Here are some common questions we get from customers with their answers.
CONTRACTS & FINANCES
What does fixed price mean?
In buying a home there are sometimes hidden costs and fees with things like plumbing and landscaping. When you see the fixed price offer on any of our house and land packages, we guarantee there won’t be any extra costs beyond the prices you see on our listings.
What type of contract do you offer?
Thompson Sustainable Homes is a member the Housing Industry Association (HIA). These organisations offer plain English housing contracts that comply with laws governing building a home in Victoria. We use an MBA fixed price contract for all our clients that works for all parties involved.
THE BUILDING PROCESS
How soon can you start building?
Providing a building permit has been issued we will generally be on site within 3 weeks of signing the contract.
How long will it take to build our home?
The average construction period is 12 to 16 weeks for a standard double storey home of approximately 180sqm and above. The complexity, size and inclusions of the home can affect how long it takes though. The building contract will often stipulate the estimated build time.
What does built-to-boundary mean?
In order to maximize the amount of space on small lots we’ve pioneered a building process that uses as little room as possible for the walls and fittings.
We’ve worked with James Hardie and other builders and suppliers to fulfill all the structural and sound suppression requirements in a much thinner system. This means more space inside your home.
What construction guarantees do you offer?
We are legally obliged to provide each contract with a Warranty Insurance Certificate. This provides structural protection for 6½ years from the date a certificate of occupancy is issued. There’s also a 90 day maintenance period whereby we come and fix any minor issues with the home after you move in.
Can we visit the building site to see our home?
Yes absolutely. Access is by appointment and during working hours. If you have any questions about the process or want to have an inspection, get in touch with us on 1300 90 40 40.
What is the drafting department of Thompson Sustainable Homes?
Our role is to provide the design and input at acquisition stage, the marketing plans and presentation work at sales stage, the contract plans and variations at pre-contract stage, and the construction plans and working drawings at construction stage.
What is a draftsperson and what are they responsible for?
A draftsperson is someone who prepares drawings and plans, similar to an architect. Drafting is a part of each step of the process from concept through to construction, and is responsible for the design and plans, making client variations and then finally the construction documentation.
Why is it crucial for a building company to have a dedicated drafting department?
As drafting is involved in each stage of the process, it is vital to enable prompt response times for each step. If we were using external contractors, there would be delays as each part fitted into their other workloads, which would cause considerable lag over the course of the project. Also, reducing the use of external consultants minimises costs associated with these tasks, which allows us to keep the contract prices lower.
DESIGN AND SMALL LOT CONSTRUCTION
What is a terraced home?
A terraced or terrace house is a term in architecture and city planning referring to a style of medium-density housing that originated in Europe in the 16th century, where a row of identical or mirror-image houses share side walls. They are also known in some areas as row houses or linked houses.
What are the differences required for designing small lot homes?
Designing for small lots requires greater efficiency of design and layout. Reduction of excess circulation spaces allows more space to be given to the living areas.
Greater attention to privacy and overlooking concerns. As there is less space on site it is imperative that these are allowed for at the early planning stages
What are common issues you have come across when designing for small lots?
Issues that can come into play when designing a small lots home is…
Services locations – There are cases where these have been entering the site too far, or in the wrong locations, which causes problems due to the tight space and BOS applications, which add time in the application process and cost due to the BOS fees and additional infrastructure required. This can be easily avoided if these services are located well from the start.
Estate Covenants vs Building Codes – We have run into some areas where the estate covenants and requirements are at odds with local building codes, creating difficulties at the building approval and/or covenant approval stages. With small lot housing it is more important than usual that the covenants, plan of development, and building codes are well integrated, as there is less room to spare and accommodate things that clash. One example of this is where a covenant requires a certain minimum building width, but has not allowed for the boundary setbacks that are measures to the OMP.
Neighbouring building work – Due to the proximity and built to boundary nature, there needs to be greater cohesion between buildings, from design through to the construction method. Fire and sound separation issues need to be well resolved, along with other concerns such as water penetration and termite protection.
What does TSH built-to-boundary construction methodology benefit in design small lot homes?
The built to boundary construction methodology that TSH uses allows…
Space saving – Savings of greater than 100mm per boundary as opposed to masonry. On some sites this is almost 5% of the property width and this means larger rooms internally rather than thicker walls.
Speed of construction – Timber frame goes together faster, can be built, clad, and painted, and then lifted into position. This also means that the exterior is fully painted.
How are our homes designed to be sustainable?
Thompson Sustainable Homes are considered sustainable because…
Construction method – The timber framing and materials we use are sustainable products.
Design – The houses are designed both to minimise wastage during construction, and minimise ongoing costs for power usage ,water consumption.
Fixtures – We use energy efficient fixtures, from lighting, water fixtures, even the appliances that are installed have been selected with this in mind. Gas hot water systems and cooktops are installed where possible, and ceiling fans are standard to living areas and bedrooms.
We design all of our homes to require as little artificial climate control as possible, ensuring we save energy over the life of the home. Our material specifications include: waffle pod concrete slab systems (more thermal mass, less concrete, less steel, less soil disruption), timber frames (a natural, carbon offset material, as opposed to steel frames which contribute to a third of all CO2 emissions), fibre cement cladding made from recycled wood pulp, increased insulation including under-roof, ceiling and external walls (significantly reducing the energy required to condition the air inside the house), energy efficient LED light fittings as standard. We also design all of our buildings to utilise as little waste as possible, by keeping sizes to ‘off the shelf’ dimensions wherever possible. This ethos drives all of the decisions we make at Thompson Sustainable Homes.
HAVE A QUESTION?
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The following 5 minute video reveals some of our building practices and what makes us a smart choice for house and land packages that give you the maximum floor space, with a modern design.