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8 posts

Wannabe Geek


  # 1378604 2-Sep-2015 22:00
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@ mikebailsI used Fowler homes, and yes I can say that I do recommend them, but if I had a choice (due to finance) I would not use any of the "group housing companies" (e.g. GJ Gardiner, Jennian or any of the rest).
In my view the best value for money is still getting a good builder directly (remember the housing companies just sub it out to individual builders and ad 10~15% on top).

All in all my build was on-time and $80K under budget, but that was because I did a lot of work myself.
The original valuation (off the plans) was $540K and construction price was $390K.
Final valuation was $600K and construction price was $310K

That said I really did A-LOT of work myself.

5385 posts

Uber Geek
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  # 1378971 3-Sep-2015 12:05
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Brain dump follows

Architects ...

I've worked with quite a few architects on several commercial buildings.

A good architect is superbly awesome, and will deliver you the home you want while saving you money.

A poor architect thinks they are an artist and the client (read patron) is simply a source of funds enabling them express their creative vision.  A trained monkey would be both more economical and more useful than a poor architect.  A good architect will start by asking you questions.  

Make sure your architect treats your budget as a hard line and 'gets' what you want. 

If they are giving you design suggestions at the first meeting walk away.  If you don't click at the first meeting walk away.  If they don't visit the site and figure out where the sun will be in relation to a building walk away.

Make sure they think about how materials will change over time ... 

An architecturally designed batch (in a high sunshine hours location) I regularly stay in was built around exposed solid timber pillars that are north facing with full sun exposure on one side.  It's an clever, beautiful, simple, design ... but the house slowly pulled itself apart as the pillars (entirely predictably) warped in the sun, cracking windows and creating gaps in the roof.  They had to be replaced with laminated timber.

Layout ...

Think hard about how much room you will need for each space to function.  Typically undersized areas include:

Kitchens  - how many people will be in there at once; can you open the dishwasher and the drawers/cupboards the dishes go in at the same time; how much room do you need to store stuff to avoid cluttering your benches; where will you store your cake mixer/slow cooker when not in use; Does the extractor service the oven as well as the hob - should it?

Dining rooms - is there ample room for a table with four/six/eight chairs pulled out? 

WIWs - how much room to store your and HER clothes/shoes etc.  We have 4 x 2m - it is inadequate, I am lucky to have 1/3 of the space.  Is there enough space for long items like overcoats dresses -  in our WIW the shorter sections are not high enough and an XL business shirt hangs onto the carpet (this makes vacuuming a pain) yet we have space above the shelving that is simply wasted. 

Storage, storage, storage ...

Often overlooked items include a hallway cupboard for long coats; shoe storage; large hobby equipment (bikes, kayaks,fishing rods, surfboards, skis); garden equipment; mops etc; space for drying clothes on racks; linen cupboard; rubbish bin storage somewhere that won't stink the house/garage out;

Glass ...

Be careful how much glass you have.  Even the best double glazing has a poor R-value. 

A lovely, architecturally designed home I regularly visit (about 5 years old) has panoramic views and takes advantage of these with lots of very high rated double glazing - thermally broken joinery, e-glass, inert gas fill etc etc.  Despite a high capacity modern heat pump and floor to ceiling thermal curtains; it's un-heatable if the outside temperature is below 10C.  To give the architect credit, the eaves are perfectly designed to admit sun in winter but keep it out in summer.

Fitout ...

Don't skimp on fitout. 

Cheapo kitchen and bathroom fittings in an otherwise nice house look hideous.

As a GZ'r I assume you are all over you data cabling hubs etc, and have the TV positioned appropriately.

Make sure you have plenty of electrical outlets. You need them in odd places - I wish we had some in our WIW to charge my shaver.

Lighting - what tasks will you perform where, what sort of lighting is required where will you control it from?



Garage ...

Think two large cars plus storage, with room left to open doors and still walk behind, in front of, between cars.

Do you want a workshop?  If yes add more space, and think about whether you want it to be separate space for comfort or for containing dust or whatever.

Beams ...

Beams for large ceiling spans (garages, living areas etc) are adequately-specified by engineers but maybe only just.  In my observation they often support the house but don't prevent small movements that crack gib/tiles, crowd doors etc.




Mike

 
 
 
 


971 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  # 1381528 8-Sep-2015 08:15
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MikeAqua:

Glass ...

Be careful how much glass you have.  Even the best double glazing has a poor R-value. 

A lovely, architecturally designed home I regularly visit (about 5 years old) has panoramic views and takes advantage of these with lots of very high rated double glazing - thermally broken joinery, e-glass, inert gas fill etc etc.  Despite a high capacity modern heat pump and floor to ceiling thermal curtains; it's un-heatable if the outside temperature is below 10C.  To give the architect credit, the eaves are perfectly designed to admit sun in winter but keep it out in summer.

 

 


What you describe must be very common with architecturally designed houses in New Zealand. The double glazing in that house is probably no better than an uninsulated wall, R0.6.

They should go heavy on the thermal curtains by sewing multiple layers with on the back and installing pelmets as a cheap fix.

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