Finally the day arrived when we had a builder we could relate to and a 200-page contract that is about as exciting to read as a telephone directory. What I did suspect was that the design and build your own home plan was going to be a long series of ever-increasing bills for some services I could understand and many that left me shaking my head. One such gripe is having to pay more than $2500 for the builders' long service leave contributions - a bit rich considering that both of us are self employed.
We signed the contract in the second week of February, two years after the initial contact with the architect. A month later, three Koreans turned up and proceeded to remove all the roof tiles of the existing home, then they set into removing the asbestos cladding. Two weeks after this the house was gone, replaced by a slightly sloping ploughed field. A couple of weeks after that the concrete guys moved in and the excavations started in earnest.
|Day three: Most of the tiles are off and the guys are masked up round the back removing the remains of an old asbestos-lined garden shed|
|Day three: roof tiles are coming off|
|About one week after that, the weather improved and the demo boys turned up. |
The house was completely flattened. 50 years of history gone in two days.
|A few days later everything had been trucked off site and we were left with a sloping footy pitch.|
We'd made specific entreaties to the builder to save some of the shrubbery so were pleased to see some greenery remained.
|Digging starts in earnest. |
One of the things that became abundantly clear from the contract was that non-standard items, like asbestos and rock, were going to cost extra.
|At last the footings went in. |
Plans drawn up by the structural engineer required there to be 41 piers drilled first then the footings dropped in on top.
That was when the borer hit rock. It was going to be an expensive week.
|Dirt is being excavated from the underground garage area and dumped into the void created by the first floor foundations.|
|The steel arrives onsite. No sign of Kevin McCloud yet.|
|After the wettest week in 10 years, the rock drill turns up. |
There's just over a metre of sandstone to cut out before we hit the right depth for the garage and stairs up to the first floor.
|Last day in April, the rock is mostly cut and there's now space to lay the basement stairs.|