Posts tagged building

We’re on!

Demolition starts Monday!

I feel totally freaked out and nervous. I know exactly why – it’s because I’ve basically cleaned out my account for this and I am panicked that some huge hidden cost will crop up and we won’t have the money for it. I can see us stranded with the back of the house knocked down and the bank refusing to pay the builder because something hasn’t been done right and us with no money to get the job finished.

Yep, I’ve spent nine months complaining that the job hasn’t started yet and now that it’s about to start, I am complaining about that, too. It’s stupid, but my heart is going a million miles an hour. I hope this all works out okay!


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Why is it so hard

for people to just do what they say they’ll do??

Last time we saw our builder he promised that he’d call us before sending around tradespeople unaccompanied. Ten minutes ago I got a knock on the door from a couple of people here to assess the demolition job for a quote. The builder had not called in advance.

It’s not really a big deal – it’s not like they were expecting Devonshire tea – but really, why say you’ll do something if you’re not going to? It’s been such a pattern with this builder. He says he’ll get an estimate through in a day or two, then takes a week. He says he’ll phone back within 24 hours to confirm something, then never calls back at all. He says he’ll prepare the final quote in a few days then takes over two weeks.

This guy needs to learn that it’s better to under promise and over deliver than the other way around.

And since I am being cranky, I’ll add that our new bank set us up with an account from which to draw our monthly mortgage payment. The mortgage attracts a $10 per month admin fee on top of the very substantial repayment. The account they set up attracts another $7 fee. No thank you! We are having them draw the funds instead from our existing, fee-free account. Of course, that took a phone call and a fax and a wad of paperwork.

Really, why don’t people just do what you ask them to do, especially when you’re paying for it?

And if they’re not going to, why do they have to not do it on a day when I am already grumpy? I had to make two trips to preschool this morning because Hunter forgot her hat first time and didn’t realise till we were a block away. When we got to preschool I somehow volunteered myself to take over a management committee task that I really don’t want. Then I came home to work on an urgent project only for it to be cancelled halfway through.

I just want something – anything – to run smoothly and predictably and with no need for me to hold everyone’s hand every step of the way.

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I think it’s gonna happen!

It seems like our renos are actually going to start before the end of time. In fact, I’m hopeful they may actually start before the end of September.

I emailed the builder on Friday, three weeks after he told me the job would be starting in two to three weeks. He called me back Friday night to say he had a ‘few little jobs to do first’ but could definitely start on September 17. Or maybe 18. But definitely by then.

I let him know I was unhappy with the constant re-scheduling and I think I was fairly clear that by ‘unhappy’ I meant ‘really pissed’ because he called back five minutes later to say he’d be around the next day to show the demolisher through, so we could get the back section knocked down and the concreting done before he started the re-build on the 17th.

Unfortunately, his inexperience showed him up again – the demolisher advised him that WorkCover requires seven days’ notice before removal of asbestos can be undertaken. So demolition cannot begin before Monday at the earliest, and that’s assuming the builder gets his act together and contacts WorkCover today. What’s the likelihood of that?

At any rate, I do think *something* will happen by the 17th because the builder seems to be finally understanding that we’re sick to the back teeth of excuses and postponements.

Yesterday we got the back section of the house and yard fairly well cleared out. Leigh’s father made a surprise visit, so leigh enlisted him to help move the second fridge. We also relocated all the outdoor furniture and the kids’ play equipment.

Most of it is in the top section of the yard (our yard has several different levels as it’s a sloping block – the very back section is above a retaining wall and behind a fence and won’t be affected by the renos). There’s also  stack of stuff along the side fenceline. In all, the yard looks a total mess.

Well, except for the section of fence that leigh decided to decorate yesterday. She figured it was the ideal time to attach some lattice panels and plants some climbing flowering plants, so she spent half an hour reaching over piles of chairs and pot plants and gardening equipment and assorted other stuff. Now that corner looks messy and trashy and pretty.

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Drive by post

It’s been a good while since I updated, mainly because I keep postponing as I actually do have things I want to say, but can never find the time to get my thoughts down.

I’ve now realised that I’m not going to get time any day soon to put together a real post, so this will have to do. Here are the highlights, helpful hints and random thoughts in point form:

– Hunter’s sick with pukerpooperitis

– The Dyson is good for sucking up vomit after you’ve sopped up the wet bits

– Hugo is deranged. Entertained himself for hours last night by getting a run up and throwing himself into our laps from increasing distances, laughing maniacally and starting again. He’s also rough, rough, rough. Anyone have tips on discouraging a psychotic toddler from scratching, biting and hair pulling with disturbing and unrelenting vigour?

– The building has not begun. The builder has not called. I haven’t called him either, but will, soon.

– Interest rates have dropped! This is the first time leigh and I have ever experienced a rate drop as mortgage holders. And our bank dropped rates by MORE than the official cut (barely). We think it will mean $60-$70 a month less on our mortgage payments. When they were going up, I never really thought about the money. Now they’ve gone down I keep thinking of ways to spend that ‘extra’ cash.

– I want to say something thoughtful about Mem Fox’s comments on childcare being akin to child abuse but I don’t have time to write anything cohesive. Basically, though, I’m disappointed that mothers continue to be held up to blame for society’s issues around appropriate care for young children. Does it suck that we as a society put babies into full time care when they’re only a few weeks old? Sure. Is it bad for those babies? Maybe. Does lambasting mothers who are already ridden with guilt help? Nope. The problem is systemic and the solution has to be, too. “Don’t have babies if you can’t take the time to care for them” is a stupid, ill-considered piece of advice. Am I particularly touchy about this because I myself am a guilt-ridden mother about to put her boy in childcare one day a week? Absolutely.

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All systems are (not quite) go

Our refinance is due to settle on Monday, barring disaster. I spoke to the builder and he says he’ll be ready to go in two to three weeks.

Now, I expect the settlement to go through. But I don’t expect the builder to be ready in two to three weeks. I am hopeful he might be ready to go in, say, four to five weeks, but past experience says he probably won’t be.

Still, I want to believe these renos will start soon, so for now I am going to be optimistic-ish and say we’re about four weeks from starting, so things could be underway by mid-September. Not bad for a job we thought would have been done by April!

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Boring renos update

I’m so sick of this stupid reno process that I can’t imagine anyone else can be bothered to read about it at all, but since I’ve documented our trials to date, I’ll persist.

We got our bank paperwork sent off on Monday and have been waiting for them to send it back so we could rectify the bits that we screwed up. Today we got an email that it has all been checked and they’re proceeding to settlement – all I can say is, they must not have checked very closely! There’s one form that asked for the date of the new mortgage but we didn’t know what that would be so we left it out and signed the form.

They shouldn’t be amending our signed form so we were expecting that to come back. There are also variances between the amount the builder put on the contract and the amount the bank has allocated to pay him (they didn’t allow for GST, even though the tender clearly states that the price is ex-GST), so we thought that would come back, too.

Then there’s the small matter of the progress payment notes saying that the third installment will be paid once the new kitchen is in. Um, we are not getting a new kitchen! Anyway we just lined through that bit and they didn’t say anything about it.

Oh, and our insurance now lists two mortgagees becaue we didn’t want to go removing our old bank before settlement. I was sure the new bank would have a problem with that, too, but nope.

We’ve also finally signed the contract with the builder and I am not that confident that’s all on the up and up either because the builder kept asking me questions about what details went where – eg there was a question about financing for the project and it was not clear whether we should write in the amount of our whole mortgage or just what related to the renos. The builder let me make the call, seeing as I have no experience with building contracts or renovation loans whatsoever.

Meanwhile, the builder started in with the line about it being close to Christmas when everything gets busy so it’s hard to say how long the job will take. Dude, it’s the first week in August. Even the department stores don’t have the gall to pull out the “Christmas is just around the corner” line.

Anyway, I’m starting to feel like we won’t be finished this year, and getting a little bit nervous that we may not be started, either.

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Renovating procedure, step 463521

We’ve crept a tiny bit closer to getting this show on the road, with the arrival today of our certificate of home warranty insurance. The insurance is a big rip off that’s not even worth having but it’s a legal requirement and we have been unable to collect our council paperwork without it.

I’m about to call council up and get them to pull our file for collection tomorrow. I feel so nervous that there will be some condition on there that everyone forgot to tell us about.

We’ve also filled in the paperwork from the bank and will be sending that back on the weekend, assuming the builder brings over the few things we need from him. There were sections of the bank paperwork that were completely baffling to us (eg, there was a spot where we needed to fill in the date for the new mortgage, but a settlement date has not actually been set). We’ve decided to send it back anyway and let them chase us if we’ve got it wrong.

We don’t know what we’re doing and we’re not going to magically figure it out by reading the forms for the 67th time, so we’re letting the bank deal with it.

Oh, the certificate of insurance includes an estimated completion date of 20 November – too late for Hunter’s birthday party, even if they finish on time, and of course they won’t.

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