Builders are done.

Our builders have finished with the cladding, and the changes are very noticeable.

Some of the existing bits and peices just look out of place, for example, the drive way gate is a rotted brown painted timber fence, collapsing under it’s own weight (the building inspection recommended it’s immediate repair last year). It looks out of place.

The front steps aren’t a desired colour, they fell over when I was removing the plants prior to the work beginning. I sorted that out today with a few besser blocks, placing the concrete slab on top of them, until we can sort out a more permanent solution (to what ever it is we are going to do there). It is surely a redneck solution, sure, but it’s a good one!

The windows are very much different, it’s no longer a chore to open one to get some air, and with the vertical blinds gone, the amount of light that can get in is massive. We plan to sort out the northern windows soon with some Sunscreen Roller Blinds, and some blockout curtains for night.

The idea being, you can see from the sky down, in the day (with privacy from outside in), and at night, you merely pull the curtains closed and you have complete privacy.

The change in windows has forced some internal work (I wanted it all to be completely exterior), because of the architraves, and now, the window blinds / curtains – for now, my partner has invented blanket curtains – cheap blankets from K-mart, tacked behind the architraves, providing blockout from the northern sun in the office. They actually work great.  I know this, because I was literally blinded by the sunlight trying to work out there when the windows were replaced.

The builders were over budget, only due to unforseen expenses though, I imagine the original quote was thought through with ample room for profit. The items that pushed it over were:
– Insulation, because the people who were doing the asbestos removal changed mind on insulation install (all that electrical stuff).
– Sarking, as above, the asbestos removal people were meant to get it to here.
– Locks, the budget was exceeded for locks on the back.
– Rubbish Removal, I requested they take some old concrete, doors that remained from the hot water pipe to the granny flat, and many of the internal cavity doors I ripped out to prevent the kids knocking them out and over.

It was over by $1400.

We are still waiting on the rebates from the Hot Water setup, but they should be coming hopefully soon, to offset some of the expense we’ve gone to.

Painting is still being arranged, we have one unskilled quote of $15 an hour (relative of my partner’s), and another ‘in the works’ with someone else I know. I would get a few others, but we aren’t in the correct situation to address those now.

I’ve had a look at painting the shed roller door (it’s at the back, but visible from street), and it seems pretty easily done. We’ve got 10L of paint ready, for front, back, and shed roller doors, and the fascia boards (which are the worst of orange/brown at the moment). The fascia boards look like shit under the colourbond roof, with the cladding unpainted as well.

I tried to make a start on the shed roller door today, but it was already 2pm by the time I got the sugar soap to it, so decided that by the time I’ve coated it, we’d be getting too dark for the paint to truly dry – and lucky I did, it rained at 4pm.

The solar system was installed, but we aren’t generating anything yet. The panels in use won’t fit on the north roof apparently, so we have 4 on the north roof, 4 on the west.

The Hot Water system is not too far past the solar panels, and the west roof has about 3 panels of room left on it.

We are still waiting on an inverter to be swapped over (for some reason, some people, in some areas just can’t do anything right!!). I had doubts about going with the company we did (Nu Energy), but stuck with it.

Considering the payback period is around 3 years, it is a no brainer, solar systems will advance in that time too, making better use of the seemingly limited roof space.

The correct inverter should be done by next Friday apparently, I’m staying on them about it. Then, we have the gross feed in meter, which we can get at 385 through a local Level 2 EA approved ASP. The meter board needs a new meter for Time of use, and the gross meter for the solar system output. The price quoted by the installer for the meter change was 295 (for their guy to do it). I already put the wheels in motion with the other mob, and the bad taste that Nu Energy leaves, with the significant disappointments, means I declined it – (I was more inclined to say “Get stuffed!”).

The installer of the system was also keen to get away from the job, i.e. we had the builders finishing the eaves off that day, there is a corner strip that goes between the eave and wall, he was going to ‘come back next week’, to finish the install because of that.I told him to simply come ahead of where that would be – and so the system was installed, but as we later see, the correct inverter still isn’t installed.

We are way, way, off completion of the house though, with many things outstanding prior to the house actually being ‘completed’:

– A 3rd bedroom needs to be formed out of the current lounge room, requiring a wall to be moved.
– The kitchen / dining split needs to be removed, such that it’s an open area.
– The kitchen needs to be relocated to the east window in that new area.
– The lounge needs to be relocated to the west side of that area, next to the second bedroom.
– The back decking area, and bi-fold doors from the dining area out, need to go in.
– Fencing on the townhouse side, and along the front need to be replaced.
– Internal gates at the backyard need replacing, to split off front from back (and keep the kids at the back til they are older).
– The gardens, front and back need to be sorted.

There is always a bottle neck though, but where we are now (once painted), should be a stable enough point to sit back and then go forth with the rest of the work, when the timing will be a match anyway.

At the moment, the 3rd bedroom would be largely unused (as the baby isn’t old enough for it), the other internal work isn’t critical, and can be done at anytime in the future, so timing it with when the 3rd bedroom will be needed, and the dollars being there, and the interest rate rises ‘fully exposed’, we’ll be able to push on.

I’ll add there are always many different possibilities, just today at Bunnings we ran off the beaten track and looked at flooring – but that has to wait – we just need to finish what we’ve started first!

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