Archive for the ‘Rantings and Ravings’ Category

Almost ready for building consents application

Sunday, November 29th, 2009

We have the engineering back finally. I had to send it back and insist that some of the terminology used throughout the paperwork was inconsistent with what we were actually doing. A big thankyou to RCI for understanding my concerns and getting all the words in order.

Now we have all this, it’s time to send Darren at Wise Drafting Pty Ltd the engineering so he can complete the technical side of our drawings.

Once we have these back it is then off to a certifier. The certifier is the third party who checks all the drawings and engineering and signs off on them as complying with all relevant codes. We could have Council do this as part of the application, but by going the private route we remove any potential objections the council may have. Simply put – if the certifier says it’s all proper Council must send us an approval notice within 5 days of us lodging for this part of the application.

Once we have all this paperwork and it’s stamped and approved it’s again to Council for the third-last application we need to make on this journey. We still need to apply to Council to have them approve the waste water installation and issue a certificate of occupancy.

This phase has been long and drawn out with a lot of “traps for new players” we have come across despite researching as thoroughly as we did.

Would we do it again?- Yeah, I think we would. This process has cost us a around $4000 from the first chat we had with Darren and including the (yet to be done) certifier’s work. This is around $1500 more than if we had left it all to Council to make the decisions on. I feel we got more of “our way” with the end result since we have paid the professionals we used to deliver what we wanted. Council on the other hand are only obliged to approve what they feel is fitting with the development plan for the area, and I feel we would have been forced to heavily compromise the end result to satisfy that plan.

If you’re thinking of going the owner builder route and want to discuss with us just what we had ready at each stage of this process (and what we missed), or just want some general advice I’m always happy to offer what I can. Contact me via the information contained in the About section of this site.

Where oh where does the time go?

Sunday, September 13th, 2009

I hate being on a timescale controlled by other people. Again we find ourselves in limbo as we are waiting for approvals from council, awaiting engineering, awaiting quotes, awaiting final drawings and so on.

Meanwhile the weather in this part of the world is nothing short of magnificent as spring finally shows it is here to stay. With that in mind we have this week planted some 10 000 seeds of red gum and yellow gum, with 2 trays of red gum seedlings now finally beginning to grow well after we planted them in the cold of winter. With some luck and a lot of TLC these will be ready to go in the ground around the start of autumn, giving them a chance to establish before the bitter frosts of winter descend to that part of the world.

I’ve read a few forestry papers that indicate a plant a forget survival rate for these trees is around 80% to 85%. I’m figuring with some watering to establish them and some TLC with clearing pasture growth, fertilising and so on we should get that survival rate will into the 90% range.

It would be nice to think we could have enough saplings ready to plant out 5 hectares of land by autumn.

The concrete vibrator

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

I was contacted by the seller less than 30 minutes after sending the nasty email I had crafted for them. The replacement parts for the concrete vibrator arrived via overnight courier this morning and I finally had a chance to assemble and run the unit. It is cheap, it feels cheap but I think it will last the 8 weeks we’re going to need it to survive.

It had an horrendous fuel leak, did not want to idle and needed so many adjustments to get it running properly it really is a joke it is advertised as a quality machine. What I’m really ticked off about though is I had to threaten the retailer to get them to act on the problem.

It goes to show though if you know your rights and are prepared to stand up for them things will work themselves out far more quickly than if you pussy foot around the issue.

Enquiries made to council

Monday, August 24th, 2009

I shot off an email to the Mid Murray Council development and planning officer we have been conversing with over the past few months. I listed what we had so far to seek the planning approval and he responded back with the OK on what we have, plus all the forms we would need to complete before lodging our application.

This experience is very different from the suburban council we spent the last 7 years living in. The response to every enquiry there always seemed as if we were creating work for them. How dare we pay rates and expect service I guess.

On a bum note, the concrete vibrator arrived Monday, was broken, looked decidedly second hand and was certainly a far inferior quality then the “best quality tool, don’t pay $1500 elsewhere” advertised on the Ebay listing. The seller has ignored me for 24 hours so far, another 24 hours and I will make their name absolute mud and leave no one searching Google for details about them in any doubt that this retailer will rip your off.

I’m also posting them the link to this post, because this is where I will shame them.

Word to the wise AG#$^%^.I’m a webmaster who controls somewhere near 1000 domains and has around 500 more under management. I could easily backlink several posts about your sham operation from tens of thousands more by contacting a few friends in the business.

I’ve contacted the NSW department of fair trading about lodging a complaint and the person I spoke to was concerned with your warranty conditions and other aspects of your business (implied trading name, fraudulent product description and so on) not complying with statutory requirements. Resolve this quickly or I will lodge a formal complaint.

Crossroads?

Friday, July 24th, 2009

Well it is and it isn’t. Right now there is lots of mental gymnastics a goin’ on as we grapple with just how we are going to stage our build.

With the block 50 kilometers and a good hours’ drive through windy hills roads with one of our 4WDs (being diesel we refer to them as old and new truck) and trailers loaded with tools and materials, what we don’t want to be doing is coming back and forth any more often than is absolutely necessary. This means that everything is needing to be staged so that maximum work is done for minimum travel time.

One of our neighbours has been exceptionally generous and given us use of a large unused (and lockable) shed on their property so each trip we take now has something of low value but great importance in the back of the old truck or trailer. This also means that each trip back to town will only need tools packed into a trailer and the trailer backed into the shed and locked away before heading back to town.

We’re also running through the budget, inking in costs where once was pencil as things become clearer, confirmed or quoted.  It’s scary to see just how many invoices will need to be paid and how quickly quickly money needs to flow from us to others. I guess this side of the journey isn’t seen when you pay a builder $X dollars for your look alike project house in the ‘burbs.

I had a very large piece of MDF in front of me the other day with a flow chart on it representing each little thing that needs to happen before the next. It is becoming very apparent that the smallest hiccup in timing from an external source is going to create a hell of a disruption to the build schedule.

Still, it’s not all about the destination, the journey is almost as important to us.

Tradespeople

Monday, May 18th, 2009

Hellooooo, any tradespeople out there looking for any work?

You’d think not with the complete lack of response I have been getting from emails and leaving messages on phones.

I have found the draftsperson we will be using, Darren from Wise Drafting Pty Ltd. Darren realises the benefit to email communication and to date I think we’ve given each other scope on exactly what we expect from our client/professional collaboration. Yet we’ve never met face to face or had so much as a phone call.

For those tradies out there who have websites and email and think it is a pain in the butt, or too hard to switch on your damn computer let me explain to you why you should change your attitude.

Convenience
In my case I work with a lot of international clients, so my work hours do not always match yours. I don’t appreciate a call at 8am if I’ve just gone to bed after finishing tweaks to some work in real time with a client in Europe. I sometimes think of things or take a break from work and do some research at 3am, would you appreciate a phone call then?

Records
I juggle a lot of things at once. Many people do. Email gives you and me a written record of conversations and what we have agreed to. I do not accept phone calls from my clients instead insisting on email so I have written records of all correspondence to refer to when I need. Those clients that resist this initially are always convinced email is better by the time we finish the project.

Having these records has seen me prevail in cases where a client insists I have made errors. Simply forwarding their own email and pointing out the instructions “they never gave” settles complaints immediately.

Now, if you are an earthmover, surveyor, geotechnic engineer, sparkie, plumber or concreter and are willing to do some work out at our block in Tungkillo, there are contact details on this site to get that ball rolling. Darren thinks I will have a set of plans you can quote off by the end of June or early July.

I’m always open to barter for services too, the internet is my working life and I have more than a decade of experience in websites and marketing and work largely as a consultant to other website owners on design and improving ROI from their web activities.