Slab Engineer report

Posted by | Posted in Problems, Structure | Posted on 02-12-2010

We received the engineer report from Burbank yesterday which addresses our issues with the slab by adding dowels to the rear of the slab and boxing up a slab extension with a concrete pour. The job for the concreter has been uprated to urgent, and will also get the exposed steel reo fixed up on the sides and back of the slab. Once this has been done, I can go and inspect with the site supervisor.

So here are the engineer diagrams.

Assuming they do a better job this time around, I guess this is sorted. It sucks to know that this slab has been flawed right from the start, however I have to commend Burbank for stepping up to the plate, taking ownership (which is one of a few things I wanted them to do straight away) and fixing it. Let’s hope the fix they apply is a good one and of good quality.

Slab and Frame Inspection

Posted by | Posted in Problems, Structure | Posted on 24-11-2010

So in light of the recent developments of our construction, we decided we better step in and get an independent inspection carried out. The bloke that came out on Monday morning apparently was pretty good (I was at work, so my father in law went in my absence) and picked up quite a few things:

  • Edges of the floor slab wasn’t boxed properly, so in many places (almost every corner) it has forced the frame that is attached to it to either overhang (severely, in some cases up to 80mm) or underhang.
  • Steel reo is exposed in three areas
  • The issue with the back wall is that the slab wasn’t boxed straight and hence one side of the wall is overhanging, while the other side is square. Overhangs by up to 70mm
  • Left garage wall is overhanging by about 30mm – Burbank placed a square block of wood to compensate for the gap but this isn’t deemed adequate and needs to be replaced with materials of higher durability eg. treated pine, to prevent possible future timber rot.
  • Lintel above garage door not tied properly to studs and plates
  • Another top plate in Bed 1 not supported properly

Obviously the two main concerns are the exposed reo and the dimensions of the slab pour. My father in law asked the inspector if our slab is a bad job and he said that he’s seen worse – but that’s obviously no reassurance. Writing this now has put thoughts into my head, fears that Maria and I would be paying our home loan for the next 30 years for a house that might not last 10.

I got in contact with Burbank and informed them that, despite them sending us the invoice for slab payment, we will not be paying it until the slab issues are resolved (this was before I sent them the inspection report, which only got to me this morning). After some to-ing and fro-ing about it, Burbank relented and agreed to defer the payment until the issues are resolved. I also got news today after sending them the report, that Burbank has agreed to rectify every issue identified in the inspection report, and I will be receiving copies of engineering sign-offs for whatever fix requires an engineer to look at it.

It is utterly gut-wrenching to see that your dreams have been kicked off with a false start right at the beginning. Anything but the slab is relatively easy to correct, but with the slab in the condition that it’s in right now, you know that the construction has been marred right at its core. It’s really disappointing that there are people out there that really don’t care about their job – whether that is whoever supervised (or probably just sat there and yakked off for a couple of hours), whether that is whoever was surveying (did they have a tape measure? Honestly!) or the concreters themselves.

The slab is a poor slab, and sure there may be some techniques and tricks that can be applied to make it a bit better, but the fact remains – it’s a poor slab and that will plague the back of our minds for years to come.

The frame on the other hand, is near perfect. It’s astonishing to see the difference in quality between the two stages, especially as they happened so quickly between them. For those who are following my blog and are building with Burbank (or any other builder for that matter), please please PLEASE check the quality of work for your slab and try to alert your liaison of any issues you might find.

I’d hate for this to happen to anyone else.

Frame or Slab issue?

Posted by | Posted in Problems, Structure | Posted on 21-11-2010

So we swung by the house (can’t call it the “lot” or the “land” anymore!) and had a good look around. It’s handy when there aren’t any other houses being constructed around you, which makes it easier to go around the house and have a look at what progress has been made.

All the windows have been placed in, and it seems the frame is at a complete stage, but we discovered that there is an issue with the back wall (in particular, Bedroom 4). Maria took photos of the issue a couple of days prior to us both looking at it on the weekend, here is the pic in question (red circle shows issue).

It seems that the frame for Bed 4 seems to be just sitting on thin air. We’re not allowed to go on site without permission from Burbank, so I can’t display a more close-up picture, but walking around to Bed 3 it’s clear that the frame on that side is square and flush with the slab edge, but further on down it goes crazy and just floats on air by the time your eye runs to the corner of the alfresco and Bed 4. Either the frame itself was pre-fabbed crooked (not likely), the frame itself wasn’t installed square (possible), or the slab itself isn’t square along the back edge (also possible).

I contacted my liaison at Burbank about this and she informed me that our SS is aware of the issue and is getting an engineer around to have a look at it. She also said that the SS would try to call me on Friday to discuss it, but I haven’t received any call from our SS yet. I asked if Burbank deems the frame to be at ‘complete’ stage and she said yes, so I have booked in an independent inspector (not one that has been nominated by Burbank, clearly their inspectors don’t have measuring tapes otherwise we wouldn’t have this issue with the back wall!) and all that’s going to happen at 10am tomorrow (Monday). It will be interesting to see what the inspector report reveals.

There is also an issue with the back door to the alfresco, it seems that entire wall is also floating on thin-air.

Who said building a house was easy!?

… and now we have frames.

Posted by | Posted in Structure | Posted on 16-11-2010

Maria swung by the lot again after work and, to our surprise, Burbank not only deposited more presents in the form of our windows and roof trusses, but knocked up the frame already!

We’re absolutely staggered at the rate they’re constructing. For those other Burbankians that feel that they are trudging and plowing through molasses-like paperwork, let me assure you Burbank more than make up for it during construction phase.

I’m a little concerned about timing for other things though – I really hope Burbank give the slab some time to cure before they start bricking. I’m sure they will.

We have slab.

Posted by | Posted in Structure | Posted on 15-11-2010

Maria went past the lot early this morning and saw some activity, so we were suspecting / expecting slab being laid down today.

A swing by after work today confirmed it – we now have slab! Also, Burbank have already delivered frame! What?! So quick! These guys don’t mess about!

Waffles and steel netting

Posted by | Posted in Structure | Posted on 11-11-2010

Burbank are so gracious – more presents deposited at our site! Waffles and steel netting have been delivered, slab laying is imminent and according to our Burbank liaison, framing should start early next week. Does anyone know if there is an issue where there is surface rust on the steel netting?

Pipes and Temporary Fencing

Posted by | Posted in General | Posted on 08-11-2010

Over the past few days we got pipes and temporary fencing. During the pipe phase, more rock was pulled out. Boy was there heaps of it! They placed a pipe near the west-side of the kitchen, and I was racking my brain as to what it could be for – then it dawned on me – we’re getting power to the kitchen island bench, and that has to happen somehow – hence the pipe.

We also got temporary fencing. Not that exciting, but something to note regardless.

Electricity pole (and outdoor toilet)

Posted by | Posted in General | Posted on 29-10-2010

Maria swung by the lot after work today and discovered that Burbank has given us a couple of presents – we now officially have electricity connection to the lot, and an outdoor loo and rubbish cage has been left on the lot as well.

I wonder when we will get temporary fencing?

Site Scrape

Posted by | Posted in General | Posted on 25-10-2010

Houston, we have site scrape! I swung past the lot after work and was pleasantly surprised to see that we have been scraped, 1-2 days earlier than stated (our SS said Tuesday or Wednesday). I know you all love some pictures, so here goes.

We have taps!

Posted by | Posted in General | Posted on 20-10-2010

I swung past the block of land after work today and discovered that we now have taps! Also, someone dumped concrete on our land. I don’t know who it was, or why. Does anyone know if I should be concerned about this and / or report it?