South Australia Electricity Prices on the Rise

South Australia Electricity RetailersPrices of electricity on South Australia are still on the rise…

Recently AGL, Origin Energy, and Energy Australia all greatly increased their prices by an average of about $200 per year. Unfortunately those big three retails account for nearly 80% of the market in South Australia.

South Australia is already paying an average of $400 per year more than customers in Canberra, with the big energy retails marking up costs by about $650 per year, per customer (source)…

photo credit: GOC The Pelhams 056: Pylons via photopin (license)

Choosing our Internal Staircase

We have been looking at what kind of internal staircase to build into our house. The new internal stairs will be put in where our current office is and the will need to be a curved staircase with a landing in the middle. The space that we have for the staircase is actually quite small, so the stairs will need to be narrow.

We were considering two types of of staircases; an enclosed staircase or an open staircase. There were pros and cons for both: Continue Reading →

Tying Down the Roof Trusses and Load Bearing Walls

To be honest I am so emotionally tired right now that I don’t really feel like writing anything, but I am hoping that this will help me to process a bit…

On Friday last week, if you recall, we found out that we need to replace the floor in our bathroom. This means gutting the entire bathroom and starting from scratch with a new bathroom floor, walls and ceiling.

I got a phone call this morning from our builder asking when I would be home, and suggesting that I bring a camera with me when I come to take a photo of something.

So I get there and he shows me how after removing the wall sheeting he can lift up the roof just by pushing on it ! Here is a series of photos of the wall frames, the roof trusses and the ceiling frame, I’ll explain more about the problems after you see the photos.

Load bearing internal wall - with non-structural timber Where are the roof truss tie downs Cut up load bearing wall with no roof truss tie downs

The top two photos show the wall between the dining room and the bathroom. Although it is an internal wall, it is a load bearing wall. Being a load bearing wall it should be made of structural grade timber (it’s not), it should have a large, high strength continuous beam running the entire width of it (it doesn’t) and it should be tied down to the roof trusses (again it isn’t).

The third photo shows the external wall, which is also a structural / load bearing wall. This is where our builder was able to lift the roof just by pushing up on it. The external wall at least has the continuous beam running the full lenth, and some of it is structural timber, but a lot of the wall framing has been cut in half to put in the louvers and the concrete floor, and again the roof trusses are not tied down to the top beam on the wall , and some of the trusses have been installed upside down.

With the roof itself there is also not enough support for the tin that is there . There is supposed to be either 60 or 90 cm between the timber under the tin (I can’t remember which at the moment), but on our roof there is nearly a metre and a half gap in some places!

Our builder reckons that most of these problems continue into the office area of our house as well. So he will be pulling down the ceiling in the office, which is sagging in a lot of places, and having a look at it.

I won’t know until tomorrow what this all means, but what I do know for sure is that the renovation costs are now due to blow out even more. We have already needed to change our expectations to where we won’t be moving in under the house anytime soon, so I don’t know what all these additional problems with our roof and load bearing walls is going to mean…

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Throwing in the Towel – Almost…

Last week I ended up with bruised nuckles after I punched my car after a rather frustrating meeting with an engineer about some of the “stranger” features of our renovations…

I must admit that this renovation process is a lot more complicated and aggrivating than I had thought it would be. I was looking at the real estate section of the newspaper last weekend and thought about how nice it would be to buy the house down the street that already has four bedrooms, two living areas and a new kitchen.

Now with an extra week behind me I am feeling a bit better about the whole project. This week I met with my original architect and I found out that the strange things in the drawings were actually recommended by our original builders, who we got rid of quite a while ago. The main thing that had been bugging me was that the drawing had required a new joist to be run next to every existing joist. This is a lot of extra work and materials, which means a lot of extra money for me. Now I need to get in touch with the builders who had quoted us already and get them to re-quote the work with the new information from the architect, which was that the extra joists were not needed.

If it all goes how I hope these changes will hopefully mean that we can afford to go ahead with the full renovations, rather than just getting the shell under the house done.