay handover?"  I'm starting to feel sick.

The SS continues: "So they removed a brick where the main pipe leads into the house..."

"...and found the leak.  Do you know how lucky that is, Nat?  Do you know how long it could have take to find, and how many bricks they might have had to pull out?"

Lingering sick feeling remains...waiting for sense of relief...I must be too tired from 2-3 hourly feeds of a baby round the clock because no relief comes...

Anyway, the story complete, he advises the brick has been repaired and what time can we meet tomorrow for handover?

2pm baby...2pm it's OURS!!

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Day 267: PCI!

Yesterday morning our Practical Completion Inspection (PCI) occurred.  It was a surreal feeling going through the house knowing the build process has more or less come to an end.  After monitoring all the details throughout the build, it was strange to be going over things in an official capacity 'one last time' before final payment.  Of course, we still have 3 months post build to notify M of any other defects we may discover when we move in.

It was pleasing to hear that our Site Manager is still our point of contact for these 3 months.  M used to hand it over to their Maintenance department at Settlement, but they now put the onus on the Site Managers to ensure their builds are complete and free from defects.  It then gets handed over to Maintenance after the initial 3 months.

The QA inspector went through the house as scheduled on Thursday and fortunately only found minor items such as paint runs and minor blemishes here and there, and the kitchen tap is slightly loose and needs to be tightened.  Last week they filled a dent in the aluminium front door step and spray painted it silver, which is chipping off already, so QA marked that as a defect also.  He gave the house an overall score of 99.2%.

The Site Manager has until next Wednesday to fix everything in the QA report.

Other items the SS has scheduled for repair are:

  1. The new gas meter has been installed and the plumber needs to come and connect it to the house - Tuesday
  2. Repair chipped enamel on the back sliding doorstep - Tuesday
  3. Fencer to repair the leaning fence in the backyard - Tuesday/Wednesday
  4. Replace the telephone lead-in to the house - Wednesday
  5. Commission the hydronic heating system - Thursday
  6. Install front portico pillar lights - not sure if this is post handover - contract says it is...
  7. Colander and chopping board inserts for our sink (Studio M have to order as ours went missing when the sink was installed)

We added the following items to the list during PCI:

  • Loose fly screen on one of the Family Room windows (it's slightly too small and you can push it off from inside.  Also the mesh isn't installed tightly, it's loose on one side)
  • Valve missing from the hydronic heater behind the front door.
  • A few other paint blemishes that we noticed.  We figured if the painters are coming back anyway they may as well fix these too, otherwise we probably would have let them go, they're so minor.

The QA inspector is scheduled to return next Wednesday to check all the defects have been fixed.  Assuming he signs off, the SS says we could have the keys the following day!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

It's a Date!

After another 3 or 4 weeks of fixing defects, the Site Manager informs me that the Construction Manager has today signed off on the house so it can progress to QA!


The hot water system has been installed, the electrical conduit on the front portico has been boxed in timber and stained to match the lining (looks much better) and there's no more red or green stickers anywhere to be seen; indicating all the tiling, window, plaster & painting defects have been fixed.  Last week when the CM went to sign off he discovered another defect: the plaster wall nibs either side of the butlers pantry were 8mm out apparently and therefore didn't line up opposite each other.  This meant if we ever wanted to put a door on the pantry, one wall would have jutted out further than the other.  So our Site Manager spent last Saturday at the house adding 8mm to the wall between the pantry and the fridge (if you want a job done properly, then do it yourself apparently!).  Poor guy.  We're very grateful for his efforts.

Boxed electrical conduit.
Not as per display homes, but an acceptable compromise 

The QA inspector is booked for tomorrow and....wait for it...yes....PCI is this Friday morning at 9:30!  Woo hoo!

Presuming QA find some minor defects (there's always paint or plaster issues that can be discovered I'm sure), it should only take a week to turn those around and we could possibly have the keys by the end of NEXT WEEK!

There's a few little outstanding things the SS has yet to complete, but they won't stop the QA inspection:

  1. Chipped enamel on the back sliding doorstep
  2. Leaning fence in the backyard (after being undermined by the site excavation and the framers leaning the sliding doors against it) 
  3. Replace the telephone lead-in to the house (after the stormwater excavation dug it up)
  4. Replace the batteries in the smoke detectors so they stop beeping!
  5. Source new colander and chopping board inserts for our sink (which mysteriously went missing when the sink was installed)
  6. Chase up the gas retailer to install a new gas meter (the replacement was supposed to be installed Monday but wasn't)

And finally, the pre handover tasks:

  • Commission the hydronic heating system
  • Install front portico pillar lights

I'm so excited I can hardly contain myself!  Finger's crossed QA don't find anything major tomorrow...

Thursday, 7 June 2012

The New Tenant

At 6:35am on Tuesday 5th June we welcomed a new addition to the family!

Weighing in at 3.7kg, meet our little boy Lucas.

Now where's that new nest we were hoping to have feathered by now? Well, there's been some progress in the last two weeks. But I'll post about that another day, I've got some cuddles to dose out...