Building A New House
Jun 29, 2015 8:37 am
In June 2014 we purchased a 538sqm block in Gregory Hills, the land registered in March 2015, and we are now close to starting the build...
Below is a timeline of the events that have occurred so far....and I plan to do a weekly update on the progress during the build process. Please post any questions regarding Gregory Hills or Allcastle happy to advise on my experiances, I found these blogs useful on what to expect, so is doing this blog to assist others...
Feb 2014 - Sold our Beechwood house that we had built 8 years earlier.
April 2014 - Had been looking at new houses for a while. Had settled on the Allcastle Grandworth 42.5, but we then visited the Allcastle display at the ponds and saw the Savannah, which is smaller at 34 squares, but it a similar layout. We found the Grandworth had a quite a lot of wasted space, where the Savannah had the same amount of rooms in a more compact space.
May 2014 - Had some additional discussions with Allcastle to get an idea on price and the size of land that we would need. 500sqm was the minimum in order to gain approval via CDC. Price was also cheaper as due to the smaller size of the Savannah.
June 2014 - Did look at land in the Schofields/Riverstone area , but after a visit to Homeworld South and looking at the land in the area, we considered a piece of land that Gregory hills had available. It was an odd shape, and also included a Padmount Substation, but the price was considerably cheaper than land in the North West. After discussions with Allcastle, on if the Savannah will fit and any impact from the Padmount Substation. This all worked out OK, so we put the deposit on the land.
July 2014 - Exchanged contracts, and started discussions with Allcastle. Tender was supplied which was OK, although the Site costs were only estimates. It was made clear that the 150 day tender would expire before registration, so that would involve an increase in the base cost. Was indicated that would be in the low $1000's. Signed the tender and paid the $995 deposit.
August 2014 - Received the initial set of plans, the Savannah, which included an extension to the Study and inclusion of built in Wardrobe, and extension to the Media Room. All other changes were minor. Was happy with the plans so paid the additional $3005. Was told a 6 month build so should be in the house by the end of 2015, which was perfect as our kids would have to move schools and it is important to us that they start a new school year at the new school.
September 2014 - Received a package in the Post with Selections, and was told to start the external colours. They were finalised a few weeks later in a meeting to also discuss the plans. It was now a wait until registration, when Allcastle can access the land.
November 2014 - Roads have been completed, and on a visit to the land, we managed to access for the first time, and stand on the location of our new house. This was happy times until we noticed a double communications pit directly in the path of our driveway. We looked at what could be done with the house, but our options were very limited. Spoke to Dartwest the developers, as the pit was not on the plans, the General manager was very helpful and got his Project manager to deal with Opticomm the owners of the pit. Option was approval to put the driveway around the pit and upgrade the lids or to move the pit. After about a month Opticomm agreed to move the pit by 5m.
January 2015 - Took at while but the pit was moved by Opticomm, this was also a bonus in the end as they moved it 15m. Also visited the display home this month to show my Mother in Law the house. The prices had increased that Month, a lot more than what was first indicated, the Savannah had increased by $14,000. Was concerned by this but after a discussion with the salesman who told us that the new price includes increased ceiling and door heights on the ground level. These are worth $6000, which would not be included in the increase as they were not included in our tender.
February 2015 - Started the dealings with the Bank to get loan approvals. Banked needed an updated Tender as the current one expired in Dec 2014. Received the new tender and copped the $14,000 price increase, after a number of unsuccessful arguments with the builder and an offer to credit $2000, had to include the increased ceiling and door heights even through we did not want them. Was not very happy with the builder at this time, but after comparing price with other builders, Allcastle were still good value for money, plus we could not find another house that had a layout that was suitable.
March 2015 - Land registered (On time), and builder was able perform the site inspections. Arranged Bush Fire certificate and was rated BAL12.5 which had already been costed.
April 2015 - Settled on the land, and received the tender that includes Site costs. This came as a shock, as it was an additional $25,000 which put the house build over our budget. The site costs included fill, drop edge beams around the whole of the house, scaffolding costs, increase piering, machine hire, saline protection for the slab. For some reason, not sure why, they decided to increase street appeal by raising the house. After discussions with the pre-construction manager the house was lowered by 200mm, which dropped the tender price by over $10,000, plus we had another bonus when the soil sample confirmed we didn't need an 'H' class slab so another $5,000 saved. We also moved the house another 300mm away from the padmount substation and another $5000 saved in the 60/60/60 fire ratings... We where now back under budget, paid the next $4000. Allcastle Prices increased again, but after discussion with the pre-contruction manager, she got approval to extend our tender until the end of June 2015. Plans were now finalised and after 1 week we had the Basix certificate. House went for CDC.
May 2015 - Did the internal colour selections which went well, electrical had some delays as the Allcastle person only works 2 days a weeks. Most annoying part of the process is that Allcastle do everything sequentially, which does cause some delays waiting for your file to move from person to person. Got the contract and was informed that the build time is 34 weeks (8 month), 2 months longer than the sales person told us, another lie. Next was an issue with CDC, after 3 weeks they could not get approval, we have an arc at the front and the interpretation of the set backs was different between Allcastle and the certifier. Allcastle contacted the certifier they use on the south coast and he interpreted the same as Allcastle and 3 days later the house was certified.
June 2015 - All the Variations where finalised early in the month, and remainder of the 5% deposit was paid. Final step is the construction plans, which take 10-15 business days. Tomorrow is day 15, so we are hoping to receive them this week. Once we sign off those they have 20 business day to start.
Hope is they will start by the end of July 2015. Unfortunately 34 week build plus the Xmas shutdown we are looking at the end of April for Completion, which is not good for our kids starting a new school in 2015, which is the most critical for us. We have been told that 34 weeks is a maximum and they normally do finish well before that, so our best hope is completion during March 2015 which would still mean a 50 minute journey to drop them at school if we moved them at the start of the year.
I will try and do a weekly update on the progress as the build starts
Re: Allcastle Savannah- Gregory Hills2
Jul 05, 2015 10:03 pm
Hope the build goes well Wazza.
I'll hopefully be starting to build in July (also in Gregory Hills in the Warrigal release). We will have excess fill as part of our build, if it makes it any easier we would be happy to give you some.
Re: Allcastle Savannah- Gregory Hills3
Jul 06, 2015 10:51 am
We should be OK for fill, we have an area at the front and side of our house that is not being built on that will need to be excavated to level out for our landscaping, so I have requested the builder to excavate that to the use as fill instead of purchasing any fill, that should be enough. The excess soil from the piering will be used to level the back of the house...
Thanks for the offer...
Re: Allcastle Savannah- Gregory Hills4
Jul 06, 2015 11:00 am
Update - Was expecting to receive the Constructions plans and final variations to sign off last week. Was indicated 10-15 days which was Tuesday last week, I waiting until the Post came on Wednesday, before contacting Allcastle.
Sent an email to get a status and got a response 20 minutes later...Wasn't what I wanted to hear, which was they had been sent and you would get them tomorrow. I was told they would be completed this week and sent out by the middle of this week. So I should get them by the end of this week, which is another 1 week delay we could have done without...
This now means we would be looking at an August start...
Our tender also expired last week, but according to the Contract we have completed all the essential requirements before the contract expired so there should be no issue there...
Re: Allcastle Savannah- Gregory Hills5
Jul 08, 2015 10:59 am
Received the Construction plans and Variations for signing off yesterday, there was 1 minor issue with a double and single power point being the wrong way around (decided to leave as is, so not to cause further delay, we can get the Sparky that does our outside lights to change the single to a double). Everything else was OK, the variations came in under our provisional amounts so we are now about $500 ahead.
Wife is dropping off the signed documents now, I though this would means the start of the 20 days to start, but now found out they have to do a site inspection to confirm the site is ready, so looks like a couple more days...
Allcastle Savannah- Gregory Hills6
Jul 10, 2015 8:44 am
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. From my experience don't expect he house to be build in 34 weeks. It will take at least 52 weeks from the construction stat date till handover. Then you will still need to get your driveway done etc. Also don't expect to be compensated for the delay as a 1mm rain on the day will be counted as rainy day.
Re: Allcastle Savannah- Gregory Hills8
Jul 10, 2015 1:54 pm
I think every build is different, I have built before it was only Single Storey but was built in 19 weeks... I have heard some have taken 52+, but there are plenty of builds done in less than the contracted time...A good site supervisor plays a part in that.
We will see thought, would be disappointed if I was still making posts for week 52 of our build...
Re: Allcastle Savannah- Gregory Hills9
Jul 10, 2015 2:49 pm
We will see thought, would be disappointed if I was still making posts for week 52 of our build...
Once you reach practical completion, the builder can take as long as they like till handover. That's because time takes is no longer counted as build time. Also they will delay rectifying any fault you find at practical completion since it does not cost them anything. They already have most of your money. After all the delays, you will give in to get the keys. Trust me you will find out all the tricks the builders have up their sleeves.
Re: Allcastle Savannah- Gregory Hills10
Jul 10, 2015 4:43 pm
As long as any faults found a Practical completion are not a health and safety issues, I would be fine to proceed to handover and get the faults fixed during the 90 day period.
We built with Beechwood and in the end, and that worked quite well.
I assume from your comments you have experience of building with Allcastle, any feedback is useful to know.
I did read all the blogs and reviews on Allcastle, some of the good ones seemed to good and could have even written by Allcastle for all I know... The bad ones, all builders have them I found them useful on what I could expect, one or 2 things did occur, but the biggest complaint was rude staff, slow responses and staff that did not know what they was doing when it came to plans, variation, colour sections, etc. Didn't really encounter any of those issues. The whole process could have been a little faster, but it didn't take that much longer than our last build...
Electrical variations was a good example, the girl only works 2 days a week (Wed & Thu), I got the variations back to review on the Thursday afternoon, reviewed and responded on Thursday with some changes and issues, but missed her. Thought this was going to take weeks to complete and sign off. Got a call from her on Wednesday morning the following week, couple more calls and changes that morning and it was all wrapped up & signed off by Lunchtime, so couldn't really complain about that.
If I had to give Allcastle a score out of 10, I would probably give them an 8 at the moment pre-build. Sales person was good at the beginning, but when you get to the contract stuff we started to realise that some of the things we was told were not entirely true. Lost another point for some steps taking too long, most annoying part was the file gets passed around, place must be run by Men as there doesn't seem to be any Multitasking involved in the Process...
Have to see how the build process goes to see if they keep the 8/10...
Re: Allcastle Savannah- Gregory Hills11
Jul 13, 2015 6:12 pm
Got confirmation today that the Site is OK to start after the inspection. They have until the 10th August to start.
I knew the inspection was being done on Friday as I got a call from the Sales guy as the construction manager was lost in the middle of Gregory Hills. He was not aware that the only way to access our land is via Gledswood Hills as we are all the way over in the corner of Gregory Hills, and the 2 roads planned that will link us to the rest of Gregory Hills are not built yet.
Sent a map to Allcastle on how to access the land so they can put it on file, don't want trades not bothering to turn up as they can't fine the land...
Re: Allcastle Savannah- Gregory Hills12
Jul 30, 2015 11:09 pm
The land was pegged out last week so should be getting close to starting.
Haven't heard anything from the builder yet, but will start chasing next week as Friday is the end of the 20 day period where they have to start. That is unless the pegging out is classed as started.
Re: Allcastle Savannah- Gregory Hills14
Aug 02, 2015 10:37 pm
Thanks, next step is the cutting out of the site, hopefully that will be this week.
Good thing about the fence it will make it difficult for anymore concrete to be dumped.
I asked the manager at Gregory Hills what I can do about the concrete, basically it is contact the council to report it, but he said the council will not take any action unless you have evidence so unless the builder moves it on request there is very little I can do.
I have another Allcastle that has just had the site cutout near my parents in Riverstone, so they are about a week ahead of us, so will be keeping an eye on the progress and see how it compares to ours...
Re: Allcastle Savannah- Gregory Hills15
Aug 09, 2015 2:27 pm
Contacted Allcastle on Friday to get an update as the start date was Friday. Told that the file will be passed to construction dept in the next few days. Little bit disappointed that this still had not happened.
We should get a letter very soon with the start date interested to see what the date is as anything latter than the 7th August would be past the 20 days stated in the contract
Re: Allcastle Savannah- Gregory Hills16
Aug 09, 2015 2:31 pm
Visited the land yesterday, so we now have temporary fence, portable toilet and they have marked out the location of he house ready for the levelling of the land. Hopefully that will happen this week.
Re: Allcastle Savannah- Gregory Hills17
Aug 18, 2015 1:58 pm
Finally received our letter yesterday confirming the start date, Thursday 13th August 2015. My opinion it should have been earlier, but the letter stated that it required a council inspection before they could start, not something they had mentioned before when they told me everything was set to start.
Not really sure how true that was, or if they just added it to the letter to justify why the start date was 4 days after when it should have been.
34 week contract and 5 weeks Xmas shutdown, completion date should be 12th May 2016, plus the days they count as a rain days
Will be visiting the site this weekend, to see if anything has happened during what is now classed as Week 1 of the build process.
Re: Allcastle Savannah- Gregory Hills18
Aug 24, 2015 9:15 am
Week 1 - Land was cut towards the end of the week and was contacted by customer support to book in the Piering which is schedule for Thursday 27th August. Fingers crossed for no rain. The progress for the week was a surprise as we were not expecting any action this week.
Re: Allcastle Savannah- Gregory Hills19
Aug 29, 2015 9:18 am
Week 2 - weather was a concern for early in the week, but out customer liaison person contacted us a few times during the week to keep us informed. Luckily the weather cleared for Thursday and our piering went ahead as scheduled. Tender included 80m as I bumped it up, came in at 48m so a big plus and quite a few $1000 less. Our first build (Beechwood) at this stage we owed the builder $6,500 in additional costs for fill removal, fill import and additional piering. We are currently $3,500 under so will have that as extra at the end. For anybody new to building I would recommend adding another 50% piering to what the builder recommends, better to have extra money returned at the than trying to find additional money early in build.
Indication now is that the slab will be completed in 2-3 weeks so framing up of the slab will probably start next week
Re: Allcastle Savannah- Gregory Hills20
Sep 07, 2015 10:40 am
Week 3 - Paid a visit to the site on Saturday. On approach all we could see was the pile of fill from the cut and the piering that had still not been moved, so made the assumption that nothing had happened. As we got closer we could see the waffle pods and steel reinforcements had been delivered, and as we pulled up, the first part of the forming up of the slab had also been completed. Next step I believe is the pluming pipes that need to be set in the slab will be installed, then the remainder of the Slab forming up will be completed. So slab being poured could be end of this week or early next week.
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