Sunday, May 23, 2010

Tiles, Colours Everything!!

What a massive day!!!  All our appointments (Tile, Electrical and Colours) were completed in one day this week at Metricon's Studio M on the Gold Coast.  I think that we really benefited from going down to the Gold Coast Studio M on a few occasions in the last couple of Saturdays.  We had pretty much nailed down about 80% of our selections prior to the day.  Metricon QLD only opens Studio M and the Tile Studio on Saturdays so we could not really pre-select anything for our electrical appointment.

Given the number of selections that we had to make on the day, I thought that I might summarise our selections under our appointment headings along with some of the upgrade costs.  I know that we found the information on everyone else's Blogs around approximate costs really helpful for us "first timers" that had never built before (Thanks particularly to Tim & Tina who provided an extremely informative blog on their experiences with Metricon).-

We really liked the idea of putting downlights right throughout our house (apart from the garage and outdoors) prior to our appointment.  We decided to get a quote from family and friends on installing the downlights we throught that we would require prior to our Metricon Electrical Appointment, mainly because we were told that Metricon's price to supply and install downlights was quite high.  The consensus from our family and friends was that if we had the downlights installed privately after handover we could expect to pick up a reasonable quality downlight for $20 each trade price and installation would be around $70 each, less if we were going to get the 70 downlights we had estimated on our floorplan.  Mr "D" our Electrical Consultant at Stratus (Metricon Electrical Contractor) was extremely helpful throughout the Electrical selection process.  We told "D" that we were interested in putting downlights throughtout and he guided us to the new style Envirolux CNC Glass Front Downlight (similar to the one in the photo below, but with a glass cover).
It takes an 11w Enviroglobe, but it fills a larger floor area with light meaning less lights required overall and all for $105 each installed.  This was less than the $7000 we had projected for installation and should save on power bills in the future.  Personally, I wasn't as keen on these downlights (as Maya was) aesthetically as a normal halogen downlight, but it does maintain the same overall look. 

Given the quoted cost of $15K to upgrade to the Clipsal Saturn (LED) light switches throughout the house, we decided to scrap them in favour of the standard switches.  We also considered the Clipsal Slimline switches, however for $10 extra per switch this upgrade was purely not worth the price.  The Denver comes with 19 double power points as standard and we added an extra 8 @ $63 each installed to fill out the house.  We also added quite a few other provisions for additional/future powerpoints and lights (that Metricon could not supply) and 2/3 way switching.  We also decided to take up the option of adding the Clipsal Star Server that includes 6 data points, 4 TV and 2 telephone prewired for $1795.  We were considering getting this done by an external contractor during or after construction, but the job became too difficult to organise with Metricon under their conditions.

All up for Electrical, Data and TV (including aerial) came to $8800 in variations.  Our Daikin Ducted Airconditioning had already been included in our original contract for just over $11K.  We probably could have gone without the aircon with a different design house with different windows, however the QLD summer would have cooked us.  

This was probably our easiest appointment of the day due to the preparation (and weeks of "discussion") Maya and I had entered into prior to selections.  The whole appointment was supposed to take 3 hrs and I think that we were out of the appointment in 45 mins.  Our choices were -
All Floor Areas (inc kick panels) - MAXFL911 Super White 450x450 porcelain tile.  The pic below is of the 600x600 version.  We were originally told this tile would be a $55psm upgrade to the Reflections package, but at the appointment we were told the price had dropped on this tile in the last 2 weeks to $30psm.  Our first savings...........

Bathroom and Ensuite Feature Wall Tiles - MAXFL705 Silk Olive Porcelain.  This tile is a $135psm upgrade to the Reflections package so its a relief that we are only going to do one wall per room in this tile.

Bathroom and Ensuite Remaining Walls and Bath Hob - BELWP313 Mocha.  This is a standard tile so no extra costs with this one.  

Maya really liked the idea of taking the Bathroom and Ensuite tiles to full height (same height as the tiles in the shower).  To do this in each room we were quoted $1500-$2000 per room.  This really looks fantastic in the display homes so we decided to take this upgrade.  

Studio M
We always knew that we wanted quite a few upgrades during the Studio M Appointment, even though there was quite a lot included in the Reflections Package.  Given the amount of selections in this area, I have listed our selections under headings, starting from external  -
We have decided to go with Boral Blue Rio bricks (upgrade Category 6) for $1890 with White Mortar and White Sand for $2070.  We originally really liked the Austral Hawthorn bricks which unfortunately are not available in QLD.  

We have also decided to render the fron portico and the walls around the outdoor room in Colorbond Dune.  The gutters and facia will also be this colour (below).
We chose a Colorbond Roof (at an upgrade of $5K) in Colorbond Ironstone.

Doors - For the Front Door we went with the Corinthinan Infinity Pivot Entry Door which was included as standard with the Reflections Package.  We decided to upgrade from the standard 370mm Front door Handle to a 750mm handle at a cost of about $200.  After all, why have a nice big entry door with such a weedy little door handle?
We also upgraded the laundry back door to a Corinthian No7 as per below.  We are unsure of the ccost of this one, but given that the laundry does not have any windows for natural light, this is a needed addition.
We went with standard Corinthian internal doors throughout for all rooms apart from the Main Bedroom and Walk in Robe doors.  After much deliberation, we decided to upgrade these doors to the Corinthian Infinity 21 stain grade doors for approx $1200 per door.  We thought that we may be able to source some stain grade internal Wood/Glass doors cheaper after handover and tried a number of different suppliers including Corinthian.  Due to the non-standard size of the doors (extra ceiling height in the Reflections Package) we could not locate doors with sufficient height without getting doors customer made at a massive cost (over $2K per door).  It was therefore an easy decision to go with the Metricon supplied doors.
Kitchen - We made a few additions to the Kitchen above the Reflections Package which included Caeserstone benchtops, Glass Splashback and Technika Gas appliances.   We added some extra drawers in the kitchen, extra cupboards, metallic splashback paint ($175) and upgraded door handles.  While there were quite a few changes made to the kitchen, the costs involved were minimal.

Bathroom/Ensuite - We took all of the Reflections Promo items for the bathroom including Kohler tapware, Caeserstone benchtops and Kohler basins and then added a few extra's of our own.  We added chrome pop up releases for the basins ($50 ea), an upgraded Newbury bath ($75), polished edge mirrors ($200ea) and semi framed shower screens ($500 ea).  The shower screens were not a straightforward decision, mainly because Maya is of the opinion that the frameless shower screens don't seal properly.  I was ok with either, but given that we were putting in wall tiles to the top of the screens, it would look a bit odd having fully framed showers.  We also requested upgrades to the basic towel rails in the bathroom and ensuite.

Carpets - We chose to upgrade from the Carpets provided in the Reflections Package to Metricons Platinum range with rubber underlay for $32 psm.  We did go to some external flooring suppliers to get some quotes on carpet, but found that the adjustments to remove the Metricon supplied carpet from the contract was not sufficient to match the carpet we wanted through an external supplier.

Anyway, that is enough for now since there are simply too many selections made during the appointments to detail here.  I'm sure that everyone will see photos of our chosen colours on this site as the build progresses.  There were a few items that we were NOT HAPPY about at the end of our appointments day, mainly around things that we had queried with our Sales Consultant prior to contract signing and were told that they would now going to result in a Post Contract Variation and Admin Fee of $750.  I'll cover these off in my next post when we are a little closer to resolution with our Customer Service Consultant......hopefully.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Our First Mow!!

Its been a busy week since our last post.  Last Saturday we spent most of Saturday down at the Gold Coast at Studio M trying to preselect as much as possible before we have our Electrical, Colour and Tile appointments this coming week.  It was really worthwhile and we think that we have most of our options hammered down.  Once we have made our final selections, I'll post some detail about our colours, tiles, and external selections on this blog.  

Last weekend we also did our first mow of the block.  Thanks to Scotty K for the lend of the ride on.  Even with the ride on it still took nearly an hour to mow it.  Doing this block by push mower would have been a killer!!!!  I think we'll pull forward our purchase of our own ride on.   Maya caught me hard at work. 

We finally made a decision on what to do about our HSTP system.  Our Metricon Customer Support Coordinator (after we follow up with her on multiple occasions) came back to us with the price of $16600 for Metricon to simply do the connections of a HSTP and the HSTP council submission.  Given that the original amount on our contract for Metricon to supply, install and connect their Bio Treat HSTP was $14000, we decided to query this price.  After again following up on a number of occasions, we were told that the connection cost would be $1660 (not $16600 as originally provided via email).  Again...good enough reason to get everything in writing/via email.

We headed out to the block late this afternoon, mainly to take the hound for a run and noticed that we have our first building progress -
.....yes we have a water meter!!!!  Yes, it feels like our site start is getting closer.

Anyway, we have both taken the week off work to do our selections (really just needed a break and this seemed like a good excuse) and since we live on the Sunshine Coast, Metricon supplies us with 1 nights accommodation on the Gold Coast while we do our selections.  We're going to extend this out to a couple of extra nights.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Contract Signed!!!

We signed our contract on the 24th and things are definitely "on the road now" and not turning back. Our Sales Consultant was quite helpful. I think he had anticipated that we would have a number of questions and issues we wanted resolved prior to signing. In fact, initially we were not keen on signing a document/contract that did not reflect the design we wanted exactly, but the Sales Consultant advised us that every one of our concerns/issues with errors in the original drawings were going to be resolved in the first post contract variation. The one thing that I have quickly learned is to get everything in writing (mental note for the future try and do everything via email).

We already had finance in place (Given my job, it would be a little scary if I didn't) prior to signing the building contract so everything was set to go.

Our next step is to make our trip to make Colour, Electrical and Tile Selections at Studio M @ Gold Coast which has been booked in for a few weeks time.
Over the last couple of weeks we've made a couple of trips to Studio M just to get some ideas about what "variations" we might like above Metricons Reflections Promotion Inclusions. If anyone is either looking at building with Metricon or has recently signed a Preliminary contract/Quote, get to Studio M as soon as possible. It will give you a good idea of what is standard, what you get in any promotion and approximately what each upgrade will cost. That way, when you come to selecting items you would like added to the contract you can ask for provisions to be made. I'd recommend adding a provision for electrical in particular!!

We are still considering doing a couple of things ourselves such as the HSTP (Home Sewerage Treatment Plant) and Decking for the Outdoor room and Portico. Metricon has quoted us $14K for supply and full install of their Bio Treat HSTP system. We would really like to install a Biolytix HSTP mainly because it has underground wastewater dispersal, does not use any chemicals like Chlorine and is more environmentally friendly. So far we've got a quote on the supply and install on a system similar Bio Treat system excluding connections/power for $8K and approx $11K for Biolytix. Just waiting on a quote from Metricon to just do connections before we make a decision.

In the mean time (or at least until we have completed our Studio M appointment), I've included a graphic of our proposed external Colour scheme from the online Studio M site. What a nice little design tool!!!