Updated May 2021
If you are thinking about building a holiday home, there’s a good chance you’re investigating the pros and cons of building your bach from a kitset.
Kitset holiday homes can be a good option for anyone looking to utilise their own DIY skills in the build. Building your holiday home from a kitset provides a lot of self-fulfillment and attachment to the project; it makes it more meaningful to you personally when you’ve contributed to your home’s construction. It also helps to offset labour costs in a big way.
When you think of an ideal bach or holiday home, one of the key characteristics you probably think of is being ‘cosy’. ‘Cosy’ means different things to different people, but a common theme is being warm and dry in the cooler months, and airy and cool in the hot summer months.
The primary building material of choice which naturally boasts that ‘cosiness’ factor is timber. Timber ‘breathes’ so it regulates humidity in a home, and naturally releases heat it has stored from the sun or fireplace. So imagine for a minute your timber home getting loads of natural sunlight during the day – the timber actually stores that heat (keeping your holiday home nice and temperate during the day), and then releases the heat it has stored overnight when the temperature drops.
These heat and humidity regulating properties make timber equally suitable for tropical warm, coastal conditions, and cold or alpine conditions alike. And of course it blends seamlessly in to natural environments like that from whence it came.
Above – a couple of beaut Solid Timber kitset homes assembled by a kitset customer in Kaikoura, New Zealand.
If you do choose to build your kitset bach from sustainably grown New Zealand timber, then you have probably already discovered (or know already) how easy timber is to work with. This is particularly true of kit homes which use interlocking timber. Interlocking timber provides several benefits, famously it is one of the main reasons for being earthquake resistant. But even earlier on in the project it makes for a really straightforward build. That’s because the bulk of the work can be done by anyone with a good mind for DIY, who is in good physical shape capable of swinging a hammer and heavy lifting.
Check out the video below for instance. Here you’ll see the walls being knocked into place and the other good stuff involved in banging those walls into place!
If you are not sure if you’re up to the task, take a look at this series of instructional videos to see exactly what is involved.
You will however need someone skilled to prepare the foundations, which can be either a concrete slab or timber piles, depending on your preference and what is most suitable for your location and ground conditions. You will also need to find a plumber and an electrician to take care of the plumbing and electrical side of things because it is both dangerous and illegal to carry out this work without an expert.
There are a few build approaches available to you, when building your kitset holiday home. You can for instance do a ‘lock-up’, which is where you get someone else to build the shell of your home, and then hand it over to you to complete the interior and finish it off. You could also do a joint build with your building partner, where you contribute your own labour in specified sections of the build. Or you could even hand assembling the entire thing over to your chosen building partner; of course this removes yourself from the building process, but it is great for anyone short on time or who simply prefers to have someone else do the work. In practice this basically means ordering the kitset which, on delivery is then assembled by a local builder of your choosing.
Procedural formalities like organising building consent should be able to be handled by whomever you purchased your kit home from.
If you think that building your next holiday home from a kitset is for you, you’ll find a load more information on the topic on this kitset homes page which includes commonly asked questions around costs, benefits and custom designed kit homes. It also features a really useful Kitset Buyers Guide which is free to download. You could also head to this house plans page. All of the homes featured there are available as kitsets, but to view the designs which this article has being referring to be sure to search for the ‘Solid Timber’ ones.