We’ve dodged a transformer!

A few weeks ago we discovered a large green box sitting at the front of our block. Since that faithful Friday disappointment turned into anger before transforming (pun intended) into acceptance.

The dreaded green box

The dreaded green box

After searching again for land and homes in the Torquay area we decided to continue with plans to build our dream new home on our current block. We didn’t want to wait for another block of land to become available and we wouldn’t see the transformer from inside the house or our backyard. It wasn’t perfect, but something we could live with.

After consultation with our conveyancer we contacted the agent to start a conversation regarding compensation. How much land were we going to lose? What impact would it have on resale value (not that we’re planning to sell any time soon)?Celebration

To my surprise the agent was shocked when I suggested that we had a transformer on our block. He knew there was a transformer in our stage release but it was supposed to be next door. The agent was going to check the location and come back to us…

An hour later we spoke again and he confirmed that the transformer and the easement around it were located on the neighbouring block!

Fantastic news!

He also advised that we could arrange soil tests, an important step before confirming final costs with our builder.

To make sure the agent was 100% correct I purchased a measuring tape and made a trip down to the block. Sure enough the right hand side of the transformer easement coincided with the left hand side of our 16 metre frontage block.


Our 16 metre frontage finishes just near the white peg. No transformer in our yard!

So how did I get it so wrong and cause a few weeks of heartache?

  • I stepped out the frontage from a marker peg on the right hand side of our block and finished in front of the transformer. If each step was a little more than a metre I’d added an extra couple of metres by the time I’d stepped 16 times. Subconsciously I probably assumed the 16 metres would be the front of the transformer and stepped wider to make it there!
  • Similar transformers in previous stages were placed in the middle of 2 blocks so we figured the developer would do the same again in our stage.
  • There was no official marker peg on the left hand side of our block to use as a reference point.

Whatever the root cause we’re very happy that the transformer isn’t sitting in our front yard. Sure, it’s still next door but it can be hidden with some smart planting and fencing.

During my quick measuring excursion I also noticed that trees were being planted on the nature strips in front of each house.

New tree planted in front of our block

So, after a few weeks of moping about we’re ready to launch into the next stages.

  • Soil testing
  • Lock down construction costs
  • Finance approval
  • Title received (forecast end of April)
  • Land settlement

Civil works update – April 7, 2017

Apart from a few trees to be planted it seems like the civil works are now complete. Progress since last week.

  • Footpaths completed
  • Bitumen completed
  • Building lots levelled
  • Street signs installed
  • Hydro seeding applied to nature strips

Advice from the vendor is that title registration is anticipated late April 2017.

We now need to finalise the building contract and financing so we can start construction in May (fingers crossed).

Road to home

The road to home

Wagtail Ave Sign

The place we’ll be calling home

NBN Ready

NBN Ready!

The dreaded green box

The dreaded green box! The stakes on the left, right and back identify the area in which no structures or planting can be located.

Our block - pre construction

Our block. A blank canvas ready for construction.

Civil works update – March 24, 2017

More activity onsite but we didn’t quite get bitumen laid on Wagtail Avenue. Fingers crossed we’ll reach that milestone next week.

Of course the agent suggested all civil works would be completed by the end of March so we’ll find out whether civil works completion date forecast # 4 is achieved.

civil works march 24_2

Footpaths and crossovers have been added to Merijig Drive


civil works march 24_1

No significant activity on Wagtail Avenue. Could this be the week our track becomes a road?

Civil works update – March 17, 2017

The arrival of bitumen!

Our block is included in a stage release that comprises 3 new sections of road. This week the bitumen has been laid on the other streets with ours to follow next week (I’d expect).

In further developments a footpath has been constructed in Wagtail Avenue on the opposite side to our home. We might not have a footpath at the front of our house with pedestrian traffic directed to the other side, not a bad result as it provide more space for lawn and gardens in front of our home.

I also noticed that street lights have been installed throughout the stage release. Looking back at last weeks photos that had previously been installed however I hadn’t noticed – too focused on the road surface 😉


New road surface on Merrijg Drive. Wagtail Avenue will be next!


Road surface ready for bitumen. Footpath constructed and street lights installed. Almost there…

Civil works update – March 10, 2017

Unfortunately the bitumen didn’t arrive this week however the road base has increased in height. Last week there was a few inches between the bottom of the gutter and the road surface, today it’s almost level. Sounds ridiculous really but when you’re looking for progress every little bit gets noticed. Another small step closer to seeing a smooth bitumen surface.

Can you imagine the excitement when the builder starts working on our block?


More rolling…

A brief history of Wagtail Avenue.

Civil Works - 20 October 2016

October 20, 2016


End November, 2016

Feb 10 civil works

February 10, 2017

190217 Civil Works Update

February 19, 2017


February 24, 2017


Mark 5, 2017

Civil works update – March 5, 2017

Some evidence of electrical cables being installed and a little more work in the retaining basin area this week. Fingers crossed we’ll see some bitumen on the road by the end of the week.

No much progress on the road surface this week. It looks like they’ve been busy installing electricity cables (see other image below).

Electricity cabling being installed at the intersection of Horseshoe Bend Road and Wagtail Avenue

Apart from stringing some wires between posts it looks like works on the retaining basin is near completion.

Civil works update – February 17, 2017

Another week flashes past and it’s time for a drive-by visit of our block. As we suspected last week they’ve made further progress on the roads related to our stage. It’s starting to look more like a road each week.

Next week we might even see some kerb and channel taking shape.

190217 Civil Works Update

Wagtail Avenue starting to take shape.

Just a little bit further up the road they’re doing the same thing. More men, more machines, more progress.

Civil Works 170217

Progress on the Merijig Drive section of road – just a little further along.

Civil works update – February 10, 2017

I drove past the block today for my regular Friday afternoon progress check and was happy to see earth moving machinery working directly in our street. While I’m not in the road making business it looked like a soil compactor was busy moving back and forth on our street. Next stop, bitumen!

Well maybe not, but it’s another good sign that we’re getting closer to seeing a road surface being laid. Looking forward to seeing more progress next week.

Feb 10 civil works

Civil works update – Start February 2016

Time for a post Christmas update, our first for 2017. Since our last post in late November 2016 there has been continued activity onsite. Most of this activity has been confined to the retaining basin area with a small army of men and machines transforming the area into an attractive wetland space.

With our most recent forecast settlement date drawing near (mid February) I once again enquired with the estate agent. The latest update:

The civil works on stage 3 are in full swing now the basin is finished. Sewer is in and drainage are almost finished. It is projected that all works will be complete 30 March with titles from there.

The initial forecast was August 2016 so things are waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay behind schedule however based on current activity onsite I actually believe this forecast might be achievable. Previous communication with the agent suggested it may take anywhere between 3 and 9 weeks for compliance checks to be carried out and titles to be processed so that might land us somewhere in April/May for receiving title on the block. From there we have soil tests before confirming building contracts and finance arrangement. And then…. we can start construction! 🙂

I’ve included a few photos of recent civil works onsite. We’re looking forward to seeing some road and guttering taking shape soon.

Civil works 21/12/16

Building the retaining basin – December 21, 2016

Civil works 21/12/16

When you’re waiting for title on land an excavator moving soil can be exciting.

Civil works 6/1/17

The retaining basin/wetland area starting to take shape – January 6, 2017

Civil works 20/1/17

Our home site – not far from where the excavators are parked – January 20, 2017