If you thought the most exciting stage of construction was the frame stage, well this stage gets even better. The house starts to take shape. The only problem with this stage is that you may find yourself locked out of the house once the exterior walls are built and exterior doors are installed. So you won’t be able to inspect it after hours without the site supervisor’s permission. This is quite unlike the previous stages where you could enter the site anytime after hours without anything stopping you (although technically, you are not allowed to due to OH&S concerns and insurance restrictions).
Here’s a run down of what happens during the lock up stage.
Building Wrap: It’s literally that! The house gets wrapped up in a plastic material (known as Sisalation), which helps to protect the interior and insulation during bricklaying.
Sisalation protects the building, retains insulation and prevent draughts. Through a combination of weep holes in the brick work, it also allows moisture vapour to escape from the building instead of entering wall cavities, preventing mould and timber rot.
Installation of Windows: Window frames will be attached to the timber frame. Later on, bricks are laid and built against the window frames and tied in. It’s worth noting that window frames here are quite unlike those in Singapore. The windows do not run on wheels. It is also impossible to attach interior window grilles (which are usually fixed and not openable anyway).
Brickwork: This is the stage where the brickwork will be done. If you have chosen other exterior wall cladding materials, this is the stage where most of it will get installed. For example, fibre cement blocks/cladding (which may be rendered over later), timber cladding, vinyl weatherboards, Colorbond cladding, etc.
Do note that render is usually applied later in the construction process when everything is almost complete, to avoid stains or damage to it. Some builders use mixed bricks for constructing walls that will be rendered.
Attach fascia boards, gutters & downpipes: When theexterior walls are completed, fascia boards, gutters and downpipes are fitted. Sometimes downpipes may be fitted later, so don’t panic if this is done later. These items will not be painted later on as they come already powder-coated in the colours you have picked, so if they are incorrect, you should let your site supervisor know.
Install Doors: Finally, this is when you get well and thoroughly locked out of the house, ie. lock up stage is completed. Make sure that the right doors have been installed. I have heard of instances where builders put in temporary doors in lieu of the expensive entrance doors until much later, to avoid theft and damage. Be aware that the doors come pre-primed for painting, and will be in a bright greenish colour. However, if you have selected timber doors that will be stained, then they would in the natural timber colour instead of green and they will be stained later on.