Home Sweet Home: Building Your Kiwi Dream Home - 01/07/2015

Calling all Kiwis: if you love a challenging project then build a house! The “mother” of all projects, building your own house is a dream-come-true for many New Zealanders. But of course, with a project this big there are a lot of things to consider and some days the amount of work can feel overwhelming. With a little organisation and some thoughtful planning your dream home won’t become the stuff of nightmares.

Build it Right

Did you know that when you’re considering building your own house you’ve got more to think about than layout and room size? These days with smart homes a real possibility, it’s just as easy for New Zealanders to build homes that are energy efficient. Homes that are energy efficient will save you money every day, are more comfortable to live in, and will have a higher re-sale value when you’re thinking about moving on. Of course building an energy efficient house costs more money during the initial spend, but consider it an investment. If you build a house with the right heating, ventilation and insulation, you’re investing in the future value of your house. Smart homes are smart financial moves.

Renovate or Build: Which is Best?

Some of us don’t have the luxury of being able to build our homes from scratch. Sometimes we have to make compromises by renovating parts of our homes instead of demolishing them and starting over. As a nation, Kiwis love to buy “doer-uppers” because we love renovating! Just look at all of our building mega-warehouses like Bunnings and Mitre10. The right renovations have the ability to transform average homes into showstoppers with an added bonus: PROFIT. But there’s a catch. When you’re renovating your house you don’t want to overcapitalise and end up with a mortgage you can’t afford. Renovate, but renovate wisely. Before you begin any renovations, consider how much value it will add. New kitchens and bathrooms always add value to a house, but even more important is the level of comfort a house offers. You’re only going to get a high level of comfort from the proper heating, insulation and ventilation.

Building NZ Home

Buying vs Building

Kiwis are avid homeowners – most of us dream of owning our own homes from a young age. We feel like we’ve “made it” when we purchase our first home and it truly is an accomplishment to be proud of. So, which is more affordable – buying or building? Judging by the amount of housing consents approved in the last year, you could say that more Kiwis are building because it’s a sure-fire way to own a house. Each choice has pros and cons – it’s really up to you which path you choose. When you’re looking to build, keep in mind that you’re going to be paying for that land! And your architect comes with a hefty price tag as well as permits and consents. Then there are the builders, electricians and plumbers you need to factor in. It’s not hard to image the cost getting out of control – but if you’ve got the disposable income, or the handy nest-egg, then why not build the house of your dreams?!

builder

Insulation Nation

Insulation has become a bit of a buzz-word in New Zealand, ever since the government scheme was introduced a few years back. If you haven’t noticed, New Zealand houses are cold as! A lot of our houses were built before insulation standards came into effect. Whether you’re building or renovating, insulation for your home should be one of your main priorities. Proper insulation will help you maintain the best temperatures for your health and comfort – and your family’s.

There have been a lot of stories in the news about how a cold, damp home can adversely affect your family’s health. It’s simple: proper insulation reduces the transfer of heat via a barrier. The measure of insulation is called an R-value, which refers to a product’s resistance to heat flow. The higher your R-value, the more effective the insulation is in resisting heat transfer and the warmer your house. When you’re insulating your house you can ask for higher R-values for more comfort and bigger savings on heating. Whatever extra cost you incur from installing better insulation will be offset by huge savings in energy bills!

As many as 600,000 New Zealand houses have insufficient ceiling or under-floor insulation. Don’t become part of these stats by insulating the following areas of your home:

  • ceiling
  • underfloor
  • walls
  • windows

Baby, it’s Cold Inside

In addition to having the proper insulation, you’ve got to make sure that you have excellent heating in your house. The average household air temperature should be between 20 and 24°C, and it shouldn’t drop below 18°C. Unfortunately, a lot of New Zealand homes aren’t heated well, leading to problems with mould and serious health problems for the inhabitants. Keeping your house warm reduces the build-up of moisture and any health risks. When houses are cold, pre-existing health conditions such as asthma are worse and your family’s resistance to infectious diseases is lower.

When you’re considering about heating systems for your new home, you need to consider the costs, how many rooms you’re planning on heating, and ventilation and airflow.

Are you Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot?

There are the standard gas heaters that are good at taking the chill out of the air, but they also add a lot of moisture to your environment. And then you’ve got electric fan heaters that you can buy on the cheap, but you’ll be spending a small fortune running them! 

Woodburners and fireplaces are relatively inefficient as a large percentage of your heat goes up the flue or chimney. Other heating is necessary to reach areas away from the fire, which sort of defeats the purpose of using them to heat your entire house!

Heat pumps are a popular choice as they’re relatively easy to install, and very affordable to run. They also act as a cooling system in the summertime. Talking to the right people will help you decide on the right heating for your home, so get in touch to find about our heating range!

Water Quality & Filtration

Often one of the last things home buyers or builders think about is the quality of water available. If you’re building you’ve got to make sure that you’re building in an area with truly clean water. Installing a water filtering system is great for your peace of mind if you’re concerned about the water quality in your area.

New Zealand has a wonderful reputation as being Clean and Green, but how well do we know our water? All sources of water contain some level of contamination. Contaminants can range from naturally occurring minerals to man-made chemicals and by-products. These contaminant levels are probably not high enough to cause immediate sickness but are likely to cause chronic health effects.

watertap

Have a look at what you could have lurking in your water:

  • Microbial Pathogens
  • Organics – faecal matter
  • Inorganics – Toxic metals such as arsenic, barium, chromium, lead, mercury, and more
  • Trihalomethanes:by-products formed when chlorine in treated drinking water combines with naturally occurring organic matter.
  • Pesticides, herbicides, insecticides and fungicides
  • Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs), which include solvents, degreasers, and gasoline additives

Only a few of the contaminants we’ve listed above are regulated by drinking water standards. This proves our point: water filtration is of the utmost importance to protect you and your family from the wide range of contaminants in your water source. Filtered water will help you in the following ways:

  • Extended life of water using appliances
  • Softened water with scale free showers
  • Softer and longer lasting clothing
  • Healthier skin and hair

Water from a municipal source is treated, but it still exposes your home to a handful of contaminants. A whole house system provides you with extra protection in every outlet of your home.

Are you discouraged by the amount of factors you need to consider when building, buying or even renovating your home? Don’t fret: there are plenty of professionals here to help you! Get in touch with our team – we’ll be able to guide you through your ventilation, heating and water filtration needs. And don’t worry about breaking the bank: remember, everything we do will add value to your home. Let’s talk!

Further Reading:

http://www.energywise.govt.nz/

https://www.consumer.org.nz/topics/building-a-new-home

https://www.newzealandnow.govt.nz/living-in-nz/housing/buying-building

http://www.building.govt.nz/UserFiles/File/Publications/Building/consumer/home-buyers.pdf