Project planning is an on-going and continuous process before and during the construction phase of a renovation.
I have allowed for contingencies in my budget for the unforeseen – what if we discover a huge boulder while digging into the ground or the entire roof suddenly crumbles during demolition. Depending on the nature and size of the project, I have previously provided a 10% contingency on construction costs for new builds.
While waiting for the Construction Certificate to be issued by a private certifier, my builder proposed we save time by demolishing the aluminium garden shed built on a concrete slab, remove trees, garden shrubs and plants on the reno footprint and excavate trenches for the concrete foundation.
(In New South Wales, the document required before building works can commence is called a Construction Certificate. In Victoria, this document is called a Building Permit).
You don’t need to be a lawyer to know that digging a hole in the garden bed can also be deemed gardening as opposed to excavation for building purposes. And I have read about domestic violence among Hollywood celebrities inflicting more destruction compared to the demolition we have carried out thus far.
Even though there is an existing concrete pavement on the southeast side of the backyard, this concrete needs to be cut to create a trench for the new concrete foundation. A new pathway will be constructed directly above this concrete pavement for new access from the study onto the outdoor deck.
This concrete pavement will form part of the under house storage of gardening tools and equipment.
The Construction Certificate was issued on 27 July 2016.
Prior to excavation and construction, one of the most important tasks is to ensure the boundaries are correctly pegged by the land surveyor. Although, demolition of the garden shed and removal of plants and trees commenced on 19 July 2016, we lost a couple of weeks due to the heavy rain and storms between end July and first week of August. Once excavation is completed, concrete was poured on 12 August 2016.
Concrete works – 12 August 2016
The house has a 22-metre north-east frontage that is drenched all day with natural sunlight.
On this beautiful winter morning, a concrete mixer truck is ready to do its work. Readymix concrete from smaller suppliers are significantly more expensive in Sydney at $275 per cubic metre compared to the $160 per cubic metre I have paid for property development projects in Melbourne.
The concrete from a mixer truck is pumped through a pipe along the northwest border to the rear of the house.
Each pier foundation that would eventually support the extension of the dining area and outdoor deck is filled with concrete.
The newly cut trench at the bottom of the walkway outside the study is filled with concrete.
As the concrete is poured into the trenchs, it is evenly leveled before it dries.
This concrete trench will be the foundation for the edge of the outdoor deck facing the reserve.
Brickworks – 19 August 2016
These bricks are for the underside of the elevated deck as it needs to be fully concealed to comply to the ‘flame zone’ fire rating. Had I chosen not to conceal the underside of the deck, all the joists and materials will need to be non-combustible.
These nine pallets of bricks cost about $2,750 or approximately 65 cents per brick.
Part of the front lawn has been used by the brickies to mix their cement. The nozzle on my garden hose is totally smudged with cement and my builder has kindly offered to buy me a new one.
Eventually, the red brick walls will be rendered and from a renovation perspective, this is one of the most effective ways to ‘modernize’ an older style red brick facade.
Both Mysaucepan and I dislike the white plantation shutters (yaay! we do agree on certain things!!) because they require swinging space when opened. Out of the fourteen window panels around the house, I have sold 12 panels for $100 each on eBay and there are two remaining panels for sale.
The white window frames are original from the time when this house was built in the late 1960s. They will be replaced with matt charcoal aluminium windows from Trend Windows in Eastern Valley Way, Chatswood.
The brickies wheelbarrow the bricks from the front lawn and stack them up before they are laid.
Today is Friday, 26 August 2016 and it is a beautiful winter day to be laying bricks even if I am not a brickie myself.
Cement mixed in the front lawn is shoved onto wooden planks next to brick piles.
The walls around the area to the left of the staircase where my builder (in blue shirt) is standing have been demolished. In time, the roof will also be demolished and that area will become a new bedroom and living area. The area where the staircase is currently located will be extended to become the new dining room.
What was once a garden bed with beautiful agapanthus, lilies, camellias and hydrangeas looks like a complete mess to the dismay of Mysaucepan.
The walls on the eastern and southern boundaries of the deck are completed after three days. Note the concrete has changed colour from a greyish blue to a whitish grey when fully hardened.
It took two brickies five days to construct this wall and brick piers at a cost of $4,500.
(Note the wall is not completely illustrated in the image above.)