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    What’s with Perth’s addiction to double brick buildings?

    David Wheeldon

    An award-winning builder in Perth has publicly posed the question: “why is Perth the only region in Australia still predominantly building double brick homes?”

    Spurred on by award wins at the Master Builders Awards this year, locally-based Bluewater Building, who class themselves as timber frame building specialists, issued a press released pointing out that other states and wider Western Australia had embraced long ago the efficiency of timber framed homes.

    The company’s director Anton Smith says the days of a dominant traditional double brick home building industry may be numbered, and will eventually be replaced by more and more sustainable construction methods.

    “I think brick is being superseded by modern timber frame homes that are more sustainable and energy efficient,” he said.

    “It’s easier to achieve the, now mandatory, six star energy rating in a timber frame house because timber doesn’t conduct heat and you can fully insulate all the walls, which means lower power bills and big savings over the long term.”

    Maclaren Drive, Yallingup. Images: Bluewater Building

    The builders have the support of Darren Goodison from Goodison Engineering.

    “From a structural and aesthetic perspective, non-brick homes also perform really well,” Goodison said.

    “Timber often results in less aesthetic defects than brick built homes, such as hairline cracking in walls. This is because bricks are a relatively brittle material. Timber on the other hand is flexible and accommodates natural movements from foundation settlement and roof framing movement.”

    Such claims have long been supported by lightweight proponents like building materials company James Hardie, who argue that timber frame homes are quicker and more cost effective to build and run, and and more sustainable over the long term.

    Bluewater Building says industry bodies are also encouraging the transition.

    The company’s reporting rising demand for custom-built timber frame homes in the metro area.

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