Background to Blog:

It’s not every day you get to design and build your own home!
Even as building company owners we go through the same thought processes and have similar desires, fears and constraints to everyone else when it comes to our new home.
This series of blogs is all about our build journey!…………What we have learnt, what worked well and how we worked through any hurdles that arose. We will experience similar situations to our clients and maybe by following our journey you may learn something, or perhaps feel more relaxed, or confident, about the build process, or at least have a laugh!



Why SIPs?

We are building a passive energy efficient home for ourselves in Rangiora. It is designed and built using those principles for a high performing energy efficient home which will allow a high level of indoor thermal comfort and air quality throughout the home year-round, with minimal heating and cooling costs.
The major element is the building envelope – this must be highly insulated, airtight and have no thermal bridges. The aim of this is to control all air movement in and out of the house through an MHRV, and avoid any uncontrolled air movement that allows, among other things, heat to escape, allergens in, and higher humidity (along with water diffusion).
Therefore, the very fabric of the structure is incredibly important. Structural Insulated Panels are ideal for this build type providing high levels of ‘even’ insulation that won’t sag over time, and, used in conjunction with correct joint taping provides an airtight envelope, plus, due to its high intrinsic strength thermal bridge free design is achieved more easily.

SIPs assembly & install on-site

The insulated floor slab, along with edge insulation was laid.

SIPs panels arrived direct to site in the container in early January. The 165mm wall, and 265mm roof panels were unloaded ready for assembly. The team had already prepared a lot of the timber work necessary for pre-assembly so the assembly process did not take long.
Pre-assembly involves turning the blank panels into a state ready to take to site and crane into place the same day – this can include cutting to size, cutting out holes for windows etc, joining panels, adding timber top and bottom plates, and much more. This was all done at our indoor panel assembly plant.
The panels were then taken to site and craned into place that same day. The walls on our 260m2 house took only 6 hours to install. The garage is not part of the thermal envelope so the internal garage wall is SIPs. The remaining garage walls are traditional frame and truss. An airtight door will connect the garage and house and provide internal access.

SIPs wall install the same day it is craned to site

The remaining internal framing and a couple steel beams were placed to support the roof in certain areas where we had large openings. These beams were built within the thermal envelope to avoid thermal bridging between the inside and outside.
Roof panels were then transported to site and craned into place the same day, again taking less than 6 hours. We were able to take a walk around the house that afternoon to get a real feel for the inside spaces and interior light.

Caption: Roof install. This panel has been pre-assembled for a skylight.

Triple glazed skylights are on site ready for install, building wrap has been completed and work is continuing in preparation for the coloursteel Dimond 5 rib – profile roof.

Window Decisions:

Following a lot of discussion over the Xmas period we decided to opt for locally made triple glazed uPVC with Low E and Argon filled. The performance difference for what we were trying to achieve, compared with timber framed, was considered alongside the cost and logistics of overseas products. The new APL extrusion also allows aluminium foils on the external face to match your cladding, as opposed to more limited colour options elsewhere. The pace of changes in the window industry has really ramped up with uPVC and timber options increasing all the time, a key indicator that the market for better performing windows is growing.


OPEN DAY – Advanced Notice!!

Once the house is closed in and windows installed we will hold an open house, another opportunity for those interested in building their own energy efficient home utilising those key design principles, to come and see one first hand in its mid build state, before many of the differentiating factors are hidden by gib. Importantly, you can then feel the difference, even before the mechanical heat recovery ventilation system is installed.
Keep an eye on our Facebook page ‘Chatterton Builders’ for details of this upcoming event.
For more info on SIPs download our free guide here.