I’m still here – I’ve just been busy building!

While InsiderAccountant sounds like a blog from a typical office jockey, this particular accountant is very keen on DIY as a core part of his retirement strategy, and this has lead to InsiderAccountant’s biggest DIY project yet – project managing his own renovation.

Renovation boghole JPEG

Rain rain go away come again another day: This area, which is part of where the new concrete slab needed to go for the extension, got so waterlogged that they had to dig up the dirt and get rid of it as it just wouldn’t dry out. I never thought that dirt could get that wet, but you learn something every day!

Now you could be forgiven for thinking that InsiderAccountant has fallen off the face of the earth, what with the lack of new posts in recent times, but I just wanted to let you know that I’m still here doing all of the same things that I usually do – earning money, saving money, being interested by tax and finance things, but of most interest at the moment – organising the construction of our new house…

So where is it all up to?

I actually started the project in April which was earlier than I had originally planned, simply so that I could take more time to do some of the tasks myself, and in doing so save more money. I figured that while I was forfeiting some rent by starting earlier, if I was able to perform services that would have otherwise cost me the value of the rent that I was forfeiting, then it made sense to start earlier. Plus I had a week off after Easter so was able to use most of that time off working on the house.

Some of the tasks that I’ve completed so far include:

  1. Knocking down the old sheds that were already on the property, which involved dismantling them piece by piece so that I could recycle as many components as possible. All metal went to the metal recyclers, all bricks were cleaned (now I know how the convicts felt back in the day, this was a terrible task), de-nailing and cutting up all of the old hardwood timber framing for future use as firewood. and getting rid of sundry rubbish.
  2. Using an excavator (thanks Dad) to remove all of the concrete outside of the house, including the slabs that the sheds were built on. This was a real pain as the original owner of the property went mad on concrete, and some of it was concrete poured on top of concrete. Thankfully I was able to recycle all of the concrete via my Dad (he stockpiles it on his property, crushes it and then sells it as road base).
  3. Ripping out the old kitchen (a la 1953), cutting up the wood that I could but otherwise taking the rest to the rubbish tip. This also involved ripping all of the plaster/gyprock off the walls and ceiling in this room as it will go.
  4. Getting up in the roof cavity with my carpenter brother and moving a heap of props and installing a heap of new beams (I now know what a hanging beam is) so that we can do some wall reconfigurations. We have a bit more of this to do soon, but most of it has been done now, and it’s made me realise how big the roof cavity will be. I’m thinking of installing one of those pull-down staircases in the hallway so that I can get up there and use it for storage space, and I’ll install timber flooring up there to make it more useful again.

    So, how do you like the finished bathroom? I had to jackhammer up the floor because all of the fittings needed to be moved. I hate jackhammers.

    So, how do you like the finished bathroom? I had to jackhammer up the floor because all of the fittings needed to be moved. I hate jackhammers.

  5. Gutting the old family bathroom and laundry room, both of which are being completely reconfigured as a new ensuite bathroom and family bathroom. As all of the fittings are being moved I needed to jackhammer up the floors which was seriously hard work. I hate jackhammers.
  6. Ripping down the old front porch, as we will install a new front verandah as part of the redesign.
  7. Digging a number of trenches for the plumber and electrician that couldn’t be accessed with machinery.
  8. Organising for the plumber and electrician to do their initial works so that we can move on with getting the slab poured.
  9. Ripping down part of the side fence so that the concreters can come and do the new slab this Wednesday.
  10. Dealing with a huge amount of rain in recent weeks, which have turned the place into a real boghole. This required some of the soil, which was so saturated that it turned to slop that simply wasn’t drying out, to be carted away and for new crusher dust (kind of like sand but better for circumstances such as these) to be brought in. The poor weather has given me a new appreciation for what tradesmen have to put up with in winter!

As well as all of these easily-describable tasks, my last two months have also been taken up with a million telephone calls, trips to the rubbish tip and early mornings and late nights (on work days, no less!) doing random dirty tasks so that the tradesmen can keep going with their work. Sometimes I feel like all I ever do is go to work or work on the house, but it will all be worth it in the end!

Even though I’ve done a million tasks so far, to look at the place it doesn’t feel like it’s really moving that quickly, but over the next few months we really should start to see things move more quickly I’d say. Especially since we’ll be out of the mud this Wednesday!

And what’s next?

While I still need to work all of this out, and so much of it depends on the tradesmen, the next couple of months should see things like:

  • Internal wall reconfigurations in the original house;
  • Ripping down the brick skin at the rear of the original house;
  • Installation of wall frames and roof trusses and tying all of this into the original house;
  • Putting a new metal roof onto the whole house (after ripping off the original tiles); and
  • A million other small jobs.

Anyway, I’m sorry for the lack of posts in recent times, and I can’t even promise that it will change that much in the near future, but at least you know that I’m still alive now.

Until next time…


3 thoughts on “I’m still here – I’ve just been busy building!

  1. Wow you’ve made heaps of progress, and would have saved heaps of money – trades are expensive! Can’t wait to see the ‘after’ pictures. Sounds like you’ve touched every part of the house! I understand it is exhausting especially for people like us who usually sit down all day!

    • Yep, trades are very expensive. We are hoping to get the renovation/extension done for about $200k, and quotes from builders were $100k more than that and they weren’t even doing the whole job!

      I’ll be sure to put up some before and after photos as they become a bit more relevant. There’s not really an “after” yet so we’ll have to wait a while for those photos!

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