Homeownership is typically the single largest investment a person will make in their lifetime, and it not only offers monetary and emotional stability, but also represents the single largest financial commitment.
Because of rising costs associated with housing and land, prospective homeowners are increasingly gravitating towards higher density housing options, such as apartments and townhouses. As a result, the demand for industry services has been restrained over the course of the last five years.
Over the course of the last five years, strong population growth and record-low residential home loan rates in Australia have combined to support the nation's insatiable housing demand.
You can get help from Hitch Property Constructions in a wide range of service areas with their specialised selection of home renovations.
What are the different types of construction?
Brick, block, and stone are the primary building materials used in masonry construction.
Autoclaved Aerated Concrete, or AAC for short, is a popular type of lightweight block that offers durability in addition to being an effective insulator and sound blocker.
A simple and economical finish can be achieved by covering it with render, stone veneer, or even cladding. All of these options are available.
Brick homes typically have an inner wall constructed out of blocks and an outer wall that is either brick or stone veneer.
Wood Framing / Brick Veneer
Walls, floors, roofs, and ceilings are all formed by wood framing, which is comprised of the primary structure of prefabricated panels and trusses that are fastened together with nails or screws.
In addition to being quick and simple to put together, it has a low overall cost and a flexible range of design options.
Wood has the potential to deteriorate in the form of rot, swelling, mould, or termite infestation if it is not treated properly, which is one of the material's drawbacks.
The fact that it is so lightweight makes it a very poor sound insulator; however, additional insulation can give excellent results in terms of both acoustic and thermal insulation.
Brick or wood siding are two affordable options for the exterior cladding of low-cost homes (brick veneer).
This is very similar to framing with wood, but it is more durable over the long term and has fewer defects.
It has a finish that is more predictable than wood, which leads to straighter walls and a more tightly constructed home, but it costs a little bit more than wood.
In spite of the fact that steel framing is a material with high thermal conductivity, the issue can be resolved with careful detailing.
Concrete can be used to construct homes in a number of different ways, including cast-in-place concrete, precast panels, or insulated concrete forms that contain integral insulation.
Concrete houses, despite the construction method you select, offer unrivalled durability and strength over a long period of time while requiring almost no upkeep. Buildings that are constructed out of a concrete call for specialised concrete repairs and buildings that are historically significant are typically made out of concrete.
The restoration process can be difficult, but using this method provides a high level of resistance to fire and pests, in addition to the ability to withstand strong winds and severe storms.
Concrete construction is typically more expensive than other, more traditional methods of home construction, and it frequently requires the use of specialised builders to ensure quality finishes.
Methods such as earth mounds, straw bale, and mud brick construction are examples of environmentally friendly home building materials.
If you are willing to put in a good deal of effort yourself, you can construct one of these homes on a budget while still achieving high levels of energy efficiency.
The design of strawbale houses is one that is both environmentally friendly and sustainable, and it has a lot of potential.
Another option for creating energy-efficient architecture is the use of earth mounds, which can include homes constructed from adobe as well as those that are buried underground.
Structured insulated panels, also known as SIPs, are one of the green construction methods that are used the most frequently.
Insulated foam sheets are placed between two sheets of aluminium, steel, plywood, or fibre cement in order to form the structure of these panels.
These panels are used to construct the walls, floors, and ceilings of a home, producing a structure that is both extremely energy-efficient and completely impermeable to water.
Because a typical stick-frame house lacks the draftiness and insulation of a SIP home, the latter requires less energy to maintain a comfortable temperature inside.
This will result in you requiring a less powerful heating and cooling system, which will save you money and be better for the environment.
What are the construction systems?
Construction systems are the various combinations of materials that are utilised in the process of constructing the primary components of our homes, including the roof, walls, and floors.
They come in a wide range of styles and configurations, and each one has a unique set of pros and cons that are determined by factors such as the local climate, the distance from the source of supply, available funds, the level of upkeep required, and the desired style or appearance.
The life cycle or "cradle to grave" analysis of the impact of the individual materials used in a construction system is what determines the environmental performance of the system as a whole in terms of its impact on the environment.
During the early stages of a project's design, it is common practise to make preliminary decisions concerning the construction systems that will be used.
On the other hand, the evaluation of their impact on the environment typically takes place much later, during the stage of detailed specification. When decisions are made in this order, it can limit the range of environmentally beneficial outcomes that are both attainable and cost-effective.
Depending on where and how the materials are sourced, identical substances can have very different effects on the surrounding environment.
The environmental impact of the materials is ultimately determined by where the materials come from as well as how they are processed.
Changing construction systems late in the design or construction process can be expensive, particularly if it requires alterations to the structure of the building, so it is important to give careful consideration to your choice of construction system early on in the project.
Regardless of factors such as climate, geographic location, or occupant lifestyle, the majority of new housing stock in Australia is constructed according to a standard formula, which varies only slightly.
The majority of newly constructed homes are constructed according to a standard formula, with only minor adaptations required for different states and cities. The formula is successful in spite of the enormous variety of climates, geographic locations, and ways of life that can be found across Australia.
The formula evolved for a number of different reasons, some of which include the availability of skills and materials, the simplicity and swiftness of construction, the perception of the market or familiarity with the final product, as well as the perceptions of individuals or communities.
This strategy almost never results in the most suitable or even the most cost-effective solutions to meet the requirements for housing in Australia. It adds to the ecological and financial burden of maintaining our homes and, in many cases, doesn't provide much in the way of increased convenience or quality of life.
At the expense of convenience, functionality, and overall performance, the focus is frequently placed on "borrowed style" and larger dimensions. A significant choice that must be made is that of selecting the ideal home constructions company in Melbourne.
Looking for the best home constructions? Look no further! Hitch Property Constructions has the ultimate list of home designs for you to choose from.
Thermal performance of construction systems
The amount of mass that each construction system contains is an essential point of differentiation between the various systems. Materials with a high mass and materials with a low mass make distinct contributions to thermal performance depending on:
- the climate zone they are used in
- where exactly they are put to use (internally or externally)
- access to passive methods of heating or cooling that are available
- how they are designed to interact with or moderate the climate.
Mass can only contribute to thermal performance when it is exposed internally and insulated externally. When used this way as thermal mass, it can even out diurnal ranges by retaining or shedding heat.
Diurnal variations greater than 6°C and access to passive heating and cooling are required for this. In situations where they cannot be reached, low mass typically provides superior performance.
When used externally, such as in brick veneer construction, high mass systems can have other advantages but do not contribute positively to thermal performance. Indeed, they can have a negative impact on poor designs.
High mass systems
- generally have higher embodied energy
- can reduce the amount of energy needed for heating and cooling a home over its lifetime, thereby offsetting the amount of energy used to produce them.
- are best utilised in environments where there is a large temperature disparity between the day and the night
- can be a burden in tropical climates where the majority of energy is consumed by cooling systems.
- require more substantial footing systems and result in greater site disturbance and impact
- are frequently extracted and processed in ways that have a significant negative impact on the environment.
- require careful consideration of costs and benefits, especially in the case of remote locations with significant transportation requirements.
- have, on average, a lower amount of energy embedded in them
- can result in a lower total life cycle energy use, particularly in environments with a low diurnal range.
- react quickly to changes in temperature from the environment or inputs of heating and cooling
- can bring about significant benefits in both temperate and hot climates by bringing about a rapid cooling at night
- are frequently prefered on remote sites with high costs associated with materials transport.
- due to their inability to moderate diurnal cycles, buildings in climates with a high diurnal range often require more heating and cooling energy than in climates with a low diurnal range (where passive heating and cooling is available).
- can have additional thermal mass added to it by including water-filled containers or phase change materials in the construction.
- can have a smaller impact on production if it is sourced in a sustainable manner.
Mixed mass systems
The majority of the time, the most optimal results in terms of both the economy and the environment can be achieved through the strategic combination of low and high mass construction.
Concrete slabs placed directly on the ground, coupled with lightweight walls, are going to yield the best overall results in climates that are more temperate. Low mass construction is recommended for locations that experience high levels of heat and humidity. When living in a cool climate, having a lot of mass is advantageous.
To achieve the best results possible in cold and hot arid climates, it is necessary to position low and high mass components of the building in a thoughtful manner throughout.
The combination of lower levels with high mass (earth-bermed precast concrete) and upper levels with low mass (insulated timber-framed or AAC block) helps maximise the efficiency with which embodied energy and operational energy are used.
What are the elements of the construction system?
The weight of the house is transferred to the foundation material, which is most commonly soil, by means of the structures known as footings. Footing systems have to be designed in such a way that they can adapt to different geotechnical conditions (soil conditions) and offer sufficient tie-down for the building structure in accordance with the wind classification of the location.
A good system satisfies these requirements while simultaneously reducing the amount of site disturbance and the number of materials that have a high embodied energy, such as concrete and steel.
The smallest amount of site impact and embodied energy is caused by lightweight framed systems. There is a wide selection of lightweight steel footing systems available, such as screw piles, adjustable steel piers on a simple concrete pad or bored columns, pole and space frame systems, and many more.
Integrated footings made of concrete slabs require significant excavation on all sites other than level ones, which increases the impact.
They have the potential to reduce construction costs in areas with gentle slopes and climates that permit earth coupling to substantially offset additional embodied energy over the course of the building's life cycle.
Waffle pod slabs are an efficient structural solution that were required for geotechnical reasons. However, they should be used only on sites that have soils that range from moderately reactive to highly reactive.
This is because the additional steel and concrete used wastes embodied energy on sites that are stable. Used car tyres that have been filled with compacted fill can be used to make pods.
This kept earth coupling, in contrast to systems made of cardboard and expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam, which does not keep earth coupling.
EPS foam frequently contains glasshouse gases that are extremely harmful to the environment and have a greater embodied energy equivalent than carbon dioxide. This contributes even more to the overall embodied energy level.
The amount of excavation needed can be cut down by using detached strip footings in conjunction with load-bearing brickwork to the floor level.
On the other hand, brick dwarf walls that are filled typically result in an increase in the embodied energy of this system.
It is now possible to purchase engineered steel pile systems that are suitable for supporting masonry walls. They speed up construction, reduce the need for excavation, and lessen the impact on the site.
Although the cost is dependent on the application, in most cases, it is more expensive than strip footings. Your ideal home can become a reality when you work with HP Constructions because we offer the most comprehensive selection of high-quality home constructions.
High mass floors
Concrete slabs placed directly on the ground are the most typical type of high thermal mass floor system. Earth-coupled slabs work well in environments where the temperature of the ground more than three metres deep consistently ranges between 16 and 19 degrees Celsius.
Insulation of the underside ought to be done wherever temperatures fall outside of this range, such as in Darwin or Tasmania.
Other types of systems include slabs that are suspended from above or beams made of precast concrete that have lightweight infill and concrete topping.
The underside of suspended floors, including subfloor spaces, needs to be insulated if they are exposed to the outside air in order to make a positive contribution to the building's thermal performance.
When compared with slab floors, lightweight suspended concrete floor systems have a cost that is comparable to that of timber and steel framed floors.
Additionally, lightweight suspended concrete floor systems have the ability to reduce site impacts. Insulation is required to be applied to the underside of the slab.
Less frequently, compacted earth, flagstone, or rock is utilised. Nevertheless, it is just as effective when it is designed and constructed appropriately for the climate and the site.
These kinds of systems have a negligible or nonexistent impact on transport and either a low or nonexistent embodied energy. In general, inexpensive.
Low mass floors
The most typical design for a floor with a low mass consists of a lightweight frame made of timber or steel that is covered in particleboard, timber, plywood, or compressed fibre-cement sheeting. This flooring has a high potential for reuse at the end of its life when it is designed and constructed for deconstruction (for example, when it is screwed instead of glued).
Even though lightweight steel framing has a higher embodied energy than timber, it is highly recyclable once its useful life has come to an end. In regions where termites are common, steel framing offers superior durability, and comparable steel and wood structures typically require less money to transport.
Galvanizing can prevent rusting in corrosive environments; however, doing so adds to the amount of energy that is "embodied" in the material. Typically sold at a higher price than timber.
A carbon sink that effectively minimises embodied energy is a lightweight timber framing system that uses plantation timber that is sourced in a sustainable manner.
Bearers and joists made of engineered timber allow for a very efficient use of materials, but the glues used to attach them can have a negative impact on the quality of the air inside and on people's health.
Timber is susceptible to attack by termites, and while termite proofing can reduce this risk, it typically relies on chemical treatments, which can have other negative effects on the environment. It comes at a price that is not too high.
The use of structural insulated panel (SIP) systems and engineered composite panel (ECP) systems are becoming increasingly common. In most cases, high levels of structural efficiency can be achieved along with naturally high insulation levels by bonding low-mass insulation materials to lightweight steel or ply sheeting.
This type of construction typically results in high levels of insulation. Depending on the system, the cost can range anywhere from moderate to high.
When manufactured in a sustainable manner using environmentally prefered materials, many of these low mass floor systems offer lower embodied energy, increased structural efficiency, and reduced resource depletion.
Composite mass floors
Examples frequent of composite mass floors include the following:
- structures made of lightweight materials that have concrete poured on top of them
- lightweight systems that have inserts that can be filled with water to provide thermal mass and are characterised by their low weight.
- floor systems made of autoclaved aerated concrete (also known as AAC) (see Autoclaved aerated concrete)
- materials that are going through a phase change that are encased in materials that have a low mass in order to produce phase change materials
- a floor covering that is not only easy to instal but also has a high capacity for storing heat (see Thermal mass; Mud brick).
High mass walls
Masonry wall systems are very typical examples of high thermal mass wall systems. Examples of masonry wall systems include brick, concrete block, and precast concrete. Rammed earth and mud brick are two additional popular forms of construction.
The embodied energy of traditional masonry systems is typically quite high, whereas the embodied energy of rammed earth and mud brick is noticeably lower.
Because of the use of varying amounts of cement depending on the type of earth, rammed earth has a higher level of embodied energy than mud brick (see Rammed earth; Mud brick).
In order to achieve better thermal performance, all high-mass wall systems need to have their exteriors insulated and their interiors left exposed. The difference in temperature between the interior and exterior of a building is what determines the level of insulation.
The greater the temperature difference, the greater the amount of insulation that must be used (see Insulation; Thermal mass; Passive design).
Thermal lag, also known as the retention of heat or cold, in thick walls such as rammed earth or mud brick can reduce the insulation level required in mild climates; however, it may not completely eliminate the need for insulation.
This is a widespread misunderstanding regarding these different systems. A significant amount of external insulation is required in climates that are cold, but these types of insulation should be avoided in climates that are hot and humid.
Modelling of thermal performance is what determines whether or not a climate is suitable, as well as the level of insulation that should be used.
Low mass walls
In the most common type of low-mass wall construction, lightweight timber or steel framing is used as the structural support system for non-structural cladding and linings such as fibre cement, plywood, and steel.
This is the most common form of low-mass wall construction. Depending on the cladding material that is used, insulated lightweight walls can have minimal embodied energy and lower heat loss than conventional walls.
Sheet cladding systems like plywood, fibre cement sheet, and others have a low embodied energy requirement and generally have a low impact on the environment. They are exceptionally long-lasting, despite the fact that regular maintenance must be performed on any painted surface.
Composite (mixed) mass walls
These systems fall somewhere in the middle of high mass and low mass, with a density that is either moderate, as in the case of AAC, in which high mass concrete is used to trap tiny air bubbles that have no mass, or a combination of high mass and low mass, as in the case of straw bale, in which straw has a low mass and the render finish has a high mass.
The lightweight and relatively energy-efficient material known as autoclaved aerated concrete, or AAC, contains air pockets that have been sealed off.
One of the oldest methods of building, log wall construction is a low mass system that dates back to prehistoric times. It is also one of the oldest methods of construction.
It grew as a natural consequence of having an abundant supply of tall, straight timber that could be relatively easily cut, worked, and transformed into building components.
This made it possible to turn the timber into building components. It has a long history of being associated with countries and regions that are home to tall pines and other types of trees with similarly straight trunks.
It is believed to have originated in northern Europe, and then spread with European colonisation, particularly to North America, where the native pine forests provided abundant timber that was suitable for the method.
The logs used in Australian log homes are solid timber. When wider logs are required, at least one supplier uses imported Scots pine and Norway spruce that has been laminated.
Other suppliers use Australian white cypress or Monterey pine (Pinus radiata), which is native to the central coast of California but is widely grown as a plantation tree in Australia.
The construction of log walls using composite "logs," each of which is made of a timber plank sandwiching a layer of rigid insulation behind an outer face or veneer of the natural log, has not yet entered the market in Australia.
These systems of log wall construction use composite "logs." Logs are cut lengthwise to create cladding that is attached to insulated stud frames that have timber panelled interior faces. This method is a variation on the log facing technique that is used on houses that have a "log veneer."
High mass roof systems
Unless they are able to be exposed internally and insulated externally, roofing systems are unable to improve their thermal performance when measured in terms of thermal mass.
Because insulation at the ceiling level is so important, exposed roof mass is relatively uncommon outside of homes or apartments with multiple levels.
Low mass roof systems
The performance of lightweight roof systems that are framed in timber or steel is comparable to the performance of walls and frames.
Cladding systems that do not contribute to thermal performance are the cause of variations in the amount of energy that is embodied.
Your brand-new home can be built using any one of several distinct approaches to residential construction.
The majority of Australian builders are accustomed to building with brick veneer, with the exception of those working in Western Australia, where masonry (double brick) construction is more common.
Building a house from the ground up is a big part of the Australian culture and psyche, but for first-time homeowners in particular, the building process can be a bit of a mystery.
Check out our Melbourne home repairs to help you to build your dream house.
One of the best ways to reduce anxiety and begin to enjoy the process is to gain an understanding of the construction phase. Knowing what will happen, when it will happen, and how it will happen is essential to this.
FAQs About Home Construction
Construction of dwellings, such as houses, apartments, and flats, falls under the category of residential construction, whereas commercial construction encompasses the building of industrial facilities, warehouses, and commercial establishments.
Only one of the five distinct kinds of building construction—a wood-frame structure—has walls that can easily catch fire on the outside. This is the typical approach taken when building a single-family dwelling. These structures are constructed using studs measuring 2 by 4 or 2 by 6 inches, load-bearing walls made of wood, wood floor trusses or wood floor joists, and roof framing made of wood.
A person whose job it is to construct new homes and other buildings, as well as repair existing ones, is known as a builder. The roofing work has been completed by the construction crew.
Buildings, infrastructure, and industrial construction make up the three primary subfields of the construction industry. In the industry of building construction, projects are typically classified as either residential or commercial.
Class A buildings are the most prestigious buildings in the world. They offer the most conveniences and are located in the most desirable areas. In general, these are the most appealing structures available because of the superior craftsmanship and top-notch components used in their construction.