With house prices skyrocketing, house hunters are now turning to building blocks similar to Lego to save on construction and electricity costs.
Zego’s insulated polystyrene blocks fit together in a similar fashion to the famous Danish toy, enabling faster build times for homes that are up to 80 percent more energy efficient.
Introduced to Australia in 2001, suppliers of Zego have reported a five to ten percent increase in sales across several construction hot spots, including Kellyville, Penrith, and Ermington, as home builders become more aware of energy ratings in the wake of spiking electricity costs. In 2017 alone, major energy providers have increased prices by around 15 to 20 percent across NSW.
Scott Evans, managing director of Zego, says that the precast polystyrene shapes are made of a strong insulator which reduces the need for heating and cooling. Evans says that stacking the shapes on top of each other, in a manner resembling Lego bricks, allows for faster construction times than brick veneer building methods.
A 67 percent increase in the last five years means that buying an established house for a knock down rebuild project costs, on average, upwards of $950,00. Buying a vacant block of land costs around $450,000.
Recent research from House and Land found that newly built homes were on average 13.9 percent cheaper than established dwellings.
This marked price difference, combined with Zego’s ability to cut down on construction and electricity costs, means that a home builder could secure a property built from scratch with similar features and fittings to an established house for as little as $775,000.
One home builder jumping on these cost savings is Jade Cooper, who is currently building a new home in Kellyville with Zego. Cooper got the idea for the project after her father – the architect Roel Mulder – recommended the precast product to her.
“It is structurally sound, can be used in bushfire zones and is cyclone proof,” said Mulder.
Mulder had himself used Zego on previous projects and found it to be an excellent material. Both because of the speed at which it allows projects to be built, and the minimal waste during construction and maximal energy savings after the fact.
Builder Elie Farah of Effective Building and Construction also backed Zego’s product, saying “There is less wastage and it’s a lot more efficient.”