Stegbar Alumiere windows

A burst of potential

Housing looks into a selection of innovative products offering the building industry good design, greater flexibility, quality assurance and improved environmental benefits.

Progressing a bold innovation culture in any industry is one of its biggest challenges, but remaining cautious can make an industry vulnerable to competition and disruption.

Go big, or go home, as the saying goes.

It’s true that, comparatively speaking, it’s less evident that the building and construction industry as a whole has undergone fundamental changes apparent in other industries, such as manufacturing (industry 4.0 and the combination of robots, interconnected devices and fast networks of data in a factory environment is a clear example). Many working on construction sites today use the same or similar home building techniques learnt from preceding generations.

However, that’s not to say that innovation isn’t a strong driving force for change in the building industry and a big part of its evolution. Individuals and companies operating in this space have, and continue, to invest in R&D to offer better, more efficient processes and products, and cleaner alternatives in order to build our future homes and cities.

In this feature, HOUSING has a look at the brands making their mark, and offering builders and consumers alike with a wider range of options when it comes to building the ideal home.

Rapid roofing

Easy, safe and quick to install, an innovative building solution by Evo Building Products is offering Australian builders the opportunity to implement dry-fixed ridges for tiled roofs, rather than traditional wet mortar and pointing, for securing ridge caps.

The unique clip system offered by the RapidRidge Dry Fixed Roofing System can be used on most common ridge caps, and by mechanically fixing the ridge it provides significant savings on cooling energy costs for homeowners over the lifespan of the home.

‘RapidRidge with Ventilation allows an open ridge at the highest point in the roof, enabling a continuous flow of air through the roof and eliminating the radiating heat through the tiles and into the roof space,’ says Peter Byrne, managing director of Evo Building Products.

‘This process allows the roof to “breathe”, facilitating a natural, passive cooling system, proven to reduce energy costs and provide environmental benefits.’

RapidRidge can be installed in half the time compared to traditional mortar and pointing, and requires no maintenance post installation – perfect for the modern family.

According to the company, an owner-builder in Canberra found the innovative roof product to be exactly what they were looking for: ‘I was quite surprised to find out just how new [dry fixing] is to Australia…[when] the ridge mortar started to fail on my roof the RapidRidge Dry Fixed Roofing System offered me a great solution. No mess on installation and no ongoing mortar maintenance to worry about.’

Peter says that while RapidRidge has only been in the market for a short time, early feedback such as this, regarding cost, ease of installation and its many benefits, has been very positive.

RapidRidge also won the 2018 HIA Australian GreenSmart Product of the Year award.
‘It’s great to get this recognition from a reputable organisation like HIA for RapidRidge,’ he says. ‘It’s a simple, low-cost change in house design for a big payback for both the builder and the homeowner.’

Timber stairwell Photo courtesy WoodSolutions
RapidRidge clip system Photo courtesy Evo Building Products

Wider options for windows

From roofs to windows, companies are continually investing in new design options to accommodate both builders and homeowners. Many Australians value their connection to the outdoors and are looking for products that enable them to enjoy our seasonal changes year-round.

Stegbar, with its Alumiere range of windows and doors, does precisely that. To make the most of Australia’s breathtaking landscapes, Stegbar’s Alumiere range of windows and doors uses innovative, expert design to accommodate larger spans of glass for unobstructed views, with door panels reaching spans of up to 3000mm high.

The high-performance suite is a natural fit for modern prestige residential and multi-residential homes. With its bold profile, custom-made joinery, and variety of different frame widths and options, Alumiere’s opening styles and configurations can be combined to provide almost limitless solutions to suit any design.

With Alumiere comes the ability to also individualise and personalise, since all window and door suites are made-to-order.

Stegbar’s development team created Alumiere with the aim to remove common issues that affect windows and doors, ensuring that each product is air- and water-tight. This has the added benefit of creating thermal efficiency and blocking out external noise.

‘Any builder that has had to deal with leaking windows will understand the importance of this innovation,’ says Christine Evans, director of marketing, Stegbar. ‘It makes the range ideal for even Australia’s toughest weather and climates.’

Alumiere has been thoroughly tested and provides some of the best wind and water performance against comparative products on the market.

‘The Alumiere range combines bold modern, innovative design with an array of stylistic and functional options to help discerning homeowners refine their personal aesthetic and take advantage of Australia’s natural beauty.’

The element of protection

After you’ve honed the design and chosen the best products for your build, the next step is to consider the practicalities of construction outdoors.

DuPont has been an innovator since it developed the building wrap category more than 30 years ago. Today DuPont offers the DuPont™ Tyvek® HomeWrap®, providing homes with the optimum balance of properties for superior performance against the elements.

A weather-proof external (cladding) barrier is a home’s main protection against the damaging effects of the elements. In conjunction with the wall cladding, the optimal water-resistive barrier must include four key properties:

  • air resistance to help prevent the flow of air through wall cavities and reduce drafts
  • moisture resistance to help protect the wall cavity from water that gets behind the cladding
  • moisture vapour permeability to promote drying of wall systems
  • durability to withstand the rigours of the construction site and to continue performing once construction is completed.

The ability of a wall underlay in helping to prevent air infiltration, directly relates to the energy costs of heating and cooling a home. The high air-resistance level of DuPont™

Tyvek® HomeWrap® allows insulation to be more effective, helping to lower energy costs.

At the same time, the high Moisture Vapour Transmission Rate (MVTR) of the product ensures that water vapour does not linger in the walls, but passes to the outside. This guarantees the key components of high bulk-water resistance and high drying potential are met.

DuPont says builders choose this innovative home wrap over other products because it withstands the rigours of the construction site and offers an easy solution to protect the homes they build once construction is completed.

When choosing DuPont™ Tyvek® HomeWrap®, DuPont says you can be assured you are using the leading brand of wall underlays.

DuPont Tyvek HomeWrap Photo courtesy DuPont
Cinderella Incineration Toilet Photo courtesy Cinderella Eco Group

Tomorrow's toilet

Innovation doesn’t stop with a home’s building essentials such as the roof, walls or windows. Even the humble toilet can be the subject of change, with companies offering variations in design for the benefit of homeowners as well as the environment.

Norway-based Cinderella Eco Group is one such company who has been active in this space, offering an easy-to-use, easy-to-install plumbing-free solution with its Cinderella Incineration Toilet.

For more than 20 years, the award-winning Cinderella Incineration Toilets have been providing owners of homes, cottages and cabins with a safe and simple-to-use waste solution that does not require water, plumbing or the hassle of a disruptive renovation upon installation.

According to the company, there are more than 65,000 units now in use across Scandinavia.

‘Our toilets are so popular because they are among the lowest-maintenance available, require no water or drainage connection, and are odourless, hygienic and quiet to use,’ says Helene Norman-Dupuy, director sales and aftermarket for Cinderella Eco Group.

‘With no plumbing or drainage required, Cinderella Incinerating Toilets can be installed practically anywhere. All that is required for operation is electricity and a vent pipe to the exterior.’

Other than inserting a bowl liner for each use, and periodically emptying the ash, incinerating toilets operate much like conventional ones. Cinderella’s large capacity units can handle three to four visits per hour.

The product also serves as an alternative option to septic systems which can leak and contaminate the environment. With an incinerating toilet all waste is reduced to hygienic ash.

By eliminating the need for plumbing and a septic system for waste disposal, incinerating toilets work out to be a cost-effective solution to the building and construction industry.

The Cinderella Incineration Toilet would be a relatively unique product in the Australian market, and the Cinderella Eco Group is currently investigating the relevant regulatory requirements that the product needs to meet in order to ensure compliance upon installation.

New opportunities for timber

The possibilities of building with timber will be significantly broadened with changes to the 2019 National Construction Code Volume One (NCC), offering builders and designers further scope for introducing unique designs to mid-rise buildings.

The 2019 NCC changes, effective 1 May, will increase the range of buildings, up to an effective height of 25 metres (typically eight storeys), in which fire-protected timber construction systems can be used. The new classes add schools, retail premises, hospitals and aged care facilities to the previously approved multi-residential, hospitality accommodation, and office buildings.

In 2016, following extensive work and a successful submission by Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA), the company behind the WoodSolutions Program, a Deemed-to-Satisfy solution was introduced to the NCC. This solution permitted, for the first time, construction in fire-protected timber building systems to an effective height of 25 metres for class 2, 3 and 5 buildings.

FWPA national codes and standards manager, Boris Iskra, lead the submission process for the 2016 and the current 2019 NCC changes. He says that due to the new provisions, builders and developers who wish to use timber will no longer have to undertake time-consuming and expensive ‘performance solutions’ to gain building approval, as long as their designs meet the Deemed-to-Satisfy requirements.

In effect, he says, it opens the door to a wide range of options and combinations. For example, designers can now create mixed use mid-rise timber buildings, with residential upper levels and lower levels used for office space or retail. It will also essentially mean a faster and more streamlined approvals process.

With a focus on innovation, these cutting-edge products, along with advances to building code requirements, open the doors to more flexible design options, improved efficiencies and quality assurance, allowing industry to produce the best Australian homes.

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