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The Journey of the "Stepped House" SIP Home Build

Updated: Jul 5, 2023


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

Unfinished SIP house

Autumn is a season of change. It’s not only obvious by the colour of the trees or the chill in the air but also by the different light of the sky and night-time arriving earlier each day.

“Change is as good as a holiday,” some say. Dan and Leah* may agree with this, to some extent. They moved into their new Green Abode home a few weeks ago and are enjoying being homeowners at last! The change perhaps can’t quite be described as a holiday, considering they are putting on the finishing touches themselves, but at least they can now work on it at their own pace, rather than cramming in as much as possible, each weekend.

Dan and Leah came to us in November 2018, having just purchased a plot of land in Wellington. This determined young couple weren’t phased that their section didn’t have easy access, being located at the top of a steep hill (without steps or a track!). They were also keen to do much of the work themselves to keep costs down (ie trenching, painting, building steps from the street up to the house, installation of bathroom fixtures - just to mention a few things!).

However, there were quite a few hold-ups just to get to the starting point for this house build. Firstly, there was a delay in getting Resource Consent due to there being no street parking for this house, and then the COVID lockdown in March 2020. Unfortunately, this meant that the Bank took much longer to process lending requests, and everything came to a grinding halt.

After months and months of waiting, finally, in November 2020, the bank approved the finances, and the build was added to the Green Abode schedule for a March or April start.

To kick things off, a mobile crane had to be called in, to lift the digger from the street to the bottom of the hill. Our project manager, Andrew, had to don his “traffic management” hat!

Crane lifting a digger from the road to job site

There was no way that a hiab or crane would be able to transfer materials up to the building site, so to keep costs down, Dan and Leah rallied their friends and family to assist with physically carrying everything from the street up to the job site. Our Green Abode team were very impressed at the way this couple managed to deliver on everything they said they would do, within the required timeframe.

The pre-cut SIP panels arrived in July 2021 and because of the difficult site access, the larger panels had to be flown in by helicopter.

Helicopter lifting SIP panels

It was an anxious time, and a bit of nail-biting going on by a few nervous onlookers (especially with a light wind blowing!) but it was nothing that the experienced Wellington Helicopters Ltd pilot hadn’t managed before. Thankfully all panels were delivered safely with no glitches. Whew! Our team began installing the SIP wall panels. It was exciting to see the house taking shape!

Unfinished SIP home

Things were progressing well until another COVID lockdown threw a spanner in the works in August. It was a very frustrating time for everyone involved.

In September, our builders were back on board, picking up from where things had left off. Unfortunately, COVID meant the supply chain was severely affected and the timber cladding was delayed by 6 months! Luckily, with very high-quality wrap over the panels, we were able to continue anyway and complete the interior.

Lounge area of SIP home

On the 21st of October, the windows arrived from Germany and were delivered to the site. Again, the helicopter and our team of builders had the challenging task of lifting them (and a rather large water tank) from the truck up to the building site. (Who doesn’t love a challenge?!) The whole process was incredibly smooth from start to finish.

Window panes on the back of a hiab truck

As winter looms, Dan and Leah are relieved to be finally living in their warm and snug, quiet, and cosy SIP home.

Completed SIP home

Congratulations Dan and Leah on your lovely new home! We hope you love your house and look forward to visiting you soon to see the completed product.

“We have thoroughly enjoyed working with these patient and good-natured clients.” – Andrew, Project Manager

To learn more about SIPs, read the A-Z of SIPs blog here.

*names changed to protect our client's privacy

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