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Tuesday 15 December 2015

Brickwork 95%

Well it has been a tad over 1 month of labour on the brickwork and we have hit the wall (pardon the pun). Due to our original site supervisor deciding to go his own way last month, we have been without site level supervision assisting the brickies. The brickies have moved onto another job as they ran out of bricks, presumably due to the construction manager filling in between site supervisors.

We still have some remaining works to be completed;
  • Stairs with concrete treads to the alfresco and laundry
  • Lintel, sill and upper brickwork on the study window
  • Alfresco slab face veneer and door sill
Despite these outstanding tasks, the brick cleaner has swept through the quiet worksite and scrubbed up the brickwork. We are very happy with the craftsmanship. This crew has been spectacular and i'm impressed with the speed and quality of the job.
Our earlier concerns about the colour/character of the austral bricks are long forgotten now!

The contrasting colour of brick and mortar is beautiful now that it has been revealed. The brick character is now visible in the detailed photos below. We are very chuffed with the result.

4/12 Man in action! (entry patio)
Garage 'workshop' parapet wall

4/12 Garage opening

4/12 Western elevation - Studio, laundry and lounge wall (note: missing steps)

4/12 Dining Room window detail

4/12 Rear view - Lounge window, alfresco (note: missing alfresco veneer, door sill and steps)

4/12 Western wall - from street view

4/12 Front facade - from street view

4/12 Eastern elevation - Kitchen window

Wednesday 18 November 2015

Brick Work - Week 3 Update

As we started this week, the brickwork has been completed to the first level. Extra bricks were delivered late last week and the green brick waste bin was swapped on Monday 16/11. More sand was also delivered in preparation for the next wave of work.
12/11 1st level brick work nearing completion
12/11 Second delivery of bricks

Yesterday, the scaffold was being erected. This will now allow the bricklayers to continue the upper level brickwork.
We received an update today from the SS, advising that the bricklayers expect to complete the brickwork within two weeks (weather permitting!). He also has lined up a brick clean, with fascia, guttering and roof tiles to follow.
We can now expect the eaves and cladding to be completed prior to Christmas. It will be a relief to know the site will be weather proof before the Christmas break. Fingers crossed the weather doesn't delay the schedule.
17/11 Scaffold delivery

17/11 Scaffold installation on the western boundary

17/11 Hive of activity

Monday 2 November 2015

Brick Work - Day 2 Update

Another epic day of brick work.
Even with one man down, the Labourer and Brickie managed to get another 10 lineal metres bricked.
Laundry door / Dining room window

Dining room window

Lounge window (West back corner)

This crew is absolutely amazing! It's quite exciting seeing so much progress each day. Lets hope the Sydney weather keeps shining!
Special thanks to my assistant's who are supervising the work each afternoon!

Friday 30 October 2015

Brick Work Begins

Another major milestone has begun onsite. The bricklayers have arrived on-site today to start the  masonary work. The team dropped off the mixer and barrows late yesterday, indicating an imminent start of the works.

I briefly met with the team this morning. Nathan and his team only just started the very first course as i arrived early this morning.

By the end of the day the team have made some amazing progress. 18-20 courses over a 10m section.
At this rate I'm seriously impressed.
West Workshop wall

West Laundry door (right) /  Rear workshop door (left)

South Workshop rear wall (closeup)

Workshop / Media room wall (closeup)

Laundry wall (closeup)

Saturday 24 October 2015

Timber Frame Completion and Plumbing

Our structural frames reached completion in September. Wow, this house is really taking shape!
Aerial View 6/10/15 (thanks Raj!)

29/9 Front right - Garage and Driveway angle
29/9 Left side - Study and Entry view

29/9 Extra garage 'Workshop' roof and Bathroom window

29/9 Kitchen splashback window (note missing reveal as the kitchen bench extends into this area)
29/9 Master suite (large window in retreat)
29/9 Bathroom picture window (not really)

Lets discuss whats been happening since last month.


The rough in started shortly after the frames on 5/10/15. Plumbing in now complete with Sydney Water mains connected and gas lines ready for connection later on. On with the pics....

10/10 Main bathroom - Bath mixer

10/10 Master BR - Ensuite shower mixer

10/10 Master BR - Twin sink mixers

17/10 Plumbing stack in Lounge/Kitchen ceiling

17/10 Entry Hallway. Lets hope there's no issue with the downlights eeek.

Issues so far....

As you can see in the photos above, we received the bricks shortly before the carpenters finished. When we first sighted these pallets, our immediate reaction was 'they are very dark'.  When compared with a brick sample from the brickyard in 2014, we immediately figured it must have been another style from the same brick range.
28/9 [Rosewood] Site delivery (Left) - Brickyard Sample (Right)
We raised this with Rawson and Austral. (28/9/15)
As discussed over the phone, the bricks delivered to site appear to be different to the range we inspected/selected last year. I understand there are different batches in each preparation but these are the problems:
1) darker tone and hue (black/grey tone rather than red/brown)
2) hearting character in the pallet sample that was not present in the sample we received last year, and wall display at the Austral selection centre in Horsley Park.
3) texture loss
I'd like to discuss these issues with yourself and a rep from austral if possible. I'd like to clear up these issues before we launch into  brick construction.
I have attached the pic of the pallet sample (left) and the original brick (right) that we thought we were getting. The brick range selected is Rosewood, but i feel we got something different.
We heard (7/10/15) from the regional representative and it kind of sounded literally like a brick wall (pun). The response however, was to be expected.
a) The delivery was representative of the range we selected and these bricks were first class quality.
b) Variations are to be expected as colour and texture ranges from batch to batch.
c) The bricks were manufactured as per Australian & New Zealand Standards (AS/NZS 4455 & 4456) and comply with Masonry Code AS3700.

Not willing to accept this, we visited the Austral selection centre again to look at the display walls. The samples in the shed were different to the wall display, and the sample was quite similar to our delivery pallets. There was clearly more to speak about this, so I followed up the rep with a phone call and he was fantastic!
I was quite taken back considered the attitude contained in the email. We exchanged a few calls and the rep was adamant they wanted us to be happy. Austral agreed to allow us to inspect the yard batches, and swap out if needed.... at no cost!
We booked in a visit (17/10/15) to the brick yard and the helpful site manager escorted us through the yard.
We checked out the batches of the Wilderness range; Rosewood and Blackberry and also actually found an older batch of Rosewood. We liked the older Rosewood batch as it was the tone and texture we preferred in the sample in 2014. Unfortunately most of these pallets were quite damaged. We considered the options and ultimately decided to keep the current delivery.
Regardless of the result, it was reassuring to check the yard and the batches that Austral held.

Ensuite Window;
During our discussion with the bricks, we also requested a change to our ensuite bathroom window.
In the display home, this is a large feature window.
Edge 39 'Display' home in Kellyville - Bathroom picture window

Firstly, we missed this detail numerous times in our design sign-offs and interior selections. The window on our plans was clearly shorter than the one pictured above.

I raised this with our SS, and we plan to look closely at this during an onsite meeting on Monday (26/10/15).
UPDATE 26/10/15: After further investigation, the window is not able to be changed to the one displayed in the Kellyville display home. This is due to the workshop pitched roof section. Unfortunately we would have to change the roof section to flat, which would amount to a large variation. We just had to let go of this. My better half is rather deflated with this news.

Now we are up to date.

Sand delivered late this week for the brick layers. Next post; Brickwork.....
23/10 Sand delivery

Friday 11 September 2015

Plumbing and Frames Part 1

Its been a while between posts, so.. lets catch up on things that have been happening over the last couple of weeks.

I recently stumbled into an amazing facebook user group, the Ryde Northern Districts - Buy, Swap and Sell.

I picked up some cheap Cliveas from a lovely lady in Ryde, snuck into the site and jammed them into the back corner! Hopefully they will multiply over the next 9 months so i have more to spread around the side of the house after we move in.

23/8 - Plant storage ;)
The slab is now well and truly cured! We had some delays caused by some troublesome windows. Firstly, our neighbour took up issue with them being stacked up against the fence as well as the tradesmen who refused to work anywhere near them. Thankfully these were moved to allow some deliveries.
26/8 - Concrete Square pits and RHS Delivery

Eventually, the plumbers managed to get onto site to trench and dig the drainage.
I missed the whole thing... I couldn't see the trenches or the depth of the pipe work. I've been dropping in so much lately without any sign of progress. Without any sign of work, i actually backed off a bit... And then bam, Tuesday 1/9/15 drop in and it's all done!!

1/9 Hollow Section (RHS) street outlet - RWT overflow

1/9 'West elevation' Downpipe connections and a few surface drains

1/9 600sq Pit - Silt arrestor prior to absorption trench system
1/9 'East elevation' Charged line Rainwater Tank connections (green), Downpipes and surface drains

Aerial shot of the site taken on 1/9/15.
Nearmap image of the worksite
Timber frame delivery arrives shortly after the plumbers are complete. The first pre-fabrication frames, joists and yellow-tongue supplies get lifted off the truck.

2/9 Frame delivery

2/9 Frames, Joists and Floor panels

Our Site Supervisor has managed to get some carpenters over to Rawson that he used to work with. First Class Building Construction Pty Ltd.
After some delays with the paperwork, the team arrive onsite and start to stand up the frame.
10/9 Frames - Day 1 AM
10/9 Frames - Day 1 PM
11/9 Frames - Day 2 PM + Another timber delivery

11/9 Frames - Day 2 PM- Garage Steel work and start of floor joists

11/9 Frames - Day 2 PM- Truss delivery
The build is starting to take shape. At the current rate of progress, the frames should be complete by Tuesday/Wednesday next week. I will be looking forward to view the scale and size of the building, so I'll be hovering around next week to see it come together.

Lengthy delays ahead. Bricklayers, are said to be paid in beer and gold...even Greenback ;)