Building A New House
Jul 20, 2018 9:32 pm
We’ve finally been given a start date for our build so it seems a good time to start a thread!
We are building a KDR custom design in NW Sydney. Timeline so far has been as follows:
Nov 2016 - Engaged architect
Oct 2017 - Submit to council, start interviewing builders and getting quotes
Mar 2018 - Council approval granted
Apr 2018 - Discover issue with Sydney Water sewage pipe (more of this later)
Mid-July 2018 - Resolve issue with Sydney Water sewage pipe
20 July 2018 - Signed with builder, start date given 2 Aug 2018, completion date Jun 2019.
1 Aug 2018 - temp fence and portaloo up
Our design brief had a few requirements:
Two storey, with guest BR on ground floor
Attached granny flat for my mum
Ground floor future proofed
A few feng shui principles
The Homeone community has been invaluable, especially on design suggestions!
I’ll put our floorplans up in the next post.
Re: Custom build Sydney Hills2
Jul 20, 2018 9:35 pm
Re: Custom build Sydney Hills3
Jul 20, 2018 10:22 pm
What a complex design.
I understand it may be a bit late to provide any comments, however, some of the below items can be approved during the build by selecting better materials or via variations.
I had North facing design with courtyard area too, but decided not to proceed with it - it will be always dark and cold as it will be always shaded out by the house itself. And this is why your rumpus and second living areas are likely to be relatively dark and cold too.
Reverse brick veneer is nice but make sure your RBV walls are directly opposite your northern glazing (for the truly passive insulated thermal mass design), i.e. in your case it might make more sense to have some of the internal walls made of brick (or concrete) instead.
Overall, don't focus too much on thermal mass due to the fact that your orientation is far from perfect and most of the northern sun will be blocked out, so there won't be much of benefit for the high thermal mass.
Focus on proper blanket-type wall insulation and invest in decent double or tripple glazed windows with good Low-E/Solar protection where needed instead.
Also think well on how you are planning to shade out eastern facing windows in your bedrooms, wide eaves is a must, but also think of a solar blocking glazing, etc.
Hope it helps.
Custom build Sydney Hills4
Jul 20, 2018 10:57 pm
You’re right, there were lots of tweaks and adjustments in the design process to get the sun in at the right times and places. Our architect’s year round sun diagrams were very useful for this.
We have RBV on the north facing walls (needed it for Basix in fact). And we’ll also be using phase change materials in some areas.
Double glazing for all windows and curtain walls. Plenty of insulation as it’s a lightweight house. Eaves and pergola with deciduous climber.
The secondary living room can be closed off so in the hottest or coldest times we can be in there with the aircon on and it’s a relatively small space to heat/cool. The stairs have a window at the top and acts as a chimney to funnel heat up and out of the house.
A lot of thought went into it.
Re: Custom build Sydney Hills5
Jul 20, 2018 11:06 pm
So as you can see from my OP, a fair bit of delay from submission to council to start date. We went through council rather than Certifier as our architect felt that the design has a bit of complexity that the Certifier would probably have to refer to council anyway. So the extra time for approval was expected, plus the Christmas break.
The issue with Sydney Water though - what a shamozzle! TLDR, their Hydra drawings showed a sewer pipe running through our site that we’d have to encase, but we couldn’t find this pipe and they wouldn’t believe us that it wasn’t there.
Long version - My parents built the original house on greenfield land 30 years ago. We knew there is an easement along the back fence, but the recent Dial-Before-You-Dig diagram showed another sewer line along another fence. We were quite puzzled so our builder-to-be (BTB) looked into it for us. There were no manholes on the site to be found even though they were indicated on the diagram. Dye tests were run etc and BTB concluded that 30 years ago the pipes were laid differently from where they were supposed to be, but the diagrams were never updated. So the conversation with Sydney Water went something like this (over a 3 month period, not verbatim):
BTB: We believe your diagram is incorrect.
SW: No, our diagram is correct.
BTB: But we’ve run tests, and they prove the pipe’s not there
SW: No if it’s on the diagram, it’s there.
BTB: Well can you come out to have a look?
SW: No don’t be silly, we’re too busy - you’ll have to dig a trench to find it. Oh, and it’s at your expense.
<We pay for a small digger to come out for a day, as well as a plumber. A long trench is dug perpendicular to where the pipe should be, and a metre deep. Another hole is dug at the other end of this alleged pipe>
BTB: There’s no pipe.
SW: It’s on the diagram, it must be there. Oh alright we’ll send out one of our contractors. This issue has never arisen before, so it can’t be happening now. And by the way, the person dealing with your case is going on holidays for a couple of weeks.
SW Contractor: There’s no pipe.
SW: We don’t believe you.
BTB: Can you send one of your own guys out then?
Us: That’s it, we’re getting the ombudsman involved.
<We inform SW that we have contacted the ombudsman. Still no response but that same week our neighbour tells us that a few people from SW came to poke around the neighbourhood and peer into existing manholes. Aha! Movement at last! Surely they’ll realise the pipe isn’t there and allow us to get on.>
BTB: So we heard you were inspecting the pipes. What is your conclusion?
SW: (the day after the ombudsman contacts them) OK, you’re right, there’s no pipe. Here’s your approval. Now go away.
Us: We’ll be lodging a claim for expenses
SW: Oh if you must. It’s never happened before you know, so no one wanted to deal with it. Ever watched Utopia on the ABC? People think it’s a satire of a government department, but it’s actually our training manual.
Re: Custom build Sydney Hills with attached granny flat6
Jul 24, 2018 10:22 pm
Facade. Paint colours haven’t been decided yet, although trims will be white. Any suggestions welcome! Roof and garage door are surfmist colorbond, all external walls weatherboard.
Re: Custom build Sydney Hills with attached granny flat7
Aug 01, 2018 1:04 pm
We went to the old house to dig up some plants, turned into the street and saw this! That’s got to be the most beautiful Portaloo I’ve ever seen
After all these months, stuff’s gettin’ real!
Re: Custom build Sydney Hills with attached granny flat8
Aug 13, 2018 1:00 pm
*sigh* ...and everything’s come to a screeching halt again.
Utilities have been the bane of this build! First it was the 3 month debarcle with Sydney Water, now AGL is telling us our gas has not been disconnected. This despite the fact that we contacted them in January to disconnect AND there’s a tag on the meter marked “DISCONNECTED”.
Apparently it will take another 20 days for Jemena to disconnect. We asked them to expedite the disconnection and got a snarky email saying we should have planned it earlier. Hello, yes we did!! Anyway we suspect that email is a standard one sent to anyone who asks for a quick turnaround. Hopefully 20 days is the max and they actually do it sooner. That said, we haven’t much faith in Jemena, a couple of years ago our HWS broke down and had to be fixed...and they were happy for us to go 6 weeks without hot water! Luckily it was summer.
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