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  Reply # 1107460 13-Aug-2014 09:20
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Hmm I need to bookmark this thread

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  Reply # 1107487 13-Aug-2014 10:20
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I would suggest shut-off valves at all sinks and toilets. Some will argue against? But it is nice to have them when the wife is trying to do house work and your trying to repair something.

Insulate/sound proof the internal walls to the TV room and the Master Bedroom (if you have kids...you might want to do it to theirs as well). It is worth it! You can watch your TV/movie with the nice sound system and not worry about waking up the house or your wife in the bedroom.

Automatic on/off timer switches for the heated towel rails. Timers on the extraction fans in the shower rooms (In Canada - we use to have them on a turn dial - 10 min to 2 hrs).

If the house has breath holes around the base of the house (like our Golden Home does). Going to need some kind of screen to keep the mice out. Otherwise the mice go in these breath holes and up the walls to the ceiling.

Some have mentioned plugs --- plugs at the corners of the room. I think 4 to 6 plugs to a room is the norm in Canada. There are so many walls in this Golden Home I wish had plugs. Without them it is very limiting on how I might like to lay a room out. So many times I have thought about doing this or doing that to only figure --- damn I can't ...there isn't a plug there!

And if you really want some extra storage space...put a basement in lol

Almost forgot - some kind of leaf guard for your rain gutters. Keeps them clean and keeps the birds out (at our place - the birds go to the gutters, up in under to the roof and build nests).


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  Reply # 1107488 13-Aug-2014 10:28
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Think carefully about placement of your water cylinder/infinity heater - ours is right next to the main bathroom which means the shower in there warms up in seconds. Unfortunately, the kitchen is at the other end of the house and the tap there takes the best part of a minute and wastes probably 5-6 litres of hot water every time. I'd rather the shower take longer to warm up once or twice a day than the kitchen sink probably 15-30 times a day.

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  Reply # 1107504 13-Aug-2014 11:00
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BlueShift: Think carefully about placement of your water cylinder/infinity heater - ours is right next to the main bathroom which means the shower in there warms up in seconds. Unfortunately, the kitchen is at the other end of the house and the tap there takes the best part of a minute and wastes probably 5-6 litres of hot water every time. I'd rather the shower take longer to warm up once or twice a day than the kitchen sink probably 15-30 times a day.


I second this. Funny though, the advice I had from a plumber was to ensure that that it was closer to the shower because of the time it takes for it to warm up. My thinking is the kitchen sink tap gets more on/off work than the shower does.

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  Reply # 1107735 13-Aug-2014 15:35
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A lot of this information is very good so certainly take note. However a lot of it is also very fine scaled. 

Do you have a site you want to build on? Do you want to do any of the building yourself? 

A package builder like Golden Homes et al. will be able to customise any plan they have (within reason) but might not be so keen on having you build it as you are not part of their crew. As such you might have to sign some altered contracts to dissolve any responsibility with the design firm due to the unknown level of your building abilities. 

If you aren't wanting to physically build it yourself then disregard that. 

I typically see clients come in the door and they already have a site they like, we then talk about what their needs are (3 bed, 2car, 2 bath, integrated lounge/dining/kitchen) and the priority they place on each. For some clients we have used a simple excel spreadsheet to help determine what configuration they really want more. To do this we list each option they want in a configuration (3 bed, 2 bath, 2 car etc) and then rank each on a linear scale (eg 1-10) and then each component is given a rating based on the desire they have for that component. You can then multiply the ranking by the rating and add up the total. Do this to a number of different options and it starts to show which things are more important. 

We'd then do a sketch plan of the desired configuration and develop it with a series of meetings to get to a point where we can start construction drawings. Throughout these meetings we would have a 3D digital model (sometimes physical) which we use to help discuss the design. Spec builders will have their plan books which you can look at and there will be limited configuration in materials etc as they don't have any details other than a standard set they use for all buildings. They might allow to draw some new ones, but don't hold your breath if you want to use a material they don't showcase. You would need to have a good idea of your chosen fittings here but not necessarily have them locked in stone. 

Once through the council building consent process (and any others that might be required) the project would be tendered to builders and one chosen. A spec builder has their own crew and would not tender it out but would indicate the costs earlier in the process. There are different types of contracts you can sign. Guaranteed Maximum Price being one which sounds like it would be what you would like. This would guarantee the final price... assuming you don't change your mind at all and create variations. 

Variations in the contract are the biggest factors which alter the cost. Hands down. Do not change your mind. There will be some things which you might have no control over (price fluctuations over time, availability of appliances etc) but for the most part, make sure you plan ahead. 

The NZIA supplies a Guide to Architects Services and I can send you a guide to architects fees if you would like also. 

Architects will cost more. Architects will give you a more personalised product. Architects don't work for everyone. I am an architect. 

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  Reply # 1107758 13-Aug-2014 16:16
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Disrespective: 

Variations in the contract are the biggest factors which alter the cost. Hands down. Do not change your mind. There will be some things which you might have no control over (price fluctuations over time, availability of appliances etc) but for the most part, make sure you plan ahead. 


Yes, that is why it is best to make sure the design is 100% right initially. Any variation budget fo 1k minium, it is one area builders can claw back costs and it allow higher margins. The other thing is making sure that you have everything decided, rather than just allowing for a PC sum. The PC sum will likely just be for the lowest spec, eg for types of door or door handles, and you will likely want medium spec. So the more detail that is specified, the better.

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  Reply # 1107774 13-Aug-2014 16:44
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BlueShift: Think carefully about placement of your water cylinder/infinity heater - ours is right next to the main bathroom which means the shower in there warms up in seconds. Unfortunately, the kitchen is at the other end of the house and the tap there takes the best part of a minute and wastes probably 5-6 litres of hot water every time. I'd rather the shower take longer to warm up once or twice a day than the kitchen sink probably 15-30 times a day.

 

Some houses maybe better with two units.  With hot water cylinders you can have a system which has a coil which keeps the water in the pipes hot. Can't remember what it is  called, but it is for situation where you have the source a long distance from an outlet.
With an architect you can explorer the different options and solutions a lot more, than with building companies who have a plan book.

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  Reply # 1107777 13-Aug-2014 16:54
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A few pet things I would want when building new:

At least two heatpumps or a ducted system.

A manual operated gas fire for atmosphere when wanted and instant heat on a freezing night.

Proper air to air heat recovery ventilation and also waste hot water heat recovery whether you have instant or storage heating.

Tripple glazing.

Ethernet jack in every room.

Attic space to store stuff with pull down steps or upstairs bedrooms (more efficent use of space without wasting land area).

Internal garage... I miss my last one.

A small spare room to do whatever I feel like with afterwards.

A nice quiet LPG automatic transfer generator for when the power's out.

Those are my must haves.  The living room, should be at one end of the house not in the middle. That way entertaining and sleeping can coexist more.

If you have kids, at least two bathrooms.

A tiled roof that doesn't sound like a jet engine when it hails.






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  Reply # 1107805 13-Aug-2014 17:19
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Keyed alike locks on all external doors and windows.

Lights in all cupboards.




Whatifthespacekeyhadneverbeeninvented?


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  Reply # 1107863 13-Aug-2014 18:00
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One thing you are unlikely to get with without using a designer, is that your should use passive solar heating where you can. That is orientating the house north and having large windows with overhangs, so the winter sun heats the interior slab (with tiles or honed concrte floor). It can save a lot on heating. The overhand is needed otherwise the house will overheat in summer. It is free energy from the sun, and it works. Also having a lot of thermal mass inside the house can prevent large swings in temperature.

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  Reply # 1107961 13-Aug-2014 21:23
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We had our place built 5 years ago and still love it.

Some responses to your queries and some other comments:

A. Group Builders:

 

     

  1. We checked out numerous group builders and pulled ideas / plans etc from these. (and the Home Shows and the Design Center in Parnell)
  2. I also tried to get pricing information to get a cost / m2 comparison - across the various builders / plans. (this needs to be done in conjunction with a thorough review of their std inclusions as it does vary.)
  3. We managed to find a group builder who was on the knee of the curve in terms of cost / m2, who also happened to have some plans that were very close to what we wanted AND their show home finish was right up there too. (IMO if the show homes are substandard - their builds can only be worse.) (Note: The builder we chose went bust 2 years after our build as many did in 2011...)
  4. We then had the plans modified to suit by them ie. minor changes = minimal additional cost.
  5. I was on site on average 3 times per week. I noted what they were doing. Took photos of key works - incl cables etc before close in and queried everything that didn't look right.
  6. I was in almost daily contact with the PM - ensuring progress and to make sure we were getting what we were paying for.

 

Notes:

 

     

  1. An architect will give you a bespoke outcome but they will cost more - so this is up to you.
  2. Likewise a contract draughtsman could likely provide plans / specs / schedules etc for you to get building consent and pricing - and you could then secure either a builder or self manage.
  3. Self manage is IMO a dangerous route for a novice as building is a complex game and the novice will likely get tripped up and this could end up costing more. Furthermore group builders can get materials at cheaper rates. And the process of selecting/securing quality tradies and sequencing their works for efficient delivery is well beyond most people. You may save some cash - but the risks of a blowout both in time and $ are higher.

 


B. Contracts:

 

     

  1. Standard Build Company Contracts:

     

       

    1. Will often not have a contract duration or end date / or Liquidated damages - Insist on both of them to keep them to programme.
    2. Tend to have loads of Provisional Sums - I took the time to detail and negotiate these out to give price certainty.
    3. They also tend to on charge items that you could supply yourself at lower cost e.g. we supplied bamboo flooring, carpets, light fittings, log burner - and by doing so got what we wanted at a lower cost the they would have supplied them at. (Do watch out that your installs/tradies don't delay or adversely affect the main builder though as this will cost you.)

     

  2. Variations after works commence - ARE TO BE AVOIDED LIKE THE PLAGUE. As the changes / rework and knock on effects can be very expensive. We had none because we detailed everything before we signed up. This took a couple of months - but was worth  it.
  3. Read and understand your contract and plans. Know what you have paid for and ensure you get it.
  4. The builder did try some things on - e.g. we need to move the house northward - thereby reducing north facing lawn - no you will not / you need downpipes right by your patio doors - no I don't they are ugly / you need to fence the retaining wall - no I don't. I stuck to my guns as I was right and did not need to compromise on these matters as they would have either compromised the final build and were only being suggested to make life easier for them + the odd variation here and there. My point...... if you are right - stick to your guns - it is YOUR home after all.
  5. Ensure that you have all documents / consents / insurances in place.
  6. Ensure progress payments are justified and that they are not claiming too much too early. (This should be set out in a payment schedule and if you are borrowing to build the bank will likely have requirements that need to be met too - progress valuations etc.)
  7. Ensure you have reserve budget - just in case - ie. do not commit 100% of your finances on day one.
  8. Make sure you get the CCC before release of the final payment.

 



C. Final Build Price:

Because of the above effort put into detailing / specifying / removing unknowns and driving their performance - our build came in pretty much bang on budget. I sh&t you not.

(Note: I am a Civil Engineer / Project Manager with 20+ years experience - so I was able to use these skills and exp to protect our interests and drive the builders PM. If you do or you have a family member / friend with related build skills - do seek their support and advice.)


D. Insulation and Heating:

 

     

  1. Double glazed even though we didn't need to in 2009.
  2. Maximised windows on the north side for passive heating.
  3. Had wider eaves built on the west side to provide shading in summer / but still allow winter sun in.
  4. We are on roof water - we installed 2 underground concrete tanks - we have had 5 summers incl 3 droughts and have never had to buy water.
  5. Installed to Zone 3 insulation level ie. Sth Island / Taupo for entire house - even though we are in Auckland. Incl garage.
  6. Installed noiseline and sound proofing to all bedrooms + solid core doors with acoustic seals.
  7. Wood burner for heating and effect (16 kW) vs 4 kW gas fire ...pffft.

 

D. Electrical / Data / Power / TV:

 

     

  1. Think about how you want to live / where your entertainment zones may be / and put in more "stuff" then you think you will need.
  2. Loads of power points - everywhere.
  3. Ph / Data / TV - to every room. (Some rooms e.g. family room / dining has 2 possible locations for TV / computer etc. to provide flexibility in the future.)
  4. Designated wardrobe in study as a media cupboard so ran all data back to there + data + multiple power points. This is now the server cupboard.
  5. Prewired the lounge for 5.1 HT - incl hard point in ceiling for the projector and had projector screen installed at build time.
  6. Prewired out door speakers for the patio - terminating in speaker blocks and running to the family room media set up.
  7. Installed external power points for future spa / out door power tools etc.
  8. Installed switches and cable runs for future outdoor lighting.
  9. Lighting - we went for halogens or flush mount  - for quality of the light / aesthetics and to avoid losing heat through other options eg. downlights.  : /
  10. Note: Solar heating and power was not cost effective for us in terms of a NPV analysis in 2009 - I suspect this is still the case for us, but the $ are changing.

 



Ok...I think that's it : ) hope something is of assistance.

Cheers

Ed

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  Reply # 1107991 13-Aug-2014 22:09
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Just wondering what flush mount light fittings you used? I have yet to find any I like. I agree regarding downlighters and heat loss, although LED technology may now get around this, with some that can be insulated over.

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  Reply # 1107996 13-Aug-2014 22:16
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Great thread. Bookmarked it. Bought a section and will be looking at building on it from early next year. Good recommendations so far. I am writing down do and don't as well from the posts in this thread. Will probe go with an architect for design and go from there with some one like Jenian Homes or David Read in Hamilton.




Do whatever you want to do man.

  

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  Reply # 1108009 13-Aug-2014 22:55
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kiwirock:
At least two heatpumps or a ducted system.

Proper air to air heat recovery ventilation and also waste hot water heat recovery whether you have instant or storage heating.

Tripple glazing.









I would suggest investigating underfloor heating using waterpipes that are heated by a heat pump.

Also using natural stack ventilation can total eliminate the need for a mechanical ventilation system.

Triple glazing is incrediably expensive in NZ. I would instead put that money into super insualtion the walls and roof, and thermal curtains, as you should get a better cost benefit.

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  Reply # 1108024 14-Aug-2014 00:22
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Don't use underfloor heating as your main heat source unless you have poor solar gain. Otherwise you will have annoying big temperature variances in your house. And it will waste energy. And if you want to use gas for underfloor heating get a proper condensing boiler instead of an infinity. Much more efficient.

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