Metricon responds to recent news about slab heave

28 02 2012

In response to recent news about homes cracking under pressure in the media, Metricon posted the following on their facebook page:

You may have seen recent media coverage about the increase in homes in particular in Melbourne experiencing cracking as a result of structural movement. One of the causes for this has been the extreme change in weather conditions over the last 12 months. Metricon is committed to investigating any concerns fully and to resolve matters as quickly as possible where Metricon workmanship is responsible for the issues. For further information or to notify Metricon of any issues, please refer to the below information.

This was followed by a link to the following latest news article on Metricon’s website.

There have been a number of recent media articles about the increase in homes experiencing cracking in Melbourne as a result of structural movement caused by the extreme change in weather conditions over the last 12 months. This is particularly prevalent in areas with highly reactive soil types such as in Melbourne’s north and west.

The Housing Industry Association (HIA) has commented on the issue of ”slab heave” – that is, where there is an upward movement in the concrete slab foundation that can create cracks in the plaster of a home’s internal walls. The association says the problem has been caused by unforeseen movements in the soil after unusually heavy drought-breaking rains.

Metricon advises any of its homeowners who have concerns about their home to contact our Warranty Department. Metricon is committed to investigating any concerns fully and to resolve matters as quickly as possible where Metricon workmanship is responsible for the issues.

The cause of structural movement in homes is always a site specific matter as each home site is different. In many cases, movement may be caused by works not undertaken by the homebuilder such as landscaping and paving as well as works on adjoining home sites.

Metricon notes the importance for homeowners to ensure that the perimeter of their footing systems, landscaping and drainage are adequate and meet the published standards advised by the CSIRO and provided to customers during the building process.

The Foundation Maintenance and Footing Performance: A Homeowner’s Guide report can be found on the CSIRO website at http://www.publish.csiro.au/nid/22/pid/3612.htm.

Metricon will assist homeowners with any queries regarding how to protect the footing systems of their home and comply with their obligations.

If you think that your home might be affected or you have questions about your own obligations, please contact Metricon on (03) 9915 5555 and ask for our Warranty Department.

C&K

Reference: Recent Media Articles About Slab Heave in Melbourne

Reference: Slab Heave Tips & Tricks

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Homes cracking under pressure

25 02 2012

During the week A Current Affair aired an investigation describing Aussie dream homes crumbling in one of the most wide-spread building disasters.  But it seems that no one can be held accountable, except mother nature.

As we are about to build our dream home, we were a bit concerned after watching this segment especially with Metricon being mentioned.  Did anyone else see this?  What are your thoughts?

Video Link: Homes breaking under pressure

C&K





Electrical Appointment

24 02 2012

On Tuesday this week we had our electrical appointment at Studio M with Nathan from the Habitat Group.

A day before the appointment we asked to get a price list of the various selections only to be advised that they had apparently emailed that out 2+ weeks ago.  For some reason it didn’t get to us.  It would have been nice to have received it earlier.  Nevertheless, we did eventually get a copy which we were able to review the night before the appointment.

As part of our preparation for the electrical appointment we set about marking up three copies of A3 printouts of our preliminary contract floor plans.  On each of the three copies respectively we marked up:

  • Light (including downlights) and switch locations (incl. 2-way, 3-way switches).
  • Data points, powerpoints, tv points and external junction boxes.
  • Heating/cooling ducts.

Nathan went through our floorplan with us room by room, starting with the ground floor and captured our requirements using a computer program called Clipspec.  Nathan was great and made the process quite enjoyable.

We were allocated 6 hours for the electrical appointment, but we completed it in under 4.  Our preparation beforehand had really helped and allowed us to be fairly decisive about what we wanted.  Prior to our appointment we had looked at a number of other people’s electrical plans and read a lot of blogs to pick up on other people’s handy hints and ideas. ie. two/three/four way switches, external junction boxes, placement of switches and some slight house plan design challenges that impacted on some of these things too which needed consideration.

Aside from our airconditioning, our lighting was our big ticket item.  In order for our house to meet the 6 star energy rating we can only install either compact fluorescent or LED downlights. The LEDs are more energy efficient and brighter.  The compact fluros are cheaper but take a while to warm up and are not as bright. They can be replaced with halogen bulbs down the track (or after handover) whereas the LEDs need a different transformer.

We are trying to do some research on whether we can get LED bulbs that would work in the compact fluro sockets (any info would be greatly appreciated).  The other big factor is the big price difference between the two – $49 for compact fluros verses $90 for the LEDs but then we have to consider the long term savings as well. These prices are just for the ligths too. The price for adding an additional ceiling light point is $56, so the overall cost to install a downlight is –

  • LED: $146 ($90 + $56)
  • Compact Fluro: $105 ($49 + $56)

so things add up pretty quickly. Hmmm, decisions, decisions.

We have added a lot of double powerpoints throughout the house.  We have positioned the points based on how we think we will furnish the rooms as well as ensuring we have points on either side of each room opening (eg doorways) to give us a bit of flexibilty should we change our minds.   We added a single powerpoint to the broom cupboard in the laundry for a dustbuster and another in the ensuit vanity cupboard  so we can hide things away  (eg electric shaver charger) and keep the benches a bit tidier.

One thing we found quite amusing was in relation to the 6 Star energy rating. We are adding four nice feature lights to our facade but were advised that these will have to be connected to a sensor, an extra $105  dollars later thankyou very much. On the bright side (haha) we think that in actal fact this is probably a good thing from a security point of view.

Much of our thinking has also included future proofing the house. For example, we have included two datapoints (for tv and multimedia device) in pretty much every room where we think we might put a tv at some stage in the future.  All the data cabling is going to terminate to the storeroom under the stairs where we (well Chris) plan to install computer gear, ADSL modem, WiFi and network switches.  We also included a powerpoint and a network connection in the roof for a Wireless Access Point (WAP) to boost the signal on the first floor if needed.

Unfortuantely we haven’t got the details and price for our refrigerative cooling yet as this couldn’t be quoted on the day and has to be done at Habitat Groups’ head office.  Hopefully we get it soon so as it is a BIG ticket item and impacts on our overall budget.  Here’s hoping that it comes in under what we have estimated.

The only remaining selection appointment is to pick our tiles at Beaumont Tiles. Phew, almost there.

We’ll post our electrical plans and selections soon.

C&K





Picking a facade

17 02 2012

We have driven to almost all of the Metricon display homes over Melbourne since we started Our Nolan project.  We also drove around to several completed Metricon homes to help us get a feel for the various facades – it’s more real seeing the house in the flesh rather than looking at photos and computer generated images of the facades.

In the end we kept going back to the Plantation facade which also suits the neighborhood characteristics of where our block is situated.

To get an idea of our colour selections for our facade we used Metricon’s Studio M Envisage website (http://www.studiom.com.au/envisage).  While the image below is not quite what the Nolan Plantation facade looks like, it allows us to get a better idea of how our colour selections will work together.

Our Nolan Facade Colour Selections

The following image is the facade with details of the colours we have selected.

Our Nolan Facade Colour Details

Here are some photos and pictures of the Plantation facade from various Metricon house designs.  Though some of them are not necessarily the Nolan, it does give you an idea of the look.

Metricon Nolan Plantation at Greenvale

 

C&K





Having fun (and lightening our wallets) at Studio M

11 02 2012

Today was colour selection appointment at Studio M, yay!!!

We arrived right on 9am to start our selections with our colour consultant, Fran. We went along with many of our selections already made up in our minds such as our bricks, timber floors and kithen and laundry cupboard colours. We had a rough idea of the colours that we thought might work for the exterior render colour scheme but happily took expert advice from Fran who really helped us consolidate what it was we really wanted. She was very patient and helpful with all of her suggestions which enabled us to put together a colour palet that flowed through the rest of our selections.

We felt that we moved through the selection process quite easily because we had done a lot of research prior to our appointment. We couldn’t help but notice another couple who were also there for their colour appointment who hadn’t done any preparation and seemed to really struggle. The lesson, preparation is the key!!! When you think how much money you are investing into your new home, you want it to look amazing so it only makes sense to have a good idea about what you want beforehand. As it was, it took us about three and a half hours to go through all the various stages of the process and that was with us knowing a lot of what we wanted already. Had we gone in cold we wouldn’t have got through everything and been able to feel comfortable with our selections.

In addition to Fran, we also delt with Diana our timber flooring consultant who was fabulous, Lyn who was our window furnishings consultant who came up with a beautiful curtain selection which is something we wouldn’t have thought of ourselve but we think it is going to look amazing and Sam who was our carpet consultant who was very honest and helpful.  Sam mentioned that we had made a wise choice in selecting timber for our stairs as it will wear a lot better than carpet. He also mentioned that with our timber flooring we are selecting a species of timber not a colour. As a result, don’t expect to always get the same colour you see in the show room or sample you have.

We finished around 1pm, after four hours and all in all we feel that we had a very successful visit to Studio M today and are really happy with everything we picked and had heaps of fun in the process.

To view our selection click here or the tab ‘Colour Selections’ in the menu above.

C&K





Our Metricon Nolan 45 floor plan v2.0

9 02 2012

As mentioned in our last post, we flipped our floor plans.  Here are our new floor plans for Our Nolan 45 which included some additional (yes more) alterations to the floor design.

To see the latest floor plans click here or see the “Floor Plans” link in the menu above.

We will provide more details about what things we upgraded once we have completed all our colour and electrical selection appointments.

C&K





Preliminary contract meeting – our house is flipped

3 02 2012

This week we received our preliminary contract and had our preliminary contract meeting with our Sales Consultant, Melissa at the  Metricon Head Office.  After many emails and phone calls, it was also nice to finally meet face to face with our Customer Sales Coordinator, Karen.

Since we received the first version of the preliminary contract plans back on the 16th Jan, there has been a few changes.  The most significant change has been that our floor plan has been flipped so the garage is now on the left hand side (south side) of the property.  This of course has meant that we had to apply to council to get the driveway crossover to be relocated to the south side of the property.  To the council’s credit they turned this request around very quickly and pre-approved the changeover in under 2 days!! Metricon can now proceed with the plans flipped.  Great work.

The reasons for flipping the house include:

  • A better design outcome for the proposed building design:- Locating the garage to the south will allow for appropriate positioning of north facing living areas.  In particular, the outdoor alfresco will have a northern aspect. It will also allow for potential building regulations to be easily met with appropriate building design.  However, we will still need to apply for Report and Consent for 3 regulations.
  • Visual surveillance along the driveway when reversing the car from the garage:- The current crossover location does not allow for comfortable visual surveillance for traffic approaching from the north end of street due to a sharp bend in the road. Relocation will allow for safer existing.
  • Widening of the crossover: – The current crossover is very narrow in width and when we relocate we will seek a wider crossover that meets Council specifications for the relocated crossover for easier entry and exiting.

At the preliminary contract meeting, we made a number of variations (adding, removing and correcting items).  We plan to review the contract further at home over the next few days before signing and see if there is any more opportunity to cut some costs.  It was very exciting to get to this stage.

I am currently creating a floor plan using Microsoft Visio based on our latest plans provided by Metricon and will post it as soon as I finish it.

Both Melissa and Karen have been very helpful in answering our questions and following up on a number of items promptly over the past few weeks and getting us to where we are.  Thanks guys!