Details

Cosy Homes started with the goal to rethink the construction of a home from the ground up and produce something that is not only better than traditional homes, but also cheaper. Traditional homes have been pushed to breaking point in New Zealand, both with a lack of supply, inflating costs, and an end product that is simply not very good. Through years of research and testing, we have questioned every aspect of home construction and discovered that we can produce something that is quick to build and affordable, while also being robust, comfortable and incredibly well insulated.

Portable and earthquake safe

Our first paradigm shift is to make the home portable. Many Christchurch residents have found that fixing your home to the ground via a huge, heavy slab of brittle concrete is not a great idea when the ground shakes and sinks. Some people have answered this with bigger, more complex and frightfully expensive concrete slabs, but we have opted to do away with the monolithic foundation altogether and replace it with a light, robust, steel chassis, resting on the ground via a series of strong, adjustable feet with vibration absorption.

 So now, if your land shakes, we absorb the vibrations; if the land sinks, our feet can be adjusted to re-level you; and in the absolute worst case, if your land becomes red-zoned, or you simply want a change of scenery, you can easily pick up your undamaged house and take it somewhere else. And being up on feet also means you get reduced flood risk for free!

Related to this is making the house lightweight. The heavier a house is, the more it gets thrown around in an earthquake and the more it gets damaged. Heavier often also means more brittle, so concrete cracks; bricks and mortar crumble. Our lightweight but rigid homes are more like a boat – they can get thrown around but remain undamaged.

This also provides the advantage of being able to be on wheels, which we can provide if you wish your home to be considered a vehicle in order to avoid the need for a building consent (though you may still require consent for services like water and sewer). Note, because of their size and weight, Cosy Homes cannot be towed on the road – they need to travel on a truck; but that is no problem – our homes come with built-in lifting points, and transport is surprisingly affordable.

If you do wish to get a building consent for your Cosy Home we now have the quick and affordable option of obtaining a building consent from the Waimakariri District Council (where Cosy Homes are built) and transferring the consent to your local council once your Cosy Home has been transported to your property.

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Well insulated

Our Structural Insulated Panels (SIP) are thicker than the industry standard for portable homes and well exceed the requirements for insulation under the NZ Building Code. In addition, construction is uniquely and meticulously designed to ensure there are no metallic thermal bridges across floors, walls or even window frames. Compared to designs with steel framing that wicks heat straight out and introduces condensation points, Cosy Homes are much better insulated, adding comfort and saving on power bills year after year.

Our commitment to insulation continues into the floor, where we also have a thick layer of continuous insulation, unlike many portable home designs that just push insulation between their steel or wooden joists, or even worse, concrete slab foundations that might include some polystyrene but still need to have ridges of solid concrete, which wicks heat away.

All Cosy Home insulation is rigid foam, which does not hold water, and never sags, unlike traditional fibre insulation which loses much of its efficiency after only a few years, and often holds moisture which can result in mould and reduced insulating effect.

Our choice of windows continues our drive for uncompromising quality. Our research showed that even million dollar NZ homes being built with the best thermally broken aluminium were still experiencing condensation on the inside frame which is messy, unhealthy (can cause mould), requires drainage channels which cause draughts, and shows how badly they are wicking heat out of the house. We therefore looked to Europe for better solutions, where they have to deal with much colder climates. The result is that we offer uPVC windows as standard – the uPVC frames have much better insulation than aluminium, look fantastic, and offer ingenious dual-opening mechanisms that allow you to keep windows open while you are away in a manner that maintains your security and prevents rain coming in. We continued our relentless research through to the double-glazed panels, ensuring that the features included provide measurable benefits, not just expensive sales hype. The result is that for $100 of heat lost through a single-glazed window, you only lose $52 through our windows, or for $100 of full-home heating with low-tech, double-glazed, aluminium windows, our windows would save you $22. That might not seem like a lot, but over the space of 7 years, just the insulation benefits from our improved windows could save you about $2000 – more than the cost of the upgrade, and they will continue to save you money long after that.

Window placement also makes a big difference. We have placed  most of the windows on one side  which will maximise solar gain (natural, free heat from the sun) if the home is oriented to face north, increase appreciation of a single strip of garden, and allow for one long side to be backed onto a fence with minimal impact on views. Solar gain combined with quality insulation can be significant enough to provide the majority of heating passively. I will always remember walking into our first Cosy Home on a rainy winter day and being struck by how warm and cosy it was, and it had not even been wired for electricity yet! Our optional veranda is also designed to provide passive cooling in the summer, while still letting in all the welcome winter sun. In addition, you gain 14.4 sqm of outdoor living area.

We also offer a Heat Recovery Ventilation system that uses clever technology to capture up to 86% of the heat from the outgoing air to warm up the incoming air. This keeps the home dry, healthy and easy to heat, further saving on power bills, and eliminating cold draughts. In summer, our system acts in reverse, cooling the incoming air, reducing the need for air conditioning, and it can even provide a refreshing cool breeze at night which other systems can only do with an additional “summer kit”. Most other ventilation systems on the market simply pump the outside air in, so they pump cold air in winter and hot air in summer, actually pushing out the air you spent money on heating or cooling! Perhaps best of all, our system doesn’t cost any more than other systems, and will pay for itself with saved heating costs.

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Eco-friendly

We are also proud of how eco-friendly our Cosy Homes are, due to a number of factors. Our panels are cut to length as manufactured, so there is very little waste – far less than the 2 to 3 tons of waste generated by building a traditional home. As our homes are built in a centralised production site with nearby staff, we have reduced transportation costs and pollution. The materials chosen have low toxicity and are highly recyclable – while the timber used in traditional homes is sustainable, much of it needs to be treated with very noxious chemicals that also make it difficult to recycle. Our feet and chassis result in you having a low impact on the land. Our focus on insulation results in far less resources being wasted on heating.

Taken as a whole, these benefits produce an outstanding home. This may be best shown by the Homestar rating system (http://www.homestar.org.nz), which was developed by the NZ Green Building Council to encourage homes to be warmer, drier, healthier, eco-friendly and cost less to run. We would rate a standard Cosy Home at 7 or 8 out of 10 (self-assessed), compared to brand new, “code minimum” traditional builds that are still only achieving 3 or 4 out of 10. We do offer options that achieve higher ratings, but these come with higher costs (e.g. $6,000 or more for a solar power system), so our standard Cosy Home has been designed to provide the best balance of tangible benefits, long-term cost savings, and short-term affordability.
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Building consent and sitework assistance

We can keep the building consent process very simple as all of our Cosy Homes meet the New Zealand Building Code standards, except in extreme wind zone situations where there may be additional engineering considerations.

When purchasing a Cosy Home you may choose to have one that meets the definition of a vehicle (with wheels and a tow bar) or one with a building consent. This building consent, for the building and feet, is issued by our local council and can be transferred to your local council anywhere in the country.  You will need to apply to your local council for a building consent for the siteworks and services that will be supplying the Cosy Home on your land.  The code compliance certificate will be issued by your local council once the building is on site and hooked up to the services and has been inspected and approved by the local council inspectors. 

It is important to check the requirements of your local district plan to ensure all planning requirements are met and also to establish what and how services will supply your Cosy Home. 

Within the local council areas of Waimakariri, Christchurch City, and Selwyn,  we can help you with the application for building consent for your siteworks and services for an additional fee.  In these areas we can also help with the project management of the siteworks for your site should you require this service. 

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Transportation

We can arrange transportation to anywhere in the country provided there is a viable route. We will liaise with an appropriate freight company and pass on their cost to you without adding a surcharge for this service.

Below are some estimated transport costs. Costs are subject to change at any time and may vary depending on the exact location of your site within a region and how easy it is for a large truck and crane to access your site. Please contact us to get an up-to-date and accurate quote.

South Island 

  • Christchurch $1600
  • Dunedin $5000
  • Invercargill $8000
  • Nelson $6000
  • West Coast $5000
  • Franz Joseph $6000
  • Reefton $5000

North Island

  • Auckland – Kaitaia $15,000
  • Palmerston North – Auckland $13,000
  • Wellington – Palmerston north $10,000

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Finance Options

We are pleased that Cosy Homes are now able to offer you a bank lender that can finance you  in the same way as a traditional construction loan, taking advantage of today’s low mortgage rates right from the beginning of the build and eliminating the necessity for more expensive bridging finance. Subject to meeting the lender criteria, you may be able to borrow from 65% to 80% of your land and Cosy Home package.

We also have other finance options available so please get in touch soon to discuss your project.