House Update

Friday 1 September 2000

The electrician failed to turn up at the appointed time of 3 pm yesterday. I had been warned that both of the recommended electricians are good at this. Frustrating! We need to get a power pole in to run the welder needed for the structural steel. The electricity supplier needs up to 10 days notice before the electricity gets connected.

The steel merchant who quoted for Builder 5 phoned to ask if he could quote on our steel requirements. I said OK. Will be interesting to see how they compare with the others.

Saturday 2 September 2000

The electrician turned up yesterday just as we were about to go out. His excuse was that the house he was working on the kitchen cabinet installer had done his bit before the wires were pulled. This is in a 6000 square foot house. Marguerite in a fit of political incorrectness asks: "Where did he get the niggers to look after that?" The sparky says: "He brought them with him from South Africa".

The sparky is the kind I need. Yes, he has done Cat5 and yes, I can help pull cable, bore holes etc. He tells us the delay on a connect is up to 8 weeks, not 10 days! Yikes!

We visit the lighting shop where I had the proprietor offer a free hour redesigning the lighting scheme. We look at all the various lights and see some in action in the Virtual Reality Room. We are not buying yet, but pretty well know what we want. We are certainly not paying $A1,000 the architect allowed for reading lights in the master bedroom! 

We visited a homeowner who had Certainteed windows installed three years ago. Christian and Ruth are enthusiastic and Christian waxes lyrical. His owner-designed home is passive solar. Looks conventional but it's very efficient requiring only a 2.5KW electric radiator on the coldest nights. They love the vinyl windows and would buy again. The only flies in the ointment were the installers damaging the frames and the manufacturer forgetting a dimensional spec. change. The windows were approximately 25 mm smaller than they should have been. The contractor who built the slab made the foundation a full metre longer than it should have been!

Christian and Ruth have a visitor from Sydney, Richard. He partially demolished and extended his home, subcontracting out the work instead of using a builder. All three keep repeating a mantra I suspect we are going to hear elsewhere: "Watch out for the tradesmen!"

Christian asks if we have our plans with us and we look through them. He exclaims; "This is going to be HOT!" I explain that this has been a bone of contention between us for some time. Marguerite likes the architect's design while I want comfortable. Marguerite has believed I have an agenda of "hating windows". At last Marguerite looks like seeing sense! When we get home, we cut down the size of most of the windows. We plan to put up canvas awnings to shade the critical windows from the summer sun. These could look interesting as well as provide variable shade dependent on the weather or season.

We would love to hear from anyone that has experience with awnings or sails. 

Friday 8 September 2000

Picked up the engineer's certificate today. This week was spent waiting for the rain to stop and for tradesmen to phone. 

Sunday 10 September 2000

None stop rain all week ended, but at least the 5,000,000 litre dam is full. This supplies water for the garden and toilet flushing. It feeds the water by gravity through a 50mm PVC pipe. While pipe this wide is expensive, this keeps the water flow rate up at a relatively low pressure. There is sufficient head for us to run three butterfly sprinklers at a time with unfiltered water. An occasional frog or dragonfly larva will block a sprinkler, but not often enough to be a nuisance. There is a huge filter for the water supply to the toilets. It is easily disassembled for cleaning, rather than needing a new filter element when it becomes clogged. Mostly it is organic matter that accumulates, rather than mineral solids.

Sunday 17 September 2000

The rain has stopped to be replaced by equinoctial gales. There is nothing between Tasmania and South America but ocean. The sailors of the 18th and 19th centuries referred to the latitude as the Roaring Forties.

We are awaiting to learn the installation date for the power pole as this is the key date. Once we know that we can organise Woody to excavate the holes and Duggans to fill them with concrete.

Tuesday 27 September 2000

We are still waiting. In the meantime, I have stitched together a panorama of the house site. You can click the image to see a larger version, but be warned, it will take a while to download. The left side is facing south and the right-hand side is facing north.

Panorama of the house site

You can see that there is water laying in the puddles. The two one metre deep test holes that I dug for the health inspector are 75% full of water.

This is the view from the south east corner of the block.

View from south east corner of the farm

The dam holds around 4,500,000 litres and is now full.

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