Tiger Tails

tiger tailsBuild near overhead electrical cables and you may need ‘Tiger Tails’.

These are plastic tubes that fit over the cables and provide mechanical protection and visual warning on power lines and conductors.

Getting ‘Tiger Tails’ installed isn’t cheap and can be in the order of $1000/month.

A twelve month build and that’s $12,000.

It sounds a lot as the tiger tail itself is relatively inexpensive, but the cost can include:

  • Cherry pickers and operator.
  • Traffic Controllers.
  • Area power disruption.
  • Notifying surrounding users during disruption.
  • Suppliers Profit.

So when you start looking at blocks, Look Up and remember the potential extra costs!


Also see What’s On The Nature Strip



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Chinese Lucky, and Unlucky, Numbers

Unlucky NumberI see from the papers that a significant number of properties are bought by Chinese Investors.

Also I have noticed many visits to my web site are referred from Australian based Chinese language website oursteps.com.au

So for all my fellow Gweilos’ (Ghost men) here is a quick guide to checking if the street number of your new house block is, or isn’t, auspicious.


Best Number is 8  八, which signifies Money

Could add thousands to your house price!


Worst number is 4 四,  when spoken sounds like Death

Get in some lifts in china and you will find no fourth floor, or 14th floor!


Auspicious Numbers

3 三 – The Mandarin word sounds like “life”.
9 九 – Sounds like the phrase longlasting, also associated with the emperor.


Unlucky Numbers

5 (五 Associated with the word “Not”
13 – Although a Western Superstition this has been adopted by some Chinese


Combination Numbers

A repeated auspicious number like 88 is extremely auspicious

The first number can multiply the effect of an auspicious number - 28 means “Double Money” and 38 means ‘Triple Money’.

5 can negate the effect of an inauspicious number so 54 can become ‘Not Death”


Also check out some Aussie Feng Shui


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Arrogant House

Here is one of the most photographed houses in Victoria, ‘The Pole House’ at Fairhaven, near Lorne.



I hate it for the Arrogance!

A lovely stretch of natural coastline and someone puts up this concrete pimple to spoil everyone else’s view so they can marginally improve their own view.

Its not as though they made any great effort at architectural merit, a very plain,  minimal cost ‘pole’ and an unexceptional looking house on the top.

If you really must find out more check out www.visitgreatoceanroad.org.au


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



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Would you worry if you saw this guy (from Jim’s Jihad?) mowing the lawn next door?

Unlikely, but it does illustrate the fact that neighbours can have a big effect on your enjoyment, or otherwise, of your house.

In fact 20% of us have fallen out with a neighbour in the last 5 years, and only 1% said all their neighbours were great.

Top Five Reasons for Neighbour Problems

Domain recently carried out a survey, and here are the top 5 reasons why people had problems with their neighbours:

  • Loud music (30%)
  • Late night parties (28%)
  • Barking dogs (26%)
  • Overhearing Shouting and arguing (16%)
  • Untidy property (15%)

Its often said “Tall fences make good neighbours’. . . .  but with the top four problems being noise related perhaps it should be “Tall fences and Good Sound Proofing make good neighbours!”

Before Buying a Block

If you are buying on a new subdivision who your neighbour will be is always a lottery . . . . so corner block have always been attractive to me as  it means one less neighbour.

If I was looking at a vacant block (or Knock down rebuild) in an established suburb I would aim to make visits:

  • During the middle of a working day to check for barking dogs.
  • Mid to late evening to check for loud music.

At Selection/PreStart

If you want better sound proofing two things you should consider are:

Smaller Windows – As solid walls have better sound reduction than Glass

Double Glazing – Much better noise insulation than single panes

See Noise for more posts


Photo courtesy of  neighborshame.com where you  will find more bad neighbour photos.


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The Best Brands for Your Bathroom

Guest post by Hubert Dwight

BathroomThe bathroom is no longer just another room in your home.

Neither is it a place just to take a shower nor a place to stock your towels.

The modern bathroom is a place of rejuvenation, relaxation and meditation; the ultimate me-only place and a real pampering zone at its best.

Whether you are after an energized shower before going to work, or you want to relax your mind while in a warm Jacuzzi, or you desire a long candle-lit soak in the bath before going to bed, the bathroom is arguably one of the best rooms in your home.

However this is only the case if it is well structured, using some of the best and most exotic brands that can be found on the internet..

If you are living in Australia and are interested in a technologically advanced bathroom that is classically and elegantly designed, then you are bound to look through an assortment of brands.

You want brands that offer you convenience, simplicity, enjoyment and innovation within the confines of your beautifully made bathroom.

Below are some of the best brands that will offer the best in bathrooms.

Bathroom 2Caroma

Caroma is without a doubt the best bathroom brand that can be found in Australia, but also compares well around the world.

The brand’s commitment to top-notch excellence in design and water conservation is unrivaled in the bathroom market.

Structured around the philosophy of high efficiency, beauty, excellence and innovation, Caroma is the undoubted industry leader in terms of high efficiency toilet suites,  as well as technologically advanced bathroom basins, bidets, and showers.

As a company, Caroma employs highly educated, advanced, experienced and creative engineers to ensure that your bathroom is structured not only to suit your needs, but also to offer ultimate style that can only be dreamed of by others.

Whether you are in need of a simple and traditional bathroom or an ultra modern bathroom that comes with 21st century technology, Caroma is, without a doubt, your only solution. Their flexibility ensures that their design suits both residential and commercial bathrooms.


As one of the best bathroom tap ware and mixer brands in Australia, Grohe has an extensive portfolio of bathroom products.

From showering solutions to bathroom accessories, Grohe has an extensive selection of the best products for you to choose from.

They are among the best when it comes to creating consistent and stylish bathroom designs that revolve around crisp and chamfered detailing that is ideal for modern bathrooms.

Even though there are a whole lot of bathroom brands available in Australia, Caroma and Grohe and JustLuxe are among the best brands that cannot be ignored. Whether you are after luxury, modern advancement, simplicity or elegance, these are definitely your options for the best brands in bathroom matters.

You should, however consider the most widely available brand first, as there is a better chance of being able to get hold of these products, rather than having to wait for a long time until such time as stock has landed in Australian outlets. Choosing Caroma is a great choice for this reason, as you won’t have to wait long for delivery.

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Electric Underfloor Heating

Underfloor HeatingWatching ‘The Block‘ it seems Electric Underfloor Heating is very trendy these days . . . . so here are some of my thoughts:


  • Provide a stable heat.
  • Safe, with no very hot temperatures.
  • Each room can be run separately.
  • Quickly evaporates damp areas.
  • Less air movement than other systems


  • Slow to heat up, and slow to cool down when heating no longer needed.
  • Less suitable for intermittent heating
  • Less effective if under materials that have insulating properties such as carpet, or timber.
  • Can damage timber floors.


In Slab

The heating cables are fixed to the top layer of slab reinforcement, before the slab concrete is placed. The system heat up the whole slab, which then heats up the room above.

This system has a long warm up time making it suitable for ‘Off Peak’ tariff electricity, with the concrete slab heating up during the night and releasing the heat steadily during the day.

In Screed

With this system the heating cable is fixed on top of the slab using a light steel mesh, or fixing strips. The cables are covered with 15-25mm of screed.

In screed system which tend to heat less of the slab have faster warm up times than ‘In Slab’ systems and can be considered as ‘direct’ acting system with some storage characteristics.

Under Tile

Under Tile heating consists of a thin heating cable pre-laid on a self adhesive fibreglass mesh which is then covered with the tile adhesive.

This system has the fastest heating up time but the least amount of heat storage.


I can’t say I am keen on underfloor heating as I used to work in an office that had it many years ago. . .  It caused my feet to sweat excessively with predictable effects when I went home and took my shoes off!

If I was going to use it at all I would probably favour just a ‘Under Tile’ system for bathrooms.


See Heating for more posts




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Science Fiction House – Win

Alian House 1

What do you think about this Alien / Predator themed Theatre Room?

alian House 2

and this Attic Music Room that looks like the deck of a Starship?

All hidden in the ordinary looking Swedish House.Alian House 3

Could be yours for under $400,000..

For more information check out the link at www.pontuzlofgren.se

Thanks to ‘SaveH2O’ for the tip about this house.

If you see an unusual house why not let me know, and we can let others marvel at what some people build.



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


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Concrete Paving – Key Joints

keyjoint 1

I have previously talked about the importance of Well Designed Concrete Paving so here is a product that will help you achieve that.

It’s  called the Connelly Key Joint

A galvanised steel strip forms a keyway in the vertical face of the joint which means that reinforcement isn’t needed across the joint in footpath slabs.

In driveway slabs dowel bars can be used to provide additional support across the joint.


The ‘Key Joint’ is fixed installed on the base to form contraction and construction joints, and ensures that  the concrete cracks at the joint in preference to in the middle of the slab.

The concrete is then laid and finished to the top of the ‘Key Joint’.

As the concrete ‘Cures‘, and shrinks, it breaks cleanly away from the ‘Key Joint’ to form a suitable joint surface.


(NB as these photos were taken the day before concrete was to be poured so Bar Chairs had not been installed )

Photo 1 – Contraction Joint

This shows an unreinforced contraction joint which will occur in the middle of the pour to ensure that the concrete will crack at the joint.

You can see that the reinforcement has been stopped approx 40mm from the joint.

The pegs which are driven into the base to hold the ‘Key Joint’ in place can also be seen.


Keyjoint 2Photo 2 – Construction Joint

This shows  construction joint with dowels for additional joint support, after placing of the first slab.

Again you can see that the main slab reinforcement has been stopped approx 40mm from the joint.

The dowels are pushed  through ‘Knock Outs’ in the ‘Key Joint’. (N.B the dowel spacing is greater than the mesh spacing)

Although it has not been done in this case I prefer alternate ends of the dowels to be painted with bitumen to reduce the grip of the concrete on the dowel. (This helps reduce the risk of shrinkage crack other than at the joint)

Edge Formwork

The Key Joint can also be used as a permanent form work at the edge of slabs, preferably with the key on the outside.


N.B, I have received any financial benefit for this posting or am in any way connected with the manufacturers or suppliers of this product.


For more posts see Concrete


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