Renovations from start to finish Part A

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  1. #1
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    Default Renovations from start to finish Part A

    For no real reason I have decided to start tracking our renovations on the forum, from start to finish. I have been posting pits and pieces of our internal work, but I figure I can get heaps of good advice if I start posting info about the work we are undertaking outside. I'll add photos as we go.

    Getting up to speed. We are currently getting quotes from builders for the complete job, however we have decided in the last few days to do it as owner builders. Originally we were going to go with a fixed price contract because which bank wouldn't lend money to owner builders, however we have since found that we are getting very high quotes from the builders and have figured out that there are other banks around. We are using a mortgage broker who is chasing up banks who will lend what we need to owner builders.

    The process so far. We spent some 12 months looking at options regarding purchasing a new house, demolishing this one, adding on etc. I think we had around 15 or 16 different options. In the end we have settled on adding on because we got the house at such a good price $88,000 and 2 years later it (as is) it is probably worth around $200,000. Now, we figure that including added value of the addition, we could theortically spend around $200,000 and not over capitalise. However we want to avoid the trap of spending the money that we are capable of spending and only spend what we have to. There are also of course a myriad of life style choices which come with this house as well.

    Once we decided on the addition, we then looked at what to do - go up, go sideways or go back. We decided on building over our driveway( sideways), because the drive runs the length of the house, is relatively useless space, we have rear lane access and we can design the house to match the existing.

    With our layout already in mind we went to a draftee who took about a week or so (very quick) to come up with plans which we then took to the council.

    To be continued.............

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    Default Photos of house as is.

    These are the photos the place prior to construction, so as it is at the moment. I have cleared some trees down the driveway, we got a lopper in for that, after council approval. The lopper cost around $600 for 2 big trees and stump grinding about 6 stumps. He also left us a couple of cubes of mulch for our front garden. I was happy to do the lopping myself, but swmbo and common sense prevailed given my prediliction for having stuff land on our house. Basically he's insured and I'm not!!

    I also cleared a car port and concrete the length of the driveway and along the back of the house(to date I used about nine 5 cubic metre bins - at about $150 each).

    I have also included a photo of my labourer - angry little bastard that he is.

    To be continued ................
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails labourer.jpg   original-front-1.jpg   original-back-1.jpg  
    Last edited by Wood Butcher; 7th Oct 2007 at 10:14 PM.

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    Default The drawings Part B

    After we talked to way too many people (relatives have no place in deciding house plans ), we started looking for architects. Now it turns out that, and you can apply this principle to everybody you need to use in your home construction, that architects are way too busy and generally not interested in additions and renovations, so we broadened our search towards draftspeople . And I would suggest running with a draftee who uses CAD rather than drawing (assuming they still exist) because we have been able to go back with a myriad of changes which he makes on the spot for us.

    Aside from the normal elevations and site plans we also required a Shadow Plan, to appease our neighbour (more about that under council approval).

    I have included the drawings of the existing and new plans to provide some perspective on the project. You may notice that the extension is only 3000mm wide, which is really at the lower end of the scale on room sizes. We were bound by the boundary which was only 3850 away, and this complicated things for us. Our application to the council was therefore for what is called a Zero Lot Line (building on the boundary) but more about that later.

    The drawings (9 pages in all) cost $700 which I thought was pretty reasonable

    To be continued ............
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails proposed-floor-plan-1.jpg  
    Last edited by Wood Butcher; 7th Oct 2007 at 10:14 PM.

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    That's a really good idea.

    Basically you are using the forum as a kind of Blog site.

    Maybe we could have a separate forum for individual projects where each person could take out a thread allowing them to track their projects. Others could see what they are doing and add comments and you would then have a dated history of what you were up to.

    How about it, admins?

    I've been thinking about the same thing, so thanks for the extra inspiration.

    Simon
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    Default Council Approval Part C

    Everyone has horror stories regarding local councils and approvals etc, however so far I have found the processs relatively straight forward. My only advice is to always provide an amicable avenue for everyone (neighbours, council, subbies etc) to approach you through. If I start a big antagonistic letter writing campaign, I am only going to create heartache for myself. So my approach (as with most things anyway) is to maintain face to face contact with all parties.

    The first part of the council approval is for a development application (DA), this basically outlines what our concepts are and gives the council a broad brush idea of what we are trying to achieve. The second step, which we haven't got to yet is a construction certificate, which tells the council exactly how the building will be made. So the council can make sure we aren't building it with paper mache!!

    When we originally approached the council we asked about building to within 500mm of the boundary. And we were advised that we could either apply for a wall which was 1200mm from the boundary (which would make the internal rooms too small) or on the boundary (which would give us heaps of room inside, but it meant we could only build a parapet wall with a box gutter - a 3300mm high wall with the gutter on the inside, a rather ugly set-up and not within keeping our original idea of matching the existing house).

    So we figured we had no choice but to apply to build on the boundary (a Zero Lot Line). Now we have 8 neighbours who were sent plans of the proposal by the council and had none of them objected we would have been ready to roll. However our nearest neighbour kicked up a fuss, with good reason, and we subsequently arranged an on site meeting between the 2 owners from next door, 5 council staff and myself. Aside from little bits and pieces, the neighbour suggested why dont we build to the width of the gutter (about 450mm). I said what a grand idea and the council agreed and we ended up with a house which is 600mm in from the boundary.

    Being 600mm in still has some other ramifications, as it is still classed as a Zero Lot Line (because it is within the 1200mm) we need to build a fire rated wall (masonry construction with cement sheeting under the eaves), there are no windows allowed along the length of the boundary which is within the 1200mm, although we did get concession for some glass bricks about 1800mm up in the middle room.

    One little tid bit, is that when you get written material from the council, don't panic if it doesn't make sense. As with any bureacracy they tend to use way too many words to say not much at all, so it may take a little to figure out what they are actually saying. I find I can get a translation from just ringing someone at the council ( I have rung 3 different people before I could find someone who could things in layman terms), or the other way is to apply the 3 Cooper principle, which of course works for clarifying most things as well.

    So now we have our approved DA and can start getting quotes from builders

    The approval process from the council cost $420 and is inclusive of the DA and the complying construction certificate.

    To be continued..........
    Last edited by namtrak; 9th Mar 2005 at 12:41 PM. Reason: Costing FYI

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    Quote Originally Posted by simon c
    .... as a kind of Blog site.....
    That's a neat way of looking at it - I write a blog to stop getting in the blog...

    And in the vein of all good blogs, there is a bloody dog yapping up the road which is tied up to a post with about a foot of chain and has been yapping since 8am!!!! Owners are pathetic.....
    Last edited by namtrak; 9th Mar 2005 at 12:28 PM. Reason: My gramma is worse than my smelling

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    Default Building Quotes Part D

    This is the easiest part so far - not!!!!!!

    When we originally approached the bank for broad brush approval they advised us that we would need a licenced builder and a fixed price contract to get the job done. Now I know at least half a dozen builders who work as subbies, and whilst not licenced builders they would all do a great job. Unfortunately the bank stipulates that we must use a fixed price contract, home warranty insurance (for jobs over $12,000) and a licenced builder. So....

    We start going through the phone book, there are 78 builders listed in our yellow pages and I reckon we have rung all them once and some of them twice.

    "Gidday, my name is Mick I'm looking for a builder to put in a quote on a job. It's rendered brick veneer, about 10 squares, we also need a kitchen refurbished and a ensuite"

    "I can look at it in 9 months"

    "I can put a quote in in about 2 months"

    "I'm busy through to 2006''

    "Catch up with me on my job site and I'll look at the plans here"

    "Too busy, but try ......"

    Ad In Finitum......

    We ended up with 9 builders who came and looked at the job, and I reckon we got 5 usable quotes.

    And this is where things get interesting. Our first quote was for $248,000. Which if we are generous and allow $28,000 for the kitchen (Im providing benchtops) and the ensuite, comes in at around $22,000 a square!!! This is roughly how builders look at the cost of a job. A square is 10 feet by 10 feet, so this addition (including verandah) is roughly 95 sqm or about 10 squares (not a biggie in the scheme of things). As a comparison we can get a brand new 4 bedroom house, 20 square house, heating, cooling - all the fruit, built for around $185,000 or about $9,000 a square.

    The next quote $218,000 and the next $200,000 (with a note saying this is how much my quote is, but I am too busy to build your house!!) Get the picture.

    So we sit down and have a confab about what we do.

    First decision is to remove the kitchen and the ensuite from the quotes. We think the builders are worried about blowouts on these sort of items so they are building in higher margins on the kitchen and the ensuite. We realise we still need to get them done, but we can probably get a more competitive price direct from installers for those components. It will also give me time to argue my case with SWMBO for me doing them myself!!

    Second decision is we call those builders that are still interested and ask them not to include the kitchen, ensuite, wiring or plumbing in their quotes. We have a sparkie who is helping me rewire our existing house, and plumber who is a friend of the family. We are now reduced to 4 usable quotes. (Only 1 has come in so far)

    Third decision, is based on a meeting with our mortgage broker. He suggested that whilst we could get around $200,000 the repayments are going to be pretty high and we needed to consider our lifestyle choices
    He suggests we try a different bank whom he is confident will come to the party for a much reduced loan to an owner builder. It is entirely understandable why banks are gun shy, about lending large sums to owner builders. I would hate to have to go back to the bank and say that money was great but now we need to put the walls up!!

    So we decide to bite the bullet and become owner builders. Given that we already have access to a plumber and sparkie (and I can do the plastering, painting, tiling and floor sanding), we now need to find a brickie and a carpenter who can guide us through the balance of the process. We are confident that we can knock prices down on most of the materials, with my good looks and swmbo's negotiation skills (or is that the other way around). With us becoming owner builders it also brings back into the game, some of the subbies I know locally who are more than proficient.

    We are now enrolling in a one-day Owner Builder course (a state government requirement), and I am about to advise the council that we have altered the process. I also need (and I'm sort of dreading this one - might cost me a six pack) to contact the 4 remaining builders and talk to them about where we are going and if they are still interested in providing quotes, for albiet much reduced work loads.

    To be continued...........

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    Lightbulb Electricity into the house Part E

    This bit didn't start off as part of the addition but it has sort of worked it's way in.

    Originally we were going to leave our electricity where it is coming into the house on the North side (to the right in the piccies), however the box is very old and our sparkie has suggested we renew it. He also originally suggested we move the box to wall on the new addition (the South side) because Country Energy (the local authority) will require us to move the incoming wire as it currently crosses the neighbours property (this is a big no no). And whilst they are happy with the status quo, Country Energy has said that they will require us to move it as part of any renovations.

    So everything was going along swimmingly until the sparkie realised that the distance between the boundary and the wall on the new bit was only 600mm. Which means it would be illegal to place a box there. Given that the door on the box has a 600mm swing and that should something explode there, a person has nowhere to back away to!! Therefore we are now replacing the switch box in it's existing position, but to sidestep the power over the neighbour we are putting up a 3 metre high pole (+1200 into the ground!) at the front of our house and running the power underground to the switch box. This means once I finish typing this and a little plastering I have I will be back into hand trenching a 600mm deep trench from the house to the pole (about 4m). I am hand trenching cause it's not that far and also I am very near our water mains and Telstra cable (gas mains is on the other side of the house thankfully)

    Between the cost of the pole, new switch box, sparkies time, Country Energy fee and bits and pieces, this costs around $1400

    To be continued............
    Last edited by namtrak; 9th Mar 2005 at 02:00 PM. Reason: Darn those costs FYI

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    Oviously way too much time on your hands.

    You should be out ther doing the work yourself.

    Al :confused:

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    Procrastination

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    As one very obnoxious Oz says, COME ON!!!!


    Al

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    An interesting read - having gone hrough the exact same process a couple of years ago it brought back many memories.

    A couple of points - I totally agree with the "go with the draftsman" approach. we found a lot of builders we spoke to won't do work designed by architects. "They don't think about how the thing is going to be built" - now I know this is a generalisation, however I have 2 friends who all had extensions designed by architects and then went and got quotes, and the cost had blown out - went back to see a draftsman and got what they wanted pretty quickly.

    Second, the costings look about right - we were advised to allow around $2500/sqm for extensions/renovations and about $1000-1500/sqm for new buildings.
    Builders quoting for renovations build in a LOT of slack... you know what it's like, you pull th egyprock off a wall only to find problemX which couldn't be seen before..... so you pay dearly for that fixed price quote.

    Another avenue is to go with a time and materials quote, but you need to manage the builder then to ensure no cost overrun.......

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    Default Owner Builders Part F

    So now that we have received our fixed quotes from builders and believe that the prices seem very high, we have gone back to the banks whom have now agreed to lend a lesser amount for us to become owner builders.

    Thankfully my SWMBO has agreed to do the day long course at TAFE which is required by the Dept of Fair Trading (I could think of nothing worse)

    My first step has been to create a spreadsheet of all expenditure. I broke the spreadsheet into 4 components.

    Building Materials: iron, bricks, cement etc

    Add-in Materials: windows, doors, taps etc

    Labour: Sparkie, Plumber, Subbies etc

    Sundries: Insurance, Fees

    I then broke each item down into it's base unit (kg, litre, sqm, lineal metre etc) and it price per unit (I tried to overestimate a little here) and finally I calculated how much I would need for each item.

    I have included a copy of these estimates as PDF documents - feel free to provide comment. Also take note that between today and when we actually finish building I reckon these estimates will change quite a bit. If I remember I will post a copy of the actual expenditure at the end of the process (June 2020 - when the Apes will rule the Planet. Mental Note: build tire swing in lounge room to accommodate future leaders)

    This has given me a place to start working with.

    I have now gone to 5 building supply companies (Bunnings, Dahlsens, Home Hardware, Timber-it, Roofing Centre), plus numerous door, cabinet, window suppliers with a copy of my job list (less the costings) and a copy of the plans.(Although I didnt need to get my own copies as each of the suppliers offered to make copies - save enough for a cuppa and scone here). Most have said it will take about a week for them to come back with their quotes. They have also indicated that there is roughly a 3 to 6 week wait on materials coming in.

    I am also getting quotes from companies further afield, in particular Fowles in Melbourne. And also for individual items such as glass bricks, windows and doors etc. I am largely doing this to cross check the quotes I get, and I would probably only get the materials from further afield if there is a substantial cost saving.

    Out biggest single expense will be labour for the subbies. I have 2 mates who have put their hand up and are very competent. They have offered to do the job at $25 per hour. So I calculated the labour charge at $75 per hour for 500 hours (12 weeks).

    A side effect of the cost process, has been, that I can now give SWMBO a distinct budget for each of the Add-in items and she can pick them up as she sees things that she likes. Rather than draggin me around to check out taps, the sit-a-bility of a dunny, tiles, ad nauseum.... For example, she has a budget of $90 for a tap, $500 for a basin, etc

    We have also been led to believe that we will only need to take out Home Warranty Insurance if we plan to sell the house in under 6 years. Depending on the cost of the insurance we may make that commitment and forgo the added expenditure.

    I guess it is easy to say now, but in hindsight, we should have done this costing exercise before we even went to the builders. It would have given us a much greater understanding of the quotes we were getting.

    Cost estimates:

    Building Materials: $35,380
    Add-ins: $21,475
    Labour: $53,000
    Sundries: $4,500
    Failsafe 20%: $22,871

    Total: $137,226

    The cheapest quote we have so far from a builder is $218,000

    Aside from time, this process has cost us about $20 so far. Petrol and photocopying.

    To be continued............procrastination

    NB for those that may be interested the Kitchen Cabinets in the add-in items who as $300 they should be $3000 (so add another $2700 plus 20% onto the total)
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by Wood Butcher; 7th Oct 2007 at 10:14 PM.

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    A Member of the Holy Trinity silentC's Avatar
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    Received our Owner Builder course in the mail last night. Cost $95. Study at home and complete a 4 page 'exam' (half is multiple choice). It's approved by Fair Trading, which is all I care about.

    Going through similar process at the moment myself, only for an entire house. We're going with a kit home (2 actually), which is not an option for you, but will save us a heap. We are building a 39 square house and it will cost about $160,000.
    "I don't practice what I preach because I'm not the kind of person I'm preaching to."

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    Yeh, probably the way to go if it was a new home $4,000 a square for a kit home as opposed to about $9,000 a square for a package. And 39 squares is pretty big!!! Our house when we're finished will be about 18 squares - your gonna need a scooter to get around!

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    Actually a lot of it is veranda. It's probably more like 28 squares living area. But the verandah goes all the way around, so a scooter could be fun
    "I don't practice what I preach because I'm not the kind of person I'm preaching to."

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    Default Works Program Part G

    I've now got together a works program, which comes in handy for a couple of reasons. It helps me firm up my budgets for labour costs. It also will guide me in my ordering process for materials, particularly given that some of the suppliers need upto 6 weeks lead. However most importantly it will help me decide where to lay stuff out in the backyard, as we only have limited space I dont want to be tripping over bits and pieces.

    So therefore, within reason, I want to keep the stuff I am going to be using earliest closest to the job. I guess ideally the suppliers will deliver on the morning I need it, but I'll have to see how that goes.

    Schedule Timeframe(days) Materials
    Approvals 10
    Site Levelling 1
    Excavation 1
    Sewerage 2
    Footings 5 Reo/Concrete
    Brickwork 3 Bricks
    Stumps 3 Concrete Stumps
    Termite Treatment 1
    Bearers 2 Hardwood
    Floor Joists 3 Hardwood
    Framing 5 Pine
    Trusses 5 Trusses
    Roofing 5 Iron
    Windows 3 Windows
    Cladding 2 Harditex
    Doors 2 Doors
    Flooring 2 Cypress
    Decking 3 Merbau
    Plumbing 4 Taps, sinks etc
    Wiring 4 Lights and fittings
    Plaster 5 Gyprock
    Tiling 2 Tiles
    Kitchen 2 Cabinets
    Ensuite 2 Basin, Toilet, Shower
    Skirtings, Built-ins 5 Skirtings etc
    Render 5 Render
    TOTAL 87


    That amounts to 17 weeks work or about 5 months, given that some of it overlays and some of it is contigent on prior work I reckon 5 months is pretty reasonable

    Cheers

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    Quote Originally Posted by silentC
    Received our Owner Builder course in the mail last night. Cost $95.
    schitt - mine cost $260 - but they included a 600 page "book" about construction though.
    I allus has wun at eleven

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    more more more ..... having just returned to Australia, (malaysia and Singapore on business) I am loving this documentation of the process ..... and FWIW, I am VERY happy you didnt demo your existing home - I think it is a great base to work from

    Best wishes
    Steve
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    ....catchy phrase here

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    As far as material costings are concerned- go to www.tradeconnect.com.au. This site has material costs which are pretty competitive for owner builders. Even if they do not supply you, all the prices are listed and you can use them to get a good idea of what you should be paying.

    Subbies however can be a lot tougher as far a price is concerned. Like your builders, it really is a matter of how busy they are. Remember though, if you dont know the guy (and even if you do) go the the Dept of Fair Trading site and check their history.

    Nowadays, even with people you know, get it in writing. It's not only a legal requirement but it protects all parties involved. I could tell you a number of stories about former friends who went to court because they trusted one another to do the right thing.

    Good luck with the project. If you need any advice, whether on process or price, then feel free to ask.

    Youve impired me, I'm building a shed 21x12m and attached office 9x12. I think I will post the progress on the forum.

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    It looks like they are really putting the owner builders through some hoops now. When I built my first house, I think I paid $240 which included the licence and insurance.

    But in my opinion, most owner builders do a good job albeit a lot slower than most builders. I guess they have got the time and patience.

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    Quote Originally Posted by boban
    As far as material costings are concerned- go to www.tradeconnect.com.au. This site has material costs which are pretty competitive for owner builders................

    TradeConnect is a great site, I had forgotten all about it. I use it when I'm doing landscaping jobs to give me a feel for prices, but more often than not I can get a better deal locally.

    Quote Originally Posted by boban
    ...........though, if you dont know the guy (and even if you do) go the the Dept of Fair Trading site and check their history........
    The funny thing with the OFT is that I'm not sure that actually know where owner builders fit in the picture. I went into the local office here and asked what licence my two 'labourers' will need and she was really ambiguous saying they need a licence regardless, and I was arguing asking why would I need licenced builders - effectively, to work with us as labourers. In the end she said to ring the licence number and talk to someone there. I rang them and the lady was definitely unambiguous, she said (and I asked her 3 times!!) that (assuming we are correctly insured) the only licenced trades we as owner builders need are the plumber and the sparky. She said we could use family members, friends, passerbys as labourers as long as we were insured and they didnt do any of the plumbing/sparky work. This also goes hand in hand with the 4 council inspections!!

    As part of our pre-planning processes we have broken the project down into a schedule. We are now about to sit down with the labourers and talk to them about which components are their responsibility and which are ours.

    I have followed their last 6 or 7 jobs and we are pretty confident with their work. They work together well as a team (one is meticulous and one is fast). However we will still enter into a written agreement about responsibilities.

    Quote Originally Posted by boban
    ...........Good luck with the project. If you need any advice, whether on process or price, then feel free to ask............
    As long as it is free to ask expect me to be asking a few

    Quote Originally Posted by boban
    ..........Youve impired me, I'm building a shed 21x12m and attached office 9x12. I think I will post the progress on the forum............
    Glad to be an inspiration. And this would be great, because the shed will be our next project (10m by 4.5m) - as long as I can convince SWMBO that it is a priority

    Cheers

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    As far as the licensing is concerned, what you have said is correct. What I mean though was if you have someone like a tiler, then they need a license to work as a tiler and so forth. You will be surprised how many unlicensed persons are out there calling themselves tradesmen. If they dont have it in their wallet ready to show you then watch out, it could be trouble. Be upfront and ask for it.

    As far as the advice is concerned, it is free. You can call me on my mobile, I don't mind that either. I'm happy to help anyone who want's to help themselves. I learnt what I know by being on site, reading and most of all asking questions about matters I don't know about.

    I will keep tabs on your progress with some interest.
    Last edited by boban; 28th Mar 2005 at 02:20 PM.

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    boban if your measurements are correct...........................




    I want your shed


    Steve
    Kilmore (Melbourne-ish)
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    ....catchy phrase here

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    Quote Originally Posted by capedcrusader
    schitt - mine cost $260 - but they included a 600 page "book" about construction though.
    Only 600 pages? It must be the condensed version
    Whatever note you blow youre never more than a semitone away from the correct one....(Miles Davis)

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    [QUOTE=seriph1]boban if your measurements are correct...........................


    I've wanted this for the last 15 years. You don't know how excited I am about building it. For me it's my dream come true.

    I will post the plans and pictrures tonight some time as a new thread. Hope you guys have some ideas about setout and so forth.

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    Default Interim Update

    For those that are interested I am busily typing my updates on our renos. The short story is - no work on the extensions yet!! However I have been beavering away on the existing house. I have attached some pics of the all but finished hallway. And I also have some feedback on the NECO downlights.

    I will be providing more thorough updates on re-wiring, heating, finances and the strenuous state of our marriage!!!
    Last edited by Wood Butcher; 7th Oct 2007 at 10:14 PM.

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    Question Finances

    As you may have gathered we had been going along swimmingly until we hit our financial hurdle.

    We had done a lot of work to calculate the cost of all our additions to be around $137,000. This coupled with refinancing our existing loan meant we need a total loan of $240,000 to get everything done we need done, this is if we are owner builders and use subbies to do the big works. If we go with a licensed builder from start to finish we would need $290,000.

    The CBA has advised us that they will lend us $210,000 in total if we go as owner builders, however we have to use licensed builders as our subcontractors and we have to sign a contract agreeing to sell our other house in Queensland. Sort of defeats the purpose. The have also said they will lend us $290,000 if we use licensed builders full stop. The NAB has offered $240,000, for us as owner builders with no requirements for licenced builders as subbies or for us to sell our house up North.

    Before we jumped at the NAB we had about 8 weeks of mulling over our options. Consequently we have changed our plans. We are going for a smaller loan from the CBA of $180,000 to consolidate our debts, provide a new kitchen and ensuite, update the house up North plus update the car. We will then sell the house up North clear our debts and have about $40,000 in the bank to commence our renos, which less the kitchen and ensuite should come in at around $100,000. This will allow us to live in a 4 bedroom house with ensuite and next to no mortgage by the time we are forty. I guess we have something to thank the CBA for!!

    Sorry for the convulated update but it gets you upto speed.

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    Default Lighting and rewiring

    One of the first jobs we have had done is get the house rewired. We had a sparky and his offsider here for about a week and I helped them as much as I could. They worked while I was redoing the hallway because this gave them easy access into the roof.

    Rewiring meant, aside from rewiring, new power points, new light switches, new light fittings and a new power box plus new feed from the power pole outside. The total cost was about $4900, which was about $2000 over budget but we went the hole hog and are pretty happy with the finished product.

    The only caveat, and this refers to some earlier discussions regarding NECO flouro downlights is that, and this is unequivocal, the fluoro downlights are not bright enought to light high traffic areas. End of story!! There was some discussion regarding their brightness and effectiveness and we ran with them based on that discussion, however they dont cut it. We had 7 of them in 12 sqm area in our kitchen and it did not provide enough light to work by. We replaced two of them with halogens and are now happy with the setup. My advice would be, use them in hallways and corners, builtins etc, but if you are going to rely on them for working light then they need to be supplemented with halogens. Dont get me wrong we are happy with the NECO lights, but just keep in mind that they dont provide enough working light.

  30. #30
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    Default Kitchen including benchtops

    Once we removed the wall between the kitchen and hallway our next priority was to refurbish the kitchen. I have provided some pics showing the old kitchen once the wall was removed and then stages through the fitout to the benchtops going in. The kitchen wont be completed until the additions are done as we are building a servery above the sink, and as such we wont be tiling or finishing off until the servery is completed. But you'll get the idea. From the pics there is also an appliance cupboard and kitchen island which should go in over the next few days.

    We got quotes from a variety of sources. From 4 chippies for a complete kitchen (quotes ranged from just under $7,000 to around $13,000), to 2 flatpack kitchen mobs (quotes from $4,000 to $7000) and for me to do it totally myself ($4,000). Keep in mind for these quotes that I am supplying and installing the benchtops my self.

    We ended up going with a young chippie, who worked solo. His quote was just under $7,000. We didn't pick him because he was the cheapest (he wasn't) more because I could work in with him and help as we go. I also felt that getting a chippie took away the dangers of me measuring once and cutting three times regularly!!

    The kitchen includes a slide out pantry which we are very happy with. The kitchen install will take three days, the plumbing took two days (and included moving the gas meter and continuous hot water system) and the wiring took one day. The preparation of the benches took me about 8 weeks, more or less.

    For the benches I used Vicitorian Ash (which I suspect is a mix of timbers) which I laminated with a biscuit jointer and have so far coated 4 times with a floor polyutherane. I will probably do another 3 coats. I also coated under the benches and all cut edges. I edged the benches with 40mm by 30mm strips of Merbau.

    The total cost of the kitchen, including appliances, plumbing and wiring is $11,400. Which I think isnt too bad, we could have saved about $2,000 if I had done the carcasses and doors myself, but given my inability to measure properly would have been a risk (and too stressful)
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails kitchen8-1.jpg   kitchen3.jpg   kitchen2.jpg  
    Last edited by Wood Butcher; 7th Oct 2007 at 10:14 PM.

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    Default Benchtops

    Heres another pic of the benchtops.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails ktichen1.jpg  
    Last edited by Wood Butcher; 7th Oct 2007 at 10:14 PM.

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    2K Club Member seriph1's Avatar
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    hi - good going! Did you use benchtop joiners for the corner? Also, what kind of knobs/handles are you going to use?

    have fun!
    Steve
    Kilmore (Melbourne-ish)
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    ....catchy phrase here

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    What are these bench top joiners you speak of?

    The handles will be picked by SWMBO when she returns from O/S, too much responsibility in an important detail like handles!!

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    Default Kitchen Island

    This is the kitchen island. The carcase is in the same 2-pac as the rest of the kitchen and is set on castors. Skirting runs around 3 edges of the island and therefore allows me to set the brakes on the castors when needed.

    The benchtop is made from the same timber as the main benchtops, but there was such a variation in colour (from the darker golden one to the lighter pink ones) that I decided to create the offset pattern.

    Not in the photo, but also now completed is the appliance cupboard - sliding door. Yet to be completed are the servery which goes above the sink, the tile splashback and the bulkheads above the wall cupboards.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails island.jpg  
    Last edited by Wood Butcher; 7th Oct 2007 at 10:14 PM.

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    Default Polished floor in the kitchen

    Also, we had the floor in the kitchen done. Normally I would do it, but it seemed easier to get someone in whilst we were away for a few weeks. It came up really well - a high gloss finish.

    You can see in the photo, the mix of flooring. From the new cypress boards where the fireplace was, to the 7 inch wide board I used where the wall was, the 4 inch boards from the old lounge and the 6 inch boards in the old kitchen.

    You can also see the black car bog fill I used to fill up the cracks (I think it becomes a feature ) and the water stain look at the back of the photo. The water stains dominate the original flooring in the old kitchen. We could have ripped up the floor boards right through the kitchen and lounge but we reckon this mix and match set-up actually adds some character to the place.

    The floor sanding and finishing cost $1300 for 40 sqm or about $35 per sqm. If I had done it it would cost around $800. But we didn't have to go through the hassle of vacating the house for 4 or 5 days, and I didnt get my nose full of gunk!!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails floor2.jpg  
    Last edited by Wood Butcher; 7th Oct 2007 at 10:14 PM.

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    A quick update, we have finally sold our house up North and are gearing up for the renos from around September. It's only been 15 months and not a stone turned in anger, although about 70% of the inside of the house is looking okay

    Cheers

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    I like the center island you made. What are them red marks on the kick board tho?

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    Quote Originally Posted by PuppyPaw
    .... What are them red marks on the kick board tho?
    The red marks are the printing on the protective plastic, which will probably stay there for the life of the kickboards

    Cheers

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    Default Almost Ready Part H

    Having sold our house up North, we are now ready to get a move along.

    Previously we got the Development Consent from the council (with a 2 year sunset clause - expires in 3 months), now we need the Construction Certificate. To get that we need a Structural Engineer to certify our plans. And it seems that whilst this was the practice years ago, Engineers will no longer certify other peoples plans. So for $440 the Engineer will provide us with certified drawings of the sub-floor and roofing pitch/spans. This isn't a bad thing, for whilst I was happy to build off the existing drawings, these drawings will be a lot more specific.

    We have altered our subfloor from concrete stumps and hardwood to straight steel (Duragal). We are also using Blueboard for the exterior walls (I am investigating Hebel sheets as a better insulation). The walls will be rendered/painted with one of the paint on Acrylic renders now on the market. The frames are all now to be the low grade treated pine and the roof is going to be pitched rather than trusses. Whilst trusses are inifinitely simpler and cheaper, a pitched roof will give me space in the roof for storage.

    We also need to get a soil-test done, by the end of the week ($352) and once the sub-floor is in a surveyor will provide us with a report to show that the sub-floor is 300mm above the 100 year flood level.

    I now also have a new costing sheet, which I have attached - any feedback is much appreciated.

    I have withdrawn the labour component for the time being and have costed the materials for the job at $79,225 which includes a 25% fail safe. It seems low to me, but I have quotes for around 90% of the materials and have loaded each of the quotes anyway.
    Last edited by Wood Butcher; 7th Oct 2007 at 10:14 PM.

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    That'd be great if you did - when d'ya start the shed anyway ?
    Just about everything l'm doing around my place involves a shed /sheds or somem like a shed so l'd love to see the work .

    Cheers
    MB



    Quote Originally Posted by boban
    As far as material costings are concerned- go to www.tradeconnect.com.au. This site has material costs which are pretty competitive for owner builders. Even if they do not supply you, all the prices are listed and you can use them to get a good idea of what you should be paying.

    Subbies however can be a lot tougher as far a price is concerned. Like your builders, it really is a matter of how busy they are. Remember though, if you dont know the guy (and even if you do) go the the Dept of Fair Trading site and check their history.

    Nowadays, even with people you know, get it in writing. It's not only a legal requirement but it protects all parties involved. I could tell you a number of stories about former friends who went to court because they trusted one another to do the right thing.

    Good luck with the project. If you need any advice, whether on process or price, then feel free to ask.

    Youve impired me, I'm building a shed 21x12m and attached office 9x12. I think I will post the progress on the forum.

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    Hey Namtrak.
    Nothing to do with reno's but can you say why you sold the house in QLD and moved down to Albury is it ?
    Just curious , ended up doing the same thing ourselves !
    The other thing was what are your thoughts on spending so much on reno's , are you guys just thinking we want this and that is that type of thing , didn't want buy land and build instead for some reason or ?
    The reason l ask is that's some serious reno mooler , do you add that to the house's price seeing what you get first or just have the leeway so who cares type of thing , as in bought the house 20 yrs ago for 35,000 or something ?
    Tossing up about my own place that's all and just what to spend into it because l don't like digging into the equity too much but rather spend as little as poss' and build onto the equity's my thinking .

    Cheers
    MB

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    Quote Originally Posted by masterblaster
    Hey Namtrak.
    Nothing to do with reno's but can you say why you sold the house in QLD and moved down to Albury is it ?
    We moved to Albury, on a small part for work, but largely for family. A large part of SWMBO's family lives in and around Albury and Tallangatta, and once we had kids the choice was to get them near cousins etc.

    When we first moved we tried to sell the house, but had no luck at all - so we rented it out. Which was great for the tax benefits and income, however whilst the tenants were all fine the house degrades without the attention of an owner. We finally decided to sell it when the cost of maintaining the house up North became too much and the cost of the potential bank loans was going to be too high.

    Quote Originally Posted by masterblaster
    The other thing was what are your thoughts on spending so much on reno's , are you guys just thinking we want this and that is that type of thing , didn't want buy land and build instead for some reason or ?
    Well, because when we first got here we were very cash strapped - we had the mortgage up North, the only place we could buy was a small, double brick house near town for $88,000. However like most people, we benefitted from the increase in property values through the early 2000's. As such, rather than sell up and buy another house further from the centre of town we felt it wiser to improve the house we were in. Besides we like the neighbourhood.

    The cost of the renos (not including labour) is around $900 per sqm or $7000 per square. Not including the labour component, which will add another 30-40%. This is not an unreasonable price, especially given the size of the addition is fairly large.

    Quote Originally Posted by masterblaster
    The reason l ask is that's some serious reno mooler , do you add that to the house's price seeing what you get first or just have the leeway so who cares type of thing , as in bought the house 20 yrs ago for 35,000 or something ?
    We definitely consider the cost of the addition to the original cost as part of the whole picture. All things being equal, once the reno is complete we will have spent $88,000 plus about $25,000 plus say $110,000 ($223,000) on the house to end up with a 4 bedroom house, with ducted heating and cooling, ensuite and new kitchen. Our end mortgage will be around $100,000. And the property will be worth between $350,000 and $400,000. All this in a double brick house in a quiet street, 3 blocks from the main street of Albury.

    If we were to sell up now, and buy a new house in the 'burbs, we believe we would have to service a mortgage closer to $200,000 to $250,000. Which isn't really progress as far as we are concerned. I think, for us progress would be a decent house on a few acres with no mortgage - which will probably be our next step - when the time is right.

    Quote Originally Posted by masterblaster
    Tossing up about my own place that's all and just what to spend into it because l don't like digging into the equity too much but rather spend as little as poss' and build onto the equity's my thinking .
    Well that's the $64,000 question isn't it!!! How to increase your property's equity without increasing your debt. There's a myriad of TV shows, magazines, books, hardware stores etc making millions and millions of dollars whilst people try to answer that question. At this point I should point that what we are doing works for us, and may not be relevant to the next person. One thing we did do, which gave us some clarity was to write out every option we had and the fiscal ramifications of each option and then we progressed from there. Figuring out the Dollars was easy, it's lifestyle choices that complicate things.

    Cheers

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    Thanks for that l hope you didn't take it as knocking , l'm always wondering how people manage high reno's .
    Must say l didn't realise you could pick up some thing that cheap in a place like Albury central l don't think you'll go far wrong with that one , comming along very nicely too by the way .

    Yeah talk about it , don't kids change things , l know all about those lifestyle choices we moved back down for al the same reasons. Even though they won't wanna know their cousins or inlaws in a few yrs anyway.
    But , we did pick up one shocker of a property , that few ac's you guys want one day .
    Mind you anything being done right now has to be through brawn power or not at all still it's amazing how far that goes but hopefully we'll be able to put a few bucks into it in a yr or two.
    Cheers
    MB



    Quote Originally Posted by namtrak
    We moved to Albury, on a small part for work, but largely for family. A large part of SWMBO's family lives in and around Albury and Tallangatta, and once we had kids the choice was to get them near cousins etc.

    When we first moved we tried to sell the house, but had no luck at all - so we rented it out. Which was great for the tax benefits and income, however whilst the tenants were all fine the house degrades without the attention of an owner. We finally decided to sell it when the cost of maintaining the house up North became too much and the cost of the potential bank loans was going to be too high.



    Well, because when we first got here we were very cash strapped - we had the mortgage up North, the only place we could buy was a small, double brick house near town for $88,000. However like most people, we benefitted from the increase in property values through the early 2000's. As such, rather than sell up and buy another house further from the centre of town we felt it wiser to improve the house we were in. Besides we like the neighbourhood.

    The cost of the renos (not including labour) is around $900 per sqm or $7000 per square. Not including the labour component, which will add another 30-40%. This is not an unreasonable price, especially given the size of the addition is fairly large.



    We definitely consider the cost of the addition to the original cost as part of the whole picture. All things being equal, once the reno is complete we will have spent $88,000 plus about $25,000 plus say $110,000 ($223,000) on the house to end up with a 4 bedroom house, with ducted heating and cooling, ensuite and new kitchen. Our end mortgage will be around $100,000. And the property will be worth between $350,000 and $400,000. All this in a double brick house in a quiet street, 3 blocks from the main street of Albury.

    If we were to sell up now, and buy a new house in the 'burbs, we believe we would have to service a mortgage closer to $200,000 to $250,000. Which isn't really progress as far as we are concerned. I think, for us progress would be a decent house on a few acres with no mortgage - which will probably be our next step - when the time is right.



    Well that's the $64,000 question isn't it!!! How to increase your property's equity without increasing your debt. There's a myriad of TV shows, magazines, books, hardware stores etc making millions and millions of dollars whilst people try to answer that question. At this point I should point that what we are doing works for us, and may not be relevant to the next person. One thing we did do, which gave us some clarity was to write out every option we had and the fiscal ramifications of each option and then we progressed from there. Figuring out the Dollars was easy, it's lifestyle choices that complicate things.

    Cheers

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    Default KickOff Part I

    Only 19 months after I started this thread and we are on the way.

    We got the construction certificate from the Council with no dramas, and the soil test found soil, which was a good thing.

    I have been busily buying up steel for the subfloor, flooring (thanks Studley), wallframing (T2 treated), trusses (not pitched as I was going to originally), windows and doors, I already have plasterboard for the internal linings, plus Hebel Powerpanel for the external walls, and roofing iron. At this stage, given the budget I prepared we are around $9000 under budget, for which I am confident SWMBO will find other areas to compensate. (we spent around $3,000 more than I budgetted for on the windows and doors - but they are schmicko).

    The excavator was here yesterday, and he has made a god almighty mess of the yard! 58 holes and about 20 metres of trenches. I need to now go around and clean the crap out of each of the holes and get the sewer laid, along with the all important water and power for the shed.

    In the pics you can see the big pile of dirt :eek: in the back corner. We are going to use that to create a raised garden bed about 7m by 3m square. We wont be able to do that until the trenches are in and the framing timber is moved.

    The plumber will be here today to check the trenches for the sewer and water, and the sparky is going to take some measurements for the conduit. We are sticking a sub-panel in the shed.

    I will ring the council, once I have cleaned out the holes to have the inspector come around.

    I also got the workers comp insurance today $175.

    Lastly I threw in a pic of the new apprentice, the old one (avatar) is too smart to follow me around all day.

    To be cont......
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails backnorth.jpg   rex.jpg   sideeast.jpg  
    Last edited by Wood Butcher; 7th Oct 2007 at 10:14 PM.

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    Senior Member woodsprite's Avatar
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    What a great progress story! Our extension earlier this year was a joy, despite the few frustrations we had. Basically a 10 metre by 6 metre extension, with decked vernadahs 1.8 wide down the two long side, converting a bedroon into a new bathroom and hallway, redecking and reroofing an exisitng verandah that was about 10 metres by 3 metres, and recladding a part of the old house to match the new. Also got them to gut and straighten the walls on another bedroom, plus a few other minor bits and pieces.
    Quote was $82,000 for the extension, plus $9,00o to reclad, reroof and redeck the old verandah. Not bad! Then we had to add vanity, fittings, extra electircal work (point and lights not in the quote) carpet, paint, bits and pieces (filler, tools, etc).
    Just about to paint the last old bedroom that the builders cleaned up - we stripped the old internal cladding and I have to do all the fitting out. All up cost for a large extensiona and renovation will come to $120,00 neat - we have got exactly what we want, saved a few quid by doing bits and pieces ourselves.

    When we started planning the extension, about 2 years ago, we had an idea of what we wanted, used an architect, forked out $1500 for plans that were useless (he charged $500.00 a re-draw, and had no idea of converting our ideas into plans that even looked like what we wanted) and then went to the builder. Within about 3 weeks he had his draughtsman draw up the plans exactly as we wanted, and gave us a heap of really useful and practical advise about the functionality of our ideas - and all this was part of his price!

    Look forward to hearing your progress, and I agree that maybe a new forum for renovations would be a great idea!
    Jeff
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    Spread your arms and hold your breath
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    A Member of the Holy Trinity silentC's Avatar
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    Only 19 months after I started this thread and we are one the way.
    The house I now live in didn't exist when you started this thread


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    Quote Originally Posted by silentC View Post
    The house I now live in didn't exist when you started this thread

    Yes, and how is the cardboard box.......

    Tell me about it, I've watched dozens of houses go up in the same time. It's been driving me spare - not to worry, bum up for the next few months should see us get somewhere.

    Cheers

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    Hi Namtrak
    I'd say dozens of houses, a coupla bridges & an internal freeway bypass (almost) in our fair city.
    I've been following this thread since this time last year when we embarked on our kitchen & bathroom reno. Thanks to these forums, which were gone thru with a fine toothed comb, we finished both projects a month ago. Both worked out great. SWMBO is as happy as. Now we are embarking on our next project - landscaping, garden, front fence & 9 x 12m shed in the back yard.
    As Big Kev used to say.......
    I wish you the best on your adventures

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    Default Subfloor!!

    Now we are really getting somewhere. I have the subfloor down and we are working on the frames at the moment, with plans for the roof to go on next Wednesday.

    With the subfloor, I got in an excavator to dig 58 holes 450 by 600 deep. I had to dig have a dozen by hand, and I also had to clean every one out by hand as well. Meaning there is no loose soil left in the bottom of the hole.

    I then fixed the stumps to the bearers, with 'Homeguard' a similar product to Termimesh, in between the bearers and the stumps. Then using carjacks I levelled the bearers off before filling the holes with concrete - all by hand. I would have used a mini-crete truck, but I wanted to be able to spend time making sure each bearer was level and square, and I just figured that doing it by hand I wouldn't go too far wrong.

    I am now working on fixing timber battens to the inside of the steel joists, this is to fix the timber floor to. I was hoping I could fix straight to the steel, but it seems using the secret nail profile, means that the nails would jsut skew off the top of the joists.

    You can also see the first of the frames ready to go up.

    POSTSCRIPT: These pictures are lost - oops
    Last edited by Wood Butcher; 7th Oct 2007 at 10:14 PM.

  50. #50
    In with the new namtrak's Avatar
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    The bearers are set at around 1.3m and the joists are 450 centres, I am still researching some decking fixings. I managed to get some cleats which nail into the side of the joist and then fix to the side of the decking board, however they are too weak to fix into the hardwood.
    Last edited by Wood Butcher; 7th Oct 2007 at 10:14 PM.

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