Smarter Small Home

Location: Christchurch

Featured Products: Secura™ Interior Flooring, Axon® Panel, HomeRAB® Pre-Cladding, Linea® Weatherboard, HardieGroove™ Soffit Lining

Product Type: New Build

Architectural Designer:: Leigh Adams

Builder : Mike Fitzgerald, Nubuild

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The Smarter Small Home: Where Smart Products Meet Smart Design

The Smarter Small Homes concept was launched by James Hardie in 2009. Smarter Small Homes are built using James Hardie products including panels, cladding, lining, soffits, and interior flooring.

These products use an advanced lightweight cement composite that delivers heavy duty performance and has been created with New Zealand’s conditions, such as moisture, wind, temperatures, UV levels, and seismic activity, in mind.

This Smarter Small Home has been designed to maximise a small 400 m2 site in a new subdivision in Pegasus, just north of Christchurch. Based on the principles of affordable housing and sustainable building techniques, this smart, four bedroom residential home allows open space for the family and a home which is low-maintenance and offers long term savings in energy usage.

The Pegasus site has TC2 earthquake land classification, meaning minor to moderate land damage from liquefaction is possible in future significant earthquakes. This classification requires a lightweight cladding solution. Based on the principles of the Smarter Small Home concept developed by James Hardie, this home uses lightweight, durable products that meet the homeowner’s lifestyle needs, as well as new earthquake engineering requirements following the Canterbury quakes.

“James Hardie building products offer long-term durability, major cost savings in medium to long term maintenance costs, and, importantly, meet earthquake standards as a lightweight building material,” says Smarter Small Home owner and James Hardie employee, John Fitzgerald. “On TC2 land, the foundation needs to be engineered if the build uses traditional timber. This would have added more time and cost to build. Using James Hardie Sycon products meant less red tape.”

The Smarter Small Home took just under five months from consent to code of compliance, including an 18 week construction period.

“The build was quick and really straightforward. Linea Weatherboard requires less fixings to traditional materials, which saves on materials and labour. It also requires less painting than timber as it comes pre-primed, as well as requiring minimum repaint over the life of the home, providing whole-of-life savings – important in a sea spray zone,” says Fitzgerald.

The use of HomeRAB Pre-Cladding also helped accelerate construction. It protects the home’s timber frame from the elements during construction. “HomeRAB Pre-Cladding enabled construction to commence inside the home before the cladding was installed. This meant if there were any delays due to inclement weather, work would continue as planned – a key factor in Canterbury where tradesmen are booked months in advance due to the rebuild.”

The fact that James Hardie products are all New Zealand made also meant no procurement delays. As a James Hardie employee, Fitgerald was already aware of the high quality of workmanship.

“The use of James Hardie's building products throughout the home, including Linea Weatherboard cladding, means not only peace of mind performance, but any colour can be used on the exterior without any worries about warping or fading.” The full wrap Linea Weatherboard was painted with dark colours on the streetscape.

In a medium to high density subdivision where the houses can be cookie cutter, the colour choice is a point of difference. The use of Axon Panel also provides an extra dimension to high impact zones, such as the garage, and provides high water resistant performance in wet areas in the home. The building materials are not just cost-efficient, they are also energy-efficient. The home has a high R-value and is fully insulated, providing exceptional thermal properties. “It’s all about smarter design, smarter construction and smarter products,” says Project Manager, John Fitzgerald.

Smarter design reduces waste and cuts down on labour costs and preparation of materials. The build time is reduced because the home is designed around standard material sizings, meaning no offcuts.

“The Smarter Small Home design really does drive efficiencies on-site – we removed just one trailer load of waste during construction. The result is an eco-friendly, reasonably priced home, designed with architectural flair.”




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