frequently asked questions
Q. Can I get any information of building costs around Australia at the moment.
A. Yes, we have found this site useful in getting a feel for prices with an adjustment factor for different regions. Please see www.bmtqs.com.au/construction_cost_table.htm
Q. Can I get a fixed price on my ehabitat before I commit to the design.
A. No - this method is often used by others and then the nasty extras appear. We are committed to ensuring you obtain an accurate quote. As with all building contracts it is not possible to organise a meaningful quote until the design has been finalized and the documenation complete.
Q. Are double storey ehabitat’s available?
A. We do not intend to offer double story designs as we are concentrating on single story passive solar designs. Double story buildings tend to be 20% more expensive than single story buildings in the current construction climate. There are instances where it is possible to build an ehabitat over an existing structure or build an ehabitat well off the ground to allow the undercroft to be used for garageing etc.
Q. Can ehabitats have double glazing windows?
A. Yes double glazing as the best option for insulating large areas of glass and it can be easily incorporated within our system. However we are finding that many clients choose to go with a thermal glass option which performs at 70% the efficiency of double glazing at approximately 2 thirds the cost. Please see glass table.
Q. Can an ehabitat be built in stages?
A. Yes, an initial building can be erected to meet local council regulations and then be extended to suit ones changing lifestyle or budget. We recommend designing for the ‘end result’ and then looking at strategies to stage the construction.
Q. Can you supply anywhere in Australia?
A. Yes, all eframes are manufactured in Tasmania and supplied to any site, plus freight in plastic protected flat packs, with each component numbered, ready to frame up.
Q. Can I purchase the framing only?
A. Yes, however the building must still be designed by ehabitat to your specific site.
Q. Can I bypass the design fee by doing the design myself or choosing a design you have already done?
A. No. We are adamant that each of our buildings be designed to suit each particular site and whilst many people may have a good idea what they want we find to make the most of the ehabitat system the best solutions come from a collaboration between our clients and our designers who understand the principals and technicalities of ehabitat.
Q. Can you refer me to a builder in my area?
A. We are progressively appointing preferred builders, or we can provide on site assistance to your nominated builder by providing construction support during the frame up stage.
Q. My building site needs to meet bush fire regulations?
A. Generally ehabitats can be site & building specified to meet bushfire regulations, this may require independent water tanks and clearing around the site to local council regulations. If your building is in an extreme bushfire zone then some additional work may be required to ensure your ehabitat meets the local criteria.
Q. What measures do you use to prevent your wooden frame from collecting water along the bottoms of windows?
A. The sills are manufactured with a bevel similar to any wooden timber window frame.
Q. What are the window frames made of?
A. The entire framing including the window frames are manufactured from Tasmanian re-growth hardwood
Q. If we bought a kit home, would all of it be shipped from Tasmania? I’d be keen to reduce the transport impacts of the home through local procurement where possible.
A. ehabitats are not kit homes, the patented hardwood frames would be shipped in a flat pack from Tasmania, all other material is sourced locally.
Q. How can one avail oneself of your design service when we live so far away?
A. We can visit any site in Australia providing you pay our travel costs which we are happy to quote for nominated locations. We are primarily based in Victoria and Tasmania and we have appointed a Brisbane based associate architect to service Northern New South Wales & South East Queensland. All initial site visit fees (excluding travel at cost) are rebated back to our customers who choose to go ahead with the design of an ehabitat.
Q. Do you give any guarantees with regard to the rot resistance of your frames, since they are exposed to the elements?
A. Our frames are detailed in such a way that there is no possibility for moisture to collect on any external part of the building. As a secondary precaution all our frames come pre-oiled and a minimal oiling regime (once every 5 years) will ensure they remain in mint condition indefinitely.
Q. What are the sub-floor specifications? Does it matter what type of foundation you use?
A. ehabitat can work off any available sub flooring system. we often use slabs where possible for thermal mass, however we work with our engineers to determine the most appropriate, cost effective solution for each site and design.
Q. Your website says that you offer in-built storage options. Do you have any examples of these?
A. Each ehabitat is individually designed to a customers needs which we establish with you prior to any design commencing. We have included day bed / bench seats with storage underneath, fold out mezzanine beds, under deck baths etc etc. Just add your requirements to your brief and let our designers do the rest.
Q. Do any of the windows in the ehabitat open? I am in Queensland– cross breezes are essential.
A. Yes all ehabitats have cross flow opening windows and the size and number are dependent on your location. In warmer climes we can use full height operable louvers and breezways in our designs, we can even incorporate complete top hinged wall panels to open the building right up to the outside. with a complete lift up wall.
Q. Can ehabitats be built in cyclone areas?
A. Yes, there would be some additional engineering and material costs, however the hollow section of our posts facilitate steel tie down wherever necessary, and the natural bracing of the construction system means it can easily be adapted for cyclonic conditions.
Q. Are ehabitats 5 star energy efficient?
A. ehabitat’s are always designed to suit the local conditions. 6 star rating can be easily achieved by designing the sub floor, orientation, insulation, shading and ventilation parameters as a whole system. The orientation of your block can have a large effect on the level of efficiency that can be gained using passive solar design.
Q. What material are ehabitats clad on the outside and lined on the inside with?
A. This is a matter of customer choice, ehabitats are designed to utilize standard 2400 x 1200 size building sheets including timber panel systems, cement sheet, and plywood. Most owners select quality pine sheets for a warm timber internal finish although less expensive sheets can be used and painted to give a plaster like appearance - it’s a matter of individual choice. Generally we specify cement sheet with a paint finish externally, however some plywoods can be used and a flat metal sheet product is also being tested for suitability.
Q. Do ehabitats come with kitchens included?
A. The kitchen layout is normally designed by us and the actual kitchen cabinetry and ‘shop drawings’ sourced from a local supplier.
Q. Can the ehabitat system be used as extensions and additions to existing buildings?
A. ehabitat can act as an extension to an existing building. Typically we design a small ‘linking’ piece and then let the ehabitat stand alone.