Monday, June 28, 2010

More pics from last week: Painting, floors sanded

Some more pics from last week's work...

This is our master bedroom - undercoat/base coat of paint has been applied to walls, ceiling & cornices. The french doors to the balcony and window are covered in plastic to stop paint getting on the frames.

In the sitting room are some of the internal doors, with the first coat of paint on them. I asked John if they would be painted on top and bottom and he said no, but according to the delivery instructions stuck to the doors, they have to be painted top & bottom to be covered by the manufacturers warranty. Fortunately the painter has painted the tops (and we presume the bottoms) for us, so no worries there!

And the yellowtongue flooring that makes up the floor upstairs has had all the joins sanded - this was done last Saturday morning.

Metricon aren't doing any flooring for us, but we're planning on carpet all upstairs (and in the home theatre room), and timber floors downstairs. Not sure on whether we'll get hardwood, laminate or bamboo floors yet, got plenty of time to think about that. But we'll definitely have to start looking at carpet soon, as that's the first thing we need after handover so we can move our bed in!


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Day 187: Review of last week's work up to now!

So there hasn't been many updates during the week - we've been busy moving to a new housesit, plus the house has been locked up with the painters doing their initial preparation work. Plus I've been distracted with my new car - I had it serviced as soon as I bought it, and now it's giving me problems! Grrr....

Anyway, John called me Friday night to arrange a walkthrough Saturday afternoon, and we were able to be brough up to date on events. We also have a new CSC, I think this is our seventh?

Still waiting on the engineer's report on how to fix the laundry floor, that should come in sometime this week.

Anyway, here's the first round of pics from last week's work. The front and rear doors have had the first coat of stain put on, and they're starting to look good already!

Should get a little darker with the next coat of stain. Blends in well with the bricks outside, but from the inside there's a huge contrast with the white walls & ceiling, looks brilliant! John also pointed out where many of the windows have been damaged from bricklaying, so they'll all get fixed before handover.

Rear bipart doors also stained up nicely.

Over the dining room window, some of the cornice has been cutout as the ceiling is bowed. This will be fixed properly to the trusses, then new cornice over this area.

The kitchen has seen some attention too. Infills have been installed over the overhead cupboards, plus a few of the doors have been replaced - one or two were scratched, the ones under the sink were rubbing, and the one in the corner of the island has been replaced too - still needs a bit of adjustment as there's a very obvious uneven gap around it.

And our kitchen sink has arrived - a special order for us, as we couldn't find it in Studio M's standard sink range.

This is a Clark Razor double bowl undermount sink, normally a commercial installation but great for home use, as it's massive! Though not as deep as we though it would be, it's the widest/longest one we could find.

And to update our schedule, painting is meant to be done by end of next week (ie end of June). The electricians may be called in to pull through/expose all their wiring before the final coat of paint. Stone benchtops should be in on July 2nd, and tiling to start soon after!

Will post a few more pics tomorrow.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Day 182: Painters back

Ran into the painters this morning when driving past our house - apparently they're not happy with the plaster preparation, so they're not doing much more painting until things are fixed up. Happy with that - much better for the tradies to take pride in their work rather than just banging out a bad job.


Monday, June 21, 2010

Day 181: Painting commences, and auction result from weekend

Apparently painting has started today - all the windows are covered by protective drop sheets. But being so dark in the evenings now, we can't really see inside and no photos turn out.

Anyway, on Saturday I went to the auction of the Metricon Promenade (with 6 bedrooms!) in Mont Albert North.

This house was completed approx July 2009 according to the Certificate of Occupancy. Opening bid was a vendor bid of $1.4m, and 4 families bid on the house to the sale price of $1.675. It was on the market at $1.6m, and I thought it'd hit $1.7m, so not far off there.

And being built 2 doors down is another Metricon redevelopment.

Perhaps the Nevada? Manor facade. Not real keen on the colour choices, can't say I'm a fan of the dark red bricks and dark window mouldings etc. Plus on the adjacent corner was a redevelopment corner site with 2 Metricon double storey townhouses.

It's pretty incredible how many Metricon houses have been built around Melbourne - that afternoon we took Bailey (the very cute cavoodle we're housesitting for) for a walk around Surrey Hills, and walked past a Nelson.

Looks like Kingston facade, Austral Newport bricks. Might be our same roof tiles too! Timber windows to the facade, 6-pane Corinthian front door with big pull handle. The alarm being right in the middle of the garage door opening is a bit ugly though, and surely it wouldn't have been that hard to put in a proper double driveway and double crossover in? Curtains in facade windows is so 1985 too... but a truly great location with classic "Eastern Suburb leafy street" trees all around (yeah, I don't know much about trees, but they look nice!)

Hopefully I'll have time to drop by the house tomorrow while the painters are in, but I'll be mostly running around trying to get my car registered so I can drive it properly!


Friday, June 18, 2010

Day 178: Engineers inspecting slab, and painting prep

Paid the fixing stage invoice last night - only one more to go; the final payment! But when we have to make it is still not yet decided!

Spoke to our SS today, and John gave us an update on what's happening right about now.
  • Painters were in sanding yesterday, and should start on painting on Monday. Window frames still need to be sanded next week. Hopefully painting should be finished by the end of the month! Some of our doors were returned to the house, though now our recently delivered internal access door is missing in action; probably being prepped for painting too.
  • Structural Works (engineers) were at the house today to inspect the laundry slab where the pipes were moved, and should come up with a report on how to fix things properly on Tuesday. Nice to know our concerns with the slab here are being addressed correctly - our independent inspector recommended an engineered solution, which we're getting.
Anyway, it looks like someone has also identified a little problem with the ensuite shower niche;

It says "NO FALL" on the bottom of the shower niche, which we think means there's not enough slope on the shower niche to provide runoff of water. Without the correct fall, water will pool in the niche, eventually rotting through grout and waterproofing and ultimately rotting the stud wall here. Not a good thing, so hopefully someone will figure out how to correct this - we won't accept a niche which collects water! Plus if you look at the top & bottom of the niche in the photo, it's pretty wavy and uneven, so we'd expect this to be corrected too to get a perfectly square niche. Tiling can correct minor surface imperfections, but not something as uneven as this!

Also some tins of Dulux Undercoat waiting to go on! Think that painting will dramatically change how things look - at the moment there's a lot of exposed plasterboard, more plaster patches and random spots of colour everywhere, so having it one uniform shade should improve the appearance heaps!

Got a call from my mechanic too; my new car only needs new tyres for a roadworthy certificate, so with any luck I might have it on the roads next week!

And finally - tomorrow is the auction of this Metricon Promenade in Mont Albert North which I'll be attending. Be interesting to see how much $$$ it earns!


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Day 177: Deliveries continue, doors being painted?

More presents for the house arriving today...

Bit more plasterboard or cement sheets in the garage; probably for the garage roof, and maybe for the portico ceiling. Doesn't look like there's enough for both jobs though.

Some plumbing: the grey thing on the left is the box gutter for the balcony floor, not sure what the white planks next to it is.

Plus there's this plastic mushroom thingy that's grown very quickly outside the laundry door - some kind of drain cover?

Also the rumpus doors have been removed, maybe that means some proper door painting is going on somewhere? Couldn't get into the house today :(


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Day 176: Garage internal access door delivered

Our missing Balmoral-2 internal access door was delivered today; now all the doors throughout the house match!


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Day 175: Plaster touching up

Some ongoing repair work being done - can't get on with more painting until all the plaster is ready to go!

The hole where the floor joist has been fixed is now plastered over.

Also, the final missing cornice has been put in over the fridge recess, also the hole where the cabling was pulled through has been repaired. Can see all the patchwork repairs in the alcove - lots more final sanding required before painting can go on.

And upstairs, the manhole (which was in the original but wrong spot) has been remove and plastered over. Hasn't yet been put in the right spot in Bed 4, but that shouldn't interrupt painting.

MyMetricon says painting should be done by 18.6.10, which is very unlikely - maybe another 2 weeks?

We took some friends through the house on the weekend... all they could say was - "it's a little big isn't it?" :) Which is a fair enough comment, and not said in a nasty way at all. But consider... you might build a 3 bed house, reasoning you'd never use that fourth bedroom, which would cost maybe $15,000 more in your new home contract. 3, 5 or 10 years after you move into your house and realise you could do with that extra room after all - but now it costs you $50,000 to add on as an extension? Or from another perspective, if you're building a house to live in, but keep an eye on the investment value of your house, that extra $15,000 bedroom may be worth $50,000 in the resale market a few years down the track. Don't forget, renovations/extensions are always more expensive (per sq m) than building it from scratch. Anyway, we're building this house to our needs and it suits our needs just right (I need that home theatre room! :) )

Anyway, just to get further sidetracked, I also was a bit naughty today - after selling my GTR, I was all convinced I'd manage without a project car for 6-12 months, but ended up buying a new toy this morning...

More pics on this fairly rare Audi next week after it's been re-registered! A lot slower than my GTR, but much better as a daily driver.


Friday, June 11, 2010

Day 171: Laundry waste pipe moved, painting has commenced

According to MyMetricon, we've had the Fixing Stage completed as of 10.6.10! Time to check under the couch for coins and sell off unwanted items on ebay to pay yet another 20% of the build cost - though this means there's only 10% +/- variations to go, and that'll be at handover!

Today, someone with a very big hammer came in to cut out the floor of the slab in the laundry to move the waste pipe; which long-term readers will recall was incorrectly positioned under the laundry cupboards.

I didn't go to the house today - this is Tina's photo - but to me, it looks like there's a mini-garden in the laundry, where we could possibly grow vegetables. Ideally though, we'd have a bit of concrete and some tiles there, which is the conventional use of a laundry.

From our independent inspector's report:

"Item 18. The plumbing floor waste in the laundry which is to be located below the washing
machine is installed with in the laundry cabinetry area. The drainers will be required to
relocate the pipe. This will involve cutting and jack hammering the slab. The appointed
engineer will be required to supply a rectification plan to reinstate the slab removed as the pipe is being significally relocated. The slab penetrations are sealed with termite protection seals. This will also be required to be reinstalled by the termite protection firm. Recommend viewing the appropriate documentation to cofirm these works have been completed appropriately."

So what we'll be doing is emailing our CSC and SS to confirm that we'll get a copy of the engineers' report regarding fixing the slab where its been cutout, plus confirm the termite protectin will be reinstated. That's one of the dangers of modifying a volume builder's plans too much - the additional things may not be done ideally the first time around. As long as things are fixed properly though, the end result should be fine. I wanted a drain waste under the washing machine position as I have many memories of my mum's washing machine getting blocked, or pipes leaking/splitting, and the laundry flooding the house as a result!

The painters also came today - they were meant to start Monday, but have been delayed as we've insisted on the various lockup items to be fixed first. Today, they came in and covered the stairwell in protective plastic, and started with a layer of primer on the doors. We'll have to check the doors are painted all around, including top, bottom and sides; not just the obvious main 2 sides.

Our new SS, John, also called me this afternoon to tell me of the day's progress. I did mention the manhole was in the wrong spot (see the last blog entry) and he said he'll check it out. The plasterer should be back again on Tuesday to do a final plaster fix so the painters can really get into things. MyMetricon says painting will be done by 18.6.10 which is highly unlikely - probably towards the end of June would be more realistic. I like our new SS - he's only just started with Metricon, so hopefully he'll be particularly attentive to the fine details, but he seems open and communicative, as was our last SS.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Day 170: Waste pipe fixed, kitchen window moved, but manhole in wrong spot.

Carpenters were in the house today getting busy on a couple of items; first of all, the cutout floor joist has been repaired. Just need a plasterer to come and repair the hole.

Also the kitchen window has been moved down an inch or two to allow the stone benchtop to fit properly - glad to see this being done! However now we're missing the wood header that normally goes above the window, so will have to make sure that's rectified.

Also, to move the kitchen splashback window, the brick sill on the outside had to be removed, so at some stage the brickies have to be called back in to replace the sill.

Also some trimmings around architraves were put in. Now, there's also a manhole access panel in one of the rear bedrooms, to access the ground floor roof. Our last SS (Monique) was aware that due to the final roof truss design, this manhole should be in Bed 4 instead of Bed 3, but I think that information wasn't passed onto the fixing carpenters.

Can you see what's wrong with this picture?

You'd have to be pretty tiny to be able to get into the roof space with all those roof trusses in the way! Anyway should be a pretty easy job to move that manhole to Bed 4 and get this plaster hole repaired, will email our SS tonight about it.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Day 169: Getting ready to fix our floor joist problem!

No work done on site today... we think... but here's some details of little things being fixed up.

The front door frame was installed during frame stage, and our brickies bricked up around the front door, but there was a little gap above and on the sides of the door frame. Above the door frame now there's a strip of timber cut to size to close in the gap, and there will probably be a couple more on the sides to close over the other gaps, and all will be stained to match. And the steel lintel above the doorframe should be painted too, but all these little details can be fixed anytime. Similarly, the internal access door from the garage had gaps all around, but have been closed in with more timber - looks much better and best for sealing out draughts!

Now, finally - the main item identified in our independent inspection is being attended to!

The upstairs WC next to the main bathroom - the wase pipe was cut through the top beam of the floor joist, as you can see above. This cutout is just over the kitchen island bench. The same thing happened with our ensuite shower waste pipe, but that was fixed prior to plastering. In this case, the plasterers came in too soon and plastered over everything before this could be fixed - but now with the error exposed, when the carpenters come back to fix up a few other little things (including the kitchen window reveal) they can rectify this error; probably by adding a reinforcing thingy around the cutout in the joist. And once this is done, then painting can get underway asap!


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Day 168: Some further plastering/carpentry, and onsite meeting with our two SSs

This morning, the carpenters were in and added the missing noggin in the garage (only 1 required, not 2 because they're only for plaster fixing), as well as installing the balcony!

Plus some other carpenter type things were done, installing/closing gaps around the front door and internal access door with timber strips (that will be stained/painted to match). Now, if we only had a key for the balcony french doors (below), the waterproofers can go and waterproof the balcony so the tiling, guttering, and portico plastering can be done.

Also had a plasterer in today, installing the plaster under the top flight of the stairs and tidying up some other spots. He also repaired the two holes in the ceiling where the carpenters tried to find the damaged floor joist to repair... more on this later!

I guess the big things for today was our on-site meeting with Monique and our new SS John. MyMetricon was updated yesterday to say we were getting a new SS; because Monique is so busy with all the Balwyn builds, John will take care of us and our neighbour down the road (who just had the slab down for their Chelsea - congratulations guys!).

So anyway, we had a page of things that we were mainly concerned about and wanted clarification before any further work was done, and happy to say that we're satisfied with how things are being assessed and fixed.

1) Damaged floor joist: I pointed out to John that the damaged joist was directly under where the upstairs WC waste pipe was located. Since the carpenters had already tried twice (and failed!) to locate the joist from the ground floor, John got upstairs and banged through the plaster adjacent to the waste pipe, clearly marking out on the kitchen ceiling where the joist needs repairing. Should be an easy fix now!

2) Kitchen problems;
  • Kitchen stone bench on the side will go right into the window splashback reveal as per the earlier pic posted- carpenters will cut out all the wood/plaster that's blocking the benchtop.
  • Gaps, missing laminate strips - will all be fixed when the kitchen people come back in for the benchtops, or by the painters. Pretty minor but annoying stuff.
  • Rangehood: Will be externally ducted, will be dealt with later during the electrical final fixing.
  • Cables from the walk-in-linen - to be repaired by plasterer where they've been incorrectly pulled through in the fridge alcove.
3) Laundry waste: Been in the wrong spot for months, but the plumbing people responsible are aware it needs to be moved before tiling.

4) Garage internal access door: A replacement Balmoral-2 door has been ordered, as there was an estimating error somewhere - someone forgot to count all the doors correctly! And the missing noggins have been fixed this morning.

5) Rumpus room doors - Will leave them hanging the way they are, as they're set up for "right handed people" the way the right door opens. Not a big deal ultimately.

So, looks like things are geting back on track! John used to be a painter apparently, which should be a good thing, if it means he has an eye for detail!

The plans for the next few weeks:
  • Carpenters back in sometime this week to do the final fixes and repair that joist
  • Painters might start next week, and take around 2 weeks to complete internal painting
  • Tiling around the start of July
  • By August, final fixings, and maybe firming up on a handover date by that time too!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Day 163: More plastering & site clean

Site clean was done during the day, and the plasterers came in until quite late in the evening to tidy up some plaster work in the kitchen.

The thing is, the window bottom edge is still at the wrong height, as the caesarstone benchtop is meant to go right in the window reveal to meet the window frame, as in this picture below.

The cabinet installers also left a note for the window to be moved as it was 15mm (at least!) too high for the stone benchtop, so we expect this to be rectified.

Also, the fridge alcove has had the corners plastered in, though no cornice above.

Tina will meet with our SS tomorrow after to see how fixing is going, and to pin down the schedule to fix the other minor things.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Day 162: Some plastering, and pre-paint assessment

Found that the plasterers had been in today, and installed the missing plaster in the kitchen.

However, the kitchen window still hasn't been moved, which will be an issue for when the ceasarstone benchtop arrives. It's meant to cover the side bench and into the window reveal, which at the moment is at least 15mm higher than it should be. Will bring it up with our SS this Friday.

In this pic, they've also plastered over the fridge alcove bulkhead. This is where our inspector picked up the bulkhead was in contact with the floor joists:

Item 11. The stiffening beams installed over the kitchen bulk heads are incontact with the floor joists which are therefore load bearing and are not end supported. As this bulkhead is not intended to be load bearing, there should be a clearance left between the floor joists and the bulk head.

So has this has been fixed? Who knows??!! *sigh* another item to bring up with the SS. Also where that bunch of cables are poking out through the wall - they're not meant to be there!!

For me though, the main item from our inspectors' report still to be fixed is Item 12. The sewer waste pipe over the kitchen area has been installed through the top flange of the smart joist. The manufacturers of the ‘Smart Joist’ do not allow cutting out of the top flange as noted on their ‘SmartJoist’ hole chart. Recommend the manufacturers supply a rectification design for the damaged floor joist. This item is still not fixed, and I want it fixed before any painting starts - mainly because this is a fairly serious structural problem. Come on guys, it's not that hard to fix! Find the upstairs toilet, and mend the damaged floor joist underneath it, rather than randomly cutting holes in the ceiling hoping to magically stumble across where it needs to be fixed.

And someone else has been through the house with a pencil, circling hundreds of tiny little dents and scratches to be fixed up and smoothed over before painting starts.

Nice to know some small faults are being identified, but as I keep harping about, it's our inspectors items, in particular the structural fauls with the house, that we want fixed before any further work is done. We haven't received a fixing invoice yet, but I want to know how our inspector's items are going to be fixed before payment is made - only reasonable when you're spending a few hundred thousand on a house, that you want faults fixed!


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Metricon house for sale in Mont Albert: Modified Promenade with Plantation facade, $1.5m plus

While doing our usual nightly browse of Domain, came across another Metricon redevelopment not that far from our house. In this Eastern Suburbs area (from Balwyn North to Blackburn North) we've seen quite a few development projects using Metricon, Porter Davis and Henley, but of course we're most interested in Metricons, right?

Has the Plantation facade, rendered front (which we reckon the plantation facade must have in order to look right!). The grey shades are a good choice for a development - nothing too extreme, and the red front door really pops out visually! The tiled roof doesn't really suit this facade though, colorbond is probably a better fit. There's glass glazing on the balcony, which probably costs an absolute fortune ($15k plus for the glass alone probably isn't a bad guess!). Could be timber framed windows on the facade, but hard to tell from this photo.

The kitchen is a little monochromatic - too much white? Then again Tina reckons all-white is a safe choice to pick when you're developing for profit. Two banks of 6 pot drawers on either side of the oven is similar to what we're doing, as well as the window splashback. Nice timber floors!

Interestingly, they've added not one but two extra bedrooms to the normal floorplan - so this is a 6 bedroom house (or even 7 if you include the closed-off sitting room as a bedroom!)

Sitting on a decent 627m block in Mont Albert North, the price range given is $1.4 to $1.5 - but given the recent performance of prestige homes in the area, we reckon the vendor wouldn't take anything less than $1.65, even despite the recent backflip "decision" regarding foreign investment in property. We'll be at this Saturday's open for inspection - and we know how many readers of our blog are interested in seeing real-world Metricon houses for sale, so if you want to see it as well, click here!



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