Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Rain Oh Rain please be kind...

The trouble with weather forecasting is that it's right too often for us to ignore it
and wrong too often for us to rely on it. - Patrick Young

Our SS rang late last week to give an update on what has been happening on our project home.  He told us that the workers have done our drainage, under wiring electricals and sealed the slab.  He also told that next week, which is in fact this week, our frame will be delivered on Tuesday and he will get it started on Wednesday.  It will take about two days for them to install the frame and by the end of the week we should be able to see the structure of the house.

But what is that I see in the distance in our visit on Saturday??

Our Frame!!!!!!

Weren't these supposed to be delivered on Tuesday?  Nevertheless it is still good to see them.  Our SS even said that we are ahead of schedule in our project and he will try to keep it that way and have the house handover to us before the contract date.

It is very thoughtful and nice of him but in this kind of weather, I'm afraid there won't be anything done until the rain stop.

I also took some pictures of our soon to be neighbor Thigee's house of her fantastic looking bricks.  There were couple of guys who were cleaning them and it shows the true color inside.  It was so good that I decided to take some pictures of it.  For privacy reason, I've sent the pictures to Thigee.  Please visit her site if interested.

So please rain, can you be so kind and come back another day?  At least until we are at the stage where the workers can work in the rain...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Things that make you go SLAB!!

What a busy morning at The Ponds today!  We met with our site supervisor this morning and we were about 10 minutes early (our appointment time was for 8am), I guessed that we were too eager to see what's happening on our soon to be home.

It does gave us the time to wander around the block and see what else is happening.  It was really a busy block with so much construction work is going on.

The bridge/street that connecting our side of the Riverbank Drive to the Sales Office, which soon will be one of The Ponds main street, is being worked on and it would appear that they are working on the bridge this morning.

The two house behind our block is also full of people doing the framework and guttering (wish I was at that stage already).

I saw a few people on our soon to be neighbor, Thigee, house working on the roof.

Also the block across from us whom I believe it is belong to Thigee's brother is being worked on as well.  Although I'm not quite sure if they are doing the leveling or excavating.

As for our site, our very own slab!!  (forgive me for the quality of the photos as I used my phone camera instead on this).

Isn't this a pretty sight? People working hard to get our house done.

Isn't it pathetic that I actually took this photo and be happy about it??
It is very exciting to learn that everything is happening for us.  Our site supervisor even said that he will try his very best to get us move in before Christmas before we even say it!  What a thoughtful person... :)

Other than that it has been a very busy week for myself and the family.  I hope to be able to visit this coming weekend but we got my brother's wedding happening as well so chances are highly unlikely.

On another note the HIA Home Show is on this week.  I would highly recommend everyone, who is building a new home or renovating or even wanting to improve their home, to visit the show as it is full of inspirational ideas about home improvements.  Plus you also get the show price if you wanted to do something with a particular contractor.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Cut... Fill... Action!!

Or that was suppose to be Lights... Camera... Action!  Ok, I don't really care anymore.  I got a call on Friday morning from my Site Supervisor, introducing himself and said that he will supervise the project until it is handed over to us.  He will also give us an update as to the progress of the build.

The first update he gave me was that he got some surveyor at our block doing some peg as we speak on the phone.  They will then proceed to do the piering on Monday or Tuesday.  By next Friday we should be getting our slab poured!!

I was going to put some post on Friday but the blogger was down for maintenance.  I guess it works out well as this is the surprise that I got when I went to the land today.

(I am still in shock that this is really happening?!?!)

A leveled block of land!!!!  Our land that is *insert smiley face here*

From the front, it looks higher from the street

Actually they raise the entire block.

I guess today is the official start day of my weekly drive and visit!  My camera is also at the ready.  Did I say that I also enjoy photography? :)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Tips and Tricks: Air Conditioner

In one of my previous post, I mentioned that I will give some reasoning behind our decision to go with Metricon in installing our ducted air conditioner.

For those who have the experience of building a house already, then this post may not be related and you may have already the experience.  However if this is the first time that you are building a house, I can only say then I hope my experience can give you some insights to your building process.

You may have heard from a lot of people and in my case, that the builder charges a margin on any price that they quote to you.  Metricon state clearly in their contract that we signed, there will be about 25% margin on any job or fittings that we ask them to do or to supply.

In theory, I understand the reason why they do this and they do need to make profit out of the job as well.  I don't have any problem with this economic concept and accept the contract as it is.

How does this relate to getting the ducted air conditioning unit from Metricon.

We were recommended by our sales consultant to go with Metricon to install our ducted air conditioning unit.  So that's what we did, we include the air conditioning as an item in our tender documentation with the price of $12,950.  For that price, we are getting the top of the range air cond product, Daikin, so there is nothing wrong with the product.

I called a number of company like Frost Air; Actron Air; Blue Star Air Conditioning and some few others but these guys provided some of the cheapest quote all round.  However out of the three only Frost Air and Actron Air can work of the plan whilst Blue Star Air Conditioning still need to inspect your place before they can provide you with a formal quote.

In my request, I've asked them to provide me with two quotes.  One quote with only providing the air cond unit plus the installation and another quote with the whole lot like installing the ducting, the air cond unit and installation of the unit.

The cheapest quote that I got was from Frost Air and we are getting Fujitsu as the unit.  The price with only providing the unit was $11,500 and with the whole works it was $14,000, which was actually more than what Metricon had charge.

Buying only the unit mean only providing the unit.  It also still mean that your place need to come pre-ducted in order for them to fit in the unit.  Getting Metricon to do the pre-ducted work would cost us $4,000.  Which means if you add that to the price of the unit, it will end up costing a lot more.

I guess you can pretty much sums up that we ended up going with Metricon to install the air cond unit for us.

This however maybe different if you are building a single storey house.  In single storey house:

  • you don't need to worry about the ducting going through between the first floor and the ground floor; 
  • if there is enough space/void in between the walls; or
  • the height of the cavity between the first to the second level.
  • price would also be relatively cheaper than two storey house.

You need to take all that into account when making your decision to go external for your air cond.  Unless of course you are going old school and install the wall mounted split air conditioner system, then all of the above doesn't really relate much.

So there you go, another argument to go single storey or double storey and which one is cheaper to have a ducted air conditioning system..

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Final Construction Drawing

I think I will avoid saying "Finally" this time round as in my last few posts, I've been using the word like there's no tomorrow!

I've had some delays and what feels like a never ending frustration.  At one stage, I honestly thought that this was never going to happen for us.  So an email came in to my inbox this morning with the subject of "Final Construction Documents" from Metricon!

I was so happy with the email for some reason and start to think maybe this is the end of "my" tunnel.  So I quickly review every drawings, plans and our color selection document once again and said to myself, yep all looks good.

(Maybe it's because I want to start construction so badly that I wasn't being attentive to detail... but anyway I checked the documents again after I sent it and it still looked good!)

Fortunately my wife was nearby my office and I asked her to stop by and sign the acceptance paper.  We immediately sent it to Metricon just before the close of business today.

I'm beginning to feel that I am getting more attention from Metricon now as our CSO responded to my email at 6.00pm saying that she had sent all our paperwork to the construction department for orders to be placed and for the construction work to start real soon!

I thought to myself, Wow! That was quick...  Maybe someone did listen and answered our prayer after all...  Thank you.

The message also said that we will be assigned a site manager and he/she will get in touch with us real soon to discuss about the construction.

So after 11 months and 15 days or 350 days since we put down our initial deposit with Metricon, it is time to begin some real action!

I will share the drawing diagrams in the coming week as I didn't had the time to scan them today.  So stay tune for the update.

Over and out.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Authority to Commence Construction

After a long epic saga of chasing around and calling a number of people, I have finally received my builder's pack or the Authority to Commence Construction pack in my inbox this morning.

Well in a way I pushed them to send a fax to me with all the documents I need.  I know that I really didn't have to call the bank as I went through a broker and should just let the broker handle these things but I think from my previous blog post, we can all agree that my broker really is a bit of a dud and doesn't know what she was doing.

Yes, I did rang the bank yesterday and asked them where was the letter that they said it was sent last week.

I was told that it takes about 1 week for the letter to be processed and send to me.  I find that quite ridiculous actually, but having said that as this is the bank that we are talking about so I don't find it as a surprise anymore.

They offered for the document to be sent via fax which I accepted immediately and forwarded to Metricon right away.

However just we are still on this case, I must also say that they can't even follow a simple instruction.  I've asked for the document to be attention to myself as I am using the fax number at work.  However the fax cover page with all the necessary recipient detail was filled with my wife's detail.  Although they did get the fax number correct.  Fortunately I was still able to get the fax from the unidentified fax list as obviously my wife doesn't work here.  On top of that, I failed to understand that how can they get the address of the construction wrong??  All other loan documents that I have, were correct and had the correct address but the pack that I received was wrong??  Well when I sent this to Metricon, they were quite happy that this was the right document so I don't chase it up with the bank as quite frankly I couldn't be bothered doing it anymore.  So long everyone is happy, I'll just go with that.

Go figure...

Finally, all the documents, letter and notice that Metricon require to progress with our construction is with them already.  The last piece of the puzzle, which is the final construction drawing is the only outstanding item that we need to agree on.

Also our CSO at Metricon has been replaced by someone else who happens to be the team leader as she has left the company and moved on with her role.  I can only thank her for the help that she has provided thus far.

I can only hope that now things can go a lot more smoother and quicker as I am hoping to have move in to the new house before my son starts the kindergarten next year.
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