Friday, November 2, 2012

How things are going.....

Well my break is coming to an end and it's sad. I have to go back to work next week and I'm not ready to go back by any means. Because we got in a bit later then expected I haven't been able to finish the front landscaping as planned but gotta be happy with how its coming along. The pace has been rather slow because I refuse to pay $100 for delivery of goods and have to wait for friends to be available to help me out to pick materials up etc. It' all good, they're saving me a tonne of money so I can't complain.

As for Kurmond homes they have been pretty good, I've had my cabinet finished a week or so after handover, the electricians were here this week and done a whole lot of things which was great. Saying that I'm still waiting for Manago tiles to come back and fix some beading to my media room wall, they've had a few reminders by Ben but still haven't come out. Other then that there isn't to much to complain about.

Now with Christmas coming up the plan is to finish the front landscaping and try and get a start on the back. We've done a fair bit out the front and I'll share where I got things.

First, in the backyard we've painted our retaining wall to match the fence. Just got the Taubmans paint from bunnings. The colour is woodlands grey but you can ask for Grey Ridge or Slate Grey if you want another brand of paint.

This is my custom letterbox, I got it from It lights up at night in the white parts can't wait to install it. They do privacy and feature screens and all sorts of things which I plan to buy a bit more of for the backyard later. This is a bit pricey so dont expect it to be cheap, some of there other screens etc are cheaper then the letterboxes.
This is the decking I'm installing out the front thats used as a path to the side of the house. It's called Timbertech from ITI. They're head office is in Dunheved which made it easy to go check it out. The deck is pure plastic and fire graded and a lot better then Modwood (also from ITI). Timbertech is stronger and used by architects and is a lot harder so very hard to scratch. It never needs any maintenance at all and is only a few dollars per meter more then the Merbau but you have to buy it in full lengths which is a catch. I got mine via Hudsons in Coreen Avenue.

One bed made with pavers from Bunnings. Needs more soil though.

One last note, Ian shared this link with me as it makes the bins look cool. You might be interested in them.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Jordan Springs Community on Facebook

Just a quick post, I didn't start this but I think it's a great idea. If you're living in Jordan Springs or you will be then join up. We can stick together and try to tackle any issues that may come up or use it as a way to get to know each other.

My Internal Opticomm Fibre Cabinet - Hills Hub Setup

Just sharing some pictures for my fibre connection in case it helps anyone. One thing I recommend is asking your builder to install a double power point in the hills hub. I added one to mine afterwards as I didn't even think it might be needed but it defiantly will be.

My hills home hub is in the wall. The first shot shows the hub with the backup power supply for the external ONT. This power supply keeps a phone line up (If you don't go with VOIP).

The second shot shows my BOB lite modem in the box in front of the switch I bought. My data incoming port goes into number 1 on my BOB lite, so expect to lose one port for the incoming. The telephone cable goes into my phone point. I then have one patch lead going out of the modem into the switch.

The third shot shows the switch. This is a gigabit switch which allows everything connected to it to talk at 1000mb. You need to ensure you use CAT 6 everywhere for that to work and your PC's etc will need a gigbait network card to get full use.

The modem came from iinet, and the switch and cables came from ARC Computers in Penrith. The small Cat 6 cables cost about $2-$3 and the switch was $36.

I used this setup as I had hard wired 8 ports around the house, otherwise I'd suggest what Ian used, the Asus RT-N56U. (

I'll be buying a wireless extender as well as the BOB lite picks up ok but because its behind the metal box I get crappy signal as soon as I shut the box. I may pick up the Asus and use it as an extender and can use it for a small switch as well. :)

So far I'm loving the fibre, cloudy days, perfect reception on my TV. Oh and the net is crazy fast!!! I'm stoked how good it is!

Retaining Wall Woes - Some Advise

I thought I'd post what I've been up to and it might give some others some ideas. Sadly I've seen a lot of retaining walls being built by builders in the area and sadly they're not done to last. One or two I've seen would be lucky to last 6 months. Mine included hence why I ripped it down and decided to do it again and do it properly, rather then trying to dig up half the lawn, trees, and the neighbours yard in the future.

In total it cost me about $350 for the materials. A big thanks for my dad for helping me out with some of the tricky parts.

This was the old wall. The wall wasn't straight and the posts were only in 150-200mm in the ground, retaining about 700mm, the pressure from the soil behind would have pulled it over. Also there was an ag-pipe behind the wall but it was just surrounded by soil. The pipe would have clogged by the soil after the first rain fall and never worked again.

These shots show me digging it all out and digging the wall back to give me room. Took me a few hours to do this.

These shots show some of the work a fair bit down the track. I dug the retaining wall posts down 700-900mm based on the string line of the top of the fence. My posts were a lot deeper. I used about 2-3 bags of concrete per hole. The fence posts are extended at 3m, they also went just as deep.

These photos show the ditch I dug from the retaining wall to my sewrage pipe. I'll be tapping into it with some 90mm pipe, there about $12 for a 6m length. This really helps with the water problems. You should run the ag-pipe to a pipe in your yard to carry the water away. I know it seems your doing it for them but trust me your not. If I can take most of the water away then I save it soaking my backyard. Make sure you put one of these in. I dug the ditch about 200-300mm deep.

And last but not least, the ag-pipe should have about 150mm of blue metal drainage (or equivalent) on top of the ag-pipe. Then on top of this use something to filter the soil so the soil doesn't get into the pipe. You can buy the ag-cloth or use weed mat. Put this on top of the gravel and you shouldn't have to many dramas.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Why I chose Iinet for my Fibre Internet Plan in Jordan Springs

I have Opticomm coming out on Tuesday to install my external ONT cabinet. I'm sort of excited because I've been living on crappy mobile data for 6 months and I'm tired of having to watch what I do on the Ipad. You only get 4gb of data on it and I use to have 300gb back on ADSL2.The other reason I can't wait is I'll have lightning quick speeds, speeds I've never had and being someone who enjoys a bit of Xbox Live gaming I can't wait, more headshots coming my way and no lag or crappy connection.

So why did I chose iinet? Here's a table which somes up a lot of the first reasons. Keep in mind I wanted a VOIP phone also so I've included the costs for this when making my decision, if average internet is all your after then you may think differently. Just remember though, with faster internet speeds you are going to download more, even if it's streaming in better qaulity which may just happen automatically. Exetel for example only have a maximum plan of 200gb on their rocket 100/40 speed, they really need a Terrabyte plan. Saying that Exetel are known for very poor customer service and I've personally been with them in the past and they were terrible. They maybe better now but if anything can be taken from the Whirlpool forums it appears there still the same. Buy at your own judgement though. Ineterrnode are suppose to be good but the price tags hurt. I looked at the max price for each companies biggest plan and iinet still came in under $100 for the max speed on offer.

With iinet they also have some great corporate responsibility. They sponsor the NBL and AFL and many other things and that was a huge plus for them. Being a basketball fan, I was happy to put some money into them as they support our NBL league. Ther VOIP plan was also great.

On top of all of these plans you will need to get a specific Fibre Modem. Iinet have "Bob Lite" which looks fine and its pretty cheap. Im going to give this a try as its cheap enough to test out. What ever you do if you do decide to go with iinet in Jordan Springs then I'd suggest you don't rush into Bob2 which comes with a phone and answering machine. In Jordan Springs most of us would have the Hills Home Hub, plugging a phone and answering machine in the garage just doesn't make any sense. Get "Bob Lite" and then buy your VOIP phones separately. Bob Lite also comes with 4 x 100mb ports and wireless.

I included an empty shot of my Hills Hub, I have Cat 6 going all through the house so I plan to buy some more Cat 6 cables this weekend and also a Gigibit Switch. This means that anything behind the gigabit switch can talk to each other at 1000mb speeds/sec if the hardware in the devices allows it. Even faster then the Fibre at 100mb speeds. I'd highly reccomend if you have cat 6 do do the same, it will build your network and make it ready for when they increase the fibre speeds in the future past 100mb. (if they do) A gigabit switch can be bought from ARC or Dcomp in Penrith for $50 for a 8 port switch. You can get 5 port switches also (Make sure it handles gigabit speeds though). If you decide to just use the ports that come with your modem then that's fine, just keep in mind the max speed will only ever be 100mb between devices which can cause buffering issues when streaming, sadly no modem out yet does greater then 100mb. It also puts a lot of strain on your modem to carry our extra work and may slow your network down.

I've also got a pic of how I'm setting it up so it makes sense. I'll post more photo's once I'm done, and I'll let you know what hardware I used.

Port 1 is the data incoming, this will go into my BOB Lite modem, then an out port from the modem will go into my gigabit switch uplink, I'll then have the gigibait switch plugged into the 7 other ports.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Move thanks to Hertz Penrith

I tell ya, I'm exhausted and feel like I was hit by a truck this week. Be prepared....if you had stuff in storage you're going to get a dust in your lungs, if your like me and suffer hectic heyfever then be prepared for a bad sinus cold. I've had one all week since Tuesday and its really knocked the wind out of my sails. I'm slowly getting better and I'm hoping if the wind dies down I'll do some walking and some jogging over the next few weeks to get back into shape after living out of a room for the last 6 months.

Anyway the move went well. We got the keys on Monday morning and I headed straight to Hertz Penrith. I hired a big truck that anyone can drive under a normal lincence and the week rates are great. The rates as of the date of this post are:

$150 for the week day ($200 bond)
$90 half a week day ( $200 bond)

Excess is $3500, but you can pay an extra $33 and make the excess $500. I didn't bother because I felt very comfortable driving it.

As long as you hire during the week your move can be simple as. The trucks come with a hydraulic lift so the lounges and fridge were no hassle at all. It took me one day to do it all  but I was stuffed after it.

Everything ended up in the garage and were now putting it all away still and spring cleaning at the same time. It's a new start so time to get rid of the stuff we don't use anymore.

As for the handover there was no surprises, the bill was exactly what it should have been, all the appliances aren't installed until after your in so be prepared to not have an oven, dishwasher, AC or hot water for the first few days, especially if you settle on a Friday, try to do your handover on a Monday, it makes it much easier and the tradies don't stop coming. As with everything there's a few teething issues but nothing to go crazy over. Were waiting on the kitchen mixer to come, in the mean time were filling up buckets of hot water to wash up...yes washing up, the dishwasher that was delivered didn't work either lol. Not Kurmonds fault....and I have another coming this tuesday so it was chased up pretty quick so gotta be happy for the quick response.

Alarms and keys all done, I'm loving thee alarm, I can turn it on zone by zone so when bed time comes I enable everything and I can walk around upstairs pretty freely and no all down stairs is alarmed. It's also connected to the roller door and I have a very snazzy remote. Oh and it talks to me, pretty cool alarm.

My next post will be all about Opticomm and who I chose for my ISP and why. Oh and a bit about my network.

Monday, September 24, 2012

We have our keys....

Kurmond pulled out all their weapons and have just handed over the keys. We got our nice hamper from them, paid them all up and were heading off now to pick up our truck.

More detailed post to come later.

Finally.......happy days.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Everything isn't Perfect

I had someone make a comment today that I have a pretty positive blog about specifically Kurmond Homes. That's because in most cases I'm a pretty positive person. But if anyone thinks building is easy or I've had a smooth and great ride all the time then I need to warn you now. Building with any home builder is tough, it's hard work and you have to be as committed to the outcome as much and more then your builder. All my friends who have built with other companies have had much worse experiences then me, during and after handover. I may be lenient but I had a plan.

Someone posted on a product review website recently that I was being paid to promote Kurmond Homes and I laughed. My house was pegged out in December 2011, my land settled in July 2011 the delay was a factor of many things, but not just the builders, but the banks and insurers. I'm still not in my house. Does that tell you I've had a smooth ride or I'm getting some kick back from Kurmond, no way....I'm just another person building a nice home who happens to be blogging about it. Go back and read the posts where I had all the dramas with LMI, the banks, the initial issues with Kurmond Homes when they were suffering from growing pains.

Then read how the company turned things around by putting in new systems, replacing a heap of people, bringing in more people, and how my job got a huge boost when my supervisor left and I was given one of the 3 new guys who turned everything around. Ben"Happy Days" Dempsey.

Then read how I knew my little one was coming and I stressed to Kurmond I needed to be in my house when he was born. But it didn't happen. My house was originally due at the end of the July but I told Kurmond Homes no matter what, I don't care if the house is late as long as I had it for my family when Pheonix was born, I gave them the 10th of Septemeber as that date, it didn't happen. My wife purposely stayed in Hospital for a week to see if we could get in this week. Today it's the 20th. I was told the house would be ready on the 28th this morning.

But today I put my emotions out there and told Kurmond I can't be Mr positive all the time, I need my house. I'm living at my mums house and the wife and kids are living at hers. She's in tears, our family is apart. The house looks fantastic and because everything is basically done she just wants us back together at nights.

You know what Kurmond did, they said they understood, they didn't really apologize, they just got on with it. I had 2 supervisors on site all day, about 50 phone calls through out the day, the owners of Kurmond Homes emailing and ringing me. They plan to give my house now hopefully Monday or Tuesday if the bank stuff can get sorted. Should they have done this without me contacting them...yeh probably should have, but im 1 of probably 50. Is that acceptable....well depends on what you think. Do you think it was going to be super easy...especially building a 40 square double storey home? (Single Storeys seems to be so much smoother). After reading every blog before starting my own I knew it was going to happen to me, heres my tip, it will most likely happen to you if your building. How do you want to deal with it, be a Nazi customer and complain and rush into your house, or have a bit of control and keep the quality up.

But still ask me would I recommend Kurmond Homes? Hell yes, their people are great, the house has extras that no other builder provides, the qaulity is up there, the price is fantastic, they fix things on the go and will bend over backwards to make sure you get what you asked for. They're local which is a big plus and for weeks and weeks I had people at my house every day including Saturdays and some Sundays.Yeh some of their processes can be a bit slow, their painters aren't that crash hot and you need to get them back, sometimes their customer service can be a bit of a drama when new people are coming and going but overall I'm pretty happy with them. Are the people I dealt with genuine, yes. Are they limited sometimes by their resources...yes. Again would I build with them again, yes.

Some people would say they would be going nuts now, to be honest months ago, but because I've worked with them and built a good relationship with them I know my house quality is up there and I'll be happy when I move in. I'm going nuts though now to some degree,here's a quote to sum it all up.

"How one thing can change everything"

I wont allow one thing to change my views on Kurmond Homes. I wouldn't write all this stuff and then turn around and start bagging them just because they were late again. They jumped on the rifles today and kicked butt in organizing a few of the things. They're still a good builder, but everything is never perfect.

Here's a few new shots, little things are being ticked off daily.

These have been stained again and sealed.

Splash backs are in,

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Welcome Baby Pheonix

Born 15/09/2012, 3.1kg, 50cm long with a 33cm head. Amazingly he looks like Jordan when he was a baby, so much so if I posted two photos it would be hard for me to pick which one was which.

So, I wonder how quickly we can get the house finished now. We need a room for our new little addition. Oh and somewhere quiet.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Cleaning and Retaining Wall

Not to much happening this week but there's still tomorrow and the Weekend so plenty of time for some action. The wife has started getting consistent contractions tonight and has been timing them so I think tomorrow might be a huge day. I'm going to write to my supervisor tonight and ask him to do what ever he can to finish of what's left as quickly as he can. I know he'll understand and hopefully can help out.

As for the house the builder had the cleaners there on Wednesday cleaning all the house up. I can't get in but it appears they've cleaned all the rooms except the back of the house. They were there a solid 10 hours so I could only imagine how good it looks inside and upstairs. I haven't seen them there any other time this week but there's not much left to do.

In the mean time I've been busy trying to keep things moving and getting other things done. I've had a Landscaper at my place today leveling the yard out, cleaning it up and putting posts in for the retaining wall. He's back tomorrow to finish it off and depending on the new bub I'll be there Saturday to put the fence up.

I also went and visited my mate at Dunn & Farrugia and place an order for two side gates. They say it takes about 10 working days so I'm getting in now so that I have them hopefully next week. My wife is stressing hard about getting the keys so hopefully I can do this in between changing nappies at the new house.

Last but not least I paid my Opticomm connection and they say they'll be ringing me sometime in the next 3 days to workout a day to come out. I figure it's close enough now that I can get this started, I've been told they normally book in for about two weeks so again better to get in now. I might be jumping the gun but I want to be up and running as soon as I can. I still have to look into the best provider but I'll do that soon.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Blue Dots

So things are coming to an end, some of the small ticket items are still left to do but it's basically on the home stretch. For anyone building this is probably the painful part, the house looks very habitable and you look at it thinking oh if only. I could be in now....but I can't.

So last week we had Ben come around and place blue dots everywhere. Hundreds of them. Basically these are put on everything that he needs to sort out. It was good to see so many things and as funny as it sounds, there were some things I probably wouldn't have even bothered with. That tells me I'm going to get a pretty high quality home.

Since then guys have been back on various days doing lots of touch ups. All our door handles are on, mirrors, cupboard latches, little things that photos can't show.

I'm so lucky, the baby hasn't come yet, if Kurmond can finish the home this week or next we maybe able to move straight in from the hospital, well see, but here's hoping.

As for other things I've chatted with all the neighbours and the back fence is getting done this week. All worked out in the end and the neighbours were great to deal with. Ive also organised my Opticomm connection in advance. It cost $330 to get hooked up so again if my timing is right I should have it for day 1.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Lights, Camera and Lots of Action

Electricity has been all connected this week. I popped over late yesterday and the sun goes down early so it was a good opportunity to take a few photo's with the lights on. Gotta admit, very impressed with the tilers. I need to look over it in fine detail but it looks like they finished up and they did a nice job. The electricity work by Rod West electrical through Kurmond Homes has been excellent, the placement of everything I have to say is bloody fantastic, and Kurmond Homes team take the initiative to improve on things when they're on the job. By splitting things on to different switches etc if they feel it would improve the house design. I noticed changes and they were bloody good decisions.

As for people wondering where I'm at with things. If I was to list the things outstanding this is what I can think of.

  • Carpet (Done last)
  • Kitchen Splashbacks
  • Front paneling on and painted above front archway.
  • Pantry gyprock repairs and some minor painting
  • Stairs need staining and painting.
  • Door Handles for all doors need to go on.
  • Balcony Rail to go on.
  • Garage Door Motor needs installing.
  • Some flyscreens need to go on.
  • AC Installation powered up and installed.
  • Alarm Powered Up and installed.
  • Rainwater Tank plumping
  • Some minor paint fixes.
  • Some minor door frame issues on 2 of the cupboards (Notches were done originally on the wrong side so there's a cut in the wood where they put the hinges on.)
  • One of the bathroom doors needs replacing, it looks like someone has dropped the door and it's cracked.
  • One powerpoint to be put in under the Hills Hub (Don't forget this needs a powerpoint under it like I did.)
  • Appliances Installed
  • Lots of cleaning, inside and out. :0)

So as you can see,  there's a few fiddley things but overall it's not a huge list, but still a fair few things to knock over.

The concern now is the baby is due on the 10th, and I don't think there's any possibility of being in this house by then. I could be proven wrong but we'll wait and see. I'm guessing it would be a week or two after. My wife has been having some Braxton Hicks pains recently so I'm thinking we may also have the baby earlier. Tomorrow I'm off to get all the new baby stuff from Baby Kingdom out and we've arranged someone to store it for us. Talk about managing a nightmare. If we don't have the house in time we're changing houses, we'll be moving into a quieter house and leaving all our stuff at the current place until the new home is ready. With 7 people we defiantly wont be taking the baby back to that house. 

Anyway take a look at some of the photo's I took. Looks good doesn't it.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Taps and Showers

Got some pictures sent over from my building supervisor Ben. It looks like I now have all my taps and shower heads in, also with that my shower screens. I really like the taps and especially the way Kurmond Homes put the tap for the baths on the wall away from the tap. My wife is a big fan of the shower head also, they look pretty snazzy.

I also had my fan changed over in the alfresco to a silver one. A white one went up and Rod the electrician came back out the same day I noticed it and fixed it up.

This week has been a long week. We were expecting to do a first walk through but the tiles job is a big job it seems. The tilers were there Saturday last week, all this week and this Saturday as well. With the porcelain tiles having to have a smaller gap between them and covering most of the bottom floor you could understand why. I think they may have finished yesterday, will probably go and have a look later today.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

New Park and Living Streets for Illoura (Stage 2) - Jordan Springs

Funny enough I haven't been able to find any info or documents on the hilltop park in the Northbridge village but I've managed to dig up some stuff for Stage 2, Illoura which is now under construction by JK Williams if anyone's seen all the works going on. (I've included a shot of the lake under construction to)

So for those who've waited and will be waiting for a bit longer yet for our property in Illoura then it may pay off for some. You have a great new park going in which includes BBQ facilities (I hope they plan to upgrade all the parks with the same feature) and a snazzy slippery slide for the little ones.

On top of that you may find yourself purchasing in 1 of 3 Living streets which does sound nice but may have a few drawbacks. The living street concept is basically for streets less then 250m long, has less then 300 cars per day passing through it and is developed for interaction with the community. It contains some park like features, trees down the centre of the road and benches. Wider paths for bike riding and jogging and protection for the public not in cars. Thats the only draw back I see is the street will probably look lovely but with bollards and certain types of fencing going up basically in your front yard you might have to be careful opening doors, pulling into driveways etc. What do you think. Doesn't look to bad.

I know me and my little boys will be at the park for sure.

This is the new park in Illoura

How cool does that kids playground look.
One of the living streets.

Here's a map of the park and one of the proposed living streets. 3 in total in Illoura.

One of the living streets.