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Thread: Importing a kit house from Sweden/Finland

  1. #1
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    Default Importing a kit house from Sweden/Finland

    Hey everyone.

    My wife comes from Finland and when ever we have been there I have always been impressed with the quality of a new houses, most of which come in kit form and is assembled onsite. Last time we were there, I spoke to a couple of companies and we could get a approx 200sq/mtr home designed to fit into two containers.

    One the face of it there are some big advantages

    Quaility build
    Triple glazing
    Highly Energy efficient (the batts are a 900mm thick)
    Cost Approx 50,000
    Shipping approx $20,000 for two containers and local transport

    http://www.ikihirsi.fi/en/collection.html

    Local cost would be labour, foundations and finishing probably about $80,000

    So on paper it makes it worth looking at.

    Any flaws to my logic?

    Only problem(s) I can foresee is getting it across the border.

  2. #2
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    It would definitely be worth talking to MAF about importation, and also your local council's planning dept about permission. They're not always helpful with "out of the ordinary" builds, I've heard.

    I'll def be interested in your progress though

  3. #3
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    Jul 2006
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    There is a company here that builds this sort of kit home

    http://eehnz.com/

    some of the problems you will have here is that the council would need to see the finished plans before they even approve it so you may have to pay for plans that are never going to be approved.There are different building regs here as opposed to Finland You definitley as sophie said need to contact maf as any untreated wood coming into New Zealand may experience problems . even if it is treated Maf may well insist on re treating which is why you would need to contact them. Also bear in mind you will need to pay GST plus any customs charges. So before you even start contact your local council and Maf

  4. #4
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    One thing you have to look at is the climate 'your' house is designed for. It might not be fit for the location here in NZ where you want to assemble it here. I remember the first generation of Finnish houses in Central Europe didn't work; they needed to be adapted.

    Another design issue are the general requirements of our NZ Building Act. Is 'your' house designed in accordance with it for the designated location? (As mentioned above you will need a building consent - and a resource consent.) Even houses relocated within NZ occasionally struggle with it regarding seismic, snow and/or wind loads.
    Foundation of the house might be an issue in hilly regions and it pays generally to check how cheap, easy and safe services connections between a Finnish house and NZ providers are (presuming they are compatible).
    The timber of the house will have to comply with the regulatory treatment requirements for structural timber. Generally it is done before delivery on site, can this be done in Finland?

    You might want to check which skills and tools are necessary to assemble the house here. What is self evident in Finland is not necessarily here - and vice versa.

    Finally you might also want to check the manufacturer's and builder's warranty conditions in these special circumstances.

  5. #5
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    Default

    Thanks for your replies everyone.

    Yup had factored in 15% for GST, with the possibility of a further 5% for duty. I import wine barrels so am familair with the MAF requirements, also any plans will go through a local company who specialise in building consents/resource consents for checking the validity prior to submitting to council.

    To actually build the thing we would need a crane on site to help with the framing, I have not investigated the tool requirement, but do not expect anything out of the ordinary.

    These are just "plans" at the moment, we are looking for the right section and the capital to buy one, so early days yet!

  6. #6
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    It is something we also investigated a few years back. The quality of Scandinavian kit homes is far superior to anything similar we have seen in NZ. However, what put us off is the potential difficulty with re-selling at a later date. I just don't think buyers in NZ would currently appreciate the value of things like triple glazing and pay what they are worth. Even if you are building a house to live in yourself and not to sell on a couple of years later, you will still need to consider the possibility that you may have to move due to unforseen circumstances in a volcanically and seismically active country.

  7. #7
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    Triple glazing?! We have single glazing in the Wellington area and it's enough. I used to live in the Chicago area and have never seen a house with triple glazing. Is that not just a tad overkill?

  8. #8
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    It is a really good idea, as NZ builders simply do not understand the need for European standard glazing and insulation.

    I have encountered much resistance to more than the NZ new build standard of insulation and thermally broken double glazing and central heating in our re-build/extension in Motueka. We were cold last winter- never again.

    I have experienced triple glazing in Denmark, it is very effective.

    The Kiwi solution of electric blankets, hot water bottles and wearing an extra sweater is not for us.

  9. #9
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    OK first off, NZ builders might not "simply" understand the need for European standard glazing and insulation for one very simple reason ... this is not Europe.

    Seriously, how cold does it get in Denmark? I grew up on the east coast of England with double glazing and just cannot fathom a need for triple glazing. I occasionally had a hot water bottle in the bottom of my bed when growing up (removed before I got into bed) but never had an electric blanket there. 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. I call a "harden the f*** up" on that one - courtesy of Chopper, not my words, but the sentiment is the same!

    We have single glazing where we are now and I sometimes put my side of the electric blanket on to its lowest setting in winter, my husband doesn't. We have our heaters on timers and certainly don't heat centrally - why would you when you don't use all of the house all of the time, it's just a waste. I discovered that the panel heater was on in our 3rd bedroom - combined guest room and study room for husband - today and it was absolutely sweltering in there!

    OK, all the above said, I used to own a house quite close to the one we own now. The old house was north-facing, had massive amounts of insulation and double glazing, yet had absolutely zero furnishings, ie. shutters instead of curtains or blinds, hardwood and tile flooring instead of carpet. Both houses are built on a concrete foundation. New house has windows facing all compass points, though most are south-facing, yet new house is warmer by a long shot! I think the biggest differences between the two is that the old house had a longer roof which jutted out and prevented sunlight from entering the house during most seasons, and had higher ceilings (10-foot), not to mention the standard carpets that we have here. We do not have underfloor insulation or heating where we are now (in our pitifully single glazed house) but are not cold in the slightest. We do, however, have a DVS which my old house didn't, and I think that makes quite the difference, too, not that I noticed the old house being damp at all. Thankfully in the old house, I made a standard fortnightly payment to the gas company for my gas bill there, as my gas bill in July 2010 was $880 for ONE MONTH yikes!!! (two gas heaters, gas cooking, and gas heat for hot water on demand)

  10. #10
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    Somehow my post was deleted, but i'll just summarise

    It is a really good idea, as NZ builders simply do not understand the need for European standard glazing and insulation.
    I don't think it's should be a 'lack of understanding' by the NZ building industry because it's like comparing apples with oranges. Cold places like Europe and most parts of N. America construct homes under a complete different approach to how houses are built in NZ (which is more similar to how houses are built in Australia). The single biggest factor that differentiates between the 2 is in NZ, timber framed walls must more or less be able to breath (which means any moisture or condensation in the wall cavities can escape. Where as in comparison to cold climates, such a method of building will not be suitable because of the simple fact that uncontrolled air movement (in the form of drafts - through down lights in the ceiling, electrical flush boxes, etc) is not a solution to efficiently keep heat inside the living space, especially when it can be -30C outside.

    Secondly, the energy load on such air tight constructed houses wouldn't fit the bill for most people in NZ as features such as central heating (via electric or LPG/nat gas) would result in a high user cost of operation. There are builds in NZ such as "Passive Haus" that focus on minimal carbon footprint running costs but it is still yet to be debated if the extra cost to go this far is warranted. I don't think it's an issue about payback time but rather, an issue of, is it all really necessary to live in a house that is constant 22C (by active ventilation and HVAC) vs passive heating from the sun where the living space temperature can vary between 14C - 28C (depending where you live in NZ).

    I have encountered much resistance to more than the NZ new build standard of insulation and thermally broken double glazing and central heating in our re-build/extension in Motueka. We were cold last winter- never again.
    It was hard enough having uPVC windows installed in our house built few years ago as the builder continually expressed interest in aluminium frame or thermally broke ones. I agree completely that use of non-standard materials is a risk to any builder (after all compare to the methods used recently that caused all of NZ's leaky house syndrome - methods and use of different materials resulting billions in damages). The methods they're using today would be more along the lines of the 'tried and true' with more insulation specified.

    I'm a fan of triple pane windows. But i'm not a fan of using such glazing if it's not part of the whole building system. That is, there's a point where you can go too extreme when factors such as air tightness/draft proofing isn't taken into consideration. Actually, a Passive Haus house being built near Hamilton is getting special PVCu windows imported from Europe but with glass spec of only double glazing.

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