On Friday we had a site visit with our builder’s Project Manager (well he will be if we go ahead wit the contract) and it all went very well. We walked through the back of the block and agreed on what areas of the back yard we needed to keep clear for access to storm water and sewerage and where we could put the security fence and all the gardening materials that we are going to salvage. He had no issues with us coming on site to access our stuff, and encouraged us to come and site and check out the building progress. We do need to move all those stones (argh!) and the water tank, but at least we know where to put to them now. Interestingly, we asked him about the tree root protection and he said he could see no obvious reason why we would need it, so was going to follow it up for us. So at this point things are looking up, although do we have quite a few other issues still outstanding.
We have also discovered the Freecycle Network. Its a place where you can give away and get stuff for free. There are no fees, its completely grass roots and non-profit and everything is free. I have already given loads of stuff to the Op Shop, but didn’t know what to do with 2 potted palms that we have, which really don’t fit with the rest of our garden. I’d read about freecycle in one of the local weekly papers and thought I’d check it out. I posted the palms last night and by this morning I had a taker, so much better that just throwing them out.
We started pulling our garden apart about 6 weeks ago – saving plants and shifting stones from our front yard to the back yard to be stored. The last 4 weekends hubby has put in a big effort to get all the stones shifted (the plants are my job) and he finally finished last weekend. Our front yard now looks like this:
And in the backyard, Dermie has some company:
We were pretty please with our efforts until an email arrived from our design consultant on Tuesday. During our review of the preliminary tender we had advised him that we would be fencing off the back section of the yard for security as we were using it for storage. This was included in our list of amendments/questions. In the response sent back by the design consultant was the following:
“Please note that the services will be running to the back of the block behind the Garage so access will be required. Due to these services being dug along the rear of the old Garage Builder cannot guarantee that the Garage footings won’t be affected.”
Why was this not in the preliminary tender document? The pipe for the services is shown going behind the garage, but there is no mention of requiring access to that area, or of the potential damage to the garage footings, or that the water tank needs to be removed. In fact the water tank isn’t even shown on the site plan! Something that didn’t seem important at the time, since there was no mention of us needing to clear that area.
Its better that we found out now rather than during construction, however it highlights one of our frustrations with this builder. We are building on an established site and have no intention of clearing the entire site. Our design consultant hasn’t visited the site, the builder hasn’t visited the site, and the engineering company who have visited the site haven’t spoken to us about our requirements. We asked our design consultant if the builder could come and walk us through the site so we could better understand how much of the site needs to be cleared, but we were told that this won’t happen until after the contract is signed.
Given what has happened now, we think its even more important that we get the builder here, agree with the builder how much of the site will be cleared and what access both parties need to the site and document that in the contract. We don’t think that is unreasonable. In fact, it seems bizarre to sign a contract with someone who hasn’t even set foot on our site.
Oscar is getting very excited about the new house. He loves to tell people that a bulldozer is going to come and smash our house down and that we are going to live in a little house while we build a new one. Today he told me what we needed to have in the house:
Obviously he has some supporting aspirations! He later told us the house needed to have grass on the roof – too much Grand Designs I think.
We’re coming into a lovely weekend so the plan is to start tackling the salvage of the garden today. It’s sad to see all our hard work being pulled up, but exciting to make a start at the same time.
View of the garage from the back door
A blog about the exciting, frustrating and crazy process of building a new home