Placing Fill

Of so you want to place some fill. . . .perhaps behind a retaining wall to level a garden . . . So what do you need to understand?

Here are some things to consider.

Final Volume - Loose Volume

Most people underestimate the volume of material they need because they measure the volume they have to fill, and then quote that volume in the order.

The problem is that the material for delivery is measured by the loader bucket, or the truck load, which is when the material is loose.

Typically the loose volume will compact down by around 10% so if you are filling a large volume to advise the supplier you may need more than the measured volume and you will advise them you may need to add to your order as the job proceeds.

 Consolidation and/or Compaction

There are two ways of getting to the final volume:

  • Consolidation This is letting the material compact under its own weight. This can work quite well for sand, especially if it is ‘washed in’. For other materials it takes much too long (0ften many years) which means you will be forever topping up and re-levelling the top surface.
  • Compaction This is making extra effort to pack the fill down. Considerations in compaction are:vibrating plate compactor
    • Compact in layers the thinner the layer the better the compaction. (Layers should be no more than 150mm)
    • Even compaction will give better result (Covering the whole area several times with a vibrating plate or roller will give a much better result  than running a bob cat up and down a few times on each layer)

For DIY jobs you can hire a vibrating compactor for around $60/day.

If you are engaging a contractor to do the fill ask people giving you a price how they intend to compact the fill. (The cheapest price will be to place the whole lot, level, and run the machine over it. . . .a recipe for an area that will remain soft and continually sink)

If you are planning to build on the filled area you really need to have ‘Controlled Fill‘ professionally placed and tested.



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Scary Shadows

Had nightmares about being lost at night in a forest?

Do all those creepy horror films frighten you?

In that case this light fitting is not the one to choose for your bedroom

Scary shadows

For more information see


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




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Fixing Stage Inspections

stage 4 fixing

This is the time when all plasterboard lining (or internal cladding) architraves, skirtings, doors, built in shelves, baths, basins, troughs, sinks, cabinets and cupboards of a home are fitted and fixed in position.

The waterproofing of all wet areas will also have been completed.

The house will still require painting and things like cabinet doors may be missing.

Why Inspect At This Stage

Bringing defects to the attention of the builder at this stage usually means they can be more easily dealt with than at the PCI Stage.

This could mean less delays overall.

Things To Look For

Here are some things you, or your inspector, should be looking at:

  • Doors correctly fitted without sticking and catches and lock operating correctly.
  • Architraves neatly fitted.
  • Window Frames correctly fitted and sealed.
  • Correct glass specification, with safety markings for glass doors
  • Skirting neatly fitted .
  • Correct cabinets fitted with good workmanship.
  • Correct tiles  / splashbacks installed neatly
  • Correct shelves and rails in Wardrobes
  • Ceiling/wall linings and cornices neatly fitted.
  • Electrical switches, light fittings, smoke alarms. and power sockets correctly located.
  • External structures such as pergolas, verandas, decks, and carports constructed with adequate workmanship and the correct materials.
  • Al Fresco / Patio surface finished correctly and draining away from the house
  • Termite protection / Vermin proofing in place.
  • Step heights.
  • Balustrades for balconies and landings securely fixed
  • Anything else that looks wrong!


Only Completion Stage to Go!



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Taking a Mortgage Repayment Holiday

Taking a Mortgage Repayment Holiday

Have you hit trouble keeping up with your new home mortgage payments?

Even the most careful planners can face financial trouble when something unexpected occurs.

The good news is that you may be able to qualify for a repayment holiday. Here’s some advice about putting your mortgage on hold while you deal with a financial emergency.

What Is a Repayment Holiday?

A repayment holiday is a period during which you do not make mortgage payments.

The most common reason to request that payments be paused is the loss of a job. Some people ask a lender to pause their mortgage payments during maternity leave or an extended trip.

While mortgage payments may be put on hold during a repayment holiday, borrowers also have the option to pay a reduced amount during this period. . . . . This option is ideal when a person experiences a reduction in income without completely losing their source of income.

Applying For A Repayment Holiday

You’ll have to contact your mortgage lender to apply for a repayment holiday.

If you have been making extra payments to pay off your mortgage more quickly, it will be easier to take a repayment holiday, as you’ll essentially be cashing in on the extra payments that you’ve already made.

However, people who have not made extra payments on their mortgage will have to prove hardship in order to qualify for a repayment holiday.

Get expert advice for a repayment holiday feature for your home loan from

Costs Of Pausing Mortgage Payments

It is important for you to understand that you’ll be paying a price if you opt for a repayment holiday.

Interest continues to accumulate during this period. This interest will be added to the total amount that you owe on your mortgage, so you’ll end up paying interest on the interest in the end.

Taking even a short repayment holiday can increase your monthly payments over the life of the loan.

While the amount added to your monthly payment may be small, the total extra amount you’ll be paying adds up quickly.

For example:

Imagine that you take a repayment holiday for six months after paying your mortgage down for a year.

This short pause can add $50 or more to your monthly mortgage payment.

If you started with a 30-year mortgage, you could be adding over $17,000 to the total cost of your home.

The high cost of taking a repayment holiday makes it ideal for homeowners to opt for a reduction in repayments rather than a full pause of their payments.

You can minimise the financial hit associated with pausing your payments by paying as much as you can each month.

Taking a repayment holiday from your mortgage can help you get through a tough financial situation, but you should remember that there are costs associated with this option.

Contact your lender immediately if you are experiencing a financial hardship. Your lender can help you determine the best option for keeping your mortgage in good standing while you work through your situation.

This article was written courtesy of Mortgage Choice.

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Minamalist – Fail

Do you like this?architectural wink

According to the Architectural Press it’s a great example of Minimalist Architecture.

Now according to Google Minimalism is  “Characterized by the use of simple, massive forms”.

Well this building is massive but would have been anything but simple to construct: Curves, Strange Angles, Massive Cantilevered Rooms.

The building is called Dupli Casa and you can find more photos at:

Personally I think it is a hideous, expensive, architectural W**K . . . What do you think?

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

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Avoiding Splitting Responsibility

I often come across people who want to exclude certain items of the work from a house building contract to save money.

They may want to do the work themselves, use their own tradie (relative or friend) or use a different supplier to install things before or during the build.

Liability for Problems

The main issue of splitting the House contract is that you can finish up with split responsibility,  giving the Builder a  ‘Get Out of Jail Free Card’.

If there is a problem during construction, or defect that is any way related to the service you excluded from the contract then:

  • Who do you chase for remedy Builder, Supplier or even accept responsibility yourself?
  • The Builder, and the Supplier, will usually deny all liability blaming the other.
  • Whoever you believe is at fault you will to take it to an appeal, or arbitration,which will take time and money
  • To support your claim you will probably need an independent professional opinion which will add to the cost.
  • There is no guarantee that the finding will be totally in your favour.

Examples of Issues

Here are a few common issues:

  • Delay If your build contract goes over time one of the Builder’s strategies to avoid paying Liquidated Damages is to claims your supplier delayed the works as they were slower than his normal supplier.
  • Theft Stealing is rife on building sites. Even though the Builder lets your supplier on the site there is normally an exclusion of liability for theft.
  • Damage Scratches, dents, marks, breakages, at best the builder may provide compensation at a level related to the cost related to the value of the cheapest standard replacement. (for example a standard GRP bath not your $2000 free standing ceramic bath)
  • Failure To Work Properly This mainly occurs on issues like plumbing or electrical items. Because of a lack of communication the wrong pipe or wiring has been installed, or the locations are incorrect. Again each blames the other and you can be up for an extra cost.
  • Damage Scratches, dents, marks, breakages, at best the builder may provide compensation at a level related to the cost related to the value of the cheapest standard replacement. (for example a standard GRP bath not your $2000 free standing ceramic bath)
  • Future Building Movement I have heard of people doing their own site preparation including cut or fill. In WA I know some people want to install their own drainage work (Soak wells). If you then get any building movement you may find you have given the builder a get out to avoid bills of tens of thousand of dollars.

I hope this helps you understand the issues, and also the risks, of splitting supply and/or work from the main building contract.

Personally I have always let the Builder provide a finished house and installed any extras later.





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Access to Rear

DIGITAL CAMERA With the narrow blocks that are becoming more common you see a lot of new houses built right to the side boundary on both sides.

In some cases that can’t be avoided, but I think there is a real advantage in leaving enough room for a path on at least one side of the house, preferably both sides…………………………….Here’s some reasons why:

  • There will be extra costs for special wall and roof details, constructing foundations, and building walls on the boundary.
  • You might have ongoing property maintenance issues if you fall out with your neighbour.
  • If you need to do some gardening you can avoid taking top soil, plants and other dirty things through the garage, or even the house, if the garage doesn’t have a back door.
  • Many properties have drainage or sewerage easements with a Manhole (or in these politically correct time an access pit). If the council/water authority needs access you may need to take time off work rather than just leave a gate open for the day.
  • If you have a dog in the back yard then looking through a gate helps to stop them getting bored while you are out at work.

Perhaps there are some advantages of building to the boundary. If you have found any let me know.

For more things to think about when buying a block see:

Guide to Buying a Block

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Green Wall Fail

green wall fail

One of the big current architectural trends at the moment is ‘Green Walls’.

Didn’t work too well at this location!

It looks like they grew a creeper up the wall but didn’t think about how the creeper would stay fixed to the wall!

I found this photo on Welcome to the Internet

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



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