Saturday, February 28, 2009

Progress

To Eden Brae's credit, there has been activity on 4 out of 5 days this week. The carpenter has been here each day (except Friday) finishing the cladding & the detailed trim work around openings, etc... Yes, it's painfully slow but atleast something is happening.
The brick cleaner was on site this morning - we think - cleaning the top storey bricks. Makes a big difference to the appearance of the house !

Not everything was completed this week, as was supposed to - the scaffolding is still up, the brick cleaning is yet to be completed, the painting of the cladding not yet done.

However, we are hoping that by Friday next week, those tasks will have been finished !
Afterall, that would then be pretty close to 4 MONTHS since the frame was started & that is a ridiculously looooong time !

Saturday, February 21, 2009

This past week a few small things happened afterall - we owe Eden Brae this much acknowledgement.

Their carpenter has been slowly replacing/repairing frame timbers which have bowed, twisted and warped due to long exposure to the elements. For that we are relieved.

Our 2 solar panels have now been installed on our west-facing roof, as our north-facing roof is too small to accomodate them, BUT the installer mounted them flush with the roof WITHOUT installing the accompanying frame, which would have angled the panels correctly to the north- instead the panels are facing WSW ie about 100 degrees west of true north. Hellooo, how could he get this so WRONG !!! He is supposed to be a professional installer !!!! A pocket compass would have told him that it ain't going to get any sun in its current position.

EDIT : We have since been advised that we will have only 80% solar efficiency without the frame. Apparently, this is an acceptable percentage. So the installation of the frame is not a necessity.
The installer was correct & we are reasonably satisfied.


The west & south brick walls of the house have been cleaned, along with the upper walls of the 2 balconies. This alone has made a difference to the look of the building. We are impatient to see the rest of the bricks in their true state.

Finally, the carpenter installed a few metres of cladding - YAY !! See below.

Unfortunately, yesterday was a no work day for the carpenter, as his apprentice was unavailable (TAFE ??). Another day lost !

Finally, our concern with the cupping of the flooring has somewhat abated, though not entirely - the emphasis is 'somewhat'. After having done a bit of technical research, spoken to friends who have built & spoken to the SS, we are satisfied that the flooring is passable. At the moment, we have no bounce or squeaks due to the use of glue and the floor being screwed rather then nailed (which is a plus for EB). Whether in future years problems develop as a result of the long exposure, is just conjecture at this point.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Meeting With Construction Manager

This on-site meeting was called by the Construction Manager. He was concerned that as customers, we had lost confidence in Eden Brae. Atleast we are agreed on this. We are so underwhelmed & disappointed with this build that we just want to get it over with as soon as possible.

Today's meeting with the CM was not initiated to resolve specific issues, but was more to put our general concerns to rest. We will give them the benefit next week and see if what they say will be done - if not, then they can expect further contact from us. Our concern is that it's all just a sales pitch - filled with the right words, but not being delivered upon - so this coming week is a test to see if they do understand customer service.

CM advised that by the end of next week, weather permitting, the following would be achieved :
  • cladding installed & painted
  • brickwork cleaned
We would be ecstatic if this were next week's outcome. One hurdle jumped atleast.
However, what we fear the most is that Eden Brae will need to be pushed at EVERY stage.
It seems they are unable to keep the momentum going.
It seems also that their system is unable to flag problems when they occur.

As mentioned by us elsewhere, talk is cheap. Continued action is what we want to see.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

............and waiting

Another day gone down the tubes - no work !

OK so it was raining this morning - but it was all done by mid morning ! No reason why something couldn't have been done after that.

Clarendon were again working away around the corner, on the upper storey. Our build started 2 weeks before theirs & now they have passed us.

EDIT : To be fair to EB, a carpenter was there AGAIN today. But still no cladding. Why not ??

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

............and waiting

Eden Brae have no excuse for lack of site work today.
A friend confirmed that not one drop of rain fell today in Como. Actually, it's only just started & the time is now 4.45pm.

They could have started the cladding today, so that the family room could be roofed !


NOT GOOD ENOUGH EDEN BRAE !

EDIT : To be fair to EB, a carpenter was there today, bracing some timbers I think. But still no cladding.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

It's been a while since the last post, so I'll try to explain why. We have had issue with Eden Brae, regarding the amount of time our frame has been exposed to the elements.
Apparently, when our first site supervisor (SS) handed over to his replacement prior to Christmas, someone forgot to order tigertails from Energy Australia. Now these are absolutely necessary for OH&S reasons before workers are permitted to work on the upper storey. Makes perfect sense to us. The power cables in the side street are quite close to our house.

The problem arose however, when the lack of tigertails meant that neither the roof nor the upper storey cladding could be installed. This then meant that the frame & more importantly the upstairs flooring, were exposed to the elements for another month. What upset us was that once Eden Brae realised their error, not one thing was done to correct it or at the very least to lessen the consequences. The flooring manufacturer's installation instructions, clearly state that if exposure is unavoidable, then all care must be taken to either :
  • sweep excess water from the flooring, or
  • drill holes in the flooring to drain the water, or
  • cover the flooring, or
  • cover the roof.

NOT ONE of these precautions were undertaken.

The downstairs frame was started on the 10 November. The upstairs flooring & frame started 2 days later.
So, in essence the house frame & flooring have been exposed for 11 long weeks. In that time we have had excessively hot days with rain. Now you can imagine the consequences of that - twisted timbers & cupping of floorboards. We have been promised that anything that doesn't meet standards will be replaced through the normal building process - it will be interesting to see if this happens - we have taken pictures of the more obvious defects that will need to be correceted before plaster stage.
We are committing to a lot of trust in the current SS, senior carpenter, EB Inspection services and the appointed certifiers. Lets see who pays attention.

The house looks decidedly 2nd hand ! The timbers have bleached & though this is purely an aesthetic thing, it adds to the neglected appearance of the site.
Neighbours have queried the state of the build, wondering what has gone wrong. It has been interesting now, to hear the negative observations & comments of passers-by. Initially, all who watched the speedy build prior to Christmas ( & there were a lot) , were amazed with the speed of Eden Brae & very complimentary - great PR for EB. We were excited & the speed of the build initially confirmed in our minds, that we had chosen the right builder. Now, we are no longer excited & no longer sure that Eden Brae are the right builder for us !

We have yet to see whether Eden Brae's quality processes actually work.

We will be looking at bringing in an independant inspector just before plastering, probably Howard K Ryan. We have learned of his expertise through Homeone Forum - an invaluable forum where a lot of information, both positive & negative, is freely traded. And a forum where a lot can be gleaned of builders' both good & bad practices.

Let's see how this unfolds.