Saturday, March 5, 2011

Home Sweet Home.....

Day 198 or so. Friday, 4 March 2011. Another milestone today. PCI complete. That is practical completion inspection to the uninitiated. Translation = builder thinks your house is complete, and wants to check that you think the same way too before you are asked to cough up some more.

At first I was utterly stressed, thinking that our PCI was earlier in the week, that turned out to be a pre-PCI and today was the real deal. Our good, kind and patient SS wanted to make sure that his vociferous naggety customer got a chance to check the place twice over, which was really nice of him.

Main door all painted - kinda like it!!

Lots of little things found their way to the list that must be rectified before handover, the biggest being that the builders of the neighbours next door decided that it might be fun to cut away a little soil under our garage. And then get their site cut to cross over the boundary line for good measure. They were supposed to rectify it but naaah, that wasn't a priority. After all, footy's back on TV and Charlie Sheen is kicking up a storm taking pot shots at Hugh Hefner on Twitter. All much more interesting than putting in concrete underpinning for our garage. A flurry of phone calls ensued and the folk at the other builder were left in no doubt about what I thought about the whole situation. Soft spoken I might be, but a pushover I am not. They will get started on remediation quick-smart - Tuesday this week I'm told.

Side view, fence to be fixed

Anyhow, long and short of it is I love our house. Just absolutely love it. Carpet is in and its a lovely chocolatey brown that contrasts with the cream tiles. The splashback is a stunner and my oven, oh my oven! I was told that it would be a commercial oven, so yeah whatever I thought. But when I saw it - OMG. That lovely cast iron top, the huge huge space to chuck in a couple of turkeys & their pals, that oven.

Timber bi-fold doors - all stained now :)

The main door has turned out alright as well. I was a bit doubtful about that one, but it fits right in. The independent building inspection is complete too, and their work has left me in no doubt that they are independent indeed. One of the things they requested for is the soil to be levelled around the house which saves DH a lot of hard manual labour and me a lot of gentle coaxing. I think DH will be eternally grateful for that and so will I (thanks guys!).

Okay so things I learned about building. For those who read this blog just cause you love me, you can skip it, but for those are building this may be worth a read:

1. Research, research & research. Every bit helps. Make copious notes and refer back to them. Choose your builder carefully - is a good site for reviews. BACV can also tell you whether your builder has any cases against them.

2. Just as one is not a prime number, no is not an answer. Keep asking for things you want. If you get shrugged off ask again. One mistake I made is taking no for the final answer. I could have got the garage extended, site cut further and the porch slabbed if I had just thought to ask. Those little digger thing-a-ma-jings are hideously expensive to hire even if their drivers make it look like fun.

3. Keep all paperwork. Even the ones your salesperson scribbled some numbers on. It saved me heaps cause I could prove that the amount quoted at  sales was different to quotes at tender.

4. Take on Sherlock for the duration of your build. Quite simply Watson, check everything at every stage. Defects are easily rectified early on. Slab down - check your pipes, frame up, check locations of all niches/doors/windows. You get the picture.

5. Your SS is your new best friend. Really. Invite him to dinners, sleep overs and the party at Nonna's house. He's the only link between the tradies who want to just get the job done, and you who want the job done well.

6. Home  One ( - a great resource with some good people to give you advice when you need it. BACV is also a good port of call ( .

7. PCI - here's a site with checklists you can print off -

8. Double your build time, if you think you'll be in by Christmas, it will probably be next Christmas. Sparky, brickies and tradies need holidays, y'know. And the weather's been chucking a few tantrums of late.

Carpets on - just love em lights

Thats all I can think of for now. I reckon I've aged ten years in the last two, and my SS has probably aged five. I'll give him full marks for being polite and cheerful right to the dot. Which means I must say PD has decided to replace all the loos in the house as they were 'used'. Brownie points to them too for their attitude to customer service. Its been a long rough road (partly due to the previous builder), but the end results seem worth it. Absolutely love the house and today after a good three hours there, you know what, it felt like......home....