Award-winning house build takes place without access to basic services

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Pepper Construction’s Andrew Pepper was elated to find his New Plymouth entry had received the title of national winner in the ITM New Home up to $300,000 category at the Registered Master Builders 2015 House of the Year competition.

Mr Pepper said he knew it was a good build and was ecstatic with the result.

“It’s obviously great recognition and to be a national winner is a career highlight,” he says.

Mr Pepper says the home definitely had the “X-Factor”, containing sustainable features that made it unique.

“It had a polished concrete floor, great use of space including a loft area above the bathroom, and different outdoor areas to complement the dwelling at different times of the day,” he says.

The competition judges were impressed with the excellent use of sustainability features in this build.

“To meet the client brief of minimising the effect on the surroundings, this home provides ultimate independence. The home is completely self-sufficient, and with the use of natural materials to match its natural setting, fits perfectly into its environment,” they said.

“Built as a weekend retreat, it features a polished concrete floor which acts as a heat sink, PVC solar panels, a wood fire and gas bottles. The two outdoor areas make this home the ultimate getaway.”

Mr Pepper explains one of the biggest challenges was the location of the build, in the foothills of Mount Egmont National Park.

“A key challenge was the lack of site access. The foothills also have a very high rainfall which was difficult.

“The house had to be built completely without access to services, and there was no onsite water until it was built.

“So we created our own access, built the house off a generator, and created a temporary water supply. That’s how we do things in Taranaki — we adapt.”

Mr Pepper said winning the award has trebled his workload.

“It has brought an incredible amount of recognition. Our enquiry rate has increased substantially — it’s manic! Additionally, staff morale has been fantastic,” he says.

“I would recommend House of the Year to any Master Builder — whether you win an award or not. I’ve learned a lot from the event.”

Mr Pepper is a third-generation Registered Master Builder, and credits the organisation for the camaraderie and ease of sharing knowledge and experiences with his peers.

Although Pepper Construction will not be entering the 2016 House of the Year awards, they are looking at possible entries for the 2017 competition.

These annual awards are made possible through the support of PlaceMakers, Master Build Services, GIB, Nulook, Future-Proof Building, Carters, Plumbing World, Resene, and Bunnings.