10-lot Subdivision Civil Works Thread

Subdivision Civil Works Diary

I have another thread that describes the process up until here. A quick recap is that we moved a 90 year old Queenslander to make way for a 10-lot subdivision. Finally, civil works have begun on site, so I'm starting a new thread to keep the other one from becoming too long.

The civil works were supposed to start the day after I returned from a short trip overseas, and I did my best to have everything sorted out before I left. I returned to find that council had run into a snag in quoting to connect our sewer main, as an existing inlet not shown on the latest council sewer plans does not leave enough room for ours to be added as well. So, I've spent the last few days problem-solving around how we can connect our new sewer and we had at one stage 8 guys standing around the open manhole cover. As of this afternoon, we got council go-ahead with our proposed solution, which will involve us decommissioning the offending branch line and reconnected the two existing inlets into our new sewer main. (That's the short version of the story).

Tree loppers were booked for Wednesday, but ended up turning up on Saturday for half a day before the rain came, and then came back today to continue.

Here are views for before and after the the tree were removed from the old horse paddock.

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You can now see our house for the trees again.

And this afternoon, a truck dropped off an excavator,

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a bobcat, and about 200 m worth of sewer piping.

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Our civil works contractor were unable to start on the sewer works because the tree loppers were off working on another job and haven't yet removed the palm trees that are in the way, so they got their excavator to work removing some of the shrubbery from around the mango trees. I've also booked in the surveyors to put in a couple of boundary pegs to help them line up the sewer.

We were thinking of fencing around the pad-mount transformer that the power company will put in and putting a gate on the front to disguise it a bit so it doesn't distract from the street scape too much. There are some design requirements we need to take into account to allow adequate ventilation around it and it may require a council approval, since the land will become council road reserve. I need to look into it further, but it may become more hassle than it's worth.
 

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Tree loppers were back on site again today.

I went in to council to find out what needs to be done to get our neighbours sewers hooked up to our main once it's in. We will get away with just a single plumbing application and a single plumbing inspection fee (as well as the regular inspections required for the sewer itself).

Found out that council will have no objection to us putting a gate in front of the transformer, so now I just need to get some quotes and submit a design drawing to Ergon.

While the tree loppers were clearing a path for the sewer, our civil guys got to work removing tree stumps, cleaning up the old house site, and potholing a trench to locate the services where our stormwater drainage with hook into the street. We'll have to go under a number of Telstra cables (both copper and fibre).
 

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More photos

More photos: Manhole formwork and stormwater pipes; cleared easement in neighbours' property for sewer; potholing of existing services where our stormwater pipe needs to go.
 

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I'm still working out the best way to add photos to Somersoft. I discovered the album feature, and so started an album here.

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This week, the tree loppers finished off. They left the hardest to last. Three large mango trees.

While lopping off this one:

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They had a bit of a mishap with the branch coming down on the fence line and on top of the neighbour's lawn locker.

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Whoops. :eek: They did a pretty good panel beating job getting it back in shape. In the afternoon, the tree lopper boss had a word to our excavator operator, who made light work of the last mango tree, breaking off the branches with his bucket. He was done in 15 minutes, while the tree loppers were still slogging away at the other one.

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We now have a couple of mango trunks. I will talk to a wood-worker mate on the weekend about what's involved in making slabs out of them. I'm fond of the idea of having a coffee table made out of the tree my dad played in as a kid.

Yesterday, I got council's quote for breaking into the sewer manhole. Our civil guys are all ready well advanced with laying the sewer.

I submitted plans for fencing around the pad mount transformer and the electricity company has now approved them. They've come back to say that they can't schedule their works until the plan is sealed showing the road reserve dedicated for the transformer. I've queried that, as it's a bit of a catch-22, because plan sealing is conditional on all the other works being completed. Certainly, it was not flagged when we signed our agreement for electricity supply.
 
More work on layer the sewer today. Council came and bored into the existing manhole and we changed over the two neighbouring houses to our new sewer main section. It is plugged at our end so that we can continue layer upstream without working on a live sewer. The plumbing inspector wanted some concrete poured under the inspection junctions. They'll do that on Monday. The inspector also turned a blind eye to addition inlets of our neighbours that are not on council plans.:cool:

Plumbing inspection:

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That's our new sewer line going into the manhole on the left. you can see an inspection window of the old branch line just to the right of that. This branch is now decommissioned.

The mess we've made of our neighbour's yard. They move back in on Monday.

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Trench for sewer main in our property.

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In other news, I realised that one of the survey pegs I got put in on the boundary line is out by 2 m. I will take it up with the surveyors on Monday. It's no major drama, because it's not the final site survey, but it pays to be on the ball checking what gets done on site!

Also, I'm not sure whether I mentioned it, but we put the blocks on the market a week ago. We'll try to sell privately for now up to five blocks. The first block is 95% sold. Just need to wait for our solicitor to get back from holidays.

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Manholes

They started on the sewer manholes today. They got the bases and walls done for four of them.

Pouring the base:

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Man in hole making manhole:

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Formwork for walls

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A work of art!

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Sewer progressing

Our sewer got partial house connection jump ups and the manholes got covers. Two more full manholes to go. Our engineer also paid a visit to the site.

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I was out for about half the day; meanwhile, our contractors continued on the sewer. They now have all the house connections in and have just one manhole to finish off. I'll spare you more photos of manholes.

I bought an avocado tree to replace the one one we had to remove from our neighbours' place for the sewer. I was going to buy a mango as well, but the nursery didn't have any in stock. I saw the neighbours' car in the yard in the afternoon. The house has been vacant for most of the year after being rented out and the owners have just now moved back in. Their yard is at least looking respectable again. We still need to lay some turf over the areas we dug up.
 
Hi Brendio,

Thanks so much for your thread. You mentioned early on that you would do an Accounting thread on the sub-division but I have been unable to find one.

I am very interested in a detailed breakdown of your sub-division costs as I am doing feasibility on a similar size sub-division in a regional area. Do you have a list of costs posted somewhere you could link to, or if not, could you include them. I notice you posted recently that it cost approx 50k to 60k per block. A breakdown of actual costs would be very helpful.
My block sounds similar to yours in that we already have sealed roads and services in the street, but our land is fairly flat. We need to widen road a bit and put in curb and guttering, also a pressure pump system for each block.
I was hoping costs would be around 40k per block but your posts about problem with water main depth and electricity transformer etc make me wonder what hidden nasties may be waiting for us.:eek:
How did you work out your costings for feasibility initially. Did you get a professional to do an estimate costing for the entire project, or just get quotes from various professionals.
Thanks
CAMI
 
Hi Brendio,

Thanks so much for your thread. You mentioned early on that you would do an Accounting thread on the sub-division but I have been unable to find one.

I am very interested in a detailed breakdown of your sub-division costs as I am doing feasibility on a similar size sub-division in a regional area. Do you have a list of costs posted somewhere you could link to, or if not, could you include them. I notice you posted recently that it cost approx 50k to 60k per block. A breakdown of actual costs would be very helpful.
My block sounds similar to yours in that we already have sealed roads and services in the street, but our land is fairly flat. We need to widen road a bit and put in curb and guttering, also a pressure pump system for each block.
I was hoping costs would be around 40k per block but your posts about problem with water main depth and electricity transformer etc make me wonder what hidden nasties may be waiting for us.:eek:
How did you work out your costings for feasibility initially. Did you get a professional to do an estimate costing for the entire project, or just get quotes from various professionals.
Thanks
CAMI

Thanks for your comment. I will eventually sit down and do a more detailed post of the costs, but to give you a rough idea, our road widening, sewer, footpath water and storm water comes to around $27k per lot; council headworks charges are $16k each (goes up to $21k per lot for DAs submitted after November this year). We got the transformer for a bit less than we were budgeting ($2.5k per lot), but then we'll lose some value on the adjacent block. The NBN pushed Telstra's charges up to $1k per lot. Consultants (engineering, surveying, town planning, solicitors etc.) probably add another $4 or 5k per lot. Then there's the interest bill on top of all the other costs.

We initially approached a developer friend of the family about forming a joint venture, but he encouraged us to give it a shot ourselves and offered to be a sounding board along the way, including providing feasibility figures.
 
Not much happened on site today. Our contractors had work to do on a boat ramp and had to work in with the tides for that, so the big excavator left early in the morning for that and a couple of guys stayed back to pour the sides of the last manhole and finish cleaning up the neighbours' yards and put fences back up.

I have some trees to give to one lot of neighbours. I will drop them round tomorrow. I need to work out what to do about turf for their back yard. Will look into possibly transplanting some turf from our yard.

We got a bit of rain today too, which was nice for keeping the dust down.

My woodworker mate popped by to have a look at the mango trunks. He'll need to get a bigger bar for his chainsaw rig because of how wide they are. He also gave me some ideas for what style of table to make.
 
Hoping to have it all done by Christmas. That said, I hope our guys don't take too long with the boat ramp. There was no sign of them the last couple of days.
 
Cold call from a bank

I forgot to add: I got a call today from someone at a bank saying they saw our for sale sign and asking did we want to talk to someone about finance for the development or any other developments we may have planned. Hmm, when I was looking around for finance a year ago, banks were pretty tight with finance and it took ages to get our loan over the line. Now we've had an interest rate cut and banks are chasing customers!

Is this a sign that bank are starting to want to lend again?
 
Finally some more movement

Our contractors have reappeared after more than a month's absence. It think my Christmas deadline it well and truly out the window and my rule of thumb to at least double any timeframe you are told to get a realistic estimate has held true.

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Picture: Laying stormwater drainage under Telstra cables in the footpath.
 
Great post.
I would love to see to a feasibility. Raw cost for each site plus stamp duty, how large each lot is, total site size, infrastructure costs including interest and the selling costs plus the % net margin. Do you have any pre sales? Are you looking to sell just land or house and land packages? what's the exit strategy?
 
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