Wednesday, November 10, 2010

We have a plan...

Our plans of a modified version of a Barbados design have finally been drawn up and apart from a few minor changes, we're very happy with the design.
Chenge 1. Put a window down the sink end of the butler's pantry, and
Change 2. Switch washing machine position to opposite wall to avoid noise in family room.
Change 3. Change shower wall in Ensuite 1 to a 3/4 wall with tap and shower rose at opposite ends.

We're interested to hear opinions on the design, particularly the kitchen, because we have to resubmit revisions by early next week. The kitchen is really important to us and will be a focal point for our living.

Stupid PDFs....hold on while I work out how to save them as jpgs or suchlike.
Check back later

Waiting, waiting...

I haven't posted anything for a while because things are out of my hands.
Currently waiting on a few things:
1. Coral homes are drawing up our modified plans. I should have them this week hopefully.
2. Engineer is redesigning the plans to accommodate us leaving our house on the top of the block while we build down the bottom; also moving the sewer position to the other side of the bounday so we can fit a pool in too.
3. When they're back (hopefully this week) we can resubmit all changes to the redland council thru our town planners and pay a $600 change fee. Cheap, hey? Not.
4. The engineer is also preparing a bill of quantities so we can get a few quotes to carry out all the necessary infrastructure works. That's been the biggest stumbling block so far, lots of coordination issues there that a project manager needs to oversee.

Some good news - I found a plan for a duplex to build on our top block once the bottom house has been built. Antech have a plan that is perfect and will hardly need any changes. I've been through the same duplex they built at Cleveland and the quality and design is great.

I just need the engineers plans before we can start town planning for the dual occupancy on the top block.

Once again, out of my hands.

This certainly is a lesson in patience. When we started the subdivision project earlier this year I imagined lounging by our pool about now. Might have to readjust that vision to xmas 2011.!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Soakage pits versus stormwater drain.

If anyone out there reading this has comments on soakage pits, whether they be good or bad, I'd be interested in hearing them.

We're in a position where soakage pits are the primary source of drainange because to put a stormawater drain through our rear neighbour's block means creating an easement over their property. Very inconvenient.

My concern about the soakage pits is whether they're effective - or not - in a big downpour like we get in storm season.

Stuck in a rut...

Another complicated day on the subdivision front.
Its a big juggle getting the infrastructure started to enable building on the rear block.
The town planner neglected to tell the council that we wanted to stay in our house at the top of the property while we build a house on the back lot. Now were stuck with a $600 fee to change the requirement that says all structures have to be demolished prior to construction. We also found that the sewer line has been drawn in on the wrong side of the plan - another $600 change - and other little things like amending the power requirement from underground (15K establishment fee for green box) to drawing power across the road via overhead cable. It makes me wonder what sort of thought goes into the plans sometimes....why didn't anyone bother to check was what available in the area??

Anyway, I contracted the engineering company to project manage things today, and told them to communicate with the townplanner, and vice versa. Nothing seems to get done unless money is being pushed across a table. Although I must admit, I've had some valuable advice from a few people lately who have let me pick their brains, and that's given me a better understanding of how things work.

Organising this is like fitting a big jigsaw together. Let's hope it gets easier as pieces fall into place.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Way back when...

We tried to sell our property way back in Feb 2010 but got no bites and the agent just wanted to give it away so he could get his commission. We got sick of him telling us that the land was worth nothing (1618 sqm) and that all people would want to pay for was the 3brm 1bthrm brick house on the front of it.

So we got rid of him and took the big step into subdivision and building in an effort to move up in the world...and start putting something aside for our retirement. So this is the beginning of a 10 year plan.

With hindsight, one brave step onto a very big learning curve, considering we're trying to do this through Redland City council, not known for being the easiest council to deal with. I'm beginning to see why.....
Also the cost. Why it costs so much to subdivide is beyond me. But anyway, that's for later in the blog.
So we started the process in March 2010. It's now mid October 2010 and we just got council approval for the subdivision, as long as we comply with a long list of things and pay heaps in contributions.
We have a long narrow block, 20 x 80 which we divided into 2, each roughly 20 x 40. The bottom block is for a house for us to live in, and the top block which contains the easement is for a duplex.  
We plan to rent these out.
Sounds so simple, doesn't it?
Join me as I describe fitting the jigsaw pieces together to try and make this all possible.
The two pics show the back and front of the property, so much demolition to do yet.
You can see we have our work cut out for us!!

Builder wanted.

While the subdivision was in progress, we were hunting around for builders.

After a couple of false starts with builders that turned out to be more than we could afford, we re-evaluated our idea of a dream home and went with a project builder instead.
It all comes down to budget doesn't it?
As it turns out, one of Coral Homes designs, Barbados 344A was almost what we wanted, so with a few changes, we managed to achieve an acceptable layout with the rooms designed the way we prefer.
For example, I prefer wide open spaces so I got rid of any poky hallways by moving the lounge dining room walls in and turning that side of the house into an extended study area, an extra bathroom and a large laundry utility room. That gave us a lot more space in the kitchen (important for my chef husband who shall henceforth be referred to in this blog as OGB (old grumblebum)), and we also added a butler's pantry onto the side of the kitchen.

Now we're getting close to what we originally had in mind when we approached our first builder.
Mind you, it has taken 6+ months of looking, deciding, changing my mind, and starting all over again.

Fingers crossed that it all falls into place.

Now if we could only find a duplex builder.....
Lets hope tomorrow's meeting with antech proves fruitful.