Why do we need to do a soil test?

  You may have a completely flat block with little or no clay and high enough not to be flooded – so the question arises why do we need a soil test? It has been mandatory for many years to have a soil test for every home site, and it must be carried out and any extra costs must be advised to the customer before a contract is signed. A soil test will determine if your site conditions will create additional building costs, for example, if they find rock or deep fill. These costs can sometimes be significant, so best to be well prepared before you start building. Getting a Site Investigation report will give you an indication of the expected amount of potential movement and reactivity in the soils across your building site. On site features such as trees, creek beds, waterways, rocks and climatic conditions also need to be considered to receive a 'Site Classification'. Soil movement can occur as well when clay layers absorb moisture into their structure and expand, and shrink: when they lose moisture and contract. There is also the dreaded 'floaters' or large rocks that can create havoc when digging footings. One person recalls “I remember our land was sandy loam, no clay for miles. But the test showed clay 1 metre (3.3ft) down. As the soil was 'soupy' we had to have deep footings, through to the clay 1.2m (4ft) down!! They also had to be 600mm (2ft) wide. Concrete footings in sandy soil really do require an engineer to design and certify.” So before you start to build make sure you get a qualified person to do a soil test and an engineer to do the site classification.

Thank God for Oly Homes (part 2)

  Hello again from the Hock family, it has been a while now since our last letter and a lot has happened. The banks gave the green light officially and that meant that the great people at Oly Homes could send their two fantastic builders Scott and Kieran to us to set out the foundations for our new home and then at 8.40am on Thursday 29th August 2013 it happened, it finally happened, our beautiful home arrived. The boys got straight into putting it together, I have never seen two men work as hard as Scott and Kieran, they just never stopped. On Sunday they had finished and handed us the keys to our brand new home, we had fought so hard for it and it was finally ours and the countdown to move in started. Our plumber finished all the important stuff on Friday and we moved in that afternoon. It was a feeling of pure happiness to finally have a home for my family, one we never thought would happen. I cannot believe how easy the process has been with Oly Homes from go to wow they have done everything we hardly had to lift a finger with all the arrangements, which was just what we needed given the stress we were under. They have been so helpful and taken every stressed out call from us. We would build with Oly again and again, I’ve spoken to other people who have built a new home (not with Oly) and say they would never go through it again. We cannot speak highly enough of the team at Oly Homes they are kind and very professional. We have been in our beautiful home for three weeks now and are truly grateful and couldn’t be happier. We feel so blessed every day to have found the fantastic people at Oly Homes, who have changed our lives forever. Our children are at last settled and again fill our home with love and laughter. So this is where we would like to say to everyone who was involved in helping our family get into our new home, THANK YOU! The words hardly seem enough for what you have done for us. I cannot put into words how special you all are to us and will forever be in our hearts. To Kathy you are an incredible woman; if it wasn’t for you working so hard for us we wouldn’t have our home. Thank you for helping us to give our children a home, something to call their own. There simply are no words to describe how happy and relieved we are. So again from the very tip of our toes and bottom of our hearts THANK YOU! You have turned our hopeless situation into hope for a future together in our amazing home. With lots of kindness and gratitude Darren, Jodi, Jaydan and Harpa-Lillie xoxo

What does my wind rating mean?

  Queenslanders living in cyclone regions don’t need to be told how important it is to have the right foundations and structural settings for their homes. For those looking to build a new home in this region it is helpful to know where to go for up to date information which outlines what is required by various governmental bodies to meet C2 requirements. The Building Code of Australia requires buildings to be designed and constructed to resist the design wind forces. This means that all cladding, windows, doors and garage doors must be built to resist the possible combinations of design wind pressures at the design wind speed. It also requires all structural elements to be designed and constructed to resist the wind pressures. All building work should be undertaken by licensed tradespeople. Building work may also need a building approval and you may check whether this is the case for your house with a building certifier or council or the Building Services Authority. Site design wind speed or classification The first step is always to determine the wind classification of your house site: 1. Where the house complies with the scope of AS4055,then the wind classification will be C1, C2, C3 or C4.(An amendment has been proposed to AS4055 that will use the maximum slope of a hill or ridge to determine the topographic class of the site and it is recommended that this be used in practice). 2. In all other cases, AS/NZS1170.2 is to be used and will result in site design wind speeds. These are then used to determine wind pressures assuming a dominant opening on the worst surface for each building element. The site wind classification or wind pressures should then be used to specify the required performance for all structural elements of your house. Building When selecting building elements, consideration should be given to wind classification and pressures to determine suitability. This includes external wall and roof cladding, windows, doors, garage doors and soffits. It is important that each component of your house is matched to the wind requirements for the site. Higher exposure sites will require elements that have a higher wind rating. Loads on building elements are also a function of their location in the building. In cyclone areas it is not possible to predict whether an element will be on a windward, leeward or side face, so all elements must be able to perform regardless of the wind direction. However, their location on a wall can make a difference. For example when ordering doors or windows for houses, it is necessary to indicate the wind classification and whether or not the element will be close to a corner of the building. Building structure All of the building’s structural elements provide a load path to resist the wind forces on your house and transmit them to ground. Each connection in your house structure will be required to resist wind forces when the wind is coming from one or more directions. Assistance from an appropriately qualified person should be obtained for specification details and supervising building work. Footings Footings provide the link between your house and the ground. Footings transmit lateral forces and should be designed to have sufficient weight or embedment to resist uplift forces. Sheds Sheds are often very light, yet have substantial wind loads. This means that they must be fastened together securely and anchored to a footing system that can resist the substantial uplift loads. If you have a shed, it is vital that it is designed to the correct wind loads and is designed for internal pressures that may result from an opening after failure of windows or doors. All components of sheds – doors, windows or roller doors – must also be specified using the site wind speed. Ancillary items Many ancillary items including fences, guttering, vegetation and water tanks are also subjected to significant pressures in cyclonic winds. They should all be detailed to reduce the potential for damage to those items or to other buildings if the ancillary items become wind-borne debris that may damage your or your neighbors’ homes. It is very difficult to design cost-effective fencing that can resist the lateral forces of wind loads. However, it is possible to design the base of fence posts so that if they fail, they still remain attached to the ground. In this way if your fencing fails during a cyclone event it does not become wind-borne debris and will still be fastened to its footings. Guttering is not normally considered a structural element and can fail in tropical cyclones. The cost of its repair can prove substantial where scaffolding is required and the lost guttering can become wind-borne debris. However, increasing (doubling) the number of guttering clips will greatly improve its wind resistance. Full water tanks have sufficient weight to resist the wind forces on most tanks. However, empty or partially full tanks can fail by deformation of the tank itself or by overturning of the complete tank. Tank stands and footings should be appropriately designed and constructed for these severe wind loads. It is best to make sure that your tanks are full before the approach of any cyclone. Buildings in storm tide zones If you live near the sea, other features of your house should be planned for to avoid the effects of storm tide. Part 1 in this series provides information on the construction of houses located in storm tide prone areas. The measures in Part 1 should be applied in addition to the recommendations of this guideline. Where construction is in a storm tide prone area, it is recommended that all metal components are well protected against corrosion. This should be considered for both exposed and hidden components. Web links: www.awa.org.au/Industry/Downloads www.nash.asn.au/nash/publications.html www.bsadisasterrecovery.qld.gov.au/Contractor/Pages/default.aspx www.dlgp.qld.gov.au/our-services/building-codes-queensland-2.html

We dealt with real people

  Living in a small rural town has many advantages, the quiet lifestyle and the feeling of community. However life also has its obstacles. Sometimes the lack of choice in businesses and services can be challenging. We had been planning to build our own home for many years in Normanton and had made numerous attempts to connect with builders, building companies and architects. We had plans drawn up for our block - however finding someone to actually do the building was an issue.. The local builder did not have the staff to commit to our job and was already busy with renovations and Q build work. Most coastal companies weren't interested in travelling to build – for the few that were the added costs to transport materials and to house workmen made building a home nearly impossible. A friend of ours who is a councilor had heard about Oly Homes in a meeting and told us we should investigate. Garry phoned the next day and spoke with Chris. She was extremely helpful and the emails started flowing. All of our planning was done either by phone or by email. We asked heaps of questions and had a lot of support when needed. I chose the colors and interior decorations. Garry did a lot of talking with Dale to ensure the foundations and cyclone ratings met the requirements for Normanton. We made changes to the width of the verandah and room sizes. Oly was very accommodating and the turnaround of emails and phone queries was very quick. Within a few months our house was a reality and we were sent photos of it at different construction phases. After the trucks arrived construction started in Normanton and the house was finished in around two weeks. The personalized service was the main reason we went with Oly. No question was too difficult and we felt we were an important part in all aspects of the planning and construction of our home. Kathy came up to Normanton for the handover and this just added to the personal touch and fantastic service that we had received from Oly. We love our home and would recommend Oly to others looking to build. Tonia Smerdon

Thank God For Oly Homes

Hello my name is Jodi Hock and I would like to share my family’s story with you and how Oly Homes have helped to make our dream come true. On January 25th 2013 our family home was flooded (see photo). We were devastated - we left our house with a few belongings and our children. Our great friends and family helped us clean up and pack what was not damaged but what was to follow was an absolute nightmare. Our insurance company, who was dealing with massive widespread devastation, gave our claim over to a third party who were hell bent on not paying what the damage was worth. I was determined not to back down. Our children were missing our home and all their things - especially our 2 yr daughter who was scared and confused. Our 13 yr son was an amazing rock never once complaining- he lost everything he held dear. He thought he put it all up high enough but we only had ½ an hour to prepare. I was fighting for them. It took 3 ½ long months of fighting, tears and a lot of mental anguish but we finally agreed on what was fair. So then it was time to find a house, we went on the net knowing sort of what we wanted, trying to give the kids as close to what they had before and found Oly Homes. Right from word go they were the perfect fit. The feature we loved most was that Oly take care of everything so we didn’t have to worry about our new home. We were already dealing with so much else. We started out talking on the phone, getting prices and details but we still had to get the Bank on board as we didn’t get enough from the insurance company to rebuild. The team at Oly Homes have been so patient and kind to us and have bent over backwards to help our family get a Home. We have had a few hiccups along the way - our bank took the money owing on our existing mortgage out of our insurance cheque and told us there was nothing they could do to help us, I was not going to accept that either so once again I put my boxing gloves on and went a few rounds with the Bank. Finally with the help of a select few wonderful and genius people working together, including Oly Homes we have worked out and incredible solution to a once hopeless situation. It has taken almost 5 months but we are finally here, the house is being built and we have signed for the loan…….we will have to wait and see what happens next. I do know this, the team at Oly Homes, especially Kathy, Perry and Dale will be a part of our family and our lives forever. We will tell our grandchildren and great grandchildren how they made our dream of a home a reality and we will be forever grateful. To the special team at Oly Homes we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Jodi, Darren, Jaydan and Harpa-Lillie xx