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Thread: Importing a kit house from Sweden/Finland

  1. #11
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    Even in Chicago where it gets disturbingly cold (the kind of cold where engines stop working and it's waaaay too cold to snow - the top 3 feet of the snowdrifts just freeze pretty much solid), triple glazing just isn't heard of. I still say it's overkill.
    Triple glazing alone is a problem. Especially in retrofit newly renovated homes based on older 2 x 4 timber frame construction. The problem isn't directed at the cost of the glazing but rather, the issue of weight and the ability of 2 x 4 timber framing taking the extra weight. Triple glazing is 1/3 heavier in weight than double glazing. When you look at large bay windows with double side window openings, the weight must be factored and extra strengthening of the 2x4 timber wall framing must be considered.

    In terms of insulation, windows are the weakest point in the wall. Anotherwords, no amount of high tech glass will be as good as an insulated wall. So the only real reason for having windows is for natural daylight and heat from the sun. In NZ, passive heating from the sun is very important. In N. America, heating from the sun is taken with little consideration which is why houses can be built close together and orientation of the house is based on street view rather than on sun view.

  2. #12
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    Not to sure what the big deal is with Triple Glazing? It comes as standard with the type of house we are looking at.

    And while there are certain type of people who like to wake up in the morning with a nice layer of frost on the bedcovers, I would like to have a warm dry toasty house my kids can run around in winter time, that will not cost me a fortune to heat.

    Also getting a 'Tulikivi' fireplace would be on the must buy list.

    http://www.tulikivi.com/en/fireplace...TI_C_Fireplace
    Last edited by Beachcombers; 2nd October 2012 at 10:23 AM.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beachcombers View Post
    Not to sure what the big deal is with Triple Glazing? It comes as standard with the type of house we are looking at.

    And while there are certain type of people who like to wake up in the morning with a nice layer of frost on the bedcovers, I would like to have a warm dry toasty house my kids can run around in winter time, that will not cost me a fortune to heat.

    Also getting a 'Tulikivi' fireplace would be on the must buy list.

    http://www.tulikivi.com/en/fireplace...TI_C_Fireplace
    If you can have wood as source of heating go for it, we run water filled radiators off a wet back and have double glazing and are as toasty as ( Minus 9 was the coldest this Winter).. Very rarely have fire going in day or overnight

  4. #14
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    For the naysayers - my wife's family's house near CHCH is freezing in the winter as it has single pane windows, next to no insulation and the only heating is a woodburner in the main room and heat pumps in the bedrooms melting the frost outside. Everyone sits there watching TV under layers of blankets - it's like being in a student house again.

    I have a pal in Fife, Scotland, with a properly designed, insulated house with triple glazing and good insulation who hardly has to have the heating on in the depths of winter. Most of the power goes to the heat exchanger (which heats fresh air coming in from heat in the stale air going out).

    Considering the cost of electricity in NZ, I think using as little heating as possible has to be sensible. Don't knock it! (it works in the summer too - nice cool house).

  5. #15
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    Most of the power goes to the heat exchanger (which heats fresh air coming in from heat in the stale air going out).

    Considering the cost of electricity in NZ, I think using as little heating as possible has to be sensible. Don't knock it! (it works in the summer too - nice cool house).
    True HRV systems expel stale indoor air (from places like bathrooms, laundry, kitchen, & toilets) and exchange it with FRESH outdoor air (not air in the roof space). However, NZ house are drafty and before any effective HRV system can be used, air tightness is paramount. Because of the way houses are built in NZ (even newly constructed ones), the mindset of air tight construction doesn't come into play.

    As for the price of electricity, you will find it hard to convince local NZ residents that heating a whole house via some form of central heating (even with HRV) is the same as only heating 1 room at a time.

  6. #16
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    Hi people

    Just joined this forum as I am also looking at importing a Finnish kit home from honkatalot, even though this thread is a few months old old I thought I would have say.

    I noticed in the thread that some people mentioned that NZ homes need to have a vented cavity and that North American homes and European ones are not built for that, I can say from experience that they have better venting than any NZ house that I have built, this comes from just finishing a build in Castle Hill up near Arthurs Pass, it was a North American import home, not as kitset but stick framed on site with all the timber, insulation shingles, windows etc imported. The walls are fully vented as well as the roof cavity and they have vented ridge capping so that there is always air flow between the external wall and cladding as well as the insulation in the ceiling and then the roof structure, if any moisture does get in it will dry out very rapidly. You have to remember that these imported house are built stronger and better, all the exterior walls have OSB/Ply on the outside and then the cavity forming batten, then the exterior cladding as well as super duper moisture membranes, the roof structure is also covered in a layer of OSB/Ply then a layer of ice water membrane. I wont say that they are a warm home they have a stable internal temperature, so hence warm in winter and cool in summer, the temperature variation between the summer and winter months in the house should not vary very much, its a cost saving in the long term to provide better insulation through the use of better windows and wall designs then to just meet NZ codes, its a far healthier home that way.

    On another note, the timber used in the structures is of far better quaility than any that is available here at a price that is comparable, the only problems we had was with council and the OSB ply, they wanted to see stainless steel nails used in the fixing as they couldnt get there head around the fact that the OSB was treated to H3 but want H3, there is no CCA in American treatments or European ones as it has been banned for years and therefore will not corrode the fixings, our solution was to just used SS nails rather argue over the matter and stall the build.

    I would go for it talk to the council and builders, get a good project manager, then one on the Castle Hill job was pathetic , cost me alot of money not due to the product but due to his stuffing around.
    Why wouldnt we want a house that is warmer/cooler when we need it, costs less to run and is better for your health.

    Cheers

    Peter

  7. #17
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    Hi Peter, welcome to the forum.

    As you may of been reading, (and please do forum searches about building) the requirements to build a house in NZ are drastically different to developed nations that have far colder and hotter extreme temperatures. We've been discussing many times how houses in NZ are simply unacceptable by WHO (World Health Organisation) standards and this is very true. But before we go too deep in pointing out the shortfalls of NZ building, I want to say that current building standards in NZ have come a long way than the say 90% of all houses built in NZ that are considered too uncomfortable to live in by the likes of yourself. New houses require insulation, double glazing, and addresses issues like cold and hot spots by use of different materials, etc. Therefore, if your interest is to import a kit set house, by all means consider what you're actually getting and compare it to a new house built today. Look at the carbon footprint / energy cost factor (and to a lessor extent, payback times for use of different materials). Have a read on this thread on the merits of building to overseas 'active' housing standards

    http://www.enz.org/forum/showthread.php?t=39927

    I noticed in the thread that some people mentioned that NZ homes need to have a vented cavity and that North American homes and European ones are not built for that, I can say from experience that they have better venting than any NZ house that I have built, this comes from just finishing a build in Castle Hill up near Arthurs Pass, it was a North American import home, not as kitset but stick framed on site with all the timber, insulation shingles, windows etc imported.
    N. American homes DO have vented cavity construction - notably on the brick work cladding. What caused all the grief is the EIFS monolithic wall cladding construction that gives the smooth plaster finish, notably NZ's leaky house syndrome and during it's introduction to NZ building, somehow this important vented cavity requirement was omitted for NZ use. What's apparent is that the climate in NZ is a lot different than the climate in Canada and although the experts knew the climate was different, at the same time they figured they could also omit active HVAC systems and HRV systems used in say Canada.

    The house you mentioned building does not appear to be unique in NZ. There's no violation code to fully plywood cover (brace) a house in NZ and you can buy asphalt shingle in NZ for roofing. If you want to import a kit set house, don't waste time importing similar building materials found in NZ. Go with structurally insulated panels or ICF formwork for the walls which is becoming the standard in Canada. What makes houses in NZ truly different to those in say N. America is the presence of active HVAC & HRV & air tight construction. Vapour barriers is 1 example not allowed in NZ building code if no form of active ventilation is installed. Does your imported kit set house require such active ventilation?

    On another note, the timber used in the structures is of far better quaility than any that is available here at a price that is comparable, the only problems we had was with council and the OSB ply, they wanted to see stainless steel nails used in the fixing as they couldnt get there head around the fact that the OSB was treated to H3 but want H3, there is no CCA in American treatments or European ones as it has been banned for years and therefore will not corrode the fixings, our solution was to just used SS nails rather argue over the matter and stall the build.
    I've not seen a single house in NZ built using OSB and i'm curious on how the product met NZ standards? I suppose building out in the rural areas is a horse of a different colour than building in Christchurch or Auckland. I mean getting consent approval at Chch city council for use of imported wood products from around the world will spark questions about the product meeting NZ standards. To put up $15K for an organisation like BRANZ to conduct testing of imported products is not cheap, especially treated timber products that do not contain CCA which may be a requirement for NZ building code.

    I would go for it talk to the council and builders, get a good project manager, then one on the Castle Hill job was pathetic , cost me alot of money not due to the product but due to his stuffing around.
    This is the critical reason why builders and architects in NZ have not adopted the air tight construction methods overseas. The red tape involved eats up any cost advantage.

    Why wouldnt we want a house that is warmer/cooler when we need it, costs less to run and is better for your health.
    It costed me around $4,000 to plywood cover our house built 2 years ago. To almost everyone, that kind of $ would be better spent on what they can see such as better kitchen joinery, taps, tiling, or better yet, towards bigger rooms. If you want more comfort, the biggest change to the building code would be to address air tight construction because no matter how much insulation is use, draft-proofing is a function of how much heat is lost in the winter time, not a function how much heat can escape through the layers of insulation. But then how can we address indoor air quality? Before you know it, the carbon footprint of the house goes up as you would require operation of the HVAC / air recovery system we see used overseas.

  8. #18
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    Default In Hindsight?

    Hi All,

    I had a quick review of this thread, and couldn't see if anyone actually followed through with importing & constructing. Keen to know of anyone's practical experience eg council consents, compatibility with NZ skill base, maintenance, resell. Having married a Finn, and been very impressed their houses, its an option I would like to explore.

    If so, in hindsight, was it worth the extra hassle?

    Thanks
    Mark
    Wellington

  9. #19
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    Mark. There are very few that have imported kit set houses in NZ. About 2 months ago in Christchurch I've visited a container home builder using prefab walls from China. The owners must of spent a small fortune meeting NZ compliance but they are selling and people can use their concept. At this stage in Christchurch, with all the rebuilding going on, ive not come across 1 passive certified house being build for the simple reason that it's far too costly to do. Furthermore, there will be little resale value as buyers want looks over performance of the house. Look the Passive House home in this months NZ Home Living magazine. Jail like or a box

    I also invite you to check my posts in this forum regarding building in NZ. Use search function
    Last edited by Super_BQ; 11th November 2013 at 12:05 PM.

  10. #20
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    Hi Mark

    I have had a good look at it and will look at it again, once we have bought our lifestyle block (a process taking longer than first thought).

    Finnish girls are awesome and if you ever pop across the Cook Strait to Marlborough, drop us a line, we have separate accommodation and a sauna!

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