Owner Builder Forum
Mar 12, 2011 1:07 am
Hi. I’ve only recently found this forum and I think it will be a fantastic resource for us over the next 2 years, so I’ve decided to document our OB journey here as well. We’ve actually been on this (incredibly slow) journey for about a yr already so I’ll do a few posts to come up to speed. We bought our property about 3 yrs ago and are currently living in a very dilapidated pre-1940s asbestos ‘cottage’ on the front of the block. The property is a 1.5 acre bush block in Maida Vale (perth foothills) about 25min from the city centre. We’d always dreamed on owning our own creek and this block has 2 of them, winding straight through the middle of our property. The 2 creeks join and form an island right in the middle of the block. We spent the first 2 yrs building a chook yard, 2 bridges over the creek, doing some major weed eradication, revegetating the native understorey, and basically getting a good feel for the block and how we wanted to live on it. We then designed our new house ourselves and had a draftie draw it up for us.
We have a very restricted building envelope to build on as we had to fit it between the existing house, 15m setback from the creek and a 6m setback from the side boundary plus a 3m embankment/cliff right next to the house. Hence the floor plan is an unconventional L shape. Probably not to everyone’s taste but it’s exactly how we want it and maximizes out views of the creek.
(I've just tried attaching some photos but it says "board attachment quota reached". How do you attatch photos & plans??)
Re: Another OB in Perth Foothills2
Mar 12, 2011 1:07 am
As we’re on clay we had about 500mm of clay boxed out and then 400m3 of recycled sand trucked in. As you can see from the pics it looked like a mountain range!We needed a bit of subsoil drainage around the perimeter which my hubby and I did ourselves, but apart from that site works went fantastically. The new house is 1.5 metres from our existing house (we had to pull down our back patio to make room) so life suddenly got very dirty (and has stayed that way!).
July 2010 we had the slab poured. That’s where we had our first real taste of OB hiccups. First the plumber doing the pre-lay decided that the recycled sand was too hard to dig so laid the pipes really shallow. Then the grano guys decided to pour the footings before the plumber had even finished (even though we asked him specifically not to 30 min earlier) which meant we couldn’t check the plumbers work and get him to do the pipes lower. This resulted in over half our pipes being ABOVE the footings. A very stressful evening was spent by my hubby chipping out the footings while they were still fresh and re-digging all the pipes in lower, then getting the plumber back in at 5:45am the next morning to check they were all ok.
The engineer had also specified the mother of all slabs with 500mm thickenings in a 4m grid, plus a screw pile in one corner. This is where I’m so glad that we’re living on site and I can be here all the time as just as they were getting ready to put the black plastic down I casually asked when they were going to dig the trenches for the thickenings and the grano guys said “oh sorry, we forgot about that”. Just to top things off they made some of our wet areas double their size and I was able to notice while they were still pouring. Thank goodness I was home!
Re: Another OB in Perth Foothills3
Mar 12, 2011 1:10 am
Next up we ordered our bricks, steel, windows and door frames. I spent a lot of time shopping for windows as we wanted to get the best that we could afford with our budget to limit heat gain in summer and heat loss in winter. We ended up getting uPVC double glazing for the kitchen, meals, and living windows and sliding doors, and Comfort Plus low e glass for all the rest of the windows. Cost a fair bit more but we’re hoping it will make the house a lot more comfortable.
This is where things slowed down dramatically. We then had a 6 week wait for our bricks (plus my father-in-law who was going to do the bricklaying was overseas). Bricks and father-in-law arrived but the day before bricks arrived, father-in-law decided to jump on a box, fell and tore the ligament in his shoulder. We then waited 6 weeks for his shoulder to feel better. It has always been my hubbies dream to build his own house alongside his dad (well the brickwork anyway) so my hubby took a month off work to lay bricks with his dad and they started 1/12/2010. They were going great guns and then F-i-L had a specialist appointment about his shoulder. Shoulder reconstruction surgery 2 days later and the end to his bricklaying for at least the next 6 months.
So basically, my hubby (who had never actually laid a brick before) started doing all the brickwork on his own under the supervision and teaching of his very frustrated father with his arm in a sling. He’s been doing a fantastic job, I’m so proud of him. I’ve helped out where I could mixing the mud and carrying bricks. Unfortunately his holidays have run out so he’s just doing it on weekends now until his dad’s shoulder is better enough to lay bricks again. He’s hoping to have all the internal bricks finished by April then when his dad is strong enough they will lay the face bricks together and put up all the steel for the carport and verandah. We’re hoping that we’ll be ready for a roof in May, but I’m not holding my breath!!
Re: Another OB in Perth Foothills...now with pics8
Mar 12, 2011 1:12 pm
That is looking fantastic. Your block really looks like heaven. You are lucky to find something to close to Perth that looks so great! Hat off to you for giving it a go yourself, look forward to watching this one Do you have a copy of your house plan?
The road to success is always under construction
House completed April 2011 - slowly making it a home...
Re: Another OB in Perth Foothills...now with pics9
Mar 12, 2011 4:31 pm
great work tam and welcome to H1 you will learn alot here and can teach others everyday i learn something new on here i find photobucket the easiest to download pics too good luck and we all love pics
stay safe happy building
Re: Another OB in Perth Foothills...now with pics10
Mar 12, 2011 6:00 pm
Thanks Zarli and bingoshelley. I've tried putting our floor plan up but I've only got it as a pdf. Might have to wait until next week and scan it at work.
I've already learnt a few tips that I never would have thought of. We're definitly putting bundles of insulation batts up in the roof space before the ceiling goes up. Thanks guys!
Re: Another OB in Perth Foothills...now with pics11
Mar 12, 2011 8:57 pm
Loving your build!
Most of my family live in the hills.... it'sbeautiful, I love having some where to go to get away from the city!
With your PDF - I uploaded mine onto photobucked and then pasted the link.
We love plans!!!
Building with Life$tyle Homes in Perth SOR
Key Dates on First Page of my Thread
Re: Another OB in Perth Foothills...now with pics12
Mar 12, 2011 9:31 pm
Wow what beautiful pics .... a stunning setting. Those piles of sand look like they should be a landmark. I cant believe you really needed all that!
This OB lark is hard work and you seem to be doing a sterling job. Insulate insulate insulate is my motto. Our architect stuffed up and we cant have a/c so we have stuck in insulation and believe it or not, on those revolting days our house was cool and that was before we put the windows in. (we have dg too!)
Looking forward to following your build
Re: Another OB in Perth Foothills...now with pics13
Mar 12, 2011 9:40 pm
Your land looks beautiful! Love the creek running through it! So lovely! I look forward to following your progress!
My building thread
Re: Another OB in Perth Foothills...now with pics15
Mar 29, 2011 10:37 pm
After much phaffing around I think I've figured out how to attach a copy of our floor plan. We've made a few minor changes since this was done but you'll get the general idea.
We've changed the laundry a bit so there's no longer a little passage to the door, and there's now a built in fridge recess in there too. We've also widened the passage leading to the bedrooms so thats now 1.2m wide. I know it's probably not everyones cup of tea but if you saw our site you would understand why we've done the floorplan the way it is.
Re: Another OB in Perth Foothills...now with pics16
Mar 29, 2011 10:48 pm
Insulate insulate insulate is my motto. Our architect stuffed up and we cant have a/c so we have stuck in insulation and believe it or not, on those revolting days our house was cool and that was before we put the windows in. (we have dg too!)
Hi kayandandy, I fully agree with your motto. I've been going around this week getting quotes for refridgerated A/C and I can't believe it will cost $1/hr to run!! We're putting as much insulation in as possible too but summer in the foothills is just disgusting - no nice sea breezes only disgusting, hot, cyclonic easterlies! We're definitley having ceiling fans in all the bedrooms and this week we've been considering putting ceiling fans in the living and meals area to try and reduce the amount of time we'll actually need A/C, but we just can't decide whether they are too ugly to have in our beautiful meals & living area! No matter what sort of funky fan we look at, it still looks like a ceiling fan. Think I'd rather a beautiful pendant.
Re: Another OB in Perth Foothills...now with pics17
Mar 29, 2011 11:01 pm
Just one other thing, can anyone explain to me why there is always such a massive variation in quotes for exactly the same thing?? It's so confusing. I've been getting quotes for a roof plumber to put the cladding on, anticon, and do the roof plumbing and cheapest quote so far was $15,000 three others ranging from 21,000 to 26,000 and most expensive $48,000. They've all quoted on exactly the same thing with exactly the same materials specified. I always get so scared about chosing the wrong contractor and picking the ******* one. And I know everyone says not to go with the cheapest quote but we purposely went for a more expensive quote with our plumber and had multiple problems with his work and had to sack him.
I've now gone directly to a steel company to find out rough costs of the materials, then we're going to chose 2 and ask for addresses of their previous jobs and have a squiz at their work. I'm just really scared of getting a ******* roof as our current shack/dump had a leak over my daughters bedroom and it was such a nightmare to fix.
Its just so exhausing putting this much energy into every stage/decision/tradie. We're not so great at making decisions, and there are just so many of them to be made!
Re: Another OB in Perth Foothills...now with floorplan18
Mar 30, 2011 12:43 am
My roof plumber was cheap. Where are you, I can ask if he will do you area and then send details. What other trades do you need because I have it Sussex now .... Finally!
Re: Another OB in Perth Foothills...now with floorplan19
Mar 30, 2011 2:20 pm
Thanks for the offer Kay, I'd appreciate that. We're in Maida Vale, so opposite side of town to you. We're also looking for a sparkie, plasterer and ceiling fixer and would appreciate any recommendations of good workmanship!
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