Independent Building Inspections

28 01 2013

Construction inspectionBuilding a new house is a big investment and such a significant transaction requires thorough inspections.  This will ensure any defects (by reference to the Building Code of Australia and/or relevant Australian Standards) that exist are identified so they can be rectified early.  It also gives a peace of mind that multiple (knowledgeable) eyes have looked over the house.

Here are the results of a survey we posted in the HomeOne Forum of the stages that people have organised their own independent inspections.


It seems the 3 most common inspections are:

  • Frame
  • Pre-plaster
  • Pre-handover

Friends, family, colleagues and acquaintances of ours who have built homes used inspetions at pre-plaster and pre-handover stages.  We found that the independent inspector in all cases found issues and defects (some were significant) which the builder fixed without any problems.  To highlight the benefits, here are a couple of comments we got directly from people who used independent inspectors:

  • “We got frame stage ,pre-plaster and will also get one at hand over. He found many faults at frame stage some were potentially detrimental to future validity of the home. He paid for himself at the end of the day. Only costing us around $1400 for the “key 3″ inspections.”
  • “We have completed our Frame stage inspection with our independent inspector and he found 8 issues and 6 are major issues according to Australian standards.”

Metricon use their contracted building surveyors to do their indpendent inspections.  In addition to this, we have decided to also engage our own independent inspection to have another set of eyes to go over the work.  We originally were planning to have 2 (pre-plaster and pre-handover) inspections, but given the cost of the inspection compared with the cost of the entire house we decided to go for the 3 most common ones.

Inspection prices varies between $260 – $900 per inspection depending on size of house, whether its single or double story and stage of inspection.  We are not sure if price is a reflection of the quality of the inspection.  If someone has a comment on this, we would like to hear from you.

We had several first hand recommendations and in the end we have engaged New Home Inspections.  We will organise the frame stage inspection soon as its nearing frame completion.

Here is a list of building inspectors in the Melbourne area that we have come across (some of which also have services in other states):

We’ll post our experience with the independent inspections as we go through them.


Day 40: Slab pour

18 12 2012

Today we had the concrete slab poured. Woohoo, so exciting!!!!! It looks great.  Here’s to reaching this first major stage in the construction process and just before Christmas.  It took a bloody long time to get going but we feel as though we are motoring along now, its a great feeling.

We were laughing this afternoon – even before the slab has had a chance to dry we received our first major invoice for the completion of the base stage.  The amount is due 7 days from now which falls on 25 December – Merry Christmas!!

The slab looks big.  According to our plans the site area is 708 sqm and the building area is 265 sqm, so the site coverage of the slab is about 38%.  So whilst it doesn’t look like it, we do have a lot of land.  The slab now gives us a clearer picture of how the house fits in with the land and we are now contemplating what we need to do for landscaping.


Our freshly poured slab

You can clearly see the step down to the garage….


View from the front near the garage

Here’s a photo from the rear.  From furthest to nearest on the left ground floor is the sitting room, powder room, laundry, kitchen and dining room.  On the right is the study, family room and rumpus.


View from the rear

We took the opportunity to engrave our names into the slab….


Making a mark on our slab


Day 37: Slab preparation complete

15 12 2012


Its slab time!!!! Yes, that’s right everything is ready and waiting for the slab pour which will hopefully take place tomorrow. We had a lot of fun looking at all the prep work for the slab and working out which room would be were. We also realised just how bloody big our house is going to be and how much work we will have to do to the backyard so we can make the space functional for the kids (and us). That said, we are sooooo excited to be at this point. We can’t believe how quick things move now that the whole process is underway. All the boxing for the slab was done in one day – phew!!!

We tossed a gold coin into the slab area for good luck, lets hope we have good weather tomorrow and can show you some new pics of our slab.


View from the rear of the block.  The house area looks huge!!

Closeup of the slab area shows polystyrene (Expanded Polystyrene to be precise) used for the waffle pods.  The polystyrene is a great insulator, reducing heat transfer through the floor.


Close up of the waffle pods from the front


Outdoor room

The following image shows the main plumbing pipes into the ground floor of the house.  The close ones seem to be the ground floor powder room and laundry.  The one further back in the photo more towards the centre is the kitchen island bench.


When we arrived at the site, our front fence had a serious lean on it and had to be braced up by some wood.  The falling fence destroyed our letterbox.  We had to go to Bunnings and spent $21 to get a replacement.


Our cyclone fence needs fixing

Our recycling bin looks a bit squashed from the recent site works.  Now who is going to replace this?


Our poor bin 😦


A gold coin for good luck


Day 32: We have been pegged

10 12 2012

Drove past the block after work today and saw the property pegged to outline the slab position.  Other than that no other visible progress.



Day 30 – Retaining walls complete, power pole, concrete piers and plumbing

8 12 2012

Our retaining walls are now done – they were done by 30 Nov and only took 3 days of work. You can see from the photo that the wall on the left hand side is hard against the boundary.  However, the one on the right is away from the fence to cater for the easement.



We also noticed some drains (?) connected to pipes coming from behind the retaining wall.  I assume these are the ag pipe to aid the removal of waste water and thus reduce the pressure placed on the wall.  If drainage is not placed at the base of the wall there is a strong possibility that the wall can be jeopardised and weaken the wall structure and a “blow out” can occur resulting in the wall being buckled or even worst knocked over .


Other work that has been done include the drilling and pouring of the concrete piers to help stablise the slab to stop the house shifting from its intended position.


A power pole has been erected with a meter box which will be hooked up to our underground power pit that we organised back in January.  Power will be required for the frame stage.  It seems the plumbing is also done – most of the pipes sticking up from the ground are within the house/slab boundary.


We spoke to our Site Manager during the week and he expects that the boxing of the slab base and the pour should happen next week.


Day 19: Our first bit of construction

27 11 2012

Today we saw our first bit of construction on site by one of Metricon’s sub-contractors who do the retaining wall work, Davnic.  Up until today all work has been contractual, design, administration, resolving the easement issue, cleaning the soil of debris, digging and moving soil around.  Today’s morning weather wasn’t the best with some significant rainfall in the morning but some progress has been made.

It was really satisfying to finally see some construction beginning to occur on our block!!


Steel posts erected along left side of block for the retaining wall


Day 17: More digging

25 11 2012

During the week we noticed new site markers were on the footpath which we suspect were from the site surveyors completing another site survey.  Yesterday morning (Saturday) we drove past the block to see trucks and a digger on site doing more work on our block.

We are now getting a better idea of how the house will sit on the block. While we always knew that there would be a deep cut on the block, seeing it now has made us start to think about the degree of landscaping and additional retaining walls we will need. At the moment we are struggling to get our head around what exactly we will do to transform the great big slope at the back of the block into a functional backyard for our kids. Another research project is underway.

Also earlier in the week, Alice introduced herself as our new Customer Service Coordinator (CSC).

Digger in action

You can see we will have a deep cut towards the back