The house was easy … the pool is a bit more stressful!

Well, we have decided to build a pool. It’s not a recent decision – we signed contracts back in December. As yet, all we have is a concrete hole in the ground and a bit of plumbing. Building a house was easier (and quicker) by comparison!

We did choose to excavate 24 hours before Sydney experienced it’s heaviest rain in over a hundred years. That wasn’t such a good decision. But the weather forecast didn’t mention that the rain was going to be the heaviest in a century. It just said “possible scattered showers”. Who knew…

It was interesting to see the pool fill up rather quickly, and to then watch one corner totally collapse and cave in. That was a little bit soul destroying.

It was scary when, in the middle of the night a few days later, we heard a massive splash, and on inspection, peering into the murky water, something (still don’t know what it was) leapt out of the water, splashed back in, and then (we assume) eventually managed to scramble out, pulling more of the wall down in the process.

When the excavators came back a few days later to remove the collapsed portion of the pool, we were half expecting them to find some kind of animal. They didn’t, so it must have escaped.

And now we’re at a standstill. Waiting for concrete to cure is like waiting for paint to dry. Endless, boring… And of course we’re now in the middle of winter, so I’m not exactly motivated to get things moving again!

I can visualise the finished product, and I know we’re going to love it when it’s done. But I kind of secretly wish that we hadn’t actually started building a pool. If we didn’t, then our landscaping would be finished by now, and I wouldn’t feel like I was still living in a building site. I just keep telling myself that it will be worth it. It will be worth it. It WILL BE WORTH IT!

My advice to anyone else who is building and is considering also putting in a pool? Do it at the same time (or before) the house. Save yourself some headaches.

And don’t forget to budget for all the “other stuff” that they don’t include in contracts.

  • Removal and dumping of excavated material (they included the cost of excavating, but not taking away and disposing of the dirt. One tip quoted over $20,000 to dump the dirt!! It’s worth trying to find somewhere or someone local to take dirt before you start excavating)
  • Additional plumbing (this will be a per meter cost if you want the filter located further away from the pool).
  • Electrical (you’ll need your own electrician to connect everything to power)
  • Coping tiles/pavers and waterline tiles
  • Fencing
  • Retaining walls (maybe)

Here are a few pics of the pool progress to date…

Before the rain

After the deluge

The collapsed corner

Concrete poured – now it looks like a pool!

13 week maintenance inspection

Holy cow Batman, we’ve had our 13 week inspection! Can’t believe we’ve been in our new home for almost 4 months. It really didn’t take long for us to feel like we were ‘at home’, and we have settled in so well.

Someone from Wisdom came out almost 2 weeks ago and conducted our 13 week maintenance inspection. This is a standard event that happens with all new homes – after roughly 3 months, the builder comes back out and goes through any issues that you may have. Things that, in the scheme of things, are generally relatively minor or cosmetic, but which aren’t immediately apparent when you first move in. For instance, after a few weeks, the house begins to ‘settle’ and so you may see some small cracks in the cornices or grout.

Our maintenance list was quite extensive, but there was nothing really significant on it. But as this is a new house, we expect that it will be finished ‘as new’, and so we sighted everything that we weren’t 100% happy with, from paint drips on a linen press door, through to acid damage on a large window (ok, so maybe some of the things were significant).

One thing that we are 100% certain of is that the house doesn’t leak! With all the rain that Sydney has had lately, it was the perfect test for us. I did expect the house to slide down the hill at one stage during a particularly heavy deluge, but it stood strong!

It turns out that the man who did the inspection has also bought a block of land in the estate, so I guess it’s in his best interest to keep all of us Wisdom clients happy – we know where he lives! (joking, honestly…)

Wisdom, as always, were extremely efficient in their dealings with us regarding the maintenance inspection. They even emailed us a week before to remind us to get our list in! And within an hour of receiving it, they had called to make the appointment for the inspection. And today, not quite 2 weeks after the inspection, the report has been written up and the tradies have been booked. They’ll all be here on Thursday 5th April to fix everything.

I am still astounded by just how quickly and efficiently they built our home! We are surrounded by homes under construction. In our stretch of the street, there are 3 homes under construction, and two of them are Wisdom. The other is Clarendon. It started months ago. Not long after ours in fact. It still hasn’t finished. The two Wisdom homes started at least 2 months after the Clarendon. They are almost completed. And they’re not just knocking up houses with no regard for quality. They just seem to be able to manage the process better than some of the other builders. There are always tradesmen onsite. Always. Even on weekends. I saw one home being built, and the painters were there at night, painting by torch light! Just quietly, I’m glad it wasn’t my house, but still, you have to admire their commitment!

So we are now almost officially at the end of our building experience. Was it stressful? No. Was it exciting? Yes. Would I do it again? If I had to. Would I build with Wisdom again? Yes. And was it worth it? A resounding YES!

Now, for the landscaping…….

Merry Christmas!

Our first Christmas in our new home has been fantastic! Even with the continuous rain (which thankfully let up for Christmas Day and most of Boxing Day) nothing could dampen our spirits when we woke on Christmas morning. Santa may have left lots of gifts under the tree for the kids, but the best gift of all was our new home!

The house is now looking slightly more organised, too. Most boxes are now unpacked (with the exception of toys, which I’m just too scared to do!). The garage is still a work in progress, as is the office, but once we get furniture and storage options in then we’ll tackle them.

We have decided to put in a pool! That, I guess, is the biggest news! Oh, and that the media room is now fully set up with the projector and screen, and surround sound. It’s like being at the movies – talk about sensory overload! We had the family here yesterday for Boxing Day and the boys were in cricket heaven (so much so that most of them fell asleep on the lounge, but that’s another story).

We’ve had visits from a few Wisdom Tradies last week, to finish off a few things that needed doing. All was good – a small hiccup with some careless plumbers, but they were sorted out very quickly by The Amazing Joe, as well as their boss!

So now we have a week off before we have to go back to work, time to squeeze as much work into that week as possible! We’d love to start on the front yard, not sure how much we’ll achieve as they are forecasting rain all week (again), but we’ll see how we go.

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas, and wishing everyone the best for the New Year.

We’re Home!!!

We have moved in!! Last weekend in fact. A little later than we’d originally thought – our PCI uncovered a few things that needed to be rectified, and which couldn’t be done within the normal 7 days. So we were given a handover date of Thursday 24th November. Between the 11th and 24th the Wisdom tradies worked their proverbials off getting everything finished for us, and they did a fantastic job! We met Joe onsite on the morning of the 24th, after visiting Westpac to pick up our final cheque, and went through everything again. Most of the work had been completed, with only a handful of things still to be done.

The appliances were delivered that morning, our beautiful big oven and dishwasher, ready for installation the following day (after handover, for security reasons!).

So after going through the house again, we made our way to Narellan and FINALLY met The Lovely Sandi (who is still lovely…) We went through the handover within about 45 minutes, were presented with our keys and a lovely gift basket of chocolates, an ice bucket, some glasses and a bottle of Moet, and then VIOLA, we were the proud owners of our new home!

That afternoon was a bit of a blur, with deliveries starting. My in-laws helped us out with their van, and brought over all the flat packed furniture from Ikea that I’d purchased earlier in the week.

On Friday the house was full of tradies again, installing the appliances (oven, dishwasher and hot water). The air conditioner external unit was still on the production line so we had to wait until Monday for that to be installed (which we thought would be OK, but didn’t anticipate the weather being so warm over the weekend!)

Saturday was moving day. And down came the rain! I feared at one stage that we’d have to float our furniture to the house! Talk about stressful. It didn’t help that the removalist company I’d hired sent us 3 of the most careless, untrained people we’d ever met, who didn’t do anything to take care of, or protect, our furniture. As a result, after lots of dropped boxes and deeply scratched and gouged furniture, we sacked them after the first load, and sent them on their way.

Luckily we found another mover who could help us out, and by the time they were available the rain had stopped and the sun came out. And these guys were FANTASTIC! By 5pm, we had everything in. Boxes were too wet to take upstairs on the carpet so everything was piled in to the garage and the downstairs living areas. Now the fun begins – unpacking!

After being here now for a week, we’ve made some really good progress. I built all the furniture through the week, and unpacked a HEAP of boxes. We still have to organise the pantry – didn’t realise we had so many appliances! The kids think that Christmas has come early because of the toys that they’re rediscovering after being in storage for the last 18 months. I’m hoping to get rid of a lot of them before they realise though, as there are way too many toys!

And the most important thing? We’re home. Our rental was never home for us, it was just a means to an end. I haven’t felt “at home” since we moved from our house last year.

But now, we’re home…

It’s a date!

Yep, we have a date. It’s still a slightly fluid date, but it’s something. We have our PCI (Practical Completion Inspection) scheduled for Friday 11th November. That’s only 2 weeks away. And then handover is generally 7 days after PCI, which gives us a handover date of 18th November. YIKES! Unless we find anything majorly wrong during PCI, this timetable shouldn’t change.

And we’ve been keeping a very close eye on things, so unless something major happens between now PCI, we will be moving in 3 weeks time.

The house is looking fantastic! The bathroom and laundry tiling is now complete, and the painters have finished. The scaffolding is coming down so it’s starting to look less like a construction site. The toilets, spa and bath should go in this week. The tilers will be back to do the floors. The plumber and the electrician have both finished. And I think the last thing will be the carpet. Externally, the driveway should start this week or early next week, and the site should be cleaned. The house cleaners have been booked for a few days before PCI. We have now selected the supplier for our window coverings – Craig from All Blind Solutions also happens to be a new neighbour, and from what we’ve been told by others who have had their shutters and blinds installed by him, he does a great job. And if we’re lucky, we may even have the shutters by Christmas!

We’ve also contacted Telstra and have an appointment for their technician to come in and set up the home phone. I’ll be calling the energy company this week to get that all sorted too, so I don’t have to leave anything to the last minute.

Now we just need to find a good quality, affordable (if there’s such a combination) removal company, and we’ll be ready. Oh, and give notice to our landlord (can’t WAIT to do that!!).

I have to say, I’m a little bit overwhelmed by my every-growing “to do” list. It’s very busy at work at the moment, hubby is going through a transition to a new company / new job (which he starts 3 days after PCI – guess who’s going to be unpacking by herself!), and now we have to pack and move. But we thrive on challenges, and I know it will all be worth it.

Our house is almost ready for us to turn it into a home. How good is that?!

Craig Gardiner
All Blind Solutions
M: 0414 648 944

It had to happen eventually…

Things have been going too smoothly with our build, so eventually SOMETHING had to go wrong. And this week, we had our first problem. But before I go into detail, I need to say that, like our whole experience to date with Wisdom, it was handled quickly, efficiently and with absolutely no drama, which is a credit to this amazing company.

So, before the build commenced, we opted to include pre-wiring for speakers in our media room & alfresco area, as well as HDMI cabling for a ceiling mounted projector. This was at a significant cost, and involved the services of an external contractor who Wisdom use on all their jobs for this kind of work.

Last week we were looking at the house, and commenting that the painting was almost finished, the holes for the downlights, power points, etc, were all cut, and that we were getting close to handover, and it dawned on us that we’d seen no provision for the speaker wiring, other than a hole in the media room ceiling for a powerpoint (for the projector).

So I called The Amazing Joe late that afternoon and asked him if it had been done. He told me he actually wasn’t sure, and he’d get back to me. Alarm bells!! Obviously now we’re starting to panic, and imaging ceilings being ripped apart, seeing handover delays, and of course thinking the worst.

Next morning, I called the contractor who was responsible for installing the cables, and I asked him if he remembered doing our house. And guess what? He was on site while I was speaking to him. He was doing the work because it actually HAD been forgotten. But in true Wisdom fashion, they were just getting on and fixing it, and yes, it was a bigger job to have to do it at this stage of the build, he had to run much longer cables to the alfresco, but it wasn’t a problem. Then I got a call from The Amazing Joe to tell me that it was all under control.

I haven’t met Joe yet, but I am so grateful that he is our building supervisor. He is old school – he just makes things happen. And he’s exactly the kind of person you want overseeing your job!

So to The Amazing Joe, thank you! Yes, there are some things that aren’t right, but I know that they’ll be addressed and resolved because Joe’s on the job!

Locked up & fitting out

On Thursday 22nd September, we officially got to lock up. It was quite evident by the beautiful big door that was installed! The day before lock up, our staircase was installed, which just looks amazing! And now all of the cabinetry is being installed. I went through the house the other day with the builders, and they were working on installing the vanity units in all the bathrooms, the kitchen cabinets, and the laundry cabinets. All the plasterboard is completed, and the carpenters are finishing off the architraves. Such great progress! According to The Amazing Joe, we are looking at a mid-November handover. That’s only 6 weeks away! OMG!

 

 

 

 

Lock up is approaching

It’s been a while since I’ve updated and so much has happened with the house!

We are now almost at lock up. The bricks are finished and have been cleaned. The cladding has started to be installed. The rendering on the balcony is finished. The roof is almost finished – they are working on the ground floor eaves & fascias today, and should install the balance of the roofing sheets today or tomorrow.

The aircon ducting has been installed and is being boxed in. And the electricals have been roughed in.

Last week we had HowardRyan from H&K Ryan come and do a mid-build inspection for us, and his report showed a few things that needed to be done, but nothing really significant. Glad we spent the money to get the report done though – with this kind of investment, it’s worth making sure things are right!

So hopefully we’re only about 12-14 weeks away from handover. We are still aiming for the end of November, and The Amazing Joe has confirmed this. For me, it can’t come soon enough! I’m tired of renting… tired of living on top of each other, tired of having to move my 2yr old into our bedroom every time my 16ry old step son stays over (every weekend), tired of not having a dishwasher, tired of living on top of my neighbours. You get the picture. We’ve been here for 12 months longer than we’d originally hoped, and while renting for us was a necessity, and simply a means to an end, it’s definitely now past its used-by date, and we’re ready to get out of here.

Bricks

Windows and doors have now been installed, and our first lot of bricks were delivered a little over a week ago, and thankfully they didn’t float away with all the rain we’ve had! The weather has been pretty awful – it rained all last week, and this week has been lovely, but freezing, and it’s actually been snowing in Katoomba today. It is meant to stay fine through to the end of the weekend though, which is good news, as I spoke to The Amazing Joe yesterday, who told me that as soon as the brickies finish their current job, they’ll be starting on ours. Hopefully on Friday!

I took Dad out to the block last week, and helped him to squeeze through the fence and have a wander around. He was very impressed by how much work had been done in such a short space of time. And for the first time, he even seemed excited for us. Progress!

Roof Trusses…

The roof trusses have now been put up, and essentially our frame is complete. We can’t believe how quickly all this has happened. We went out to the site on the weekend, and it was so easy to now visualise how things are going to look, seeing the frame in place. It’s so gratifying to finally see our dream taking shape, after living and breathing nothing but plans and paperwork for almost a year.

I spoke today to Joe, our site supervisor, who from now on I think I shall refer to as The Amazing Joe. The Amazing Joe told me that the frame is now complete, our windows have been delivered, and he’s just waiting to find out when he can get the bricks delivered, so that the brickwork can commence. I’m loving this whole trend of things happening ahead of schedule, and really hope that they continue to forge ahead, taking advantage of the dry weather while they can.

So here’s the house so far, taken today from the other side of the park.