Becoming Part Of The Community

When you move to a new area you can feel isolated. So how do you make new friends and become part of the community?

Mothers of young children used to find it quite easy with chatting at the school gate. But how much of this goes on now lots of parents drive their children?

With older children there is always watching them play sport and perhaps coaching a team.

One of the best things that I have found to get involved is as a member of the local Service Club. I am sure other clubs such as the Lions and APEX are just as good but my experience has been with Rotary.

Over the years as we have moved around I have been a member of four different Rotary Clubs (I am currently a member of Hoppers Crossing Rotary Club) and here are just some of the advantages I have found:

  • Prospective new members are always welcomed.
  • It’s easy to get to remember names, as members have to wear a name badge at meetings.
  • It means that within a few weeks you will know 20 or 30 people in the town. This means that when you are out shopping you are more likely to meet people you know.
  • You get the satisfaction of helping your community by fund raising for local causes and working on projects such as gardens for the disabled. Most of these activities have a social aspect as well.
  • You become part of an international organisation which is working on international projects to eradicate polio, provide better water supplies, provide medical treatment for developing countries, etc, etc, etc,
  • The meetings are generally light hearted with an emphasis on being social and having fun.
  • You here interesting and inspiring talks from guest speakers.
  • You meet a wide range of people.

So What Does It Involve?

  • Rotary have weekly meetings and you are expected to attend most meetings. (I know Lions Clubs generally meet every two weeks.)
  • Generally the cost is around $20 for a 2 course meal with drinks and a couple of raffle tickets extra.
  • Usually there is an annual membership cost of around $200 dollars which many clubs will allow members to spit over two or more payments.


Use this link to find clubs near you it will tell you where and when the club meets and give you a contact phone number so someone will expect you.

How have you become involved in the local community?

Just moved in? …..see Settling In


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Sisalation or Sarking


Sarking is the sheet material which can be put over the roof trusses before the final roof covering is installed.

It’s normally standard on a metal roof as it prevents condensation on the underside of a roof from dropping onto the ceiling below.

In the case of a tiled roof it helps with weatherproofing and keeps dust out of the roof space.

In bushfire zones it is mandatory for a tiled roof to have sarking.

The reflective sarking (installed reflective side facing down) does help in reducing summer heat being radiated into the roof space and can help to keep the house warmer in winter. (See Reflective Finishes for more information)

In addition to plain sarking you can get an insulation blanket with sarking attached. This offering some sound insulation, for rainfall, and extra thermal insulation.


See Insulation for more posts


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Tree Hugger’s Fence – Win

tree in fence


Love a tree but need to put up a fence?


The owner of this house has gone a long way to make sure the tree hasn’t been damaged.


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

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Paying Contractors

Sponsored by CheckVault

The advice you always get about paying contractors is “Don’t pay until the works are complete.”

Easy to say. . . . . but most small contractors want payments up front!

Why Contractors Want Up-Front Payment

I have known a lot of small contractors and one recurring problem is getting payments for work they have done.

Although you hear plenty of stories about bad contractors I can assure you contractors have just as many stories about chasing debts from bad clients.

Many small contractors work on tight margins and the cash flow issue of one or more bad debts can easily send them broke.

You might think you are a reasonable person who always pays your debts, but how is that contractor you want to engage know that?

An Alternative To Up-Front PaymentcheckVault

An idea I have recently come across is CheckVault which works as follows:

  1. You make a payment to CheckVault prior to the work commencing. (Payment can be by Bank Transfer, or even Credit card)
  2. The money is then held in Escrow, by Perpetual Corporate Trust so your money is always safe.
  3. The contractor carries out the work
  4. Only when the work is satisfactorily finished the payment is released to the contractor from CheckVault.

This seems to be a good way of ensuring the work is done to your satisfaction while the contractor can have certainty of payment.

Other advantages are:

  • It stops the situation where contractors take money in advance and then use it to finance other projects.
  • Knowing the money is waiting encourages quicker completion.
  • Contractors who know their payments are secured may be more prepared to offer a discount.



See why ‘Cash Jobs‘ are a Bad Idea


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Builders ‘Security’ Fence

These days all the builders provide, at our cost, a 1.8m high ‘Security Fence’ around the site.

site  fence

When you ask them “Why is it there? “. . .  They say “Its for Occupational Health and Safety and/or to prevent theft. ”

If those are the reasons why do less than 1% have a padlock?

For most of them the highest security level is a piece of wire twisted around a couple of times!

The only positive thing I can say about all this is the lack of security makes it easier for me to access the site in the evening to check whats happened during the day!


For more posts about your new home build see Construction


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Do You Like Beetles?

How would you like this in your new home?

It’s a armoire (a standing cupboard used for storing clothes)

Here are a couple more photographs showing it partially open

Beetle-armoire 2

You can find even more photos at

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

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What Is A Project Home Builder?

If you are new to thinking about having a new house built you may have  heard the term ‘Project Home Builder’ and wondered what it means.

Project Home Builders base their business on building large numbers of houses using a limited range of designs.

By cutting down on the proportion of individual design input on each house, and the ability to negotiate bulk discounts, they can build houses at a significantly lower cost than would be otherwise possible.

Because of the cost they are a very popular way of having a house in Australia. I have even heard self builders say they couldn’t build a house as cheaply as a ‘Project Builder’.


Although Project builders work on a limited number of designs there is still a fair amount of Customisation possible.

Externally customisation options include:

  • Different facades (Most builders offer at least 2 facades styles for each design)
  • Choice of bricks or render
  • Choice of different Roof Tiles or Metal Roof
  • Handing (Building a mirror image)
  • Changing window sizes

Internally it is normally possible to make some modifications to floor plans such as enclosing rooms, adding doors and making some rooms bigger by making others smaller. Some Project Builders are more accommodating than others when it comes to making internal changes.


As each builders offer you a limited set of home plans you may get good reports about a builder.. . .  but if you don’t like their range of plans…you’ll need to go elsewhere.

Project Home Builder’s designs are mainly suitable for flat, rectangular blocks. If your block slopes, or is an awkward shape the costs can quickly escalate. For really awkward sites many Project Home Builders may even refuse to build.

Finding a Project Builder

project builders

Just visit one or more local ‘Display Villages’ and you will find several project builders. Just understand when you go around the houses that each ‘Display House’ has lots of expensive extras not included the standard priced house.

For more advice see the ‘anewhouse Guide to Choosing a House’

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Control of costs is really important if you don’t want to run over budget on your new home.

One of the key areas in controlling costs is understanding the specification of the house.

One of the traps that many people fall into is paying a deposit based  on an initial specification, They are then hit with major costs down the track to upgrade to the standard they want.

There are really 3 stages to the Specification of a New House.

Basic Stage

This covers the building of the main structure of the house and includes:

  • Floor Plans
  • External Elevations (what the house will look like)
  • Foundations
  • Construction (eg Brick Veneer , Double Brick. timber clad, etc)
  • Windows
  • Basic Insulation


Detailed Design Stage

This is when the things like fittings are detailed such as:

  • Kitchen cupboards and counters
  • Cooktops and Ovens
  • Bathroom Fittings
  • Tiles
  • Electrical Fit out

Watch out for the builder including Prime Cost Allowances

There are extensive checklists in the Guide to Selection that will help you through this stage.


These are the finihing touches which may be included by the builder, but are usually done by the homeowner after the move. These typically include:

  • Driveways
  • Paths
  • Gardens
  • Pergolas
  • Pools
  • Outdoor Kitchens

If these are the things that you want included in your new house you need to be aware of the likely cost and make sure that you have enough left in your budget.


See Budget for similar posts


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