September to October 2010

Week of 6 September

Framing started! It only took three days for the three workers to get the wall framing up, ready for the roof. Unfortunately, there had been a little ‘mix up’ with the main beams in the living area, so they were not ready for another three weeks!

Week of 27 September

Beams ready so roof framing could continue. Four workers, three days and it was all done.

Framing done

Weeks of 4 and 11 October

The boys returned to fit the Air-Cell insulation to the walls, install the windows and start on the western red cedar cladding. Scaffolding was erected – essential but very restricting on a small block. The ‘fascia man’ Brian came and fitted all the fascia and guttering (over three days). Then the roof sheeting and barges were fitted. Measurements were taken for ordering of the Colorbond wall sheeting, so that he pieces would be delivered at the correct lengths requiring no on site cutting. Four workers, four days.

Week of 25 October

The boys are back in town! Wall sheeting has been delivered and the scaffolding removed. Four of them hit it with a vengeance. Three days, and their job was done – the house was at lock up (apart from the front door)  – yeah!
Finally at lock up!

Absorption pit

As it is not easy to discharge stormwater, due to the fact that the land is lower than the road, we opted fro the alternative solution of an absorption trench. We are located on sand so it would work perfectly. The roof area of the house and garage (300m2) dictated that a pit of 8m3 was required.

The next door neighbour is also building and while he had a small excavator on site we asked him to dig a hole 3m x 3m x 1m deep. This was lined with geofabric and then partially filled with 5m3 of 30mm waste building rubble from Concrush. A pit was inserted, with drain pipes leading into it from the house and garage, and distribution pipes leading out into the pit. The rubble was wrapped with the geofabric, and the whole lot was covered with about 400mm of soil.
Absorption pit ready to be covered


Once the garage toilet was ready to be connected, I got the plumber Luke Wagner from Wagner Plumbing Solutions to come and have a look at connecting up to the existing sewer connection that had been provided as part of the land subdivision. This proved to be start of a long and exhausting battle, as the connection point had been installed at at a height above that of the land level. Not even my excrement can flow uphill!!! Hunter Water, whi had signed off on the installation, accepted no responsibility and referred me to the sewer plan designers, RPS Harper Somers O’Sullivan. They initially indicated that they would have it sorted out, but after a site visit (and probably a talk from the boss!) they also backed out, with this reply:

The point of connection was approved by HWC and installed around May 2006.  These works were also inspected and taken over by HWC at the time of construction.  This work needs to be completed prior to registration of the deposited plan which occurred on 5 June 2006.

The point of connection was in a location and at a depth suitable to service Lot 81.  To install a point of connection in the actual sewer main, which is approximately 3.8m below the surface, would have created significant issues both at the time of actual construction and at the time of installation of house drains.  Enquiries with HWC plumbing inspectors indicate that there are two acceptable options for connecting the proposed dwelling to the sewer point of connection.  We note that the garage can be connected to the sewer.

  1. Place fill over the proposed sewermains to provide minimum cover
  2. Construct aerial house drains in a suitable conduit until acceptable cover is achieved.

The cheek of them is beyond me! First of all, the council would not allow us to fill the block as it would cause all sorts of problems for our neighbours, irrespective of the fact that we did not want to fill! And then to suggest aerial house drains… well, yes, they are aerial under the house, but how on earth do you safely install aerial house drains over the 25m from the back of the house to the sewer connection!

So back to Hunter Water – no joy! I decided that I may as well go ahead with having a new connection done myself, at an estimated cost of $10,000 (requiring a new application and fees to HWC of around $1000).  However, once the build is completed and I have the time to concentrate on the issue, I will be making complaints about the original sewer plan to the surveyors board, and will take the matter as far as I can. I don’t see why I should be financially disadvantaged because of someone else’s shortcomings.

See The Owner Builder 162 December 2010 / January 2011 for more information on these stages.

TOB 162 December 2010 / January 2011 Building Diary

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