Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Yay - Hebel Power Floor

I got the chance a couple of weekends ago to inspect a friends house with Hebel Power Floor installed.

We were initially concerned about the Power Floor due to cost and longevity of the product but the benefits can be easily summed up as follows...

1) Superior acoustic and insulation properties compared with yellow tongue.
2) Fire rated - great for bushfire areas and I guess also to buy you some more time if a fire starts down stairs and the fire alarm fails.
3) Solid & level floor - no creaks or squeaks, 75mm thick and steel reinforced.
4) Construction peace of mind - much more resilient to the elements when exposed.  Yellow Tongue is limited to 3 months only.
5) takes same time to install as yellow tongue.

It was really difficult to imagine the floor whilst at Studio M because, they can only show you some pictures and a paver sized section of the power floor.  But seeing it as an entire floor substrate convinced me that it was absolutely worth the cost.

Here's a video link to how it is made ....

And here it is a general video from CSR the makers of Power floor.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Floor Plan and modifications

Generally the idea with any project home build, is to make as few structural changes as possible. It means less amendments and fewer chances for you to be charged a variation.  Of course, in reality this is your dream home and so changes are inevitable because what you see in a display home isn't necessarily what you get nor is the the standard floorplan what will work in real life nor will it meet Council's design requirements.

Getting your plans right first time for Tender and Contract acceptance is a special art and if you have a strong sense of ownership and involvement in the process, or just suffer from FOMO like me (Fear of Missing out) .... then you are in for an exciting process.  I do not think I have second guessed myself so much ever and the constant review, evaluation and pondering never ceases.

But, now that we have signed off everything, have council approval and are awaiting our file to be picked up by Construction, I am happy to say that over 12 months and 21 variations later  we now have our final construction plans.

Ground Floor

Changes we made to the ground floor plan were as follows

1) Close up Study and Sitting room openings by adding a hinged door and a two feature 1200 doors to the  Sitting room.
2) Create entry wall niche to external study wall on entrance
3) Add shower to powder room
4) Add sound insulation to certain internal walls and reinstate external wall insulation to r2.0.
5) Convert pantry into Butlers pantry
6) Expand Fridge space to fit a large french door fridge
7) Increase all doors to 820 where possible
8) Add understair storage
9) Shorten kitchen Island, create kitchen bench return, relocate sink, dishwasher to bench return
10) Widen Kitchen island from 900mm to 1350mm (storage both sides)
11) Create oven tower in kitchen
12) Add cold water points to fridge void (for ice maker) and to over tower for steam oven
13) Upgrade upright cooker to a 90cm gas cooker and undermount oven
14) Reposition butlers pantry sink to one side
15) Add window to butlers pantry
16) Nominate concrete alfresco area to rear of garage
17) Relocate Sliding Stacker door to be adjacent to alfresco area
18) Add rear wall 0.5m pop out extension to comply with Council's articulation requirements
19) Upgrade insulation in wall and roof of garage to same as house, plus provide sarking to Garage roof.
20) Add window and access door to garage and extend garage by 0.5 meter. 
21) Finally, upgrade wall lining of garage from plasterboard to Villaboard (cement board same as a wet area).  We did this because our garage will be at the bottom of a slope and to safeguard against spoiled plasterboard in the even of water damage.
22) Add single foil sarking to entire external wall frame to increase thermal efficiency of Hebel wall panel in accordance with CSR's recommendations
23) Add external Gas point, hot and cover water point and waste point for future outdoor kitchen.
24) Have Metricon prepare ground level flooring to accommodate post handover installation of 40mm hardwood flooring.
25) Metricon to provide concrete landing under front porch.  Concrete to be poured together with main slab.  Ditto for the rainwater tank.
26) Increase shower in powder room from 900x900 to 1000x900mm

I will add that we didn't bother increasing the ground floor height from 2500 to 2700.  This is only because due to the slope on our block, we have to have 4 internal steps where the Back half of the house is.  This in effect raises the ceiling height from 2500mm to an awesome 3300mm.  If it weren't for this, we would definitely have gone with the maximum ceiling height possible.  Not only does it create a sense of luxury but the higher ceilings allow you to do other things also like add bulkheads etc. 

First Floor

Modifications to the first floor are ....

1) Increase 1st floor height from 2400mm to 2,500mm
2) Increase robe doors to 2365mm (done in Studio M internals appointment)
3) Increase door height to 2340mm and 820mm where possible
4) Modify the WIR dividing wall in the Master bedroom to be same as display home (DOL) so it can fit deeper cabinetry post handover
5) Reposition the plumbing void in the niche between the Master bed and Stairwell.  This is a great one as it then allowed us to fit in cupboard similar to the linen outside the Main Bathroom WC.  The standard is just open shelves.
6) Close up ensuite door with 1020mm door. This allowed more wall space to install a heated towel rail next to shower and means more privacy as well.
7) Add wall niches to all Showers.
8) Increase bath size in both ensuite and Main.
9) Reduce leisure room wall to comply with Council's wall articulation requirements
10) Underfloor heating to bathroom and ensuite (one room free as part of Love Luxury promo).
11) Increase glass thickness from 3mm to 6mm Viridian Smart Glass. We used the SP30 to all windows facing north and west and SP10 for all windows facing south and east.  It was a few thousand dollars but well worth it since double glazing was too expensive and the smart glass technology should make for a more thermally efficient home.
12) Increase length of vanity in ensuite

I really wish I'd gone for the Hebel Power Floor option too, but were told it was too late once we'd decided.

I also wish I had changed the door on the Main bathroom WC to a cavity slider so that I could have fit in a mini basin in there as well.

Would love to hear anyone's thoughts or ideas?

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

New Beginnings, Newhaven

So having viewed many blogs and websites, I've decided to startup my own build blog really to document the process and as a way to share with others what we've done.  My sincere thanks to all the other home bloggers out there - you know who you are!

Well, having purchased our block of land over a year ago - mid 2015, we went through quite a journey to select our builder.

Our block being just under 600sqm has an unusually large frontage of 22m.  That said then, it only has a depth of 27m. Add to that a fall of 4 m across the block but only 1.5m over the building envelope and it makes it quite a challenge to find a Project Home builder with a suitable design.

Ordinarily this type of block would have been unsuitable, but what made it attractive is the perfect north to rear aspect with stunning views unable to be built out as we are at the top of the hill.  Also, when contemplating a home design with energy efficiency in mind, from what I have read, it makes sense to build a wide and shallow house where the north facing facade is maximised so that the winter sun captured is at its greatest.  Thus, having a wide frontage with a north to rear aspect, works well in favour for this block.

Having spent many weekends at Homeworld visiting both Project Home Builders and Custom Home Builders, we finally decided to go with Metricon and one of their designs the Newhaven 36 Traditional Facade.

We chose the traditional facade and modified it in 4 key ways.

1)  adding a front portico
2)  changing the style of windows - not just for aesthetics but also for function to let in more light
3)  adding 600mm eaves
4)  building out of Hebel (free as part of the Love Luxury Promotion).

So we went from this ....

To this ......

Up next ... floor plans and modifications