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Building on acreage

Discussion in 'Real Estate' started by TryHard, 13th Jun, 2006.

  1. TryHard

    TryHard Well-Known Member

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    Michael's new development site gave me renewed enthusiasm for documenting our building of PPOR on some acreage at Upper Brookfield (22 km to the Brisbane GPO, but pretty remote, with no mobile reception - which was a huge selling point for me ;-) ).

    In case its of any use to other contemplating the same we learned a bit this time round :

    1. Site preparation - finally saw the light and used a really experienced site preparation expert with a drott and excavator working in tandem. We have a steep hill behind us with TONS of water coming towards us when it rains, so I was scared into submission. After $2,500 and a pretty major site cut, the water visibly runs off into the spoon drains they created. Money well spent (versus the few hacks I'd previously had at trying to get a level site on the cheap which resulted in an impromptu, unlevel, swimming pool :) ) I actually previously spent about the same again in the unsuccessful attempts - a lesson learned.

    2. Septic systems - www.biolytix.com is the Maleny based firm that won a New Inventors award. They have turned 'waste treatment' on its ear from being the usual "aerobic" set up that requires chemicals and lots of intervention, to more closely mirror nature at work including earth worms performing the final stage of filtration, but all in a pretty high-tech setup that actually phones the service tech when it encounters a problem). The best bit was the overall cost was sub-$10K for everything including irrigation areas installed etc - the last treatment system we put it was around $5K more than that and needed maintenance nearly immediately after a break down. Right, enough about poo...

    3. Boulder walls - they're not quite as pretty as the real flash ones (which I was quoted $180 per face metre for) but buying the rocks (truck and dog costs $1,300 - $1,500 and does around 25 face metres) and using the local bobcat guy (I think its pretty important they have experience - our guy was/is great) worked out below $85 per face metre all up. And they're not going anywhere in a hurry. BIG rocks :)

    4. Bores - (no not me, the 'well'..) We are lucky to have good clean bore water. I didn't however budget for the $2,500 submersible bore pump we needed to push it up the hill to our house. This is the Rolls Royce of bore pumps, but it'd want to be ! I was warned off getting the $900 cheapies as they don't have failsafe mechanisms (like overload protection, switching off when running dry etc) so you will more likely need to replace it eventually.

    5. Soundproofing - the only issue I dug my heels in was the necessity for my home theatre room - (excused as a Wiggles Concert display area for 19 month old Ella, but really intended for 24 hour cyclical re-runs of Tomb Raider and Charlies Angels Full Throttle ;-) ) which in turn had me threatened with eviction for excess noise and bad taste. Found Bradford Soundscreen batts which are made I think from spun basalt (more rocks) and self-installed, reasonably simply (cut with large scissors). They work out to around $7-$8 per square metre and claim to cut down noise by 75 %. They're only in the stud walls at the moment so I can't report on how efficient they are - and we'll need ceiling insulation over the rooms (my office is done too, as is Her Majesty's Saturday Sleep In chamber) to complete the 'cocoon' otherwise a lot of the sound will go through the ceiling cavity. More on that later - with success and failure rating to suit.

    6. Cabling - I work from home, and it was cheap to pre-cable most rooms with CAT6 data cable ($0.90 per metre and I've since found it for much less at http://www.skandia.com.au - d'oh ... ) I'e alllowed for one wireless access point in the centre of the house, but I like the convenience and speed of hard wired cabling. Assuming whatever the Tel$tra's of the world roll out to sell entertainment to us, we should be pretty well prepared to send it thru the house. :)

    7. Ducted vacuum - bought a www.starvac.com.au and self-installed. It sucks ! literally - this thing could suck the concrete slab up if you left it on. About $850 for the unit, but a complete pain in the proverbial to install when you don't know what you're doing, even though technically its only gluing poly pipe together and running a bit of 12 volt wire. (I ordered 50mm pipe as directed, only to find there are 5 kinds of 50mm pipe - the wrong gauge being preinstalled and glued in my ceiling before the bloody thing arrived :(
    I eventually tracked down the right stuff. After dripping blue plumbers glue into my eye from above and nearly killing myself in the rush trip from the top of the step ladder to the nearest tap (50 metres away) I think next time I'll opt for the unit and installation as a package. Still, Mary is coming around to the idea that she will only need to throw the coiled hose at me and order me to vacuum - much easier than attacking me with the whole vacuum cleaner.

    8. Services - we are set back 100 metres or so from the road, so we dug a 600mm deep trench with electrical in the base of it, then backfilled 300 mm and placed the water pipe (1.25 inch rural) to bring the water up from the bore. We cable-tied 5 pair gel coated phone cable to the water pipe so it had some support, and that's our Telstra feed in (and it actually tested ok, thank god :) ) So if we ever forget and start digging, we'll at least cut our phone off and get hit by water, before we accidentally cut the 240v :)

    9. DIAL BEFORE YOU DIG. An excavator operator on our job hit a 150 pair telstra cable (in a very obscure spot running diagonally across our property) when digging fence posts, and we received a $5,000 bill from Telstra. The only thing that saved us was the 1100 Dial Before You Dig maps that indicated the services were 4 metres away from where they actually where, and weren't even meant to be inside our boundary. ALWAYS will be making sure we have the latest Dial Before You Dig maps. That's 1,000 bottles of the quality red I am used to drinking.

    Photos posted at :
    http://www.invested.com.au/gallery/showimage.php?i=23&c=

    Plaster and bricks are next week, and we seem (touch wood) ahead of schedule for the 1 October completion.

    Sorry, the saga's a bit boring, but its exciting for us ;-)

    Cheers
    Carl
     
  2. Tropo

    Tropo Well-Known Member

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    Carl,
    Nice place !!.
    Have you got enough room for tennis court ?
    :D
     
  3. TryHard

    TryHard Well-Known Member

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    Tropo - that would mean exercise :p

    Actually its a very weird block - its 12 acres but is only 60 metres wide - hence 10 times deeper than it is wide, or thereabouts. There's room for a few tennis courts over the back ridge, or down on the roadside, but that's why the neighbouring house is so close - we both built on the easy bit :)

    We retained an older cottage on the place with council approval, so its between us and the road, and currently tenanted. They have totem tennis, I dunno if that counts ;-)

    Cheers
    Carl
     
  4. Tropo

    Tropo Well-Known Member

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    " Tropo - that would mean exercise ".

    Hahahahahaaa... tell me about it !!!.
    Yes ....12 acres it's enough. You do not need tennis court.
    I owned once a place on acreage with tennis court....No more again !!.
    Anyway .... have fun !! :D :D
     
  5. Jacque

    Jacque Team InvestEd

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    Hey Carl,

    Fantastic account! Thanks for sharing :)

    A few questions for you:

    What do you mean by hiring the dogs with the boulder walls? I'm assuming dogs refers to some type of heavy macho machinery? :D

    Where do you source the Dial before you dig maps from? I've never heard of them!

    Do you have a tradie background or are you just multi-talented with all these self-installation jobs? I am impressed :D :D
     
  6. TryHard

    TryHard Well-Known Member

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    Hey Jacque

    Oops sorry - 'truck and dog' - a dog is a heavy duty truck-sized trailer that the truck pulls - so you get two truckloads of material for the price of one delivery fee, so long as you can get 'em in there :) Otherwise they term a truck on its own as a 'body truck' being whatever they can fit in the truck itself.

    Dial Before You Dig is phone 1100 (used to be service difficulties and faults - just to confuse things)

    Do I have a trades background ? - good lordy no ! If you saw any of my attempts at handyman work, that question would have answered itself :)
    I am the son of 10 pound pommy immigrants and we survived on pretty meagre pickings throughout my childhood - so DIY seems to be something ingrained, despite the fact I'm not particularly skilled at it :)

    Cheers !
    Carl
     
  7. Jacque

    Jacque Team InvestEd

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    Thanks for clearing that up for me, Carl :)

    What an exciting looking project you have going there- looking forward to seeing the finished product!
    And nice to see the family and real dogs in the pics- your best helpers on site, no doubt ;)
     
  8. TryHard

    TryHard Well-Known Member

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    We're now plastered ... in the non-biblical sense. A team of 3 guys did a 300 sq metre house - all ceilings and walls - in 2 days. I watched them work and wondered why anyone in their right mind would ever try to plaster anything themselves ! Absolutely amazing watching real professionals do what they do - they were very patient with all the spots I had left cables to hang out of the wall too. Bricklayers next week, weather permitting (we finally got rain, and I have serious re-drainage to do out the back - there's been more than one boofy bloke go a*** up in 6 inch deep clay ;-)
     
  9. Tizzy

    Tizzy Well-Known Member

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    Excellent account Carl! I was there with you in spirit!! And "the sagas" not at all boring. I spent a bit of time on an acreage as a teen growing up,often digging trenches in the clay to redirect runoff. Glad to see that septic options have progressed somewhat though. They weren't terribly flash in the 1970's! :)
     
  10. Jacque

    Jacque Team InvestEd

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    Always enjoy your posts, Carl, as they're so visual :)
    I'm with you 100% on paying for specialized skills such as plastering. After inhaling the dust from watching a plasterer in my own homes, I wonder if they ever get sick of all that fine white powder continually entering every orifice and pore on their bodies.
    Sanding before painting is enough for me :) and even then, I make sure I look like a surgeon about to operate, with my mask and paper hat firmly on!
     
  11. TryHard

    TryHard Well-Known Member

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    Hi Tizzy - if you want some sub-contracting clay / water diversion work I could be very interested ;-)

    lol - I'm from the country myself originally, and find it pretty funny that the old 'thunderbox' dunnies are now collectors items, I don't have real fond memories of those :) I am a firm believer in once its gone, you shouldn't have to see it again ! ;-)
     
  12. TryHard

    TryHard Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Jacque :) What I lack in skill and commitment, I try to make up for with excess verbage. Just ask my wife :p
     
  13. Tizzy

    Tizzy Well-Known Member

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    Haha Carl, not quite the thunderboxes! Indoor loos. No the septics had a switch to go from one to the other. Very hands on and always needed switching at 2am! Come to think of it...not even sure if it was legal??? My old Dad would try anything to save a buck.
     
  14. MichaelWhyte

    MichaelWhyte Well-Known Member

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    Awesome work Carl,

    You don't fancy project managing a wee project on the Northern Beaches do you? ;) Nah, I reckon I might enjoy that challenge myself...

    And I've got to agree that professional plasterers is a no brainer. We got them in on our PPOR when building it and were blown away at how well they did in such a short time. We had square edges (no cornices) in every room, and have vaulted ceilings upstairs, so it was a mammoth job. They had scaffolding with ladders and boards spanning stairwells and the did the whole thing without missing a beat. Totally unbelievable and I think the entire house cost us $10K. Would never contemplate doing it myself.

    Cheers,
    Michael.
     
  15. TryHard

    TryHard Well-Known Member

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    Heh, making me manager of your project, that would be called snatching defeat from the jaws of victory mate ;-)
     
  16. Glebe

    Glebe Well-Known Member

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    Carl you're a funny guy :)
     
  17. TryHard

    TryHard Well-Known Member

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    Um, thanks mate, I think ;)
     
  18. Tropo

    Tropo Well-Known Member

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    " That's 1,000 bottles of the quality red I am used to drinking ".

    That is what good bottle management is all about !!
    :p
     
  19. TryHard

    TryHard Well-Known Member

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    PPOR - life on the farm ...

    I thought I would revisit the old post to say we have actually moved in .... photos are at

    http://www.invested.com.au/gallery/showgallery.php?cat=500&ppuser=192

    (not sure if I can work the gallery properly yet :p )

    The roof still isn't finished, and we're still waiting for the rangehood installer, but in typical 'TryHard' style we moved in, instead of waiting any longer.

    Luckily from inside you can't notice there's a few roof niceties missing, and the house is just awesome to live in so far.

    I have been evicted from the home theatre several times at 2AM - there's just too many entertaining shows to watch and too little time ;)

    Cheers from the farm,
    Carl
     
  20. TakeStock

    TakeStock Well-Known Member

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    Sensational! I love the home theatre room. How effective is the sound proofing? Obviously not effective enough to prevent eviction at 2:00am:rolleyes: