Lessons learned from a build­ing a house

Lesotho Times - - Property -

RICHARD Gough, gen­eral man­ager of Fu­ture-Proof Build­ing, made some mis­takes when build­ing his fam­ily home five years ago.

Now that he has moved on to a new project — a house ren­o­va­tion — Gough took some time to re­flect on things he would be do­ing dif­fer­ently this time round.

Here he shares his top tips for build­ing your own home. 1. Rays the roof So­lar power: When I built I didn’t give much con­sid­er­a­tion to so­lar power, the units weren’t that at­trac­tive and it wasn’t as cost-ef­fec­tive as it is now. But prices have re­duced dra­mat­i­cally — in­stal­la­tion is now less than a third of what it was in 2008 — and they are more slim­line and aes­thet­i­cally minded.

My ad­vice: So­lar power can pay for it­self in about eight to 10 years. If you can’t af­ford to in­stall it at this stage, it’s def­i­nitely worth pre-wiring in case you want to up­grade in the fu­ture. It is a sell­ing point if you put your home on the mar­ket. 2. Full steam ahead Bath­room ven­ti­la­tion: We put a heat and light ven­ti­la­tion unit in the cen­tre of our bath­room, and thought we had done the right thing.

But our shower was tucked away in a cor­ner and we needed a sec­ond unit above the shower to di­rectly ex­tract steam.

My ad­vice: Put the unit where it needs to work the hard­est. You need to en­sure ad­e­quate ven­ti­la­tion in en-suites es­pe­cially, or that steam will waft into your walk-in wardrobe and re­sult in damp or mouldy clothes. 3. Draw your own con­clu­sions Baths: We in­vested in a ce­ramic bath but won’t do that this time. It needed more hot wa­ter to heat it, and whilst it stayed hot longer, our chil­dren weren’t spend­ing ages soaking in the bath — so it ended up be­ing ex­trav­a­gant.

My ad­vice: Con­sider all the op- tions and weigh up the pros and cons. Acrylic baths come in a lot of shapes, sizes and colours, and won’t chip.

How­ever they can scratch, stain, creak and flex. Lime­stone and ce­ramic baths hold heat, and cast iron baths need re­in­force­ment when be­ing in­stalled.

4. Find out what’s in store your garage or hall ceil­ing cav­ity so you can store your Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions and off-sea­son clothes and sports equip­ment. 5. Let there be light So­lar tubes and sky­lights: We missed a real op­por­tu­nity to save money by not in­stalling them and I will def­i­nitely not make that mis­take this time.

Har­vest­ing nat­u­ral light in ar­eas that don’t have win­dows saves money on elec­tric­ity and pro­vides ven­ti­la­tion — we should have put them in our hall­way, walk-in wardrobe and scullery.

My ad­vice: Look at where you don’t have nat­u­ral light or ven­ti­la­tion. Any area that has the roof di­rectly above may be suit­able.

The de­sign of so­lar tubes and sky­lights has ad­vanced and some mod­els have dif­fusers that you can con­trol, so you can close off the light when you want to.

Some also come with LED lights on sen­sors when there isn’t enough nat­u­ral light.

6. That real “light-bulb” mo­ment

My ad­vice: Get a light­ing plan done, and choose LED bulbs from the out­set. LED lights last up to 15,000 hours - that’s more than 90 per cent bet­ter than the cheap­est in­can­des­cent bulb, and they re­duce your elec­tric­ity bills too. 7. Sen­sor sen­si­bil­ity Home se­cu­rity: We thought we were do­ing the right thing by get­ting an alarm in­stalled in our house. That isn’t enough th­ese days.

Po­lice rec­om­mend leav­ing your doors locked when you are at home as there are re­ports of thieves rush­ing inside and grab­bing the near­est things — of­ten lap­tops and mo­bile phones.

When we ren­o­vate we will in­stall CCTV and perime­ter sen­sors. That way we will be alerted if any­one comes onto the prop­erty and we will have CCTV footage of who­ever rings the door bell. New tech­nol­ogy means we will also be able to mon­i­tor any sen­sors trig­gered from our mo­bile phone .

My ad­vice: Invest in as much se­cu­rity as your bud­get will al­low. If you’re spend­ing a lot of money on your home, do what you can to pro­tect it, and your fam­ily. 8. Pipe dreams our fam­ily’s fu­ture needs.

Wi-fi is be­ing su­perceded by data ca­bling, and I sus­pect my pri­ma­ryschool kids could be stream­ing univer­sity lec­tures from home, and ap­pli­ances such as heat pumps, fridges and TVs will all be func­tion­ing on­line.

My ad­vice: Be data ready. En­sure ca­bling be­ing in­stalled is not only suf­fi­cient for your needs now but also what you might need in the fu­ture. 9. Ev­ery­thing and the kitchen sink Un­der-sink wa­ter cylin­der: It seems a lot of our re­gret — and what we have learned to in­clude in this next project — is ways we could save money. We in­tend to in­stall a small wa­ter cylin­der un­der our kitchen sink so we don’t waste litres and litres of wa­ter as we wait for the hot wa­ter to come through.

My ad­vice: Con­sider a small cylin­der in ar­eas where you want hot wa­ter fre­quently that are a long way from the main source, for ex­am­ple un­der the kitchen sink, in an en­suite or laun­dry.

This can also be ben­e­fi­cial if you are on gas heat­ing for wa­ter and you for­get to or­der ex­tra gas bot­tles. 10. Help your­self Use pro­fes­sion­als: I had my own build­ing company and was con­fi­dent I could man­age the process.

This time around I will hire the pro­fes­sion­als to do what they do best.

Much like a wed­ding plan­ner, they know the pro­cesses and will be able to man­age that more ef­fi­ciently, and I won’t lose rev­enue by need­ing to take a lot of time off work. And it will save a lot of stress, dou­bling up of com­mu­ni­ca­tion and man­ag­ing all the con­trac­tors.

My ad­vice: Heard of Bridezilla? Don’t be a Buildzilla.

Use a regis­tered master builder and ac­cred­ited con­trac­tors, and choose qual­ity prod­ucts that have war­ranties.

— Stuff

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