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Building a Home

jb747

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Holy smokes! I'm hoping to keep it as low as possible, which is already going to be hard enough as we want to change to LED down lights throughout the house.
I'm astounded the builders would actually be using anything else these days.

I would very much consider this, but unsure if Brighton will be very obliging as they'll know I'm trying to skirt around their outrageous prices for HDMI cabling. It's certainly something I will be asking at the appropriate time. Only trouble I see with this idea is that I'll be pulling a cable up a wall cavity and then over a ceiling to the other side of the room. That might be a little complicated for a conduit?
A length of conduit is just an easy way of getting past the wall battens. You could just drill holes at appropriate points and leave some cord to allow the wiring to be pulled.

To be honest, your builder sounds like a bit of a pain. I had access to my house throughout the build, and was given keys at lockup. I know that most builders aren't that helpful, but this was discussed at contract time, and I would have walked away if not agreed.

Wifi is all well and good, but at a later time you may find that items such as security cameras actually need cable connections. POE (power over ethernet) is very useful. I would rather use a couple of wired access points, than rely on any form of mesh system. Look up the Ubiquiti range (ubnt.com).

Also, ensure that your internal walls to the garage are insulated.
 

Vic

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I'd second or triple vote wired ethernet, All of my media devices (TVs, DVD/media boxes) have ethernet connections, and they run much better wired then over the wifi. Then again I do have 2 internet services into the house to cope with the traffic of constant streaming by the children.

Oh and wine in the garage, are you sure about maintaining a constant temperature in that space? Or do you drink it fast enough that perfect cellaring isn't too important?

I can never fathom why on earth builders still think it is ok to install single GPOs. the difference in cost is a couple dollars with no additional labour. To replace them later (with licenced electrician) can be hundreds.
A big builder group probably get a substantial discount on buying non-standard fittings in bulk (like single GPOs when everyone with half a brain puts in doubles). Plus the profit on variations, already mentioned.
 

tgh

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I could post here all day...

Led's are standard everywhere now .. the builder has to meet energy targets and has to use led's to meet it.
When they pour the slab , check it for level …. look for high spots and small depressions (birdbaths is the common term) run a hose and see where the water goes.
Make them fix any faults before they frame… filling low spots and grinding high spots.. especially in tiled areas , shower fall etc etc
When they throw up the frame which will appear at an amazing pace , take a camera and a 4ft level and check it for plumb.
Walk around with a level as they are working.if you can….. they will get the message quick smart...
The tilers and plasterers allow to cover up but you will get a much better product if the frame is plumb from the start.
 

p--and--t

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When I built a couple of relatively expensive units, I engaged a highly recommended independent building surveyor (different state) to check the building progression at each stage and force the builder to correct any imperfections along the way before I would approve progress payments from the bank.

From memory, cost several hundred dollars but was well worth it in my opinion. Catching places where water may leak, wavy floors, cheating on in wall insulation, plumbing mistakes, lack of fall in wet areas, plumbers and electricians cutting through bearers etc, are a nightmare to fix later on.

YMMV
 

samh004

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I'd maybe consider an in-cabinet PowerPoint so you could install a pullout wireless charging draw or similar.
A good idea, will look into where this could go at the appropriate time and what this would add to the price.
The island bench points have blended away in our place.
I note that your bench seems to overhang a lot on one end, so this makes hiding the power points easier. I feel like my bench top fill be flush with the edge though, so I may just need to evaluate the best option at the time.
The kitchen corner has a door that slides down
We had these at my Australian-childhood house and rarely used them/kept things in them that we'd see once a year. I can appreciate they are useful for tidying away items for that clean-look kitchen, but I don't think we'll have any space to do this unfortunately.
I'm astounded the builders would actually be using anything else these days.
Some of the inclusions I must admit seem so basic. The standard lighting for Brighton for example is one per room and it's a batten light that extends from the ceiling. This just wont do, and even in the house that I currently live in we have batten lights that are recessed into the ceiling. So I said to them, can they recess them, and they said no. Instead, I can pay a fortune more for LED downlights – which, don't get me wrong are great... but they're not user-replaceable and this house as well as my mothers apartment is decked out with LIFX bulbs allowing for smart-control on device. We love the ability to have the lights auto-turn on depending on how bright it is, or not having to get off the couch to dim the lights for a movie.

I think I'll get @TomVexille in after the build to switch all my lights over to something I have full control over. :p :D
Wifi is all well and good, but at a later time you may find that items such as security cameras actually need cable connections. POE (power over ethernet) is very useful. I would rather use a couple of wired access points, than rely on any form of mesh system. Look up the Ubiquiti range (ubnt.com).
We spent a long time evaluating security camera systems before we bought. Our current setup consists of Anker Eufy cameras, that are Full HD with a long battery life (up to a year), lights, sirens, motion and face detection and all run off wifi to a base station. I have even set one up at my mothers apartment in Surfers Paradise so she can admire the view while she's stuck in Hong Kong.

While I appreciate I could get even better quality cameras that would require more power and a wired connection, the area we have bought in is not high crime, and if it somehow moved in that direction I could just invest in their latest cameras that now have 2K resolution (but I don't need that).

I appreciate what everyone is saying about having internet connectivity hard-wired through a house will provide for better performance (perhaps only ever so slightly at the rate technology is going right now though), but I am also trying to keep my build realistic. I appreciate the insights, but the prices my builder charges for what I would consider to be minimal upgrades in some cases are:
  • TV Bracket Solution – $930
  • Home Theatre Wiring Solution – $3440
I find the Home Theatre Wiring particularly laughable as I personally run a Sonos system currently, where other than power points being needed, the sound is transmitted wirelessly, so that would ordinarily be a TV/Sound bar at the front of the room, then another 3 single power points for the left and right rear speakers plus a subwoofer. At their rate for power points that's actually $225 extra!
Also, ensure that your internal walls to the garage are insulated.
That a great point, will follow this one up.
I'd second or triple vote wired ethernet, All of my media devices (TVs, DVD/media boxes) have ethernet connections, and they run much better wired then over the wifi. Then again I do have 2 internet services into the house to cope with the traffic of constant streaming by the children.
I guess I'm lucky that my greyhounds don't use much internet data. ;)
Oh and wine in the garage, are you sure about maintaining a constant temperature in that space? Or do you drink it fast enough that perfect cellaring isn't too important?
Seems to be working so far for me... but anything really good ends up in a wine fridge anyway, so for example Rockford BP and BS don't live in my garage.
 
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jb747

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I took pictures of the framing as the build progressed. So, we have a record of the exact layout of the wiring and plumbing. The sparkie who did the build has done some subsequent work for us, and having pictures of the wiring has been useful.
 

samh004

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I took pictures of the framing as the build progressed. So, we have a record of the exact layout of the wiring and plumbing. The sparkie who did the build has done some subsequent work for us, and having pictures of the wiring has been useful.
Will probably do this too, thanks for the tip!
 

Vic

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Check where they put the sewerage inspection points and that kind of thing as well. I'm sure someone mentioned a survey before they pour the slab. Have found one of my inspection points is partially under the edge of the slab/footing and beneath the breather vent. Making access by the plumber a massive pain. And of course, I'll have to get the plumber to dig up a whole section of sewer line and install another inspection point.

Inspection points that are raised should also be standard. My IPs are all at depth, meaning paying a plumber like $100 an hour to dig them up.
 

Buzzard

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We recently purchased a brand new townhouse. Whilst there are some things we don't like, which is a story on it's own, it's worth mentioning:
Fridge space is too small and in the wrong place
Only 1 double GPO in the garage, our current house has 8 or 10 but then it is a 4 car garage of about 90sqm
Gas cooktop not induction
600mm oven not 900mm.
What we do like however includes:
All GPO's are double except for the clothes washer and clothes dryer. We changed 3 to quad and changed 1 to include USB
Double glazing
All walls insulated
5 zone RC air
Outdoor GPO, we currently have 5
Outdoor gas point for BBQ
All LED lighting including outside
Alarm already installed
Security camera/intercom at front door
Floor to ceiling tiles in laundry, ensuite and bathroom. We will miss sub floor heating and heated towel rails.
IXL Tastic 3 in 1 units in bathroom and ensuite
TV points in lounge, bedroom and upstairs landing
Multiple Ethernet points on both floors.
Garden beds irrigated
Whilst I may have forgotten to list an item or two and the things I have listed may sound basic, it's much easier and cheaper to do something during the construction phase than to add it later.
We looked at quite a few places before buying this one and must say we were impressed by the overall attention to detail and the small things. One thing I'm fussy about is paintwork. Our paintwork even though all white, is superb.
On paintwork, I did get to meet and speak to the developer who mentioned that there are cheap painters from certain countries he wouldn't touch with a barge pole.
Draw your own conclusions.
 
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samh004

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Gas cooktop not induction
Having recently switched to induction, it will be a shame to now switch to gas, but I'm told it's not a step backwards, perhaps just to the side. Something new for me to learn.
Outdoor gas point for BBQ
We had toyed with this idea over just having an LPG bottle, as we will have mains gas.

As you have a gas cooktop and outdoor gas for a BBQ, does this mean you also have gas hot water? I read a few websites on it and it certainly sounds like if offered I should switch to gas hot water over electric, but wouldn't mind more input on this. In particular, I see there are instantaneous systems that promise to save even more costs. Anyone have advice?

@samh004 I'm happy to chat pre-electrical appointment sometime
I'll definitely take you up on this, luckily the electrical isn't scheduled until August 10th.
 

Buzzard

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We have instantaneous gas hot water. I like it because you never run out and you only pay to heat what you use. Handy when away for a few days, you have hot water as soon as you get home. If you go with gas, just make sure you have a system that has the capacity to suit your needs now and in the future.
In the short term we won't be changing over to a natural gas barby having just recently purchased a new LPG weber.
 

lovetravellingoz

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We have instantaneous gas hot water
When our old storage system died we swapped to this system. One of my best home decisions ever. We love it.

. I like it because you never run out and you only pay to heat what you use. Handy when away for a few days, you have hot water as soon as you get home. If you go with gas, just make sure you have a system that has the capacity to suit your needs now and in the future.
In the short term we won't be changing over to a natural gas barby having just recently purchased a new LPG weber.
We freecamp and after buying a BabyQ Weber for that use and discovering how quick, efficient and versatile it is we now use it at home for most of home bbq-ing as well despite having a large outside gas bbq.

The BabyQ is a great size, very portable so is even good for daytripping, but still big enough to roast a chicken and quite ok for 6 or so people.

So unless you want to cook for very large gatherings I would just go for that or the next size up.
 
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I would not be going with gas cooking because of the indoor pollution. I would stick with induction. Low VOC paints would also be cleaner indoors.


Having recently switched to induction, it will be a shame to now switch to gas, but I'm told it's not a step backwards, perhaps just to the side. Something new for me to learn.

We had toyed with this idea over just having an LPG bottle, as we will have mains gas.

As you have a gas cooktop and outdoor gas for a BBQ, does this mean you also have gas hot water? I read a few websites on it and it certainly sounds like if offered I should switch to gas hot water over electric, but wouldn't mind more input on this. In particular, I see there are instantaneous systems that promise to save even more costs. Anyone have advice?


I'll definitely take you up on this, luckily the electrical isn't scheduled until August 10th.



(I had the have the plumber dig a hole in the concrete slab oto
Check where they put the sewerage inspection points and that kind of thing as well. I'm sure someone mentioned a survey before they pour the slab. Have found one of my inspection points is partially under the edge of the slab/footing and beneath the breather vent. Making access by the plumber a massive pain. And of course, I'll have to get the plumber to dig up a whole section of sewer line and install another inspection point.

Inspection points that are raised should also be standard. My IPs are all at depth, meaning paying a plumber like $100 an hour to dig them up.
Having recently switched to induction, it will be a shame to now switch to gas, but I'm told it's not a step backwards, perhaps just to the side. Something new for me to learn.

We had toyed with this idea over just having an LPG bottle, as we will have mains gas.

As you have a gas cooktop and outdoor gas for a BBQ, does this mean you also have gas hot water? I read a few websites on it and it certainly sounds like if offered I should switch to gas hot water over electric, but wouldn't mind more input on this. In particular, I see there are instantaneous systems that promise to save even more costs. Anyone have advice?
 

cove

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Taking photos, getting names of the trades who do the work are helpful for later.
We have heated towel rails and heated floors in the latest building extension.
Doing the correct CAT cabling for your work and entertainment areas should be considered.
Yes don’t go short on power points especially in the main bedroom , kitchen and work areas.
We prefer the oven door to open sideways.
See if you can get your most used kitchen appliances laid out ready to use but in built in cupboards.
Figure out the wine storage area.
Decide whether you want water plumbed to the fridge if you want ice and cold water
We always use Dulux paint as it is worth the extra cost.
 

Buzzard

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Another thing I forgot to mention is that in our current (sold) house we also have a TV under the pergola. During the warmer months we spend more time outside than in so a TV outside is fabulous.
I agree with @cove re Dulux (now Japanese owned) but Porters is another step up both in quality and price.
Like @lovetravellingoz, we have a Weber Q - one size up from the Baby Q. Our other barby is a Weber Spirit.
 

frankie

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Other half of the build finally weighing in here 😛

Being the primary user of the kitchen and having experience with gas, electric and induction cooktops. I’m pushing for the gas option. Partly because it’s what I’m most comfortable with and partly because our appliance package isn’t split-able. Which would result in me losing a double dish drawer & a tri-door fridge.

In terms of appliances being “hidden” or built in, the microwave that’s included comes with the trim kit and a designated cabinet spot. I’m also the reason behind the $3,000 or so butlers pantry that will make that happen for our other appliances 😬

Lighting changes and extra powerpoints are definitely high on my priority list. Also going to be requesting pricing for floor to ceiling tiles in the ensuite.
 

p--and--t

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In the master bedroom, we have the requirement for 8 electric outlets.
- fancy individual adjustable massage bed (2),
- bedside lamps (2),
- phone chargers (2),
- bedside clock-radio (1)
- general point for vacuum cleaner etc (1).

Essential to specify the quality of undercoat, and quality and number of topcoats for painting for reduced costs in the future.
 

samh004

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We have instantaneous gas hot water. I like it because you never run out and you only pay to heat what you use. Handy when away for a few days, you have hot water as soon as you get home. If you go with gas, just make sure you have a system that has the capacity to suit your needs now and in the future.
When our old storage system dies we swapped to this system. One of my best home decisions ever. We love it.
I'll definitely be looking into the price difference to get this now.
We freecamp and after buying a BabyQ Weber for that use and discovering how quick, efficient and versatile it is we now use it at home for most of home bbq-ing as well despite having a large outside gas bbq.

The BabyQ is a great size, very portable so is even good for daytripping, but still big enough to roast a chicken and quite ok for 6 or so people.

So unless you want to cook for very large gatherings I would just go for that or the next size up.
Totally agree with regards to the Weber range. My mother has a BabyQ on her balcony in Surfers and it has been a joy to use.
We prefer the oven door to open sideways.
I'm not sure that's even possible with the kind of appliance that is included.
Figure out the wine storage area.
Definitely, this is something I am actively thinking about. There will likely be a fridge somewhere, and then some shelving too.
Decide whether you want water plumbed to the fridge if you want ice and cold water
Comes as standard, luckily.
We always use Dulux paint as it is worth the extra cost.
I believe we are limited to the brand they always use, but I'm honestly not too concerned. I will examine every centimetre when the time comes and have my blue tape handy.
Another thing I forgot to mention is that in our current (sold) house we also have a TV under the pergola. During the warmer months we spend more time outside than in so a TV outside is fabulous.
Our alfresco looks towards the spot where we were planning to hang the TV inside, so we may just set the table in a spot that we can easily view the TV from with the doors open. However I could easily add an outdoor TV point too. More decisions.
In the master bedroom, we have the requirement for 8 electric outlets.
- fancy individual adjustable massage bed (2),
- bedside lamps (2),
- phone chargers (2),
- bedside clock-radio (1)
- general point for vacuum cleaner etc (1).
While I appreciate I don't know what the future could bring, and it may take me to a 'fancy individual adjustable massage bed', my bedside clock is built into my phone, and my vacuum cleaner is a Dyson (battery). So we will definitely look at what we currently use and plan around that, but I think I'll be far short of 8 outlets.
 

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