ChildsHodson P/L Projects

  Entry for Regional Building Awards

Entry for Regional Building Awards


11 Townsend St NEERIM SOUTH
Entry for Regional Building Awards: Best Custom Home, $500,000 to $700,000
1/. Scope of Works
We set out to design and build the most energy efficient home that we could afford for ourselves with the view to growing old here, in comfort, in a fresh clean country atmosphere and being as independent as possible in the areas of water usage and energy costs.
2/. Quality of Construction
In all areas of the construction we chose high quality and sustainable materials where ever possible and employed tried and true trades people, whom we have known and trusted over many years.
From the large Inground Concrete Tank with First Flush System to the Spotted Gum decks, the clinkaBLOK structural walls clad with Cortex Cladding with Stainless trims, Macrocarpa Timber wall lining and Silver Top Timber Columns, Hardwood Double glazed Windows; all quality materials and finishes.
3/. Client relationship
This of cause was not an issue as we were building for ourselves and we found that whenever there were questions about which material use or which finish to select, we always favoured the product we wanted to have over the product we could afford or was in our budget, in this way we often over spent but we were building our place to live.
We found that decisions flowed as the job progressed, for instance, while the Bricklayer was constructing the clinkaBLOK walls, he wanted to know what we had in mind for the Sills, at the same time our site was very muddy and the slab edge was unsightly, we decided to have no sills but to build decking at window level on the north and south sides, the only walls to have windows.
This did several things for us, it answered the sill question, it lifted us up out of the mud and it gave us a platform upon which the external wall cladding, both metal and timber could start. The deck has become a feature when the original design had no decking.
4/. Design
We started with a very simple living design. After having a large home when the children were growing up, then having lived in a modest suburban house for a couple of years as empty nesters, we knew how small we could comfortably go. Bathrooms had to be suitable for our old age We also knew the areas where we did not want to compromise.
We wanted an area for sheltered outdoor living including a fireplace for chilly nights in Neerim South; we needed to be able to entertain our growing family and our circle of friends.
A spacious home office, as both of us work from home was necessary. We only needed two bedrooms but we also needed a multi-purpose room to accomodate extra guests or as a television/playroom for when grand children came to stay. 
Ryan Strating from Core Collective, Architects, came up with several different concepts based upon our many conversations, then in early 2010 he presented us with his idea for a roof that is like a table cloth with one of its corners is lifted.
The northern fascia is horizontal; the western barge is on about a 5 degree pitch, the southern barge at a greater angle and the eastern barge an even greater pitch.
The house goes from a single story at the west end to a two story house, over the garage, at the east end all under the one roof.
Each truss is at a different rake and by about the 7th truss, the middle of that truss is higher than the highest point of the 1st truss, so it effectively formes a shell like curve; on plan our roof is just a rectangle, however, each sheet is of a different length. We did not know what to expect but we were stunned by the result.
The house is set at a slight angle off due north to take full advantage of the seasonal positions of the sun; with 1200mm eaves and Ceramic Tiled floor areas to act as a Heat Mass, the summer sun stops just at the sill line, as we have witnessed, and the winter sun will come into the rooms and warm the Heat Mass which will retain the warmth for much of the day.
5/. Execution of Design
 We adhered closely to the original design, only deviating to make improvements, not simply to make the job easier for the tradesmen. On occasion we changed materials or finishes. We substituted the timber ledge on the south elevation and around the eastern window with stainless steel, we increased the size of the eastern window to take better advantage of the views and we continued the cortex metal finish for the full height of the eastern elevation.
With each change we ran it past Ryan for his thoughts and on several such occasions he pointed out our error and we stayed with his original ideas.
The critical aspects of the design that affect the sustainability and efficiency of our building, we adhered to religiously such as the positioning on the block, the clinka elements, the Insulation, the Double Glazing and the attention to detail regarding sealing gaps and air spaces.
6/. Value for money
Our selections were not always the cheapest option but they were made with our Energy Footprint in mind and the best use we can put them to as we get older when we may not be as active or capable as we are today.
Our Light Fittings are either LEDs or the latest, low energy Tubes, the Down Lights throughout the house have a 50,000 hour life and are most efficient in that they generate very little heat but plenty of light.
We have walk down Shower Bases with fixed Glass screens and ‘Triple A’ Rated water saving Shower Heads, giving the choice of overhead rose or hand held Hose fitting which will come into greater use in the event that one of us may, at some time in the future, become infirmed.
We have installed Ceiling Fans in every habitable room in lieu of Air Conditioning all areas. The Hopper style Windows create cross drafts to cool the house in the evening, resulting in a comfortable environment without the cost of running Mechanical Equipment. We have lived through our first summer and have not had to switch on the Split System in the Living area.
We installed a 30 tube, Evacuated Tube Solar Hot Water system that provides us with low cost hot water for much of the year.
So in many small ways we have achieved Value for the money we have spent and will continue to appreciate the benefits long into the future.
The external finishes that we selected, even though they were expensive, will give us many years of maintenance free living. The Sikkens Oil finish to the Timber Linings and the Windows makes it very easy to add another coat to keep them in top condition.
7/. Sustainability/Innovation
The basic structure of the house is built using clinkaBLOK products, an imported material that is made with balls of Clay that have been fired through a furnace to create a completely inert, light weight, fire resistant, highly insulative mass.
You can view their range on 
We placed a 150mm layer of the beads, (clinkaFILL) under the slab to insulate the floor, the external walls are 500x250x250mm ISO BLOK which has a yellow insulated core for added R Value.
The top course is a U BLOK with Reo and Grout filled to tie the structure together; it produces a very strong structure as we found ourselves having to remove part of this beam for alterations and it was a very difficult task to break the bonds.
When installing the Double Glazed Windows we sealed all gaps then completely closed off around the windows with a flashing fitted into a groove in the timber and fixed onto the face of the BLOK.
Metal or Timber cladding was then fixed over the BLOK and Flashings by screwing straight to the face of the wall giving a completely sealed, watertight shell.
We have doubled up on Insulation Layers where possible; our roof has a 50mm Anticon Blanket over the battens with an R1.3 value then we placed an R3.5 layer over the ceiling. Similarly we used Aircell blanket behind the metal wall cladding to the timber framed part of the building, then installed R1.5 batts before the internal lining was hung.
It is quite noticeable, the effect of all of our insulative efforts have made, whenever anyone enters the house whether it be a cool day or a warm day, they always comment on the comfortable difference in temperature the house has maintained.
The 7.2 Star Rating that our design achieved at Permit Stage has now been reassessed to ......

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