Sunday, 11 December 2011

It's Ours!!!!!

As the headline suggests we finally have our keys. Our handover went well on Wednesday, only a few problems were identified and the SS informs us that most of these issues will be rectified prior to Christmas.

We got the Keys on Wednesday and moved on Thursday. We are both so lacking in time at the moment that it was all done in a mad rush. By 12pm Thursday afternoon, we were done. 3 days later and the house is completely unpacked. Only a big pile of empty boxes remains. Inside the only thing left to do is hang some art work, photos and a mirror and outside the work has begun.

The excavator came on Saturday to dig out the driveway and remove an incredible amount of concrete that had been poured all over the front yard (another gift from One Three). We set up our camp chairs and a little picnic in the garage and our boys watched with delight as the digger scrapped and smashed his way through our yard and we all enjoyed a little laugh when the beach toys we left in the pile of dirt, were gobbled up by the digger and at that moment I realised how good it felt to be home.

We are also making some progress out the back. For such a tiny yard the work seems endless. We have began levelling out the yard to our desired height and digging a trench to erect a retaining wall inside the fence. As we will be doing all the work ourselves progress will be slow but we will get there. It is very hard living in a white house with 2 small kids and a whole lot of dirt so we are counting down the seconds until the driveway and grass arrive.

This has been a very long process for us, one that until now, has provided us with very little joy. The quality is not what we were expecting but we can not change that now. The design suits our needs perfectly and we are enjoying being in the house but if we could make the decision over we would not have Built with One Three. The drama we experienced throughout this build was stressful and unnecessary. We are both very glad to be moving on from building and turning this house into a home full of happy memories.

No photos for now as we are still lacking phone and Internet connections but We will post some very soon.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

On the countdown again.

As the title suggests Our inspection was postponed not once, not twice but yes 3 times. We are now looking at Wednesday 7th December as our new Handover date, 8 days post contract.
Since that initial inspection was cancelled we have learnt that One Three do things a little differently. Our final inspection is also the day we get the keys. So providing things go to plan (for the 3rd attempt) we will be getting our keys in 3 days.

The house is basically finished and the only thing that is really holding us up is a missing shower screen (which is very frustrating because this really should not be an issue) and after what seemed like a million phone calls we managed to get the gas connected in only 3 days (huge thank you for the awesome guys at Carmine services for that one).

Media room finished.
Just some furniture and plantation shutters to go

600 x 600 porcelain tiles

Through to the alfresco

The Moroka is on and while it looks OK, It is hard to see past the disappointment that has come with it. It is not that I think it looks bad but to me it just seems so obvious that it was an afterthought, it looks a little mismatched and at this point I just don't like it, hopefully that will change as time goes by and I get used to seeing our house it's new form. My ever passive husband is a little more positive so hopefully i will come around too.

Getting ready for the Moroka.
Unfortunately we do not have a photo of the finished product 

Driveway has been booked to start next week and the retaining wall will also be getting started in our incredibly tiny backyard so fingers crossed it all goes to plan this time.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

PCI Tuesday

PCI has been booked for Tuesday. With what appeared to be a list of jobs a mile long to complete, we were holding little hope the inspection would even go ahead. Today I am feeling a little more optimistic.

A chat with the tiler has calmed my frustration about the continuous delays and confirmed that tiling will definitely be complete by tomorrow lunch time . The sun has been shining and we are also hoping to see the Moroka go on Tomorrow. The only outstanding issue that our SS admits may hold things up is the shower screen. Yes you heard correctly, a shower screen. After all the drama this house has given us, it will be a shower screen that stands between us and our keys!!! Frustration times a million at this point.

We are also having an issue with the fact that we have no gas connection. For all you builders out there a gas connection takes 40 days to come through. It would have been nice for our builder to tell us this. Without gas we can not cook, clean, shower or most importantly test our appliances. Another possible hold up.

We have snuck a look inside the house and we are really loving what we see. Especially now the tiles have gone down. There are a few things that we are already wishing we had done differently but for those we have only ourselves to blame and i guess we will live and learn.

For now we just have our fingers crossed that the bad weather holds off long enough to apply the Moroka and my phone call to AGL can bring a resolution to the gas issue.

Wish us luck in our countdown to handover because I think we need it.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

5 days from handover?????

We called past the site a couple of days ago to find the place swarming with tradies. After some initial excitement of seeing someone on site after a few days of absolutely nothing, it occoured to us that all the work that was being done, was resulting in no new progress.

The brick layers were there to pull down and re lay some dodgy bricks, the chippy was there to remove and re install the vanity, the plumbers were there to remove all the drain pipes and and the water tank so the Moroka can be done. While it is a good thing these tasks are being complete, the sight of things that we thought were finished being torn down was once again heartbreaking.

Not an Ideal place for a water tank
At present on site we are still awaiting the elusive tiler. 5 weeks since he began we have 2 partially complete bathrooms, one splash back needing grout, and not a single floor tile laid (they are waiting patiently in the garage) We are forever told that it will be happening and as the day continuously comes and goes we have the feeling that we are never going to get these keys.

Recess in the ensuite

600 x 600 tiled Kitchen splashback
It is not all doom and gloom there has been some exciting things happening. The garage door is now on, as are all the internal door handles. Vanity mirrors are in, the toilets and taps have all been installed, the main bathroom basin is in and looks great. Fans, lights and power points have all been installed. Internally the only significant job to be done is the tiling.

Taps all installed and looking good
Ensuite Vanity
Appliances on site and ready to be installed
Looking at the house Moroka is still to be started, there is a significant amount of lack of tiling, mess everywhere and no drain pipes or water tank, it has become very clear that November 29th was never going to happen. Our only thought is how much over will we actually go.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

An unexpected direction

It has been a eventful week on the housing front and some big decisions were made. It looks as though the house we started with at the beginning of this week, will hardly be recognisable by the end of the next. If you have not guessed it already, I am on about the bricks again.

A site meeting with our SS on Monday was my absolute melting point. We were at the point where a walk around the exterior of the house had become painful and it felt as though this company were just not listening to us. The bricks are in bad shape and we could see no way that they could all be fixed. After a mini meltdown at the SS, which I do feel a bit bad about, as the poor guy has only been with the company a few weeks, We walked through the house and pointed out both the bricks and a few minor issues. We left with the knowledge that the bricks would be addressed with the owner.

The following day we were called into the office to discuss our brick problem. They offered to have the house rendered, using a product called Moroka (bag and paint) at no additional cost. This is not what we wanted. We had always imagined building a brick home and we love the bricks we chose, we watched the house grow from the ground up and loved the way it looked from a distance.

Unfortunately the reality is, the bricks up close were terrible and it was at the point that we could not even look at the house without a few curse words coming to mind. So with that mind we made the decision to accept the offer and go ahead with the Moroka. There are still a few brick repairs to be done but they are relatively minor and should not take too long to rectify we are told. Moroka will hopefully begin on the weekend.

We are still wary of the work to be completed and really hope that they do it a higher standard than we received from the brickie, we are also nervous that our final bill will be excessive as a way to recoup the cost of the Moroka. I guess it is a risk that we just have to take.

We are appreciative that One Three have finally listened to our complaints and have taken action to end this headache once and for all. We never expected that our house would be rendered, especially only weeks away from handover but such is life and now we can move on.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Excitment vs Apprehension

 After a much needed holiday, we returned to visit our house and found that the most work to have ever been done in an entire week had occurred. Surprisingly our SS informed us that we can expect to be finished by the end of contract, in 2 and a half weeks.

We were greeted with a site clean which both us and the neighbours are very pleased with. I forgot what our front yard actually looked like.

The pillar out the front now looks as we had always expected it too, We are very pleased that we were persistent with this as it now suits the house well.

Maple post, sandstone paver and no ugly plastic cap.
Finally happy with it. YAY!
The painter with his numerous helpers was on site and was well underway. He assured that all the work would be complete by Monday. The colour is lighter than it looks in the brochure but there is still another coat so we will wait and see how it comes up finished, although saying that we still think it looks great. Very pleased with the stain on the front door.

LOVE LOVE LOVE this door.
Worth every penny of the additional cost.

Still another coat to go - Taubmans Altair

Did not realise so much stuff was needed to paint a house.
Real proof some work is happening.
No one brings this much stuff for a couple of hours work

Tiling still did not get finished and this appears to continuing down the same path as the bricks. They are scheduled to be back next week to finish off the bathrooms and start the epic job of laying our floor tiles. Fingers crossed they can keep themselves on track for once.

Tilers with attitude
Bathroom still not quite there.Not sure why they tiled
behind where the mirror will sit

Bricks are still in need of repair and We are not even sure how they are going to achieve this, every time we take a look around the outside of the house we notice more poorly laid, crappy looking bricks. SS assures us that they will be fixed though, so it think this will just be a wait and see thing for now.

Expected happenings for next week. As mentioned, the tilers will hopefully show up and stay on task to get all tiling, including the floors finished off. The garage door is to be installed and the electrical fit out should happen (although I spoke to the electrician today and he has no idea where the build is up to). It will be very exciting if they can pull this off, saying goodbye to the concrete floors will be very pleasing.

With November 29th pencilled in as a handover date, we really want to be excited but as we have mentioned so many times before, we have been let down by time frames at every stage of this build and until the tilers are out of the way and the bricks are repaired we do not want to get our hopes up. Disappointment is a hard feeling to shake and we don't want to go there again. Pessimism has served us well through this build and will continue to do so over the coming weeks.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Making an effort

As expected Tiling has continued. Unfortunately not without problems. The vanity tops were installed and one of them only had a hole for a single basin not a double as required and only a skirting tile was installed into the bathroom area.
Ensuite is going to have a double basin not a single

Marble Mosaic Feature Tile - Mirror to go above then be tiled around

To the credit of our SS the issues were resolved quickly, a new vanity top has been ordered and they agreed to tile to the ceiling in the bathroom. This is what we have always hoped for - quick action. We never expected this build to be problem free but a quick response goes a long way to settling an irate customer.

 Area of the bathroom that will now have floor to ceiling tiling -
You can see where the skirting tiles have been pulled off

We got the chance to have a sneak peak inside and the tiling looks great. We are not very decorative people and really have no sense of style but for 2 novices it has come together really well. Best of all it appears to be of a decent quality.

 Bathroom tiling to the ceiling almost complete

Our SS advised that he has not forgotten about fixing the pillar out the front and will be getting to it soon. The tilers are expecting to be finished by Tuesday and the painter is scheduled to arrive sometime this coming week and hallelujah we have a site clean up scheduled for Monday. I hate that our house looks ugly because of the dump out the front and the neighbours are not pleased about it either. so good ridden to that mess.

Splash back tiles on the floor ready to go

It is great to see some action happening at the house and to see One Three really putting in an effort to satisfy their customer, although saying that they still have a long way to go before we could ever say that we are happy to have built with them.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Better late than never.

Peering through the windows today I noticed that our long awaited vanities have now arrived. One has been installed in the ensuite and the other has taken up residence in the lounge room. LOVE LOVE LOVE them, even though the Stone top has not been put on yet.

The tilers are actually there and underway. The bathroom is looking good so far, although I am extremely concerned about how much tiling they intend to do, as part of what we consider to be our bathroom and an area we were assured would have floor to ceiling tiling appears to only have a single layer edge. The laundry also appears to be experiencing some technical difficulties however this issue should be easily rectified when addressed.

Happy to see some progress but very wary of getting excited. I will wait until I get a closer look before I consider it finished. with only 27 days left in our contract we can not afford anymore delays.

Unfortunately no photos, as it was quick visit after work but we will make sure we have some to post next time.

Friday, 28 October 2011

2 steps forward 10 steps back

Considering it has been 3 weeks since our last post you would think that we would have so much to report but in typical One Three style, that is not the case. In the 3 weeks since we spoke, I can count the number of tasks completed on one hand. Front door handle installed, Bathroom, laundry and alfresco floors tiled and shower recesses repaired TWICE (the first attempt was that spectacularly pathetic I could have fixed it better myself) DONE!!!!

It is hard to sit at a computer write about everything going on and read it back. After a few lines the frustration kicks in and delete seems the easiest option. I still can't find the energy to outline all the problems. so here is the update for the week ahead. None of which we are actually expecting to happen of course.

 - Tiler to return by mid week (we have already been given 2 weeks of excuses why he has not been there) The tilers should also provide the vanities sometime in the near future, although when exactly no one knows.
 - A new bricklayer should be on site to repair the many dodgy bricks for the 3rd time (some of which are now causing our front windows to leak)
 - The pillar at the front should be rectified - using maple to match the front door and the new sandstone paver we purchased for the capping.
 - The garage door may arrive - If not this week than next week
Floor Tiling complete in the laundry.
Disappointed to see there is no floor waste

Ensuite floor partially tiled

                                                   The pillar should be fixed by next week

Kitchen bench top installed and we are not happy with it.

The last 3 weeks have been a really difficult time for our family and determination is starting to outweigh our frustration. Numerous calls to both fair trading and the building professionals board have given us a better understanding of what our rights are regarding a few issues that really have not been siting too well with us, they were interested to hear what we had to say and confirmed that we are not just over reacting. We are having a battle once again, with the certifiers our builder uses and this time we will not be letting it go.

While the building has been a nightmare I feel the need to end  on a happy note. Our blinds and shutters have now been ordered and Should be ready around the time that we are hoping to move in. Our fences are all up courtesy of the house and land packages surrounding us and they do not look too bad considering the massive difference between the lay of our blocks. The driveway quotes are underway and have come in considerably cheaper that expected.

Hopefully we will come out of next week with something positive report. until then Happy building to you all.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

lock up

We are now in lock up and happy that our house is closer to being finished.

Our front door is on and waiting for a handle and it's stain. Tiles have been delivered and should start on Monday, which we can only imagine was delayed by the fact that someone forgot to put our shower recesses in (to us it looks like it has not even been framed up). We have lots of tiles, due to our 3 way bathrooms and we will have to talk to the tiler about the feature tilling, as I'm still not sure they have ordered enough tiles for our recesses and under the vanity mirrors.  

A few other issues to address, Firstly our brick work is still showing signs of poor workmanship, above the sliding door, the bricks appear to be Out of level by about 20/30mm, also the step outside the Dining room sliding door is so poorly constructed, it looks like the bricklayer has used nothing but off cuts. 
Hard to see in the photo but so far off level it is crazy

No explanation needed. We are wondering if this guy is even licencesed

Is anyone supervising this bricklayer????

The bricklayer will be back next week to fix the Porch pillar that fell over. Hopefully he won't bugger anything else up while he is on site, although his past incompetence has made us very wary. While a certain level of blame can easily be laid on  the brick layer, a big portion of this fault surely needs to be directed at our site supervisor.
Crack in the trim around or eaves.

We have other exciting things happening this week like an under budget driveway quote, blinds and shutters almost ordered and fencing nearly arranged but once again we seem to be more focused of fixing what should have been done right in the first place.

Our number one tip to all new home builders is Do Not trust that your builder will do the right thing by you. This is big business and they want to make big money. You are not as important as your progress payments!!!

Thoroughly check every stage, even when you think you are on top of it, look again, ask and outsider, they are always far more capable of being critical. Consider this another lesson learnt.

Friday, 30 September 2011

The news we have been hoping for.

I finally had the oppourtunity today (I actually answered my phone) to ask the question "When will we get the keys" the reply - Definatly before Christmas, likely in the next 4 to 6 weeks.

Beyond excited by this news, it means we can start making plans for our festive season which up until now, we had no idea where we would be. It also means we need to start organising our retaining wall, driveway landscaping, furniture, electrical goods, ect ect. All the fun stuff we have been dreaming of over the past 12 months.

Next week our front and laundry door will go on and tiling will begin. I imagine this will take some time due to the incredible amount of tiles involved in both our bathrooms and all of the house will also be tiled (except bedrooms and media) by the builder.

Very much looking forward to seeing the house evolve into a real liveable space over the coming week.

Thursday, 29 September 2011


The progress of the past week has been very pleasing and We once again find ourselves visiting the block with a certain level of excitment. We have seen the kitchen go in and it appears to be fully assembled. Just waiting on sinks benchtop and plumbing, laundry cabinets and bench have also been also installed, our pantry fit out has been done and it is amazing.

All the architraves and skirtings have been put on, linen and wardrobe shelving complete, power and light point holes done, doors all installed. Only disappointing thing is that we still do not have external doors. We are currently in pseudo lock up with a sheet of gyprock blocking the front door and anyone has access to the laundry.
 Pantry Shelving

 Island Bench

Just waiting for the benchtop

 Laundry installed without an external door

Skirtings and architraves complete

Not sure what to expect next but a call from our SS tomorrow should put us on the right track. Hoping that it will be as productive as this week.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Making up for lost time

After all the headaches, dramas and delays, I feel like these past few months that have really taken it's toll on our spirits, may be behind us.

A quick look in the house today, I was completely blown away with the sight of lovely internal doors most of which have all been installed, cornices complete, architraves going on and biggest and best of all our newly installed kitchen. Definitely was not prepared for this kind of progress which unfortunately meant I went without my camera or phone, so I  have no photos as yet but they will come.

We will keep a close eye on the quality of what is being built and keep in contact with our private inspector to make sure everything is as it should be but the faith that we once had in our builder may slowly be returning.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Seriously..... How good is Gyprock!

For the first time in what seems a very long time, we have walk on site with a feeling of complete elation.

Gyprock! Is there any better sounding word, any better looking product. Short answer NO! and with Gyprock will certainly come Lock Up in the very near future. Our recent addiction to Reno shows has taught us that Lock up is considered the half way point. Just a pity it has taken us 15 weeks to get us almost there.

No need for too many words this post. I think the pictures tell the story a better:

WARNING - Photo overload

 View from the entry


 Shower hidden behind the ensuite vanity. Still no sign of the recess
but I guess it will show up soon enough

Lounge room

Dining / Living area

Kitchen / Pantry


Main Bathroom

Main Bathroom Vanity

 Shower - also in need of a recess


Not sure what happened here but our Pillar has seen better days
We have also been considering what to do with our landscaping this week. We are lucky enough to have purchased a block surrounded by house and land packages which means the fencing is done without a cent of our money. Only problem is retaining walls are not. We had originally thought that as our block was practically level, we would need very little retaining. However, our rear neighbours cut and we filled = Need for a 600+ retaining wall, which should required planning and engineer approval. Another lucky break, we caught the neighbours fencer on site, found our way around the planning, threw him a couple of bucks and just like that a retaining wall appeared. The big one still to go and is scheduled for this week but at least now all we have to do when we finally move in is a few agpipes, a little bit of fill, some turf and a drive way then we are done.

Happy Times.

Friday, 9 September 2011

A glimmer of hope

The past week has been a little frustrating. A week when Gyprock should have been going up was instead spent fixing all the issues that were highlighted in our inspection report. A chat to the Bricklayer fixing up all the dodgy work only added to the frustration when he told us that he would be the only one doing the repairs as he could not afford an extra labourer.

We were on site today with the Builder and our private inspector from IBAS (who we highly recommend) and it seems that apart from a few relatively minor issues like some missing weep holes, it seems that the majority of the work has been done. Andrew our inspector recommended that there was no reason to hold off on the insulation and Gyprock any longer. The builder agreed to fix the few remaining issues in a timely manner (which we have faith will happen) and has scheduled for insulation to happen on Wednesday and Gyprock to follow on Thursday.

We are happy to give credit where credit  is due and One Three have actually been very accommodating in going ahead and fixing what needed to be rectified, which we were not sure would be the case after the initial drama with getting the inspection. Although in saying that, we still find it hard to give anyone a pat on the back for doing something that should have been done properly in the first place. Important thing is that we can now move forward.

During our meeting today we also got the news that our SS has now left the company, for whatever reason we don't really care but we are hoping that the change in supervisor will be just what we need to get this build back on track. Not really sure when the new guy starts but we are told that he has a lot more experience and will hopefully be easier to deal with. With 11 weeks left in our contact we can only hope so.

                                                                 Window Sills removed

And again

                                                           Window Sills replaced

 They are now angled not flat to match the rest of the house

Holes have been patched

Hopefully we will have some better photos next week when the interior of our house starts to take shape. Exciting times ahead.