The steps

There are a lot of builders and companies in New Zealand that sell house plans and standard house packages. Since we want a design that suits our site, design style, takes into account the orientation and design for passive solar, ventilation and other sustainability standards, we have opted to hire an architect.

Looking at architectural magazines

After the first brief with the architect we had some actions to do: order a copy of our title for the LIM report, order a LIM report and perform a survey of the section to map the altitudes and features.

After the selection of our architect, Duncan Firth from Solarei, I supplied him with the following information to start the discussion about what we’d like to achieve with and envision for the house: All the information we had on our section i.e. title, easements, convenants, geotech reports, information on stormwater lines

Understanding the characteristics and the environment of the site plays a major role in the design of our home. Although we have an architect whose job it is to make sure all of this is taken into account, I think it is valuable to understand it myself as well, in the process of designing and

To calculate the estimated cost of building our sustainable small home, I first had to figure out all the elements required in its construction. A 'Work Breakdown Structure' is the term we applied to this process when I was designing structures for airplanes - I'm not sure if it's the term architects use.  Searching for information

Our aim is to build a small sustainable home which is also affordable. Not a very easy task with the current building boom and high prices in New Zealand and a limited availability of building products. The planned size of the house is 70 m2 and our budget is set to NZ$ 300.000 (€200.000 at current

Planning and schedules are made so you can change them but for a pretty long time now we have set our mind on "drinking a glass of wine, sitting on our new deck, watching the sunset from our Pahi home, X-mas 2017".

We can make the deadline by just building the deck but I would hope by

One of the next steps is to get some engineering work done. We have selected Richardson Stevens Consulting Engineers in Whangarei to perform geotechnical research, take subsoil samples and create a site suitability report. They also look at stormwater management, do the structural calculations for the foundation, retaining walls and for the home once we

Yes building consent has been approved. A few minor changes had to be made on the drawings but that all went smooth and well organised. Thanks Kaipara District Council. Pretty good it is all done online and you can track the progress of the application in all the different stages it has to go through.

The lasts months have been quiet but in the background progress was made. We have selected local builder Brogan Builders from Maungaturoto as our builder.
The worm waste water tanks and driplines for the soakage fields have been installed after several cancelled attempts as it was too wet to drive a digger down the hill.

The upper retaining wall is almost finished and the parking turning bay is starting to take shape. With some timber structure up to guide the scaffolding the shape and height of the house is also slowly appearing.

More trucks on site pouring the concrete for the foundation piles. The water tank for fire fighting purposes has been installed too. With the scaffolding in place and piles in the ground the size of the floor area and height of the home is starting to take shape.

Some houses would have this as their deck but this is the floor of our whole house. Just before the X-mas break the SIP wall and roof panels were delivered to site so those are ready to go up in the new year.

After the X-mas holiday break the builders are back to work. On the to do list: walls. Exciting as with the walls going up it wil become more visible how our home will look, how big or small it will feel and how the window views will work. So far so good but definitely a small home!

And a couple of days after the walls went up we also had a roof. We arrived on site at 2 pm to witness the progress of installing the Thermospan metal SIP roof panels but all 13 eight meter long panels had already been installed. Not bad to install a complete roof in 4 hours.

With all the scaffolding still up it is difficult to see the end result of the cladding and work hasn't finished yet so we will have to be a bit more patient. More on the selection of our cladding later. With the cedar fascia boards up you can however see the colour combination coming to life.