Framing This is one of the most exciting moments in the project, as the frames go up quickly and it looks like everything is happening. Bear in mind, however, that while work continues, not much seems to change rapidly from here. Your big decision on framing is whether to use timber or steel, and there’s some debate on which material is better. Here are some of the key points.

Timber …

■ is a renewable natural resource ■ is familiar to most builders in New Zealand ■ is long-lasting, if properly treated ■ can emit chemicals such as volatile organic compounds ■ can move, resulting in stresses and cracks. ■ can rot when penetrated by water ■ has excellent thermal properties

Steel …

■ does not emit chemicals, and has endorsements from the Asthma Foundation ■ costs roughly the same as timber to install but can take longer to erect, with increased costs ■ can be erected in the wet ■ will, if correctly erected, not move at all ■ will not rot should your home leak but may rust where cuts in the surface galvanising has occurred

Solid Masonry (Brick or Concrete)

Masonry is the building of structures from individual units, which are often laid in and bound together by mortar; the term masonry can also refer to the units themselves. The common materials of masonry construction are brick, building stone such as marble, granite, travertine, and limestone, cast stone, concrete block, glass block, and cob. Masonry is generally a highly durable form of construction., however, the materials used, the quality of the mortar and workmanship, and the pattern in which the units are assembled can substantially affect the durability of the overall masonry construction. Bricks or concrete are laid one on top of the other to create the wall and can be reinforced with steel. As a cost saving measure, more homes today are built with veneered walls, where the walls are made from thinner, single-layer brick veneers, which are then attached to another frame, usually timber. So the frame work, not the brick, supports the weight of the structure. Advantages ■ The use of material such as bricks and stones can increase the thermal mass of a building and can protect the building from fire. ■ Masonry is non-combustible product. ■ Masonry walls are more resistant to projectiles, such as debris from hurricanes or tornadoes. Disadvantages ■ Extreme weather, under certain circumstances, can cause degradation of masonry due to expansion and contractions forces associated with freeze-thaw cycles. ■ Masonry tends to be heavy and must be built upon a strong foundation, such as reinforced concrete, to avoid settling and cracking. ■ Other than concrete, masonry construction does not lend itself well to mechanisation, and requires more skilled labor than stick-framing. ■ Masonry consists of loose components and has a low tolerance to earthquake as compared to other materials such as reinforced concrete, plastics, wood, or metals.


Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) are a high performance building system for residential and light commercial construction. The panels consist of an insulating foam core sandwiched between two structural facings, typically oriented strand board (OSB). SIPs are manufactured under factory controlled conditions and can be fabricated to fit nearly any building design. The result is a building system that is extremely strong, energy efficient and cost effective. Building with SIPs can save you time, money and labour. Are Structural Insulated Panels More Expensive? Building with SIPs generally costs about the same as building with wood frame construction when you factor in the labour savings resulting from shorter construction time and less jobsite waste. Other savings are realised because smaller heating and cooling systems are required with SIP construction.

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    Juken NZ Ltd

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