Archive for July, 2009


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.

Update on costs

Monday, July 20th, 2009

$1430 to RCI Engineering who we have contracted for soil and percolation tests as well as the footing designs for the house and shed.

$800 to Weber Frankiw and Associates for the contour survey .

This brings our spend to date to $216 790.10

Contour survey completed

Sunday, July 12th, 2009

Had the chaps from Weber Frankiw and Associates do the contour survey of the house site and up to the access road and proposed driveway this morning. The job was quoted as “$800 tops”. Not sure on the exact cost as yet and I’ll certainly post it once I have the account to pay. 

For those thinking this is rather expensive for a survey, they covered an area of 300 metres across the road frontage and then a pocket of around 80 by 80 metres around the house site and over the proposed driveway and septic tanks sites.

Designs ready for feedback

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

Darren from Wise Drafting Pty Ltd has emailed over the first draft of the plans based on our sketches of what it is we want. He has adapted all the dimensions to suit the poured earth blocks we’ll be using and balanced the window and door positioning to give a visually appealing symmetry to the “front” of the house – because of the view and predominant weather patterns, the front of our house is facing East so as you approach from the road you see the “back” of the house.

There is a nifty variation on the 3 way bathroom he has come up with that we think flows well, and with a minor variation to the ensuite we think he’s nailed that as well. It’s nice to see a sketch become a plan that will later become the actual house.

This week I need to organise the contour survey from the road down past the building envelope to assist the council in deciding if we can build in the spot we want and indeed use a septic as we wish.

We’re also looking at a better water storage solution. Pioneer Tanks and Heritage Tanks both provide the style of tank we are looking at. Since these tanks can be made onsite, there is no access issues that the poly tanks are going to cause. Also, with a 20 year warranty there is some peace of mind that they will last a lot longer than the 10 years warranty on the polytanks implies. Price wise they are competitive, with a 30 000 gallon (120 000 litres) proving cheaper than the equivalent in poly tanks for the same storage.

These tanks also have the capability of being able to capture water from their own roof, vital in our instance since we are relying soley on rain water for our household and garden needs.

Holy cow, things is a happening

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

A big, big milestone was reached today.

Today, we had Daniel from Geo Drill come out to the block and do the soil tests. So the first actual work to be done on the block that has meaning in this whole big adventure has been completed. Daniel drilled core samples for the slab engineering as well as setting percolation test holes for determining what sort of effluent disposal system we will be allowed to use.

Now we just need to wait on the engineers interpretations of the results to see if we need a complicated and expensive slab for the house, or if we’ll be able to get away with something that isn’t going to cause great financial pain.

We’re being billed for this as part of the engineering work so I don’t as yet have the full account. I expect it to be somewhere between $1600 and $1800.