New solution helping with ‘modest’ house design

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The Simple House Acceptable Solution is a new resource to assist designers, architects and builders in developing innovative, modest houses that comply with the New Zealand Building Code.
The document is one of the Department of Building and Housing’s Blueprint for Better Building initiatives, and covers the compliance of houses constructed from the most commonly-used building products.

A Simple House may be sited on any plot of land in New Zealand with respect to earthquake loads, the majority of sites with respect to wind, and in most populated areas with respect to snow load. It will be of low weathertightness risk.
The Simple House Acceptable Solution includes options for insulation, cladding and special foundation conditions, including (for the first time in New Zealand) code-compliant conditions for foundations on expansive clays.

A house designed to the Simple House Acceptable Solution can be combined with other components and constructions, such as bay windows or proprietary foundations, but these may require separate consideration by a Building Consent Authority.
Builders, designers and architects requiring a wider choice of materials or design options can use other existing compliance documents or alternative solution proposals.

Regular updates

However, updates to the Simple House Acceptable Solution will occur on a regular basis, with the likelihood of additional components being included over time.
User experience was especially important in developing this document. An integral part of development was the testing against individual house designs and the trialling of subdivision layouts.

Publicly tested

‘The draft document was also publicly tested as the brief for the Starter Home Design Competition held by the Department of Building and Housing in September 2008.
The winning design is being built by Housing New Zealand Corporation on a site in Otara, South Auckland.
Its construction, and responses to it from users and the public, will contribute to the development and refinement of the Simple House Acceptable Solution.