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779 posts

Ultimate Geek

  # 2291632 7-Aug-2019 13:39
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Yeah, parents of small children often want bedrooms close together so that they are near them if anything crops up during the night, quite valid reasoning, however as a parent with now teenagers in the house, well, not having them near our bedroom would be much preferred (although they only make the mistake of opening our door at the wrong time once ;))


For electrical - double sockets as a minimum, cost difference of the actual fitting is only a few dollars, so even across a whole house with say 30 sockets, still only talking maybe $100-150 extra cost over single.


Run conduit and draw wire to TV locations, even if you don't think you need more connections, better to have it there and not need it than the reverse (made this mistake, ran HDMI to TV and another to projector, both leads damaged, unless I want to rip gib off and replaster / paint, stuck with no way to rerun them, very tight fitting). Maybe even pre-wire / terminate for surround sound (binding posts on wall plates) with some wires up in the ceiling for Atmos speakers.


In your kitchen, consider plumbing behind the fridge area for plumbed in water dispensing fridge. I'd also put plumbing in/out where a coffee machine would go, but that is obsessive and over the top for most.



2712 posts

Uber Geek

  # 2291633 7-Aug-2019 13:40
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Congrats on the place! If you don't mind me asking, how did you decide on a builder to go with?


We've had it budgeted as if it's TC2 land, and we'll consider it a bonus if it's TC1 and we'll have extra money for upgrades or a lower total price. Two Roads list it as likely TC1 but each lot needs its own testing to confirm. Our lot would be almost at the bottom right corner of this map:


[Image Removed - can be viewed in original post]


Fingers crossed it comes up TC1! Whitehouse explained (complete with drawing pictures) how the foundation of a TC1 vs TC2 are built, which was interesting to learn.


Good points that we should allow for paying extra than the PC sums for kitchen & electrical, I'm sure we'll go over those too yes.


Ideally we would have loved to have the title earlier, but one advantage of having a few extra months is as you say, we can avoid making rushed decisions.



We chose the company based primarily on the fact that he seemed to understand what we wanted better than other companies we spoke to. We got concepts from several companies, but his was by far the best for us. We also have friends who have built with them twice and have been happy.



1108 posts

Uber Geek

Lifetime subscriber

  # 2291748 7-Aug-2019 15:22
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One caveat that we've run into, you're going to get a lot of good advice (see above), but also some misplaced advice. One example is "you need to have a bathtub", because... well because you need to have one. This was in response to us putting in showers but no bathtub. OK, if the owner has a baby then for maybe 6-12 months they might occasionally use the bathtub (or they could just use a plastic baby bath), but for the rest of the time it's just going to take up space, get in the way, and require cleaning without ever being used.



Another one we got was that we shouldn't remove the (steep, virtually unusable, crumbling) concrete driveway next to the house. We pointed out that firstly, everyone parks on the street, even those with usable driveways, and secondly the appeal of the house is its waterfront location and garden, and to the sort of people who would pay for that the presence of a vast amount of cracked, crumbling concrete was a liability, not a selling point.



So, filter the advice. In particular "everyone knows you should do X" may not be as clear-cut as it seems.

294 posts

Ultimate Geek

  # 2292957 9-Aug-2019 14:15
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duckDecoy: Thanks, yeah ensuring there's enough room for a big fridge is a must. That reminds me of when people used to create a recess in the wall for a TV, and then they'd be forever stuck with a 32" TV or something if they wanted to put it there.


sen8or: haha yeah I imagine bedroom placement is never perfect for everyone.


Good to know about the cost of the fittings too. Double sockets minimum sounds good, and if it's not much more for extra we'll certainly go for those. Conduits and extra plumbing are worth considering too. Quite right they're so easy to do before the gib is up.


Paul1977: I must admit that's how we feel about Whitehouse so far, we just lack knowing anyone who has built with them. But we'll ask for any owners we could talk to.


neb: Yeah very true. We'll end up putting notes into our doc about all the advice from this thread, and then make our own decisions about it all. But it's great to get an idea of what to consider, and this thread seems thankfully full of great advice :) Bathtub is a good example though, and there'd be pressure to include it for re-sale value. But yeah I certainly wouldn't mind not having a bathtub.



3936 posts

Uber Geek


  # 2292976 9-Aug-2019 15:04
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neb: One caveat that we've run into, you're going to get a lot of good advice (see above), but also some misplaced advice. One example is "you need to have a bathtub", because... well because you need to have one. This was in response to us putting in showers but no bathtub. OK, if the owner has a baby then for maybe 6-12 months they might occasionally use the bathtub (or they could just use a plastic baby bath), but for the rest of the time it's just going to take up space, get in the way, and require cleaning without ever being used.



Yeah, well, whatever your own usage is, I'd agree with the OP that potential impact at resale could well be a good reason to look at including a bath.


Personally, for any house that I was looking at buying that didn't have a bath I'd be factoring in the ability to put one in and, if feasible, what that cost was and to factor that in to what I'd be willing to pay. I know there are a lot of people who are older than 12 months that enjoy a bath, so I don't think I'm alone in this!


[Also, unsure if you have kids, and if so if have experience of trying to bathe a 12-month old toddler (not a baby anymore) in a baby bath! Our kids had baths every night as babies and toddlers, and even now get annoyed when required to have a shower instead.]


My point is that it's a balancing act between designing a house that is focused on one's own preferences and needs and one that will appeal to/meet the needs of others if (or, pretty much inevitably, when) it comes time to sell.

294 posts

Ultimate Geek

  # 2293102 9-Aug-2019 16:53
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A balancing act is a great way to put it yeah. For example in our media room I won't need any windows, but the next owners might want to use it as a bedroom so I should certainly have windows in there and just board them up. A bathtub is a harder one to call, but yes it's very important to consider what other people might want / what might put other people off buying the place.

1005 posts

Uber Geek

  # 2293342 10-Aug-2019 06:26
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These days it's easy to see reviews of any random cafe or such online, but surprisingly hard when it comes to builders.


Most builders are franchises which means you're engaging a local company that's paid to use the name. Usually they pay a smaller company to actually build it. It's very fragmented so reviews can only mean so much.


Our primary upgrades will go on ensuring the house is warm.


Ask about the cost of upgrading to R4 wall insulation. That would require 5cm thicker external walls unlike R2.8 which fits inside standard cavities.


Insulation inside the internal walls does help reduce noise as does noise reducing plasterboard. I'd want insulation in all internal walls.


Standard joinery spec isn't suitable for Christchurch. Ask for a good low e glass like Metroglass XCel or equivalent. uPVC won't get you as much thermal benefit over thermally broken aluminium as you might have thought so isn't worth paying a whole lot more for it. uPVC doesn't last as long as aluminium either so if you plan on staying there lifelong you may need to factor in a replacement for it at a much later date. Good thermal curtains make a big difference.


If you're using APL their Metro series will be mildly warmer when thermally broken than the cheaper Residential. You may want to plan awnings for the sun facing windows. Letting the sunlight stream in will be very hot in summer.


EDIT: One thing we were moderately surprised by was that the cost to upgrade to thermally broken joinery and low e glass was not as high as we were expecting.


There are different quality grades of low e glass. Anything but the best is a false economy but you may find yourself paying a couple of thousand more for it.


If you don't want a full size dishwasher there are mini units like the Bosch SKE53M05AU and SPU68M05SK. If you're going to be cooking with gas get a flush cooktop like what Smeg makes. Normal gas cooktops tower over the adjacent bench.


Heat pump companies don't like it when people use heat transfer kits to make a single room heat pump heat multiple rooms at once as it can mean the heat pump is being undersized and overused.


Tiles: they aren't cold to walk on unless your house is colder than it should be. But they're terrible for transmitting noise, unpleasantly hard to walk on, most turn into a skating rink once wet including some sold as wet area suitable.


You could use a cavity slider for the master bedroom to gain more space.


10 posts

Wannabe Geek

  # 2293855 11-Aug-2019 02:30
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For my own build I'm planning to only have a couple of TV coax outlets (Master, Living and Media Rooms), and it pains me to have to install them at all. If Freeview's SmartVU was more reliable/mature and included the same channel's as terrestrial then I'd seriously consider using that exclusively. Let's face it, terrestrial/satellite TV is a sunset technology, UFB delivery is the future.


And obviously I'm not installing any voice equipment, that is a no-brainer.


Good luck with your build.


1108 posts

Uber Geek

Lifetime subscriber

  # 2294129 11-Aug-2019 13:06
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For my own build I'm planning to only have a couple of TV coax outlets (Master, Living and Media Rooms), and it pains me to have to install them at all.



Why not just install good-quality Ethernet? You can use that to distribute video all over the house either as IP or HDMI-over-ethernet. If someone really wants to pull streaming ads off the air, you can put a receiver/decoder in wherever the signal enters the house.



In fact ethernet to most rooms would be my top priority after many, many power outlets in each room. I've replaced most of the outlets in my house with four-ways, and that's still nowhere near enough.

294 posts

Ultimate Geek

  # 2294518 12-Aug-2019 08:45
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bfginger: That's true, whereas Whitehouse Builders have 4 teams of builders so they don't subcontract on the builders.


We'll ask about R4 wall insulation and having insulation on all walls (just R4 for the external walls I assume, and a lower spec for the internal walls).


To be honest being our first house we'd more than likely sell after 10 years or something like that, but interesting to know about uPVC not giving much thermal benefit. I'd heard condensation was a reason to avoid aluminium.


Awnings sounds like a smart move. The eaves will help to some extent, but awning would do the job much better when the sun isn't at its highest I imagine.


Lots I've noted down there to ask about, thanks!! :)


On the topic of kitchen, have you (or anyone else) had much experience with rangehoods. Do they work well?


Fair enough on the Heat Pump companies not liking them being used for a heat transfer kit. Maybe we'd get a couple of big ones if we went that route. But we might just get one big one in the main living area, and small regular heaters in the bedroom.


Cavity slider sounds like it'd be great instead of a regular door there!

294 posts

Ultimate Geek

  # 2294522 12-Aug-2019 08:49
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jbrook3708 & neb: Yeah I wouldn't bother with coax myself or even a TV antenna, but for re-sale value it's probably much better to put some in if it's going to be a small expense. We'll see what that adds to the cost.


Agreed on voice, we won't be adding that, and for good quality ethernet I'd like to go with CAT6A for 10GbE really. I'm sure it won't be too long until that's the standard.

2712 posts

Uber Geek

  # 2294751 12-Aug-2019 13:09
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Remember that every incremental upgrade when added with all the others can become incredibly expensive incredibly quickly. You'll learn quickly (as we have) that even though some of these things are great ideas, you just won't be able to afford all of them.


There's heaps of extra things we'd love to do in our build but just can't justify the expense - fully insulated slab, 140mm framing for R4 in all external walls, membranes for improved air tightness, and on and on.


We've tentatively settled on the ones we feel we can justify - low e glass and thermally broken joinery, and (hopefully) fresh air ventilator with heat recovery.


EDIT: and you will get a lot of people saying "if I was building I'd....", but it's easy for them to say when they aren't the ones paying the mortgage.

267 posts

Ultimate Geek

  # 2294762 12-Aug-2019 13:40
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And small price changes all add up. Eg you might be choose door handles and cupboard/drawer handles. Might be $5-10 difference between the options. Not much until you think that every door needs a handle on both sides, so suddenly you have 40 handles and the $10 difference has become a $400 difference. Apply this to every decision and suddenly your morgage is another $10,000. 


And decisions made earlier on in the piece, affect your budget later on. By "upgrading" the doorhandles at the start you now cannot afford a quiet and effective rangehood (for example) or bigger heatpump. 


Plus you will never notice, and noone will care about the difference in door handles 1 month down the track. 

294 posts

Ultimate Geek

  # 2294767 12-Aug-2019 13:49
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Agreed yes. We'll basically go through all the things to consider / people have recommended, and for many of them get a cost from the builders, and then put them into a MoSCoW list (must have, should have, could have, would be nice to have). Then we'll be able to choose what matters most to us (with us taking resale value into account too) and make the choices. Especially being our first home, very few things on the "would be nice to have" will make it in if we can't afford almost all of the stuff above it.


That's the plan at least, and I'm sure new ideas and things will come along during the process to confuse us again haha, but we really want to avoid any changes prior to signing off the plan as I can only imagine how expensive changes at that point would be (not specific to them, but for all builders everywhere).



88 posts

Master Geek

  # 2294832 12-Aug-2019 14:55
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The issue of re-sale value is an interesting one. You obviously don't want to be naive and do something that hammers your re-sale value if you don't have to; but at the same time I don't think you should feel obliged to build the house for the next owner. You're building it for yourselves first and you never know; a feature that you might expect to be less desirable to the next buyer might actually be exactly what they're looking for as well. 


It is still best to get everything right before you sign on the dotted line but a couple of small changes along the way are probably inevitable and not the end of the world (for example when I saw the space I realised I wanted the tiled splashback to go the full width of my kitchen wall and not just to the width of the range hood. Was worth the extra margin to me).

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