I’ve been unable to write this step, as there is so much happening that it is hard to put into words. After finally getting the permit, and then seeing the concrete slab getting poured, it was exciting to be at the framing stage. This was the stage that we were able to be much more hands on, pick up a hammer and put some nails in.
As I’m the registered builder for this project, we in fact didn’t need to employ anyone, but for the sake of a square, level and strong house, I think it’s worth it. I’ve heard of owner builders who build everything themselves and when they get their inspections, they just need to pull it down and start again.
So we hired one carpenter, who we have been so bloody lucky to get our hands on. A young local guy who you can have a joke with, take the piss out off, but still ask what feels to be stupid questions, and get a respectful answer back. He allows us to help, and we never feel like we’re getting in the way, and works with us on building tricky walls, or gives advice when we’re not sure what the best option is.
- You always need to be five steps ahead. The windows need to be ordered at slab stage, the plasterer needs to measure before the outside goes on, kitchen needs to be ordered before you’re locked up. You can’t relax, or drop the ball for one minute.
- You can’t be friends with everyone. We were going to get our plumber to do the cladding (we’re having corrugated iron on the outside) and the roof, but our friend helping us had got another quote and locked in another guy. This was great because his guy was about $4000 cheaper. I then had to turn down our plumber, and still had to work with him on fit out.
- Organisation is paramount! I should have written a list much earlier on, but I didn’t. Instead I just tried to remember everything. It’s tough.
- Who you know is so beneficial! And our friends and family have been amazing! We’ve been so lucky to have our plans drawn for us for free, we’ve been pointed in all the right directions for our trades and even been able to use friends trade accounts at various shops (giving us a discount).
- As much as you might want to have a day off the house, it’s just not possible when you’re owner building! We were locked up in 6 weeks. That’s tough. I’ve heard that Metricon have a 10 week lock up policy. (Lock up is when you can physically lock your house, so all the cladding, doors and windows must be in).
- Feel free to change things along the way. We got rid of our front door. Once we realised just how small our house was going to be we found there to be no real need for the front door. We split a wardrobe from one room in half, so that the room next to it would have some storage too. Frames are built from would and are able to be cut and re-nailed.
Plasterers started late last week, so the next stage is on. It’s exciting to see rooms looking like rooms and the opportunity for us to put our stamp on it is overwhelming and wonderful.