Frame is up!

Our frame was delivered to site on Saturday, which we discovered when we drove out on Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately the weather was terrible and we were seriously hoping that the frame wouldn’t float away!

It rained on Saturday afternoon. It rained on Sunday. And it poured on Monday! So on Tuesday when I took a drive out to the site (more to make sure nobody had done anything to the frame!) I was very pleased to see that the steel beams were being delivered (in the pouring rain).

Finally on Wednesday the weather started to clear, so my drive to the site uncovered some builders out there, organising the jigsaw pieces. And on Wednesday afternoon when I drove back out there, there was actually some progress – the frame had started being erected.

On Thursday they completed the lower level framework, and this morning we took a drive out to discover the that crane was onsite moving things up:

I had imaged that this would be a fairly big job, and so when we went out there again this afternoon to play in the park, we certainly weren’t expecting to see this!

It looks so imposing from the park!

Now all we need are the roof trusses before another enormous progress payment bill arrives in my email inbox. Yay!!!

Easy banking!

With all the drama we had earlier regarding finance, the one thing that was constantly told to me by various mortgage brokers, when talking about different lenders, was that they were all difficult to get progress payments out of. I have been dreading the progress payment process, based on what I’d been told by the brokers.

So when we got our first progress payment bill after the slab was laid last week, I thought I’d better get onto it immediately, given that it was most likely going to be a lengthy process.

I had registered already for Verbal Authorisation, which is a service that Westpac offer, allowing me to just phone and say, yep, pay this one! Sounds too easy, right? So I phoned Westpac and told them that I needed to arrange the first progress payment. Our figures matched up, so they were fine to process it, but they did say that given it was the first payment, it would take a full 5 working days.

Two days later I emailed Wisdom to say that I’d requested the payment, but it would take a full 5 days, and I was told that the money had already been received. Wow! Imagine that, a bank under promising and over delivering!

Thanks Westpac – I only hope the rest of our journey together is this easy!

Things I’m looking forward to…

As usual I’ve been stalking the site every day this week. On Wednesday the plumbers were onsite and had dug huge trenches all around the house for the stormwater. There was so much dirt piled up in the front of the house that I couldn’t even see the garage! On Thursday an enormous pit had been dug in front of the garage, that was at least 6ft deep, which was for stormwater also. And on Friday they were busy backfilling all the holes that had been dug.

We went for another drive today and discovered that our frame has been delivered, and will hopefully start being erected tomorrow! We also very briefly met one of our close neighbours who are at about the same stage of construction as us.

So now that our house has officially started construction, I’ve started thinking a lot about all the things that I’m looking forward to. I find myself constantly saying “I can’t wait until …”

Some of the things that I can’t wait for are:

  • A pantry that is larger than my current kitchen
  • More than one room for the family to relax in
  • A dedicated play room for the children, including room to pack their toys away out of sight afterwards
  • A place for us all to plug our laptops in, and leave them, instead of having to move them out of the way all the time
  • Bedrooms for everyone, so I don’t have to keep moving the cot into our bedroom on weekends
  • Privacy – no neighbours directly behind us looking into our windows all the time
  • A laundry big enough to also sort & fold the washing, instead of having to pile it up onto the dining table all the time
  • A dining table that can actually be used for dining!
  • Getting all our furniture out of storage
  • A dishwasher!
  • Unlimited hot water
  • A huge shower
  • A spa bath (and hopefully some time to use it)
  • Lots of cupboard space in the kitchen
  • A huge linen press
  • A walk in robe with rails that don’t fall down if  you hang too many clothes on them
  • A nice backyard for the kids to play in, and an equally lovely playground across the road
  • Creating a home, without having to ask permission from the landlord
I could go on and on, you get the picture… For almost a year now, we’ve been living in a way that is significantly different to what we’re used to, and whilst it’s been ok, it’s been less than ideal. We have lived on top of each other, there is no room for anyone to have some ‘me time’ away from everyone, which has always been important to me. So to know that, very soon, we’re going to have space again, is fantastic!

Slab-A-Dab-A-Doo!!!

Well, it’s been almost a year since we put down the deposit on our block at Stonecutters Ridge, and finally it is now starting to look like a construction site! I took a drive out to the estate on Wednesday morning, wondering if I’d see anything. The fog was so thick it was like driving through soup, but through the fog I was delighted to be able to make out unmistakable shape of the concrete truck and a team of men onsite, pouring our slab! It was actually quite a beautiful site, the steam rising up from the warm concrete, mixing with the heavy dense fog on one of the coldest May days on record.

We took a drive out to the estate on Sunday to have a closer inspection, and the slab looks great! So long as you ignore the beer bottle that had been thrown from an adjoining block and smashed all over the garage floor, or the 20-odd empty beer bottles and bag of bread rolls that the concreters had left onsite. Not very impressed by that, and I very much hope that they will clean up after themselves!

So from what we understand, the plumber will be onsite next, hopefully at the end of this week, and then on Monday our frame is due to be delivered. Can’t wait to see our home finally progressing!

We’ve been framed…

I spoke to our Site Supervisor, Joe, yesterday, who sounds like a very nice man. He originally left a message on hubs phone the day before, saying that they were cutting out on Thursday, and that the piering would be done on Monday. So I was pleasantly surprised when, upon returning his call yesterday morning, he advised that the guys were onsite again to do the piering, earlier than planned. I hope this trend continues for the next 6 months!

So today, we took a drive out to check out the progress of our build. It’s the first time we’ve been onsite since they started work, and we were thrilled and amazed at how much had been done! Not only has the site been cut out, but the piering has been completed, and the framing has been put up in preparation for the slab to be poured on (hopefully) Friday.

It was such a reality hit, walking around the site, standing in each place and saying “this is the garage”, or “this is the kitchen”.

We were also pleasantly surprised by how much back yard we are going to have. We were worried that, once the cutting out was done, we’d discover that the size of our yard would be considerably smaller than we’d hoped, as it’s always hard to visualise these things on plans and drawings. But we’re happy with how it’s going to work out. We are, though, probably going to have to tier the front yard, and also dig out the back and put a raised retaining wall / garden bed along the back fenceline. The slope of the land, which was only slight, has now become more significant due to the amount that’s been cut out. But that’s OK, it will give us something to do over Christmas!

The one really nice thing is that our daughter, who is almost 6, is now starting to get excited, as she’s starting to be able to visualise things now that it’s started. It’s great that she’s excited too! Although, I don’t think she’s quite as excited as me…

We really are about to build a house!

It’s official! Work has started on our new house.

I got a phone call from The Lovely Sandi last week to let me know that our file would be handed over to a site supervisor on Tuesday this week, and that we would start to see some progress soon thereafter. Whilst I’m still yet to hear from the site supervisor (who I understand is a very nice man called Joe) I was delighted to discover this morning that our block was in the process of being scraped! The smell of fresh dirt filled my nostrils as I sat in the car watching the work that was taking place.

I should apologise to the men driving the machinery though – I’m sure they probably started feeling a little uncomfortable that a strange lady was just sitting in her car, staring at them, with a funny smile on her face, and her phone snapping away lots of pics! But then again, they’re probably used to that reaction – I’m sure I’m not the first person to have done this!

So today, reality hit. Our build has officially started. Our block will never again be an untouched, grassy patch, but instead for the next 6 months will be a hive of building activity, and after that, for many years, will become our family home.

Port-A-Loo!!

The Bathroom!

It’s been a long time coming, but this week we have finally seen the first evidence that we are actually about to build a house!

I received a message yesterday from one of our friendly future neighbours, to tell me that we now have sediment-control fencing, and a Port-A-Loo onsite! Of course, I had to take a drive past today to see for myself, and sure enough, there was a fence, a toilet, and a pile of gravel which is presumably for the temporary driveway.

Construction Certificate & Sign Off – Woo Hoo!!

This has been a very busy week, and my eyes are bloodshot from pouring over plans and lists of variations, to make sure that we haven’t forgotten anything, and to make sure that Wisdom have got everything that we want included on our plans. We found a few little things that were overlooked, nothing major, but I was pleased to have picked them up, as it could have caused issues down the track. Little things like our balcony balustrade – on our end panel (final tender and variation list) it correctly showed our balustrade railing has having been upgraded to chrome, but on the plans it still referred to a powder coated balustrade. And our outdoor taps were in the wrong spot on the plans too, so we picked up those few things, had the plans amended, and signed off.

Today I got a phone call from The Lovely Sandi to advise that our job had been signed off, and that our construction certificate was also received today. So our 20 days officially begins tomorrow! The 20 days refers to 20 working days that the builder has before they have to officially be on site. So during the next 20 days, all of our materials will be ordered, the fencing will be erected on site, port-a-loo will be delivered, etc etc, and then we’ll see a site scrape hopefully within the next couple of weeks.

I feel like our journey has been going on forever, and we haven’t even started yet! But I think all the plans and certificates are the longest part of the process. I visited the display home last week, and Andrew said that a lot of the other homes that had been completed recently had been done in record time – 5 months or so – so it would be nice if our home could be included in the “list of homes completed by Wisdom in record time”! I worked out that if they don’t start on site until the very end of the 20 working days, then we will be in the house by 10th November, which is 26 weeks exactly. That’s providing it doesn’t rain for the next 7 months! Could we be that lucky?

I also got a message from one of our future neighbours, Stefan, on Monday to say that our neighbour’s site was being scraped. I’m so jealous! I know it’s silly, but our block was the first to settle in that particular part of the estate, and I really, really wanted to be the first to start!! Plus, they’re building a single storey, so they’ll be in well before us. Oh well, so long as we’re in for Christmas, I couldn’t stand spending another Christmas in this place!

A Great Neighbourhood

We had another neighbours catch up yesterday. I’m so looking forward to becoming a full time member of this fantastic neighbourhood! Whilst there were only a few of us this time around, we still had a great afternoon, watching the kids play in the park, while we chatted and enjoyed nibbles and a few drinks.

Afterwards, we went back to one of the neighbours homes, who are lucky enough to already be living at SCR, and we had a look at their beautiful home. They have also built a Manhattan, but they have made some very significant changes, to the point that it is barely recognisable as the same house we’re building! For starters, it’s ENORMOUS! And there are rooms where we won’t have rooms, and balconies where we won’t have balconies. It’s actually really good to see it looking so different, because there are so many Manhattan’s being built in the estate that I was worried they’d all look the same!

With some reluctance we left the estate on Saturday afternoon, back to our little townhouse in St Marys, where we bump into one another in the kitchen, fight for space in the small (and only) bathroom, and constantly trip over all the toys that are in the loungeroom, because they have nowhere else to go. And we continue to long for our new home, so that we have room to spread out, and be part of a fantastic community!

Little Red Pegs

I drove past the block yesterday, and noticed 4 little red pegs. We are still waiting for our construction certificate to come through, but it looks like someone is being an eager beaver and getting a head start. I asked The Lovely Sandi what they are for, and she said they are the excavation pegs (house pegs).

I know it’s only something really small, but to see that something had happened on our block gave me a real rush yesterday, it meant that our dream is getting that little bit closer!

Our neighbours plans have also been approved, and they also have little red pegs. I can’t wait to see some building action up our end of the estate soon!