Wednesday, June 18, 2008

DA APPROVAL - NOT JUST YET !

Well, the plans finally went into Sutherland Council on Monday - YAY !!!! What a long haul from when we 1st walked into the sales office in early December -6 very long & stressful months.
Naive as we were, we fully expected to be in our new house within 12 months after that initial visit. What a shock when cold, hard reality hit !

Sally our CSR promised they'd be in on Monday & she kept to her word. Yay, Sally ! Now the really hard part starts. We have encroached on our front & side setbacks. We are fully expecting this to be a stumbling block with the council. We had to narrow the house to accomodate the side setbacks. But the corner & side balconies sit within the setback allowance. We opted for this design, specifically because it addressed the 2nd facade issue. In other words, the side of the house isn't sterile & featureless, but is as interesting as the front. We're hoping that the council are lenient & realise this. The front of the block is angled, so maybe this will work in our favour as we have encroached on this setback also, with the balcony. We are hoping for water views on this side of the house, so we will push for this, atleast.

Monday, June 16, 2008

THE HOUSE & OUR 1ST STEPS



This should give you an idea of what we will be building. The Cambridge 34 Corner Facade by Eden Brae. The colours will be totally different - a lot darker - including the fact that the ground floor will be in a dark facebrick. However, the rendered balconies will remain as a contrast to the facebrick.

Well, over the last couple of months we have been sorting through the details of our plans. Getting things just right is very time consuming, not to mention tiring. There are so many little things to think about. There are so many little things you forget. However, our aim is to get this project going. To this end, there have been a few compromises.

I must say that if we had known what we know now, we certainly would have done things differently. In particur, we would have not wasted so much time on the tender stage. Unfortunately, nobody told us that building companies generally, DO NOT NEGOTIATE. We were mistaken in the belief, that this game was open to negotiation, as are so many others. A little give & take, here & there. Not so in the building industry. They have their bottom line & they stick to it. Anyway, that part is over.

We have not one bad word to say about Eden Brae staff. From the sales office, through to contract tender stage, we dealt with extremely capable & likeable sales people. Our only gripe would be that they sometimes seemed distracted or unfocussed. I suspect this was due to them having to handle too many customers. A significant failure in the area of customer service, as far as we are concerned. Often requests were ignored & emails not answered. However, we found that persistence was necessary to stay on top of issues.

We are now being handled by a CSR (customer service representative). Sally is absolutely fantastic ! I can't say enough about her. She is fast, polite, quick to respond to queries and definitely "on the ball". Nothing is too much for Sally. I hope she remains our CSR throughout the course of this project because she is doing a fabulous job. At the moment, she is handling the preparation of our paperwork before submisssion to council and managing all our variations. So far, so good.

We had our colour selection appointment recently, where we defined our wall, ceiling, joinery colours & our brick, cladding, roofing, etc selections. Also door hardware, tapware, basins, etc..It went very smoothly even though it took 3 hours. We had most colours decided on before the appointment, which made it straightforward. All we needed was the colour consultant to tie up a few issues, that we weren't sure about. At this point, we are waiting for the pricing of selected upgrades to come out of that appt.

Electrical & kitchen appointments are complete also. Still waiting for the kitchen/laundry quote. That one should be interesting. We've asked for pricing on pot drawers, extra wall cabinetry, appliance cupboard, soft-close doors & drawers, full extension drawer runners & the list goes on. $$$$$$$$$

Hoping to get our plans to council this week. We foresee problems with them though because we have encroached on our front & side setback. We will try very hard to stick it out because we are hoping for waterviews.