Montague 21

14 July 2017

New site start

Hey there readers, long time since I posted, been very busy and very anxious about all the things that happened with the build. I was so anxious that I didn't tell anyone about the new site start just didn't want to get excited and then disappointed again if they find something else wrong with our site (So far we paid about 48k for the whole asbestos thing). But the site started two weeks ago 30 June. Excavation done, screw piles in, electricity in, bunch of other things done and slab needs to be poured next week on Tuesday.
I hope to share a nice picture of the slab by next weekend... keep your fingers crossed! :)

03 May 2017

Site start and why we can't have nice things

Yesterday 2.5.2017 our site excavations have finally commence!! woot woot!! how exciting! well.... actually, not really... because the universe decided that I can't have nice things (just being first world, spoiled white woman dramatic here, sorry) it has given me ASBESTOS!!! yep, asbestos. Not just any asbestos, asbestos contaminated soil. I talked to my BC she said it wont cost us money because it's already site start but it will cost us time as they can't do anything until professionals take it all out.
UPDATE (15.5): or that's at least what she told me over the phone. I suppose PD realizing how much it will cost to get rid of asbestos contaminated soil, they decided to look at the contract and see if there is anything they can find to somehow lay it on us. So we need to get a site scrape of approx 140mm and get rid of it as contaminated soil which cost us about 30k. I filed a complaint with dbdrv and will hopefully hear from them soon and they will tell me if indeed it is supposed to be paid by us or by Porter Davis. If we are supposed to pay for it then I will try and see if there is a case against the person who sold me the lot and see if he will pay for it. Apparently because it is so expensive to dump asbestos in legal dumping grounds then people just dump it either in residential vacant lots or even in public parks!! it's outrageous to think that because the government isn't providing a cheap way to dispose of asbestos people around the community sometimes suffer asbestos exposure. It is not cheap to get rid of asbestos and it's not going to go on the mortgage so someone with a lesser conscious than me might have considered disposing of it illegally. Probably like the person who just dug a hole in my land and threw asbestos in it..

At least it seems like it will be a two day job and will be done this week so we can start getting this increasingly expensive house done.

20 April 2017

Good News and Bad News

Good news are that Porter Davis booked us in for site start next week- FINALLY! so we got our fence down and got our lot cleared of weed for about $900 which was pretty good. For each job I got a few quotes and managed to save some money that way. One person asked for 4k to do the fence and weeding, another asked for 850 just for the fence so it is very important to ask for multiple quotes. I ended up finding separate trades from Gumtree to do these jobs.

All clear and ready to go~

Bad news: Our neighbor who is building in the lot next to us informed us that the water meter on our lot is actually registered to his lot and we actually don't have a water meter and should probably look into it. This is pretty annoying especial since we are so close to building and this can potentially delay us more if Porter Davis were not aware of this situation and thought that we have a water meter. I don't even know if this is an issue or not... I'm just stressing because I hope it won't delay us. we are SO close~~~

UPDATE: We talked to our slab supervisor who so far seems to be like a pretty good and accommodating guy, he basically said not to worry they'll take care of everything and they will start the build as scheduled! OMG THIS IS HAPPENING!!!!!!

08 April 2017

SETBACK - what not to do :(

It's a very simple answer- what not to do is to let your builder handle it.

What you should, nay MUST do is handle it yourself. Yes, it will be a bit complicated but if you're reading my blog I'll explain what you need to do to make it happen for you (hopefully).
How would I know? because we got rejected because of our builder's complete lack of professionalism and now we are stuck with an 8.15 meter in our front yard and only 5 meters at the back. it's too late to apply again, we just want to start building already... can't believe it's been over 6 months since we started this and we don't even have a build start time 😔
Ok, enough crying, back to business...

Step 1: call your council, ask them what the official setback on your street is, what is the setback of your right and left neighbors and what is their procedure about setback requests. Do they accept or flat-out reject an application or do they come with a middle ground solution?
Why is this important? because our builder told us that we can go low and the council will probably come back with a different offer. We didn't know better, it's our first time building and why not trust the professionals that have experience with applying for these things? Because they don't care, they do the minimum that is required of them, they don't check to see how our council approves these things. Our council either approves or declines so when they saw our ridiculous 4 meter setback request we didn't even stand a chance. It was never going to be accepted which I found out after we got declined.

Step 2: Go to your council website and download the request for dispensation. Ask your builder to draw you plans for your request for dispensation with the setback you plan to apply for and ask them to indicate the setback of your neighbors in the drawings so you can send your plans to your neighbors and ask them to sign that they approve of your plans.

Step 3: Once you have sent all these documents to council wait a few days and give your council a phone call. Ask to speak to whoever is dealing with setback dispensations. Ask how your application is going, let them know how important it is to you so when they look at your request they'll remember that there's a human being behind it.

Hope it helps anyone..

30 January 2017

Contract Appointment

It's been a while since the contract appointment, I've been avoiding writing this post because by now I'm completely drained and lack the motivation I had at the start of this journey. The excitement has been replaced with anxiety and annoyance and I really hope that once we start the actual build (some where around the time where flying cars will be a household item, or so it seems) I'll get my super happy super excited self back. *End of rant lets get down to business*.......

The contract is basically the same as the tender only scarier because you feel like once you sign this then that's it, you can't negotiate, you can't notice mistakes and you'd have to live with it for the rest of your life- Not really! they later just send you a post contract variations and if there is a difference in price then the last payment you make will be reduced. They made a bunch of mistakes with our contract, like Kitchen culture added a panel for an integrated dishwasher we only said we are considering and never actually said we will be taking (that's an $800 mistake), I negated some of the services they were charging us and our BC went away and came back with a $500 refund for services. The worst bit was seeing a new drawing of our setback at 8.5 meters, we asked for a 4m setback at tender and they just made the 8.5m drawing to show us what might be the worst case scenario once council gets back to us about the set back, I didn't even want to sign it because I was paranoid that they'd accidentally send this atrocity to the council instead of the 4m setback drawing, so they replaced the drawing for us to the 4m we had at tender to sign on :)
My husband couldn't come to the appointment so I received everything to take home and have him sign and send to PD later so I had a week to sit and read the whole thing ten times before signing.

I also noticed a high quote from Kitchen culture for our extended benchtop to the window because we took a window all the way down to the benchtop to create a seamless look to the outside alfresco, at our KC appointment they said it will be a couple hundred $$ and it came back as almost $500, the dimensions on the KC doc says "Window Reveal is approx 2370 by 300" now 300 is the width of the whole wall and I doubt that the benchtop is supposed to go all the way to the outside of the house, but should stop once it hits the window glass so it should be about half of it so I am trying to get them to recalculate it, it's a bit of an annoyance because after the Wos appointment you basically correspond with your bc about everything and she obviously doesn't know about KC calculations so it's such a hassle getting things changed. Did anyone do a similar thing? could you please let me know what dimensions are written on your KC quote for that tiny bit of benchtop?

Now for some good news- we had Powercor get back to us about the electricity pit and we were looking at around 6k for the pit as this is what many people who had to do it through powercor were quoted and we were quoted $0 yep 0!! did not really get why but THANK YOU POWERCOR!!!!!!!! so we accepted the $0 quote (you can't really negotiate these numbers lol) and they said they will place the pit within 20 days. :) O-M-G~~~

*UPDATE: I talked to KC and she did measure the whole wall and said she will take it down from 300mm to 240mm, still sounds like more than what it will actually be, this is almost $100 difference which is not much but it's the principle of it that annoys me- you can't charge for what you're not going to sale!  

12 January 2017

Tender Appointment

I'll start with the bad things: hopefully my experience can help someone who is going through a similar thing. At first we weren't supposed to even have a tender appointment only a contract appointment, as is the case with Access range homes. Luckily I was baffled to when we are supposed to tell pd about any structural changes we want for the house. Surely they will have some sort of appointment where rational people can add a door to their ensuit, right? nope! our very friendly and lovely sales consultant was suppose to ask us about these things, but didn't. We also found out at tender that he was suppose to tell us to get an electrical pit from overhead electricity as is the case with established after tender we contacted the electrical company and hopefully, fingers crossed, it will not delay our build for too long (if you have any questions on how to do it, let me know in the comments). I am now fretting to find out later that there are more things to get organized on our land regarding gas, phone, water etc. how can you tell if everything is connected to your land? The tender lady told us to just do the electricity and that everything else is probably connected, but who knows??
That's it with the bad things at tender, hopefully everything will be resolved soon.  
The tender appointment is basically an appointment where you sit with someone that can do everything for you regarding changes either structural or from Wos. We came prepared with all the extra power points and windows and doors that we wanted. Make sure to have a list ready, I had a list on my phone that whenever I thought or read about something I should add I wrote it down because at tender you sign a contract that you will not be able to make any structural changes and if you do it will incur a fee.
The appointment starts with going over the final fees and then in more detail over the construction fees. our construction fees are a bit over 40k, the major thing is the slab upgrade which is 20k and local government and OHS fees of 16k, we were expecting to pay over 40k so we were happy that it wasn't over.
The final price, even though we will get the final numbers only at contract we have spent over 60k over the price of the house.  
Some of the things I decided not to get after all:  I decided not to have a ridiculously expensive integrated dishwasher and get a refund for the promotion one ($500 refund, that's pretty much it's retail value, I was very surprised). Instead I'll buy a white dishwasher post build that will go with my kitchen. I also decided not to have windows on my garage door, it's about $800 for a room I'm hardly going to use. 

It was a very confusing day and I am left with even more questions, if anyone has any advise on how to figure out if my lot is connected to phone or gas then please let me know.

BIG TIP: if you're building a kdr, PD usually charge you for extra things like road crossing management and extra for building in a high build up area- which is true if you're building on a main street but most often it adds up to thousands of dollars you shouldn't be spending. after or even during your tender call your local council and ask about these regulations and if they actually require these services and if not then ask PD to scratch it off the contract and refund you. Another case I heard about was of someone who negated the proximity of overhead electricity to load off area and was refunded over 5k!!! QUESTION EVERYTHING!

Can't wait to get to the building stage and just enjoy everything going up~