5 top tips for building your home

Design for the sun

Harness the powerful, free heat from the sun with some basic design considerations.

  • Position the house on the sunniest part of the section (but also sheltered from wind)
  • Insulate well to ensure you trap as much of that free heat as you can (or block it out in summer)
  • Have the main living areas facing north
  • Ensure you have the right size windows for their position. The north-facing side should have moderate to reasonably large windows, smaller on the east and west sides of the house, and smallest on the south
  • North-facing windows will also need overhangs to avoid too much sun in summer while still letting in plenty during winter
  • Download an app to your smartphone or tablet that tells you how much sun your site is likely to get at different times of the year

Over budget

Even though you get a fixed price with Online Design and Build, other aspects could run over, eg. landscaping, new furniture and appliances, independent decorators, consents etc.

Invest in energy efficiency

A new build is a perfect opportunity to create a comfortable home that's cheaper to run. Here are the key areas to consider:

  • Insulation - prioritise ceiling and underfloor insulation, followed by walls. And always go well above the standard level as this is only a bare minimum.
  • Moisture prevention - cover the ground under the house with a moisture or vapour barrier (use a damp proof course and polythene under a new concrete slab foundation), ventilate enclosed sub-floor spaces and ensure surface runoff or underground water has been considered at the design stage.
  • Air circulation - a home ventilation and heat transfer system helps circulate air and get the most out of your heat sources.
  • Windows - double glazing is a must and invest in quality, properly lined curtains or blinds.
  • Heating -heat pumps are a highly energy efficient heat source but they may not be right for every room so do your research on what works best for your situation
  • Water - for the average home, hot water heating make up around 30-40% of your power bill so this an area where more energy efficient products and systems can make a major difference. Investigate your options as the effectiveness of some is dependant on how many people there are in the home. And think about installing low flow showerheads to simply use less hot water.
  • New appliances - use the energy stars on the label to compare like for like products, or the energy consumption figure to compare appliances of different sizes and types.

Don't skimp on storage

Don't just plan for the stuff you have now, but how much you'll accrue over time. More often than not we gain possessions as life goes on, rather than reducing them. This is just one part of a much bigger idea, which is to factor in your future needs when designing your new home; take your current lifestyle and habits into consideration as well as thinking about how long you might be living here and what your needs might be in 5, 10, even 20 years time?

You can't over-plan

The most important phase of the process comes before any physical work actually begins. Planning your new home. And there's a lot to think about! Check out our list of things to consider to get you started.

Published:  20 September 2017
Back to top of page