The soil tests are done and the tender was presented to us on 12th October. I went into the tender presentation session knowing that I won’t be singing on the day as I wanted to go through each of the items in detail. The one thing that took us by surprise was the slab. Now, the soil test came back fine and we have M class soil which is great but due to the nature of the fall to the land, Henley indicated that we would need at least 1.2 meter retaining walls at the back of the house to level the dirt to suit a waffle pod slab. The issue here is, the developer doesn’t allow retaining walls above 1.0 meter and with the amount of retaining walls that we need to level out our land it ain’t going to be cheap. Henley hence proposed a deepened rebate raft slab (their preferred slab in the past) which meets both the developer’s requirements and is lower cost than the waffle pod slab. The only concern here is that it might affect the energy rating of the house and as a builder, Henley has to build houses that meet the minimum 6-star energy requirement. As much as concrete has high thermal capacity, having it in direct contact with the earth reduces the insulation efficiency versus the waffle pods which has bigger vapor barriers which can be up to 10 mm – this translates to 3.6 times more insulation in winter. Most parts of the house has timber laminate flooring which according to Henley would help in keeping energy rating high. On top of that, raft slabs are better suited for sloping sites so we’re happy to proceed with this.
Anyways, due to the fall on the land Henley is providing us with a deepened rebate raft slab (picture on upper left corner) which will be stepped down from the front of the house at three stages compared to flat slabs. This would mean upon completion we would have at least a 1.2 meter stepdown from the house to the backyard and 0.5 meter step down from garage to the backyard. The back doors, due to safety requirements, will be rendered un-openable until after handover. Not absolutely sure how this will be done but we are definitely going to clarify – I just hope they won’t be bolting the doors shut. I personally feel the fall will provide a bit of charater to the backyard – currently thinking of timber decking with stairs. We hope to sign the tender this week after Henley gets back to us with the revised tender – we took a couple of items out due to the siting of the house, namely the grand alfresco as we feel this would provide more of an open space to the back of the house.