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Home Build on a Hill

23/09/2016 By David Reid Homes

Tricky topography, harsh weather conditions and continual geologic activity is a fact of life in New Zealand and are challenges to building safe, robust homes.

But the hills and geographic features which test our designers and builders also bestow an opportunity to use innovative design, technology and materials to create design masterpieces.

At David Reid Homes our design approach is to work with the site, reducing the need for expensive excavation and large retaining walls, and enhancing the natural advantages – abundant light, natural ventilation and stunning views.  

“No house should ever be ON any hill … It should be OF the hill, belonging to it, so hill and house could live together each the happier for the other.” Architect Frank Lloyd Wright

David Reid Homes Canterbury general manager Chris Solly says hill builds are as enjoyable as they are challenging.

“Hill builds can be really formidable projects to embark on, and we work closely with expert structural and geotechnical engineers and designers and architects to identify any potential complications before groundwork even begins, to ensure the project runs to schedule and budget.”

Hill sites are more exposed, meaning the natural elements such as wind and rain become even more problematic during planning and building, and thorough water-proofing and tanking become even more crucial to the home’s longevity.

Sloping site builds require more preparation, greater compliance, more intensive foundation work, and a higher level of design and geo-technical advice than flat builds, meaning the cost and time frame are considerably higher, says Chris.

But despite all the challenges, there are plenty of benefits to building on slopes, including the opportunity for spectacular and innovative designs, such as split levels, vaulted ceilings and clerestory windows.

“Building with the slope means your home is designed with the fall and flow of the land, allowing for better use of all living spaces. “No two sites are the same and by working with each unique slope, you can ensure you take advantage of the endless benefits that a sloping site has to offer,” says Chris.

If you’re considering building on a sloping section, Chris recommends engaging with your local David Reid Homes builder from the outset, to help you navigate you through the complex design and compliance phase, and ensure the build runs smoothly.

“We focus on getting the right people in the right place to deliver a seamless experience and outstanding result.”


Click here to check out the compact, ultra-contemporary Kaiteriteri home built on a tricky location and designed and built by David Reid Homes Nelson/Tasman/Marlborough, which picked up gold and the local category award at the 2016 top of the south region Registered Master Builders House of the Year Awards.

Filed under: Building my home Choosing my home New Home Designs Rebuilding Tips and ideas

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