Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Inspection Follow-Up

I forwarded our inspection report to our site supervisor on Friday night as our inspector said the email was bouncing back.  It did the same for me and when I spoke with our CSO yesterday, she informed me that our supervisor could only receive text messages on his PDA, but that he would be in today, so she will print my email and the report for him and put it in his pigeon hole.

Our CSO also said she would contact the construction people because I was asking for a "Letter of Undertaking" that states what Clarendon would do because of the report.  Apparently, it is a legal document that binds them to finish whatever they say they will complete.  This was a recommendation from our Inspector.  Actually, our inspector also recommended that I obtain quite a number of certificates prior to handover.  There's about 11 on the list.

Today, our site supervisor assured me that everything on the document has been done except for the T junction girder brackets, which only has TEK screws because that is how they are now done and have been vertified by engineers as being enough.  I understood what he said so I didn't press the matter, especially because when I asked if Von could easily do it after handover, he said, he shouldn't even have to do that.  So, I was quite disappointed to find out today from our inspector that he had just done 3 re-inspections of Clarendon homes and all their site supervisors have done the bolting.

Our inspector's point of argument is that it will actually "prevent possible ceiling damage in the future as any movement from the tek screws will result in popping nails later causing undue maintenance in the defect liability period."  I may follow this up with higher authority as (1) it is in their best interest in the long run; (2) I would like to be entitled to what those three other homeowners got from the same company.

The damages to windows and doors are still to be fixed because our site supervisor normally gets those "fixed and cleaned" prior to handover.

Monday, March 30, 2009

A/C & Alarm System

I realised on Saturday, the day after the inspection, that the A/C ducting and the alarm system should have been installed prior to inspection.  So, I sent a text to our site supervisor, in case I forgot.

I followed it up today and our site supervisor said that the alarm system was indeed installed on Thursday.  The A/C was started on Saturday and completed today.

Batts were supposedly installed today.  I didn't even get a chance to look.  Gyprocking starts tomorrow.  Woohoo!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Frame Stage Inspection

Today is one of those "milestones" as Clarendon and our independently hired inspector carried out their inspections prior to internal linings.

Their certifier was there when we took Von's mum and sister around to the site (as they live quite a distance away and were in our area for the day).  He said, except for very minor things, the house has "passed".  We met up with our Independent Inspector at the site at 2pm and he was already almost finished.  He discussed his findings very briefly with us and with our site supervisor who was present for this inspection.  Our Independent Inspector sent us a report via email by tonight already.  Talk about professional and efficient! 

In the end, the Clarendon contracted Certifier pointed out a few things that were picked up by our inspector, too.  In my point of view, our Independent Inspector was worth the $495 we paid him for peace of mind and the extra bits which we were able to ask our site supervisor to have a look at.  There were a few items that needed another inspection during handover.  We were prepared to have two independent inspections done, as we were informed of this by our chosen inspector.  Just wish it wasn't as expensive!  Hint, hint, Howard, from H & K Ryan!

These are the main issues we are concerned with:
- A garage wall metal brace passing over a copper pipe fitting that needs insulation to avoing future corrosion.
- A truss bottom chord bracing that is poorly fitted in the top floor.
- The T-junction girder bracket/s are apparently tek screwed only when they used to bolt them together.

Also confirmed today that we are supposed to clean the boundary fences ourselves (which has quite a bit of concrete splashes).  In hindsight, we could have covered the fences OR asked the person who cleaned the bricks to give the fences a quick wash, too.  No big deal.  Von can pressure wash it with our rain water later.

Another thing that we confirmed, which, according to our inspector, no other builder requires, is that any footpath damage is OUR responsibility.  Well, the person who dug up our footpath to connect us to the main water supply just quickly patched up the big hole with asphalt.  I was too naive with regards to these.  Hope someone else learns from our lessons.  I read these in the contract but didn't realise the cost of doing the above.  I guess we can just ask whoever does our driveway, to re-do the footpath as well.  Besides, there were cracks on the footpath already and when I discussed this with Blacktown council previously, they said any further damage is our responsibility despite the cracks which would most likely make the footpath susceptible to damage once work on our site began.  Couldn't win that battle either and believe me, I tried.

Overall, we are happy with the inspection report.  

After our inspector left, our site supervisor stayed a little bit and I jokingly asked him if I should start lay-bying furniture as most shops only allow a maximum term of 3 months lay-by.  He said, "I would be doing that if I were you."  Apparenly, he has everything else booked in already and providing we have no unforeseen delays, he thinks he'll be "finished" by end of April.  Technically, with the allowances for Christmas and wet weather, he had told me that from when he got our paperwork, he really had until nearly the end of July.  You can only imagine how excited I got.  I estimate that with the clean-up after, the flooring and the driveway, we can probably expect to move in by end of May.  Our three boys' birthday party (all born in May), may not be that belated after all!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Inspection Booked, Plumbing Query, Update

Today, we heard from our site supervisor, advising us to book our independent inspector.  Woohoo!  We're booked in for this Friday, at 2pm.  Von and I just spent some time drafting an email to show some of the items we felt were questionnable:

1. The roof tiles in one section seemed too far from the fascia as compared to another section, such that you can peer through and see inside the roof.

Roof tiles too far from edge as opposed to photo below.
2. The front left corner where the frames hang over the slab considerably.

3. A small gap between the bricks and where the eaves finish in the front elevation. 

A quick update for work carried out in the last week:  Not much except for the scaffolding being removed from top roof, eaves and upper pipes being painted and scaffolding for bottom roof put into place.  Fascia and gutters for lower roof done on Saturday.

Plumbing inspection was being carried out when I brought over someone to give me a quote for the driveway.  He said there wasn't enough clearance for the bath spout and the flick mixer to be on the wall under the windows in the main bath.  We'll need a U-shaped spout (well, inverted) instead of the ones that simply jut out from the wall.  Apparently, this has to happen.  But when he told me that it would cost around $70 for that and another $200 roughly to relocate the plumbing, I asked him why we should be liable for this when this is not of our choice and it is certainly not within our control.  He said he'll speak to our site supervisor and see if Clarendon will waive the cost. 

To me, work has really slowed down.  Especially when there were days with nothing happening at all during a week with fine weather.  Nothing done today again but our site supervisor thinks gyprocking will commence on Tuesday week.   

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Eaves Out of Nowhere

With rain being on and off for the past few days, I didn't check on the house until today.  Surprisingly, the eaves were done!  Can't wait until Monday to see what else will happen.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

We've Got a Roof!

Yey!  We now have a roof!  All done in ONE day, yesterday - amazing!  I went past around 10.30am and found that the roof on two sides have been completed.  By 4pm, it was all done, bar the lower roof (over the garage).

I contacted our site supervisor today and had to send a text as he was on the phone when I rang.  He rang back very quickly.  I was all praise again because he managed to squeeze in the roof as soon as it stopped raining, thereby, limiting the delay in construction.  He said, it may take a while for more to be done as the rain delays has meant his carpenter cannot finish the eaves for a little while (don't know how long).  This also means, they cannot start any internal work like the electrical stuff until the eaves are done because he's waiting for that before the lower roof can be done (I don't know why the lower roof is reliant on the eaves, though).

I, then, contacted our building inspector who has phoned me twice complaining that neither Clarendon, nor our site supervisor, return his calls even when they have all his paperwork and credentials already.  He also indicated that I need to be on top of things as he has heard that Clarendon is currently having some issues with some contractors, causing delays to construction.

Hmmm, so far, so good with Clarendon and our site supervisor.  Yes, there have been issues, but nothing we haven't been pleased with the results after sorting it out.  

I still think there is a market out there for a liaison officer who can attend to all these nitty gritty stuff that I have been attending to, which full-time working clients, just have no time for.  Thank goodness, we're in a position for me to hold off working as much as I used to and pick up casual work with flexible hours.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Some Disappointment About the Roof

Most of the jobs our site supervisor had organised for the week happened but towards the end, it got delayed.  The cleaning of the bricks was on Saturday and when we drove by at around 9.30am, the man was almost finished blasting the bricks clean.  The thin film that covered the windows washed off, too.  And suddenly, the house looks more lively.  We did, at one point, wonder if the windows had the glazing we added.  Fortunately, once we looked had a look inside, one could hardly tell there was anyone inside.

The scaffolding was adjusted on Monday.  On Tuesday, the carpenter was supposed to trim the frames for the fascia and gutters.  I'm not sure if it happened on that day.  However, the first delay in the week happened on the Wednesday, when the fascia and gutters were supposed to have been finished already.  Mum said she saw someone come down and have a look and then he left in less than 10 mins.  Sure, there were forecasts of rain but it only drizzled at 3pm.

Yesterday, we drove by the site after picking the kids up from school and the gutters and fascia were completed!  How inobservant of me to not realise that fascia weren't made up of wood anymore!  Mum liked our colour combo externally.  Shame though that Von and I didn't notice (nor were we made aware) that the area above the garage is not bricked up.  Considering we have a brown door, perhaps we could simply paint that area close to the wooden colour?

Today, work was not carried out again.  That's two days in one week.