Links, Timeline and Other Information

Tuesday 18 October 2016

Kitchen Dispute

Things were amicable and agreeable with the Supervisor up until we reached the end of the fix out stage with the build. That was, until the builder requested payment for the second last contract payment.
So lets disassemble how it started, and where it ended, so that those following along can not repeat several mistakes made here.

When the kitchen was installed on May 4th, and as you can imagine a very exciting day. The next day we had a closer look through the kitchen and found a major issue with the design.
Handle-less drawers are a poorly explained concept.
A handle less drawer can be constructed in several ways, but in the case of a melamine/laminate drawer front, is made using a shadow line concealed within the cabinet carcass.
As you can see in the images below (off centre) you can see the concealed 'L' behind the drawer front.

4/5 - 4 Drawer Set (Kitchen Island)

4/5 - 2 Pot Drawer Set (Cooktop Run)
So whats the problem?

SPACE. Lack thereof
14/5 - Cooktop 3 Drawer no.1 (9cm)

14/5 - Cooktop 3 Drawer no.2 (13cm)

14/5 - Island Bench 4 Drawer no.1 (8cm)

14/5 - Island Bench 4 Drawer no.2 (8cm)
There are some serious issues with the drawers, too shallow and unusable.

Kitchen Drawer 'not fit for purpose'

Many discussions and verbal assurances are made by the Supervisor to address the issue and amount to nothing. Over the following weeks we are patient and understanding of the 'busy time' the cabinetry and warranty team are experiencing. That is until we request closure on the matter prior to paying the fix out stage.
LESSON 1: Get everything in writing.
At this stage, we begin to explain in detail everything from the very beginning. The lack of consultancy in the kitchen design, no details on the 'signed plans' showing drawer elevations of internal height. Back and forward, push and pull.
Exasperated by this process, we consulted with Fair Trading and several others in legal matters as to what we could do. Fair trading logged our compliant in the last week of July and followed up with the Rawson the next week.
Both Fair Trading and the HoBAS recommended we make good on the contract payment, so we did. The claim and resulting pressure forced the construction manager to meet and discuss in person.
LESSON 2: Get advice. Call Fair Trading, Call NSW Home Building Advocacy Service.
LESSON 3: The contract is legal and binding. You must get good legal advice to the contrary if you wish to withhold payment. Consider very very carefully if you will not pay.
Our meeting with the construction manager was refreshing. We had a reasonable discussion, agreed to meet halfway in the costs and Rawson committed to rectify the issue quickly.
We received the variation and pricing on 11/8.

The kitchen was later fixed to our signed variation on the 2/9.
Once again, our amazing supervisor put on his tool belt and made sure things got done right the second time around. Without his assistance i doubt the kitchen installer would have done anything.

Monday 25 July 2016

June/July Progress Update

Progress onsite over the last few months has been slow and frustrating.

The tiling took a long time to complete. The total time taken was a bit over a month. The tiling job was quite good, but the time taken has affected other installations such as the shower screens and plumbing. Not to mention the overall time added to our build!
18/6 Laundry complete

18/6 Master Bedroom Ensuite Complete

18/6 Master Bedroom Ensuite Shower

18/6 Main Bathroom

Shortly after the tiler completed his work, the plumbers returned to fitout the bathrooms.

30/6 Ensuite - Newbury 1675 Bath

30/6 Ensuite - Wall mount mixers and spouts
The final completion of the stair case railing! After more than 2 months, GENNERAL Stairs return to finish their work. Our railing was lost in an 'Admin' error.
27/6 Finally!

The Painters returned on the 30/6 to finish upstairs and start staining the timber work. Stegbar also turned up to install the show screens. The first of many problems to happen after this point as the frosted glass ensuite screen was incorrectly ordered.
30/6 Eden 4 1040W pivot

30/6 Study RIMM doors

30/6 Ensuite Shower Screen (incorrect glazing)

30/6 Main Bathroom Shower Screen
As the raw plaster sheets and timber skirting now have a coat of paint, the problems start appearing in the finishes such as bowed skirtings, and a bulkhead in the main bathroom is not square (nor is the vanity wall tiling!). Our issues register is getting bigger as we move along!

On a positive note though, the Site fence has been removed and the rubbish piles are disappearing.

1/7 Site fence removal
The month of July has pretty much been devoted to fixing issues on our list. Painters have been popping back every now and then touching up, patching, and sanding.
Bricklayers also came back to fix a few issues and replace some defective brickwork. Still waiting for another visit to fix up some areas before a final pressure clean.

10/7 Stair railing timber stained

10/7 Stair void railing stained

Monday 16 May 2016

Internal Fitout progress

April has come and gone with not a huge amount of progress but incrementally the internals are getting ticked off.

The garage door was installed and glass panels in the large fixed windows installed on 15/4 ( one panel didn't make it over the stairs as it smashed into tiny grains of sand).
Rainwater tank installation and door/timber deliveries.
15/4 - Garage door (Colorbond - Surfmist)
15/4 - Garage door installed

15/4 - Internal Doors (Corinthian)

15/4 - Front door (Eden 4 1020 wide Pivot - Veneer finish)

15/4 - Caroma Newbury 1675 Bath x2

15/4 - 3500L Tankworks 'Evolution' tank

Genneral Stairs installed the Victorian Ash Closed Stringer staircase on 19/4. For some reason, they installed a temporary handrail and railing upstairs. Still no sign of when the final balusters and handrails will be installed. The stud frame needed to be removed as the opening for the stairs was incorrect.

19/4 Stairs

19/4 - Removed section of stud frame
Kitchen and bathroom vanity cabinetry was delivered on the 3/5, and later installed on the 4/5. The Kitchen is comprised of Finger pull /Shadow-line drawer sections with door and drawer facing based on Polytec Polar White -Sheen. The kitchen island face is Polytec Belgian Oak -Matt, with a 70mm thick drop down seating bench in the same finish which will be installed after the Cesaerstone bench is mounted.
NOTE: The bulkhead needed to be shortened due to the splashback window being lifted as it needed to match the finish height of the bench.

4/5 - Kitchen installed
4/5 - Kitchen (cooktop run/window splashback)
4/5 - Ensuite vanity & mirror board

4/5 - Main bathroom vanity & Mirror board

4/5 - Powder room (semi recessed) vanity & mirror board

Painting has been getting done over the last couple of weeks 'on and off' since the 30/4. The walls and ceiling have got some sealer coats, with more recent work on the doors and skirtings upstairs. The gloss top coats have been completed on the windows and doors.
10/5 - Main bedroom (painting progress)

The site was also cleared on the 10/5. All rubbish has been removed which now makes the house look alot closer to completion!
10/5 - Site clean!

Benchtops were later installed on 13/5, with sinks installed and the kitchen cooktop cutout. The kitchen bench and bathroom benchtops are 40mm and 20mm Caesarstone Osprey (respectively).
13/5 - Kitchen bench (Caesarstone 'Osprey')

13/5 - Powder room vanity (w/ Veda semi recessed sink)

13/5 - Ensuite vanity (w/ Veda counter top sink)

This week will see the start of the tiling, more painting and a front door! FINALLY!.
16/5 - Sand delivered for floor tiles

Monday 4 April 2016

March Wrap up - Electrical, AC, and Internals

March has been a busy month, with lots of positive progress to report. Since last month's roof completion, several key items have been completed with the plaster work being completed last week.

Before we get into the building works of March, its time to share some information that others may benefit from.  For those building with Rawson, or other project builders, its important to have independent advice on this critical stage. We never received the Tyrrells' report, so this report was the only issue register that we got. 
Several things that were identified in the report were mostly rectified by our Site Supervisor. Most of these items were quickly fixed to avoid delays. A few key items were;
  • Brickwork (delayed until the brick layer returns)
    • Garage soldier course not straight
    • Some poorly cut bricks on the right side garage door opening
    • Cracked and eroded mortar joins
    • Poorly installed brick sill with oversized mortar joins on the rear elevation
  • Structural (all rectified)
    • Hoop iron straps in the alfresco not wrapped and nailed to the timber beams
    • 80% of internal frames require straightening (studs bowed or warped due to weather exposure)
    • Missing fixing bolts to post and beam in the Family room
    • Brick wall ties yet to be nailed to the stud frame in Family room
    • Speed brace tails yet to wrapped and nailed to underside of top plates
    • Remove all water from PVC pipework within kitchen floor
To be fair to our supervisor these items were mostly known areas or minor incomplete works, but the report being an independent unbiased expert opinion, it is critical to measure the structural integrity of your home. In my personal opinion, you cannot have too much advice, especially at this stage.

So onward with the March.

The floor fiberglass waterproofing was completed on 18/3/16. The first stage treatment is fiberglass sheets and resin lapped on the stud frame corners with additional fiberglass sheets layered on the upper yellow-tongue floor areas. The second treatment is a high viscosity resin (blue in colour) top coat to protect the fiberglass. I expect the floors will get another top coat when the walls are treated.
18/3 Master Ensuite (looking though the vanity nib wall)

18/3 Main Bathroom (Upstairs)
Note: lapped corners on the stud frame far right

The Indoor air-conditioning unit was installed on the 23/3/16. The system is plumbed (the white insulated pipes) to the ACU concrete pad on the ground level (eastern elevation services area). The unit is suspended from the roof trusses and mounted over a drip tray which is connected to a pvc drain pipe. The electrical circuit was prepared last month, so the AC contractors have now connected this circuit to the indoor condenser unit. All the duct work has been run to the outlet locations through several voids upstairs, located at the end of the bedroom 2/3 hallway, the bed 4/linen cupboard void, and the master bed entry pillar.
23/3 Indoor AC unit

Further progress on the electrical fit out occurred over a couple of days with the enclosure mounted on the garage wall on the 17th March. The service fuses, digital meter and point-of-attachment (POA) was later completed on the 24th.
Despite all these things being complete, the switchboard is still un-energized, with the main power breakers tagged and shutoff.
17/3 Meter box mounted on garage wall

24/3 Switchboard, service fuses and digital meter installed

24/3 Underground mains information and POA

The gas meter was also installed on the 24/3/16. So the front of the site got churned up with trenching both the power and gas.
24/3 Gas Meter connected

Insulation for the walls and ceiling was delivered on Good Friday 25/3/16, and installed on Easter Monday 28/3/16. All walls and 80% of the ceiling space was completed with the remaining bulk ceiling batts to be installed after the ceiling is lined (left in the roof void).

25/3 Bulk insulation packs delivered (note the finished waterproofing surface)
28/3 External lounge wall

28/3 External kitchen wall

28/3 External Staircase and WIP wall

28/3 Hallway and garage insulation

Finally, the plaster was delivered on the 30th of March, with the team arriving on Friday 1st April.
A whirlwind of tradesmen (5 in total) whipped through the panels, lifting massive sheets in a pair and a team of three lifting and fixing the ceiling sheets. Simply amazing to see these guys at work.
1/4 Midday inspection - Trades at full swing

1/4 Work in progress (Garage)

1/4 Work in progress (Laundry) NOTE: Blue panel is CSR 10mm aquachek 

1/4 Work in progress (Dining room section) NOTE: Two massive panels on the back wall
1/4 Alfresco complete

By the next day, all corners, joins and edges were set. simply amazing! Not a cornice in sight! love it!

2/4 Garage

2/4 Even the cub scout thinks the entrance is massive

2/4 Further down the main hallway

2/4 Kitchen

2/4 Dining

2/4 Master suite nib wall

2/4 Master ensuite vanity wall

2/4 Master ensuite shower

2/4 Stair void and upstairs hallway
2/4 Main Bathroom shower and vanity wall

Whats next?
Downpipes and rainwater tank installation