Monday, November 10, 2008

Friday, October 31, 2008

Progress! Progress! Progress!

Well we finally have some progress on site. Officially work on the subdivision began on Monday but we didn't really see anything happening until Wednesday, when we got.....

a portaloo
Some site sheds
And 2 20 tonne excavators

Day 1...Knocking down my father-in-law's pine trees, that he loved so much :( , to create a barrier for rocks etc.
And clearing the way for the stormwater and sewerage

Marking out the driveway

Day 2
One trench
Lots of rock!!!
And some of these...

...manholes for the stormwater and sewerage.

Day 3 Some pipes in our trench (sewerage , stormwater and a subsoil drain)

More rock.

Any one need some pipes?
I have to say I was stressing a bit yesterday when I heard the rock breaker going all day. We have some allowance in the contract for rock, but I'm not sure how hopefully it won't cost us too much more than their original tender. But on the bright side, we won't need to buy rock for landscaping.

I did an adult ed course a couple of weeks back on Dry stone walls and I'm itching to get my hands on some of that rock, but I'm not sure how much will be left once they take what they need for fill for the driveway.

On the house front, we are still trying to finalise the exterior cladding. I found something that I just love, but MC says it is very expensive and not really suited to the sloping part of our house. Problem is, now that I've seen this product, I'm not happy with anything else :(

Now it won't be to everyone's's a rusted, coppery metal looking material by Axolotl!!!

I can picture something like this on the house (or even in the house like in this last picture), but I'm still not too sure about the Indiana copper.
We pretty much have to decide in the next week or so. I picked up some more Alucobond samples today, and MC will be lending a couple of folders of samples to us of a different metal cladding over the weekend, so we will see if we can get any closer to finalising this!!
Oh and I almost forgot to mention that we are now officially selling our blocks of land!!! (I forgot to take a photo of the For Sale sign though...will do that tomorrow). We have put ads on (Property ID: 2007452942) and a few other property websites, as well as in the local realestate guide and we will be doing a letter box drop around our area this WE. We have already had quite a bit of interest so we'll wait and see how we go. We decided to sell by tender to get around people putting in dummy offers. This way people put in their best offer and then we chose...we don't have to chose the highest offer we get to chose our neighbours :)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Finally, one step closer: we have a....

Well we finally have council approval for our house DA. There are a few conditions attached to the permit (as always), but we have already met most of the conditions through the sub-division process.

The only thing of small concern is the colour scheme, which was not approved. Council did not like the Shale Grey colorbond for the roof. Too light they said, so it will be too visible. Given that our house is 100m up a hill from the nearest road, our roof is sloped upwards so it can't be seen from the road, we own the 4 hectares behind the house and it can't be subdivided, we only have one neighbour.....why are they worried about the colour of our roof.

"The colour scheme must propose exterior colours and finishes of muted, subdued tones that will blend in with the surrounding natural environment. Colorbond Shale Grey will not be permitted"

They didn't say anything about the proposed exterior cladding though, hmmmmm?

MC has suggested we use a product called alucobond, in Indiana copper, which is what that orangey colour in the rendered picture is meant to represent.

Tom and I are still not 100% sure about this, it's very hard to visualise and is a bit bolder than I am used to being!!

Anyway, back to the roof colour, I've been looking at the colorbond site and I really don't want to go much darker than Windspray or Bushland. They couldn't reject Bushland, could they, given their requirement that it blends into the bushland? I'll have to get some samples and see what looks OK with the Indiana Copper.

Things have been progressing on the sub-division front too. We put the drawings out for tender, despite them not yet being approved by council...don't ask!!! Well, tenders closed last Monday, and 3 out of the 4 contractors put in a tender, 4th was too busy, which is fair enough. The 1st one mustn't have wanted the job either as their tender was $90,000 more than the lowest one!!!!!

So we have chosen the contractor and they have said they can start Sept/Oct depending on when the drawings are approved by council. The tender documents stipulated a 12 week time frame, so we are hoping to have the driveway and services completed by February....please, please let it be so!!!

This would maybe allow us to start building by March, if they (the powers-that-be) are super fast and issue titles really quickly and then issue the building permit really quickly...I have my doubts. Strictly speaking they are not meant to issue a building permit until we have a title for our new block, and we won't get titles issued until the driveway and services are completed.
More to talk about regarding sale of the blocks, but I think I will leave that for another time :)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Must stay calm!

OK trying not to let things get to us, me a little bit more successfully than Tom.
So we had some good news today...we got a copy of the tender papers for the subdivision works from our engineer, which he has sent to 4 contractors, with a deadline of 8 September. So we need to do a few things, like organise finance!!
The reason Tom was so stressed and the reason I'm now feeling soooo drained, is that I emailed our planner (RM) at the council to follow things up. It had been 2 weeks since I submitted the driveway information they had requested and we still hadn't heard anything. Well, we got an email back saying he was glad I had contacted him and that he was very sorry, but he had got confused and left our papers sitting in his intray for 2 weeks!!!!!!!!!!!! But to cut to the chase, the DA will be advertised this week. This, however did not please MC (designer) as he had forgotten that we are zoned discretionary and that it even had to be advertised.
It doesn't seem like that big a deal, but the communication from council since we submitted the house DA and the drawings for the services has been shocking. I shouldn't have to be chasing them to remind them to do their jobs!!

So, anyway, the plan from here....
  • we need to start to organise finance
  • keep clearing the blocks so we can sell them
  • speak to the conveyancer about selling the blocks
  • And I'm too tired to think anymore..........

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Baby steps

Well, it's been along time since I've updated the blog, but that's because nothing much has happened!! But I suppose each little thing is one step closer to our new house.


On the subdivision side of things, we have submitted the plans for the driveway and services to council...on May 9...but as fate would have it, the senior engineer is on long service leave and the remaining engineers are all flat out, as are the people in hydraulics apparently. We received an email from our engineer (RC) the other day, simply stating.."It may take forever"

Today we received another email from RC. Council now have new standards, which we have to meet, but they have only now informed RC of these requirements. He was not happy to say the least and let them know this, politely, but firmly!

Oh well, what can you do?

RC has suggested we start to look at tenders for the driveway and services now, before council have given their final approval, to help speed things up. Sounds good to me.

Council have everything they require from us now and so it is a matter of them doing their thing now. Part of their thing was to send us the bill for the 'Public open space' levy, which they did yesterday. Over $9000!!! But it was less than we had budgeted, so that's good.

Now we have to read through the 26 pages of the part 5 agreement, should make good bedtime reading.

On the house side of things, we hope council have everything they want. RM (the planner) said he would check for us, and as we haven't heard anything to the contrary, that's got to be good...hasn't it??

We submitted the house plans to council 23rd June, so they are just a little bit over their 6 week limit...NOT. They are using the excuse that it's because the title for our new block has not yet been issued, it complicates things. I suppose we should be grateful that they are letting us submit the DA for the house now and not making us wait until titles are issued, but their communication still leaves a lot to be desired!!

The detail drawings for the house are coming along, MC says a couple more weeks work there. And he's looking at builders to quote the house for us. He has also sent the drawings along to someone (AM) to do an energy audit. After a quick look at it, he said it scored 45 points on his assessment program. Apparently, 5 stars is 15 points??? So that sounds really good. We will know more in a week or so! And then we can meet with AM to discuss any additional heating requirements etc.

Well that's about all for now

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The house design

After going to a few talks and adult ed. courses, we decided that we wanted to build a passive solar house. We are being mostly selfish in this, yes there are environmental benefits, but our main motivation is to have a comfortable house. One that is cool in summer - like our current double brick house - and one that is warm in winter - unlike our current double brick house, with no wall insulation and drafty windows.

About 2 years ago we went on a sustainable homes tour of houses in and around Hobart. One designer caught our eye and from talking to the owners of the 2 houses of his we looked at, we decided to talk to MC (who has won awards for environmental design) about our project.

Jump forward again to March 2008 and we have a house design!! Yay!!

The brief was to have a 5 bedroom home, lots of glass to let in the light and warmth, rumpus room downstairs (very important), kitchen, dining room and family room on the eastern side of the house to catch the early morning light, separate lounge that can be closed off (so we can keep at least one room clean for when we have unexpected visitors), kitchenette in rumpus for kids parties, computer nook in a public space so we can keep an eye on the kids and all this in a house under 30 squares because we don't want to build a McMansion!!, nor could we justify the cost of building anything bigger.

Of course we went into more detail than this with MC and what he came up with is almost perfect. Now, I say almost because of course you never get everything you want, it's all about compromise. But we are happy and here's hoping council is happy too!

Plans should be with council in about a month, or when our planner gets back from his 6 weeks holiday!! Lucky for some!

The subdivision

Jump forward to August 2007 and we finally get council approval for our subdivision, almost 2 years after we put in the original application!! Yay!!

We've subdivided off three additional blocks, leaving ourselves the balance (about 3.7 hectares) on which to build our "dream home".

Looking towards Lot 1 from the road

And towards the building envelope of Lot 2.
Tyre swing included!!

And towards the building envelope of Lot 3

View across the valley from near Lots 2 and 3.

And don't forget those views of the mountain from our first post!!

Still a lot to do though before we get titles.

  • Final plan of survey - completed

  • Blocks and building envelopes pegged out - done

  • Geotechnical report - done

  • Visual impact report - done

  • Bushfire hazard management plan - needs to be updated

  • Vegetation management plan - have seen draft

  • Forest practices plan - don't need one (hopefully)

  • Engineer's drawings for driveway and services - pending!!! must send him an email to get a progress report!
Hopefully, if things go to plan we will be able to put the blocks on the market this spring. We are planning to sell the blocks ourselves - that should be interesting...

Soooo.... if you want a lovely block of land in Hobart, sized to suit all needs, north facing, with great views of the mountain and only 4 km from the city this space!!

Our Block

Some photo's of our block and our proposed building site.

Hopefully taking advantage of this existing cut and fill site will save us some money in the long run.
The planner a HCC also thought it would be looked on favourably from a bush fire hazard reduction point of view!!

We just have to get rid of the prefabbed concrete things that my father-in-law thought would come in handy one day. Guess what? They never did!

We love the aspect. It means that with a bit of thought going into the design, we can have a wonderfully comfortable house that is also environmentally friendly (if we don't think too hard about how much energy has gone into its construction).

And private...even though we will have neighbours near by, the slope means that we will still have uninterupted views.

Tom spent his youth exploring this bushland and hopefully our kids will do the same. We plan to replace the trees that we remove with new trees grown from seed collected on the block and maybe put some tracks or informal paths over it.

One spot I've got plans for...

Not sure what yet. A fernery if it wasn't so dry??

Something with a water feature may be???

Or just somewhere quiet to sit, drink 'tea' and watch the sunset over the mountain.

So much we could do, sometimes it seems a bit over whelming but exciting at the same time.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The story thus far

The story of our house, beginning as just a dream and finishing, hopefully, with the construction of our Home.

The Cast

Leading roles - Tom and Michelle
Minor roles - AA aged 11
- SP aged 9
- MM aged 6
- and MK aged 3
Supporting roles - The Designer - MC
more to come later

Story to Date

About 3 years ago, we decided to start looking at building the house we had talked about for soooo long. With 4 kids now, we had well and truly out grown our 3 bedroom, 120m2 house.

We had our block - 4.34 hectares of partially cleared bushland situated below Mt Wellington, 4 km from the centre of Hobart (Tasmania), in an area sometimes referred to as "showers about the mountain".

We chose the site we wanted for our dream home - an existing quarry that would get almost all day sun and great views of the mountain - but it would require approx. 120m of driveway to get to it.

To cut a very long story short, we decided to subdivide some of the land and sell it in order to fund the construction of the driveway and the house.

Not quite as easy as we thought it was going to be!!

But the views will be worth it!