We hear from owner builders about their journey to creating their dream — part 1 of a 3 part series
Getting away from it all – it’s something that many of us think or dream about. Ian Jones & Jacqui Christie are a couple who are making it happen and they’re going to share their building adventure with us. In this three part series we’ll learn about the steps they took and the decisions they’re making as they build their dream home and B&B.
Ian and Jacqui found themselves in an interesting situation. They had discovered the block of their dreams nestled in amongst the Hunter Valley vineyards and beautiful, natural bush. But the site also presented a myriad of challenges. These included no power, being in a bush fire zone, reactive clay soil, an extremely long, scenic driveway (1.2km) and lots of termites. “The termites wasted no time, they ate the surveyors pegs within six weeks”, Ian said.
Their site challenges forced Ian and Jacqui to source unique products and building solutions. In addition they needed to generate their own electricity, capture and store their own water so they can still enjoy life’s luxuries. “As long as I have my hair dryer, coffee machine and hot shower I’m right” says Jacqui.
In terms of design, they decided that the house needed to be raised and lightweight.
It had always been on Ian’s bucket list to build his own home as he had previously renovated four houses. If they engaged a regular builder the cost would have been prohibitive so they needed to find a simpler solution – a kit solution. Early in the planning process, some three years earlier, they came across Spantec at a HIA show and were impressed with their Boxspan steel flooring and Ezipier systems. This enabled them to take on the build themselves and save on labour costs making it easier to get out of their highly reactive soil.
Spantec’s Boxspan steel flooring and Ezipier systems are non-combustible and addressed the problem of building in a bushfire prone area. Being steel, it also addressed the major termite issue. “You don’t see termites but they are there!” Ian said. Ian and Jacqui chose Spantec products for their simplicity. This included both the neat, ‘finished’ look and the simpler building process overall.
With the building platform decided the next step was to choose a kit home. They plan to share their piece of paradise with others by opening a Bed & Breakfast or retreat once their home is completed.
They wanted flexibility and a steel frame so they looked at PAAL Kit Homes and met Doug Young. Ian says “Doug was happy to work with us and customise what we wanted”. With their planned B&B they wanted to specify wider doors and hallways as well as bigger bathrooms to ensure accessibility for guests. PAAL were happy to accommodate their requirements.
With all the decisions made, in early 2016 Ian got to work.
Keep an eye out for part 2, when you’ll find out how the floor came together followed by the wall and roof frames!
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