What to expect from your Southern Highlands new home builder

Custom home builders should be Master Builders NSW or HIA members. They would use standard Master Builders or HIA contracts with a transparent construction estimate. All provisional sums, prime cost items and exclusions must be listed. The builder’s license number and member numbers should be clearly displayed and produce workers’ compensation, public liability, contract works and home warranty insurance certificates on request.

That’s all the primary admin for any building project; what about specifics for building in the Southern Highlands region?

The National Construction Code (NCC) considers the Southern Highlands a mild temperate climate (Zone 6). However, the NCC understands that microclimates exist within these zoning models. We would consider the climate closer to cool temperate (Zone 7), especially in Bowral and southern villages like Exeter and Bundanoon. Typical weather in the Southern Highlands has temperatures considered either cool or cold during autumn, winter and spring for almost six months of the year. July is the coldest month in Bowral, with an average low of 2°C and a high of 12°C. The daily lows across 12 months averages don’t get above 15 degrees, even in summer.

Your Southern Highlands new home builder should understand your home’s insulation and heating systems solutions with efficiency front of mind.

The key to building in cool temperate zones such as the Southern Highlands is to consider appropriate thermal mass construction with a solar passive home design with suitable glass to mass ratios. Your builder’s construction of your home requires the best possible insulation and sealing from the elements by attention to detail in construction techniques and the best quality materials. We want to minimise the heating requirements in winter through clever design and quality construction.

The most efficient air conditioning systems utilised in the Southern Highlands are ducted electric air conditioning with floor mounted vents for effective heating. Choose a system with the highest possible ‘regional’ energy efficient rating to maximise energy efficiency. Then zone the system to reduce heating in areas of the home that aren’t utilised very often.

Another popular solution for efficient heating in the Southern Highlands is hydronic heating. These systems utilise the earth’s insulative properties and heat and cool your home by pumping fluid between your home and the ground. Generally, this keeps a home comfortably between 15-19 all year round.

Solar energy should power air-conditioning and geothermal/hydronic heating for lower running costs and an environmentally friendly footprint. We recommend all our clients utilise solar energy for their heat and cooling.

Your builder should consider heating and cooling systems in your home’s initial design and construction phase. The builder should ask these questions early to minimise rework or construction delays for seamless and efficient system integration.

There are many insulative products in the market, and your builder should be knowledgeable about all of them. An efficient Southern Highlands new home should go above and beyond with products of higher insulative properties for all items like wall wrap, roof sarking, wall ceiling and floor insulation.

Maximising the effects of the winter sun is integral to improving the thermal efficiency of your home; consider this early in the design phase of your new home. Your builder can advise on the earthworks required to achieve your desired home orientation. Your architect should be looking for ways to obtain home solar passive heating and cooling.

Your windows and doors can generate significant heat loss; we recommend you choose double glazing for their insulative properties when building in the Southern Highlands. During the colder months, a home without adequately placed windows will feel cold and damp. Your local builder and architect will advise on window positioning to achieve that warm, light and bright home feel.

Overlooked aspects of the construction of your home are underfloor ventilation and site drainage; cool climate construction requires extra attention to these items. Your knowledgeable local Southern Highlands new home builder should understand precisely how to address these issues. They should pinpoint where to install site drainage to pull water away from the dwelling and outdoor living areas. Your builder must adequately install underfloor ventilation during construction to achieve desired stable underfloor conditions to prevent cracking or rising damp and mould issues.

Your Southern Highlands new home builder will be an expert in these fields to make your dream home warm, bright and cosy. Creating the perfect base to get out and explore the beautiful Southern Highlands region, no matter the weather.

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