getting your house build/reno contract right is important


This item on the TV3/Newshub bulletin last night dealt with the problems that a couple building a new house had with their building contractor who kept wanting more money to finish the house. Although there was prima facie a fixed priced agreement at the outset, the one-page contract had a line which in effect said “if the project takes longer than expected, there will be extra charges.”  Needless to say, that happened, and the total extra demanded increased the original price by about 50% — the last $55,000 demand was refused and the builder walked off the job.

This aspect is sure to be important for the thousands of people building new houses in the steadily growing number of Waikanae subdivisions.

The line mentioned above ought to be a red flag that should have been rejected, and according to the HBOANZ guy who was interviewed on the item, these types of contract are usually provided by the contractor and for the contractor’s benefit.

About 5 years ago we were organising a kitchen reno with a firm in Paraparaumu involving a budget of about $36,000; although we had no reason to doubt the firm’s competence and reliability, its sloppy and poorly worded contract was unacceptable and we had to insist, among other things, that it be a lot more specific about what was included and what was not.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has some useful info on its website here

‘Stary Smokovec’

Stary Smokovec

The name we’ve given to this ceramic piece that we bought from Murray Hopping of Rosebank Grove in Waikanae during the Arts Trail.

It is designed as a holder of incense sticks and mosquito repellent which get burnt and the smoke comes out of the nostrils… 🙂

Our name is from a township (the c is pronounced ‘ts’) on the Slovak side of the Tatra Mountains which means “Old Dragon’ (in Polish spelt Stary Smokowiecz).

And while on the subject of old dragons, the only negative of the Arts Trail was a ‘KCDC backroom type’ in charge of a venue just south of the river who would benefit from a few lessons in the school of common sense…

Cameo Kiwi Christmas art

Cameo Xmas

Cameo Reinkiwi

Yes, Christmas isn’t far away.  Painted by Cath Chittenden on the window of the Cameo Drop-In Centre, these show a Santa Kiwi and a Reinkiwi, as distinct from a Reindeer 🙂

And those who haven’t visited the centre for a little while will notice the inside walls have been repainted in a colour very similar to our blog’s wallpaper. 🙂  (If you’ve wondered, it in turn is the colour we repainted our master bedroom with in 2006 as we couldn’t stand the lurid pink it had when we bought the house.  Later we extended it to the corridors downstairs and upstairs.)

events billboards

Waiky events billboards

This spot near the Te Moana Road / Karu Crescent intersection is popular for billboards although we have doubts about how many actually see them there, only those exiting Marae Lane south are likely to.

The first up of these events shown is the Kapiti Coast Festival on Saturday in Paraparaumu, at the Kapiti Primary School, cnr of Kapiti Road and Rimu Road.

The Blind Eye theatre piece is also in Paraparaumu: at the Kapiti Playhouse at 7 Ruahine Street.


Dog owners: Seven Simple Steps to Share the Beach — Conservation blog

By Laura Boren, dog owner and Marine Science Advisor. The days will be starting to get longer, and more people will be hitting the beach. Following on from my series of blogs, me and my dog-buddy Mack are back to give dog owners some easy tips for managing dogs in coastal environments. New Zealand beaches are […]

via Dog owners: Seven Simple Steps to Share the Beach — Conservation blog

the railway bridge piers get more arty

Waiky bridge pier art

Theo Arraj has been adding to the paintings on the piers — we think he’s in the pic putting the finishing touches to the very new tuatara/’life is but a dream.’

We also noted this bird art (a Royal spoonbill we think) on a big pipe under the road bridge, the standpoint of the top photo — likewise by Theo?

Waiky Bridge pipe art


The boom that begot tragedy in Paradise, California


Fortunately, Waikanae has a wet climate; the average annual 55 inches or 1,400 mm mentioned in the L.A. Times article below is about the same that we get and this year’s rainfall so far is right on average.  Still, the KCDC stores none of it with a dam and when summer comes around and things dry up….

“This is a wet place by California standards. It averages about 55 inches of rain a year, thanks to its prime location in the verdant foothills of the Sierra Nevada, which wrings rain out of Pacific storms…

When Greg Bolin arrived in Paradise in 1967, the Sierra Nevada foothill town was too small to require traffic lights. It felt unplanned and slightly spontaneous. Rustic wood-sided cabins sprouted up along winding, often narrow roads and cul-de-sacs. It was the kind of place you could live in for decades and still not know all its secrets. “It just kind of evolved over the years,” said Bolin, the town’s vice mayor and also a builder.

“Was it something I would design? No, not at all. It was something we had to live with.”

Bolin was part of the mass migration four decades ago that ultimately doomed the Sierra ridge town. Everyone wanted to live in Paradise. When a massive wildfire swept through its streets on Thursday, residents found themselves trapped by bumper-to-bumper traffic as they tried to flee.

To date 42 people on the ridge are confirmed dead, and more than half the dwellings of Paradise are gone. Still burning and uncontrolled, whipped by winds, the fire that began five days ago on Camp Road is already the worst wildfire disaster in California history. The irony is that Paradise was one of the few Sierra slope towns built in a tinderbox that tried to change its fate. Los Angeles Times

Vicious cycle: This month’s firestorms come as California continues to see much less rain than it used to get. That makes an already dangerous situation much worse. Los Angeles Times