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Thread: Importing a kit house from Sweden/Finland

  1. #21
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    [QUOTE=Beachcombers;490952]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

    Hi guys, just wondered if you had made any progress with this yet? I'm just starting the very daunting process of choosing a home and determined to build/ buy a truly warm, dry place according to UK standards.

    Before anyone takes that personally.... That is not a slight on my beautiful adopted homeland, just on its housing expectations!

  2. #22
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    and determined to build/ buy a truly warm, dry place according to UK standards.
    Your luck will vary and more achievable living in rural countryside NZ. Building codes in NZ drastically differ to UK, meaning it's not a matter that the UK code is better but simply, their methods do not fit into the framework of the NZ building code.

    There is a very costly route you could go under the "Alternative Buildings Solution". Local city councils will grant this providing every aspect of the build is signed off by respecting specialists in that field (ie. indoor air quality, condensation controls, insulation requirements, ingress protections, wind loads, and 100s of other things like the quality of the nails and staples used). Here in Christchurch there's a guy (Applause Homes) that imports semi-kit set homes from Canada to NZ. They import the whole SIP assembly with windows from Canada too. However, their approach is still not a kit like fit as they also have to all for alterations in construction. I believe they still timber frame the house on site with 2x6 ft timber but follow the Canadian model (or slight variations - use of ProClima / vapour membrane products). Where they get compliance is from the head of Green Building NZ as local councils accept her signature producer statement (and i'm sure that signature will cost a pretty penny). Estimates 40 - 60% higher cost than current conventional NZ build price. They are working on a show home out in Prebbleton and may follow up later this year. The issue I see is the price. Roughly, single story builds are about $1,900 per m2 while going with this imported semi-kit set approach - look at $2,600 to $3,000. A big ask just for more comfort in the coldest winter and hottest summer months. We see people wanting the 4 bedroom double garage house over 2 bedroom single garage (size over comfort example).

  3. #23
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    Jun 2014
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beachcombers View Post
    Hi Mark

    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!
    Yes, I can only agree, we are awesome Sorry to go a bit off topic but as a Finnish 'girl' recently moved to New Zealand with English partner, would be great to make contact with some local Finns and friends/partners of Finns. Anyone here?

    And btw, really do not understand the problem some people seem to have with triple glazing - best thing ever and means that even in minus 40, you can wear shorts and T shirt indoors! Why wouldn't you?

  4. #24
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    And btw, really do not understand the problem some people seem to have with triple glazing - best thing ever and means that even in minus 40, you can wear shorts and T shirt
    Indoor comfort has nothing to do with the type of glazing. The problem is the building models in Europe (Scandinavian places) and in Canada (where i'm from) are enitrely different to NZ building standards. Even in Canada today, the use of triple glazing is limited to the cold side (north) of the house for the simply because of 'solar gain coefficient'. The university I went to was marvelled at use of triple pane SGU, only because the wall sections are over 90% glass (as in commercial buildings). Regardless of both places, the windows are the weakest part of the house in terms of losing heat and no house built today should fail the SHGC (the windows must also serve to limit heat loss while also allowing the sun heat to come in). The person described to me (in previous post) is that while he used triple glazing, the energy savings thought by going a higher R-value was lost by the lack of the sun's heat coming into this house. Not to mention higher condensation on triple glazed units (due to greater temperature differences - but not an issue on mechanically ventilated houses common in Canada).

    No one questions how cold does it get in NZ and what type of house construction is required. Bringing in a house 1/2 way around the world isn't really an acceptable solution. One has to look at cost of building materials to energy costs/carbon footprint.

    There's a response in Canada that people should not be heating their whole house at 22C but rather, to heat in the areas such as the living and bedroom but places like the basement and garage can go at a much colder temperature (kinda like the models we have in NZ).

  5. #25
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    Nov 2014
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    Hi Guys,

    My Finnish partner and I would also like to build a Finnish manufactured house near Christchurch.

    The benefits being ofcourse... Warm house made of solid timber log walls with high thermal mass. Contemporary design utilising dovetail jointed and capped city corners (currently not available in NZ). Slow growing heartwood Nordic pine - laminated and machined to consistent tolerance - engineered for longer spans. Higher specced windows with the added bonus of integrated blinds - no cleaning. Minimal plastering inside - only framed walls.

    Disavantage - Electrical reticulation routing must be predrilled at the factory.

    As far as I can tell importing looks OK so long as all the documentation is in check. Fumigation probably required.

    Kontio log homes have given us a technical document outlining details on how their houses comply with the relevant European Standards. If anyone would like a copy I can forward by email (PDF 26 pages long). As for how this can be cross checked and evaluated against the NZ regulations... not so sure yet. Might be down to individual councils. Perhaps a structural engineer can look over this? Kontio have said they can provide seismic calculations for earth quake if required.

    We would look to import all structural elements of the house and also windows, sourcing the rest locally.

    Cheers

    log house.jpg

  6. #26
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    Hi Cameron, it's nice to hear you're looking to try something different. But if you read my tone in my previous posts regarding imported homes is a problem of 'no this does not comply in NZ' vs 'it's a higher standard overseas and should be approved here'.

    Kontio log homes have given us a technical document outlining details on how their houses comply with the relevant European Standards.
    It could be the best standard in the world but under NZ building code, the onus is on the importer to PROVE that standard will WORK under NZ conditions. Just because an ISO accredited testing station in Sweden (or any country) says the material is safe to under EU guidelines has absolutely NO bearing of being allowed for use in NZ. After all I don't blame the strictness that NZ building requirements have today - it wasn't too long ago that NZ suffered (and still suffers) from the leaky house syndrome (an approach of openly adopting overseas looks and designs - a la plaster rendered over external insulation clad houses EIFS). Do a Google about leaky houses of NZ and a lot of it points to the problem of 1) overseas designs & 2) lack of proper training to local NZ tradesmen for building such designs. Be sure this $10B and counting damage will never happen again in the NZ building industry.

    Having spoke to a couple in Queenstown that imported a Canadian home some 15+ years ago, their response was clear, they will never do it again. I don't blame them because really, what is a comfortable warm home? The way it looks or the way it's heated? Cold climate nations like Canada do have homes with more emphasis on indoor comfort than in NZ homes. However, because the climate is so extreme, there's a HUGE penalty cost at achieving this comfort and that is simply Canadians homes have a higher carbon foot print - probably by an order or 2 or 3 times of a NZ home. But if you ask my friends back in Canada, they would rather spend more time outside than to worry how comfortable it is in their Mc Mansion size house.

    In regards to importing windows, I myself have looked into this 5 years ago. You basically need a specialist (not just any engineer person) that can make producer statements to council convincing them that the windows do meet code. Keep in mind, it's not just a window opening in the house and you fit in some glass in from overseas. You basically have to prove that the window frame systems will work in the whole system of the house (condesation / drain channels, ingress protections, wind loads, wanz supports? etc.). So who ever is going to put their stamp of approval will want a hefty fee. Even now building in Christchurch, my uncle is trying to put up a 1100 sqm medical practise and engineering costs from 1 quote was $44,000 - just so city council sees the right paperwork - nothing more, not even a hammer lifted).

  7. #27
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    Nov 2014
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    Hi there. Thanks for the reply.

    Having done a little more reading and investigation I can say for the most part I agree with what you say. In my opinion the response to the leaky building crisis was perhaps a little heavy handed to the point where we now discourage new and innovative approaches that are actually well proven abroad. For a one-off build the "proving compliance" costs will be high.

    The quote we have received from the company in Finland is very competitive. This includes triple glazed windows with R value 4 times higher than standard double glazed window of equivalent price in NZ. Even the front door is impressively insulated. As an engineer person myself I appreciate these facts.

    Sometimes living in New Zealand I get the feeling that we as Kiwis like to think we know best. Having visited Finland I can confidently say that the highly mechanised manufacturing methods employed have led to a higher level of productivity than we currently have here in NZ. These benefits are passed on to the consumer in the form of higher spec and lower prices. Bang for your buck here in NZ is simply not as good.

    I'm not knocking NZ. There are plenty of things that we are good at. But affordable, energy efficient houses manufactured in a highly productive way... I'm a convert to the Finnish way.

  8. #28
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    In my opinion the response to the leaky building crisis was perhaps a little heavy handed to the point where we now discourage new and innovative approaches that are actually well proven abroad.
    So very true! NZ house built prior to the leaky house syndrome mess were far more interesting than the houses built in the past 5 years. A year ago or more there was a landmark court ruling which Auckland City Council lost the battle over a leaky house syndrome case (despite the national gov't ruling of 1/3rd 1/3rd 1/3rd split of payment). This meant leaky house owners were entitled to more than just the 1/3rd compensation. So i'm not surprised regional city council are VERY picky on what they will approve in building.

    Sometimes living in New Zealand I get the feeling that we as Kiwis like to think we know best. Having visited Finland I can...
    NZ's isolation to the rest of the world is the problem. The northern hemisphere (ie. cold climates) enjoy synergies in building development but for NZ, it's closest neighbouring ideologies only come from Australia (which it's climate is very different to NZ). There's no common goal in home comfort that we see between cold places of N. America and Northern Europe / Scandinavian places. So what we have in NZ in terms of building is using old building methods that were no longer acceptable in other parts of the world today but still continuing on in NZ because of the climate didn't warrant much change.

    Perhaps question if mechanised pre-fab building is applicable for NZ? The comfort of such a home will perform well in the very south of NZ, however over 75% of the NZ population live in the north island and 33% of total population live in Auckland and Northland region (a climate are where space heating is minimal). I whole heartedly believe the cost of building in NZ is a rip off and there's no chance consumers will see the benefit of mechanised manufacturing. We have a small market which is dominated by Fletcher Building (as they lobby to NZ gov't to have rules in place to discourage the uptake of better imported building materials) - a clear conflict of interest to the NZ public.

    By the way as you many know, the building approach for cold places like Finland will be entirely different to NZ methods. Notably the air tightness criteria with use of active mechanical ventilation. I'm sceptical if such a house, claimed to be more energy efficient, will actually have a lower carbon footprint to the typical newly built house in NZ that doesn't have a ventilation system to operating full time.

  9. #29
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    Mar 2016
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    NZ
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    Hi, i know it's been a while but did you build your home now? how did it turn out? did you run into any problems re importing the materials. Would love to hear more. thanks.



    Quote Originally Posted by Cameron View Post
    Hi there. Thanks for the reply.

    Having done a little more reading and investigation I can say for the most part I agree with what you say. In my opinion the response to the leaky building crisis was perhaps a little heavy handed to the point where we now discourage new and innovative approaches that are actually well proven abroad. For a one-off build the "proving compliance" costs will be high.

    The quote we have received from the company in Finland is very competitive. This includes triple glazed windows with R value 4 times higher than standard double glazed window of equivalent price in NZ. Even the front door is impressively insulated. As an engineer person myself I appreciate these facts.

    Sometimes living in New Zealand I get the feeling that we as Kiwis like to think we know best. Having visited Finland I can confidently say that the highly mechanised manufacturing methods employed have led to a higher level of productivity than we currently have here in NZ. These benefits are passed on to the consumer in the form of higher spec and lower prices. Bang for your buck here in NZ is simply not as good.

    I'm not knocking NZ. There are plenty of things that we are good at. But affordable, energy efficient houses manufactured in a highly productive way... I'm a convert to the Finnish way.

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    NZ
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    Hi Beachcombers - sorry the late response - only 3.5 years.
    Did you ever progress a with importing a Finnish kitset home at all? Curious to know how it went.
    If you can, drop me a PM - my wife belongs to the local Finnish group - there's a surprising number here in Wellington - (sauna + Koskenkorva + snowdrive)*3 - bliss.

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