Forever Home

I often hear people talking about ‘Our Forever Home’ . . . . . . . well this is a $2,000,000 Forever Home.

Forever Home

Some of the features include:

  • Located in extensive ‘Gated Community’.
  • Very quiet neighbours.
  • Marble lined walls.
  • Air Conditioning.
  • Lift to the ‘Basement’.

I can’t think of many people who would be keen to ‘Move In’ though!

It’s actually a crypt in Melbourne’s Springvale Cemetery.


For more Unusual House Photos, and Fails, have a look at: What the………………….?



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DIY Painting, Is It Worth It?

Graphic from

Painting doesn’t seem so hard to do.

Some people say “Why not do it ourselves rather than pay the builder and save money?”

Well I have done plenty of painting of individual rooms over the years but I wouldn’t attempt a new house!

A figure I have heard from an amateur doing the surface preparation and painting of ceilings and walls only (not the woodwork) is around 180 hours for a 300 square m house.

Even if you have got a 200 square house its still 120 hours before you start on the woodwork. Add the woodwork and it will probably be at least another 60 hours.

Assuming there are two of you painting for 6 hours per day that can be over 7 weekends. This consequences are:

  • If you want the painting doing before you move that could be paying another couple of months rent where you live. That will eat into any savings from doing it yourself.
  • If you do it after you move you are going to be living in a mess for around 2 months. All your spare time will be used up painting, while all the other jobs that you find when you move, will have to wait.

About the only painting I would do myself would be painting a feature wall. Even then I would have the decorator do the initial painting of the wall. This would mean:

  • There would be no rush to paint.
  • All the surface preparation would be completed.

If you are going to paint yourself here are a few hints:

  • Invest in some good brushes and look after them.
  • Don’t try painting with a brush out of a big tin of paint, drop it and it makes a huge mess! Decant it into a half litre container.
  • For painting large walls a roller is the way to go. I regard these as disposable as they are difficult to clean well. You can wrap it with cling film and it should be OK to use the next morning, longer and plan on using a new roller.
  • Get some of those disposable overalls with a hood, because you are going to spill paint, and its worse if it gets in your hair.
  • When you have put the top securely on a paint can store it upside down, this stops it getting a skin on the top.
  • Make sure you get plenty of drop sheets or builders plastic on the floor.


See the Selection / Pre-Start Guide for more to think about when finalising your new home


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Beware of Escalation Clauses

What Are Escalation Clauses

These are a way of allowing for inflation. Basically it provides a way for the builder to increase his costs in line with inflation.escalation

The Clause will quote an inflation index which can be used to adjust the stage payments.

When Are They Used

I have only used escalation clauses in civil engineering contracts, when one or more of the following apply:

  • The contracts expected to take more than a year to complete.
  • The work will be carried out in a period of very high inflation.
  • If there will be a lot of imported materials and fittings that would be affected by a loss in value of the dollar.

Why I Don’t Like Them.

  1. Taking the time pressure of the builder means there is less pressure on the builder to complete the works in a timely manner.
  2. Escalation clauses are a way of transferring risk from the builder to you. . . . . . . If the builder want to have this clause is he going to offer a price discount for reducing his risk?
  3. With imported materials there are alternative methods of reducing the risk of currency fluctuation, such as buying materials in advance.
  4. Sometimes the inflation index may not relate accuratly to the actual costs paid out by the builder allowing them to make extra profit.


See Contract Payments for more posts


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Bridal Expo – 4th May 2014

Bridal fair photo

Planning a Wedding Soon?

All the information you need will be at the :

Bridal Expo at Point Cook on 4 May 2014


The Expo  will be at the

D’Olive Reception Centre

This great new local facility is located at

454 Point Cook Road
Point Cook
Vic 3056

Here is a chance to meet with over 30 suppliers of wedding services:

Celebrants, Photographers,Cakes,  Stationery,  Bridal Shops, Florists, Reception Centres and much more.

Entry by Gold Coin Donation

Fur more information see this link: FACEBOOK PAGE


All funds raised go to assist with Hoppers Crossing Rotary Club’s work in the community

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Risks of DIY Remodeling

One of my favourite ‘Waste of Time’ activities is reading the Not Always Right website.

Below is a recent post which indicates  the problems of DIY house remodeling!

Going Totally Off The Wall

(I work for a company that builds homes and develops land. As per California law, we warranty our homes for a ten-year period after the house is bought. Our warranty covers structural defects.)

Me: “Warranty. [My Name] speaking. How can I help you?”

Caller: “Hello, my house has a structural defect. I want you to fix it.”

Me: “Okay, ma’am. Could you give me your address? And what exactly is the defect in question?”

Caller: “My address is [address].”

Me: “Okay, I see you in our system. Could you tell me the problem, and I will see what I can do about entering a ticket for you.”

Caller: “The walls are not strong enough. You have to send someone here to put in better walls.”

Me: “The walls are not strong enough? Are they bowing, or cracking?”

Caller: “No, the ones that are still standing are fine.”

Me: “The ones that are… still standing…?”

Caller: “Yes. I wanted to remodel to make my living room and kitchen one big room, but it was too expensive. I saw a demolition crew do wall removals on those home improvement shows, so I just got a chainsaw and cut the wall out myself.”

Me: “Okay… so you ‘remodeled?’”

Caller: “Yeah! But then my house caved in.”

Me: “… Ma’am, are you saying you cut down a load-bearing wall in your home with a chainsaw?”

Caller: “Well, I didn’t know it was load-bearing. But this is clearly a structural defect! The roof caved in, and I’ve been living here for 16 years! I could sue you for endangering my life all this time!”

Me: “Ma’am, it was not a structural defect.”

Caller: “How can you say that?! THE ROOF CAVED IN!”

Me: “Because you chopped down a load-bearing wall!”


photo from

photo from

Me: “Your house was under warranty for 10 years. Your house is 16 years old. It was structurally sound until you made it structurally unsound, by CUTTING OUT A LOAD-BEARING WALL WITH A CHAINSAW.”



For more Fails and unusual houses go to What the………….?



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Vote for the anewhouse Blog

This year I have decided to enter the Best Australian Blogs Competition.

One of the categories is the ‘Peoples Choice

If you have found the blog useful why not VOTE FOR anewhouse?

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Did you know Australia has around 15 species of termite which can damage the timbers in your new house.

Although some species of timber are resistant to termites none are termite-proof. In practice any structure containing wood can be attacked, unless protective measures are taken.

Even if you have got a steel framed house, or double brick, you will still have timber in things like doors and architraves.

photo from Wickipaedia

photo from Wickipedia

Know Your Enemy

Termites are more like cockroaches than ants.

Subterranean termites do more damage to timber than either damp wood or dry wood termites.

The termites generally remain within a system of tunnels that can extend 50m, from the central nest, to food sources.

Its not unusual for the termites to build their tunnels round any barriers so no matter what termite protection you use you still have to inspect the barriers regularly.

In order to get to their food source of wood, termites can damage materials they cannot digest such as plastics, rubber, metal or mortar.

Protective Measures

In the past certain areas were identified as at risk of termite attack while others were considered termite free. I thick it is much better to consider all properties at risk.

I’m not a fan of regular spraying of chemicals so for me a permanent barrier is a must.

Basically you need a continuous barrier to prevent termites climbing up through the external wall and individual protection around any pipes and conduits that penetrate the slab.

Options for the barrier in the walls, in order of rising cost include:

  • Exposed Concrete This is cheap and effective as it involves leaving the bare concrete of the slab exposed for a minimum of 75mm. Unfortunately not very attractive,  although you could use a concrete paint to match the brick colour.
  • Barrier Containing Insecticide Probably the most common is  Kordon, which is a  combined DPC and termite protection. It is two layers of plastic sandwiching an insecticide impregnated layer. (Expect to pay around $1,500)
  • Termimesh A fine stainless steel mesh. (expect to pay around $2,000)

Last time I built I used Termimesh as I was concerned about appearance, and preferred not to use chemicals.


Decisions on your new home? . .  see  Selection/Pre-Start Guide

Only $4


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Build A Sustainable House & Save Money

When the stricter energy standards came in the big builders all complained that it would make houses more expensive.

Well a recent CSIRO report The Evaluation of the 5-Star Energy Efficiency Standard for Residential Buildings has found it can actually be cheaper to build a sustainable house.

Here are three reasons why a more sustainable house can be cheaper to build:

  • Smaller Windows Plain brick walls are more energy efficient than single glazed, or even double glazed windows. The plain brick will be about a third the cost of double glazing. See: Smaller Windows for more information.
  • Shape A more rectangular shape is simpler and cheaper to build and can have 10-15% less wall area for a given floor area. See how the walls and floor areas change for variations on a basic house shape in the sketch below:

House shapes


  • Right Sizing Builders try to sell you the biggest house they can and you often find there are rooms that you will hardly use. With Project Builder cost/sqm ranging from $1,100 – $1,600 saving one room can drop the cost by $10,000 – $15,000. See How Much House to plan how much space you need

Don’t forget that the sustainable house will also be saving you thousands of dollars every year!

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