Drake Bend


Project Management


This project is to build and sell a house for the purpose of building equity.

The vacant block
Image 1: The vacant block.

List of real estate agents to talk to regarding house design:

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The block has been bought, based on it's price (100-150), location (near our house), and flatness (it is flat; we wanted an easy first build). Today is financial settlement, but I don't actually know if it went through. I'll just assume it did. A flowchart was produced in order to identify the next steps, it can be found on the family google drive. The next step is to choose a design, and finally get council approval. This has to happen before July, and ideally a lot earlier than that to allow us to spend time familiarising ourselves with the plan.

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So, once again, a lot has happened since the last entry. It looks like all the deadlines have been blown out of the water, so it's time to start fresh:

It's been really good to liase with the real estate agent during the design process. I really get the feeling that this house will sell really easily with their help.

At the moment, we're waiting for the drafting to finish.

The back view
Image 2: The 3D view from the back...
The front view
Image 3: ...and the front.

It's also been really useful to model the house in 3D. It didn't take too long, and it gave us the chance to look at the house from a few different angles and make some design decisions.

The plan
Image 4: A plan view generated by floorplanner.com

The floorplanner.com website really helped with creating the floor plan.

The draftsperson was sent:

We learned about the council approval process. Essentially, development approval is required for things that affect neighbours directly, and then council gives design approval seperately. The R codes aren't complicated, but they are long documents. In our case, we are requesting permission for 2 zero-setback walls, which shouldn't be any problem since they butt up on neighbours zero-setbacks. We are also applying for a 25% reduction in the open space requirement as offered by the covenant that applies to this suburb, but it is conditional on window placement.

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Part of my risk management highlighted the need for me to create s change management system. So, without doing any research, the system will be: changes will be agreed upon unanimously and submitted to the person executing that particular task, or that person will make changes autonomously. Then, that person can queue those changes as they require, according to their own system of priorities.

The drafting still isn't complete. I will send an email on Sunday.

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The drafting still isn't complete.

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The preliminary drafting is complete. A few changes have been made, but they seem fine. I had a meeting, and lots of questions were asked. I'll be away for a few days, so I'll bring my attention back to this on 2017-08-22.

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Had a meeting with the builder, he confirmed out cost estimates of around $1200 per meter squared. We were advised to change to a gable roof as a cost saving, reminded about the viability of solar tube skylights, warned of the problems associated with the maintainence of timber frames for windows, and suggested to use bricks for our fire walls. Additionally, we chose the claddings for the exterior walls, and the allowance for the gutter is 120 mm or so. Box gutters were ruled out. We also discovered that we seriously need to allow space for the facade itself.

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I sent off the email to the draftsperson today. Hopefully only a couple more rounds of questions to go before we can apply for planning approval.

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Several decisions about external colours and finishes were made. A 3D drawing was started to evaluate options. A fence was considered in the front.

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Today we met with the builder again to discuss options for the roof. The main outcomes:

  1. Use a solar tube in the ensuite bathroom to improve lighting
  2. 900 mm to 1200 mm truss spaings are OK. It depends on the design
  3. The "wedge" cutouts are fine for use witht the skillion roof
  4. Extra reinforcement will be required in the corner of the living area
  5. A low rake on a ceiling might be 5 degrees, and a high rake might be closer to 20 or 22

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Several more decisions were made today:

  1. No solar tube in the bathroom
  2. Box cutouts in ceiling for the living area, and 1 for the main bedroom, and one for he corridor/ensuite
  3. Nub wall extended from kitchen to allow for the beam required
  4. Jess needs to be asked about the placement and type (heat pump/gas heater) of the water heater
  5. The kitchen side wall to be shortened to 9.5 m in line with R codes. R codes to be checked for consistency
  6. Windows extended along living room side wall in same style as front of property, but at bench height
  7. Windows/door space allowed in dining. Door/window positions TBC
  8. Placement of WP pillar TBC. Clearances checked and added to model
  9. Back facade updated to allow support of rearmost roof truss
  10. 3D model updated to reflect all the preceding

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The 3D model got a major makeover today:

Image 5: The latest 3D model

Talk has been had about the possibility of a return being put in on each facade.

Many points were updated: the western power pillar might not be a problem in the end. The box cutouts were added in the proposed locations, the nub wall extended, kitchen wall shortened, windows extended.


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I made some more progress on the 3D model. I noticed that there is a problem with the skylight which feeds into the main bedroom: the door positioning needs to be investigated. Then I prepared a bunch of options for the back and front facades:

Image 6: Example front facade 2.0 (uncoloured)
Image 7: Example back facade 6.0 (uncoloured)

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Back facade 3.0 and front facade 1.0 were chosen and adjusted slightly. The main bedroom skylight was fixed by lowering the door to the correct height. Both facades were consolidated into version 4.3. No returns were added to each facade at this time, and then the decision was made to add the neighbours back in to the 3D model.

Image 8: Back, coloured, including neighbour sketches
Image 9: Front, coloured, including neighbour sketches

A bunch of images were taken, and notes made, and all bundled into a package for the draftsperson.

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Last week we dropped our existing draftsperson because they were working too slowly and signed wih a new company. So, progress is finally being made again.


We have a our first drawings back! I'll review them over the weekend, and try to send feedback early next week.


We met as a family today and had a conversation about the drawings. Points from discussion:

  1. Missing water tank. Probably near bath
  2. Soak well positions?
  3. Lounge orientation
  4. Front facade shape
  5. Front windows: 5 on front, 4 on side
  6. Kitchen re-arrange? 50 mm services backdrop
  7. Sink in scullery? Dishwasher too?
  8. Original ceiling design better
  9. Move lounge wall over
  10. Question placement of corridor door
  11. Ceiling: as per new design. 1200 spacing
  12. Dryer in drawing
  13. Double wall near linen cupboard?
  14. Mislabelled fire wall on site plan
  15. Bifolds instead of stackable sliding doors, to ~0.65 return on left side

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Council approval! We met with the drafties yesterday, and we have agreed to continue with the project.

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Today we reviewed the preliminary working drawings with the builder. Now we need to finalise the electrical plan, and then come forward to the drafties with any additional questions.

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I spent soe time today working on the electrical plan. After finalising the design, I'll email it to PowerHouse with a list of questions for them.

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The electrical plan was updated and sent. All the questions were answered by the draftspeople. Since then, they have issued final drawings, and we have started the process of obtaining a building permit. Most pressing is the engineering for the wall framing, the outriggers, and the roof trusses. At the moment we're waiting for the quote to come through for the roof trusses, at which point we will be able to approach the engineering firm to get everything else engineered. When everything is collected, we can apply for council approval, and also apply for the permit to connect the driveway to the road over the public verge.

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Final copy of drawings recieved from draftspeople. Energy star rating was swapped for a certified energy assessment, which was recieved. Truss quote received. Dial before you dig application made, maps are pouring in. Currently trying to make Water Corporation application. Structural engineering was been provided on the wall bracing and pier design etc, as per council requirements.


Indemnity insurance was applied for and received. There was a bottleneck here, but I can't remember what it was. Council approval for the build was received! Today I started work on clearing the block. A meeting was held with the builder yesterday, and the next steps were laid out in order:

  1. Clear weeds
  2. Set out height pins at 30.50
  3. Add 50-100 mm of sand (approx 30 m^3 required, + 25% for compaction)
  4. Level sand (by Hiam)
  5. Compact whole block
  6. Prelay: plumber, electrician (power, phone, NBN), gas (by others)
  7. Formwork (by others)
  8. Dig footings
  9. Pour (by others)

We need to confirm what we're going to use for hot water. It seems that the best option might be one instantaneous heater, with 2 outlets. This can probably be done for around $1600. It would be gas powered.

A toilet is requesed on site. In this toilet we'll keep a laminated copy of both the engineers drawings, and the plans.

Window frame colour needs to be decided. Dad has elected to make all of the facade windows, as well as the bifold doors.

I was relieved to learn that waterproof membrane is very cheap.

Today I spent 1.5 hours in the morning weeding, and cleared the back 4 m of the property. 26 to go, around 10 hours of work.

Another few hours in the afternoon, probably around 4.5 for the day. Around half done. It's a good idea to use a pitchfork and rake.

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Well, not an incredibly productive week, but something is better than nothing. Here's the before and after:


Probably around 10 - 15 hours of work.

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Confirmed single hot water system with family, will need to talk to builder about this.

Confirmed black window frame finish with builder.

Today we levelled the block, and found that half is about right, and the rest is arounf 75 mm too low. Tomorrow we'll compact the block and check levels again. The bulder wants at least 14 blows for the 600 mm, and preferably more (14-16), but also to have it consistent across the block area to reduce cracking.

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