Next time I build a house...

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  1. #1
    Golden Member manofaus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007

    Default Next time I build a house...

    Purely for my benefit when I build my next house.

    Don't assume anybody is going to give a quote that covers anything more then what's in the quote. If it's not written down it's not supplied.
    *Roof battens not part of Roof quote.

    Verify things that you have in your house design that are different to the norm or spec house. Roof pitch, raked ceilings, piers, windows, framing etc etc.
    *30 deg pitch, too steep to walk on

    If setting stringlines for piers, make sure you tell them they are center lines or offset.
    * otherwise they will work off either side of the line.

    You cant rough out and not finish. Other trades will assume it's finished and continue construction. Even if it takes 30mm of shims, or they have to cut a strap to make it work, some won't question this.
    * flooring not screwed down for a plumber to access sub floor.
    * stepdown for wet areas needs a perimeter of standard height.

    Check calibration of all levels straight edges and lasers that are used on site.
    * dropped lasers, bent straight edge, bubbles out.

    Screw framing down and together if possible. Get landscape screws with pan heads.
    * so many cut nails with multitools to adjust framing.

    Don't assume that frames are made to drawings. Measure them.
    * materials are different thicknesses. Pointing out that rebating a frame with a circular saw is not the same as a radial arm saw.

    sorry for the ramble.

  2. #2
    Seasoned DIY droog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005


    Do not forget.

    Don’t assume plumbers know that water flows downhill.

  3. #3
    Golden Member
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Central Coast NSW


    Also just finished an OB 5 bedroom house so would like to add:

    Take photos of everything. Everything.
    Always useful to refer back to what is covered up in the walls. Also, we missed an inspection - just forgot all about it! First thing the inspector said was ‘don’t worry, I’ll accept it if you have a photo’.

    Décide on a process for recruiting trades and stick to it. Different level of detail for different job value.
    It might be a combination of interview and checking references and licenses, or going out and looking at past jobs. The only time it went bad for us was when we didn’t stick to the process.

    Learn how to fire trades or terminate contracts. Instantly, and without remorse. Just pick your tools up and go. We found about one third of trades are seriously deficient in their knowledge or honesty so don’t allow them to ruin your job.

    Embed a liberal number of timbers in the walls at heights suitable for hanging towel rails etc in the bathrooms and laundries. I hate fittings held up on gyprock anchors, they work loose eventually so make sure there is solid timber where you might conceivably need a fitting.

    Buy the useful equipment at the start of the process, not half way through. Portable scaffold, winch, airless sprayer, tile saw etc. That way you get full benefit, not partial.

  4. #4
    Golden Member
    Join Date
    May 2012


    * be nice to your trades, a please and thankyou goes a long way... it goes both ways!

    *pay on time

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Murrumbateman, NSW, Australia


    Quote Originally Posted by Optimus View Post
    * be nice to your trades, a please and thankyou goes a long way... it goes both ways!

    *pay on time
    This is a very true statement.

    When we have a good tradesman or contractors, heck even the drillers drilling our water bores, we look after them. Lunch on us, beers at the end of the week and payment within 24 hours.

    What goes round does come around.


  6. #6
    4K Club Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Kangaroo Island


    Get three quotes, then toss them all out. I had three quotes ranging from $900 to $1200 (this was 10 years ago BTW) to redo a ceiling in a bathroom 2.0 x 3.0m. Eventually I found a tradie who did it for $300 inclusive, after all it was only a couple of hours work. And after your tradies have finished and gone with your beers, rehang the gutters yourself so they fall towards the pop outlet, rehang the internal doors so they close without binding, re-lay the ceiling insulation without gaps and cover all the way to the eaves, adjust all of the sliding doors and windows so they close without drafts, test every component of the solar installation to make sure it's working (most likely only half of it is), then move the solar panels out of shade and re-organise the strings for optimal charge efficiency, rewire the switchboard so all solar generation is credited, etc. Well, they are a few of the things I have had to fix, plus plenty more.
    Before you speak, ask yourself: Is it necessary, it is true, does it improve on the silence? - Baba

  7. #7
    4K Club Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2009


    We usually pay immediately but there are some very good reasons why it is worth waiting until the end of the month and sometimes even the end of the next month and they involve a tape measure and a decent spirit level, and always get a receipt and a tax invoice, even for that half hour job only worth $100-. No receipt no comeback and no insurance
    "A big boy did it and ran away"

    Legal disclaimer denying responsibility to be inserted here.

  8. #8
    Golden Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Melbourne - Yarra Ranges


    After building a few, (take plenty of photo's and mark up a copy of the layout drawing) I do the following:

    Noggins - important so the attachments don't constantly come loose and fall out/break off the wall with use/pressure like towel rails
    1. Noggin's between studs (90x45 or 150x45) for towel rails, toilet roll holders, clothes dryer, possible coat/towel hooks, Broom cupboard hooks or into the underside rail holding a shelf up
    2. Noggins between the ceiling joists (150x45) in all rooms that will/could have a future ceiling fan. Used to also run an additional wire for a wall controller but these days modern fans can all be run from the single light switch wire as they have a fan/light controller in the fan.
    3. Ensure Timber studs for shower frame to screw into, noggins for shower shelf

    Wiring - electrical, cat5, coax
    3. Additional wires in bathrooms for future ceiling heat lamps
    4. Additional wall plates and wire for future powerpoints (to remain hidden behind plaster and connected up when needed), powerpoints strategically placed for future chest freezer, ducted vacuum, workshop tools etc etc, Powerpoint to your island bench if you have one
    5. Additional wires for outside powerpoints back to an inside powerpoint for future connection for future low voltage garden lights, watering systems etc etc
    6. Additional wires for outside lights back to a light switch location
    7. Comms CAT5e wiring back to a central point for a future patch panel. Cable is cheap!...with WiFi not essential but I prefer hard wired to specific devices for maximum performance:
    - cat5 & coax to TV points for game console/TV internet connections, office areas, future server/NAS, other for LAN connections,
    - outside wall locations for future POE camera's and/or future extensions to an outside area or WiFi point. You can have then poking through the brick work/outside cladding and either coiled up or put into a temp electrical junction box. Make sure they are all numbered both ends and drawn on a plan
    - conduit from house modem to an outside shed
    - If your thinking of a theater room or additional speakers that are non Bluetooth, run additional wiring from the TV/Sterio to rear speakers

    Roof Space
    8. - 90x35 & yellow tongue/ply used to construct a 300mm wide walkway the length of the roof space. Makes it soo easy when getting in and around the roof. Also screw down a small ply/chipboard flooring landing area on one side of the man hole as this too makes it so easy to get in and out of the man hole
    9. - battern lights (4 to 6 is heaps & cheap for the very minimal use) placed along roof peak to light up the entire roof space wired back to a light switch next to the man hole entry
    10. - run all your cat5/coax wires along the side of the walkway back to your central point/patch board

    11. Waterproofing - understand the standard and personally inspect each stage as its impossible to pick up once the tiles are down and based on personal experience there is no guarantee it will be done correctly or picked up by an inspector/tiler. The standard is a bare "minimum" requirement. If a tile base then double waterproof under the screed and on top of the screed (it's a minimal cost and some waterproofing companies are now starting to do this as their "standard" process to minimise future failures and the liability they will then have to cover. Waterproofing is a 10 year statutory warranty requirement in Australia...not 7 like some builder will try to tell you.

    12. Record all underground assets for ease of future locations. Hand draw and scan into your one drive, OneNote file or Google drive for ease of locating it in the future
    Use a detail "tree"
    - Depth at appropriate intervals where the depth changes
    - Offset measurement from a permanent point right angles to the asset/depth measurement and can record multiple assets along the tree
    - Chainage measurement - A running chainage measurement from a zero point to the offset point along the asset to pinpoint where the depth is and the offset to the depth to precisely locate the point. This may give you an idea on what I mean. The measurement in the box of each detail tree is the depth...this might give you some idea Guideline for the creation of underground service asset drawings (

    13. Record/number all additional wiring with height from floor and distance from corner wall, window etc

    14. Hard to reach areas in the roof space ie: maybe a room that juts out and would be difficult to place insulation or a garage, I staple the blue packing tape to the bottom of the truss's/battens and pre-insulate those areas prior to the plaster going up. You get a far better result than someone poking in the batts with a stick leaving gaps everywhere.
    15. Insulate the internal walls helps with sounds and keeping a defined area warm/cool from your heat/cool source


    ​Ensure the valleys have a 10mm upturn/back turned edge profile to stop water being blown into the roof space....doesnt always happen COLORBOND® 400 Metal Roof Valley – Roofit.Online

  9. #9
    Golden Member
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Central Coast NSW


    That’s a great list Bart1080. I wish I’d thought more about putting the noggins in as hangers as I’m spending a lot of time fixing towel rails etc and a lot of things don’t feel real stable.

    And mapping out the location of services underground would have been good. Fortunately we took a lot of random photos so I could probably work them out if I had too.

    Also, all the spare wires put in preemptively - someone on this site said that electricians would never wire up a dead wire placed by someone else and knowing nothing about it’s route, condition etc. However I’ve not found that to be the case in practice.

    I’d also add that it is smart to mark the location of all the lightning cable terminations, switches and power points after the electricians put them in and before the plasterers arrive and cover them up - especially if like us you have 2 storey with flat roof. Mark them on the floor - with photos. Typically the electrician has made note of them all and is able to find them with no problem but there is always a chance that he goes out of business or is unable to return for some reason and anyone else you hire isn’t going to spend the amount of time searching for them that I did.

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