Grand Designs Australia

Grand Designs Australia: Can you build a flat pack home in two weeks?

Constructing your dream home takes time - after all, Rome wasn't built in a day.

This week's Grand Designs Australia homeowners set themselves the seemingly impossible task of completing their build in just two weeks.

Their secret weapon? A unique European building system never before used in Australia. A flat pack house, essentially.

Phil Davidson and Ariana Evans returned to Sydney after years of living abroad with an interesting challenge.

The couple wanted the beachside lifestyle, but struggled to find anything within their budget.

Looking an hour south they eventually found a block in the beachside enclave of Maianbar, in the Sutherland Shire.

The bigger challenge was what they were going to put there. It was their architect who suggested something very new.

C.L.T or Cross Laminated Timber is made from stacking timber boards with their lengths laid at ninety-degree angles to each other.

When glued and compressed it creates a super wood that’s as strong as steel.

It minimises waste and has excellent thermal qualities, but what Phil and Ariana were attracted to was its speed.

In theory it means the core structure of an average size house can be built in just two weeks.

So with a budget of $850,000 and a total time-frame of eight months - mostly made up of design and site preparation time - they took the plunge.

It took about eight to ten weeks to ship the home to Australia, and the hard work came prior to this during those months of planning and site preparation.

After that it was down to the C.L.T panels to do all the work, dropping effortlessly into position in a few weeks.

There was very little margin for error - flat pack homes don't come with spare parts - which is where Ardea Oosthuizen came in for guidance.

The two-week build ran slightly over schedule as the team got to grips with this entirely new way of building.

The project as a whole took nine months, including planning and preparation - one month longer than anticipated.

The couple's original budget of $850,000 to $1.1 million.

"The first time we came up and stood up here after they put the C.L.T up, it was like, 'Wow this is pretty special'," Ariana said.

Phil added: "Everybody that comes to the house has exactly the same reaction, they walk in and go, ‘Wow’."

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