Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Sitting on our blogging hands!

The old adage “if you cant say something nice… then don’t say anything at all” has certainly been applied by Cam and I of late, with regards to blogging about our build. We did really want to update you all on what has been going on but the thought of writing it all down and reliving it again was too stressful in the middle of the silly season.

So here we are… it has been 2 weeks since we last blogged about the house and it is still very much a ‘brickwork in progress’. The relationship we have had with the “SS”/CM (inverted commas because he really has been a site supervisor in name only) has deteriorated and we have really been tearing our hair out.  He will revert back to our CM once the new SS starts, so unfortunately will need to deal with him further at some point.

Less than satisfied, we engaged the services of an Independent Inspector to run his eye over the build and here are some of the key things that he found.

  • Substandard wrap used underneath the bricks with no reference to Australian Standards (and wafer thin to boot!) Apparently all M builds are now using this cheap wrap with no Metricon branding and the company responsible will provide us with a compliance certificate for sustainability purposes at hand over. Little comfort at that point in time as if there is an issue - what can be done once built.  For all the sections that are ripped, shredded and pieced together by gaffer tape, the “SS” said he would get someone to fix it!??

  • Waste plumbing for powder room toilet does not line up and drainage is restricted. Not sure how this will be fixed yet. The 'acting SS' said he didn’t know the plumbing code and would get the plumber to fix it at some stage (what bollocks!).  Doesnt know the plumbing code.... how can he supervise the plumbing side of things of our build then.... further, he is ment to be a CM.  Offers little comfort to the customers of M.

    • The framework for one of the front portico piers (holding up the balcony) is sitting about 20cm under the ground, meaning the frame will rot over time. This particular issue the Inspector took photos of to put into his ‘idiots’ book! Our 'acting SS' wasn't to worried about it initially saying its how its done. However our inspectors report quoted Australian Building Standards (with sub-sections etc) so the SS will now fix it.  This will be fixed by propping up the frame and building a brick pier underneath on a timber plate.

    These are really just the tip of the iceberg. The wrong bath taps (ie Hot and Cold rather than mixer) were plumbed into the bathroom and Ensuite. There are windows/doors galore that are damaged.  The powder room windows are off centre so to fix the problem extra battens have been placed on one side to centre he windows - results in us losing some space on one side of the room. We are paying for a full room right...

    Then there are issues the bricks. The first batch of bricks delivered were mostly good with one pallet of bricks of a questionable lighter colour. No problem there, the brickies were cluey enough to use them on areas to be rendered. However the second batch of bricks warranted a second visit from the Selkirk brick rep who confirmed that because this delivery were of variable colour, height, length and depth, that they would need to be double-handled by the brickies. SOooooo to cut a long story mid-length… the wonderful brickies are still working on our house even though they should have finished it AGES ago because they are sorting out bricks as they lay them. Thank god we’re not footing the bill for that one!

    Anyways… we are sooo happy with the work that they have done and the quality of the bricklaying! Cam went up to see them on their last day to leave them a slab of cold beers and judging by how much more has been done they obviously did another 3 hours plus of work (taking them to well over 5pm on Fri 23rd Dec). How good is that!

    The Brickies idea of funny... it says "Nah, we want to keep this one, © owners"

    Garage walls

    Other garage wall

    Rumpus and Outdoor Room (glad we upgraded to the brick infills as it looks soooo much better!)

    Outdoor Room loveliness!

    Where the Jetmaster will be going... the firebox!

    Our actual front door... its over 1m wide... massive!

    The beginnings of the front portico piers, i love how the piers run in different directions!

    Portico from another angle
    They will be back on the mortar on Tues 3rd Jan to brick the rest of the upstairs part and finish off the portico. Interesting to see what wrap their use for the upstairs.  Then it is over to the cladding guys to do their thing. The plaster is to be delivered on 16th Jan so Cam is busy getting all the data, speaker wiring organised as we speak! If anyone has any advice on CAT 6 or speaker wiring please leave us a comment…  The general speaker / data wiring had been cleared with our original SS, so nothing untoward there.  If you are doing anything at all on site - you must clear it with your SS. 

    And finally….. HURRAY! Our new SS starts in the Central Area on Monday 9th January. We CANNOT WAIT!!!!

    It can only get better from here….


    Sunday, December 18, 2011

    Brick work - Day 5

    Well after a solid week of work, the brickie's have done a huge amount of work.  They have had up to 6 guys in the 'gang' so probably about right - but I had no idea what amount of work to expect.  Mike, the guy who owns the business sub-contracted to M - comes across as a very straight shooter.  He gave me his business card and I've spoken with him on the phone a few things during the week.  Didn't ask for this to happen nor did I expect it but none the less great to be informed of their progress.  He has 4 'gangs' working at any one time and does a heap of work for M.

    Still a heap of brickwork to be done including the portico, garage, around windows etc to finish up the ground floor.  Hope this is the focus this week heading into Xmas.  Second storey next year I guess.  Would have been nice to have been at lock up this year but the delays we have had with the bricks didn't help much..

    A couple of pic at the end of week 1 - bricklaying.
    From left front corner

    From left rear to street

    Outdoor room

    Rear right corner

    Right from to rear

    Thursday, December 15, 2011

    Brick work - day 2

    A quick drive by on the way home found the guys packing up and the first 10 odd rows of bricks layed.  Good start to the week.  The bricks have been mixed in well and all looks very good.  A couple of quick pic's from each side of our new house.  Can't wait until the weekend.

    Monday, December 12, 2011

    Friday on-site meeting & FINALLY - solid progress

    Friday's Meeting

    Friday mornings meeting went 'surprisingly' well and we finally have some solid progress....
    I didn't know how it was going to go, but had notes and plans in hand.   All but two items, from what appeared to be an ever growing list of issues, had been rectified.  The other two items he told me he was aware of and will be resolved shortly.  Interestingly, he had my emails in his folder with hand written notes all over it.  At least they have been addressed...

    He did use the Co. line re OH&S and being on-site etc etc... Not surprized by this given my emails with identified issues.  He also offered the use of the scaffold when its up to install my air-conditioning - that was a nice surprize.

    I'm a little more comfortable with his 'hands-on' approach.  But I will still be doing my regular review and asking questions etc so time will tell as to quantity of things I find.  I may have been a little harsh on him but things defiantly fall away with the hand over from our original SS to our new 'acting' SS.  But hey, its not an insignificant investment I'm making, so I'll continue to keep an eye on things....


    I'm happy to say the our bricks actually arrived on Thursday.  All but one pallet look good and will mix in well.  One is very light in comparison - which the 'acting' SS actually pointed out to me - so it will be used where rendering will be done or rejected and sent back.  There is about 7,000 bricks on-site now with a further 9,000 odd bricks to come when there is adequate room on site.  The brickie's were on site Saturday from around 7.30 to 4...  Surprised by that, but very happy at the same time.

    Not much in terms of photo's at the moment.  By the end of this week we should have half of the ground level bricked up and the 'lock-up' carpenter is in this week so maybe some changes to the internals.

    Lets see how the week unfolds.


    Thursday, December 8, 2011

    'Super' Issues....

    Just a quick update re progress and the latest with our SS.

    Well there has been quite a bit of progress with the framers being back to finish off a few things, the roof tilers have been back to finish off the rear ground level roof as well as the electrician, plumber and the duct guys have been in to rough in the electric's, plumbing and duct work.  Sounds all great but there are problems with all of their work, except the roof tilers.

    The framers have finished off the front portico which is great.  Problem is one of the vertical posts, which sits on steel stippups are to be bolted into a concrete slab - ensures no movement to the front portico and provides solid support for the front upstairs balcony.  Well one side is, while the other is sitting unbolted on dirt....

    The electrician has missed two lights.

    The plumber has rigged the bath(s) tap ware as conventional two tap system - should be mixers.

    The duct guys forgot to run duct work into an entire room.

    Apparently the bricks are now available and were to be on site today with the bricklayers to commence tomorrow.  Lets just wait and see.

    Latest with our SS...
    As you all know, our SS resigned.  No love lost between our former SS and the CM.  So much so, that these two guys would not pass each other in the street... only one would continue to walk on by...  A little ugly and I feel I'm in the middle...  Leave me out of it, you guys are old enough and ugly enough to sort it out yourselves.

    Anyway, we were told our file was to handed over to another SS, who we know of and has a very good reputation.  Well it turns out the Construction Manager (CM) has decided to 'act' as SS for our home until another SS from the Southern division transfers across.  I have a problem with this.  Not only is it M's building practice that all jobs have a SS, a CM, a Building Manager (BM) all reporting to the GM - which I do not have - the CM is still in his role as CM so in practice how can he be across everything that is happening on my job when he is looking after other SS x all their jobs.  Hence the above issues I suspect.
    The reassuring 'I'll be there as much as I can' doesn't cut it.  So, I voiced my concern with the BM, once we finally returned my call a few days later. Oh yeah, the return call only came after I call the GM.

    Satisfaction levels are not high and my reasonable expectations are not being met.

    I have a 8am meeting on site with the 'acting SS' tomorrow to discuss the above issues together with other items I've noticed. Oh, did I mention, I found out why I had not been supplied with a copy of the building inspectors report - it wasn't passed, four items not quite right.  Nothing significant but still not correct.

    Going to be a very interesting meeting tomorrow.


    Saturday, December 3, 2011

    10,000 clicks WOW!

    At precisely 12 noon today someone clicked on our blog to view a page for the 10,000 time! Wow.

    Thanks for reading folks!

    PS Cam is down the house checking the duct work, electrical rough-in and some other bits and pieces. Single storey roof has been fasciad (is that a word?) and it will be scaffolded and tiled on Tuesday. and Bricks arrive on Thursday, Brickies booked for Friday! We might have bricks done by xmas afterall but not lock up as cladding wont be on upstairs.