Saturday, November 27, 2010

House Demolished

With the power lines raised, the demolition could at last take place 4 months after we purchased the block. The tiles and anything else of value had already been removed, but now they could move some machinery onto site.

Finally on Friday the 26th, the house was demolished.

The garage has to wait until there is a site surveyor on site, since the garage wall is on the boundary with our neighbour. After that they should be able to remove all the trees and we can order the second soil test. Its not until we have the second soil test that they will know what sort of slab is required and we can sign the contract.

At this stage it looks like we will get the pool installed (did I mention we are getting a pool?) just before or shortly after the Christmas break, and then the slab laid in late January.

The Shed

Settlement for our old home was late October. After 5 months there was a minor hiccup at the last minute (from the buyer's side) that delayed it a few more days, but at last is was settled and its no longer our home.

For the duration of the build we are living in what we affectionately call "The Shed". Its a 1 bedroom studio apartment above my sister-in-laws garage which they built when they were renovating their house. We formed a second bedroom with bookcases for us, the kids get to share the separate bedroom.

The rest of our stuff is either in our mother-in-laws garage or a storage unit. I put down a false floor of bricks and chipboard in the garage to get as much as I could off the floor to try to keep things dry.

So far The Shed has been OK. Location wise it is in a fantastic spot for the kids to get to school and me to work. With the cousins right next to us, the kids are playing all the time on their Rip-Sticks, walking the dog, etc. We have found we are sitting around together reading far more than we ever did before. And we are watching far less television.

The only negatives so far are the single bathroom, including toilet and cat litter tray. That's taking some getting used to after living in a house with 3 bathrooms.

Power Lines Raised

With so much going on I kept putting off updating the blog. But now with some real tangible progress...

Late in September we had our colour selection meeting. It seems so long ago now that we can't remember what things looked like, you just keep your fingers crossed that you made some good decisions.

That was shortly followed by the tender meeting where we first learnt how much of a problem the power lines would be since they did not even clear the minimum required height above a driveway of 4.6 meters. The builders need 6m clearance to avoid the need for spotters, another cost that adds no value to the house.

Kate pestered the power company continuously to get some action, including escalating up. I have no doubt that if she had not done that if would have taken 2 months longer to get resolved. They presented back two options; relocate the neighbours power line to a pit and have a trench dug to reconnect it to their power meter, or get it raised to the minimum height required. The former would cost over $2000 for the pit and then the cost of the trench and reconnection would be determined when someone went to have another look. The later the power company would do for free, but not until 2nd week of December.

After speaking to an electrician who indicated the trench and reconnection could cost a few thousand, he said he could arrange to have the power line raised much faster than the power company. Finally early this week that was done using a extension pole on the neighbour's roof.

The phone and foxtel lines were also move to a pit and reconnected. The strange thing with those lines is that they never talked to our neighbour. They just returned home one day to find they had been moved. Telstra were also able to do this without digging up the front yard, they must have used some kind of boring machine that did not disturb the fence or garden.

Our neighbour has been very understanding and even though we try to pop by when we can to update him, he is surprised at what tradies have done without any paper work and direct approval. As are we.

The power line issue has delayed us about 5 weeks, but if Kate had not nagged it could easily have been over 2 months.