For those patient readers who are not actually building a home (i.e. Mum), “pre-start” is builder’s jargon for a meeting between the customer and builder to select the finer details of the house including interior and exterior colours, tiles and bench tops. Decisions should be considered final because any changes after this meeting come with financial penalties.
Some of the big items that need to be organised in advance of our pre-start are:
- flooring selection (to ensure doors and windows are fitted to suit floor height)
- air conditioning plan (so that the builders know where to leave holes in the second floor slab)
- pool and retaining wall plans
I hope that by the time I’m at the pre start meeting I will have already made most of the decisions, including the little ones. So, being the “slow and steady” kind of person that I am, I made a little pre-prestart visit to Western Australia. My first stop was a timber floor showroom. I wanted to check that the “feature grade” blackbutt floors that I’ve been quoted on actually look like I had imagined. They did. The bad news is that the “select grade” blackbutt sitting beside it looked even better.
According to the helpful fellow at Planet Timber, depending on the plank size, the “select grade” is about $30/m2 more expensive than “feature grade”. Our place will use approximately 285sqm, so that would be an extra $8500. Or $4000 if we just upgraded the first floor. Do you think it is worth it?
My second stop was Lighting City. This is the company that Webb and Brown-Neaves use to create lighting plans and supply lights. I wanted to see the range of lights on offer. My first impression is that they will cover the basics adequately but for the feature lighting the options were quite limited. I collected a brochure or two so that we can study up on LED down lights that I think will be the core of our lighting.
Next stop, European Ceramics in Mandurah (a supplier approved by our builder). Our tile budget is $60/sqm for the bathroom floors and walls, the laundry floor and the splash back. I wanted to see if I would be able to find tiles that I liked at this store within the budget or whether I would have to extend my search. I didn’t make any selections, since I haven’t yet worked out my colour schemes, but a quick look was enough to know that I’ll be able to find something suitable for all the tile areas with the exception of the splash back.
Of course, no trip to W.A. would be complete without dropping by our block to admire the view and peace. In fact, our block was a hive of activity, our neighbours making the most of our vacant block while they can. I do love their new concrete pool with an infinity edge towards the canal. I had a little walk around the neighbourhood taking note of the front fences (very few people seem to comply with council regulations) and house exterior colours. I found a lovely fence to add to my recent collection of inspiring front fences.