As in, I have finally collated and uploaded some pictures into my Gallery here – check it out via the link at the top, or directly here.

On the 12th December, they started bricking! I was so excited!

Garage Bricks

I believe they began with the garage wall because the house wasn’t wrapped and therefore they could not do any bricks on it. A little more was done the following day and then it sat there. And sat there. I go a call from my site supervisor on the 16th to let me know they intended to wrap the house on the 18th and the brickies would be working over the Christmas period; he would be on leave from the 19th December until the 12th of January, and matters would pick up again then.

Well, I went past on the 18th and no sign of anything. But I went again on the 19th and lookie, lookie, look!

House bricks

And on the garage…

Build It Higher

More garage bricks

I haven’t been yesterday but I’ll go again today. :)

The main roof is now covered in Colorbond. It looks fantastic IMHO. Since it’s my house, it is undoubtedly a good thing that I am so pleased!

Front view (moderate cloud):

Roof on - front view

Side view (the sun came out for a minute):

Roof on - side view

There is a whirlybird, drawn a little down from the peak but actually installed very close to the very highest point (somewhat to my amusement as it looks a little derpy sticking up like this!) and it was spinning away merrily. Hopefully it does it’s job of reducing the buildup of hot air in summer.

Annnnd, the brickies had obviously visited the site to pull apart a pallet of bricks and start arranging them as they wanted. And there is cement (inside) and sand (on the driveway).

Cement & Sand

My BC did get back to me on a price for fully waterproofing Laundry, Powder Room, Guest Ensuite, Master Ensuite and Main Bathroom… a little over 1600. Ouch – and for something I would have thought to be standard and included. :( But for peace of mind, I guess I’ll just have to accept the price.

I did note that I had a electricity meter box at last. It was there, I think, some time last week. Also, they’d put the stacker-sliding door sections into place as of Tuesday.

As I hoped, today they started laying the Colorbond roof sheets. I asked one of the guys working on it and he confirmed they expected to finish it this afternoon. So fast! A house opposite, similar size but with a tile roof has had tilers working for the last week and still not finished. I have never lived with a steel roof though, so I hope I live it in the end.

The colour, “Gully” is one of the newest haveing been put out late last year. I haven’t seen any (confirmed) houses with it, or any real-life pictures of it in use so it is intriguing to see it. The sheets waiting on the ground had more green tinge to them than I expected (almost as I would have thought the new shade “Mangrove” would be like!), but the gutter already in place does indeed look brown. Tomorrow, I’ll be able to take some more pictures, hopefully getting some from different angles to show what it is really like. I am second guessing as to weather i should have gone more grey (Dune or even Shale Grey) or more brown (Jasper? Cove?) – there is a completed house witha Jasper roof nearby that looks gorgeous! Here is a screencap of the current (December 2014) Colorbond roof colours:

Colorbond roof colours @ December 2014

Or you can visit the Colorbond page here: http://colorbond.com/colour.

After over a week of no apparent activity, there is progress again! Yesterday, they began the guttering:

gutter and fascia

Gutter is colorbond “Gully” (as will be the roof itself) and the fascia is colorbond “Surfmist”, like the windows.

Annnnd… 10 pallets of bricks (Austral ‘Harvest – Cotton’) have been delivered!

a pallet of bricks

The incorrect windows for upstairs haven’t been replaced yet (although one is broken!), hopefully they will be there in time. I believe they install them after they brick downstairs.

Idle musing: driving past other ongoing builds, I note that PD seems to be the exception in not building the garage at the same time as the rest of the house when it comes to double-story houses like the Hoffman. I can see some advantages though – the garage slab section gives them a good working space and at least in my case, keeps the backyard accessible. On the negative side, it means all those trades have to visit the site at least twice. It does explain a few things I asked about at quote stage being immediate ‘not-possibles’.

On a less happy note, I discovered that PD uses an ‘alternate method’ in regards to bathroom waterproofing that essentially translates to not waterproofing the floor, only the bath hob and shower space. I have emailed my BC about this and am waiting to hear back. Setting aside the fact that a family home has small children who are (necessarily) inexpert at keeping water in the bath or shower, not waterproofing the floor and relying on the alternate ‘solution’ of bathmats to sop up any stray water before it soaks through is, to my mind, asking for trouble. It doesn’t take much of a mishap to have a spill. Hopefully I can see this corrected. If not, I can foresee wanting to rip up the floor tiles and a section of floor to put in a floor drain and waterproof thoroughly. Frankly, I would have liked a floor drain in all my bathrooms and my laundry but it wasn’t an option for the ground floor and I forgot entirely to ask for it upstairs. Oh well.

I’m not expecting to be able to do this again (build a new house), but I confess, I have a little list growing in the back of my mind about what I would do differently. Maybe one day.

Today, I finally used my sample pot of Wattyl’s Moody White which is going on my walls to paint up a piece of cardboard so I can do photos of my colour selections and take a decent size sample with me to look at (and choose) flooring. Thankfully, I still like it although it has turned out a warmer white than I anticipated.

I was browsing the PD website and noticed they have a few more standard floorplan options listed for the Hoffman39. There is a Deluxe Bathroom option which looked interesting, although it results in a toilet with no natural light, which I dislike. Also, the enclosed toilet as in the Clyde North display is now shown as an option. As is a ‘dry room’ in place of the laundry store. I wonder what that consists of?

I was also considering my neighbour’s site cut and the probability that my upstairs north facing Games window will not be overlooking them. It appears that they may be having an alfresco in their SW corner but probably far enough along that my window will be more than 8m from them. Which should translate to not needing the obscured glass as far as rescode goes. I may need to put up some trellis or similar along the fence though, to ensure I don’t see in. I don’t want to see them, I just want to be able to look out at the horizon, the weather and look down into my own yard. Hopefully that will work out ok, but I will have to wait a little longer to be sure!

Finally, I was looking through my plans again and saw something that I had ignored before and now it’s bugging me. I had raised the sill of the study window, making it 1500 high. But I hadn’t done so for the powder room next to it. Moreover, the guest ensuite on the other side also has a 1500 window. I wish I’d changed the powder room to a 1500 window as well! *growls at self in annoyance* It’s going to bug me now. Bother! I believe I could change it one day, but it will be a messy nuisance at best.

Well, the plumbers were there on Wednesday and Thursday and did a lot of the rough-in. I got photos of course, and was pleased to see that they did get the recycled-water outside tap in the correct location as that was a very last last minute change! However, they missed that I am having two sets of WM taps (one above the regular WM space, one in the cupboard for an underbench washer) and have only plumbed the in-cabinet ones.

I also spoke to my site supervisor and let him know this. He said he’d be doing a detailed frame walk through/check on monday (hopefully I can be there too) and would check on this, along with the shower niche height. He also said the roof was due to be started today. Well, it wasn’t – there wasn’t any gutter or colourbond on site (as at 4pm) so they couldn’t have started today. Presumably, it’ll show up on monday.

SS also cautioned me about going upstairs. I don’t blame him – it’s a building site and it would be scarily easy to fall, which would be an insurance nightmare… and very painful! I don’t plan to go up again until the electrical/data rough in is done, by which point there will be bricks. Much safer! However, there is something special about having had the chance to stand up there and see it at this stage of construction so I am not in the least bit sorry!

The Frame

The billing department is the most efficient one of the lot. I do believe that they had the frame invoice emailed to me within minutes of my SS reporting it was complete!

In any case, today they finished off (?) the frame, installed the ground floor windows and the external door frames, began the plumbing rough-in work and the tradies were packing up when I showed up at 3:30ish after the school pick-up. That meant I had the chance to go through and take a pile more photos of the frame (over 100!), the plumbing, the windows, etc.

The ladder to upstairs is now fixed in place and so, with some trepidation, I climbed up and took photos. And dreamed of what it will be. ;) I even found a mistake! The standard height for shower niches is 1200, but I explicitly requested they lower the one in the main bathroom to 1000. But they framed it at 1200, like the ones in the ensuites.

shower niche frame

It’ll only be a couple of minutes to fix at this point, but imagine if I’d waited until there were stairs to come up and check it all out!

Also, between about 9:30am when I checked it out this morning and 3:30pm when I came back, my neighbour had their site start. No doubt, the tradies on my site had to shift my windows ASAP (they were still piled on my neighbour’s block at 9:30 and presumably, were so when my neighbour’s builder showed up) and move their ute. It was parked on my garage slab, but they’d been using my neighbour’s block to put it there as it was easier than using my steep driveway. Oh, and when they’d arrived the first time, they couldn’t use my driveway as it had been piled high with framing timber… and they had to get the ute down as it had the generator required for them to work.

Pity the neighbour wasn’t just a few more weeks to start, as their block had been a very convenient place for my builders to park the crane when it was needed to loft stuff upstairs. But I’m sure they’ll manage for the rest.

I know I haven’t been updating; I’m slack indeed. I have been taking lots of photos though, and one day I’ll post a sequence. Here is what my site looks like now:

A frame!

It’s been going well. The weather has been cooperative with only a little rain here and there. I was surprised at how fast they started framing after the slab was poured since I had heard that they mightn’t have the framers available for a week or two. But they was wrong and barely a day goes past without work being done.

I caught up with my site supervisor briefly last week – good luck had his visit there coincide with mine. He seemed experienced and amiable enough, but time will tell in the end. That was also the day my windows were delivered – and about a third were the wrong ones! I had upgraded to double-glazed windows at the last minute, and the first version of the final construction drawings (which you can see here) has the master bedroom, ensuite, bed 2, bed 3 and bathroom upstairs as single instead of double glazed. It was fixed in the second version of the final construction drawings, which was the version I signed. However, the mistake didn’t get fixed in the window order to A&L and therefore A&L delivered the wrong windows to site. Thankfully, as they are the upstairs ones, they had a bit more time before they are installed, and since I found the mistake on the day they arrived – and let them know! – I sincerely hope it does not cause any delays.

If that is the only thing they get wrong, I’ll have no complaints. But I’m still out there most days, checking things and taking more photos. A check of my photo folders tells me I have taken over 400 photos so far! I wonder if I’ll wear out my camera on this… ;)

Thus far, I do not have an electricity meter box. They’re using a generator instead. On, and a panel of my temporary fencing at the front fell down. Again. The fall from the footpath to my porch slab is rather scarily steep:

Temporary fence falls over

Back before the slab was poured, while I was visiting and watching them do some of the digging, the portaloo toppled down the slope too. I didn’t get a picture of that though. :P

Site start was on Wednesday 5th of November, the slab pour was initially scheduled for the following Wednesday but due to rock making the site cut a little slower than expected, my slab was poured the morning of Thursday, 13th November.

my slab

And of course, this is the point when I realise that I have only about 250mm of extra length in the garage where the rear roller door is, instead of the 500 I had wanted. The -drawings- only show 250 extra, due to the window in the powder room, so the slab is done correctly according to the drawings (which I signed off on)

Oh well. If that is the only mistake I have made, I will have done well. I have a large vehicle, and presently, have less than 50mm of clearance as the tail gate is opened when both garage doors are closed. 500 more would have been nice, but 250 more is adequate.