Monday, April 15, 2013

Moved in

We got our keys on the 12th April 13!
8.30am we met our SS on site, while the cleaners, plumber and appliances guys were carrying on with their jobs.

Plumber will pressurise the gas pipes, appliances will get installed, blanco dishwasher and cooktop.

Cleaners attempt to buff out any scuffs and marks throughout the entire house.

I will update the blog more later on, but it was a HECTIC day! Just so much going on!

We moved in on the same day, and hired a budget truck to bring our bigger items over to our new house on Saturday 13th April 13!

These bar stools will do for now
Our half filled lounge
The Jamie Oliver cookbook and board was a gift from PD
Lounge room, wall painting prep

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

All smiles and excitement


PCI  was on the 4th of April 2013. The house was practically completed. Just minor things all around. We still spent at least 3 hours with our SS. Remember how we had issues with our tiles in the powder room? Well my SS's boss (building manager) came out to meet us during our PCI to talk about it. 

Well I'll walk you through what is the process of a PCI. 

1. You meet your SS and he brings out a file of your home's construction. He then goes through this file thoroughly. It is basically a file of all your general maintenance requirements as home owners. It goes through in detail what the CSIRO plans are required to upkeep the waffle slab. It talks about how to make sure your tiles are not damaged by other trades. How to use the cooling/heating. Who your maintenance contacts are - not that my SS is trying to handball the responsibilities off to someone else, but there is an entire department just looking after maintenance.

2. He talks about when the 3 month maintenance deadline will be. How and what will be conducted. 

He also mentioned about keeping a list on your refrigerator door of the things that are required fixing. Unless its something that will cause you to NOT be able to live in your house, wait till the 3 month inspection before ringing PD up. 
If your house is flooded and the entire electrical system has come down.... CALL immediately! 

3. We then go around the house. Room by room. Looking at every corner, in every detail that we can. Even our SS will help us note things down that need fixing. This includes paint defects. This process also includes walking around the perimeter of the house, and identifying cracked footpaths.

4. You come back to the kitchen and you sign a copy of the things that need to be fixed within the next week. And you're told a scheduled as to how SS is going to approach these defects. And you're done with PCI!

So coming back to our tiles issue. Building manager (BM) and SS had gone down to Harcrest to have a look at the display home which we have left our deposit with. Have built up a strong rapport with the salesman. And basically where we decided to upgrade our tiles and our mirror finish as the finish standard of the display home. 
Well the BM starts by telling us that he understands the entire situation, and that he's gone to the display home to have a look at the place. And he knows how we are feeling about wanting to get the same effect. However he says that when he spoke to the regional manager about it last Wednesday and consulted the management group. They have came to a conclusion that the tiles have been laid according to Australian building standards, in that there was no defect about the workmanship. Which we totally agree with - it was more of an aesthetic issue. 
They PD group has decided that they are not going to change our tiles to as per the display home. And considered to REMOVE the tiles in the display home as that was not how the trades were laying their tiles. Both BM and SS insisted that the tiles that had been laid in our powder-room was of a much higher quality standard than the ones in the display home. 1 being that the tiles in the display home were cut around the cabinet vanity, which was something that was frown upon by the BM and SS, in that it was impossible to get straight edged finishes. There were bound to be chipped edges which would need excessive filling. 
In that we told them that the display homes were representations of what we would be receiving if told them that we were going for the same effect - which we have. We also highlighted that yes we understand that houses are all different and its just the nature of the building industry. It just didn't sit well with me that PD may not be willing to build the tiles like we wanted to and do the same for someone else, making us an exception and sweeping it under the rug with lies. But I've been assured and guaranteed that the tiles in other houses getting built right now, have their powder room tiles, laid the same way we have. SS says that he will get back to us with photos as evidence of this. 

Lesson is: Know that your house is entirely different from another. Somethings you can get away with asking PD to get it fixed/change to your standards. But also bear in mind that they are coordinating a large project in building your house. Many different trades come and do their work and leave.  You will have to be accommodating to a certain level. Be reasonable, and not hardheaded. I say pick your battles. This battle definitely had gone down with a good fight, but its been worth it as I can now sleep at night knowing that I'm not getting cheated. 

The gap between the front of the panel lift garage door and the abuttingrendered walls was excessive.
The concrete floor inside the garage was dirty (e.g. paint stains, surplus blobs ofmortar and plaster etc.).
Multiple sections of the council footpath were cracked.
The LHS balcony door was sticking.
The rendered hebel panels on the West and South sides of the house were notfully painted (e.g. at the joins in the hebel panels).
There was surplus mortar / grout around the drain in the wall on the South side ofthe balcony at the front of the house. 
There was some glue on the RHS of the sliding wardrobe door track in bedroom2.
The fly screen was not fully fitted to the bedroom 4 window. 
  The black coloured paint applied to the steel post at the bottom of the stairs wasscratched.
  The surplus plaster on the wall on the LHS of the laundry door had not beensanded smooth prior to painting.
  There was a paint run mark on the LHS of the wardrobe door frame in bedroom2.
  The painting of the outer edge of the wall tiles on the LHS and on the RHS of theshower screen in the bathroom was not finished. 
There was a large chip out of the skirting board, below the T.V. point and powerpoint on the South side of the master bedroom.
The draught seal was not fully fitted to the opening bedroom 4 window or theopening bedroom 3 window. 
The exhaust fan above the en-suite and above the powder room were not ventedexternally.
The water spout above the bath in the ensuite on the ground floor was loose.
  The caulking was not finished on the top LHS of the wall mirror in the masterensuite. DONE
  The gaps between the splash-back tiles and the bottom edge of the wall mirrorsthroughout the house had not been caulked with silicone sealant.
  The grouting was not finished behind the top of the cistern in the powder room(ground floor). 
  Fix Electrical Box (unable to shut properly
  Reconnect gutter pipe (currently too short)

Relevant building standards:
Section 12.02 (Surface finish of paintwork) of the GTSAT states:
Paintwork is defective if application defects or blemishes such as paint runs, paint sags,wrinkling, dust, bare or starved paint areas, colour variations, surface cracks, irregular andcourse brush marks, sanding marks, blistering, uniformity of gloss level and otherirregularities in the surface that are visible from a normal viewing position. Excessive over-painting of fittings, trims, skirtings, architraves, glazing and other finishededges is a defect.

Australian Building Code Paragraph states:
Performance requirements P2.4.5 is satisfied for a mechanical ventilation system if it is installed in accordance with AS1668.2 - Mechanical ventilation for acceptable indoor air quality, except that any contaminated air from a sanitary compartment or bathroom must: -
(a)Exhaust directly to outside the building by way of ducts; or
(b)Exhaust into the roof space provided:
(i)It is adequately ventilated by open eaves, and /or roof vents; or
(ii)The roof is clad in roofing tiles without sarking or similar materials, which would prevent venting through gaps between tiles.

Each tab identifies a paint defect
This wall was the MOST.
All other walls had lesser tabs
Our beautiful art feature on the cracked foot path

More cracked footpaths
Regarding footpaths, PD will identify which ones had been cracked PRIOR to construction. They would've had noted this down already. Compare this with the report during PCI. And any new footpaths that had been damaged during the construction would be fixed and rectified AFTER handover. This usually takes up to 4 weeks to complete.
Tile finish under mirrors

We're looking for some landscape plants and have decided that we would go with some of these. 

Another note: Our dispensation application to the council had been APPROVED! Its such a miracle that they've approved our 2.7m high fence on the boundary! We had never imagined they would do that as the building regs only allow 1.8m! Its almost double the regs permit! 
I will take more photos and update more on this when I get my quotes from the builders for our retaining walls and fences. 

Bought Casamance Vision wallpaper
to our Master Bedroom

Scored this from Suitedeals for $350!
This will be placed in our alcove area in the foyer

Im so excited!!!!

I really owe it to the great PD staff and team.
Especially my new SS Ro55 who came on board when my previous one left 2 weeks prior to the scheduled handover.
New SS was organised and had a very systematic approach. Excellent bloke.
Always willing to help us out. He explained WHY PD would do some things and not just told us he was going to do it.
One time we even spoke to him on site till 7.30pm! He was there finishing up some paintwork! That's dedication there.

My previous SS and BC were very good too!
B3n****n C and Fi0** S******y.

Thank you again!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

10 more days!


Just had our pre-handover inspection by our private inspector last thursday before the Easter weekend. 
Got the report this morning and theres nothing major to report! Hooraaayy!! 
These are some of the things to report:
Master Ensuite Vanity needs caulking
Excess motar on balcony facade
This is not a tiled facade balcony just like the display homes. This is just a standard James Hardie Axon Cladding. 400mm spacing. Apparently their first time installing it. Beware of workmanship standards if anyone is thinking of keeping the facade standard. Its mostly good, but make sure you follow up with the SS to ensure adequate weather sealing.
27th March 13
Painting to be finished on rendered internal garage wall
27th March 13
Fixing hole in garage wall
28th March 13
Completed garage wall fix
SS instructing on a door not to throw out excess building material
Finish on the garage access door
Peter Limburg stated in his report that the garage floor needs to be clean from all debris that includes excess mortar or colour stains. He suggested that maybe we need to get the floor professionally cleaned and even painted if necessary - all on the builder's cost. We should not be accepting 'defective' garage floors if they are damaged. This is as per the building regs.

We have our Master Ensuite on located on ground floor, and it had not been ducted externally. The moisture from the shower is now just going to flow into our floor joists above ground level. It must be vented as per Australian Building Code Paragraph SS says that he will look into it and get back to us, he knows that it has to be vented externally. Not sure why it had not been factored into our drawings in the first place.

SS also confirms that he will get a thumb turn lock installed onto our Pivot door instead of our deadlock thumb lock. No deadlock on the door, but the reason why we wanted it was so that we don't have to use a key to lock the deadbolt. The thumb turn lock will allow us to do this. Another house that is currently building by PD has the exact locks and fixtures we initially wanted! But I figured that it will be too much of a hassle to get the SS to change the entire door.. Seems like this new SS had just been telling me stories about how they don't use the paradigm square lockwood deadbolts anymore due to faulty reasons....
22nd March 13 
Completed Bolero Flooring
Scotia had to be used for our flooring
Some don't like it, but I personally don't mind
Not sure what the process is with regard to the footpaths belonging to the council. They have been damaged during the construction of the house and PD office has told me that they will be fixing them after handover. I don't want to get caught in the horror of PD not coming out to fix them after they've received their final handover payment! I requested for a typed letterhead from the office stating that they will fix the footpaths, but they've refused this request. Will try again to get the letter on the day of handover. I got a letter from the council today stating that the Yellow marks on the footpath have been indicated by them. Seems like there has been extensive damage to it during the construction. PD better be paying for the repair... or I will lose my asset protection bond.

Our crossover application has been approved. We're going to request for a 4.5m wide crossover and re-instate the previous crossover on the property. It's currently located at the rear where our backyard is. Probably going to leave it on until we get our landscaping completed. Easier access for the bobcat and dingos, when they construct our retaining walls. 
Damaged council footpaths marked with yellow spray paint 
Dispensation application
We're still waiting from the council regarding our dispensation application for the retaining walls on the side of the property and also the fencing to the side of the property. Building regs don't allow for more than 1m high fence within 9m of an intersection. We have requested for a 1.4m high retaining wall to be built within this 9m zone as the slab is currently exposed... the retaining wall will prevent any undermining of the soil under the slab. Also, the current height of the house is quite high above the footpath, building regs only allow for a 1.8m fence to be constructed without a dispensation application, we need a 2.7m high fence at least to account for 1m retaining walls (so that we can have a small footpath on the side of the house) and fencing privacy. 
Hopefully the council allows our application!
Proposed fenced area
Since my previous post, I was finding out what shower screens the Porter Davis Prestige inclusions provide. My BS confirmed that the shower screens to the entire house as part of the prestige inclusions is Stegbar's Softline series shower screens. Stegbar Grange series is considered "frameless" for PD. Our prestige inclusions 2012 is a "semi-frameless" shower screen. 
Both display homes for the Sandringham 45 use "frameless" shower screens in the Master Ensuite. You will not be receiving this if you didn't upgrade the shower screen!
Grange Series
Softline Series
Our Softline Shower screen
Shower Grates in all bathrooms
Shower Grates in all bathrooms
Shower grate doesn't come with slots in the grate. Theres a tiny gap between the tiles and the metal strip when the strip is fitted, which water will flow through. Don't expect something like this:
The grates are already an upgrade...the display homes use a standard circular waste outlet in the center of the shower.

I was also looking into the sink pop-up waste plugs. This is what we have installed at the moment:
Undercounter sink
Caroma Cube 500 under counter waste plug
Bought waste plugs like these from Masters
For some odd reason the entire house came with pop-up sink waste plugs except for our Caroma Cube 500 undercounter sinks in our Master Ensuite. It just comes with a permanent stainless steel fixture which water can flow through to the waste outlet. Theres not pop-up sink plug that can stop water from flowing through - just a tiny silicone rubber plug that sits On Top of the steel fixture. Anyway, I can't be bothered to get the SS to change the the outlet for us into pop-up plugs, so I bought some from Masters for $14. They are larger than the normal ones and they look much better!! Will upload photos when I've installed them.   

Completed waterproofing of garage wall
This gutter waste outlet is too high in my opinion (white section)
Will be asking SS to have a look at it
The day the flooring guys were working on our Boleo floors only left the house at 7.30PM! It was almost dark and when I drove past, I saw that there was a van trying to get out of the property. It was stuck in this mud hole for almost an hour before RACV came to the rescue. Looks like this contractor has learnt his lesson - Do not park on areas which have not been designed for parking! 
No idea whats so hard about just parking on the street....Why do they have to park on the soft muddy area..Not only they may get their vehicles stuck in it. They bring along with them muddy shoes INTO the house.
Massive hole at the front of house
As of today:

28th March 2013
Got a call from our BC this morning informing us that a Building manager has gone onto our site to have a look at our powder room tiles situation. She wanted to confirm where had we seen the display home tiles. I told her Harcrest, and she says she'll call the building manager ASAP, and he's going to have a look at our house and then the display home.
Later in the afternoon, I got a call from a building manager I believe, and he says that they might be able to fix our tiles...but he will have to speak to the group manager tomorrow (Wednesdays - when PD have their weekly meetings) and will keep me updated. Looking positive... 

It doesn't make sense to go to a car dealership, fall in love with a display car, pick out the new car, upgrade all its features, order it, and when you receive it, find that they had installed 2 small windscreens onto the car instead of a 1 single entire piece. Then get the salesman tell you excuses that they don't make the cars like the ones on display...

Get it fixed for us, and we'll be raving to others about our entire build! Nothing else had been an issue for us until now (apart from the void issue). 
No fix and I'll definitely be telling potential PD customers my honest opinion that ALL is good except you might not be getting what you've upgraded for....sad but true. 

Fingers crossed we get the tiles fixed and we still move in next week! Will keep you guys updated!! 

Our PCI with SS is this Thursday! 4th April! 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Bolero Flooring #2


Swung by the house today and while there were some guys working on site, I managed to have a quick browse around and was surprised to see that our flooring as gone in so quickly! (partially) another PD WIN here! The flooring really adds greater contrast and colour to the entire house - blending the kitchen / carpeted areas quite well. The rangehood had also been installed, stairs stained and glossed, painting has been retouched, mirrors installed, shower screens  installed. When more of the appliances go in, like our toasters, our kettles, it'd add colour and life to the kitchen! 

When we were deciding on flooring, we weren't too sure whether the Bolero flooring was something we wanted to go for as there were not display homes installed with them. It was a new product then and was under a special promotion! We had Bolero as a standard feature as part of our promotion package. I had so much trouble trying to figure out how to match the flooring to the sofa set, to the dining table etc. But Im glad to say that the Rustic Coffee look is exactly the look we were going for! The floor is currently quite dusty, thus the final effect can't really be seen yet. I will update again when the house is cleaner.

Laminate flooring is one of the hardest wearing floor solutions on the market. No yukky grout so get discoloured as with tiles and no cold feet in winter. $4000 for Bolero Flooring AND evaporative cooling to the entire house. Apparently Bolero flooring is now a cat 2 upgrade! Consider us lucky! 

Bolero Laminate - Rustic Coffee
Kitchen with Bolero flooring
Family area
Rangehood - BRCG90BX 
We decided that we will go with this style rangehood because the slide out option (BRC90BX) would mean that we needed to have overhanging cabinets above our stove. I did some research and found out that this model issin't very strong in its suction power. Hence, having a slimline canopy rangehood would mean that if I ever get a replacement one in, I'd have to stick with a slimline one again. You want to keep your options open by going with something we have chosen, so that if you decide to upgrade the rangehood for whatever reason, you can install a stronger, much bigger unit to the enclosed space. Having overhead cabinets there will greatly reduce your options!
This model that we've chosen, does look quite small to me though....

Stained Glossed Stairs
Replaced glass panel due to chip on glass
The newly stained/glossed stairs really looks AMAZING! Worth every dollar spent on it! Anyone building a Sandringham 45 MUST have these stairs installed! The chipped glass on our stairs took almost 2 months to replace. I think it could have had a very long lead time. Good thing I pointed it out to my previous SS much earlier. I'm still sticking with not upgrading to have these panels at my void. Wasn't justified to spend almost $6000 on such a small area, where the stairs was almost $10000 and it a feature piece for the house. We are however well underway to have the exact same design at our void post-handover.
The paint work on the house has been touched up. Hopefully we won't find much defected from now onwards.
Garage wall cornices fixed 
Shower screens / mirrors installed 4-7 March 2013
Can anyone give me info about the model of showerscreens PD provide to its Prestige customers as a standard? We have Stegbar showerscreens, but are they the Grange series or the Softline series? This could be a prestige inclusion package as well. I just want to confirm that we are getting the right showerscreen installed.
Bathroom 1
Bathroom 1
Bathroom 2
Bathroom 2
Master Ensuite
Master Ensuite
All our bathrooms have been upgraded to have niches in the shower. 
If you notice carefully, you will see that the drainage pipes is a single metal grille that sits on top of the strip. Im not sure how this works, as there doesn't seem to be any slots cut into this metal grille. I don't know how we can clean them too. Its new to me as the display homes I've been to don't have this style of drainage for the showers. Hopefully it will turn out nice anyway.
We don't have any pop-up waste plugs to our Caroma Cube 500 undercounter basin. Strange as the other Kado Cirque Semi Inset Counter Basin and powder room Vallo Basin have them installed. Might need to buy some after handover. 

Shifted power points away from Tap - They were too close previously
Waterproofed concrete retainer wall on garage side

Samsung 65"
Leaning more towards a LED 65" TV at the moment. Did some intensive research and found out that there will be a NEWER model getting released sometime later this year. UN65F8000 - 2013. This will be released sometime in April in the US. Not sure when will it get to Australia. But I know that this model will have a quad core processor, much faster than its 2012 model dual core. In terms of pricing, the 2012 model sits around $4000 at the moment, but when it was released in Australia in July 2012, it was around $5600! It could be that when the 2013 model comes out in July 2013, it could stick to around the $5000 mark. I think I will settle for a 2012 model then. Also, Samsung has a new technology where you just plug in this device to the TV and it gets upgraded to the newest firmware AND hardware! Samsung evolution kit! 
A 2012 model tv can get the same hardware and firmware upgrades as the 2013 models, just by sticking in the Evolution Kit! 
Something none of the other brand/models promote.

I am happy with the build so far. Most of the things that had to be rectified have been. And generally the contractors that work on site know what they are doing. Only a few handful don't and they cause slight delays to the entire build. But I can't say that PD has done an absolute peace of mind job for us. I would say that there has been Ups and Down moments. But thats just with building your home. Many more Ups than Downs though.
But on a more serious note, I'm still waiting for contact from Team PD regarding my powder room tiles. One of the forum administrators from Homeone have apparently already escalated the matter to the appropriate manager and that I should be getting a call sometime soon. Still nothing... I really hope the tiles can be fixed...
Anyone else got a promise from the forums and haven't heard from them yet?