Sunday, May 17, 2009

Moving on

Where we don't know, how we're not sure and when, I am thinking August. The world is a brighter place these days.

Yesterday I attended an Owner Builders Seminar. It was a full day of me learning about construction, sitting in a chair for nine hours. Holy crap, I nearly made it to the end, but left an hour early because I just couldn't focus any longer. I did eight hours of serious focussing. Yay to me. The morning session was about things I mostly already knew, because I am a little further along with our build (i.e we've had a survey done and we have plans and we know how to get our building license and our planning approval). But they brought up some points I had not considered so I have a list of notes about things I need to check with the engineer and the designer.

The afternoon session was an eye-opener. I finally know in what order things are done, and who does what and when. We also learned about how to keep costs under control and how to manage a timeline of the build.

Did you know that there are three methods of termite control? If you spray the perimeter of the slab you have to do it every year. If you choose a reticulation system which goes under the slab, you refill it every couple of years. Or you can get a mesh barrier, but if you do that you have to get the bricklayer in to lay the first course of bricks, then the mesh goes down, and then the brickie comes back to finish his work. So cool!

As you can see, I am pretty excited about what I have learned, and that I am on the right track. That course, with a bunch of expensive folders with all the info in them is the best $300 I have ever spent. And we get to join the Owner Builder Support Network where we have access to other owner builders and to professionals who give advice. We even get three visits from a licensed builder who will come out at different stages to check the work. That has to be worth at least $100 per visit.

I feel very confident now that I have the support I need to manage this extension and that everything i have done til now has been the right way to do things. We have the designer finalising the drawings with the amendments required by our local council. I have the application for an Owner Builder license in with the Builders registration Board, and when I get that I can submit it to council and apply for a building license.

Of course, there are things we can no longer afford. It looks like we'll have not only the el cheapo Bunnings kitchen, but also concrete floors with no coverings other than cheap rugs (a combined saving of $19,000). And that can go into our surrogacy "baby construction" project. I have never had to juggle finances so carefully. But at the end of the day, the less we spend on the build (or the more we save) that is money that goes towards our children.

Ah, I do so ramble on. I feel like we are coming out of the woods and into the sunshine. We have little Willo here this weekend. His dad just took him into the city to buy a new game. He has $60 saved in his "pocket money" account - the account that doesn't exist because he does very few jobs around the house. The boys just got back and Willo has Guitar Hero. I asked "how much", and dad said, "over $100" and Willo hid the receipt. Yah, $169 later.

He knows he is spoilt, and he knows he doesn't really earn money. But who cares? He is a kid that never demands anything, and appreciates everything he gets. It is worth the bucks to hear his happy little voice chattering away in the background while I type, and hear him sing in the shower and see his exuberant joy as he says, "this is just like Christmas for other kids". (His mum is Muslim and they don't celebrate Christmas, but we do) . And he really is such a good kid. If I asked him to help around the house he would do it, but I don't ask, I just love having him here. And let his mum discipline him and make him do housework at her place.

I just love my little man so very much.


crystal said...

Good for you!! I don't think I could sit through an 8 hour class on stuff like that, much less take on that task. I'm glad you guys are moving on, but you gotta admit that yahoo post ysterday, was funny.

GeekByMarriage said...

Painted cement is all the rage on the design shows these days! I know you'll kick ass at this build.
I'm always thinking of you.

Amani said...

I just heard about painted cement. Not sure how to do it, but am investigating. Apparently you paint it and polish it?! good enough for me. Let's hope babies don't go berko and crack their little skills!

Anyway, a cheaper carpet will be around $4000 so that will do.

Lisa RM said...

Amani, I;m so happy to see you re-opened your blog! I had been reading on Google reader, and had been really concerned about you, but your posts seem to have a much better tone. I couldn't have dealt with all of this schtuff that you have had to nearly as well, I'm so glad that you can start to re-enter the blogosphere and be such a force and strength. My heart goes out to you as you keep moving forward, I hope you can see it making its way.