Sunday, March 20, 2011

Electrical Appointment

This would be a very tricky post as I can't find the pictures of what we have selected.  But hopefully I can give some insights into our selection.

From my earlier post regarding the promotion package and as I have mentioned many times, we are already getting some quality designer products, so there won't be many additions here.  But in case you were wondering, our total upgrade in electrical cost more than internal color selection...

So why does this cost more?

For most part, I am not an electrician and from what I was told by our consultant, only those who have electrician skills and it is what they do for a living, their electrical selection are far lower than our cost.  On average, electrician spend between few hundred to couple thousand dollars at maximum for their upgrade.  This is because for most of the area, they can do it themselves.

I considered a lot of options before going to our electrical appointment but ultimately, anything that is related to electrical, we are better off doing it early while the house is still in it's frame stage.  Doing electrical work after the handover, especially being a double storey house, would cost a lot more than what we are spending right now.

We avoided getting fittings as much as possible but eventually a couple did slipped in to our contract variation quote.

What we did end up getting in our electrical appointment session:

  1. Home Networking System - coming from an IT background, the first question that I ask at the appointment was "I like to install the network hub that you've got on the display corner there, can you tell me how much it costs?"  Our consultant just smiled and said that she already guessed that I will ask the question.  I opted to install the Cat 5e networking system as installing Cat 6 would blow our budget by far.  I must admit if this was a single storey house, I might do this work after the handover.  However we are building a double storey house and like I said previously to do this type of work after handover would be a nightmare and ended up costing more.
  2. Mini cabinet downlight fittings to niche cutout near the dining room.
  3. Additional air conditioning zone.
  4. Additional alarm sensor to the master bedroom.

As far as getting some fittings concerned, we are getting this light bar to be installed above the mirror in the ensuite.

Total damage in our electrical appointment was close to $6000.

Combining the total cost for internal and electrical selection, our wallet is about $10k thinner.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Taps, Hardwares/Accessories, Handles, etc.

Well mostly we left everything to what we've got in Metricon's reflection promotion.  Little that we know, the bathroom, kitchen and laundry hardwares that included were exceeding my expectations already.  I was like are you sure that we are getting all these?  Our consultant said, yes, they are part of the promotion that we purchased.  I know that the promotion package has a lot of upgrades in it but I didn't think it would be that good and well worth it.

To this date I have no regret whatsoever with our purchase of the promotion package.

So on to the main topic here are what we are getting:

General choices:

We've added a deadbolt lock to the external door in the laundry room with the model below.

We have also upgraded all the handles for every cabinets that we have in the house.  This also applies to the linen cupboard on the ground floor as well as first floor.  So all cabinets in the kitchen, laundry, powder, bathroom and the ensuite will have this handle with the length and size to suit.  i.e. for longer drawer we will have longer handles.  The handle option below is in fact a standard option so it costs nothing to upgrade to the shorter version of the handle.  The only upgrade is the longer handle which cost us around $15 per handle.

Bathroom choices:

Semi-recessed basin
Above the counter basin
We elected to have the basin above the counter in the powder and bathroom.

The semi-recessed basin will be in the ensuite.  Having the semi-recessed counter require us to extend the caesarstone that we have to act as an apron for the vanity unit.

Moda Duo Rail - Standard Shower Head

Wall mixer for the shower

Star double towel rail
Metza Rectangular Hob 200mm Spout for the bath

Alto basin mixer

Alto Toilet Ring
Alto Soap Holder

Kitchen choices:
Clark Quatro Double End Bowl

There is not much upgrades here as we have already upgraded the entire kitchen upon the tender request.  Our kitchen should look very similar to the one in the display house at The Ponds, Tribeca display.

One thing that we added was the wine rack above the fridge.

Laundry choices:

As part of the promotion package we have already got the 2 cupboards and the broom cupboard as standard but we added another cupboard like the picture above just so that we can have some space whenever we needed to do anything there.

In Studio M product book, this is listed as an upgrade item.  However we are getting this as part of the promotion package.  The only upgrade here is the tap.  Cost around $40.
Apologies for the picture quality as they are scanned.  I've tried to find some pictures for the product but it isn't showing up even on the search engine.

The total damage done for internal colour selection including the accessories is about $4,500.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Internal Color Selection

The moment that we've been waiting for has finally arrived yesterday.

We had our internal color and electrical appointment with Metricon together on the same day.  I will write about our internal color selection experience in this post and I will write about the electrical selection separately.

After leaving the kids with my parents in the morning, we set ourselves to the Metricon head office to sign our lives away yet again... just kidding.

When we got there, we actually had the electrical selection first but that was pretty straight forward and I can still remember everything fresh.  It was the internal color selection that was a bit tricky and before I forgot anything else, let's start from the back of Studio M as that's where our consultant start of first.  I think that part is also the continuation of where we left off with the external color selection anyway.

I must admit this was quite a fun experience.  Well maybe it's because this is our first experience for us both.  We didn't go crazy or overboard in the internal color selection, although we did add a little extra here and there but I'm quite proud that we were able to contain ourselves.

Skirting board  profile - double pencil round.

Walls/Skirting/Architraves - Dulux - Natural white

Ceiling/Cornices - Dulux - Vivid white

Powder room/Laundry/Kitchen/Bathroom/Ensuite - Benchtops - Quartz CaesarStone - Osprey - thickness 20mm

Powder room/Laundry/Kitchen/Bathroom/Ensuite - all Cupboards - WilsonArt - Concept Oak

Kitchen/Laundry - Kicker - Satin Stainless

Powder room/Bathroom/Ensuite - Kicker - Tiles

We chose to have tiled kicker as oppose to leaving it standard with the laminate cover.  The wife and I thought that as we will only be paying $70 extra per room anyway so might as well upgrade it.

We added another set cupboard in the laundry room.  The price for the extra cupboard doesn't include the caesarstone that needs to be installed along with the cupboard.  The caesarstone in the laundry was part of the promotion that we purchased when signing the contract.  It may look weird if we leave a little part of the benchtop in laminate.

We also added a door to the overhead cabinet above the refrigerator section.

I guess everyone else is right when they say, it's the little things that adds up to the total amount.  Although the total amount is not as big as the electrical upgrades but if we add it all up we are about $10K poorer.

I admit that this is quite a simple selection on our part, simply because if we can do some of the upgrades ourselves then we'll leave it until then.

This is our internal color selection, next up is the furniture selection.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Council

I received a phone call the other day from our Customer Service Officer at Metricon with the latest news of the council progress.

In the last couple of post, I have mentioned that our development plan was submitted to the Blacktown Council for approval.  I checked the council website nearly everyday only to find that our development application status was approved not released since the 24 February 2011.

As I am quite new in building industry, this is quite confusing.  Approved not released should mean that we are approved but they haven't let our builder know that this was the case yet?  Having asked around at the H1 forum website, this site is really is useful, someone replied that our plans need to be sent up to the stamping department but knowing how the council or the government works, it would take ages for them to do all this.  Not taking into account that they will make mistakes!

So Metricon rang me about four days ago with the latest update from the council.  Our CSO said that the council officer who is looking after our development application told her that our plan still needs to be notified to our neighbors until the 23 March 2011.

As we would be one of the first who start the building in our block, I thought that I won't have any neighbor until they all started building.  However I was wrong!  For those who have settled on their land, they are now my new neighbor although I haven't met them yet and accordingly they all will get development notice letter of our house from the Blacktown council.  Obviously this will also apply to them who are going to build near our block of land.

So further delay until the actual building project can commence.

At this stage, we have gone way past our tender price period of 240 days.  Our tender price expired on the 17 January 2011.  So by contract agreement, we would be charged by Metricon a penalty of 0.5% of the contract price per month if we haven't not start building by that date.  This means that we would get charge about $1,500 per month if the building stage hasn't commence.

Needless to say that we are about two months overdue.  However our CSO advised us that Metricon is willing to extend the tender period due to the closure period during the Christmas holiday and waived all the penalty charge of 0.5% up to this stage for us!  So our new tender period expires on the 17 April 2011 to which I hope by that time we really should start building.

I'm quite speechless as I thought company giant with the size of Metricon would be quite hard to negotiate let alone waiving charges but for them taking the initiative of doing this for us, it completely changed my mind and perception about the conscience of some people I guess.

Although we have a setback from the council but at least our minds are put at ease with this news.  This would also mean that I don't have to be anxious and biting my nails waiting for the council approval.

From the bottom of my heart, I can only say thank you Metricon for giving us such a relieve.

On another news, our internal color and electrical appointment with Metricon is on the 16 March 2011.  Two more days to go and we get to pick the internal feature of our dream house!!  So excited and we can't wait!!

I will write another post when we finish with the color selection.  Until then, see you all next time.
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