This is inspired by a recent post we saw from Carland Constructions talking about what it means to be a sustainable builder. We’ve spoken about what sustainability means to us in a previous post, and we agree with the key point raised by Carland Constructions here – the main focus should be building a house to last – “if a building doesn’t last, it doesn’t matter”.
So how do we do this? Protecting the frame is absolutely key. And what creates the most damage to the frame? Water.
Protecting the frame includes paying close attention to window penetrations, air tightness and making sure it’s completely weatherproof so water/moisture doesn’t rot the frame. A huge part of this is building wraps. Vapour-permeable wraps, such as the ones we use from Pro Clima, mean water/moisture can’t penetrate it, only vapour, as vapour is a gaseous form of water and is smaller than the holes in the wrap compared to water droplets. Allowing vapour to pass through a building is essential so the house can breathe and reduce moisture, thereby minimising the risk of mould.
We use these wraps along with tapes and sealing materials to ensure the house is ‘water-tight’ before adding any roof coverings, cladding, etc. This provides a guarantee that, regardless of weather conditions or potential failures in roof coverings or cladding, water won’t penetrate your house, preventing both rapid and gradual structural damage. This ensures a longer-lasting structure while safeguarding against the risk of mould growth.
Of course, these wraps cost more, but let’s consider their cost in the context of the entire budget. For example, if we look at some of our most recently quoted jobs and ongoing projects, and compare the cost of wraps to the total project cost (e.g., $15k in wraps vs. $950k total contract), it’s approximately 1.5%.
We have examples of clients who prioritise getting the structure right for longevity. Instead of spending $50k on a kitchen, they opt for $30k. It’s about what clients value more. We appreciate working with clients who prioritise getting the structure right, and if the budget is tight, they’re willing to compromise on less critical items like finishes, etc.
However, we understand the short-sighted perspective where clients only want it to look good for now, and whatever happens in the future isn’t their problem – as they’ll probably sell the house. This approach poses a significant long-term problem and doesn’t align with our values. We take the structure of our houses and the longevity seriously, and we’d hope you do too.