The Warmframe duplex at Hobsonville

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The Warmframe duplex at Hobsonville  is the second demonstration in the New Category of Home project.  stage in a long term research programme combining offsite construction methods and high performance housing.

The Warmframe duplex combines Universal Homes’ design with the innovative high performance WarmframeTM system to offer a warmer, more comfortable and efficient alternative than similar designs with standard insulation.

Added to that, the developers of this Warmframe house have chosen features to make sure energy and water use is cut to a minimum. LED and CFL lighting and a heat pump hot water system will be energy savers, and the water efficient fittings and rainwater tank will cut those water rates.

Because the Warmframe duplex at Hobsonville is a demonstration project, the new owners will get more than the usual information on how warm, dry and efficient their house is. That’s because the house has sensors installed to remotely monitor temperature, water and energy use to improve Warmframe houses in the future.  The owners of these innovative homes can see the results whenever they want on a real-time animation  - as well as watching their household bills go down.


Off-site construction

The Warmframe duplex was a second trial of a new system, Warmframe™.  Insulation, cut to measure and installed to a very high standard, is added to dimensionally accurate steel framing in the factory.  Combine that with high performance double glazing, and Warmframe™ creates a house which is insulated to a much higher standard that is required by Building Code minimums.  These houses promise much greater warmth and comfort, and lower heating bills than other houses of their type.

Using group builder Universal Homes’ standard design, the Hobsonville duplex was built offsite, trialling both 2D sections (walls)  and 3D sections (second storey modules). 

The Hobsonville stage of the New Category of Home project was a real life trial of the optimal scale and level of offsite construction.   The demonstration trialled 2D construction (framing + insulation +  windows), as well as a 3D delivery of upstairs modules (incorporating floor joists and roof trusses).  These were built offsite in a factory and assembled on site at Hobsonville Point.  Findings from this demonstration indicate that 2D panels are more likely to be the successful scale of offsite construction for New Zealand homes.

The project also trialled offsite construction and innovation within a business as usual construction environment.

  • 03-Sep-2014 (Conference paper PRES/48)

    Improving the Performance of Steel-Framed Houses (PDF 4MB)

    Nick Collins and Lois Easton

    Presentation to the Building a Better New Zealand Conference 2014.  Covers learnings from the off-site construction and later sale of the HIVE High Performance House.

  • 29-Apr-2014 (Report NCH/1)

    Executive Summary: New Category of Home and Warmframe Combined Learnings (PDF 64KB)

    Verney Ryan

    This report provides the New Category of Home partners with synthesised learnings drawn largely from the construction of two dwellings built as a duplex in Hobsonville Point.  It provides an overview of learnings from the off-site (factory) manufacturing process and the remaining on-site construction period, and highlights many of the key barriers and opportunities. 

Walls being craned into place

Wall sections being craned into place

Upper storey pods on truck

Upper storey pods on truck for transport