Homeowners Ill-Prepared for the Future
For immediate release
Thursday, September 4, 2014
Homeowners Ill-Prepared for the Future
Housing expert warns failings put families at risk
Homeowners are failing themselves by failing to research their new builds and renovations, warns a leading industry advisor.
Whether it be complacency, ignorance, or mere trust, often people embarking on home extensions, renovations or new house builds will rely on the Building Code as an adequate standard. However they should do more than that to future-proof their home, Richard Gough, General Manager of industry authority Future-Proof Building, says.
“The Building Code gives peace of mind with your build – but it is a minimum requirement. Why would you be happy with a minimum when there is so much more you can do to make your home healthier, safer and more liveable not only now but also for what you might need in the years to come?
“A home is the biggest investment you will ever make, so you need to do your research. It’s your home. Educate yourself on what you can invest in to make it more liveable not just now but also in the future."
Gough is a guest presenter at the upcoming Auckland Home Show, educating attendees on ways to increase the liveability of their home beyond Building Code requirements. A collective voice of market-leading product suppliers, Future-Proof Building offers advice and solutions for homeowners.
“What do you do when you buy a car? You take it for a drive, you research it online, you compare the ratings. We do so much research into a car but not nearly as much with something that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars."
Examples of ways to future-proof your home beyond Building Code stipulations include installing greater levels of insulation; investing in thermally-broken double-glazed joinery; pre-wiring for solar and data technology and ensuring the finished work delivers on future needs of the property and is backed by warranties.
“Have you thought about what you want in your house in 10 years? How will your family’s needs have changed? What technology will be available then that you can prepare for now? If you think you might sell in the future, what might new owners want?,” Gough asks.
“You may not have children, but potential buyers may have teenagers that will use lots of data. Or they have elderly parents who want a ground-floor bedroom and easy-grip tap handles and non-slip flooring in the bathroom."
He recommends visiting showhomes that are built using Future-Proof Building Smart Principles to learn about ways to improve your home.
“Do your research to help you prioritise what you will invest in that will benefit you now and save you money or stress later. That is what Future-Proof Building is all about."
Richard Gough’s examples of ways to make your home more liveable, using Future-Proof Building’s Smart Principles:
- Plan the life cycle of your project
o What are your needs now and what will they be in the future? Does your planned work give you what you will want in five years? As we live longer we will be in our homes longer. If you have a two-storey home, is one room on the ground floor able to be a bedroom for elderly and infirm? Do you have to bend down to plug into your power sockets?
o Have you chosen products that can withstand the conditions? Are the taps designed for the New Zealand water pressures? Will the spouting cope with our weather conditions? What are the warranties on the products and services you want?
- Be energy smart
o You can lose up to 25% of your heat through the walls, 35% through the ceiling and 15% through the floor. Adding more insulation than the Building Code minimum will mean a healthier home as it retains more heat in winter, and could reduce your heating bills in the long run.
o Lining a garage’s walls with insulation and installing an insulated garage door will give the flexibility to use it as another room of the house, or a dry place for storage.
o Double-glazed joinery is mandatory in other parts of the country, however thermally-broken double-glazed joinery is not required in Auckland by the Building Code. If your house is well-designed to make use of the sun and is well-insulated, you may not need it. But you may want to install it or there is a risk your home will be noisier, cost more to heat, be prone to condensation and therefore be damper. “Upgrade your windows to be warmer, drier, healthier,” Gough says.
o How much power and water do your appliances use? Consider if spending more now means you pay less long term on your utility bills.
Will quality products with longer warranties save you in the long run?
o LED lights will save money long term, so do you include them in any build or alterations? Should you plan for the future by pre-wiring for solar power, even if you cannot afford to install the hardware now. Will solar tubes in hallways and utility rooms provide enough light to limit your electricity use?
- Factor in health and safety
o Keep your home healthy with ventilation – if a heat pump is outside your budget, ensure you have air flow. For every load of washing you hang inside, your house absorbs five litres of water, so you have to use heating to combat that or risk a damp home.
o Install extractor fans that vent to the outside, to eliminate steam and condensation in the bathroom and use paints specifically created for wet areas.
- Be smart with spatial design
o Consider outdoor water cylinders to free up internal cupboards.
Investigate installing a pull-down ladder into the garage attic ceiling for improved access to greater storage.
o How do you use your home? Will the position of appliances such as your fridge or oven block access ways? Will bi-fold doors or cavity sliders give you greater space or allow you to segment open living areas?
Wall-mounted vanities provide a sense of greater space in the bathroom, however floor-mounted vanities provide storage. A central vacuum system frees up the need to store a cleaner, a butler’s pantry provides a hidden space for kitchen appliances.
- Be data ready
o If you are undergoing major renovations or doing a new build, what cabling can you include now that will be needed in the future? Do you have a centralised hub of wiring for your home media, heat pump, lighting and CCTV? Have you chosen products that can be controlled remotely on your smart phone?
About Future-Proof Building at the Auckland Home Show
The Auckland Home Show is at the Greenlane Showgrounds from September 10 to 14. Future-Proof Building General Manager Richard Gough will be speaking at 4pm each day. Future-Proof Building can be found at Stand 302.
About Future-Proof Building
Future-Proof Building provides advice and solutions on building the best properties now and for the future. It was established in 2004, as the collective voice of market-leading product suppliers to help homeowners and trades people. For details on your nearest Future-Proof Building showhome, and other advice and building solutions, go to www.fpb.co.nz