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Design and Build Your Home With Chalk Build

Design and Build Your Home With Chalk Build

Chalk Build started in 2014. It is the brainchild of Rob, Steve and Fred and has grown into a company that understands the demand and desire for responsible building techniques. Rob was already in the business of SIPs Industries where Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) are manufactured in either custom sizes or ready-cut pieces.

The idea was to create an efficient team of builders and project managers who understood SIPs and how it can be used in passive solar and environmentally responsible builds in and around Perth.

Because costs are accurately recorded, Chalk Build is able to build on budget and ahead of time - with very little variance from the estimate (less than 1%).

Chalk Build recently moved from Bibra Lake to Wood St, Fremantle over Christmas. The entire building is made from SIPs panels, right down to the (uber modern) wainscoting walls and desks.

Listen to the Interview with Ange from Chalk Build here:

Your Home Design

Many people come to Chalk Build with a block of land and some sketches on paper. Some people don't even have a block to build on. Both are fine.

These days banks are more interested in the value of your home than your ability to pay off a loan. So if your block and the build together cost $500,000 and yet the final built home is valued at $600,000 (it has to be comparable with local area prices) then they are more likely to be interested.

If you are going into an entry-level suburb, then you need to be more diligent with the build. You may not be on top of the hill, but you might have better access to amenities / drainage. This kind of analysis is what Chalk Build is all about in essence.

Your Home, Lifestyle and the Environment

Chalk Build is looking for people with an open mind. We want people who maybe understand the old way of building a housee, but who are able to think a bit deeper and reassess the way they approach the building of a new home in 2017. We are particularly interested in forward-thinkers who are interested in seeing their home - not just as a house on a block of land - but as a major part of their whole life experience.

A Chalk Build home

Your Home and Personal Well-being

The building of a home and the life in our homes affects us quite considerably on a daily basis. Chalk Build want home builders to be aware of some of thee factors, as it will impact the design and build immensely.

Factors to consider when building a home

  • your home and your lifestyle
  • the environment - how is it incorporated into the design
  • the overall psychology of the built form
  • responsible building practices (environment / community)
  • how will all this affect the way you feel during the day?
  • how might a home affect your productivity
  • will you get a good night's sleep?
  • your general health and your home

Selecting a Block

There are many factors to consider when it comes to the location and aspect of your block which you may not have considered.

  • soil density (loamy, clay, sandy)
  • the surrounding trees
  • where breezes are coming from
  • your drianage / water issues
  • neighbour property over-shadowing
  • privacy (windows / fence height)
  • noise issues
  • security

All this will give us an overall picture - even if you come in with your design scratchings on the back of a cafe napkin.

Lifestyle Sustainability

We talk about Global responsibility; utilities, the earth, the environment etc. But bringing that back, we also have a resonsibility to our community. Everything we do needs to be sustainable for human living. Our environment does plays a huge part in the health and well-being of home builders. People tend to think of the typical "house plan" they see in the Real Estate section of a newspaper, but there's a lot more to it.

Sustainability is as much a term for you, your family and the life you live as it is for the environment around us.

The Chalk Build Process

When you come into Chalk Build this is what happens;

  1. You have an initial meeting with us
  2. We then introduce you to an Architect or Builder that suits your project
  3. We assess the building environment.
  4. We design to a grid so that it works with SIPs
  5. We include lighting, ventillation and trails (how you move through the house) in the design
  6. We design for efficiency. There should be no waste.
  7. We design without acoustic or thermal bridges.

Our builders are carpenters who are used to working with SIPs panels in Europe. We try to keep our team tight so that the build goes smoothly and quickly.

Typical Build Team

We exclude a lot of trades that traditional bricks and mortar homes require. This saves us times and money.

  • chippy (carpenter)
  • electrician
  • plumber
  • tiler
  • painter

For larger builds we may have up to 8 people on site and small build maybe 4 people.

Doing a build this way also empowers the guys working on the job. They meet with the home owners and are given more of a sense of responsibility for each part of the house. We don't hire a guy to come in, put in 5 doors and then leave. Our methodology encourages a sense of teamwork, ownership and responsibility.

It's a lot more peaceful, the communication is fluid and, perhaps because they are given more responsibility, they are a lot happier.

On a traditional build, and electrician might come in and upon seeing people working he might be a bit miffed. Who are all these people? This is his domain.

We definitely promote the team approach where people know and respect what other team members are doing.

A Chalk Build construction team in action

Project Manager / Client Liason

Angie does most of the project management. She is the one who meets and greets the clients and sets up the approach and introductions to Architects etc.

We're happy for clients to be involved in the build. Site Supervisor Ben looks after the team's need - so everything technical has to go through him.

Waste Water Recovery

SIPS built homes are notoriously effective - designed for minimising costs for heating and cooling, but Chalk Build can take this idea out "into the garden"" so to speak.

With innovative waste-water recovery systems from Atlantis, Chalk Build can able to save up to 50% on water costs. It's effectively like having your own waste-water treatment plant.

This is generally a solution for the country rather than the city, but people are slowly becoming more aware of grey and black waste water.

There are other natural alternatives using reeds and natural water gardens, but you need a lot more space for these to be effective.

Cost Estimates

All costings are done at the estimate stage. Estimates don't usually vary from actual cost.

Our smartsheet system has all the products - right down to choice of taps and doorhandles, so our accountability is pretty accurate because of this. Together with the speed of the build (up to 3 times faster than traditional) this save clients a lot of heartache.

For example, with a recent build, for a $350,000 house, we had $1,500 contingency.

The tighter your documentation, the more accurate the quote.

Building Sign-off Stages

There are several stages where the client is asked to sign-off . . .

Stage 1 : Drawings

  • Plans
  • Elevation
  • Section
  • Lighting

Preliminary costings are signed off here too.

Stage 2 : Drawings

Concerned with the construction phase and detailing.

  • Internal wet area elevation
    • where tiling is going to go
    • where tiling the areas and parameters
    • where taps are going to go

Quote is signed off here.


We map out what we think the engineering should look like and forward it through to the engineers.


Final sign-off here.

Site Works

This is the cost of preparing the ground for a build and is often the most variable cost in any budget. In some cases, site preparation costs can be up to 25% of the budget.

Ground preparation costs can depend on many variables;

  • what kind of ground you are building on
  • proximity to possible floods and bushfires
  • how loamy, sandy or rocky the ground is
  • drainage issues

The cupolex systemIn one case it was necessary to insulate the house from the ground. This staves off any issues such as rising damp, or even "cold floors". Izabela Katafoni chose the Cupolex System when building her home as there were some issues with cool and damp ground.

The Cupolex System

Read more about Architect Izabela Katafoni's home build in our article Chalk Build for Architects.

This is the first time this has been done in WA. Not only were the Chalk Build team impressed by the accuracy of the Cupolex System, the Cupolex guys came out to see the site as the pad was being poured.

Holding Costs

These are the costs associated with living your life while the build happens. The rent you pay while the house is being built can be a huge price. The interest you pay on a loanbefore moving into your home is another cost.

If using Chalk Build and SIPs Technologies, these cost are kept to a bare minimum. This is because it takes between one-third and half the time a traditional house takes to build.

While we tend to focus on monetary costs, there are much bigger costs associated with building a new home.

  • stress
  • general health
  • time spent checking in on the build
  • time spent worrying
  • your relationship/s with people

Council Approvals and Design Codes

If you are building your huse right on the boundary, you need to have fire-rated walls and neighbour's consent. This is a general requirement for all councils. But there are other questions and considerations to be aware of - even before you put your design scratchings on your restaurant napkin.

In East Victoria Park for example, your front door has to be at the front of your house, it can't be "around the side."

Some codes are quite ridiculous. In one area we were told we could only build houses out of bricks. That totally ruled us out of the area all together.

Council Building Requirements

Some questions and considerations you may have for your council...

  • Will the building block out the neighbour's Sun?
  • How are other neighbours' living spaces affected?
  • How far can the home be set back from the front of the property?
  • How big / small are your windows?
  • You may need to use a colour scheme for your area.
  • Are there any security issues?

It's always best to consult your council guidelines before even thinking about designing your home. Every suburb / council has them up on their website.

If you have any further questions, get in touch. Ask to speak with Angie on (08) 9432 0250.