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Environmental Factors to Consider When Building a New House

Building in New Zealand is governed by a lot of rules and regulations. Love them or hate them, we need to abide by the rules when undergoing a home renovation or building a new home. These regulations are influenced by where you live in New Zealand as much as how your house is built. Thankfully, we at Smartway Builders have got the process down pat.

Wind speed

Anybody living in Wellington or another blustery part of New Zealand will understand how wind can impact a build. For this reason, we take into account door locations, window size, how much bracing will be needed, the strength of wall cladding and roofing. We also look at how exposed your house is to the ocean and what buildings or trees are nearby. If the building is on a slope or up high, naturally the wind will be more intense there.

In New Zealand there are several classifications for wind: Low, Medium, High, Very High, Extra High and Specific Engineered Design (SED). The latter category, SED, means that every aspect of your home will need to be approved by an engineer because of the high wind factor. This will add cost to your design phase and to the cost of the build phase.

Thermal efficiency

A vastly variable average temperature range in New Zealand means that there are different zones based on these temperatures and thermal efficiency. How this

translates to building, is that we need to take into account the R-value requirements for your insulation and windows, to keep them appropriate and compliant for your area. Here are the zones for thermal efficiency:

  • Zone 1: Northland, Auckland Franklin District and the Coromandel Peninsula
  • Zone 2: The rest of the North Island except the Central Plateau
  • Zone 3: The Central Plateau of the North Island and all of the South Island

Earthquake risk

Earthquakes are a calamity we are all too familiar with here in New Zealand. And that’s why New Zealand is divided into four Earthquake Risk Zones. New builds in areas with high risk have more stringent requirements, and higher construction costs, than structures in low-risk zones.

Snow load

If you live in the snowy regions of the North Island or the alpine South Island then your roof needs to be assessed for its weight–bearing capacity with snow. When we construct your home, this is taken into account.

Salt exposure

Your beloved beach bach may need to be assessed for exposure to wind-driven salt, which is graded according to zone. Zone B is low risk and zones C and D (generally off-shore islands or within 500 metres of a coastline or estuary) are considered high risk. The closer you are to the ocean or a salty body of water, then the more this will impact your fixings, like screws, nails and brackets. So special fixings need to be used that will withstand the salt assault. This adds further cost to a project.

Building a house can seem like a tricky business but really they can be made simpler and easier with some smart processes in place. Smartway Builders is one of the top building companies Wellington wide, so we have been doing this for many years. Speak with us today and bring your dream to life!

And for more information, be sure to download our e-book – 12 Ways to Avoid Expensive Mistakes When Building a New Home.

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