End of year round up for 2015

With the December break upon us, I finally have some time to catch up on the progress of the new build. While I have been able to manage the build process in between a very busy few months of work (sometimes I was only able to get home for one or two days between trips), something had to give and that was the documentation of the build. Thankfully, our builder is amazing and of course there is the internet and mobile phones for communication. Miraculously with all this to-ing and fro-ing, there has only been one or two errors of any significance (more on that later) which has been a real blessing.

The new build progresses

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So just how much does it cost to renovate a Queenslander?

How much does it cost to renovate a Queenslander? A lot more than I thought.

Then

Six months ago we had a two bedroom, one bathroom, one living room house. Admittedly there was also a sleep-out and an office that had been created by filling in the verandah, while these gave us extra rooms they effectively closed off the house from any breezes (not good in a Queensland summer) and made the living area very dark. The kitchen was at the rear of the house and there was a lovely rear deck however, there was no flow between the living room and the deck. Our average sized dining table dwarfed the small dining area and blocked access to the bathroom.

The original Queenslander home, all the beautiful features hidden, just waiting to be revealed.

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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

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

Thinking about roofing

Since we are renovating and building a new home and have the opportunity to see what else is available in other regions of the world, I have been keeping an eye open for ideas from the northern hemisphere that might translate across to Australia, as well as checking out the differences.

Tar paper roofing tiles with shallow metal guttering both assist in the management of snow and water in this climate.

Tar paper roofing tiles with shallow metal guttering both assist in the management of snow and water in this climate.

One area that has interested me in particular is the varying roofing and cladding materials used over here in colder Scandinavian regions. For example, in Tromso, the chalets we stayed in had tar paper roofing tiles; that wouldn’t translate well to Queensland – the tar would drip off the roof in 40 degree heat, I am guessing. I asked someone how the roofing was constructed using this material. The process it seems is to lay down the ceiling timbers on top of the rafters first then add a layer of waterproofing material followed by plywood, insulation, plywood, waterproofing material and finally the tar paper, keeping everything snug and dry.

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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

It may not be obvious, but…

It’s been a busy week on the renovation front although this has mainly been behind the scenes work.

Replacing the roof deferred

The builder decided that it was better to wait until after the move to replace the roof as it needs further bracing and tie downs to meet new cyclone standards since the last roof was installed in the 1970’s. After the past couple of weeks of storms, I think this might be a good idea. I have been getting quotes from roofing companies and it looks like it will cost somewhere between $13,000 and $15,000 to remove the old roof, add bracing and tie downs to the timber frame, insulate and replace with Colorbond roofing iron.

The vinyl flooring removed leaving the bare floor as it must have looked many years ago.

The vinyl flooring removed leaving the bare floor as it must have looked many years ago.

While I’ve been working on income generating work and following up various things in whatever spare time I can find, the builder has been busy with preparation work. He has advised me that next week we will have the house lifters on site. Read more

What else would you expect…

Second day of demolition and the tradesmen had a beautiful day to complete the job. They told me that the job was not without its excitement, though, when one of them fell through the bathroom floor. This was due to a rotten board giving way, the timber under the concrete that had been laid to level the floor for tiling was a little worse for wear after 90 odd years.

The old decking disappears as the last of the demolition is carried out. The steps were the last to go.

The old decking disappears as the last of the demolition is carried out. The steps were the last to go.

The roof definitely needs to be replaced so we had the roofer out today to give us a quote. It appears that the Decramastic tiles need to be stripped off and the existing battens replaced before the new Colorbond sheeting can be laid. Re-roofing is one of those costs of renovating that an end buyer usually won’t notice, but it will increase the renovation cost significantly. Read more