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Thread: Build A House

  1. #1
    katiej35 is offline Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006

    Default Build A House

    Hi, I have a dream of building a UK spec house in NZ, does anyone have any suggestions for getting the info gathering started?

    What I have in mind is a nice 3 bed UK brick double cavity with paper pulp insulation, double glazing, central heating, nice roof with proper tiles, a proper loft with boards so the space can be used proper insulation etc.



  2. #2
    Jof's Avatar
    Jof is offline Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2010


    While I can't fault your wish to have double glazing, good insulation etc. please bear in mind some of the reasons why New Zealanders build their housing differently.

    Traditional roof tiling, for example, is avoided because it is a higher risk in an earthquake. Same reason most of the buildings are single storey. It might even be one of the reasons red-brick houses are rarer.

    You will almost certainly find it quite expensive to do it properly as you will need to employ experts as you will be using materials and techniques that local builders won't be as familiar with and you need to make sure that the builders/architects understand the local conditions.

    It would be a tragedy for you to employ a bunch of skilled ex-pat builders to build you the perfect UK house which subsequently fell down at the first tremor.

    The standard advice on finding info applies, you can use the mighty power of Google, you can search on sites like trademe. You could look around for houses that look like the one you are interested in building and simply ask the owners and you can post here and hope to find someone who's done it. Oh you've done that one already

    Good luck! Sounds fun!


  3. #3
    MotherBear's Avatar
    MotherBear is offline The missing link
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    Jan 2005
    currently Ras al Khaimah, UAE, ex Wales, UK
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    I'll go along with Jof and for the same reasons he states. You can certainly have a house that looks like it's brick-built (we have one) but that would only be a brick outer skin and the interior would most probably be gib board. The greater percentage of NZ houses (if not all) are wood framed to cope with the shifting of the structure during earthquakes. The same applies with flexible roofing materials although, whilst Googling, I did come across a company that does concrete and terracotta tiles. I have seen some roofs that looked for all the world like they were tiled with 'proper' roof tiles but, on closer inspection, it was found to be some composite material which had been laid in sheets.

    Modern houses now have to include insulation whereas it wasn't always so. Paper pulp insulation? Not sure about that one as we also have that and it doesn't keep the heat in at all. It may only be in the roof though and possibly pink batts in the walls. A guy from an insulation company gave us the thumbs down when he saw what was in our loft and recommended we install a better quality insulation. While we're on the subject of lofts, we had hoped to utilise the space in our loft by boarding it but, when hubby found time to go up there, he said there was very little useable space because of the many criss-crossing roofing joists in this wood-framed house. I wouldn't like to say all houses have this problem but would also mention that the roof pitch can often be quite shallow, too, which makes using the space awkward because there is no height to walk around upright.

    Double-glazing and central heating are available - thankfully more so these days than previously. One of the most popular methods of heating is by heat pump which works like an air-conditioning system that can blow hot or cold air.

    Maybe you can have some of your wish list incorporated into a new house but might have to go half way with your other requirements. Speaking to a builder in NZ might throw some light on what you can have and what they would recommend you don't have.
    Mother Bear

    Try to bloom wherever you are planted.

  4. #4
    People Space's Avatar
    People Space is offline Senior Member
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    Jul 2009


    There is no problem with roofing with tile in New Zealand, whether it be in concrete or terracotta etc, the structure can easily be designed to carry the weight of this.

    Double brick walls simply do not have the elasticity required for earthquake resistance. If you do want to have the thermal mass of masonry in the inside as the load bearing part of the wall, the Kiwi approach is concrete block (or precast or tilt slab). This is reinforced filled concrete block, where the steel reinforcing adds the elasticity required.

    With regard to the builders doing the work, you do want people who know the local needs, regulations and supply chains.

    You certainly can have a house very similar to that you would like, but also remember that it does need to be designed for the local conditions and the sun angles etc. so transferring a house of UK design might not give you one that works well here.

    Ask any questions you have about "the way things are done here" and I will do my best to answer them.

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