To give you a bit of a better idea of those 'unknown' timelines, below is a little bit of a summary of how each step of the journey up until today has gone for us. Everyone's journey is bound to be different, but hopefully this gives a little bit of a feeling for what to expect in the early stages of your project.
- Settlement on the section and issue of title: we purchased a section that already had titled issued, so haven't had to have any wait on that front. However, it's an important one to keep in mind - we know that a neighbouring property has been waiting for months/years for their title to issue, so have been on pause that entire time. As far as the settlement went - we pushed our settlement date out 6 weeks just to line up with our previous apartment sale, so took ownership by late September. A quick plug for Fiona Harper from Bayleys, and Andreea Poanta from Langley Twigg for their help in making sure those early stages of the process were nice and seamless for us.
- Geotech reporting & surveying: once again, the benefits of using a team our builder recommended paid off here. RDCL (geotech) and Warren Gunn from Technical Spatial (surveyor) prepared the reports and files we needed to pass on to our designers within a couple of weeks.
- Concept plan and detailed drawing drafts: as mentioned in our earlier blogs, we turned to Don Pitt Design very, very early on in the process to start getting our plans underway. We had concept plans created while our offer was still conditional and the team at DPD actually had those concept plans turned around within a fortnight for us. From there it was another two months to get draft developed drawings ready to head off to the structural engineer.
- Structural engineer: really early on in the process, both Matt Symonds from Building Logic, and Don Pitt from DPD had flagged to us that the longest part of the initial design process is often the structural engineer. You don't really appreciate the complexity of their work until you see the calculations that come back ready for the consent application, and so it did feel like we were stuck in a bit of a pause as we went through the summer break and another 4 months ticked by before we had those structural design elements back.
- Final detailed drawings ready for consent: once the structural engineering was back everything definitely seemed to move a bit more rapidly. With a bit of back and forth between the designer and the structural engineer, it was another 6 weeks until we had the plans submitted to Council.
- Council for consent: the Council's rules give them 2 working days to do an initial assessment of your application (basically to make sure the paper work is all correct) and 20 working days to process the application. Every time they need to ask for more information, the clock gets paused until that information is provided for them. This is where the previous work of your professionals definitely pays dividends. We knew of other people that had their applications in the consenting phase for 3 months or so, whereas our consent was through that entire process within 6 weeks.
- Getting out of the ground: and so we've reached the date I'm writing this blog! At this stage we can't give a firm timeframe for anything beyond consenting as we are in another holding pattern thanks to our steep site and the above process creeping us into winter. It's just ticked over a month since we obtained consent, so we're obviously eager to get started, but with so many contractors being busy at the moment, and our earthworks being reasonably significant, we just have to put on our 'patience' hat again and let things unfold.
OVERALL TIME UP TO CONSENT BEING GRANTED: because a bit of the above overlapped (we had alot of the planning work happening before settlement date), it's a bit tricky to pinpoint exactly how long it did take. However, it was roughly 6-7 months from purchasing the property to receiving consent. That was starting with a completely blank slate, and locking onto a design fairly early in the process. Obviously this will vary depending on your own site, circumstances and your professional's capacity, but it's a good number to keep in mind. We probably didn't expect the process to take that long, and it may have helped with our patience levels if we did have that timeframe in mind from day one!
I guess the major takeaway from the process to date is that you'll have some real peaks and troughs in the building process. The elation of getting a concept design is quickly followed by the grind to get back your structural engineering. The high of receiving consent, can follow a pause while you wait for contractors to become available. All of this is obviously hugely normal, but our Netflix generation is used to things either happening fast, or knowing exactly when something is going to happen. That's unlikely to happen with your build process, and for us, we just have to keep reminding ourselves that we need to 'enjoy the process' of what is a pretty massive life event for us. Ultimately, you'll probably drive your builder nutty wanting things to keep moving, but if you've got a good one in your corner they'll keep you updated and will be wanting things to progress just as much as you. We continue to see the benefits of having worked with Building Logic right from the start, as Matt has a good idea of what contractors are busy, and how long this process does take. Our hope to be in the house at some stage this coming summer is still alive, and once the site is ready for Building Logic to get in there, the really exciting milestones will start to be notched up. For now, we'll stay patient, and look forward to every step along the way.
Disclaimer: Building Logic is constructing the home of the author - Jamie Twigg. Jamie is friends with Matt Symonds (of Building Logic), and the founder of 543 Website Design - which created the Building Logic website. This is not a sponsored post - and is an honest reflection on how the build process goes for a keyboard jockey and newbie to construction. As such, nothing in this blog post should be considered expert advice.