BUILDER ADDS NEW DIMENSION TO SERVICES.
An interview with Peter Mumford from Country Homes Building Services a local building firm recently registering a new approach to building “EnviroHomes” by Country Homes about their new “EnviroHomes” building system. Peter was born in Maleny and has kept close links with the range throughout his life, he is a registered commercial and residential builder who has been providing building services to the Sunshine Coast hinterland for 30 years the last 15 of them from Maleny, promoting more “climate intelligent” homes.
Hello Peter, firstly, how did the development of this new building system come about?
Hello Les, Well to be fair, I don’t know that it’s a particularly new idea as homes built at the turn of the century were often far more “climate intelligent” than some being built now, it’s just that with advances in technology and environmental awareness these new building systems have become available. I started observing even 15 years ago especially when we would receive enquiries for renovations to fairly new homes up here on the range, how many of the new homes simply weren’t designed with the weather in mind, with our long wet season, strong winds, low cloud, and seasonal extremes in temperature, homeowners having moved in discovered their dream home was not so pleasant to live in, the veranda often faced into a howling westerlies or southerlies and the kitchen and breakfast area in winter was freezing and in summer the house was like a sauna and it took 10 minutes for the hot water to get to the taps. It was clear to me then, that there hadn’t been much thought given to the weather and we started talking to people about building more “climate intelligent” homes which led to the development of our “EnviroHomes” building system.
What did bring about the development of this new building system?
What really motivated us were customers who came with plans, which were really unsuitable. For example a lady we had built for previously, asked us to have a look at their site on Mountain View Rd, her plans were attractive but they did not take into account the weather and building the house would have resulted in much of it being unusable a lot of the year. It was redesigned to take advantage of the terrific views they have there but also to shut out the weather, just after that a gentleman from Sydney with plans for an escarpment site at Mapleton, which were totally impractical, and twice his budget. From those types of experiences we saw a need for a new approach, since then we have consulted with ecological design, climate control and environmental analysis and so on, which still are leading edge ideas and technology in themselves and put it all together in developing the “EnviroHomes” building creation system
How does “Envirohomes” work?
The “Envirohome” system actually maximises the potential climate within the home to your advantage so that it will be “cooler in summer and warmer in winter”. “Envirohomes” simply works with the cycles of nature, with seasonal weather variation, the prevailing weather and climatic patterns, using prevailing cool breezes and sun and shade angles and periods of each individual site to create “environmentally efficient buildings” It really is astounding when you experience just what a difference this system makes to the comfort and liveability of a home, it is extremely user friendly making your home much more comfortable and really, a pleasure to live in. Regardless of whether it is a two-bedroom cabin or a eight bedroom mansion and regardless of the type of design, working just as well in modern open plan as the classic heritage, provincial or country style home.
I notice you use the term, building creation, what types of things does it take into account?
Yes! that’s very important, the “Envirohome” system really is, a “building creation” system, or more properly an “environmentally active building creation system” which has many facets to it not just climate control, but also environmentally friendly, functional, home support systems for septic, water supply and drainage and other aspects as well. Basically you could say we have taken a more holistic and much more logical approach to creating homes for people where the home itself, particular needs of the families, the environmental aspects of the site and all the support systems and access and privacy considerations are fully integrated.
What sorts of advantages can people expect?
We really urge people considering building to look at just how different and enjoyable a home using the “Envirohomes” system is to live in. Imagine on those freezing mornings in the middle of winter walking into a sunny kitchen and having breakfast on a warm veranda, or in the heat of summer enjoying a home cooled by breezes funnelled throughout. As I mentioned earlier there are so many homes where you simply can’t use the veranda a lot and when you walk into the kitchen in winter you freeze and in summer you swelter. This system stops all that, “Envirohomes” are easier to heat and cool as nature is working for you. I liked the way a recent customer, who had health considerations, put it when he said “my home really is a joy to live in”
Are there any other building matters this new system addresses?
Yes several; Integrated fully designed aerobic or anaerobic septic systems where required, and soil quality and percolation as a part of that. Clean water catchment and distribution for that home, extensively using leaf diverters and first rain dust extraction that assure home owners of clean, clear water and easy maintenance is also high on our list of priorities, as well as water reticulation for garden use. With peoples growing concerns of water quality these matters are vital in caring for our water catchments.
Also we look at surface water runoff, site access and drainage, both surface and sub-soil, and possible allergy issues customers may have with some building materials and several other features and innovative building construction methods to achieve these ends. Also this system enables the Owner themselves to design their own home. Basically again it is just a more holistic approach to Home Building.
What do you mean by allergy issues?
Allergy issues are becoming much more prevalent, lots of people for example wonder why their home makes them sneeze, or they wake up with red, sore eyes, they may have allergies to glues or preservative treatments used in some building construction and, or finishing products.
Remember ”super 6” asbestos corrugated roofing and asbestos fibro house sheeting, it wasn’t that long ago that it was commonly used in home building; it was the accepted practise. Today we know positively that its effects on our health can be deadly. It makes you wonder what we will know 40 years from now about what we are using today! For those who have concerns we can offer construction materials which are not treated with toxic chemicals but which are naturally resistant to white ant and termites and non allergenic finishes and insulation products. We’ve had a terrific response to that.
Will this system work for anyone?
Yes absolutely, it is now available to anyone considering building a new home or extensively remodelling their existing one. The “Envirohome” system can make an enormous difference to your new home, again, regardless of the shape size or style. We aim for it to be an uncomplicated way of delivering to those wanting a new home on their land an easy way of achieving quality in one complete package from start to handover.
What sort of feedback have you had so far?
Fantastic, 90% of customers we have built for locally and as far away as Hervey Bay will write and tell us how much they appreciate the “comfortableness and family-friendly aspects” of their home. It’s often not until after they have lived in it for awhile and experienced winter and summer in their new home that they fully appreciate what “EnviroHomes” is all about, we’ve even had one purported health transformation! But I think Patrick Brennan whose home we built here in Watson’s Lane summed it up best, when he wrote “The greatest thing that strikes me, now that I have been living in my home for twelve months, is the way the sun shines into the living rooms early on winter mornings, warming them, but the same rooms are shaded and cooled by the slightest breezes in the heat of summer” that kind of feedback is very inspiring and describes perfectly “EnviroHomes”
Is there any additional cost to this system?
The great thing about the “Envirohome” system is that it delivers a far superior home in many ways at the same cost. Some additions like the inclusion of natural, conceled ventilation systems (which cools the house even when it’s locked up) will cost extra. As well, we have a low-key approach, getting our work mainly from referrals so we don’t have the enormous overheads, offices and advertising budgets of some building companies so we are able to offer a quality home at the same price. Also customers feel comfortable with the cost process, for as the works develop it can be costed progressively so you know your budget all along.
Is there anything else you would like to comment on?
Just that this is absolutely the way of the future, particularly so, in environments like we have here on the range, designing your home around the conditions of the site and making full use of the environmental aspects is singularly the most important thing that you can do when considering building on the range, or anywhere for that matter and also again, “EnviroHomes” are far easier to heat and cool as nature is working for you. I can see a time in the not too far distant future, once people begin to realise and appreciate the liveable qualities of these homes when they will bring a premium price in comparison to their neighbours.
Finally Peter how can people contact “EnviroHomes” by Country Homes?
They can call our office on 07 54 942091 b.h or by fax on 07 54 999732 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and if people would like to look a bit further we have a web site at www.countryhomesmaleny.com or they can call for ,or pop into Mary Nagy’s KOALA Café & Fuel at the top end of Maleny, where we have a small Town office, for a Free brochure anytime.
"Know who you do business with....."