Thursday, May 31, 2012

The dirt is browner on the other side.

You might recall a few weeks ago I posted some little spy shots of progress of the houses on the next street over.  Well during my trip to ensure everything was in place for settlement, I noticed the fences around those houses had now been taken down, and those houses look much closer to nearing completion.  One even has it's own fence!

Being able to get a bit closer makes it a bit easier to figure out what house plans these actually are built on - we know that they're Metricon builds, and while I can't be certain, I would guess that the one on the left, with the darker roof, is a Burton 29.

It's the one on the right though, with the dune coloured roof, that's of most interest.

That's interesting - that room looks very familiar.
Yes, in fact looking around the edge of the house, peeking in through all the windows, I can most definitely say that it appears to be another Metricon Delta.
What size I'm not 100% certain, but I suspect it's a 22 - the four-bedroom variant of what I'm building.  If I was desperate, I could probably figure out whether it's a 22 or 24.
But it seems they've gone for all tiles inside, larger windows and sliding door at the back, and generally a fair amount of upgrades inside.

Lastly, I went for a bit of a walk around the block to see how things have progressed, and around the corner was this little garden.  When I do the garden I'll not be planting any grass out front, as I simply don't want to have to mow a tiny patch.  I'm not looking to do anything quite a silly as this, but I thought it was cute.  Seems like they might want to be gluing those stones down though.


I'll need some feedback if I'm going to consider this, but once the super gets in contact with me, I'm considering seeing if we can leave a time-lapse camera on-site.
The only issues might be that it's going to need clear line-of-sight, so if they go and stick a portaloo in front of it, it's obviously going to get blocked.  But I'm thinking if I can maybe just cable-tie it to the lot board, that might be a good spot to stick it so it gets a good shot of what's happening.  Maybe even if I can find somewhere it's not going to get stolen from the rear corner as well, that might be an idea.


Probably something cheap like the Wingscapes plant cam - it's only a 4mpx camera and I'd just have to come along every few weeks and replace the SD card to grab the photos, but for about $100/ea (if I shop around), would it be worth it?

Developer approval: Received.

It would be good news if there were nothing else in the way to be done, but I had a quick call to update me on what's happening - the latest being that the developer approval has already come back.  Clearly the colours aren't too out-there.

They've now submitted the report and consent, because my garage sits something like 15cm too high, and those 15cm are what will end up costing maybe three to four weeks.  After that, it's go, go, go!

In the meantime there's one thing I have to chase up - a letter from the solicitor basically giving them some kind on written proof that the land has settled - they need to be told in writing, basically, which is fair enough so you don't end up with people just going "yep, go ahead", only to find they don't actually own the land.

We're also waiting on a valuation to come back from the bank, but I think that will be fine.  It might come back a few thousand short, but so long as it doesn't come back 20% short, it's all good.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Settlement Complete

Well, that's that out of the way.  Just got the call to confirm that the settlement on the land is now complete, so I now actually officially own my own little patch of soil.
Or the bank owns another patch of soil.  Whichever.  I'm going to pretend it's the former :)

Oh, and I've a few photos to share from the snoop around on the weekend that were taken over the weekend... soon.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Contracts finally signed and handed over.

Okay, so the build contract date becomes 22/05/2012.  It's taken ages to get there, what's that, 13 weeks on, but finally it's sorted.
The next thing to do is make sure settlement for the land goes all smoothly, which is this time next week.

Hopefully after that I can put most of everything behind me and just let them get on with building me a house!  Oh, and start paying loan payments ;p

Monday, May 21, 2012

Apparently, the delays are my fault.

Friday evening had me receiving a phone call that left me furious.  Over 10 days earlier, I'd been in for a contract signing, but had made it clear three weeks before that even that I wouldn't be signing anything neither myself nor my solicitor had had ample time to read over.
Of course they left it until the day before to send me even the basics, which consisted on of prices, colour selections and structural diagrams, with no specifics on payment dates, penalties, build times etc.

Those contracts went straight from Metricon in Notting Hill to my solicitor in Blackburn, so that process was started basically straight away.
In the meantime, they were to get me updated copies of the certificate of currency for their insurance and something in writing stating the variations we were making.  The latter is important not because of the small changes, but because their variation fee is $2000!  It would mean that should they turn around and say "no, we're building what's in the contract", and "forget" about these changes, they couldn't turn around and say "okay, that's a $1 variation... plus a $2000 variation fee".

So the purpose of the call to me seemed to be to question why I hadn't yet returned the contract(s), but then - get this - to be accused of delaying "over $70".

I couldn't seem to get it through - no, it's not about the $70; it's about the $2000.  It's about me making sure that what I want is written in the contract, so noone down the track can say "oh, we didn't agree to that".  Because you can be damned sure when it goes the other way, that's what they're going to try to pull.  Much of the weekend has been spent contemplating writing an angry letter to the GM, and making a phone call to the nearest Burbank sales rep.

Monday just now, they've only just called me back to say "Oh, I'm writing up that variation now... uhm, what were those changes you wanted again?"

Monday, May 14, 2012

Colour selection

Okay, so I finally have some photos to post from the color selections.  A few photos I had to go back to Carpet Call to get photos, as the ones I'd taken at StudioM on the day were no good, or I'd just simply forgotten to take photos.

First up is the flooring.  It's timber-look laminate, and we couldn't get the darker reddish colour I liked in this style - to go to that color would have been $55/m^2.  And we were talking I think 65 meters of timber.  So that was too prohibitive.  Instead we're using the next darkest and closest colour, slightly browner, which is Merbeau.  This runs all the way from the entrance, through the hallway and covers the living area in entirety.

Colours for the kitchen area.  Again, we more or less stuck with what was in the Amberlea display, or as close to.  Why change what I liked the look of?  Obviously the benchtops aren't granite, I didn't quite want to go to that expense.  So they're rounded laminate instead, but in that grain pattern.  The cupboards, both underneath and overhead, are the darkest timber-look laminate we could go with.
But lastly, what will make it look absolutely fantastic (see mock-up below) is the Weka (blue) glass splashback.

The below colours show what's to be used throughout the bathrooms, laundry and ensuit.  Similar type of dark cupboards, and a light benchtop, but this time not patterned and simply a solid, matte colour.

Here's the kitchen colours up against the floor colouring.  The wall colours I'm not thrilled about, but the biggest problem is you have to have the whole house the same colour.  I'd love to have some bright colours in various rooms, but it just costs a packet to do so.  Best for now to go with a simple, safe colour that works throughout, and paint over later.

Lastly, the carpets.  We went to a category 2 carpet, which cost I think $10/m, and upgraded rubber underlay, but this carpet certainly doesn't feel like most of the cat 2 carpets.  It's a new range, apparently, and it feels more like any of the C3 or C4 options we had.  With the combination it's very thick and soft.
Still, I'm giving some consideration to going a shade darker with the carpets.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Building contracts

For the past few weeks Metricon have been passing around the same excuse - "Oh, we're been having IT issues".  I don't really buy that (or, more accurately, accept that as an "excuse", being that I'm in IT), but as a result all my emails with queries to them have gone unanswered.

At the last minute Monday I had to again call and confirm that we had the contract signing scheduled for yesterday afternoon.  As part of that I also had to say "hey, I haven't actually seen a contract yet, or prices" - so at 7pm, the day before a 1:30pm scheduled contract signing, I finally got those.  Hardly what I'd call "ample time" to go through things and be willing to sign anything.

The short version:

  • Finally got a contract and pricing back - the good thing about the pricing is there's been a few additional inclusions I didn't have prices on.  Simple things like both ensuits now have mirrored 15mm deep cabinets, at a cost of $450 each.  Overhead cupboards are included to the kitchen ($840).
  • They're still investigating a rebate on some of the power points - if you wanted a double, but a single was standard, instead of charging you a $5 difference, they'd charge you $61 to put a double in, but remove the single, and not credit you the $56.  So I'm asking for a credit of about $400 back.  Small dollars, but it's principle.
  • They found a bit of spare money in the slab requirement, so that's dropped by a few k.  Always a good thing.
  • But lastly, they've told me that if I can get rid of the rock myself cheaper, they'll refund the difference.  Score - because we can use that for rock garden, and at the same time save $220/m.

The house actually sits about 20mm over the maximum height, due to .... I don't know.  Not digging out dirt or something.  But basically they have to send off a report & consent to the council.  Shouldn't be a big issue.

A few changes I wanted to investigate that they couldn't do:

  • Putting a cavity in the shower requires three wall faces in the shower.  Because it's a corner unit, there's only two, so it can't be done.  Makes sense to me.
  • A walk-in robe in B3, which I never really thought would be viable, would just mean far too little space in that room, so that's not being looked at further either.
  • The sighting of the house can't be any further back - the garage has to be 5m back, so 4.9 meters is all the backyard I'll be getting.

On the day changes:

  • For the ensuit I've changed the door to a cavity sliding door - while they can fit it in a 90mm cavity without having to increase the wall width, it means you can't screw in anything like a toilet roll holder to the wall.  That'll have to be adhesive, I guess.
  • After conversation it was decided that the doors picked weren't so nice, so I've ditched them and made the bedroom 2 robe a mirrored sliding door rather than the somewhat ugly porous vinyl.
Outstanding changes I don't have an answer on yet:
  • I've decided I don't like glossy window and door surrounds, so want to investigate varnished timber.  They need to ring me back on that.
  • For some reason, we have Venetians over top of stained privacy glass.  I'm not sure why, but that doesn't make a lot of sense.
All up, we're floating around $201,200, with spare lunch money.  The docs are now in the hand of my solicitor before I'm allowed to sign anything, but it's looking good.