Building a simple house just got easier

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Aspiring home owners should now find it quicker and cheaper to build a simple home thanks to a new guide for streamlined consenting launched by Building and Construction Minister Maurice Williamson.

“For the first time, all the information needed to design a simple house, including compliance requirements and building standards, has been brought together in one place,” Mr Williamson says.
“The Simple House Acceptable Solution document is a guide to building innovative, affordable and easily consentable homes. Without compromising safety or quality, it provides a framework for architects, designers and builders to develop affordable housing.”

The Minister says the guide is the latest initiative under the Government’s Better Building Blueprint package. The package has included this year’s launch of the National Multi-Use Approvals Service, the streamlining of the Licensed Building Practitioners’ scheme, and the release of a consultation document on the review of the Building Act.
To illustrate how the guide will work, the Department of Building and Housing (DBH), in conjunction with Housing New Zealand, will build a simple house on a site in Otara, Manukau City.

The design by Stephen Smith from S3 Architects Ltd in Auckland won last year’s Starter Home Design competition. The competition demonstrated innovative and affordable home design achieved with limited resources.

Leading New Zealand architect Gordon Moller, said the winning home was a carefully planned design that would make an excellent starter home. With additions, it can grow to meet the changing needs of its owners.
More than 140 entries were received for the competition which was launched by the DBH in March 2008, with the winner announced in March 2009.

The criteria that competition entries had to meet included:
• a maximum of 120sq m of habitable floor area,
• a maximum cost of $1400 per square metre,
• structural strength and durability for the majority of locations in New Zealand,

• finishes that reflected the requirements for durability and low maintenance,
• designs that allowed for changing family needs over time through adaptability, and the incorporation of lifetime features such as wide doorways and easy access,
• designs incorporating energy, water and material efficiency, and waste minimisation, and 
• low ongoing operational costs.