Raising of the walls – and oops, knocking down some as well!

It was all hands on deck for the raising of the block wall. Orange and yellow shirts everywhere.I returned from my last trip to find I had a couple of walls raised on the building site, the start of the garage. After a week at home I had three walls, all concrete block, all different colours, and the jury is still out on those almond coloured ones. I do like the large boundary wall however, it is a brown-grey and tones in nicely with the old Queenslander, which is just as well as that is the side you will actually see the colour.

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Moving back in – finally!

Work life has been pretty full on lately. I’ve been on the road for a few weeks now and only had a brief stop at home mid month for a week’s break. Even that week was full on with business meetings with the accountant and my wonderful business partner, training sessions on new programs we are trialling and starting the move back into the renovated house. Yes it’s finally at the move in stage.

The house is finally finished. A beautiful Queenslander with a few modern touches.

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The fiddly things

The renovation of the bathroom upstairs continues with the installation of the shower head and taps and the free standing bath.

The renovation of the bathroom upstairs continues with the installation of the shower head and taps and the free standing bath.

We seem to have arrived at that messy stage where little bits and pieces are being done by different tradies and at different times. They arrive at the house, do a few hours of work and go again, returning a few days later to do something else. I’m sure if I was one of those well-organised renovators who had a gantt chart, I wouldn’t have quite so much of this. I guess it also would also have been easier if I hadn’t gone away for six weeks while the renovation was going on! The delay in ordering some items has had an impact. We are still waiting on the the front door to arrive as well as the kitchen and vanities to be installed. This is holding up the tiler and plumber and is also causing the painter problems as he can’t start working upstairs until the old kitchen is relocated down to the ground floor kitchen space. Read more

A wild, wet week

Rear elevation of Queenslander, water courtesy of Cyclone Marcia.

Rear elevation of Queenslander, water courtesy of Cyclone Marcia.

Wow, what a wild week it was weather wise. Parts of Queensland and the Northern Territory took a beating with both Cyclone Lam and Cyclone Marcia hitting Australia this week. Thankfully Marcia had downgraded to a tropical low by the time it hit Brisbane. The massive amount of rain we received has well and truly settled the fill under the house and shown us that we need to add more fill, or we will end up with a mosquito breeding ground. The house is nearly closed up, still waiting on those front doors, so there was no issue with the inclement weather affecting the internal fixings of the house.

While the builders were busy with their work this week and the rest of Queensland was in cyclone management mode, I was working, and enjoying the beautiful sunny weather of Cape York, in the Northern Queensland community of Pormpuraaw. There they are still waiting for the wet to really set in. We experienced high tides and stormy seas from the effects of Cyclone Lam, which washed away some of the ocean-side tracks, but that was it. Read more

The benefits of going away

The windows have been installed, now just waiting for the doors to arrive.

The windows have been installed, now just waiting for the doors to arrive.

There is definitely a benefit in going away for six weeks while a major renovation is being handled by your builder. Now I know most people want to be around so they can answer any questions about where the power points should be placed or have input into the many minor adjustments that need to be made when something just isn’t where it should be according to the plans. I’ve decided though that I’m not one of those people. We went away with the house sitting like a bloated spider on spindly legs and have come back to a house that is almost at lock up stage.

This week I have had to go through the house and look over those minor decisions that the builder has had to make and every one of them has made sense so I don’t see that me being here would have made much difference to the outcome, perhaps just slowed down the process while they waited for me to make a decision. Of course you do need to have a good builder that you can put your confidence in and that’s definitely been the case here. Read more

Oops, should have read twice, signed once.

Making sure the supports are welded in the correct location

Making sure the supports are welded in the correct location

I made a slight error the week prior to the Christmas break, nothing that will bring the house down but in my haste to get things done before Christmas and the holidays I didn’t talk through the whole job with one of my contractors, the company that was to re-roof the house. The builder had told me that it would be better to add in some extra timber supports to the roof where the existing frame had sagged over the years. I had a quick word to the roofing contractor about the need to ensure the new roofing allowed for taking out the dips in the roof which he interpreted to mean packing out the rafters here and there. I didn’t read through the description carefully in the quote otherwise I should have realised this difference. In my defence I was rather busy getting some work completed before going on holiday plus organising a whole host of other things related to the development. Unfortunately the problem wasn’t picked up until the team arrived on Monday to commence the job when the builder and the roofing foreman got talking. A quick call to the roofer confirmed my error. After a hurried discussion with the builder confirmed that the problem would be cosmetic only, we decided to go ahead with the re-roofing. Read more

Stumped, in the nicest possible way

This week has been pretty busy on the work site with everyone wanting to get as much done as possible before the Christmas closedown.

Stone age techniques obviously still work

Stone age techniques obviously still work

The house raisers returned on Monday and worked with the bobcat operator to dig the holes for the stumps – two meters deep. The low tech approach to problems came into play again this week. A plumb bob would obviously get in the way of the drill and would be blown around by the wind. The answer was to have one guy (the youngest) climb up onto the Jenga stacks then position and drop a stone from the centre of the attachment point for the stump. Where ever the stone landed, that was where the hole needed to be drilled. It seemed to work as the house stumps appear to be in the right position and they are all straight. Read more

In my defence…

Okay, some of you reading this know me quite well and are probably wondering why it has taken me so long to get my act together and make this renovation and development happen. Well, in my defence I have been doing the preparation work for it in my spare time, in between spending most of the past eighteen months on the road for work purposes. Any time something like this becomes an optional extra, as opposed to a full time renovation or development project, it will take a lot longer.

Me in my natural setting

Me in my natural setting

Apart from the workload, we were in no rush to get things done as we were living in the house and, at a basic level, it was meeting our needs. Read more

and the secret is…

Soap!

Did you ever wonder how they slide a house across a block of land? I did. I had visions of them using rollers or airbags or something fairly sophisticated, but no – it came down to a few well placed pieces of steel, some bottle type car jacks, square pieces of timber that looked like large Jenga blocks, a bobcat and a bar of soap.

House starts to be raised, Lower section of stairs are now detached from main part of house

House starts to be raised, Lower section of stairs are now detached from main part of house

It’s been an interesting day watching the team carefully move the house across the block. Read more

The demolition site

Ok, now I officially have a demolition site. A safety fence has been placed across the front of the block and after two days work by the house raising company, and lots of noise, I have a number of holes in the lower walls of the house in preparation for the placement of steel beams for the lift.

The demolition of the lower level has started

The demolition of the lower level has started

We had a slight glitch on day one when the destruction of a dividing wall revealed that one of the old timber bearers had been installed at an angle to match up with the placement of an outside supporting post. Read more