Tuesday, May 27, 2014

We have signed!

After years of looking for a builder countless display homes around Adelaide; we have finally settled on a small local builder whom roughly build's 30-40 homes a year.

Endeavour Quality Homes , is a small company located in Henley beach; and from simply word of mouth and its work in charities have managed to grow in size. Here i am sounding like an advert. They were suggested to us from a friend; and i myself went to school with the builder gave me the confidence to have a look and get a quote done.

Both my wife and i are very happy to get started; fingers crossed with council and the bank :)

Monday, May 26, 2014

magnesia alba

Bricks, they have been around forever. Used in roads, bridges and walls; sure we all know that but really in a house, typically brick veneer. They serve the role to clad the house, not keep the roof up. For me ive always wanted a material that served as cladding AND insulation. There is plenty of things on the market; and pending on what builder you go through, results in what gets used.

Five year's ago when i started planning for this house, the only 'common' construction walls were made from brick; and some builders hadn't heard of Hebel!/AAC. Its pretty common now to find a builder willing to use it as they see it as a reliable building source together with its acoustic properties and often fully rendered look.

Ive spent alot of time watching Grand Designs UK, seeing different products used and trialed. From straw bail to ICF (Insulated Concrete Form)  ahh how i wish i could afford ICF. But if i wanted any of that id have to build myself, or pay a premium for someone who's willing to risk building outside the square. ICF simply is the best formwork; its a concrete wall that's encased in foam to provide strength and insulation. Getting quotes of course, i came to sences and found something bit more affordable.

Ive chosen Magnesium Oxide Panels (Mgo Boards) its a medium weight board, similar to blue board with eps foam sandwiched in between. Mgo has proven its self world wide as a great product for its many qualities: fireproof, strength, ease of use, acoustic rating, mould proof, waterproof and contruction method. In the US its often used to replace all framing as a SiP (Structural Insulated Panel) increasing the speed of which a building is to lock-up.
Im not going that far; still wood frame construction but with the panels attached to the exterior of the house. This method has been used in Canada, NZ and now Australia. There is a number of different companies that sell the board here: Mgo Board, FAB Board, Modakboard  ill be going with the Mag Roc Panel

The end result should be a fully rendered house, with a very high R value

further reading:

We have some soundproofing going in between some of the noisy spaces of the house, im hoping this should help substantially; did a bit of research and found these products work well together. Again using the MgO boards together with fyrchek plasterboard

We were very lucky to find a builder whom wasn't afraid to use something out of spec; we have a local supplier: Chaplin Industries whom gets the boards in from China and sticks it together here.

A bit about us

My wife and i have always wanted to build our own home; we looked for years for the right thing, as it would of saved us lots of coin. However with sheer determination and saving we are in the process of getting started.
Our designer was recommended to us; and Travis did an amazing job. We had in the past had previous designs done before; but he really listened. I gave him 2 pages of stuff we wanted and a design i had come up with on my own. He asked us questions about how we are going to use the house, be it with the orientation of the block; what rooms were going to get used the most, flow of the house. The first draft was slightly too big; however we were both in love with it and began to quote on that after a few changes.

Our shortlist was three volume builders, and two project builders. We knew where we stood after the first quotes came back, and we almost gave up the idea of building with a project builder; simply on cost. But after much deliberation there is simply things that a personal project builder can give you that a larger "here's a cheque, build my house" builder does.

Its not that we couldn't find a standard that was right, i've just always mistrusted sales reps over things as complicated as a house. Things will come up; someone will make a mistake; its how they rectify it and their communication to you, you want transparency. You need only to look around the homeone forum, or some building inspector pages to see the horror stories.

Our design is huge, i cant deny it. However we aren't going to move and looking to the future; making space for everything we should need. Room for kids, friends and entertaining. Not to mention im only going to get one shot at this so we have tried to plan for long term. Including lower floor access via wheelchair: we intend to look after mum when she cant herself one day.

I have included our design on the right for you to look over, follow us on our journey