Sunday, December 21, 2008

Landscaping complete

The landscaping is complete and most of the maintenance items have been taken care of. Mind you, it did take some time, but probably because we are getting close to Christmas.

Here are some pics of the landscaping. The plants are a bit smaller than we would like, mainly because the wholesale stock was depleted at the time by the retail nurseries and the landscaper only wanted to use the "good" wholesale nurseries. We added some extra plants as well because the design we had might have made the garden look a bit sparse.

The neighbour behind us pinched 5 of the larger pavers according to the landscaper!

The white patch on the retaining wall was patched and we need to paint it.

Once the plants grow, you won't be able to see the pavers on the lower level and there won't be too many gaps between the plants. They're all native plants apart from the trees, which are dwarf magnolias.

Garden lighting near the deck

Water feature at the end of the deck. The photo doesn't do it justice.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Maintenance Inspection

We had our maintenance inspection today. There were only about 15 things on the list. Most of the issues are from movement as the house settles. However, we've had our other trades fixing little issues as they go. Some of the issues already fixed by our trades:

Roof leak from tile not sitting correctly (caused an external light to fill with water and short out).
Render not done properly at the front
Colour-blind apprentice electrician wired neutral and active back-to-front in a power point.
Crossed neutrals in some of the RCDs causing the power to cut out
Wiring the smoke detectors together (required by law)

Weeks ago, we had some urgent issues fixed the same day by Eden Brae, including a gas leak from one of the bayonets and some missing powerpoints.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Landscaping proceeding...a bit slowly

Our landscaping is progressing slowly. The landscaper has a couple of large jobs at the moment so we're all sharing.

Here are some photos of the driveway, retaining walls and pavers out the front. The walls still need to be rendered and painted:

The letterbox still needs to be constructed and the two pillars either side of front steps will have stacked stone.

The pavers and stepping stones. Plants and trees will be going in the blank areas with dark mulch and lucky stones. We are using natives and Dwarf Magnolia trees.

Here's some of the plants going in these areas:

Water feature, planter boxes, steel frames for timber screening and framing for the deck. If you look closely, you can see a drain trench beneath the deck frame towards the right. The water feature still needs a course or two of blocks, the spout and will be clad with stacked stone.

The plants to go in the planter box and beside it:

Ashlar pattern stepping stones. These stones will have a groundcover planted between them and lucky stones. Here are some of the plants in this area:

Monday, July 28, 2008

Wrong Fireplace installed!!

We realised this week that the fireplace installed is not the one we paid for. We paid for the top model from JetMaster and instead received the mid-range model which is a minimum of $500 cheaper. After discussions with Eden Brae, it was discovered the fireplace was changed because it would not fit in the space provided and the site supervisor told Jetmaster to install the mid-range unit. None of this was discussed with us and we were never notified of the change. Had we not checked the contract we would not have known.

At least Eden Brae came to the party immediately and will provide us with a cheque for the difference but we were disappointed the substitution of the fireplace was not even mentioned to us until we discovered the difference ourselves.

We have moved in now and our appliances are being installed tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

We to finish off

We settled last week with only a couple of minor issues. The laundry tap needs to be replaced because it is the wrong one and the exhaust fans in the bathroom need to be ducted to the outside (to compky with BASIX). The tap will be replaced on Friday and the exhaust fans will be replaced as soon as they are available.

The liquidated damages was reassessed and we came out with quite a bit more than the builder's original assessment. I think both parties are satisfied.

The splashback issue was resolved by moving the rangehood lower to meet the splashback. After speaking to the rangehood manufacturer, the rangehood is above the minimum height required so there are no real issues. The electrician appears to have thrown out the instructions though.

The landscaping has started now. We had the design done by Bird's Landscape Design and we are using Mirage Landscaping for construction. They're not the cheapest but they seem to know what they're doing and actually care about the job. The hard landscaping is being done first while the soft landscaping, irrigation and plants will be completed in Spring.

Here are some photos:

Footings dug for retaining walls. Notice the electrical (that was supposed by done to 600mm by Eden Brae is actually at 300mm).

Footings out the front (the exposure on the camera was set wrong).

Treated pine retaining wall down the side. These guys mix their own concrete and it's much better than the 'Rapid set' stuff

Reinforcing for the concrete footings and drainage for planter boxes. There's quite a bit of steel in there. At least the camera exposure was right here.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Poor and Good Service

Yesterday we had another look at the premises and found a lot of faults still weren't rectified from the the pre-handover inspection of 2 weeks ago. The construction manager was out there with the site supervisor. We've found the construction manager the most professional of all the staff at Eden Brae.

After giving a spray about the service in writing (mind you it was backed up with facts and examples and wasn't too emotional), the construction manager rang us today and is going to sort out the remainder of all the issues. We are no longer dealing with our site supervisor and dealing directly with the construction manager and area manager. The construction manager is very unhappy with the service we've received.

The construction manager has also kindly offered to pay for another inspection from Howard Ryan to make sure everything is A-OK for settlement. This sort of service is above and beyond what we would expect but it's nice to know despite all our problems there are some professional people at Eden Brae willing to go the extra mile.

Liquidated Damages

Yesterday we received notice of our liquidated damages. Basically, after taking an extra 22 weeks than the contract sign date, they've claimed 3 weeks extension for the 3 weeks until site start, 5 weeks for over Christmas because the contract says they can, even though their workers were back after 2 weeks and another 8 weeks of weather delays. The overall amount was 6 weeks x the rental guarantee of $380 per weeks. They've tried to get out of the additional penalties listed in the contract.

Eight weeks of weather delays is a bit much even though we had some rain. We've asked for a breakdown of which days they are claiming and what trades could not work those days because the contract still states that the "in the reasonable opinion of the builder" work could not be carried out. If the trades involved are plasterers, how can they claim rain delays?

The most ridiculous comment was when they claimed in their letter of damages that we hadn't paid within 5 days of the invoice date. Our first invoices were received on 5th November 2007, with an invoice date of 19th October. The builder has obviously back-dated the invoices.

Have a look back at some of our posts where you can see the progress, considering the brickwork claim was dated 16th November 2007 (brickwork was clearly not complete). The internal linings invoice is dated 21st December 2007 (the roof was still being done and the insulation and electrical hadn't been started).