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EasyBuild DIY Extraordinaire!

Peter Walker built an EasyBuild Raglan design as a DIY project in early 2021. Peter built the house as a secondary dwelling on the back of an existing property he owned.

Hear from Peter as he recounts what led to his build, what it’s like building an EasyBuild home as a DIY project, and what’s next on Peter’s DIY list.

“I needed a house to build as a secondary dwelling, and I took the easiest option, which was building a modular home from EasyBuild as a DIY project.

I knew Polly Scott (EasyBuild’s Relationship Manager) from time on a School Board together, and when Polly said to me that this was what I needed to build, I was sold, I knew I didn’t need to look any further – it’s as simple as that.

I don’t have any formal qualification in building, I’m a panel beater by trade, but I’ve been around building all my life. My brother was a builder, my dad was a carpenter, I’ve always been around tools, and always got involved in building projects.

This house was the fifth I’d worked on, however the other four were big renovations, doing up old houses that we’d transported, whereas the EasyBuild home was my first new build. It was a totally different experience, and honestly pretty cool.

The experience I had from renovating was a great stepping stone for me, and it gave me the experience I needed to build the EasyBuild home, and also gave me the capital I needed to build it too.”

How Peter came to need the home is a pretty good story too!

“Our long-term tenants who live in the front house on the section approached me asking if I knew of any homes available to rent for some dear friends of theirs who were struggling to find a place to live. I joked that we could build on the back part of their place. Two weeks later, our tenant came back to me and asked if I was serious, and that she was willing to give up her much-loved garden if it was possible.

There was a need, we fulfilled the need, and the wonderful tenants, a young family with a young child have now got a lovely, warm home to live in, for as long as they want to live there. Our goal with this is to be a great provider of quality homes to people in our local community. Our tenants are like family to us and we feel blessed that we can support people who aren’t currently in a position to buy their own home. We would never rent out a home that we weren’t 100% happy to live in ourselves.”

Back to the build, Peter’s can-do attitude and motivation helped get the job done quickly.

“Our site was a dream, totally flat and rectangular, with easy access for the truck to bring the container down the driveway ready for us to start building. 

Having Polly and the EasyBuild team help with all the consent documentation was primo. Being local meant I got to know everyone really well, and could stop by for a chat with any questions or queries. I was always welcome, and it was an easy process. 

Once everything arrived to site, everything else just sort of worked. It was smooth, seamless. It was nice having everything that you needed there, or delivered in lots as and when we needed it. 

I knew I needed to get this build done quickly because the future residents were waiting to live there, and I also wanted to get it closed in as quickly as possible to protect the house from the elements.”

“I employed a full-time builder for 3-4 weeks to give me a push, because I was working full time during the build and had been away for three months ahead of it. 

The whole idea of EasyBuild, is to get it built easily and quickly, and we were able to do this. Having a builder on site for those few weeks gave me another pair of hands, and he could keep working on site when I wasn’t able to be there. 

I also had a roofer come in to help me with the roof because I wanted to get that on quickly too. 

I planned for and arranged everything else myself, the plumbing, drainage, electrical, painting, installing the kitchen – I either did it myself, or got someone in to do it where a professional was required. 

It was easy to just step through it and get it done. It’s good building ay, I love it.

I’ve got to say my favourite part of the build was once it was closed-in and we started doing the wiring and plumbing. I love being inside when it’s not got the interior lining on yet and you can see all the bones of the house. Obviously having it finished and being enjoyed by its new residents is pretty great too!” 

Peter has an abundance of wisdom to share following his build

“If anyone’s thinking about it, I’d definitely say go for it! I certainly recommend it. And depending on where you are in your skill level, don’t be afraid to engage some professional help or a tradie at certain points of the build or to help you get it closed in quickly.

You certainly need some extra bodies to help out sometimes, make sure you have a good team of friends and family around you willing to help – you can’t have enough people to help getting the panels into place.

I’d also suggest going hard on the ceiling sheets and roof stuff to get the home weatherproofed as fast as you can. Once you start on the roof, don’t stop until it’s done. This is the time to put the effort in, it’s really worthwhile so that you don’t leave the house exposed.”  

A few years on from building, Peter is still thrilled with the finished product.

“Hindsight’s a great thing but at the end of the day, I’m really happy with what we built. 

I made a few small changes to the design, one of which was removing the front door because I wanted additional wall space inside. The existing ranchslider serves a double purpose as a front door. If I did it again, I think I’d leave the front door in as an additional entry point. 

I also added a ranchslider to the main bedroom which we are really pleased with. I added some decking out there and it creates an extra outdoor space for the family to enjoy. 

Finally, I omitted the door between the lounge and the corridor and just kept it as an opening to keep the flow of the house open, and I’m really happy with this.

I haven’t had to do any maintenance to the house yet – it’s just solid as. I’m always checking in with my tenants to see if any work needs to be done, I like to keep on top of things before they have a chance to become an issue, but there hasn’t been anything! There’s nothing that’s failed, it’s really good.”

And what’s next for Peter on the DIY front? Would he build an EasyBuild Home again?

“Oh yeah for sure, in fact I’m heading to Tonga in October 2023 with a team of 14 other volunteers to build an EasyBuild home for The Salvation Army in the village of Kolovai. Our plan is to build the home in two weeks, an ambitious goal, but I think we can do it!”

DIY not for you? EasyBuild Homes are here to support you with your project from start to finish – get in touch.

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