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The Building Process: From Pre-Start To Kmart

Hard hat at the ready? We’re going behind the scenes of the building process.

Have you been binge-watching Grand Designs to try and wrap your head around the building process? Or was the last (read: only) exposure you had to construction watching Bob the Builder and his can-do work crew?

Either way, you’re here because you’re thinking about building your first home (hurrah! love that for you!), and you need a construction education.

Well, we can fix that. ????

At La Vida, we’re big fans of transparency (it’s kinda our thing), so we’ll make sure you know EXACTLY what the building process looks like from the get-go—from making your design choices to making that first exhilarating trip to Kmart.

Step one: Pre-start consultation

Before we start constructing anything, we need to know exactly what we want to end up with. Your mark-making vision, if you will. 

So, once you’ve chosen your dream home design, selected your block, and signed a PPA (that’s a quote, in builder speak), your home builder (that’s us ????) will hook you up with your very own Customer Experience Specialist. It’s their whole job to make your building experience as smooth, fast, and remarkable as possible. And guide you through all the paperwork and building lingo, so that we can get started (on site that is).

Not only will they help prepare the final drawings, land titles, and building permits, they’ll also be the ones to host your Prestart meeting. Which has to be one of our favourite pre-construction moments. Easily. At Prestart, you’ll review your:

• Plans (review & finalise)

• Colours (interior and exterior)

• Electricals (power points, lighting)

• Fixtures (tapware, door handles, windows)

• Fittings (shelves, blinds, towel rails)

• Flooring (materials, colours, ranges)

• Cabinetry (style, colours, ranges)

And, when you’re happy with everything, make your mark a permanent one and lock everything in. This is one of the biggest and most exciting meetings, so take the half-day off work and enjoy it! You only live once.

Step two: Slab down

Now that the paperwork is done (yay), we can get this home on the road (double yay!).

First, we’ll prepare your block for the pad by organising any necessary earthworks so the land is nice, compacted and flat (you don’t want your home on a tilt, trust us). We’ll also get the plumber on site to ensure the pipework is in the right place. Then, the slab goes down, we give it a few weeks to dry – aka cure – and you get the invitations out for your slab party (hint: you can check out more about making your slab down party one to remember here)!

Before we move onto the next step, we also connect your plumbing to the pre-laid pipes, run your electricals, install your stormwater tanks, and give the site a big clean in prep for the delivery of your building materials. This all happens in around three short weeks.

Step three: Brickwork

Building really gets underway now. If you’re in WA, we’ll put the frame of your new home up, the window and external door supports in, and get those brick walls up. Did you know skilled tradies (like ours) can lay up to 600 bricks a day? Meaning this part of the building process is done in about 7-10 days. Yep, a little over a week.

The best part about this stage? You can lay a brick yourself. Initial it, love heart it, go full inspirational quote on it… We’ll give you about an hour on site to make your mark on your new home. (Don’t worry, we’ll only let you touch the internal bricks, so the render or plasterboard will hide your handiwork. It’ll be our little secret).

And, if you’re in SA, we’ll frame your new home in natural timber, clad the exterior in bricks, and call you in to do the same. Make your mark a physical one, that is. 

(Note: We did more of a deep dive on brickwork you can check out here).

Step four: Roof cover

Next up, we’ll get a certified roof chippie in to build your roof frame. Sparkies and plumbers also come back in to finish your electrical and plumbing installs.

Once the frame is up, your roofers focus on your gutter installation and, you guessed it, your roof. Before you know it, your home is starting to look like just that—a home. Cue the happy dances.

Set the location one peg at a time

Once all this prep work is done, the site will be ‘re-pegged’ by a land surveyor to ensure we know exactly where your block starts and ends, and—most importantly—build your home in the correct location. Initially, your developer would have pegged the block to mark your plot, but many of those original pegs go missing or are generally misplaced during this time. 

Next, the engineers are called in to undertake a site inspection and give everything their tick of approval. After this, it’s finally time to add pre-lays to the site in preparation for laying the slab. 

The layers of your foundation

We know you’ll be keen to get to the slab party stage, but each layer of your foundation has a seriously important job to do. This is what we add:

  • A termite barrier to help prevent future termites from getting into your home’s structure.
  • Waterproofing membranes to help with filtering.
  • Plumbing pre-lays to help move waste systems out of the house down the line.
  • Service penetrations, including inward water, gas and electrical, and outward grey and black water waste.
  • Engineer-specified steel mesh which sits just under the concrete.

Timeline of earthworks 

So, how long does the whole earthworks process take? From start to finish (in a record that the Gaza Pyramid people would envy), it takes approximately three weeks. After this has all taken place, it’s time to pour—not the wine, but something rather more expensive and less tasty. Your concrete slab! Now that you know how long the earthworks take, it’s time to prep for your slab party.

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