Friday, December 2, 2011

Do not pass go, do not collect $200

If life were like Monopoly, we'd be on our way to jail for about the fifth time, hoping it doesn't take too long to roll a double. Unfortunately there's no similar quick fix in real life, and Monopoly money won't pay the bill either.
When our house was being demolished, we thought we were doing the right thing by leaving the driveway intact. Our house planning involves an internal access garage right on that line, and it kinda made sense. It might've worked, but it seems the customer isn't always right. This building game is not one we've played before, and the playing field keeps changing - as do some of the rules.

We've had our zoning adjusted (city map here), and along with the new grading comes new regulations. Our neighbourhood is now in the "green-yellow" zone, or Technical Category 2 (TC2), which means any house being built or undergoing significant renovations or rebuilding must meet certain conditions. These include a compulsory soil test to determine what will be an appropriate foundation for our new home. No biggie - our building company has people to do that, and they're in the area next week. Oh, but the driveway has to come up before they'll do the soil test.

So here we are, on our way back to that metaphorical jail cell, wondering where it all went wrong, and how much this latest setback will cost us. The most annoying thing is, had we got the driveway removed at the same time as the house, the cost would probably have been covered by insurance. We've had one quote in so far - to remove the driveway, the old shed & the concrete beneath it, plus a random and useless tree by the fence, we're looking at a bit over $5000.

And yeah, we asked AMI (via our project manager) if there was any possibility they'd cover it... they told us to sod off... 'paid out, file closed, go away'. So if you know of any friendly demo companies who do good work at reasonable prices, please get in touch!

But at least we're getting a clearer idea about what the road ahead entails. We eventually settled on a building company (Stonewood Homes) and are making slow and lurching progress towards finalising our house design. Our chances of getting the consent application into the council this side of Xmas are fading fast... there are quite a few more steps to go yet. Hopefully it won't always be one step forward, two steps back.

Speaking of which... I added a new feature to the blog the other day - a pictorial 'counter' showing how many days it's been since the last quake here. When I first set it up, we'd had 3 days in a row of relative stability. The next day, I had to reset it to zero. It took 2 more days before I could count up to 1... and then within hours it had to go back to zero again. It's not terribly scientific - if I don't notice any shakes during the day, I look at Geonet in the evening, and change the picture if required. Maybe one day I'll get to count up to 10... it'll be interesting to see how long that takes.

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