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The Courtyard House – A Story of A SIP Home Build


Wellington Builders | Design & Architecture Services | Eco-Friendly Design | High Performing Home | Structural Insulated Panels | Energy-Efficient Home

SIP wall panels

It was late in 2017 when our Project Manager was approached by a woman in the Fresh Choice car park in Greytown. The woman had noticed the Green Abode ute, and she mentioned her son’s interest in building a SIP home. Fast forward a couple of months and Kevin (our Director) had his first meeting with our prospective new clients, Carson, and Kiri.

They had recently purchased land and after months of research, had decided that building a SIP house was the only way to go, and they loved Green Abode’s ethos. They had sketched out a floor plan and said that to keep costs down, they would like to do as much on the house themselves (such as all the interior painting and laying their carpet). Kevin arranged for them to meet with the architect, Dave, and draw up a set of plans.

The design was firmed up over the next many months, materials selected, and finances secured. At last, in May 2021, the build contract was finally signed, and the project began! It had been quite a long wait to get to this point and they couldn’t wait to get started.

One of the first things to be done was for Kiri and Carson to order their joinery which would take around 16 weeks to arrive (they had chosen a Kapiti Coast based company that imported the joinery from Germany).

On 9 June, after the section had been cleared (thankfully it was a flat section so there wasn’t much to clear) the concrete slab was poured.

Concrete being poured onto house foundation

Soon after, the SIP panels were delivered to the site and the walls started going up. It was so exciting to see the shape of the house take place! Things were progressing so well with the build … it seemed almost too good to be true.

SIP walls being installed by two builders

Unfortunately, it was too good to be true. The effects of the pandemic in Europe meant that the double-glazed windows were delayed with no update as to when they might even get onto a ship, let alone reach NZ.

Green Abode pushed on regardless, installing the internal walls. By September the roof panels were lifted into place with the help of a small crane and the house was nearly all closed in.

Small crane lifting SIP roof panels onto a new home

Inside, the gorgeous high-gloss polished “salt & pepper” concrete floors by MaxRaft gave a modern, minimal feel to the look of the living space.

The windows finally arrived in October only for Green Abode to discover that two of the bedroom French doors had been incorrectly made! Instead of opening outwards as per the plans and specs, they opened inwards. This would not do. By this time, however, the window company was no longer responding to any of Carson’s phone calls or emails, so Green Abode stepped in and used a trusted, local supplier who could replace the French doors.

Glass sliding doors being installed into a new house

To keep within budget, Carson planned to do some of the finishing work himself, such as installing wardrobes and tiling the bathroom floor. This was a new learning curve for him, but he took it all in his stride, correcting any errors as he went.

Wanting to be as eco-friendly as the budget would allow, Kiri and Carson had 18 solar panels installed on the roof of the house, to provide semi-off-grid living. (They also plan to install a “water witch” rainwater catchment system in future.)

Birds-eye view of solar panels on a rooftop

Another effect that the pandemic had on the build was that many quotes had increased significantly due to material shortages etc., from the time they were quoted to when the project got underway. Fortunately, the Bank approved an increase on their loan, so the build was able to continue.

By April of the next year, the cladding was installed but it wasn’t till the cedar shiplap cladding and exterior lights were installed that the house started to look completed.

Cedar cladding on the exterior of a house

In May 2022, the new kitchen by Mastercraft was installed. The stunning shiny black pearl granite benchtops made quite a statement against the white cabinetry. The timing was perfect because Kiri and Carson needed to vacate their rental property and were given the “go-ahead” to move into their new, nearly finished home. For the next several weeks they put up with temporary living while the Green Abode team worked around them, plastering, installing all the electrical fittings, trims etc.

Kiri and Carson could now see light at the end of the tunnel and the concrete for the front patio was poured just in time for Christmas. By mid-January 2023 all the Council paperwork was completed, and the Green Abode team packed up their tools and moved on to the next site, leaving Kiri and Carson in peace to enjoy their new home (with a handful of projects to complete).

Exterior of a brand new SIP home

We know they will create many long-lasting memories in this beautiful, eco-friendly, and high-performing home and we wish them all the very best!

If you’re keen to learn more about the process of building your own SIP home with Green Abode, contact us. We would love to help you build the home of your dreams.


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