Edge appointment

Posted by | Posted in Planning | Posted on 24-04-2010

As I mentioned in my last post, Burbank were pretty quick in getting us an appointment to The Edge, the studio that is located in the city where you can pick your options for your house build. Maria and I were pretty excited, and frankly we couldn’t wait until the day would come for us to go and have some fun with our available choices.

Maria and I had already driven around some neighbourhoods (both hers in Melbourne’s north and mine in Melbourne’s east) and got some ideas on what bricks, roofs etc we should try and go for. We already had our heart set on Australbrick‘s Canterbury range, which is part of the Melbourne 76 range. We studied this type of brick so much, that we can pretty much spot houses (at speed) that have used it for their exterior walls. Having a look at these houses and what other colours they had incorporated for their scheme gave us some ideas on what we can do with the brick. All this developed into the ideal scheme to use for our build; much of our time at Burbank was us requesting how much, and if the price they came back to us with was within budget, to add it to our list.

There were quite a few surprises at the appointment; most of them good, but a few bad ones too for good measure. The base price of the house to build in Aurora was below our budget, so we had some breathing space when it came to optional extras that we wanted to include. We also tried to focus on things that we wanted that were hard or near impossible to implement after the house is built – one good example is the bricks; it’d be mighty hard to upgrade them after the house is built!

The good surprises were basically the prices for upgrading the bricks, taps, toilets and feature tiles. The Canterbury bricks were a Category 4 upgrade (all Burbank houses in the Aurora estate come with Category 3 bricks as standard), so we requested our Burbank rep to check the price for upgrading. I said to Maria to expect maybe 1 or 2k but we were pleasantly surprised that the price came to only $140! I had to reconfirm whether that was in dollars!

Bad surprises were basically the inclusions for carpets and tiles – what you get standard are of very low quality and you feel a little cheated to know that if you want something that’s going to last a little while, that you have to fork out a few thousand dollars. Category 1 and 2 carpets were not far off the old 1970s style of carpet that aren’t even used in crappy Heidelberg rental properties anymore. Category 1 carpet underlays isn’t much thicker than a Reflex A4 piece of paper – readers who haven’t been to the Edge yet, be prepared to have to upgrade to higher categories in this regard. We went with Category 3 carpets as the Category 4 choices included “embossed” patterns of squares and grids (some threads are made woven longer than others) that remind of me of yuppie St Kilda office setups and don’t really appeal to me. The carpets for Category 3 and 4 are nylon or other synthetic fibre blend; we didn’t look at Category 5 or 6, but we can assume that these would be wool blends.

Our electrical appointment (which was our first appointment, before our colours) went pretty well. The rep was very patient with us, and took her time to explain what each decision we made would impact, whether it was reasoning, price or otherwise. Maria and I had actually already scanned our interior plan from our contract, photoshopped out labels and lines, and went to town with some different coloured pens to denote lights, power points and positioning of the furniture we planned to buy. The rep was very pleased with this (no doubt it would make her job much easier!) and we only had to change a couple of things.

The only surprises we had through our electrical appointment was pricing – I thought it was a bit rich to ask $110 for an extra power point in the island bench that we’re having in the kitchen, especially when there’s already provision for electricity to run under the bench for our microwave cavity (I figured it’s best not to argue with the significant other when it comes to the kitchen!) We were pleasantly surprised with the costing for the ducted vacuum system – we were told by the Aurora rep that it “costs $2k for the pipes only, or $4k for the whole system” which we thought was ridiculous. A family friend of ours had a ducted vacuum system put in their established home for $2.5k and Maria and I had settled for that idea, but when Burbank’s costs for the standard 3-point Hills system came back at just over $1.3k, our eyes popped out like Roger Rabbit’s. I have no idea how on earth the prices came up so wrong in the first place, but we’ve optioned it and are very happy.

Our colours rep was a machine, very quick and efficient but was patient with us too when we were umming and ahhing about colours and material choices. We went with Ironstone and Paperbark for our two render colours (two colours are required by Aurora covenant), black window frames and gutters, and Manor Red for our garage, front door and downpipes. Our ceiling will be in Burbank White, walls in Mosaico, carpet Ord River Chateau and floor tiles will be 450mm x 450mm Augusta Beige, which has a nice sandy look to it (coupled with grout in the colour “Buff” – I found that name pretty funny hehe).

Our bench tops in the kitchen will be “Limestone”, while the cabinets will be Columbian Walnut with category 2 “Lincoln” handles. The kitchen sink is just the standard category 1 option, but with a category 2 sink mixer “Gooseneck” (this was Maria’s choice). Bathroom and ensuite colours are taken down a notch – Wallaby basic coloured bench tops with Chocolate basic colour cabinets (the kitchen bench and cabinet have a textured look, while bathroom and ensuite are basic coloured). All splashback and shower tiles are category 1 Ivory, but the kitchen and bathroom will have feature tiles (category 3 Mocha Glass Blend to run horizontally in the kitchen, while category 3 Sassa Cream Mix to be used vertically in the showers). We also upgraded the wash basins in the bathroom and ensuite to category 4 Pisa Slimline, a square shaped basin that in my opinion is better than the standard bowl shaped basins that seem to splash water on my pants each time I use them.


OK so here are the pictures!

We’re pretty happy overall with our selections. Future Aurora residents building with Burbank get a $5000 “luxury upgrades” voucher, which is taken as a discount after the Edge, so we really made use of it. All of the changes were over $5000 naturally, but even without the voucher, the cost of the upgrades still did not break our budget so we are very pleased.

Comments posted (5)

Hi George!

Thanks for posting about your Edge appt, the photos were a good idea! My fiance and I went just for a ‘walk-thru and were a little overwhelmed at all the choices to be made.

Do you mind telling y how much your tile upgrade was? we liked one particular tile in Cat 4 but we didn’t ask how much it was going to be to upgrade. Also, your upgrade to the Cat 3 carpet, how much approx. was this? We were disappointed with the standard selection of tiles and carpet, 4 in each range we thought was ridiculous!

Also, did you pick a standard render, the lady only showed us about 10 colours, and none of them were even close to the 2 colours we had decided upon before seeing the render colours? do you know if that range was the only choices, or are their other render colours to choose from?

It sounds like you found the appt quite enjoyable. Thanks again for the post and the photos, they helped!

Welcome back Marleena!

To answer your questions – our tile upgrade was to category 2 only (from category 1), this cost us $655. We paid another $195 to tile our rear passage as well (high foot traffic area, we didn’t think it was a good idea to carpet this section). Carpet upgrade from category 1 to category 3 was rather expensive – just over $1500. Category 2 underlay is another ~$400.

Our render choices were from the standard range – they appear on our spec sheet but not in our variations form, so I’m pretty sure the two colours we had to choose weren’t upgrades. The rep had a fan-out paint sampling mini-booklet (there’s probably a proper name for this, but it escapes me right now) and she said that picking a colour from that range will incur an upgrade cost, but we were happy with the colours we chose from the standard range we didn’t bother to ask how much it would cost.

We found the appointment enjoyable, but we were glad we had wrapped things up in the end and are quite happy with the choices we made. You’re most welcome for the photos – it helps us too to remember what we had chosen.

For anyone out there reading this – if you have made any Excel worksheets or written down your selections from the preliminary Burbank options sheet, make sure you bring this with you to the Edge appointment. I missed out on tiled skirtings to wet areas because I had forgotten to enquire about it during the Edge appointment. This is only minor in my books though, and I’m not going to go through with the $500 variation charge to get tiled skirtings, but I’d hate for someone to miss out on something that they feel is important to include in their home and then forget it. Burbank are quite clear that by signing the variation request form (basically your upgrades list) that you agree to these upgrades and you have used up your one and only free chance of choosing what you want in your new home.

Thanks for the hints and tips George! Will let you know how we go.

Thanks again.

Hi again George,

sorry to bug you, but I’m having trouble picking 2 colours of render for my facade. Which facade are you getting? We were forced into the Artico because someone within 3 houses is building the same house with the Colorado facade we wanted.

You mentioned you went for the Cantebury brick, what render colours did you pick? We have to pick 2 and I’m finding it hard by looking at people’s houses, they mostly only have 1 colour render!

We’re looking for a dark mocha-ish brick (thank goodness there are a couple included in the price categories) but the render issue is driving me mad!

Thanks for your help.

No news yet on your land settlement?

Hi Marleena,

You’re not bugging me at all and am happy to answer whatever questions you have, to the best of my ability of course.

We had to pick two render colours too. We found a lot of houses using the Canterbury brick had black or dark roof tiles and light cream coloured render, so we chose one of the renders to be “Paperbark”. I noticed that the Canterbury brick has a fair amount of blue-grey in it, so we chose “Ironstone” as our second render colour.

We initially thought of using stacked stone for the portico section of the Artico facade (“Render 1″ in Burbank speak) but baulked at Burbank’s costings for that. We’re happy with Ironstone for now, and if the costs for stacked stone comes down over the years we’ll revisit the situation.

Is there a name for the colour of brick you’ve chosen? You could always go visit an Australbrick or Boral brick showroom and ask them what they think. Also, there is the colour consultant at Burbank who would comment with their thoughts if they think your selection won’t work – luckily for us, our consultant liked our colour decisions straight away.

As for the land settlement, we’re still waiting. Near the back of the initial Burbank contract that we signed in Altona, it mentioned 30 May 2010, but having a look around at our stage in Aurora, we are hoping mid-June at the earliest. Naturally there’s always a risk of delays by some link in the chain, so we’re just playing the waiting game for now.

Hope this helps you!