Crazy idea!!!

We have been in Australia for 6 years now. We have embraced all things Australian and are now Aussies! The next logical step is to do something crazy, build a house!!! Largely because we are sick and tired of dealing with rental agencies and landlords!! First time building and the learning curve is steep! The build is about to start and I thought I should start this blog to help me keep track of things and to show you all how things are going.

Clearly I should have started this blog when this journey began but hey, better late than never! So over the next few posts I will bring you up to speed and hopefully update this blog regularly.


We still can not believe it! We finally have the keys!!!! What joy! It was so good to be in the house and start preparing for our new life! The move happens in less than 48 hours!! So much to do, so little time.20180405_15580320180405_15572020180405_155717

Handover ….29th March…false alarm

We were all set! Handover was happening before the long Easter weekend.

  • Movers booked √
  • Bank cheque for final payment √
  • Home internet cancelled √
  • All packed √
  • Fridge and freezer cleaned √

All systems are go and we are soooooo excited!! We will finally spend our first night in our brand new house. Handover will happen after school pick up on the last day of school. Perfect!!!

11:30 am. Site Supervisor calls and says he has some bad news. He asked  if we had upgraded our cooktop, yes we did. He says well, they have installed it but the electrician says it may not be complaint with Australian standards. Basically it is too deep and is too close to the splash back.

Our Customer Liaison person called and assured us that they are on the case and should have a solution for us by the close of business on the 29th. This did not happen. We are not sure how they will fix this. They mentioned installing a smaller cooktop and have said it probably may not be a Bosch which will be terrible as the oven is a Bosch. Do they need to put in a new stone as the stone benchtop was cut to fit the cooktop? Who knows…


The offending cooktop

The case of the missing CCTV….

As you may know by now, we have spent a fair bit of time with our site manager/supervisor over the months and feel that we know him as far as you can know someone you have met periodically over a few months. In early February we were doing a site visit and the site manager was asked when the cameras were going in. He has the worst poker face because the look on his face was “What cameras??!!!” He clearly had no idea that CCTV was supposed to be installed. He did not fess up to this at the time, just mumbled something about the electricians not being done yet.

First thing we did when we got home was to examine the electrical plans and itemized electrical order. The electrical plans show the locations of the cameras and in which direction they should face. The plans also show the location of the CCTV monitor.


The itemized electrical order showed the alarm but shock horror no CCTV was listed!! The 3 must haves when we started this journey were refrigerated cooling, alarm and CCTV! The house is almost finished and one of the majors on the wishlist has not been done.

We contacted the builder and requested a ‘please explain.’ As far as we were concerned, we ordered CCTV as evidenced on the plans. Their staff member then did not included it on the billing template so we effectively did not pay for it.  Our Customer Support coordinator (CSC) speculated that they might have to do a post contract variation and not charge us for that but bill us for the actual CCTV. In theory this sounds fair but…. the same thing happened to our flooring. We selected our carpet via the builder and that quote did not end up in the contract so we ended up with a post contract variation, meaning the cost of the carpet was not factored into the home loan and we have to fork out for that. We did not kick up a fuss with this, just signed and moved on. But having this happen again was just becoming a bit ridiculous. Also, we need money for other things like fencing a landscaping, having unexpected $3000 sums added to the cost of the build was just not acceptable.

We were not aggressive, we simply expressed to the CSC how ultimately it was not our fault that we were not initially billed and as a company they need to show some good will in this instance. So this is what happened:

7 February 2018 – Query about missing CCTV raised with builder via email (We need it all in writing!)

15 February – No official response from builder (A few calls to them have been to follow this up)

16 February -CSC responds in writing saying they are hoping to have something to say today

20 February – Site manager says he wants to do PCI, effectively the house is finished

20 February – Wrote firm email to CSC saying we will not attend PCI until the issue of the missing CCTV is resolved officially.

20 February – 1 hour later – Official email from builder confriming CCTV will be supplied FOC!!!!! (Free of charge baby!!!) as a gesture of goodwill. How about that to restore one’s faith in humanity and big business!!  The moral of the story is ….check everything……again and again and again……

Now pics of the CCTV….



21 days post PCI….very little happening

Well, it has been 21 days since we did our practical completion inspection. As far as we can see there has been little progress. The bank has done their inspection and are ready to pay the final invoice but clearly the builder is not ready to present the house. Last week we were told 2 weeks, making that 1 more week to go. It better not take too much longer  as we have handed in our notice to vacate to the landlord and we need to be out of here by the 12th of April.


  1. The CCTV has not yet been installed.
  2. The brickwork repairs are not yet complete.
  3. Not sure about the other items on the list.

What has been done….

  1. The laundry security door has been installed.
  2. Some brickwork has been repaired.

Who know when the house will be ready for settlement at the rate they are going!

In the meantime, some pics.IMG-20180320-WA0009IMG-20180320-WA0005IMG-20180320-WA0002IMG-20180320-WA0008IMG-20180320-WA0001IMG-20180320-WA0004IMG-20180320-WA0003IMG-20180320-WA0010IMG-20180320-WA0006


12 days post PCI

There does not seem to be much going on at the house. Much to our dismay! The urgency appears to have fizzled off. It has even been hard to contact the site manager!! We have been told that the brick work repairs will begin next week. The CCTV will also be installed next week. They anticipate that this should all take 2 to 3 weeks. This will get us pretty close to our contracted hand over date which is 19th April. We would really like to be in for school holidays. It will be a great opportunity to settle in and unpack.

On the plus side, we have a clothesline, a mail box and the toilet roll and towel holders appear to have been installed as well. Not sure what else has happened!!

We also have a fence on one side! One of our neighbours is good to go and a fence was installed last week. Very few pics this time…


About that brickwork…

Much has been said about the brickwork, and none of it good. It was fabulous to see the bricks going up. They looked great and validated our decision to upgrade the bricks. What we did not envision happening is the look of the house being undermined by substandard brickwork!

Repair of the brick work has been ongoing for a while now and even when we did our PCI we did not comment on the bricks as they were still being fixed up and cleaned.  Things have however now come to a head. The final inspection has been done, the final invoice  issued and settlement is imminent.

During our second PCI, we literally walked all around the house and identified areas that need  bricks replaced and mortar replaced and colour matched. The site manager had his blue tape out and we were marking bricks and mortar people!

So basically this is what they will do to fix all the defective brickwork:

  • Replace bricks
  • Repointing
  • All this will need cleaning (again!! Oh the state of those bricks after that!)
  • New mortar will need to be colour matched to old mortar. They will use Nawkaw to achieve this.
  • They will also cap the top of the brick pillars with metal caps matching the gutters.

We will have to wait and see how all things works out! We just hope they can fix it.

This is what all the fuss is about:



Final Darbecca Inspection 27 Feb 2018

We got Darbecca back in to do our final inspection. The inspection was scheduled for 1 pm. We had asked for 8.30 am to coincide with when we were doing our walk through but Darbecca were unavailable! Apparently they are flat out! Business is good! Any how, back to us. Did our inspection in the morning, left the site and got a call just as we were getting home at about 11.40 am, the Darbecca inspector was early! He had just missed us!! We then called the site manager who was thankfully in the area and met with the Inspector.

So back in the car to meet Darbecca!! What a way to spend my day off!! The inspector was generally happy with the inside but very unhappy with the brickwork. This is something we also picked up on. Below is a list of defects Darbecca found:

  1. Roof Space – The insulation in the ceiling has the following defects.
  • Large areas of ceiling batts have been left out around the ducts and exhaust fans. The batts will need to be installed snug to the ducts and just clear of the fan outlet.
  • Batts have been installed over pipes wires and timber. The 90 mm plus gap between the top of the plaster and the bottom of the batts is making all installed batts that have this gap completely ineffectual.
  • The R rating on the dwelling has been greatly reduced and the overall performance of the roof installing does not meet the requirements of the energy report on the dwelling. The whole roof will need to be reworked so that all batts are installed hard to the plaster with no gaps or holes to the installation.
  • I noted that the ceiling installation does not continue to the very outer edges of the home. There is areas with gaps of about 100 mm or more around the home that has not been installed.
  • There have been excessively wide gaps of insulation left out around the Downlights.
  • There have been gaps of insulation left out around the expected down light positions.

Continue reading “Final Darbecca Inspection 27 Feb 2018”

Practical Completion Inspection

The day finally came! We had our PCI on the 27th of February. It seems like only yesterday when it was an empty block. We have been to the house a fair few times so there really was no wow aspect, but still great to see the almost finished product.

We were armed with a list of everything we had ‘ordered’ and a pretty extensive checklist sourced from here.

The site manager had a reel of blue tape. We inspected every room from top to bottom. Took us the best part of 2 hours to get through the whole house, and we did not do nearly all that is listed on the checklist. It all just got a bit exhausting and repetitive in the end. We picked up on the following:

  1. Laundry door security flyscreen door not installed. Site manager knew nothing about it! Had not been ordered despite being on the doors and window schedule. This is where having a complete list of what was ordered by room was very helpful (this was basically an excel spreadsheet of the contract and colours items).
  2. All the toilet roll holders and towel rails not installed. Again site manager was like, “Are you getting those?” We were like “yeah!! See page XXX of the contract!” So again part of contract but not ordered. So important to check that they have put in everything you are paying for.
  3. Paint touch ups.
  4. Caulking touch ups.
  5. Variations in the colour of grout between tiles in the wet areas.
  6. We were not happy with the appearance of the brickwork. The acid wash had eroded the mortar excessively in some areas, some bricks were not laid properly and there was generally untidy finish with the mortar. Some areas had mortar repaired and this was a different colour to the earlier mortar. Not a good look all around.

On the whole we were not feeling too bad with the general condition of the house. We had Darbecca through in the afternoon to do the final inspection. Now that deserves it’s own post…. In the meantime, pics….


Driveway and concrete perimeter, PCI 27 February

We are well and truly almost done now and have started packing!!! We now have a driveway, we saw it when we did a drive by a few days ago. The latest addition is the concrete perimeter around the house. Things are really hotting up! The glass on the balcony has also been installed.

We also now have a PCI date. We meet with the site supervisor on Tuesday the 27th at 8.30 am and then we have Darbecca going through to do the final inspection on the same day at 1 pm. In the mean time, pics…..


Almost there….

Been to the house this week and it is almost good to live in! The carpet is down, the tiles are in, the garage door works, the window blinds are in and so are the baths and sinks! The site manager says he just tying up a few loose ends and he should be ready for presentation as early as next week it everything tracks the way it should! Shucks!!!! We are almost there!! It feels great walking in the house. There are a few issues such as wonky power outlets, electrical not yet complete, they mixed up bath spouts, put the family bath spout in the master, but on the whole, we are almost there. Let the pictures do the talking…

Reworking of brickwork door from garage to backyard
View from backyard to garage showing concrete slab where refrigerated cooling unit will sit.
Al fresco with brickwork rework
Security lights in place
Brickwork rework. Garage door
Window blinds in master
Ensuite shower with reflection of free standing bath
Master vanity also has a GPO in the sink!
Master mirrored robe doors installed
Bedroom blinds
Walk in robe fit out. Pretty basic at the moment. To redo later.
Guest room ensuite
Guest room vanity
Family shower
Family bath. Wrong spout, will need to be changed
Leisure upstairs
Stair case view from upstairs. Lights on.
View of stairs and under stair room door with handle
Broom cupboard
Close up of under stair door handle
Garage GPOs with portal for ducted vaccum
NBN, GPO’s and who knows whatelse…in garage
Full view inside garage