Thursday, 26 July 2012

Further Roofing Consideration

My Mrs has second thoughts about Bristle Coal. Her reservation is that it looks ‘hazy’ ‘dirty’ when viewing especially the competitor's display home (see photo in the previous post). My Mrs still prefers Charcoal Grey that has a Bluish tinge to it; however, the approximate price to upgrade Coal (Category 2) to Charcoal Grey (Category 4) is 2K. We decided that we would rather spend that amount on something other than roof. So, we tried to find a tile that resembles Charcoal Grey (although I admit that Charcoal Grey with striated lines and a colour-through feature is special). We determined Bristle Classic Gun Metal to be the closest match to Charcoal Grey (the first picture is Gun Metal and the second picture is Charcoal Grey) and will stick with it (until at least my Mrs changes her mind!).


The one on the left is Coal and the one on the right is Gun Metal (on a sunny afternoon)

We also flicked an email to our Design Manager answering some of his questions regarding restrictions on the use of land (Draft 88 B instrument); providing him with bushfire and geotechnical report forwarded by Stockland, and seeking clarification to some questions. There were a few other items that Metricon asked us to provide (exact locations of service connection points – water, sewer, electricity pit etc) and we advised that we would provide those details as soon as we have the relevant information. The Design manager responded on the same day and also confirmed our appointment for Contract discussion and external colour selection.

Did I mention that soon after our Tender Presentation, we were provided with a nice looking folio and bag to carry the pile of brochures?

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Tender Presentation

Metricon presented to us the Tender (Preliminary Contract Estimate) yesterday. Apparently, the tender presenter is on leave, and therefore, YD – Design Manager – explained to us each of the items, including the site plan, on which we spent nearly 30 minutes.

Although our SC communicated to Head Office the structural changes we requested three weeks ago, the changes we were shown on the basic plans during the Tender Presentation were not entirely accurate, and therefore, we had to re-explain all our changes. YD also asked our reasoning for some of the changes, so that he could fully understand them and come up with a revised design.

We used this opportunity to make some additional minor structural changes (eg., converting PDR to ensuite instead of just bathroom, clearly articulating our expectations of having a WC with a basin on a bench top instead of squishing a tiny basin, and including some items such as gas bayonet, which apparently cannot be included at a later date without incurring a variation fee). We went through over 30 pages of items and the whole meeting lasted for nearly 4 hours.

I was hoping to see reduced site costs in the Tender, but Metricon insisted that that there is 950 mm of excavation (cut) and 550 mm of fill, on the top of having to provide additional run of services over the standard allowance (our block of land and driveway is long); therefore, charged us about 25K. I wonder what other Metricon owners have experienced.

We paid 4K at the end of the meeting, so that the file can move forward to contract preparation. YD adviced that he would take about a couple of weeks to discuss the changes we requested with his staff and another week to discuss with us; so we are looking at contract signing around mid-August. Hopefully, our land should settle by then, and I can ask Metricon to accurately price the site costs (where ever possible).

Before we left, we were given a big Metricon folder containing over 25 brochures for all the selections we would have to make (although there was not any Studio M book that one of the recent Metricon blog owners had indicated).

After a quick meal, we went to Carpet Call (Builders Division) Head Office at Seven Hills. The NSW Contract Manager, Boris met with us, although we did not have an appointment, and explained standard and upgrade options. We even discussed our dilemma regarding flooring options – tiles, laminate and carpet – and he shared his personal experience on each of them.

Before we headed home, we dropped in for 20 minutes at Freemans Ridge Metricon Display Homes to have a peek at the external colours. My Mrs decided almost all of the external colours based on one Display home – Liberty 40. We will be revisiting Freemans Ridge again in the next couple of weeks when we bring our in-laws to show the house we plan to build (and will revisit those external colour options).

Imagine Promotion

Metricon is providing the April 2012 Imagine Promotion pack for Designer series Double Storey Homes, which includes over 100 items at no additional charge. I have been tracking Metricon’s promotions over the past year or so, and found the Imagine Promotion to be a better value than other promotions. I liked Transformations Promotion too (early 2011); both the promotions included similar items except for major items like timber treads to staircase and timber deck to outdoor room (included in the Transformations Promotion for an additional price of $6880). However, the Imagine Promotion includes Hebel render and laminate/carpet flooring throughout the house, at no additional price, amongst other major items:

ü  2550 mm high ceilings to ground floor.
ü  Upgraded higher (2340 instead of 2040) internal passage doors to ground floor of double storey homes.
ü  White ant resistant structural T2 wall and roof framing and H3 treated garage floor plate.
ü  Colorbond steel sectional overhead garage door.
ü  Upgraded (300 mm) floor joists for extra strength and to minimise movement.
ü  Rheem Stellar 5 star natural gas hot water system 160 L
ü  Caesarstone bench top to Kitchen 20 mm thick
ü  900 mm Stainless steel upright cooker with 5 burner gas cook top and ducted canopy range hood.
ü  Fully tiled balcony floor.
ü  Horizontal feature window to kitchen.
ü  Framed mirrored wardrobe doors to all bedrooms.
ü  Designer acrylic bath (Newbury 1675).
ü  Square set ceilings to all wet areas.
ü  Caroma Liano china basins.

For a full list of items, see

Of all items, both my Mrs and I were most excited about Hebel render and laminate/carpet flooring.  I have heard of Hebel only recently, that too, only via Metricon. Hebel Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (AAC) is a lightweight concrete, manufactured from sand, cement, recycled material, lime, gypsum and aluminium paste, and is formed into blocks and panels. Checkout this video that demonstrates how Hebel panels are produced:

From what I have read in forums, Hebel requires some maintenance: washing the surface every year, fixing loose or cracked sealant at joints and around windows; however, the benefits of building with Hebel panels are smooth flat finish which gives that beautiful rendered appearance, speedy installation, good thermal and acoustic installation, fire and pest resistance, energy efficient, and is comparable to building with brick, because Hebel panels are steel reinforced AAC. Thus, the benefits of having Hebel appear to exceed the costs. Checkout the following links if you wish to find out more about Hebel:

Monday, 16 July 2012

NBN Presentation at the Estate

All land owners at Brooks Reach were invited for a presentation yesterday on NBN (National Broadband Network), which we attended.  We were told at the presentation that the NBN equipment will be made available at no charge to our premises; however, we will need to ask our Builder to supply conduit paths, so that we can eventually get the telecommunication services we desire from our phone and internet service providers.

After the presentation, Stockland staff took us on a mini tour of the estate. The frames are up for many of the 30+ display homes including Metricon. We also met a couple of our distant neighbours.

Apparently, the registration of Stage 2 of the estate has been slightly delayed – now expected in August 2012.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Another Visit to Freemans Ridge Metricon Display Homes

We recently visited the Metricon display homes in Freemans Ridge to observe a number of things. The two hours I spent there just vanished, although I took some notes.

Here is a picture of Bristle Classic Coal (not on Metricon, but Fowler Homes) – it is about three years old, and therefore, the slightly weathered and faded appearance, but now, at least I know, how Bristle Classic Coal tiles really looks like (I still prefer Monier Horizon Barramundi!).

Bristle Classic Coal @ Fowler Homes

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Roofing Considerations-1

Metricon, as part of its Imagine Promotion, offers Hebel render (I will explain this in a separate post) or Colorbond roofing at no additional charge. We are keen on Hebel, so decided to accept roof tiles that comes as standard. Although I like Colourbond, concrete tiles comes with its own set of advantages such as (1) high mass that reduces sound entering through the roofline, (2) strong and dense that ensures roofing tiles are waterproof and long-lasting, and (3) warrantied product and service (Bristle offers a 50 year product warranty and 10 year installation warranty). However, a disadvantage of tiles compared to Colorbond is that the colour coating in tiles is purely decorative and therefore would fade and weather over time, in addition to becoming mossy, and therefore requires cleaning using a high pressure water cleaner and suitable cleaning agent.

My Mrs initially preferred light-coloured tiles, but I managed to demonstrate that darker ones look modern. I love Monier’s Barramundi (which has a blue tinge to its dark grey colour); however, Metricon’s roofing supplier in NSW is Bristle Roofing. Last week, we visited Bristle Roofing Design Centre at Albion Park Rail and looked at various tiles.

There are three ranges of tiles that Metricon offers as standard: Traditional (which was a no no for my Mrs), Designer (only Browns and Creams) and Classic. Amongst the dark toned Classic range of tiles, I like Charcoal Grey, but it is a Category 4 tile (meaning we would have to pay a higher price). My Mrs and I decided to stick with the standard tiles, which meant we had to choose Luna Eclipse (too dark for our liking – it was almost Black) or Coal. Both my Mrs and I was OK with Coal, although we would have loved it if it came with a blue tinge and a striated ‘shake’ finish; however, Coal neither had a Blue tinge to it nor was available in ‘shake’ finish. So, for now, it is Bristle Classic Coal with a Yeoman (flat) profile, featuring a plain ‘Shingle’ finish – see pictures below. 

We also plan to include roof sarking under tiles (not standard with Metricon) for its benefits: weather protection, dust protection, increased energy efficiency, bushfire protection and reducing the need for artificial heating and cooling.

Bristle Coal

Bristle Coal Tiles
Picture taken at the Design Centre (the one on the left is Coal)

Same source as above; however the Coal coloured seems to have a Blue tinge

(I need to visit a display house with Coal roof and check out myself)