Spanish researchers design an earthquake resistant house

Website Science Daily report that researchers at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid have successfully tested a new system to build earthquake resistant houses for the third world. The houses use pre-fabricated steel trusses that are light and easy to install by hand. The floors and walls can then be built with local materials including brick and block. The prototypes are very small but may be capable of being scaled up. Something that could be modified for use in the greater Christchurch area? Something that could be modified for those who don’t intend leaving the Red Zone? The article is here.

Home Building Guide

For those who are amongst the many thousands of rebuilds in Christchurch, getting to grips with the building process is likely to be an enormous issue.

While nearly all these houses will be rebuilt courtesy of our insurance companies, it is important to have a head full of ideas when meeting with claims managers and project managers. If you don’t know, you can’t ask, so some background reading is essential.

The website covers a great deal of this information in an easy to read format. Better still they have put out a 82 page A4 size magazine that covers all the building phases from conception through to completion with a great deal of effort put into discussing design and materials plus the legal processes and requirements. Even the advertising is worth careful study as the ideas and products spark off all sorts of thoughts!

The booklet is called BUILDING GUIDE: your step-by-step guide to better home building. Shirley Library had a few copies today, and I would assume most libraries will have them. If not, you can request a copy (they are free) by going to the Building Guide website here and filling in your details.

Rebuilds – smaller houses

We, like many others, are likely to be a rebuild. While waiting for formal confirmation there has been time to check out what is available. The first thing we noticed, other than the unrealistically high prices of land, was the assumption by major building companies that everyone wants a big house. This of course is not true, and also undesirable from a environmental point of view.

A few companies have had a range of smaller houses on their books and there are indications that some of the other companies are starting to cater for those who need a smaller house. As we find out about houses smaller than 150sq m, and visit their show homes, it will be blogged. In addition, information about the companies will also be put on a separate page (see the heading Smaller Houses under INFORMATION PAGES on the right).

Click on the company name to go to their website.

Timber interiors and exteriors. There is a show home at Hornby, opposite McDonalds, however it is much bigger than 150sq m. Lockwood homes have a range of smaller homes that look okay on paper but need a walk through. The web site allows you to download some of the plans (look for the Initial series) but unfortunately it is locked so they can’t be printed out. Not really user friendly; nice houses though.

Mainly brick clad houses although any cladding can be used at a cost. The city show home complex is in Papanui on the Main North Road (plus Kaiapoi and Rolleston and soon Lincoln – all of these show homes are over 150sq m). Stonewood Homes have just introduced a new range of smaller houses called the Bungalow Series (75 – 128 sq m) to fit below their First Choice Selection (142 – 149sq m). As of today the Bungalow Series was not mentioned on the website, but brochures are available at the show home. The two show homes are both over 150sq m.