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Wannabe Geek


Topic # 239949 12-Aug-2018 18:00
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I have just started the design of two-story duplex, each 80msq, in Wellington. While seeking to maximise our long-term rental return, I want to build houses that tenants will want to stay in. I will be using SIP floors (parking and storage under one unit), (external) walls and roof. I am now researching windows and would appreciate advice about the best "thermally efficient" value for money solutions. The site is sunny, north facing, gently sloped and, for Wellington, only a high wind zone. 

Starting site plan at https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B1SdA-vKLONwVjVDdVZQVEdSY0MxS1RfQ2MydjVzdjByVnNn. We also own the other three houses partially shown on the drawing, one being the original house and the other two steel SIPs from Quick Build Homes.

All advice appreciated and I am happy to chase up leads and readings.


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Master Geek
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  Reply # 2072217 12-Aug-2018 18:05
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Anything but aluminium, unless it's aluminium with a thermal break, or aluminium external frame and wooden internal frame. Probably the best solution is uPVC frames, which are available in NZ but quite expensive due to low uptake.

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  Reply # 2072230 12-Aug-2018 18:37
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uPvc costs about the same as thermally broken aluminium. There are at least three manufacturers, we used ThermalFrame, who have good products and acceptable service, but I'd use your own installer.

Not sure about price / value compared with other options. If you're building new I wonder if you could import standard size units from the UK, where they're a lot cheaper than NZ.




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  Reply # 2072238 12-Aug-2018 18:50
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When we had uPVC installed about 2 1/2 years ago it was considerably cheaper than Aluminium.

 

http://homerit.co.nz/

 

Contact them, they may have an agent in Wellington.

 

John





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  Reply # 2072239 12-Aug-2018 18:52
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If it were me I would use good Al joinery and not bother with Thermal breaks or Argon - it is a rental after all. Use Low-e glass and have one of the panes use laminated glass as this will block uv and reduce noise transmission.

 

Also put decent, long lasting (ie commercial) extraction fans in kitchen, bathrooms and laundry. For bathrooms you could have the fans and lights on the same switch so they come on together.

 

For heating use a good branded heatpump such as Daikin - don't bother with bells and whistles as all it needs to do is provide heat and have easy-to-clean filters.




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Wannabe Geek


  Reply # 2072268 12-Aug-2018 21:02
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Thanks irongarment, have you any recent prices? I probably won't approach suppliers until I have the concept plans, but lean towards uPVC. Budget aluminium ones on my first SIP kit set house condensate quite a bit on the frames, so probably won't repeat that approach.

 

timmmay, importing is appealing on price terms (a friend did this recently for his own house), but not sure I want the timing issues for this one, but will check it out. Thanks for the guidance on ThermalFrame. They seem to have a good product for my non-demanding needs. No Cowboys has mixed reviews, especially for the after-sales service - https://www.nocowboys.co.nz/businesses/ThermalFrame

 

John, thanks for the mention of Homerit. I can;t see mention of an agent here, but my builder is more than competent, so could easily install them.

 

GarpP, good advice, middle paragraph is what we do on most places. Still thinking through heating and possible ventilation, as the house will be comparatively airtight.

 

Anyone with recent pricing of window options, even if not Wellington?


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  Reply # 2072271 12-Aug-2018 21:09
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I used Thermalframe twice. First time it was just to supply a PVC window for someone else to fit, they were fine. When they did supply and install for the rest of the house I wasn't so impressed. It wasn't done until three months after they said it would be, and I wasn't super impressed by the quality of the job. A few months later the sealer had cracked around the windows on the inside, I asked if that was covered by warranty, they said "no, but we'll fix it once as a courtesy" and that we should paint them for more protection. I'm not sure how paint would prevent sealer cracking, it'd probably just crack itself. It's cracked again since then and I've just left it, but I need to fix it up some time.

 

I think most of their problem is they're popular and understaffed, particularly installers. Their products are good, so if you get them and have someone else install them I think they'll be fine. I would consider others firms though, just because service is important and Thermalframe aren't really good at service.





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Master Geek
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  Reply # 2072277 12-Aug-2018 22:51
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Sorry, I don't have any prices. I used to live in the UK, so I am pretty appalled by the poor, but ubiquitous, aluminium window frames and had to have a snarky rant. It shocks me utterly that they are still being specified for new builds, and therefore it's virtually impossible to find a house that has anything different.

GarryP: there is no "good Al joinery", unless it has a thermal break.

Kiwi house construction still has a long way to go. Unless "it's a rental" of course.

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  Reply # 2072279 12-Aug-2018 23:19
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GarryP:

 

For bathrooms you could have the fans and lights on the same switch so they come on together.

 

 

We just finished renovating my bathroom. When the new pipes were installed in the walls, we attached some temp sensors to the pipe going into the shower head with a relay control for the fan. So if you turn on the shower and use warm water, after about 30 seconds the fan comes on, and stays on about 5 mins while the pipe cools down. 

 

We didnt want to put it on the lights because if someone wants to use the bathroom at night, the fan can wake people up. 

 

So for the fan it has its own switch - auto or on





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  Reply # 2072287 13-Aug-2018 00:10
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irongarment: Sorry, I don't have any prices. I used to live in the UK, so I am pretty appalled by the poor, but ubiquitous, aluminium window frames and had to have a snarky rant. It shocks me utterly that they are still being specified for new builds, and therefore it's virtually impossible to find a house that has anything different.

GarryP: there is no "good Al joinery", unless it has a thermal break.

Kiwi house construction still has a long way to go. Unless "it's a rental" of course.


Agree on the poor quality of NZ housing. No surprises that it is such poor quality, when so much of you income has to be spent to just buy it. High land prices as a % of the total price, mean that money spent on upgrades is unlikely to be recouped from a higher sale price.


Then the councils require consent to do anything more than a cosmetic upgrade. Even installing wall insulation requires a consent. Installing new windows - consent needed. And the councils want producer statements from everyone for everything. Which makes it harder to just import your own windows from overseas. As good luck trying to get the council to approve it.

High house prices flow through to high rents. Which is turn means that landlords have very little incentive to upgrade their properties. As a cold, damp, house. Will rent for practically the same rent as a warm, dry, easy to heat house.





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  Reply # 2072288 13-Aug-2018 00:12
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If you want homes that the people want to stay in, then I think you would want to be using thermally broken windows. Otherwise you get more condensation on the frames, and potential mold growth etc. Unfortunately with house prices so high, it means that renting is often the only option for many, so IMO people building rentals should build it up to the spec the investor would want to live in themselves. I realize this isn't probably the most cost effective way of doing things, but sometime it can be false economy to cheap out anyway. Potentially it is a good point of difference too. 


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  Reply # 2072516 13-Aug-2018 10:14
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Aredwood:
Agree on the poor quality of NZ housing. No surprises that it is such poor quality, when so much of you income has to be spent to just buy it. High land prices as a % of the total price, mean that money spent on upgrades is unlikely to be recouped from a higher sale price.

 

Poor Thermal specs on houses is not a new issue driven by current costs, its always been that way,

 

All those lovely state houses that were built in the post war 40s and 50s  that everyone says were part of the golden days of NZ

 

None had any insulation,

 

 There was no national insulation requirement until 1978


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  Reply # 2072524 13-Aug-2018 10:23
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If you go alu windows then +1 for thermally broken.  We don't have it in our house (not built by us) and condensation on the window frames is an issue in winter in the bathroom and bedrooms.  Manageable by opening windows etc regularly, but a PITA and better to have thermally broken.





Mike



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Wannabe Geek


  Reply # 2072569 13-Aug-2018 11:45
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How much cost is involved on recessing the windows, getting them closer to the centre or the wall insulation? Seems to be the norm in some countries and certainly in passive houses, so maybe it is cost effective for the thermal improvement?


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  Reply # 2072714 13-Aug-2018 15:17
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MikeAqua:

 

If you go alu windows then +1 for thermally broken.  We don't have it in our house (not built by us) and condensation on the window frames is an issue in winter in the bathroom and bedrooms.  Manageable by opening windows etc regularly, but a PITA and better to have thermally broken.

 

 

I have just replaced all my joinery with aluminium a few years back and could not afford thermally broken at the time - you would think too that central auckland in the winter this would not be an issue. As @MikeAqua has mentioned I too have the issue of sweating/condensation on the frames which frustrates me. Even with a heat pump running at night on 18 degrees well above the dew point, it still happens.

 

On the flip side friends have done similar and very little if any condensation, but have centrally ducted heat pump system. My theory is since the system removes the moist air via the return and thus nothing left to build up on the frames.

 

Sure would be interesting to see the effect of thermally broken in my place.


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