Sunday, August 29, 2010

Another neighbour started!

Not much to report on my own, so I thought let's see how another neighbour is doing! Not bad progress in about 3 weeks!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Are you using Google Maps?

If the answer is yes, then don't !

This website's map is much much much much more up to date!

The latest one was literately taken 2 weeks ago! The one before that was taken about 4 months ago! And you can see how much was changed in 4 months ...

No price for guessing where my block of land is :-D

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Neighbour 'A' - from 7 Aug - 21 Aug

Another block has started construction - slab had been poured and frames were up in 2 weeks time.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Progress So far ...

This is the first post in here! Previously there were some posts at Google Buzz but that one isn't as easily accessed and isn't as feature rich too, so I thought I might start posting here.

Why Build?

The 2-bedroom unit I've been living in for the past 7+ years is feeling smaller and smaller now and the need to move to a bigger dwelling is becoming more and more pressing. I've been looking at established house, villa, townhouse etc etc in different areas for sometime. The price always seems to be around $500k for them to be considered at least acceptable.

The I started looking at building and I realised it wasn't as expensive as I had thought. For the same price $500k you could get a very nice house, brand new, in one of those 'Growth Areas' the State Government had identified.

Then I started to look at the display houses (Homeworld, as well as the display villages in the land release areas.) The more you look at it, the more you feel like wanting to have a brand new home.

Why Ponds?

I've read about Ponds from newspaper a few years back but at the time building a house was simply not financially viable! That seems to have improved and since I have started to like the idea of building, I've started to look at different land release areas.

First time we've come to the area we liked it immediately. The whole estate is well planned. The open space, cycle way, walk way, parks make it vastly different from most of the established areas where you see blocks and blocks of units next to each other and hardly any open space. Ponds also has more strict design guidelines (home setbacks, house and landscaping design etc) which simply make the houses and the whole community even more trendy!

It's close proximity to Baulkham Hills, Castle Hill, Bella Vista and the new Rouse Hill town centre is also very attractive.

I have also been to other land release areas and the land price at Ponds is among the most expensive ones. But for the reasons above at the end we still decided to choose Ponds.

Here is the recap for what has happened:
  • 30 Jan 2010: Land deposit paid
  • 31 Jan 2010: Requested Tender from AV Jennings
  • 27 Feb 2010: Jennings' tender accepted, requested formal contract
  • 12 Mar 2010: Contract signed with Jennings
  • 12 Mar 2010: 5% deposit paid for land, contract exchanged
  • 19 Mar 2010: Colour Selection done
  • 19 Mar 2010: Consultation done on landscaping design
  • 15 Apr 2010: Landscaping design completed
  • 27 Apr 2010: Land settled
  • 07 May 2010: Design submitted to Ponds Review Board
  • 27 May 2010: Ponds Review Board commented and amendments required
  • 25 Jun 2010: Design submitted to Ponds Review Board again
  • 09 Jul 2010: Design approved by Ponds Review Board
  • 14 Jul 2010: Development Application submitted to Blacktown Council
  • 13 Aug 2010: DA approved
  • 27 Aug 2010: DA issued and returned back to Jennings
  • 16 Sep 2010: Construction Certificate issued
  • 28 Sep 2010: Jennings issued Work Order
It takes 13 weeks for Ponds Review Board, 8 weeks for Development Application with Council and 3 weeks for Construction Certificate, all up 23 weeks.

I was told normally Ponds Review Board takes 4 weeks and then another 4 weeks with Council where DA and CC will be simultaneously done. It should take no more than 10 weeks all up. So really there are 13 weeks delay in getting approvals.

There was a bit of oversight with drawings Jennings submitted to Ponds Review Board first time and the drawings needed to be revised. Also their DA approval process wasn't as efficient as it could have been.

However I have to say once building has started the progress is not too bad. The rest of the building process should be very well documented in the blogs!

Happy Reading!