Sunday, 24 June 2012

The 'Post Contract' Process

Just a quick update. All week last week we were waiting for the second set of documents. Finally an email late in the week with our post contract variations attached. Simply a list of the minor variations we wanted to make to our tender document. These variations were identified at our contract appointment. Unfortunately the list was not accurate and we sent it back with amendments for review. We await the response.

We were also expecting amended and accurate drawings (including plans and elevations) as well as final engineering and energy assessment - but these have not been forthcoming as yet. We are really hoping these documents will be available early this week. With a vacant block, we are simply keen to get to site start asap.

Regarding the site, I note that CG had time through the week to erect their signs on our temporary fencing. Excellent product advertising I thought. Also, the electrical pit appears to be in place (it's a round concrete disc visible in the footpath at the front of the block). I must say that CG facilitated this entire process (I just paid the bill) and made it very easy for me. Really good service on their part there. Thanks EN.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Contract Appointment

We had our Contract Appointment on Monday and I was expecting all the documentation to be in order and to reflect prior agreements and discussions. I must say, I was a little disappointed that it wasn't. Although our second soil and survey has been completed, our final engineering was not available nor was our final 6 star energy assessment. I thought they would have been finalised before our contract appt.

Also, I have been assured that Carter Grange have (or are in the process of) updated their Contract Specifications to reflect that the building materials, tolerance values and standards of workmanship for their building works are now in line with the requirements of the Building Code of Australia (BCA) and Australian Standards (AS). This was not the case when they were working off their Contract Specifications dated Oct 2010.

Again, I was expecting that these updated Contract Specs would have been presented at our Contract Appt, but they weren't (it was still the old specs dated Oct 2010). I expressed my concerns here, and CG were quick to confirm they were still fine-tuning the new specs and that they would be available within the next few weeks. They confirmed the new specs would be used to govern this build and would simply be added as a post contract variation. At this point, I have no reason not to believe this.

We had a few small changes we wanted to make - add a light here, an external tap there, widen the fridge space - small things (not structural). So I am told the process from here is to raise these as post contract variations also and that a second lot of documents will be generated to reflect these post contract variations (and hopefully also our final engineering and energy assessment) as well as our production drawings. So right now I am simply waiting for these second lot of documents. Fingers crossed they are accurate and complete and contain all the required information so that we can pay our deposit and move on to the next stage.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Demolition Stage

With tender documents signed, the emotional but necessary step of demolishing our old house was required. The demolition took 3 days and the wrecking machines made very short work of our old home. We have now been left with a complete clear site. The perfect site for a new home!

With the old house gone, Carter Grange (through our site supervisor) will now inspect the site and arrange for a second set of soil & survey tests to be performed so that final engineering can be determined for this build. Concurrently, I am told that contract drawings are being finalised in readiness for our contract appointment later this month. I have not yet met our site supervisor, and am looking forward to this meeting as this person will be integral to the final outcome and ultimately, our satisfaction with our new home. I am told Carter Grange employs the best in the business and that each supervisor has a limit of 8 builds at any one time. To me this seems manageable and is reassuring too.

Carter Grange has also helped us with the application to our electricity wholesaler, Jemena, in regards to setting up the electrical power pit required to get power on site for the build and also for our future home. This has been very helpful and I am confident we will have power to site ready for site start very soon. Our old house was serviced by overhead electricity that came in through a power pole across the street. A word of warning. While I was aware an electrical pit would be required (most new homes will now receive power from underground rather than overhead), I had no idea how expensive it would be to have one established - $2864. Unexpected expense number one. I actually have no idea why it is so expensive, since ownership of the pit actually remains with the power company. Perhaps I'll look into this.

The other cost you will need to consider (that I have already paid for and hence did not mention before) is asset protection (permit and bond). This is required by your local council and acts as insurance against any damage to council property (ie footpaths, crossovers, gutters) through the course of building your new home. The demolition company requires a copy of your asset protection permit before they will demolish your old house.

So at this stage, I am simply waiting to hear from Carter Grange that they are happy with the site and have completed final engineering and costs.