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August 3, 2008 at 5:26 am #244455
Hi. My name’s Gina, and I’m new to this wonderful site. My husband and I are planning to build our own house next year. Like many people, we want to use low-cost, environmentally-friendly materials. We are very much in the design/planning stage (having yet to purchase land). Any ideas on a good architect in the Adelaide area who is sympathetic to low-cost building? Also, we’d be grateful for any ideas where to purchase reasonably priced double glazed windows. Any other hints and ideas would also be most welcome! Thanks.August 3, 2008 at 6:29 am #361001
–August 15, 2008 at 11:21 am #361002
When looking at blocks of land you need to think in terms of the sun. Basically you need a north facing slope for both you house and garden.
It’s unclear if you are talking suburban block or semi-rural. The cost of a house is more dependent on size and finish than it is on the architect.
In my opinion double glazing is not necessarily a good thing. We live in a warmish climate and have the doors and windows open a lot of the time. It’s therefore debatable if double glazing is worth the cost when the lifestyle is indoors/ out doors all the time. Backed curtains are probably a better idea.August 15, 2008 at 11:53 am #361003
the better stocked newsagents now have magazines like “green pages” and other eco friendly directories for building materials right through to eco friendly builders and even green finance.
on matters of land: if you plan to seriously grow your own vegies/fruit and keep animals for your own food production, it might be best to get a proper soil test done. it’s not too expensive, as you can get a kit that explains how to collect samples and send in for a full diagnosis. you certainly don’t want to find out about soil contamination a few years later.August 15, 2008 at 10:22 pm #361004
Having just gone through the ‘finding a builder’ stage we were totally blown away by the cost of green building. Be prepared for it to be at least 50% more expensive than traditional building.
We had a budget (relatively substantial) and rang a few ‘green builders’ to see whether they could build anything in our budget. The resounding answer was “no”. Yet we could find plenty of traditional builders who could.
It’s a shame and I don’t want to discourage you. But the building industry makes money based on long practiced processes. ‘Green building’ moves away from those processes and therefore costs more in time and expertise.
Remember – builders have bulk suppliers for timber, bricks, carpenters, apprentices etc so they get good deals.August 16, 2008 at 2:30 am #361005
I don’t think green building needs to be more expensive if you’re doing it yourself. So long as you have time, you can look for bargains, incorporate pre-loved materials etc, use what is on your site (stone, earth etc) or what is available cheaply where you are (eg straw if you have a cheap source). I do think you need to be flexible and incorporate what comes up, though, rather than starting with a finished design and going out with a fixed shopping list. I don’t see that as a disadvantage – it’s what we’re doing with our place and I love that element of luck. We’ve started accumulating some bits when we fall over irresistable bargains, although we can’t finalise our house design until we have a site! 😆
I saw somebody advertising double-glazed windows very cheap ($100 each for decent-sized windows, he had about 100 of them) in the classifieds of the latest Owner Builder magazine, but they were tinted.August 16, 2008 at 3:21 am #361006
There was a chap a few years ago on Kangaroo island that was building kit dome houses that were around the 100k mark, completely finished or around 25k just for the shell. Domes use less building material to construct, are naturally warmer/cooler due to the air flow patterns. We are planning to build a dome for our next place, when i can drag DH out of the suburbs. 😀
Or there is also these guys:
Might be worth a look for you. Good luck, don’t forget to send us lots of pics :tup:August 16, 2008 at 3:26 am #361007
have a go at designing it yourself then if you still feel you need an architect at least you will have a clearer idea of what you want rather than what the architect thinks would be good for you.
A simple way to start is to use what could be called bubble sketches using free hand drawn circles or ovals(whatever takes your fancy really!)
Start with say the kitchen/living area and expand from there. Some basic design principles are to try and keep all your services like water and sewrage as close to each other as possible as this reduces costs. eg try not to have the bathroom down one end of the house and the laundry in the middle and the kitchen down the other end. Try to avoid long passages as these are really a waste of space and can increase heating cost. Think about what other things you want to do on your land and how this might affect the location of the house. Think about multipurpose/user rooms that can be easily divided with moveable walls/screens. Think outside the square/rectangle type house.
I could go on and on….. but I think I already have. Sorry.
I suppose the last thing is to seriously think about doing it yourself and as others have said if your not in a hurry collect materials. This can have the added benefit of influencing and even simplifying the design.
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