Traditional double brick homes are slowly being replaced by structures built using new materials and alternative forms of construction in Western Australia.

The Western Australian building industry has traditionally been dominated by double brick homes. Brick is a readily available building material in the region with Perth being a clay-rich area; additionally, the well-draining sandy soil found in most of Metropolitan Perth is well suited to a concrete slab foundation.

However, homeowners are increasingly exploring alternative construction methods, described by architect Sid Thoo as the ‘Grand Designs effect’ where people watch the TV show and get inspired by different materials and alternative forms of construction, other than the standard brick and tile format.

The Mirvac display home at the Osprey Waters Development is an example of this new building trend. Nestled along the banks of the Pristine Peel Inlet near Mandurah, about an hour’s drive south of Perth, Osprey Waters offers idyllic estuary living. The Osprey Waters Development Manager Tim Noakes explained that Mirvac “really wanted something with a point of difference that was sustainable and built with a diverse type of materials”.

Sid Thoo, the architect who designed the display home, commented that he wanted to promote alternative forms of construction at the Osprey Waters Development, showcase something that was a bit different to set a new bar, and encourage people to build new houses other than the standard brick and tile homes typically seen throughout Perth.

The two-storey display home was built using structural insulated panels (SIPs) and Weathertex environment-friendly natural hardwood cladding products.

Gavin Wilson, Regional Sales Manager for Weathertex explains that the panels are made from recycled timber, do not contain any glues, formaldehyde or resins, and are completely eco-friendly.

Michael Cicanese from Element Builders built the home in just 16 weeks, about 3-4 times quicker than a traditional double brick home. Despite using Weathertex for the first time, the builders found it an easy material to work with while all the carpenters were very happy to use Weathertex as it was timber and they could use their own tools without needing any special cutting equipment.

Tim Noakes says Weathertex fits within Mirvac’s sustainability goals as it’s a 100% natural product, has better than zero carbon footprint, and reduces construction timeframes to suit project schedules. The quick installation of Weathertex saves money since scaffolding is taken down a lot quicker than traditional brick constructions. Additionally, Weathertex is a very low maintenance product and comes with a 25-year warranty.

Nick Stokes from Subiaco Restorations supplied the Weathertex cladding and is really excited about the lightweight timber 2-storey display house.

Since Weathertex is manufactured in Newcastle, NSW, Subiaco Restorations ensures good stock levels are maintained in Perth to help clients meet their requirements.

The entire display home is clad in Weathertex using a mix of ExteriorBoard Natural and Ecogroove 150 Smooth. Sid Thoo explained that part of the design brief for the building was to design something that had a beachside feel; this was achieved with the Ecogroove/ ExteriorBoard combination that provided them with the perfect aesthetic to give a very natural relaxed beach feel.

Acknowledging the increasing acceptance of alternative products such as Weathertex that can provide a very stunning, beautiful, environment-friendly and sustainable home, Sid Thoo says he looks forward to seeing more changes in the way buildings are built and materials used in Western Australia.

Image: The entire display home is clad in Weathertex using a mix of ExteriorBoard Natural and Ecogroove 150 Smooth