Posts Tagged ‘body corporate’

Pivot Homes can work with clients from the start to finish of their build (design through to completed construction ), or clients can choose to work with them just on design concepts, or up until working drawings – then take those drawings and have someone else build their home. We chose to use Pivot through all their building stages, and would like to share that experience with you…

Below is a detailed description of the Pivot Homes Building process. In the green text I have documented our experience at each of these stages, including updated drawings/elevations at each stage.

Pivot Building Process Fact Sheet (Below)

CLICK HERE to view the Pivot Homes Building Procedure.

Our Consultants / Designer can provide you with a no obligation inspection of your land and discuss your options and new home requirements which could save you thousands.

Discussed in my previous post: The Block of land We had already selected our land before meeting with Pivot Homes.

Meet with our Consultant to discuss your plan, wish list and budget options.  Choose from one of our extensive range of homes or alternatively have our designer’s custom design your new dream home.

Discussed in my previous post: Designing our house with Pivot Homes (We worked closely with Michael and Chloe – she was the in-house architect working on our house design)

An initial investment is required to prepare your sketch design and concepts.  This design will include floor plans, elevations, soil test, site levels and will take approximately two weeks.

Pivot presented us with two design options. We knew immediately that the option above was closest to what we wanted (based on our deign wish-list), the option below was not considered any further:

We were lucky enough to have been given a copy of the soil test conducted by the previous land owners – so we passed that on to Pivot to use.

Discuss and review sketch proposal.  At this stage you will be able to amend your design and compile the specification for your home. At this stage a Ball Park price can be established.

At this point we made a few changes – Shaved some space off the front living room, and added it to the Master bedroom, this also allowed the walk-through wardrobe to be widened to allow for two sides of hanging space/drawers (you can never have enough wardrobe space!). We made the meals/dining area wider, allowing plenty of space for our dining table, and movement around the table. We also changed the size and shape of both deck areas.

Once the sketch plan is complete and correct, you will proceed to the next level of documentation, where a detailed plan, elevations with claddings indicated and 3D perspective of your home is generated.

The following drawings were presented to us at this stage:

With this information we can generate a full colour Specification, showing all of the inclusions, fittings and finishes, Costings Breakdown Summary and quote a Firm Contract Price.

I was not happy with the roof angle. This was one of those occasions where we had to decide whether to go back to Pivot and tell them we wanted the roof angle changed, or live with it (because we knew we were asking them to turn everything around really quickly for us). My husband told me that we didn’t have the luxury of changing our minds at the last minute, and to just ‘leave it’.

The next time we met with Michael and Chloe, Michael said that he was not happy with the roof angle. With our permission he asked if he could play around with it a little. I was so relieved, and naturally told him to ‘go for it’. I mentioned that I wasn’t happy with it either, but didn’t want to slow down the process. As Michael explained, we are going to be confronted with the roof-line every time we walk into our new home – it’s something we want to be happy with.

Lesson #1 – if you really don’t like something, say so. There is no point living with it to keep the peace, or to save time…. you will be reminded of it everyday once you move into your home. I know this advice slightly contradicts earlier advice about learning to compromise (sometimes) when making decisions – but the roof line is a significant aspect of your home – you need to be happy!

If required, submit plans to relevant Government authorities for planning approval (This process will require additional fees and are job specific).  Additional documentation will also be required, i.e. landscaping design.  Please ask your consultant if planning approval is required for your building site.  For example, The Sands Torquay, Thirteenth Beach Golf Course Estate, The Quay Torquay and multi unit sites require planning approval. For Details please refer to the ‘Planning Requirements’ Brochure.

We did require submission to both The Sands Body Corporate, and Council approval of our plans. This approval process can take many weeks and potentially slow things down, which wasn’t going to help our tight deadlines. Submitting something that is not approved by The Sands can prove time consuming and costly (there is a charge for each re-submissions!). This is where we relied heavily on guidance from Pivot when it came to what The Sands didn’t like. Their previous dealings with The Sands meant they had a wealth of experience to draw upon.

Refer to Pivot’s Planning requirements.

As detailed on The Sands website: Building guidelines for The Sands Torquay

With everything in order, we now begin the Working Drawings. These include complete project detailing, as outlined in the Pivot Procedure brochure.

The working drawings incorporated the new roof line (which I was much happier with). And much more detail to submit to the authorities for approval (including: a site plan, floorplan, setout plan, elevations, 3D perspectives, window and door schedule, electrical plan, roof plan, building sections, internal elevations and internal 3D perspectives).

Working around the house from the North, East, South and West:

Review working drawings, amend any changes if required.  These changes will also be forward to the estimating department to finalise your construction cost.  You will then be provided with a summary of changes and their value, an adjusted Specification, and Final Contract Figure.

Using these drawings, Pivot arranged a preliminary meeting with The Sands to gauge how close we were to meeting their approval guidelines (prior to formal submission). The Sands came back with the following concerns:

  • The garage was too prominent, and needed to be less conspicuous (using different materials on the door, adding features to it, or turning the entrance away from the street)
  • A privacy screen would need to be placed on the East side of the enclosed deck, so we didn’t over-look into the neighbours house.
  • The driveway was too close to an electrical box positioned on the footpath, and would have to be moved (this meant having the driveway cut across the front of the house, or flip the garage to the other side of the house, changing the entire house design!!)

Pivot Responded to The Sands with a new facade suggestion to ‘hide’ the garage:

This was not accepted by The Sands. In the end we had to move the driveway to sweep across the block, and move the garage to open to the East, not the North as currently featured. This resulted in the following changes:

Garage is now separated from the house (with covered walkway to laundry entry), and opening to the East, creating a larger service yard behind it (which gave me more space for my Hey Bernice exploits! www.heybernice.com):

The side of the garage faces the street (on the right of the block if standing at the north end), and is ‘disguised’ with 2 vertical windows:

The external colours were altered to meet The sands requirements – we were not allowed to have the house all one colour, we chose 3 colours:

The privacy screen was added to the East side of the internal deck, and 2 sections of the house were coloured slightly darker to meet The Sands requirement:

You’ll be happy to know that we got approval within two days of submission to The Sands, the preliminary meeting helped to iron out any hiccups we may have encountered. The final plans were then submitted to the Surf Coast council immediately for their formal stamp of approval, and building permit. We received the building permit from the council in Mid January 2011, just in time to get it all off to the bank, who could then pay the builder the deposit to commence works straight away. It was very tight, but we met our deadline for commencement of Build (set by The Sands), and our own personal deadline of starting it all before the baby arrived!
Thanks Pivot – your team were amazing during this whole process.

View final Designs here

Once the summary of pricing has been reviewed we are able to prepare the documents required for contract signing.  We will require approximately two hours to thoroughly explain our fixed price contract, specification and other relevant documents.

Pricing – We went into this with a budget in mind. Whilst we met with the bank to help determine our budget, the budget set by us, not the bank. The bank were prepared to loan us much more than we were comfortable owing! As everyone warned us, you will end up spending much more than you budget for – and we did. This is due to several reasons… our home is not a simple single story home, it is on the larger side, and having the fourth bedroom, two living areas and 2 decks (decks are included in the builders pricing) did push the price up slightly. We also chose a few features in the home that you would call ‘premium features’… when making these decisions we realised in some instances it was worth it (eg. tiles, kitchen bench, floorboards, toilets, bath, basins). At pricing stage Michael was great, and said we could look at making changes to the house if we wanted to bring the price down …. we all sat there in silence and couldn’t think of a thing we wanted to change. The simplest change would have been to remove a bedroom or the decks, and we didn’t want to do that. The price ended up almost $100K over what we had been hoping for – however the home we are going to end up with is beyond anything we had imagined – we love it! There is not an ounce of regret, no second thoughts, or nervousness about the contract price – and we were not stretching ourselves too far.

The authority approval and contract signing stages were where we saved ourselves some time – these two stages were running simultaneously to meet our tight deadlines. It meant we were required to finalise some things earlier in the process than usually required – but we were happy to do whatever it took to reduce days/weeks where we could.

We were very impressed with the details included in the documentation provided. There was a specifications document (detailing all the fittings, fixtures, finishes and colours we had chosen, and a Building Contract). The specification Document has pictures of everything accompanying the description – ensuring we all had the same understanding of each item listed.

Provisional sums were included for carpets, tiles, cabinetry, and electrical… these were to be refined later down the track after contract signing – we were made fully aware that these prices could change, and would require variations later.

Being our first building contract, we had it looked over by a lawyer before signing. If nothing else, it gave us the confidence that we understood all the clauses, and what they might mean for us if something went wrong – it didn’t result in any major changes to the document. Pivot use a standard Master Builders contract (they are members of the Master Builders Association).

Once contracts are signed and the relevant 5% deposit has been paid we can apply for a building permit. This will take two – six weeks.

The bank would not pay the 5% deposit until it had a copy of the building permit, so we did things in a different order… submitting for the building permit, then paying the 5% deposit once the bank had a copy of the permit.

Our building permit submission was provided to the council in mid December, so whilst approval was granted in December, due to the Christmas break we didn’t received notification from the council until mid January – regardless it was a quick turn-around!

The most challenging procedure! Pivot Homes will assist you one on one with the selection of all your colours, fittings and fixtures. We have a comprehensive samples room containing everything you need to help you choose. You will also be introduced to our Joiner,  who can provide you with free advice on your selections.

The fun part! Whilst this takes several hours with the Pivot team, it requires many behind the scenes weekends and fights discussions to decide what you want your house to look like inside. This is where you need to draw on those decision making skills, and occasional compromises to make any progress. I will dedicate an entire post to this aspect of our house build, so stay tuned for that.

Your plans are now approved for construction and include all necessary permits, certificates and insurance. Our construction manager has scheduled your project and construction has commenced.

As I write this construction has commenced. This blog will document each stage of construction until completion – so keep reading. And, sign-up your email address with Lot 271, down the right of this page, to be notified of any new posts on this blog.

The rest of this building process is in the future, so I will sign-off here (unless I had a crystal ball and could tell you what the future held for us!)

You will be introduced to your site supervisor who will be able to assist and answer any further questions you have.

We’re not at this stage yet

Your site supervisor will guide you through the construction process to completion.  Your supervisor will be in contact with you to ensure a smooth construction process.  Meetings can be held on site at various times during the construction to discuss any questions/queries you may have.

We’re not at this stage yet

Our supervisor will walk you through your new home to inspect all work is completed to your absolute satisfaction.  Keys and monies are now exchanged and you are ready to move in!

Can’t wait for this stage!



Like me on …


Read Full Post »

Lot 271, where we are building, is located at The Sands Resort (Golf Course & Peppers hotel) Torquay, Victoria, Australia …

Torquay …


The Sands Resort and Golf Course…


Lot 271…

We purchased our block from the lovely ladies at Links Property.

We dealt with Suzy who was extremely helpful in recommending builders, giving us information about the area and sharing her own building experience at The Sands. Not only do Links sell land, but they also sell completed houses at The Sands.

The specifications of our block

  • The size of the land is 1059 m²;

  • The front of the block is orientated North, and is flat (which will save us money on excavation costs);
  • It backs on to the 6th Green and 7th tee;

The original owners had plans drawn up by an architect before they decided to sell. They kindly offered those to us to use (apparently they had spent over $20K just to get to this stage):

Whilst this was a very generous offer, the plans didn’t meet our needs, and we already had very specific ideas for our new home.

We were given 6 months from settlement to commence building (according to the strict guidelines from The Sands Body corporate). There are very strict building (garden and fencing) restrictions at The Sands, we ensured that we read the (huge) bound document completely before we built – so there were no surprises!

TIPS: When looking for land there were a few things we picked up along the way (coming from a zero knowledge base!)…

  1. Only buy land on a slope if you can afford to build on a slope. Excavation costs, scaffolding and landscaping challenges can increase costs quite dramatically. Also, if the slope is quite dramatic there won’t be much usable garden for animals and kids.
  2. When looking at land, often there are high sides of the road, and low sides of the road (if there are slopes in the land). Look at houses already built under these circumstances, and decide which side of the road you prefer. Often the high side of the road houses will be orientated towards maximising a view, which could mean most of your living space, deck and windows will be built to face the street (where the view is) – make sure you are happy with this ‘exposed lifestyle’ before making any decisions.
  3. Check the orientation of the block eg. North/South or East/West. If you already have a house design in mind, you want to make sure the block orientation maximises the use of natural light.
  4. Make sure the land you buy can fit the size of house you are dreaming of, don’t assume you can afford to build a 2 storey home, again costs jump once you add that second level.
  5. Check that the block you like is not too narrow for the style of house you want to build.
  6. If there are no utilities connected, make sure you factor in these costs too eg. water, gas and electricity. And check if the block has access to mains gas or requires bottled gas.
  7. Ask around about the internet speed and connection options (locals or neighbours). This will only be an issue if you are looking at regional locations/new estates.
  8. Check with the council about fire regulations that are applied to building new homes where you are looking (again more relevant to regional land). If you are in a high fire danger zone council guidelines can change your entire approach to building (use of materials), increase costs, and also increase your home insurance once completed.

Now we have the land, the next post will focus on building something on it.



Like me on …

Read Full Post »