Inside or Outside Bedrooms

Movable bedrooms

A colleague of mine once spent a year camping around Africa. Afterwards she said it was hard to get used to sleeping inside a house.

Perhaps she needed a house like this. . . . those box like things on the patio are movable bedrooms which can be pushed outside on pleasant nights.

If you wanted to do something like this in Australia you would need to add flyscreens!

This house was designed by the French design studio Raum (If you follow the link you will find more photographs)

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

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Solar is Winning


Electricity demand has dropped so much that Australia currently has at least 3 major coal fired power stations more than it needs! (This year the surplus capacity at peak demand is estimated to be around 8,000 megawatts)

In early July this year there was actually zero demand for power station generation in Queensland, mainly due to an estimated power output of 600 megawatts from rooftop solar.

A report by the Australian Energy Market Operator have warned that the electricity generation market is close to breaking point.

Electricity demand, which has been dropping since 2009, will continue to drop for at least the next three years. The closure of major industries such as aluminium smelting and car manufacture is only likely to further decrease demand.

Why Aren’t Power Prices Dropping?

In most ‘Free’ markets when demand drops so do prices.

While demand has been over the past few years electricity prices have doubled . . . . and don’t think that’s mainly the Carbon Tax!

Over 51% of your bill is for Network costs (Federal Treasury Estimates)

When the Goverments’ privatised electricity they allowed the Power Companies to recoup their investment in network upgrades by increasing their charges.

The networks have spent over $45,000,000,000 in the last five years to meet an ‘Increasing Demand’ which we are all now paying for in our bills.

The ‘Joke’ in all this is by increasing their prices the electricity companies have made their ‘Main Competion’, Roof Top Solar, more attractive!

What Now

So after 5 years of getting everything wrong are the power companies interested in doing the right thing? . . . . Like investing in generating power from renewable resources that work when the sun isn’t shining?

No they are lobbying the government to wind back the renewable energy target!

It’s no wonder that some people with solar panels are talking about disconnecting from the grid!

For more informaton click on this link from the ABC: The Price of Power



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Window Abbreviations

When you are looking at builders plans it can be hard to understand what all the abbreviations mean!

Here are some common window Abbreviations /Acronyms:

AL – Aluminium (also Alum)
AW – Awning Window
CG – Clear Glass
CLR.OPG – Clear Opening
CR – Curtain Rod
DG – Double Glazing
DH – Double Hung
FG – Fixed Glazing
FO – Finished Opening
FR – Frame
FRG – Fire Resistant Glazing
FS – Fire Shutter
GB – Glass Block (also GL BLK or GLB)
GP – Glazed Partition
HSW- Horizontal Sliding Window
IS – Insect Screen
LVR- Louvre
MUL – Mullion
OB – Obscured (e.g Frosted also OG -Obscured Glass)
OPG- Opening (also OW – Opening Window)
PG – Plate Glass
PW – Pivot Window
RS – Roller Shutter
SD – Sliding Door
SGS- Silicone Glazing Sealant
SH – Side Hung
SW – Sliding Window
tr – Transom
UPVC- Unplasticised PVC
VP – Vertical Pivot
VS – Vertical Sliding
WERS- Window Energy Rating System
WF – Wood Frame
WG – Wired Glass
WS – Window Sill (or Cill)
WW – Window Wall

If you have seen an acronym you don’t understand, then let me know, and I will try to give you an answer.


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Vertical Garden – Fail No 2

Vertical garden fail 2
I was walking along a Melbourne street the other day and saw this sad ‘Feature’ on the front of a building.

Someone has gone to a lot of trouble to set up this vertical garden. . . . . . its a pity they didn’t do a proper job and install a watering system!

Lot’s of little pots, and people wanting lots of foliage, that’s a recipe for very high water use

Unless each pot gets water every day any plant is going to die, so going round once or twice a week with a watering can isn’t going to do the job

Vertical garden fail2 photo 2
That’s the problem with a lot of ‘trendy’ ideas’, look good initially . . . . but not thought through!

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


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New House Insurance

Your builder has given you a handover date . . .  so you need to organise property insurance to start on that day.

How Much House Insurance Will You Need ?

Well you have only just finished building so isn’t the price you have just paid the right amount?

I think you need to add 30%-50% to the build cost.

Why Do You Need Extra Property Insurance?

Well building on a new development is cheaper and an entirely different proposition to having a house replaced when it is surrounded by other houses.

Here are some of the reasons for extra costs:

  • Demolition and removal of material from the site;
  • Once fences are built around the site and perhaps trees planted on the nature strip builders may consider the site ‘Restricted‘;
  • Gardens, and paths, which may have been excluded from the initial construction cost will have to be replaced;
  • The original builder may not offer the standard house you had previously built meaning architects may need to be engaged. (Even though you had a project house built you may find yourself up for a cost structure of a custom house)
  • Building regulations may change.

All these extras make it important to make sure you don’t under insure.

The costs of possibly over insuring are small, compared with having to deal with the trauma of loosing your home. . . . Then having a bill of tens, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, to replace the house.

Also see Danger of Under Insuring


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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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