Civil works update – March 31, 2017

There was an air of anticipation as we drove to Torquay for our regular Friday afternoon check-in. Progress has been solid over the proceeding weeks and bitumen had already been laid in the other roads of our release. It was time for Wagtail Avenue to join the club.

As we approached our street it was clear that other work had been carried out. Soil had been spread and the general area was looking more construction ready. Finally it was there – bitumen!

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At last! The view of fresh bitumen greeted us on Friday afternoon.

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The large berm of soil at the front of the stage has been spread across the house lots. Almost ready for building.

Everything looked great until I spotted a large green box at the back of the stage release, located approximately where our house would be built. With fences in place to limit pedestrian access I couldn’t be sure what it was or exactly where it was located however I had my suspicions.

It looked like an electricity transformer, the kind used in new land developments (electricity supply is underground). It was clearly on our side of the road, it was just a matter of how far back it was located.

Transformer

This is also a transformer. Unfortunately the one located at the front of our block isn’t as impressive as Optimus Prime.

After much swearing and head shaking I decided to skip past the fences and go on a scouting mission. I wanted to view our block close-up and confirm the location of the mystery green object.

Unfortunately on closer inspection it was a large green transformer and it was located in front of our house block.

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Looking directly at our block (other side of road). Concrete crossover (driveway) on the right of our block, transformer on the left .

I paced out the dimensions of our block and it seems as though the box sits half on our block, the other half on the neighbouring block.

Is the green box required? Yes.

Do I think the green box is attractive? No.

Do I want the green box sitting at the front of my house? No.

At no stage were we made aware of anything like this being located on our frontage. I understand it needs to be located somewhere however I don’t think anyone would be happy purchasing a house block and discovering this added ‘extra’ is included – it’s not a welcome surprise.

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Disappointment wrapped in green.

We drove around the surrounding streets and found a few other examples of transformers sitting at the front of houses. Some people put fences around them, others leave them open. I suspect there are rules about what you can and can’t locate near the box to ensure access is provided to technicians.

The negatives?

  • The green box is ugly and detracts from the kerbside appeal of your home
  • You can’t grow/build anything too close to the box as it would hinder access, you thereby ‘lose’ some of your land.
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An example of a transformer in front of houses in earlier stage release. The transformer sits between the frontage of two properties – the transformer in Wagtail Avenue will do the same.

At this stage I’m just disappointed. We placed a deposit on this land in November last year (2016) and have waited patiently for the civil works to be completed before we can start building. Now, just as we’re approaching the start line we discover that our frontage will be shared by an ugly green box. Will we see it when we’re in the house? No. Will we see it when we’re at the beach? No. Will new visitors to our home comment on it? Probably. Will it impact on the kerbside appeal of our home? Yes.

I liken it to a birthmark or scar that someone is always asked about. An individual can’t do anything about a birthmark or scar, it’s something they learn to live with. The difference is, they have no choice – it’s a part of who they are. We have a choice. We haven’t started building yet and we haven’t settled on the land.

The downside is, there’s limited land in the area, particularly larger blocks at a reasonable price and I’m not keen on watching civil construction for another 12 months. I’m keen to move on to the next stage of our life.

So, what do we do now? Ponder. Look around for other blocks. Look for existing houses in our price range. Speak with family and friends.

The cost of our block and proposed construction is significant, easily our largest purchase ever and one that we need to feel comfortable with. If we don’t feel it’s right, we shouldn’t proceed.

To be continued…