Share our trials and tribulations as we build our new home - a custom Dominico by Fairmont Homes NSW

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Changes to Check Plans

Sorry, it’s been a while between posts. It’s been a busy time!
After careful consideration Mick and I drafted up changes to the first round of check plans and sent them off. We are yet to receive the amended plans but we have been given the “bill!” All-in-all it’s not too bad. It’s a strange one to pick though, as some things come with a considerable “builder’s mark-up” like upgrading to a more powerful inverter a/c unit, then other things like appliances are at a good price. We need to go over the variation carefully and decide what we want/need to keep and what we can live without. Like $2.6k for having sliding doors to the built-ins instead of normal doors. We will eventually have to have the wardrobes properly kitted-out anyway (as they will only be built with a single shelf and rail) so we can always have the doors changed then (we don’t currently have any permanent residents for those rooms, so we have time).
Choosing the external finish has also been daunting. It’s so hard to be sure how the finished product will look. We like the Iron bricks from Austral as a feature brick, but with such a ‘modern-looking’ home I worry brick is too traditional…though the strong colour of these bricks make them more ‘trendy.’ It’s also a lot extra for render but we need a crisp line for the feature-rake to stand-out and I believe we will only achieve this with proper concrete render. But then to choose the colour…we like Cable Ash (Taubmans) but external colours tend to look three shades lighter than the chip so we’re going to stick to Metallica but I worry it will look too…’purple.’ Then choosing the colours of the timber pergolas is difficult because ideally they should match the feature brick and it’s hard when you can’t be sure the colour chip will be how it turns out…the railings, windows and gutters etc will be white and the roof a light gray which we’ve used to determine the driveway colour… Then this all has to get approved by the developer then council. First thing is first though, we need to see how the final plans look and what the final price is.
A summary of the main changes we’ve made:
-          We’ve decided to keep the sliding door at the front and extend the front path to make a verandah there. The view out the front is too nice for us to pass up the opportunity to enjoy it more. Plus we’ve decided that a door is just as easy for someone to break into as a large window and Mick will eventually be getting Crimsafe screens installed to every downstairs door and window.
-          We’ve added a window to the garage to allow better ventilation and light to the back left-hand side for Mick’s “man-land.”
-          We’re getting rid of the cavity sliding door we originally wanted downstairs between the front and back sections of the house. This is because the largest cavity-sliding door size still takes up half the hallway space with wall, so we will look at putting French doors in…but that’s something that can be done down the track.
-          We’re extending the alfresco area into the family room. The original alfresco area is so small and I wasn’t sure what to do with that corner of the family room anyway. This way we can have useable space outside and a window looking onto it from our meals area (ignore where they have marked as the meals area. We plan on putting a little dining table and chairs outside the laundry and ensuite behind the stairs there).
-          Mirror-swapping the laundry. Just so we can walk straight through without having to go around the washing machine. Plus we can wall-mount the ironing board more easily and have greater space between the internal laundry door and ensuite door for better furniture placement.
Also worth noting is that there are a few windows missing from the original brochure plans compared to our plans. We just love how they’re quick to bill us for the extra windows we ask for but nothing is mentioned about the ones they take out!
Last but not least, next door’s tradesmen are using our block as a driveway, which might be ok if they’d asked. They’ve taken out a foot in the temporary fence to create a make-shift gate but they’ve neglected to close it again, so any Tom, Dick or Harry can walk onto our land. They (or possibly Tom, Dick and Harry) have left rubbish on the block (primarily Red Rooster packets and empty coke and V bottles, which makes me think it is the tradies). Most alarming however is that if the tradesmen hurt themselves on our land, we’re liable if we don’t make it clear they’re not allowed on (I would like to think the fence is enough warning but who knows!). So Mick has asked someone from Champion Homes to call him back regarding this (over a week later and we still haven’t heard from them). We don’t mind if they use the land (would have been nice if they’d asked first) but they need to put the fence back properly every afternoon, keep it clean and send us something in writing to the effect that they assume responsibility for any injuries sustained by their workers on our land…Why is it never easy?!
I should note that I am still excited about the build. Anything worth having/doing takes time and effort. I can feel that we are close now to getting it right and once we’re through the decision phase (and building starts) it will be a downhill race to the finish line. I just hope we’re in by Christmas and Mick and I can take several weeks off work and simply “holiday” in the new house! We’ll see…