Friday, July 29, 2016

Our House Build - Formwork Update, Slab ETA

Looks like most of the formwork is almost done, with the concreting team onsite again today.

Gives a good idea of the size of the finished house now

Garage area done.

Looks like the slab might have a bit of a drop-wall setup next to the garage.

Garage step area looking toward the rear

Drop slab near the rear garage door

Kitchen stacker door area, I'm not sure why this is timber and not steel; possibly because of the rebated section they need to put in for the door.

Kitchen window view from pad height (about 400 below finished floor level) - this shows roughly how much of the view the walls of the house will block out.

This is roughly the same but holding the camera up at approximate head height when the floor is finished. Remember that temporary fencing is quite high too so we should have no issues blocking out our own view!

Our range-hood (Schweigen GG-901) arrived today and when I dropped it to the builders, Simon our Site Supervisor told me they're hoping (and have booked) to pour our slab next Wednesday.

We've got a huge amount of rain forecast for Monday with a few mildy wet days following so I'm not about to hold my breath; but fingers and toes are firmly crossed!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Our House Build - Piers and Formwork

The concretors appear to have managed to get the piers poured before we had a deluge of rain recently, which then stopped any further progress for a good few days.

Today they were back on-site assembling their formwork. This is finally giving us a better feel for the size of the house.

The front porch area doesn't stick out far from the house but it's at a lower height than the floor so it's formed differently.

While we were finding it seemed really large before the formwork, now it's feeling small again - I understand now what people mean by the place feeling big then small then big then small throughout the different stages of their builds!

There's still plenty of water sitting around - this is looking from our ensuite towards the "side" yard on the north side of the living/dining spaces where two of the stacker doors will be.

Also our ceiling fans arrived today (we have ordered them directly but the builder's electrician is fitting them as part of the build) so we have to deliver those to the builder when we get a chance.

Hopefully our Schweigen range hood won't be too far away either.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Our House Build - Saturday Update

Went by the block this morning and took some photos. There's been a bit of rain this last week but that doesn't appear to have held up progress much! The retaining wall is up.

There's also some ag pipe behind the retaining wall for drainage.

The whole slab area for the house has been covered and compacted with what appears to be some form of crushed rock.

The step area has been dug out to the same level as the garage, then the pier holes have been bored and covered for safety.

More pier holes in the garage area.

Just an additional picture, we were driving around and spotted this house being built by our builder with what looks like possibly the same window as we are having on our house. It looks pretty well how I thought it would in real life, so that's nice.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Our House Build - Pre-Slab/Formwork Day 1

The weather was fantastic today (Wednesday) in Warrnambool. I quickly ducked through our estate first thing in the morning on my way to work and happy to see a team of concretors on-site.

Without knowing the exact process, it looks like they put down a layer of compressed crushed rock - I guess the waffle pods the  go on top of this?

I didn't take a photo but there's a section dug out of the high part where the stair down to the garage will go.

View looking south. Tricky lighting - the photos very nearly didn't turn out because it was about 10 minutes after sunset - thankfully the iPhone sensor seems to capture quite a bit of dynamic range - in combination with Lightroom on iOS I've been able to get this much info and to create reasonably usable images.

It looks like the retaining wall people have been back too and put in the posts for that. It's all happening at once!

We have a meterbox too. Not sure how these work - either it's a temporary one, or the final one that gets painted toward the end of the project.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Our House Build - Progressing Quickly Now

I'd overlooked the electrical supply in my previous post, here you can see the three phase supply is in place, awaiting slab/meter box etc. I'm quite impressed with how quickly things are moving along now.

On Monday the plumbers did the sewerage, I wasn't sure if anything was going to happen on Tuesday when I took this photo as it didn't look like anything else had changed with the site.

We have a nice big banner on our temporary fencing now, cool :)

Sarah went by the block after collecting Scarlett from school today and it looks like we have a bunch of reo bar and mesh - it would appear many of the things required to get the slab formwork up and going are ready to go - with any luck we'll see that all start to go together over the next week or so.

Pretty exciting stuff :)

Friday, July 15, 2016

Our House Build - Waffle Pods, Wind and Temporary Fencing

Our build has been thrown under a shadow of sorrow with the sudden, unexpected passing of my father-in-law Michael Tilley on Tuesday 5/7/2016. Since the internet has the great ability to store any information for apparent eternity once written, I've copied below a tribute I wrote for his funeral.

If Malcolm Forbes was right when he said “he who dies with the most toys wins” then Michael certainly must be standing on a podium in heaven. 

He had a TV for every room of the house (including the garage). A stereo system for nearly every room, a desktop computer and a laptop, a smart phone and a tablet PC. A playstation, at least five external hard drives and numerous WD TV units. He’d collected just about every movie ever filmed as well as numerous TV shows.

In the shed he had a thicknesser, buzzer, dimensional and table saws, borer, grinder, pedestal drill, belt sanders, wood lathe, band saw, dust extractor, router table and a plethora of other powertools.

He had a trailer, a push mower, a brush cutter - and strangely for someone with about 5 square meters of grass to maintain - a ride-on mower.

He was the quintessential Aussie Bloke, who loved his beer and had to remove the safety guard from every piece of equipment he owned. Equipment he operated in his favourite pair of Japanese Safety 
Boots as he called his thongs.

As I’ve discovered over the last few days he’s taught Scarlett how to use a bench grinder and a pedestal drill - although I’m not sure I’m game to let her just yet!

Before Michael, I’d never met someone so offended to be referred to as a carpenter.

I’d never met someone who had such capacity for accuracy without first measuring.

Most importantly though,

I’d never met someone who acted as if they had so little, yet gave so much.

He gave the world his daughter, without whom I would not have the life I have today, without whom I would not have three wonderful children.

He gave his time, becoming our private day care for all three of our children each from as young as six months old - allowing us both to work full time to achieve our dream of building our own home.

He gave money from his super to help us on achieve our home - in his words giving Sarah part of her inheritance early.

Fortunately he lived to see the earthworks completed on our block of land - but unfortunately taken before he could see the waffle pods for the slab blown away in the wind - something I’m certain he would have found extremely entertaining.

While he won’t see the house finished, or celebrate our housewarming - I rest assured in the knowledge that he had printed copies of the plans and - in his highly complimentary words - “not found anything wrong with them”.

Micky T - you’ll be missed, even your jokes about my car being run by a wound up rubber band.

In the week and a half since his passing, we have been busy moving his former home workshop into our garage. I'm glad I decided to make the shed so big now - it would appear I've got at least 36m2 of tools to store!

In the interim, our block has gained a porta-loo - anyone who's ever read a build thread on homeone before will be familiar with this as being one of the first on-site milestones to occur.

The holes for the retaining wall started to be bored but wet weather and wild winds appear to have forced them to retreat for the day.

At first I wasn't sure what these hooks and pink mesh were for... until I looked into the distance, that is.

As I mentioned in my tribute to Michael above, the waffle pods delivered for our project appeared to have somewhere else to be.

We'd had wind gusts up to 100km/h (maybe more!) this day - which also made moving things with an open trailer difficult for me!

These pods are quite big and would have been impossible to even attempt to collect in the wind.

Today, we said farewell to Michael at his funeral; and I thought it a fitting time to bring the kids past the block to see the progress - what a great surprise- new waffle pods and a temporary fence. Our block has gone from looking big (with nothing on it) to small (with lots of top soil stored on site) to big again (with the fencing)

The waffle pods look like they might actually stay put this time.

There are some set out markers - from my understanding these are used to measure from to get a lot of the building's dimensions in space.

Retaining wall holes covered to prevent anyone silly enough to venture inside the temporary fencing from falling in.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Our House Build - Loan Docs, Ceiling Fans, Retaining Wall

Last night we (finally) signed off our loan documents! This means that after years of saving and planning, along with a couple of failed attempts to get into the housing market - we're finally confirmed and on the track to our own home - and most importantly - the reason this blog even exists - a home designed by us, for us.

The builders have been very patient with the delays imposed on us by the bank and all the while have been organising things behind the scenes - so much so that they're expecting to begin the retaining wall as soon as Wednesday!

I'm away for training with work the following Thursday and Friday; something that's been on the cards for a few months. If you'd asked me way back when I booked the training, I'd have expected to be past the slab stage by the time I attended it. As it turns out, chances are they will be starting the boring for piers etc and possibly even formwork etc early that week. It'd be just my luck that they'll pour the slab while I'm away and I won't get any photos of the process!

Just this once I'm hoping they don't work too fast!!

Anyway - it looks like we've settled on a ceiling fan (or six) - after thinking I'd decided on Hunter Pacific Intercept 2's, Sarah wanted to know more about them. A bit more research in the process and I came across a number of negative reviews about their build quality (although of course as always with any electronic or physical environment - while not many people post about positive experiences, just about anyone with a negative experience will share it around!)

Anyway, it turns out Sarah can source Mercator fans at a very attractive price - and for a fraction more than the Intercept 2 (which is a fairly basic fan) we are looking like getting the Mercator Eagle DC for all six fans;

These are a 56" (1400mm) 3 blade fan with composite blades, a low consumption (35w on high power) DC motor, remote control, 12W, 4000K, 900 lumen LED light (more on that below) as well as dimming, and 6 speed options.

Intially pricing wise it looked like we'd only be able to justify these for the two fans in the main living / dining areas, however as I mentioned above they're only marginally dearer than the fans we were going to fit throughout the house previously.

Add to that they have much more speed choice and quiet blade design means they're equally well suited to use in the bedrooms. Our intention and thinking is that we're much better off with these units running year round to promote flow of air and avoid using the split system unless necessary to do so - - worst case at 6x35w = 210w vs 3750w when the split system is running.

The lights are good too, being a dimmable LED and fairly bright at full power means they should be flexible enough to do what we want. I'm not 100% certain that the colour temp suits what I wanted (we have some 4000k lights at home and I'm not sold on the idea, 3000k might be more my preference).

I still have to verify exactly what options there are for remote control of the light (read: automation) other than the remote included with the fan - hopefully there's still the ability to use a standard light switch to turn these on and off - if so I can always fit a z-wave switch in-line to control the basic on/off functionality. It's also possible that down the track I could work on some sort of interface between the factory remote control and a z-wave hub of some sort. Time will tell.