No I haven’t dropped off the planet …. we’ve been building a house!
About 2 years ago my partner and I decided to make the big commitment and build a new house together. It took a year of designing and planning and a heap of money for consultants and council fees even before we could pour some concrete in the first pier hole.
We are very fortunate to be employing my partners brother as our builder. We got approval as Owner Builders so I am on site every day building along side bro and my partner helps out a lot when she has free days. We have a couple of handy mates too that have been helping when more hands are required.
So we kicked off in November 2017 and with a few weeks of breaks and holidays we are now at day 92 of work and we are getting pretty excited as the paint tins are being opened and floor edges being sanded.
We designed the house to bean affordable passive solar, low maintenance, well sealed and insulated with open plan living. Spaces have been designed to be easily changed with a view to a future with fewer people occupying the house. I used Google Sketchup to create a 3D model of the house to give us a good idea of the scale we wanted to achieve, then we took our drawings to a draftsman to render as an official plan acceptable for the Council planners, builder and engineer.
I had every intention of sourcing more than a few items second hand but planning rules and regulations make this really difficult now when compliance certificates are required for so much stuff just to pass certification. I blame insurance companies for this …. everything is so over regulated because no one wants to be liable for anything!
I’d like to make mention that very little waste from the build has gone to landfill. I set up a system from the start to separate all recyclable items, like soft plastic – which there is loads of in wrapping etc, cardboard and paper, steel and burnable timber off cuts for the wood heater. We have only filled one small household wheelie bin per week since we started building and I have been to the recycling depot with steel and plastics twice. It also makes such a difference when your builder takes time to do good calculations and orders materials to size so there is very little wastage.
So here’s a basic run down of the house elements.
Single storey House foot print 15.5m x 8.7m approx 135m2
Steel Post and timber beam (LVL) frame, Treated pine wall frames, Steel Colorbond Exterior
Double Glazed Thick Aluminium Sliding Windows and Doors, E-Glass in custom Windows
Reclaimed Tasmanian Oak floor, Plywood shadow-line ceiling, Gyprock walls
fully insulated walls, ceiling and underfloor.
Reclaimed timber bench tops in kitchen and bathroom
SolarOz 240L solar hotwater System, 2.5KwH Off grid solar power
Gravity Feed Water with instantaneous GAS backup hot water
NatureLoo composting toilet, all greywater going via a septic tank into absorption trenches.
north side pergola over clay pavers (seconds), with ornamental grape vine for shade in summer
Here are a few progress pics.