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citygirl

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About citygirl

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  1. Hi, can someone please pm me Ah Wei's contact urgently? One of my kitchen cabinet drawers collapsed and I need to get it fixed, plus a whole lot of other carpentry rectification work. Thanks a lot!
  2. Have you considered going to the small claims tribunal or suing them with the new lemon law? What they sold you was clearly a lemon, and I think you have the grounds to get them to give you a refund. Or worst case, a brand new digital lock. If I were in your position, I'd just want them to give me a new gate and door so that I can start afresh, with a Samsung digital lock! Good luck!
  3. hi citygirl, i read with interest the experience of rebuilding your property. May i know which architect u are using?

  4. I think the timeframe is reasonable but the cost seems pretty high. I paid my PE S$15K for the entire reconstruction of my inter-terrace and many forumers already claim that it is very high. You might want to get a few more quotes.
  5. I agree with yoongf - construction prices just keep rising. I deliberated on the construction of my terrace house for almost a year before taking the plunge. My initial checks were S$800K but this went up to S$1m when I next checked. It doesn't seem to come down at all. When I first started my project, I was so confused over the huge discrepancy in prices - how some can reconstruct for a few hundred thousand dollars and others for a million up. Now that I have taken the plunge, I think I can understand. Take what everyone says as a gauge - the cost is dependent on what you want to do with YOUR house. The type of works can vary the price by a lot, while the quality and finishes that you want would vary the cost by a little. Eg. adding a storey is in the hundreds of thousands, deciding between marble and homogeneous a tens of thousands decision, choosing pre-cut marble vs marble slabs another couple of thousand. So depending on the extent of your works and the finishes you choose, the price could differ by a lot. Who you choose to work with can also hugely impact your cost. When the tender for my project was called, the bids differed by as much as S$100k to S$300k. Whether your contractor is GST-registered can also impact your cost by 7%. Going for a one-stop shop builder can be more cost-effective than going the full architect-contractor route, but here, it depends on how complicated your project is and what you want done. Funnily, inter-terraces might be more complicated than semi-ds, as there are more party walls to contend with, more structural issues and the space to work with is much tighter. Another factor is how "on" you are. I know of one forumer who was very dedicated and hands on in his project and managed to get very high build quality for a good price. Throughout my project, I also managed to find opportunities to get better deals, such as buying leftover stock from big building projects or maximising your architect/contractor's discount with suppliers. I also did not accept every quote that was given to me at face value, preferring to do my own shopping to satisfy myself that I am getting the best deal. If you have the expertise and time, you definitely can get better value. My two cents worth - find a team that you trust (review their past projects - preferably those that are a couple of years old already, talk to people who have worked with them before, talk to them to get a sense of their standards), set your budget at a level that is comfortable to you and be prepared to have to forgo certain items if you want to stick to it strictly and lastly, be realistic and reasonable in your expectations. Everything is very costly now, not just construction, and it all adds up! Good luck!
  6. It's been a long time since I started this thread and my house is about four months to completion. I promised to provide more information but never got down to it as I have been so incredibly busy, juggling work and family commitments plus making countless decisions on the house. But I thought I should share now that I am at the 70% mark. To recap, my inter-terrace is sitting on about 2500 square feet land, and once done, will have over 3500 square feet of built-up area. It started out as a 2-storey house with 3 rooms and will eventually be 2.5 storeys with 6 rooms, 3 with attached baths, 1 common bath and 1 powder room. Plus a maid's room with her own toilet. My project was/is extensive. Reinforced the structure to add the attic floor, built a new two-storey "house" at the back of the existing house and linked both with a bridge. Existing house was stripped bare and everything is new - walls were completely replaced, new alumninium roof, new wiring, new plumbing, new flooring throughout, staircase was rebuilt... everything! In the new "house" at the back, I have also got a roof terrace and a spiral staircase. Right down to the front driveway and front and back walls and gates were replaced. My finishes are of fairly good quality - marble flooring for living and dining (slabs, not pre-cut pieces), teak flooring elsewhere, bathrooms are in granite/homogeneous tiles, LED lighting throughout. Extensive cabinetry throughout the house, ceiling-mounted cassette-type aircons for common areas and wall units for bedrooms. The entire cost for my project is approximately S$1.3m, includes S$90K to the architect, S$15K to the structural engineer, S$9K to the Quantity Surveyor (QS). The rest goes to the contractor or have been budgeted by the QS as PC Sums (cabinetry, landscaping, aircon etc.), which are estimates of what you would spend and if select stuff at a lower cost, are direct savings for you. Does not include furniture, but includes lighting, doors and ironmongery and all sanitary wares, sinks, taps etc. Based on my experience so far: - a good architect is worth every cent. My architect has worked on this project with me for over one year and the time she has spent on my project (plus the expertise from other senior architects in the firm whom she consults with from time to time) has been priceless. I meet my architect once a fortnight now and am talking to her almost everyday. She takes care of every detail of the project, from things that I have tasked her with to things that I never even thought of. For example, I have an external spiral staircase that leads from the ground floor to my bridge between both houses, and up to the roof. To me, it's just a spiral staircase and I want it in black steel. To her, apart from the calculations of size and height of steps etc. she would ask the contractor to fabricate a sample of the step, and then agonize over how the step would look from the top, the side and the bottom depending on how the steel parts are welded together. Such is their attention to detail and the resulting quality that you would get, not to mention the expert advice on space planning, aesthetics, choice of materials etc. For S$90K, I expected a lot less. - the SE and QS I met only once or twice. The architect helps me deal with them so I hardly need to. On the QS, I was a little surprised at the beginning of the project because I thought he would be working for my interest and trying to push costs down, but that's not the case. Instead, he lays out what is a fair price for the job, sometimes even telling the contractor what he should charge me for changes I wanted made. I found this odd at first, but I have gotten to appreciate it as it's fair to everyone, and helps in the long run as my contractor is almost like a partner to me on this project because he is paid fairly. - I had three contractors bid for the project, two who regularly worked with the architect and a third which was recommended by one of the architects in the firm, who had worked with him before. All three came back with similar quotes plus minus $100K. We went with the cheapest and so far, I have been very happy with him. He's pretty easy-going and didn't charge me for a lot of extra stuff or modifications along the way. Possibly because I am paying him a fair price? He is also a small-time builder with only two projects each year, which meant that he was not GST-registered. For a contract sum of over S$1 million, no GST meant several tens of thousands in savings! - It helps to know what you want and to know what kind of a person you are. I do not have the time to micro-manage and I am not detail-oriented so the architect does that for me. For other forumers who have the time, expertise, knowledge and inclination to be very hands-on, I believe you can get the same done for less. But to be honest, I do not think a lot less, as building is very costly. You could probably get more savings depending on the finishings you choose. Can't think of much else to add but happy to share more information if anyone is interested. I remember starting off completely clueless and thanks to other forumers, managed to get some good advice before I started. So here I am, paying it forward! Fingers crossed that the rest of the project runs as smoothly as it has so far. Will update again when I have completed!
  7. I've been doing a fair amount of shopping and I agree, the price discrepancy can be huge. For example, my quantity surveyor costed S$60psf for the flooring throughout my landed property, and my architect advised that this amount would only get me homogenous tiles. Their estimates for marble flooring runs to about S$100-200psf. And yet, marble flooring can be bought for less than S$20psf at some establishments. The difference I have discovered, is in the size - the larger or thicker the slab, the more costly. And if you are particular about the patterns of each slab matching the next, expect to pay even more, as there will be more wastage just to match the natural grain. The cost of compressed and natural marble also differs, but by my experience, not by very much. I am seriously contemplating if it's necessary to get high-end marble for my flooring. I have always believed that I can save on replaceable items like furniture, but best to invest in stuff like flooring, which cannot be changed without major inconvenience. However, I have lived 20 years in an apartment with normal, unmatching marble flooring, and barring a few stains which we neglected to treat earlier, the flooring looked great when I sold that apartment. So S$20psf marble works as well as S$100psf marble. Only difference is aesthetics. My shopping continues and I don't have to make a decision until late this year. Would be glad to hear other opinions, or any leads for places with good deals on flooring - marble, granite and teak. :-)
  8. citygirl

    Haiku Fan

    I contacted the agent and their quote is S$1,100 for the composite model (black or white, long or short stem) and S$1,400 for the bamboo model (caramel or cocoa, long or short stem). Prices subject to GST and there is a delivery charge of S$40. Delivery and installation (no cable run) costs S$80. Currently, they are out of stock and delivery of the composite model is in October; the bamboo model in December. There is a no discount for group buy, but if your contractor or designer orders on your behalf, there is a 15% discount, which brings the cost to S$1,000.45 for the composite and S$1,273.30 for the bamboo, including GST. The distributor: Spectra Instruments Pte Ltd Tel: 6747 8857 Email: info@spectrainst.com My house is still under construction so I'll probably be needing it only early next year, so the stock availability works well for me. And I'll get my architect to purchase on my behalf, to get the 15% discount! Hope this helps!
  9. citygirl

    Haiku Fan

    Groupbuy would be nice. I need to get 7 ceiling fans and I've got my eyes on the Haiku!
  10. I think it is a very fair price. I am doing an A&A on my inter-terrace, 2.5 storeys and it is around one million with similar fittings, though no lift. Do share with us your rebuilding journey as you go along!
  11. Thank you so much! When work starts on my house, I hope to share its progress as well.
  12. What a fantastic idea. No drains in the house means fewer rodents. I am SO going to do that too!
  13. Truly an interesting blog with very helpful advice. Petunia, I really like your practical approach to the entire building process and agree that it's important to get the basics right, cos you can't change those easily. That too is my philosophy and I hope I can be as hands on as you were, going to your site twice a day! You mentioned in your blog that there was an occasion when you felt like selling the house, buying another one and going through the whole process again without repeating your mistakes. Could you share with us what mistakes you made? I am thankful that I did not appoint the same architect when I was in the process of looking. But your contractor sure looks good. I am sure he will be very busy over the next few years based on your recommendation! My entire rebuilding process seems to be moving at a far slower pace than everyone else. I believe I started just a little later than pantieileen, but it looks like hers is all done already! I have just finalised my drawings with my architect - the original one that I had contacted but with a fixed fee (thanks to your suggestion) - and together with my structural engineer and Quantity Surveyor, we will work to get BCA approval on my A&A. My architect estimates that I will only appoint my contractor in February 2012 and TOP isn't until March 2013. Still, I have been very comfortable with the people I am working with (as you have with Mr. Grizzly / Mr. Panda) and am very excited about how the house will turn out. Fingers crossed!
  14. Hi jastlp, can share the PE's contact via PM? I am looking for a PE and QS as well, but the cheapest I have found so far is S$15K and S$9K respectively. And mine is for a 2.5 storey reconstruction of an inter-terrace house.
  15. Thanks, leechoarui and kardtoon. Yes, the architect's fees are pretty high and I know I can get others at a lower fee, but we decided to go with it anyway as we really like the design he came up with. Besides, we reason that paying a good architect about S$20k - 40k more might work out in the long run for us as the architect is the one vendor who will stay with us throughout the entire process, helping us supervise all others and exacting high standards from all other vendors like the contractor. And based on advice from Petunia, we negotiated for a fixed fee instead of a percentage fee based on construction cost. This way, I have a better handle on what my total cost would come up to. The architect got three quotes each for the QS and PE and these were the lowest. But I remember Petunia had even lower so I thought I'd try others before I confirm these. So far, it is looking like my reconstruction (don't qualify for A&A as GFA increased by a lot and not totally rebuilding, ie. keeping foundations) will be in the region of S$1m all in, including fixtures, furnishings, carpentry...
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