Archive for October, 2008

Bathrooms Begin to Take Shape with Dorf & Caroma

Sunday, October 26th, 2008

Now that all of the travertine marble tiling has been completed in the bathrooms we can start to install the Dorf tap fittings and the Caroma toilet cisterns.

We have used the Dorf Orbit 5 shower system throughout Bimbadeen. We chose these as they provided both a fixed head and hand held shower in the one unit. We matched these up with Dorf Eclipse shower mixing taps . These were chosen as they are easy to operate for people who have dexterity issues.

We have chosen the Caroma Geo toilet pan for the main bathroom upstairs. This has a concealed cistern and fits flush to the wall which will help with the cleaning. In all the other bathrooms we are using the Caroma Trident pan and cistern. This incorporates a new Smartflush technology which saves water.

You can see in the following photos how it is all coming together.

 Dorf Geo Toilet Pan       Caroma Trident toilet pan

 You can also see in the above photos how the toilets work with the Altro Safety flooring and the Stormtech drains.

Dorf Orbit 5 Shower system      Dorf Orbit shower system in lower bathroom.

You can see more photos from last weeks work by clicking here to enter the photo gallery .

Home Automation – Making Life Easier

Saturday, October 18th, 2008

As I work in the electronics industry in my day job, yes that’s right this is only my night job, I have tried to include a lot of future proofing into Bimbadeen (our new name) This includes

  • Every room has access to a category 5 data network.
  • There is a pretty serious computer server cabinet in the entrance foyer.
  • The phone system is based on VoIp.
  • Every living area has ceiling speakers installed so we can have music everywhere without the associated wires.
  • The front and back gardens have a lighting and watering network installed.
  • There is provision to hook up a satellite TV feed.
  • There are power points everywhere, including on the exterior decks.

Here are some photos of the path we have taken to get Bimbadeen to be on the bleeding edge of connectivity.

 Electrical sub board    Boxing for speakers    A busy ceiling

In terms of lighting control we have worked with Dynalite who are one of Australia’s leading home automation companies. The objective was to have a system where you could have a high degree of control of all of the household lighting from either the switch on the wall or with a remote control. This will mean that you do not have to walk to the light controls to turn on and off any of the lights. It can be easily done from a wheelchair for example.

You can achieve this either using infra red or radio frequency control. For budget reasons we elected to use I.R. What this did mean however was that I needed to plan the rooms so that there was a line of site to an I.R receiver in all parts of the house. Dynalite have a switch where you can install an infra red receiver window on each plate.

The first phase of installing a home automation lighting system is to work out the specification. Dynalite provided me with a checklist to help with this process. You can download this checklist here.

Dynalite Functionality Checklist

I used this as a guide to work out what I wanted all of the switching to do room by room. Here is the  listing for what each switch will do in each room. I have also included a key to where each switch is located.

Dynalite Switching Specification
Switch plan Ground
Switch Plan Upper

What happens now is that the team from Dynalite program the control units prior to them being installed by the electrician on site. Lets hope that it all works out OK.

Altro Safety Flooring all Installed

Sunday, October 12th, 2008

We have now fully installed the Altro Safety Flooring in all of the wet areas of the project. The Altro comes in 2 metre wide rolls and is cut and ultrasonic welded on site. The result is a tailor made “tub” that fits exactly area that is being covered. We used a number of Stormtech gutter drains that are clamped onto the Altro to ensure that no water permeates the floor.

 Preparing for the Altro by putting in the right falls.        Gentle falls towards the Stormtech drains.

 The above photos show how the floor was prepared prior to the Altro being laid. A lot of work went into making sure that the surface was even and had the correct falls towards the Stormtech drains. Then the moisture content was then measured to ensure it was right for the Altro application.

 Altro Safety Flooring installed in the guest ensuite         Altro Safety Flooring in the laundry

You can see a couple of subtle Universal Design features in the above photographs.

  • Check out the plinth in the laundry where the washer and dryer will be placed. This lifts it 200mm above the floor for easier access. And of course they go side by side instead of on top of each other.
  • In the left photograph you can see that the interface between the Altro Safety Floor and the Style Plantation Bamboo floor is completely even. No sills or thresholds.
  • You can also get a good idea of the way the Stormtech drains are mounted. This has enabled a one-way fall in all of the showers so that shower chairs will sit stable.

You can see more and bigger photos in week 39 in the photo gallery. Just click here.

We have Found a Name

Saturday, October 11th, 2008

For months Desiree and I have been researching names for our project. We have printed out reams of suggestions and finally I think that we have come to a concensus.


This is an Australian Aboriginal word that means good views. There does not seem to be any other tourist accommodations called Bimbadeen in the South Coast of New South Wales. I am trying to find a word to associate with Bimbadeen so that we can register the name. Any suggestions?

Dulux Acratex System Going On

Sunday, October 5th, 2008

The renderers have been in for a week now and have made some terrific progress. It looks like the job might finish sooner than the three weeks that they allowed. According to the other tradies on the site they are the cleanest renderers they have ever seen. Normally these are render splashes everywhere, but on our job not one splash yet.

They have started on the upper level which has the Hebel Powerpanel as the cladding. There is a special preparation for the Hebel called Acratex Hebel Skimcoat . This is a mortar looking compound with some fibrous additive. I guess that the Hebel must have a different expansion and contraction profile than normal blockwork. This would account for the fibres, they must help prevent cracking of the render.

Applying the Acratex Hebel Skimcoat           Compare the final Acratex colour with the primer

In the first week the rendering team did all of the Acratex Hebel Skimcoating and priming. They started to apply the Acratex Tuscony fine texture coat to the tricky bits and will spend next week doing the application of the texture coat on the main surfaces upstairs. The final Acrashield protection coat will be applied by the painter as it is a roll on application rather than trowel on.

 Acratex Tuscony Fine Texture Coat       Working Acratex into the tricky bits

Towards the end of next week the team should be onto the lower level which means we can ditch the scaffolding that has cost the equivalent of the GDP of a small European country.

Check out more photos in the gallery under week 38. Or just click here.

Finally Getting the Rendering Started

Sunday, October 5th, 2008

Over the last 2 weeks we have had a few ups and downs. As we are building in a rural location sometimes getting tradesmen can be tough. This was particularly so with getting renderers. It took us weeks to get a renderer lined up then on the day he was supposed to start he pulled out. We then had to go through the process all over again, and guess what exactly the same thing happened with the second renderer. We finally hit gold with the third team. This however put us about 3 weeks behind schedule. The frustrating thing is that we can’t pull the scaffolding down until we get the rendering done and while the scaffolding is up we cannot get equipment access to the rear yard to start the landscaping work. One thing leads to another – ouch.

Our third team of renderers has now started and I must say everyone is impressed with their work.  We are using the Dulux Acratex system for the finish. This consists of the following:

Dulux Acratex Hebel Skimcoat – This prepares the Hebel for a texture coat application.
Dulux Acratex Renderwall – This can be applied to the Boral blocks.
Dulux Acraprime – This prepares the surface for the texture coat.
Dulux Acratex Tuscony Fine – This is the texture coat it is tinted to a colour called Balleek.
Dulux Acrashield – This is a final protection coat. It is also tinted to Balleek.

Click on the links to download the data sheets.

I have posted a heap of new photos in the photo gallery under week 38 . Check out the progress