Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Side fence removed - ready to go!

Mendo emailed us a copy of the boundary resurvey this morning, and hopefully sometime this week we'll get the "pre-planner" out on site to check everything prior to site start.

Went by after work and found the side fence had been removed as requested, with a bit of barrier tape that may or may not be enough to keep the neighbour's dog in - I'll go back tomorrow with some stakes to keep the barrier down.

Also got a revised tile planning document with a few minor changes; all looks good on that front - not that we'll see any action with tiles for another... 7, 8 months?


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Empty site; resurvey complete already!

Finally, a weekday off, the first in quite a while!

Took the opportunity to head down to the site before lunch, and found there were already a couple of surveyors there doing the resurvey of the block. You can see them as tiny specks in the photo below, if you look hard enough! Apparently they'll send through the results to M this afternoon or tomorrow, and asap after that we'll be getting a survey for the slab!

I took a shovel to have a chop through the soil, most of it was pretty clay-like from the huge dumps of rain over the weekend. Where the old driveway used to be on the left, still lots of gravel and hard clay, but no concrete left - good work demo boys!

Also managed to get a fence contractor out to meet on site after lunch, and his team will remove about 10m of fence along the left so the garage can be built alongside. He recommended just leaving the fence off rather than replacing it afterwards, so I'll have to get in touch with the landlord to get their opinion. Also need the very back corner fence replaced, as the neighbour has had 40 years worth of ivy grow through the fence and it's just ruined - if I'd known it'd need to be replaced I would have had the demolition crew chop it down and take it away as well! Oh well.

Anyway, the fence will be done tomorrow, and I can let the CSC know the prestart survey can go ahead. We also got a revised tile quote, as somewhere along the looong line of contracts and drawings there was a tiling error to the ensuite - looks like we save $1000 somewhere!

Went to the council as well, to arrange a reinspection of the site now the demolition has been completed - hopefully can get my $1000 bond back as well. Looks like the footpath has been cracked in a couple of areas, but it's up to the demolition crew to rectify this - though I'm not sure when it should be done, seeing as there will be construction for the next year or so which will probably cause further cracks in the footpath.

Fingers crossed we may get some initial work done on the site in the next 2 weeks or so!


Monday, November 23, 2009

Crane gone; now the hard work begins!

I didn't go by the site tonight, but apparently the crane has been taken away, so we should just have a clear block now!

Emailed our CSC last night, and what happens now is a re-establishment survey to check the block of land is as big as the titles office say it is. We then get a "pre planner" to survey the block for the slab, but before that's done I need to get 7m of side fence removed (where the garage is going to be 150mm from the boundary). With any luck, we may have a bit of activity in a couple of weeks or so? Not that it particularly bothers us, I can't see much productivity before xmas, anyway, then everything shuts down for a few weeks.

Anyone who has built with Metricon (or really, any other builder): any idea how long the christmas shutdown period is?

Of course, after 2 months of ringing around for a fence person to come and quote me for the work on the side fence, I could only get 1 to even give me a quote, and he didn't return my calls today.... *sigh*... so if it's not done by this weekend I'll have to do it myself. Not happy!

Anyway, I also called Tru Energy who said that they usually revisit an underground power pit after 5-6 weeks to check it's setup right, and then fix up the concrete around it. One less thing to worry about.

Also will go to the council tomorrow to organise a reinspection of the footpath, crossover etc, as they've got $1000 out of me as a bond to cover any damage. If there's damage, it's up to the demo crew to rectify/pay for repairs, but I have to make sure the inspection is done by the council, before M start building.

I thought I would also have to take out an Asset Protection Permit for M, but they're going to handle that, so one less thing to worry about, I think!

I also need to get the temporary fence removed, as M will install their own temporary fence prior to the build. So yep, having that temp fence there for a month cost about $300 (same as what it costs to have it there for 6 months!)

Whoever is planning a knockdown/rebuild, just make sure you're super organised, as there's a LOT of things you need to plan and co-ordinate prior to the build! I reckon my first piece of advice would be to get the demolition complete and over at least a month or two before you plan to build - the sooner the better! Especially as any delays after signing the contract will cost you in delay fees per week, and we all know how much paying any further $$$ hurts!

I'll get a picture of the empty block, sans crane posted up tomorrow. And to Paul & Jason - sounds like we're close enough neighbours to you at the moment :)


Edit/PS: If you're thinking about a home loan, I would think twice before looking at Heritage Building Society. We were meant to have everything fully approved by the start of October - it's now nearly the end of November and we don't have much to show for it, thanks to poor customer service, inept recordkeeping, them randomly changing our mailing address so we don't receive any communications etc. Not looking promising, so I'm seriously going to LOSE IT the next time they screw something up, and tell my broker to get our certificate of title and other documents back from them so we can get a loan from someone else. I've been recommended St George, so maybe we'll see how good they are. Fucking banks - c'mon, there can't be a single person in Australia who hasn't said that!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Aaaand.... we have a clean site!

So, the weather was awfully hot this morning (got to 38 by lunchtime I've been told!) but despite that, while I was at work, so were the demolition crew. By the time I got to the site after work, everything had been allllllllllllll doooooooooone!

Doesn't look like much land after the demolition, just enough for one big boy's toy in the centre! Many times I wish we had a wider frontage, and NO side easement, but at least those troubles have been sorted out. It's not easy finding a 100% perfect site for redevelopment in existing suburbs, so we've done reasonably well. Fairly flat - but still about 80cm of fall from front to back, and a tiny bit left to right. If you look beyond the crossover, the soil still looks a bit white where the concrete/gravel driveway used to be. I'll have to go back tomorrow when it's not soggy and wet (hopefully) to have a poke about to make sure all the concrete is gone, though I'm sure the demo guys were quite thorough.

Yep, definitely going to have to move that crane, it's sitting about where our entry hallway or sitting room will be!

Just got a comment from a reader who is building a Nolan in Bundoora (Hi Renee!) asking about additions to base prices. Basically all M display homes will have a minimum of 100k in upgrades and options over the base price. Don't forget the base price is for Traditional facade (which may or may not appeal to you), but typically the more fancy (eg bigger balconies, cladding etc) and the more "modern" looking, the more expensive the facade will be (up to$15k on top of base). And of course, don't forget render isn't included in a facade by default!

Add in other upgrade prices such as structural items, colour/fitting upgrades, electrical upgrades... well, if you add $100k to the base price, this should cover most things like site costs, facades, upgrades etc (but even then it may not be enough for floor coverings, window furnishings, driveways/crossovers etc!) See the earlier post on "Beginner's guide to building with M" for some indications on upgrade costs.

And As for our own temporary housing situation while the house is being built, we've got a housesitting gig for middle December, and also for end of January. If anyone in Melbourne needs professional, mature and responsible housesitting (we love pets!) for any duration, then please let us know!


Thursday, November 19, 2009

OMG! LOOK what happened to our beautiful house!

So, turned up to do the daily driveby of the house, and amazed to see this sitting where our living room room used to be:


Can't say how excited we were to see the house reduced to rubble. Had enough of the lime green and peach walls, outdoors dunny, lime green cupboards, asbestos garage and wooden bathroom (not to mention yellow kitchen)!

And a special cheers to Anthony & his wife - what a bizarre way to meet our neighbours (through Google!) We'll catch up with you guys sometime to try and help you on your build - what an experience!

Apparently the big Tonka Toy in the pic above was delivered in the late afternoon (5:30 or so?) and had finished devouring the house in about 30 minutes! Wish we were there to see it, but I was told the other day it wouldn't start until tomorrow. Oh well - the sooner the better I say, as we're already a week overdue.

Still remaining to be done is the removal of the garage wooden skeleton, all the vegatation front and back, as well as the brick pavers at the back and the concrete "driveway" along the fenceline, so I expect more activity tomorrow and Monday. I bought Tina a new ipod nano, so maybe we'll even get some video of things happening (at very low resolution!)

As soon as the demo is fully finished, we have to get our CSC to book in the resurvey asap.

And a closing note, thanks to everyone who have left positive comments on our blog, saying how things have been helpful or informative. It takes quite a bit of effort to maintain a detailed blog, but we're glad to see it being of help to people - thanks for your feedback! If anyone would like any more specific information or details, leave a comment anywhere on the blog and if it's not an unreasonable request, we're quite happy to try and help you out.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Day 8 of demolition, and...

and... well, nothing, really. Bit dissappointing that nothing's been done for the last week, especially as our CSC had booked in the resurvey for Nov 20. I emailed the demo company and they reckon it'll be finished by Mon 23rd, so will organise the resurvey for after then.

Also, finally received our updated colour schedule (erm... 5 weeks or so after contract signing??) which we'll get onto signing tomorrow. Still no word on our tiles, which we selected a month ago!

But anyway, colours and tiles are relatively unimportant right now - we just want to get this old house pulled down!!

And one thing bugs me - when the underground power pit was installed, the tradies cut out a big square of concrete footpath for a little round powerpit cover, and backfilled it with some soil. Erm... shouldn't that be all concrete? And I won't be happy if I have to pay for it, because really they should've cut a round hole, for a round powerpit. Reminder to self: call Tru Energy and find out who's going to fix that!


Monday, November 9, 2009

Day 1 of demolition!

The demo company said they would start this week, but didn't say whether it would be Monday or Friday or any day in between. As it turns out, they did start on wrecking the house today!
From Tim & Tina's build: Metricon Nolan 41 in Melbourne

This is probably the first hint you shouldn't go beyond this fence. I did want to go in to check out what they'd done, but I'd rather live a few more years!

From Tim & Tina's build: Metricon Nolan 41 in Melbourne
And really, I think all they did today (in 34 degree heat!) was to pull down the roof and walls of the shed at the back, which is where all the asbestos was. Looks like they also pulled down a couple of downpipes and hacked away at the weatherboard around the windows too.

Anyway, I've sent an email to the demo guy to find out when they will finish, as M want to get a resurvey done prior to site start.

And I've finally managed to get a tradesman out (tomorrow, anyway) to give us a quote on pulling down a bit of the side fence, then replacing it.

Finally, called our lender this morning regarding paperwork we sent them 3 weeks ago. Apparently they requested further info in a letter we never received. After calling my broker, turns out the idiots at the bank had decided to change our postcode, meaning the letters they sent us, we never received! So settlement of the loan still hasn't occurred... and banks wonder why people don't like them much... thankfully we still have plenty of time to get the loan sorted out, but in many cases the builder will charge you a penalty for every week or day you delay site start. Could have been costly for us, and do you think the bank would reimburse any costs incurred as a result of their f#ckup? Not damn likely!


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Neighbours house that was for sale - sold?

So while browsing the "for sale" pages on Domain, came across the fact our neighbour's house was for sale! It's a few doors down, and was only built a year ago.

Beautiful looking house, one of the nicest facades on our street I think! It blends in with the established nature of the other houses on the street, but stands out for design. Nice features included double glazed casement windows all around (expensive!) and refrigerated AC. We went in for a stickybeak one day - furnishing were a little dated, but the inside was nice enough. Not real keen on the "formal living/dining" room, the study was tiny, and the master bedroom also very small. Very nice rear deck/verandah and bifolds though, much larger than our one will be I think. As for overall size, it's probably marginally smaller than our Nolan, but still very livable. Love the zero maintenance front yard too, I imagine we'll take some design cues when we get around to doing ours!Their block of land is a little larger than ours, but of course also north facing. Pity we can't find out how much it sold for, as it was a very low key sale and private bids only. But if they get the 1.3m they were asking, it'd definitely be the most expensive house in the suburb!

There's also a bran new Porter Davis house almost complete being built down the street from us - I think it's a Brookvale, but many of their houses share similar facades, so very hard to tell for sure. Not sure if it's being built to live in, or as an investment for sale, but it's had a lot of money invested in it with a fully rendered facade and feature tiling on balcony, and being fully landscaped at the front too. Next time we walk by I'll take some photos and post them here!


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Massive post: A beginners guide to Building with M!

I've been feeling a bit underoccupied lately, now that we've done all the major thinking and decisions with building the Nolan, so I've decided to start compiling some useful basic information for those thinking of building with M - there's a few of you out there, I know! I'll also break this up into chunks and post it on the Homeone forums for more people to contribute to. So, take a deep breath and have a read through!



Go and check out all the M displays that you can. See what floorplans appeal (or not) and you should be able to find at least 2 houses that you could see yourself living in. You’re able to make changes to the floorplan, so the house doesn’t have to be perfect as you see it (of course, changes cost money, but maybe not as much as you think).

When you find a floorplan to start from, get the sales consultant (SC) to give you a walkthrough. If they’re any good, they should be able to point out everything that is nonstandard (which is most things!) and what is.

$1000 secures your base price of the house, paid to your SC. Note: From this deposit date, you have 150 days to make the final contract unconditional – this includes such things as land settlement, demolition, finance approval etc. If not, the clause allows for an increase of 0.5% of the contract price (not base house price!) per month of delay.

After initial deposit, M will do a site survey and soil test.

At your preliminary contract appointment with your Customer Service Consultant (CSC), you’re presented with siting diagrams and initial floorplans. If (like us) you want to make changes to the floorplans, best you do them even before the initial deposit stage, so you can give them to your SC, and they should be drawn up for your prelim contract. However, at our prelim contract we had done maybe half the floorplan changes we wanted, and submitted further changes at this point.

As a rough guide, modifying our Nolan wasn’t that expensive for what we gained;
- laundry redesign (move door and add walk in linen) about $700
- powder room redesign (enclose WC and sink in one room, feature windows) $500
- ensuite redesign (swap toilet and shower, making huge shower) $500

When you’re happy with your prelim contract, cough up another $3000 to get the final contract drawings done.

Studio M colour selection, electrical and tiles – see the next few posts for info.

Final contract – despite what your CSC may say, there still is room to fine tune changes at this stage without penalty. We changed the internal access door handle, the kitchen sink and a few other things here as a “pre construction variation”.

M then will apply for your building permit, and have 30 days to start construction from the date the building permit is approved.


Be well prepared, as you’ve gotta choose EVERYTHING for your house at this appointment! See as many M display homes as you can, take photos and make notes of what you like.

Everything from tiles, bricks, mortar, doors, windows, paint, kitchen, cabinets, vanities etc needs to be picked.

Visit places like Austral/Boral/Selkirk Bricks, and get their lists of houses built using their bricks. Also grab a few sample bricks of the ones you like!

Some rough guidelines on pricing upgrades (submit your upgrade prices and I can add them to this list!)

- Vinyl wrap $4000
- 2pack (not available anymore?) $6500
- ABS edging $100+
- Upgrade handles – highest category about $500
- Upgrade 20mm to 40mm ceasarstone $500
- Tiled kickers $50
- Upgrade doors to Balmoral-2 approx $100 per door?
- Big pull handle and roller lock to front entry door $400
- Trilock approx $170+
- Privacy locks $25
- Upgrade to KDHM treads (stained wood stairs, no carpet) $2500
- Stainless steel balusters $1000
- Upgrade to Cat4 Austral on Nolan 41 $4500
- Off white mortar on Nolan 41 $900
- Flush mortar on Nolan 41 $300


Check the standard electrical plan carefully – there’s the bare minimum included! Electrical appointment takes 2-3 hours, depending on how well prepared you are. As usual, best advice is to print out the standard floorplan and mark in everything you want prior to the appointment. M will also email you a full pricelist of everything prior to your appointment,

Rough upgrade prices
- Double electrical powerpoint $61
- External junction box for light $50
- Wall, floor, step light point $56
- Downlight $46 (and if this is a “new” downlight point, add about $56 for a “ceiling light point” first!)
- Two way switch $50
- Three way switch $100
- IXL 4 lamp $500
- 4 star gas heater upgrade about $750
- Zoning for heating about $350


M have unfortunately reduced their tile range as of Aug 09, so there’s not many standard tiles. You can go to Beaumont Tiles in Oakleigh anytime for a stickybeak – the current standard range is marked by little blue dots on the tiles.


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