Friday, August 31, 2012

Reflection


I have a spreadsheet of all the costs incurred since the flood as well as all the professionals I've engaged during the insurance, subdivision and rebuilding process.

I was updating it today and had a quiet moment of reflection on how long the process has taken and how much I've learned over the 20 months since the flood.

Here is the list of professionals I've engaged over the process and the role they played in the process.

Lawyer - Yep. The insurers were very good and very helpful and in the end totally came through for me, but I still needed someone on my side. Was a good decision. I'm positive the outcome would not have been the same without her.

Building Consultant - The insurer had theirs so I hired my own. I needed to compare apples with apples.

Structural Engineer - The insurer's engineer said there was no subsidence, even though you could put a marble on the floor on one end of the house and it would roll to the other. So I hired my own. Again, the insurers were great, but the onus was on me to prove the case.

Town Planner - As this was my first development, I wasn't going to try and navigate my way through the code on my own. It was a good decision, he was worth his weight in gold. The application was a PAINFUL process, a whole other blog all together, mainly because it was in a flood zone. He never gave up though and he's now permanently on my Christmas Card list.

Hydrologist - As part of the subdivision application I needed to prove I could build two houses that had flood free living areas. For this reason they to be side by side and not one house in front of the other. This process proved difficult as the Council brought in a temporary local planning instrument after the flood to help people raise higher than normal, but it ended up causing me difficulty as they wanted me to raise much higher than (the hydrologists and town planner) deemed necessary, which increased my building costs.

Building Designer - There's not too many standard plans out there for a narrow lot house in a flood zone so I had to have it custom designed. I'm completely happy with the design though, so a good decision.

Suveyor - There is about a two metre fall sloping to the back over the 50 metre depth of the property. This all had to be marked out for the subdivision application and the new building application.

Civil Engineer - Stormwater run off was a big problem as there's no storm water drain running through my property. I needed these guys to propose a solution for this. We will end up running a drain through the neighbour's yard.

Demolition Certifier - Yes, they exist. Well, they also do building certification, but in my case I hired them to submit my application for demolition. They didn't step foot anywhere near the property and I sent them photos as proof the demolition was done. Astounding.

Demolishers - I could have got the builder to do it, but I saved loads by organising it myself.

Soil Testers - To test the condition and reaction of the soil. Mine wasn't great, which means additional compaction and deeper bearers to ensure the house is solid.

All this in addition to the builder, building certifier, plumbers, electricians etc that are yet to come.

Yep, all that kids before the foundation has even been laid. I'm putting this out there as these are professionals I wouldn't have even dreamed I would need to engage before I started this whole process. In fact I  hadn't even heard of half of them.

I'm pretty sure there wouldn't be too many people within the Brisbane City Council area that have been flooded and are considering subdividing and building a new home, but if you are, these are the people you may need to consider.

Despite this, it's all been a learning experience and, secretly, I've actually enjoyed the challenge of it. Something about lemons and lemonade? ;-)