Saturday, 20 October 2012

Like a tonne of bricks

...or two.  This morning we were at the house moving bricks, as per my previous post.  Hard work, but worth it if we can get the front garden excavated this week. 

Peeking through the windows we could see that the painters haven't been back, but the dented down pipe has been replaced.  The flyscreen on the laundry door that needs replacing has been removed, but no new one is in its place.  Otherwise it's really hard to say if anything has changed.

I said that we wouldn't have any new photos until handover, but it turns out I lied.  I took the camera along thoday and snapped a few photos.

Front door painted

Friday, 19 October 2012

We have a date!

We thought we already had one, but we didn't.  But now we do!  The big day is next Friday, October 26.  Final walkthrough is at 8am and if all goes well we can head straight to the office to pick up the keys.  It's a little disappointing to have the date moved back again, but really a couple of days isn't a big deal and the Friday works a little better in terms of taking leave from work (actually, as we will be taking the day of handover as well as the following week off our time off runs into cup weekend, so we should have a decent break from work, and hopefully some time to settle in and enjoy the new house).  We intend to move in on the day of handover, so appliances will also be delivered that day. 

We have been told that there will be one outstanding issue at handover.  The door handle and seal of the bifold doors cannot be replaced by the end of next week.  I know many would advise not to hand over in these circumstances, but we will insist on the proper documentation and we trust our Site Supervisor when he tells us he will make sure it gets done.  The problems are aesthetic, not functional, so it won't be a hassle for us in the meantime.

The landscaping contractor contacted me yesterday to advise that he will be excavating in the estate on Thursday, and that if we can have the driveway marked out and the bricks moved from the front yard* they will excavate our yard.  This is good news, as it means that our garden shouldn't be too far away.  If we can't move the bricks or have the driveway marked then we will have to wait until this batch of gardens are done before they bring the excavator back.  I found out by chance that our driveway guy lives in the estate, so hopefully it won't be a problem for him to mark it out.

*The bricks.  We had about 3 pallets of bricks left over from the house.  Our Site Supervisor asked if we wanted to keep any and we thought we might use some for a letterbox, so they left behind one pallet for us.  We have since decided to buy a ready made letterbox, so now we need to move the bricks.  We don't have time to sell them, or offer them for free for fear of being stuffed around.  We found a local brick recycling centre that will take them fairly cheap and they are open to 1pm on Saturdays, so we will be spending tomorrow morning taking the bricks there.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012


Yesterday we finally had our Practical Completion Inspection (PCI).  It went reasonably well; our private inspector also attended and found no major problems.  I have made a separate post which details the progress since the last time we were in the house here.

The inspector's list of defaults (summarised):
  • Concrete floor of the garage dirty (paint stains, blobs of mortar and plaster etc)
  • No draught weather seals to the front door
  • Door handles on the bi-fold doors scratched and acid stained
  • Outer edge of the timber door sill between the garage and house was chipped
  • East side of the capping at the top of the rendered column at the front porch was not fully painted
  • Paint on the aluminium in-fill above the bi-fold doors was scratched
  • Paint on the glass panels of the front door
  • Down pipe on the south-east corner is dented
  • Surplus mortar on the brick sills on the west side of the house
  • Holes around waste pipes in the ensuite vanity were not completely covered
  • Gap between laundry trough cabinet has not been caulked
  • Dents in laminate of laundry cabinet
  • Laundry cabinet doors not flush
  • Sliding wardrobe doors not fitted
  • Mark in vanity shelf in ensuite
  • Joins in largest pantry shelf not flush
  • Interface between toilet and floor tiles in the ensuite has not been caulked
  • Painting: general paint touch ups required
Additional things that we spotted:
  • Missing power point for alarm box
  • Alarm keypad in the wrong place
  • Missing roller bolt from front door*
  • Missing solar panel
  • Kitchen drawers out of alignment
  • Bedroom wardrobe door runner needs replacing (this is why the inspector had cause to note that the wardrobe door was not fitted)
  • Lots of paint touch ups
  • Meter box wrong colour
All of the above are going to be addressed.  Estimated handover is next Wednesday, the 24th of October!  The site supervisor expects that everything will be done by Monday except for the bifold door hande (which will need to be replaced) as the manufacturer's maintenance department is typically a bit slow.

*We were pretty keen on the roller bolt for the front door; basically we wanted something to hold the door shut if we just run out to the letterbox without having to lock the door, as there is no latch (just a pull handle and a deadbolt).  We pushed for it at contract, and were told that we were definitely getting something to that effect, but it was written into the contract for our peace of mind.  At the time we were skeptical that the person we were dealing with really understood what we meant or what was involved, but as long as it was in the contract we were happy.  Of course, there is no roller bolt on the door, but as it is written in the contract they need to work something out for us.

Part two of what we wanted for the door was a hydraulic closer, as it is a very heavy door and we have little fingers in the house.  We were told that although the door supplier does make one for our door, it was not an option with Porter Davis.  We resigned ourselves to adding something after handover, which won't look as nice as the integrated option (and we'll have to organise it ourselves) but will have the same effect.    What does this have to do with PCI?

Our supervisor says that a roller bolt isn't a good option for us, as it will need a large striker plate that will extend past the edge of the door.  However, a hydraulic closer may provide the resistence we are after for the door.  So the supervisor is going to look in to our options in that regard.

General update

Yesterday we did our PCI inspection.  I was writing a PCI post and added this general update about what has changed, but the post was getting a bit unweildy, so I have split the two.  The PCI post is here.

Since the last time we were inside the house was a few weeks ago, we saw a few new things while we were there.  Of course, defects not withstanding, the house is now "complete" so most outstanding matters have been attended to.  I didn't take any pictures yesterday, so probably won't have any picture updates until handover.


I saw for the first time (and Robert for the first time not through a window) the kitchen splashback, and the lights under the overhead cabinets in the kitchen.  With those lights on the splashback looks decidedly grey (as opposed to the brownish tone that it actually is) which I think is a bit of shame, but Robert tells me only I can see a difference.  Besides, it's not like it looks terrible.


The missing tile in the bathroom has been replaced, and the bath has been fixed in position.  The shower drain "grilles" have also been fitted (they're not really grilles though, I just don't know what they're called).


The part of the roof that needed repairing has been repaired.

Front Door (and a little about the bi-folds)

The front door has been painted; apparently the painter was only in yesterday morning and the paint was still a bit wet, which is why there was still paint on the glass that will be cleaned.  Apparently the painter was cringing as he painted our beautiful door; paint over stain is not a popular option for this range.  I'm not sure if I've explained it before, but I'll take a minute here to talk about it here.

The look we have gone for in the house is reasonably modern, but neutral.  Our last house had a lot of timber features and while it looked great for the most part, maintenance was an issue.  We were therefore happy enough that aluminium windows and external sliding doors were standard, and decided to go with aluminium bifold doors as well.  The doors would match our windows, and also the sliding door from the rumpus room to the alfresco (if we had gone timber then I would have wanted that door to match so we would have had to upgrade that door).  We like the bifolds not so much for the look, but for the effect they have when open, so for that reason we didn't mind that the aluminium doors, on their own, don't necessarily look as good as timber.  The consistency through the house and the reduced maintenance was benefit enough for us.  We certainly got the impression at the office that it was an uncommon choice, and our Site Supervisor yesterday commented that he had never done a house with aluminium bifolds before.

So, when it came to the front door, it was looking like being the only timber feature of the house.  It is a beautiful door, but as with the bifolds it wasn't going to suit the house or our tastes.  Moreover, much of the striking-ness (??) of this door is in its size, which it doesn't lose by being painted.  We decided to paint the door, and it is still a wonderful, grand feature.

Preparation for after handover

The company we are using for our blinds have confirmed that our blinds are currently being made and should be ready this week; hopefully we can arrange installation as soon as possible after we are in.  We have bought our lights for the front pillars, and have decided on a feature pendant for the bedroom.  We still need to decide on light fittings for the rest of the rooms that don't have down lights.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Standing on the outstide, looking in...

Yesterday evening Robert went to check out the house, hoping to see that some painting had been done.  According to the site supervisor, the painters were supposed to come last week (while he was on leave) to do the external painting, but they hadn't shown up.  When he returned from leave on Monday and found out he organised for them to come on Tuesday.

Usually I'm wielding a camera, but all Robert had with him was his phone.  He was in a hurry and we're still locked out, so hopefully the photos below show the progress adequately.


As hoped, the painters had been and done most of the external painting.  The front door hasn't been painted yet, but otherwise it appears to all be done (although not without faults).

Paint - Render, Cladding & Eaves
Paint - Eaves
Paint - Alfresco Roof and Beams



The front door handle has been fitted, as well as the metal strip above the bifolds, so they meet the dricks (or at least it looks like they do).  The final door, the rear garage door, has also been painted and hung.

Door handle
Rear garage door



There's not much we know about inside.  We can see that the splashback has been installed, and the lights under the overhead cabinets in the kitchen (which were presumably waiting for the splashback) have been fitted.

Kitchen (through the bifolds)

Meter Box

The meter box has been changed from the ugly building one.  I wasn't there, so I can't be sure it isn't a trick of the light in the photo, but I think it is the wrong colour.  It should be Colourbon Jasper (same as the down pipes) but it looks to me like Woodland Gray (same as the roof and garage door).

Meter Box

PCI is booked in for Monday afternoon, which just happens to be mine and Robert's birthday. Everything is crossed for a handover late next week!

Monday, 8 October 2012

Nothing to see here (updated 5 hours later)

The title pretty much says it all!  For the first time since construction started, we didn't visit the block this weekend.  Robert was out there late last week to get a second quote on the alfresco screens, and found that for the first time, the house was completely locked up.  I guess it had to happen eventually!

However Robert was able to see a couple of changes.  Most notably, the splashback has been installed and all the windows and doors have flyscreens, with the exception of the bifolds and the front door.  The bifolds won't have a screen (they don't come under the BAL definition requiring one) but the front door is supposed to have one.  Although in truth, we don't care if they don't put one on the front door!

While we don't know what is left to do inside, we do know that (as of Thursday) the external painting is yet to be started.  Such a shame given the beautiful weather last week and the forecast rain for this week.

The tiles have been cleaned, presumably in preparation for PCI, which is scheduled for this Wednesday.  We are having some troubles booking our independent inspector, but hopefully we are able to sort that out and go ahead this week!


Robert has spoken to our site supervisor, who says that the house won't be ready for PCI on Wednesday.  A shame, but it does mean that we can go ahead with our usual inspector on Monday.

The supervisor also mentioned that the front door is going to be replaced with a fire-resistent version (we noticed a 'spare' door had been delivered a few weeks ago, but figured it was a mistake).  This means that we don't have to have an ugly flyscreen door covering our feature entrance door!  It's a great win for us!

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Counting Down

It's now less than two weeks until PCI, and with all the little things happening to finish the house off it would almost be easier to list what is yet to be done!  The outside is looking great, with the temporary fencing and port-a-loo gone we are just waiting on the external painting.

The taps have been moved to the front of the house as per the estate covenants, and the WIR window has been changed to obscured glass.  This window was an oversight on our part, thinking that we would just manage privacy with blinds, but once construction was underway we realised that without a door between the WIR and the ensuite this window was effectively a window from the street into the ensuite, and privacy became a whole lot more important!  Fortunately our site supervisor was very accommodating and arranged the change for us.

WIR window and taps


The big change this week is that we have carpet!

Rumpus room
Master bedroom

In some ways I'm not thrilled with the carpet.  It matches the tiles quite well where they meet, but the carpet doesn't have the same depth as the tiles, which makes it look quite brown.  However, I'm not unhappy with it.  It works with our colour scheme, and although I would probably prefer something lighter, we specifically chose something darker on account of the little guy.


The fibre hub has been installed, and the data points are in.  The pre-wiring for the TV wall mounts has also been started.

Data point and TV wall mount


The bathrooms are close to complete.  Both toilets are now installed (the one in the ensuite having been delayed due to a crack in the first one delivered.  Both shower screens are installed, and the plumbing appears to be complete.  There is a tile missing in the bathroom, which appears to be intentional to allow access to the bath pipes.  The bath itself is in but is not fixed.
Bathroom Shower


There hasn't been much action in the kitchen for a little while now.  This week some preparation is underway for the glass splashback, which has been delivered.


Windows and Doors 

Most of the door handles have been fitted (I think it is the doors with privacy sets that are yet to be done.  Door stops have also been fitted throughout.  In the wet areas with tiled skirting the doorstops are attached to the door which makes perfect sense but was interesting as I had never seen that before!

Internal door handles
Linen cupboard

As mentioned above, the window in the WIR has been changed to obscure glass.


The windows have all been cleaned, and it appears that the broken window we identified early on has been fixed.  The gap above the sliding door in the alfresco has been covered, but the bifolds, bathroom and ensuite window are yet to be done.

Sliding door

Sunday, 23 September 2012

...including the kitchen sink

With just two and a half weeks until PCI, we are getting down to the nitty gritty of it now.  This week was dominated by plumbing and electrical.  We multi-tasked our visit this morning by meeting a representative from the curtain and blind company to measure up the windows.  When we arrived there was at least one person working in the roof.


The electricians were in early in the week.  Lights have been installed, as well as power points, the alarm system, smoke alarms and the doorbell.  I wanted to try out some lights, but we didn't know what the guy/s in the roof were doing, and we didn't want to do anything annoying or risky.  This is all really boring stuff.  I have a heap of really dull photos of light fittings (obligatory power saver bulb and plastic chinaman's hat), but it's hard to justify sharing such bad, boring photos!  So here's just a couple.

Down lights
Doorbell chime

Heating and cooling

Heating and cooling vents are finished, as well as the return air vent.  The controls have also been installed.  Believe it or not, these photos are more boring than the electrical ones, so you will have to make too with the glimpses of cooling vents and the controller in the electrical photos.


The plumbers have been in and the difference the finishing touches have made in the bathroom is significant.  Although for the most part the basins and taps etc. aren't features in their own right (and add nothing to the colour palate, they do have the effect of bringing everything together.

One toilet has been installed, the other had a crack in it so needs to be replaced.

Basins in the bathroom and ensuite are in.

Ensuite vanity
Ensuite vanity
Bathroom vanity

The bath has been installed.


The shower rails have been installed in both bathrooms, and the shower screens have been fitted in the bathroom (with the ensuite screens delivered but waiting for installation).

Ensuite shower
Bathroom shower

In the laundry, the trough and veggie sprayer have been installed (not that we are expecting to see a lot of vegetables in the laundry!), as well as the washing machine taps, including the compulsory recycled water tap.

Laundry trough
Laundry trough
Washing machine taps

The kitchen sink and tap have also been installed.

Kitchen sink
Kitchen sink

Other fittings

The walk in robe, wardrobes in the bedrooms, pantry and linen press have all been fitted out with rails and shelves as appropriate.

Walk in robe
Bedroom 3 wardrobe


Yesterday we ordered our letterbox, the "Maddison".  The centre panel can be ordered in any colour, and we have chose Colourbond woodland grey to tie in with the roof, the garage door and front door, and to contrast against the lighter render that it will be in front of.

The Maddison Letterbox

Sunday, 16 September 2012


This week we have seen a big change in the inside of the house, and a couple of small changes to the outside.  We're also trying to organise some of the "finishing touches" that we will be doing after handover.


Although it was installed a couple of weeks ago, today we saw the front of the garage door for the first time.

Garage Door

The cladding on the facade and plastering under the eaves have also been completed.

Cladding Completed
Cladding Completed


The big story this week is the tiles.

We were told that the tiles would be finished this weekend.  Well, they're not quite finished, but they are close.  They need a clean, and there is a tile missing in the bathroom and a little grout to be done in the ensuite, but the kitchen/study/living area is done, as is the laundry.

Bathroom shower
Ensuite shower
Laundry splashback

None and all of the pictures show the colour of the tiles well!  With the exception of the splashbacks they are all the same tiles, and look completely different according to the light; from a fairly dark brown to a light grey.  Ever since our selection I've been a little (OK, a lot) worried about how they would turn out, but they look great; we're really happy with them.

Some other things


Yesterday morning we went back to our preferred blinds supplier, after spending the last few weekends visiting showrooms and getting quotes.  We have gone with a small, independent company based in Coburg who were not only the lowest quote but offered by far the best service.

We will be having roller blinds throughout the house, excepting the bathroom, ensuite, laundry, and rumpus room sliding door.  The master bedroom at the front of the house will have double privacy/blockout blinds, and the rest single blockout.  Our chosen fabric for the blinds is Stamford Lava Blockout.

Stamford Lava Blockout

Next Saturday they will come and measure the windows (having quoted off the plan) and with a three week lead time hopefully we will be able to have them installed shortly after handover.


This morning we met with the landscaper nominated by the developer.  Our front yard will be landscaped in accordance with the development guidelines at the developers expense.   As we spoke to him, the landscaper marked out our landscape plan which will consist of a path to the portico with garden beds either side, a garden bed along the side of the driveway, and another along the front of the house, and the rest lawn.  He will do some drawings to submit to the developer and once approved we will be placed in the queue for the work to be done.  Currently it's a long queue, so it's good that we're having out plans submitted before handover.  The landscaper said it would hopefully be done "before Christmas".

We are also in the process of pricing landscaping the backyard, which will simply be grass.

Alfresco and portico floors

We had been at a bit of a loss about what to do on the alfresco and portico floors, which are currently just concrete slab.  Then, during the week I discovered that there is an external version of our internal tiles.

Wet Cement External


Although the tiles are the same range as our internal tiles they look quite different; mostly due to the internal ones being polished.  We feel that this will provide nice continuity between the indoor and outdoor areas without being too "matchy-matchy".  We are currently getting quotes from tilers to do this relatively small job.


Alfresco flyscreen

We are concerned about the ingress of bugs into the house when taking advantage of our lovely big bifold doors, so looked for a solution a bit more robust than moving air (although we do intend to put a fan in the alfresco).  We came across these retractable fly screens for bifold doors and other large openings.

Retractable flyscreen

We visited a local showroom and met a very friendly and helpful salesperson.  He was also an excellent salesman who has all but talked us into doubling our order!  His suggestion was to put two screens on both of the open sides of the alfresco, rather than on the bifold doors.  The advantages being that we essentially create an outdoor room in which we can eat bug-free or open up as we like, and we can still open up the bifolds and guard against bugs.  This idea is one of the reasons we are trying to integrate the internal and external tiles (as above).  It will be our most expensive addition if we go ahead, but we are both keen to do it.


We have now gotten two quotes for an exposed aggregate driveway and are in the process of getting a couple more.  We hope to have the driveway poured as soon as possible after handover (in fact, our estate guidelines state that the driveway must be completed before the dwelling is occupied, so we need to get it done!)


We started looking for light fittings a couple of weeks ago, focusing on the feature pendants over the island bench.  We have all but settled on these gorgeous lights with edison bulbs.

Mercator Toledo 30cm

The rest of the house has us completely stumped though!