Project builder and electrical/cbus

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by 470, Apr 24, 2006.

  1. 470

    470

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    Project builder and electrical/cbus

    Guys, We are just about to sign the paperwork/contracts for our home to be constructed by a project builder(Clarendon homes). this builder 's electrical contractor only does Hills automation. We really like the design and price but the fact that I want to use c-bus is a problem. it is a 2 story 45sqm house so pre-wiring for c-bus is a must before the gyprock goes in.

    I'm thinking to pay for structured wiring from the builder and then try and meet with the sparkie and get him to run the cbus control cable in at the same time to all the switch points. I'm also wanting to run 4 runs of cat5/6 plus coax to every room.

    I have done 2 years of an electrical apprenticeship and could easily do it all myself but the builder is saying that I am not allowed onsite to do anything.

    what is the best way to approach this situation ? anybody had experience with this ? should I be just getting another contractor to do the whole of the electrical system instead ? we are in Sydneys west.
     
    470, Apr 24, 2006
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  2. 470

    rhamer

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    It's your money and your house. If they won't allow you to use the system of your choice then I would find a different builder. You have to live in the house for years to come and if you don't do it the way you want, it will bug you every day.

    The building company that I used, sourced a C-Bus intergrator to do all the electricals to my specifications. (they needed to do that because they had to warrant the whole construction, including the electricals). They also allowed me (and Charlie Crackle) on site to run all the data and RG6 cables (which was excluded from the warranty). I even put in some extra noggins to support particular lighting fixtures and shelving that I wanted. The building supervisor just looked at what I wanted and made sure that it didn't cause him any problems.

    The building supervisor told me that they built a house for an electrician once ant they actually contracted him to do his own electrics, so it was all above board and covered by warranty and of course it was just play money that changed hands.

    When I first met with the building company the first thing I said was I want C-Bus, and if that's a problem then tell me now and I'll find someone else. They knew nothing about it, but went and found out, and included it no problem.

    Sure I paid a premium to have it installed by someone else, but the advantage is that it is covered off as part of the whole house package.
     
    rhamer, Apr 24, 2006
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  3. 470

    richms

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    Unfortunatly in developments like this, its not there house untill its completed.

    A mate had the same issue with a place he was building in a subdivision. End result was that he was gonna have to pay over $200 per drop for cat5/6 UNTERMINATED at the patch end to be installed.

    Just ended up opting for there typically crap interior and stripping it after completion and then re-lining it at an additional $10000 or so, but a damnsite better then the added costs that the developer wanted to do things the way they wanted.
     
    richms, Apr 24, 2006
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  4. 470

    rhamer

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    I disagree, this is no different to the bank owning it at the end of construction (I'm assuming you will have a mortgage).

    You will be required to make progress payments along the way and be bound by a contract up front, so you can't just wait till the end before you get any say in the building.

    I guess it depends a bit as to what you are buying. Do you already own the land or is it part of the package? It's not really possible to get another builder if Clarendon own's the land.

    The usual catch here is the building company is churning out near identical houses for a known price. They buy all their materials in bulk and don't like variations because it changes their pricing structure, which they are not geared up to allow for.

    In theory this all translates to a cheaper price for you, but the down side is you get to choose all your fittings and fixtures from their select range only and anything like C-Bus is just too much paperwork for them to be interested.

    I think I would still lean on them hard to let you prewire for Data & Video, (C-Bus cat 5 can be called data if you like) tell them you will have it done by a registered cabler and provide them with a TCA1 form at the end. Be flexible and tell them you can do it when their electrician is on site or on a Sunday when the site is closed. Leave the cables fixed behind the plaster, but photograph every run so you can find it again. Also install the plaster brackets, measure them off and record them to the nearest corner or wall, so you can find them again, because any markings on the floor will probably be covered by carpet by the time you move in.

    All this can be done without getting in the way of the builders, so don't take no for an answer. Really dig you heals in and tell them that's what you want, they won't like it, but a bit of grief now to get what you want will make your life so much easier in the future.

    And as I said before, if you dont get it the way you want it, it will annoy you every day that you live there.

    Good Luck.
     
    rhamer, Apr 25, 2006
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    ashleigh Moderator

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    Good advice.

    When I built my house (a long time ago) there was no such thing as pre-wiring for Cat5 (well, there was but I didn't know about it). However I went on site frequently and added extra brackets for future power outlets, speaker plugs, security system and so on.

    Some things I can recommend:

    - pre-wire as much as you can. Do it on weekends so you don't get in the way.

    - put extra brackets in wherever possible (though the old C-Clip is a fantastic get-out-jail-free card later).

    - take a photograph of EVERY WALL OF EVERY ROOM before the gyprock / cladding goes on, but after the plumbing and electrical is in. On a large (A4) piece of paper write the room name in LARGE letters, and make sure it is on every shot (otherwise you won't know what you are looking at 10 years later). Also make out a paper ruler with a scale 0, 10, 20, 30 cm and make sure this is in every shot. These photos will save you later when you want to drill holes and hang pictures, or find cables to add an extra GPO, or whatever.

    - if you are not sure about where to place GPOs or similar, take a battery powered drill and spade bit (3/4"), and drill a through the top plate and noggin wherever you think you might one day want an extra power outlet or light switch. Then run a piece of 1 mm galv wire from floor to ceiling (taking it to the TOP!!!) and anchor this into small (roughly 10mm diameter) screw eyes. The galv wire can be cut later and used as a draw-cord for pulling a new cable down.

    I think I pull out my photos about once a year - this 15 years after building. I put in about 6 of those spare sets of holes and galv draw wires, and I think I've now used 4 or 5 of them, and a few more besides.

    Simple, simple pre-planning saves a fortune and a lot of hassles later.

    The sparky who came in one day to do extra GPOs for me was astonished when I explained about the draw wires... but that was where the GPOs had to go, he used all the holes I had pre-drilled all those years before, and the job was done faster and cheaper than you could believe.

    Try it on with your builder. And then hassle them. And then go and do it on weekends anyway.
     
    ashleigh, Apr 25, 2006
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    Frank Mc Alinden

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    Hi Ashleigh

    One thing i would do different... i would suggest NOT to use gal wire as a draw wire.....Just a bit wary ..in case it happened to touch an active on a light switch or gpo when pulling the new wire thru...........Unless of course the regs have changed and every light switch + gpo must have a shroud ???

    Frank
     
    Frank Mc Alinden, Apr 25, 2006
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    PSC

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    It's an Adelaide thing Frank, they only got colour TV 2 years ago...

    The gal wire ties in nicely with the gal roof. :p
     
    PSC, Apr 25, 2006
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    The Don

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    ah but...we got our Colour Touch Screen last year. We expect to upgrade it to the video version at the end of this year.
     
    The Don, Apr 25, 2006
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    ashleigh Moderator

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    Hmm, good point.

    Well it was a long time ago!

    Use some nylon cord. You can buy the stuff that brick-layers use for levels, comes on a nice spool. Put that in - probably a much better idea than galv.
     
    ashleigh, Apr 25, 2006
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  10. 470

    Duncan

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    Sounds like a subway system for mice :)
     
    Duncan, Apr 25, 2006
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  11. 470

    470

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    thanks for the feedback guys :)

    in reply to questions.

    We actually own the land. (i.e. no mortgage). Clarendon will just be the builder. we will be getting a construction loan to pay for the actual house build that we pay in stages.

    I spoke with them over the long weekend and the automation system they do is Hills and they do not deviate from that. they will do structured wiring though which is great. (obviously at an extra cost).

    they claim that we are NOT allowed onsite during construction and when i asked if I could get someone else that I know(i dont actually 'know' somebody yet but i would have found someone). to do data and provide them with the licence details, they said that they would have to do the whole electrical wiring or none at all.

    I am going to speak to someone a bit more senior in the company and see what they say.

    Pretty pathetic if we cant get wiring done by a licence person.!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2006
    470, Apr 25, 2006
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  12. 470

    znelbok

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    I have just gone through all this and the first question I asked was can I get on site to do my own data wiring (c-bus etc). This was the wrong tact to take.

    We approached beechwood and my first question was I'm using c-bus can I get my own electrical contractor? Beechwood are anohter that use hills, but they had no problems with removing the electrical portion of the price and letting me supply my own licenced contractor as a seperate issue to them (albeit they took out just over $2K - not much really)

    This is obviously a risk to them and that is reflected in the contract by statements like, if there are significant delays they will source their own electrician to complete and I will have to pay the costs.

    Fortunately, I have a friend who has a contractor licence and will be using him, in return I have to teach him c-bus and the programming required and help at his house. You just need to find an integrator to do the job for you.

    I would steer away from Clarendon if they are pulling this stunt and find someone else. The market is in a low at the moment and you will find someone else willing. Most of them have plans that are very similar so you will eventually get what you want.

    Mick
     
    znelbok, Apr 25, 2006
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    Frank Mc Alinden

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    LOL..!!!!

    I have worked over in Adelaide several times and always wondered why they used metal pylons for their power poles....Initially i thought they must be bad drivers ;-) and someone recently told me its due to termites ??? is this true ..??

    Frank
     
    Frank Mc Alinden, Apr 26, 2006
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    rhamer

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    They are trying to bluff you. You own the land, they have no right to tell you you can't come onsite.

    At this point I would start telling them what is going to happen and not be all that interested in what they want to happen. Let them be the ones to walk away from the table, rather than you.

    But if push realy does come to shove then cut you losses and find another builder, just think about how much you have learned by going through the process to date, in the long term it will be worth the extra grief now.

    There are good flexible builders out there, but the big companies usually aren't one of them.
     
    rhamer, Apr 26, 2006
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    Phil.H

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    Stick to your guns.

    I can tell you the residential building market is really down at the moment. Another thing is all these big builders know about C-Bus and the like, they would just like to cruise along and have things the way they have been for years.

    Stick to your guns re installation of infrastructure in your home. As long as you have a compliant delivery method (licensed electrician etc) you should have no problems. If they say NO, I would be saying "thank you for your time" then walk.
     
    Phil.H, Apr 26, 2006
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    marka

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    i have been in this situation before were a client wants c-bus/data etc, etc
    as phil said they will(beechwood)give you a credit back and let you source
    your own contractor
    we are about to do a job for a client that had the big bluff tried on him
    i told him as i have to others , stand up to them and tell them what you want
    we have done about 5-6 beechwoods in the last 2 years and have had no
    problems
    they do try the old "if you hold us up" speech but just have the contract
    giving you unrestricted access to the site at all times.i have also had a few
    supervisors try to upset things but remember it,s your house.
     
    marka, Apr 26, 2006
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    ashleigh Moderator

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    Frank, they are called STOBIE poles, named after Mr Stobie who invented them.

    The Stobies are a fairly well-known Adelaide family, in engineering circles anyway. I think there are about 3 successive generations of Stobie mechanical engineers.

    They are used for 2 major reasons: one is termites, the other is the lack of nice big hardwood trees in SA. Those modern pine plantations don't cut the mustard.
     
    ashleigh, Apr 26, 2006
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    jka

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    good tips

    Some really, really good advice above
    (especially Ashleigh's)
    We built a house last year
    I did the electrical, alarm & ducted vac
    Our builder was a little (too) relaxed
    I have a friend who built not so long ago and took video of their frame, cabling, plumbing etc
    I know that when we got quotes from the package builders
    They were pretty tight on all their allowances
    You should push for it - as they say you are going to live with it
    Our builder had allowances for each item
    We just subtracted his allowance for electrical (pitance)
    And I installed the CBus (exorbatant cost) system
    But we got (pretty close to) what we wanted
     
    jka, Apr 26, 2006
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    ben addison

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    i have done a similar thing, but here in the uk.

    I found a house i liked by a builder and asked them if o could wire the place my self. they where a bit unsure at 1st and had to check a lot higher up with the MD. i told them i was an aproved contractor, which i think helped them to give me the go ahead.

    I had to sign a disclaimer before they would let me start, i then got full access on site when ever i liked :).

    I like the house alot, but i was perpared to walk away if they didn't let me in ;).

    But in your case you are employing a builder to work for you, therefore you should have right to say what they install. or even ask then to use an electrican of your choice.
     
    ben addison, May 2, 2006
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