Monday, March 30, 2009

Electricals! Upgrades! More costs! Yay!

It's nearing a month now since we happily signed our lives over to Plantation and even still all the little choices left to make are still a major hassle. We had our electrical appointment two weeks later and wow..... I wish I had become an electrician.

All the upgrades we chose came to almost $12k! Mind you this is for like 80 light fittings (not even the downlights just yet! We're fitting those afterwards), heaps of dimmers, 2-ways, extra circuits, outdoor lighting etc. One thing that I cant wait to see is the upgraded faceplates we chose for some of the main light switches! They are the Clipsal Saturns with LED rings. They pretty much have a ring of light when they aren't on so you can see them which turns off when the light is on. You can set this to turn on when the light is on as well and are really futuristic type upgrade :)

After we finalised our electricals we finally received our Post Contract Variation. This was astonishing. Depsite all of our "little" changes it only came in at $2700! We were expecting close to $10k so we finally had the first bit of good news - financially - so far! In light of this sudden stroke of luck with Plantation we have decided to upgrade the Kitchen Bench to 40mm with waterfall edges on boths sides hehe. How can we resist now! So unless this costs $7k or less we will be happy :)

Still waiting for council approval in the meantime - Plantation use a private certifier which SHOULD make things quicker but it doesn't. Plus its impossible to get updates from the certifier in the meantime. Recently we were also given a timeline as to what happens after get approval and it can still be a few months before we even have a start date!! Needless to say that didn't go down to well, but hopefully it wont come to that.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Final Plans and Elevations

Well this is what our mini mansion (for two people it is!) is apparently going to look like :) In the meantime we're still waiting for the plans to go from the the private assessor to council :( *sigh*

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Contracts are signed! Council Approval here we come!

What a grueling day today was! We had appointments booked with the Builder from 9AM - 5PM and I certainly was wondering it could go for so long. Well we certainly found out why! They did cover practically everything today, the first half was going over the final plans and contracts and ensuring there was no mistakes which there were plenty of but luckily they could be fixed on the spot with little drama.

The second half of the day was the Colour Appointment. Plantation have a great showroom and as they use alot of local suppliers we had previously already visited alot of their showrooms as well to find out what we wanted - AND learn just how expensive things are going through Plantation :( Some things were literally an 80% markup on their retail price. Whoever says builders make only 5% on a house is wrong!!!

Anyhow as we had a pretty good idea of the colours and upgrades we wanted (yes - anything decent or modern is an upgrade lol - especially any decent tiles) it only took a few hours. The Colour Consultant was very patient and was a big help in deciding between the last few selections we wanted. All in all a great experience, just glad it's over!

Apparently now we have our electrical appointment within the next two weeks or so, and being in IT I have a LOT of things I want to add. I think this is the part I'm most looking forward to as we get to make our house "cool" now hehe.

The realisation is starting to set in that we are nearing the final stages before we simply wait for construction to start - the next big things are organising all the retaining walls and electricals, oh and of course getting the OK from Council :)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Tiles - Who needs them?

Today we had our appointment booked with Beaumont Tiles to hopefully choose our tiles for the bathrooms, shower and laundry areas as these are all included with the builder. Now of course what is standard is absolute rubbish and would maybe, just maybe be selected in a house 200 years old.

We had visited Beaumont Tiles several times before in hope that we could be prepared and just point out all of our choices come the actual decision making time. As mentioned before, ANYTHING that is even passable as a modern tile is extra cost, and if you want a porcelain modern tile - well apparently that isn't even allowed with Plantation!!

We were shocked, according to the sheet which Beaumont provides which states what the customer is allowed to choose, Porcelain tiles AREN'T actually allowed. How can this be? We had picked our tiles thinking that because the display homes have Porcelain tiles all throughout that surely this wouldn't be a problem. We definately know it's possible, but this is just ridiculous. We had to kindly appologise to our consultant and let her know that we had to talk to our builder first as we refuse to sign contracts if we cant have Porcelain tiles.

Yes we are happy to pay the extra costs associated with them, but to simply refuse the customer to have Porcelain at all when all of their display homes include them?? Hey!??

Overall choosing tiles has been the worst experience in the process of building so far. We really did try to find tiles in their standard and gold ranges but there just isn't anything half decent. It's quite sad and we were very disappointed after today :(

Ah well hopefully a call to the builder first thing Monday can sort this out!

Monday, February 9, 2009

New Home Proposal - Signed! Only 3 weeks left until Contracts!

Today was the appointment with the Builder at their Head Office to go over the entire final quote and basically present a draft of what will be comprised in the final contract. The appointment went for over 3 hours but was extremely thorough.

We did make a few nice little changes to the NHP on the spot such as double 920mm entry doors, a freestanding bath in the ensuite and a few extra's like an additional tap where the drains will be etc. The whole experience was very pleasant and there really wasn't anything the customer consultant wasn't willing to try and make happen for us. We initially thought the double entry doors and freestanding bath couldn't be had in our design but thankfully after a quick trip to drafting they confirmed that would could indeed have both. How exciting! :)

We signed the final NHP and paid a further deposit which has locked us in to sign the final contract on the 3rd of March. We also have our colour consultation straight after the contract which means a full day at the Head Office again. We have a pretty fair idea of what colours we want, but inbetween all of the arguments we still cant agree lol. But we're getting close! Apparently we can still make minor changes on the day of the contract but I think the only changes I'll be making is to get provisions for us to use our own cablers (for data comms) and home theatre etc.

Aparently we also have a wonderful 14 week wait to get through Brisbane Council approval. Unfortunately it's due to the boundry relaxtion, site setback relaxtion and building over a sewer line. All of these add up to the extra long wait. I cant believe it's just going to sit on someones desk for over 3 months while all we get in return is more weeds on our block! hehe

Overall dealing with the Sales people and the Customer Consultants has been a real pleasure with Plantation - I can only hope now that the Site Supervisor will continue this tradition!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

More Trust Issues with the Builder

Our Land finally settled on the 27th of January 2009. Hooray! 2 days later we received another suprise from the builder. Our "flat" block needs 43 meters of Stone Link retaining walls as the Stone is a covenant requirement and the Surveyor has advised us so.

We couldn't believe it. Our block is flat with approximately a 20cm gradient across it from left to right. Again - this was quoted at approximately $20k for the retaining walls. I really dont think we'll be going through the builder for this one! As the wall only needs to be between 20-40cm high we will just build it ourselves for under $3k. Argh - there goes our saving from only needing a S-Class slab! If anyone can offer some advice on the best way to build it - please do!

In the meantime the estate is coming along nicely. There is bitument down now and a few street trees and the street lamps have been installed. It's starting to look pretty cosy now! The pics are from mid Jan 09 - (Excuse the quality, it's taken on the "amazing" iPhone!)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Never Trust the Builder!

Well after getting angry with the Developer for "alledgedly" not telling us there was fill (when there wasn't) we then contacted the people who did the soil test directly - explaining to them that there can't possibly be any fill on the block and I gave them compaction reports for the blocks around me that DID have fill. Our block didn't have fill - therefore didn't have a compaction certificate.

They agreed to retest the soil and like magic our soil test didn't just not require piering any more - it actually came back as a S-Class Slab!! We just saved ourselves $4k! :D

It got us thinking that if we never kicked up a stink in the first place, the builder would have conned us into spending $20k more on something that was never required in the first place! I guess at least its worked out in the end though.