Green Living FAQs

Who are Master Builders Green Living Builders?

Master Builders Green Living Builders are up to date with the latest technology and practices in sustainable building advice on both renovation and new building construction. They are required to maintain their knowledge and sustainable building standards by submitting annual reports to the Master Builders, so you know you are using a builder who has been recognised for their leadership in the delivery of high quality sustainable solutions. By using a Green Living Master Builder you will have the personal and financial advantage of pursuing sustainable options that will make your home more comfortable and energy efficient.

What are the costs?

Sustainable buildings can be achieved without adding additional cost, they just need to incorporate smarter design and better building practices that Green Living Builders are familiar with. Use of cutting edge technology to further increase your star ratings may increase the initial build cost, however they will also deliver ongoing energy cost savings for the life of the home. When making the decision to pursue your sustainability objectives, you need to consider what is most important to you – low initial build costs, or ongoing affordability (energy costs vs mortgage repayments) and overall build quality/resale value.

What are my choices?

1. Passive solar house design/block orientation If choosing a block make sure it will allow you to place the living areas on the north side of the house. Large north facing windows allow the sun to enter and warm the house in winter. Avoid or minimise windows facing west or east and make sure any are well shaded, and minimise south facing windows as these don’t get any winter sun. 2. Sealing your home Drafts allow cold air into your home in winter and hot air in summer. This adds significantly to your heating and cooling costs. Make sure external doors and window closures are properly weather sealed, use self-closing extraction fans and approved covers over any downlights. Wall penetrations should also be sealed during construction - full building envelope sealing by a Green Living builder can provide significant benefits. 3. Insulate external walls, floor & ceiling Insulation is the most cost effective way to make your home more comfortable in both winter and summer. Add as much as you can and make sure it is installed correctly. It should not be compressed and there should be no gaps. Green Living builders can offer various techniques to achieve maximum efficiency. 4. Windows, doors & double (and triple) glazing Double glazing has become less expensive as its use has increased and can reduce heat loss or heat gain by almost 30% over single glazing. This will, reduce heat losses from your home in winter, and reduce heat conduction through windows in summer resulting in more constant/comfortable temperatures inside. 5. Ventilation Sealing your home to reduce draughts means you need to provide adequate ventilation when and where necessary, e.g. kitchen, bathroom, toilet or laundry using exhaust fans or openable windows. If the house is very well sealed you might consider heat recovery ventilation systems. These provide a steady flow of fresh air but greatly reduce the need to heat or cool it each time. 6. Heating and cooling These are the big energy users in your home. Get the most efficient systems you can afford as this will make a significant difference to your energy bills. 7. Efficient lighting LED lighting provides significant savings over standard halogen type lighting. 8. Energy efficient appliances When choosing fridges, televisions, washing machines, dishwashers, etc. choose the most efficient ones you can afford. Look for those with the highest star rating. 9. Solar & water harvesting Significantly reduce the amount of water and energy you use by producing your own. Utilising the latest solar technology, power storage and power grid independence is now a reality… ETHOS can advise you on what the best options are for your home, whether it be a retrofit or new build/extension.

Insurance and Repair Work FAQs

How long will the works take?

At the commencement of your repairs, your appointed supervisor will provide you with a schedule of works. This schedule will include details of the dates the trades will be attending. The schedule is however subject to change due to unforeseen circumstance outside of our control (weather conditions, availability of materials, variations etc) however should there be any changes to your schedule, your appointed supervisor will communicate these changes to you and provide you with revised timings.

Who can I call with questions?

Your appointment supervisor will remain the ongoing point of contact throughout the entire repair process. Your supervisor is contactable via either email and mobile, this information will be provided to you as soon as an supervisor is appointed to your job. Alternatively, you can contact our friendly office support team on 1300 238 467 at any time to request an update on the status of your claim.

What if extra works are required?

In the event that any additional damages, unforeseen or latent conditions present themselves through the course of repairs, we will discuss these additional items with your insurance company and submit a variation request for further approval.

What if I want to make changes?

Your appointed supervisor can work with you and advise you on appropriate changes to the authorised scope of works. It should be noted however that changes/upgrades that are outside of the authorised scope of works will need to be agreed in writing and paid for at your cost.

Why do I need to sign a building contract?

Even though the financial aspects of the repair costs associated with your claim are agreed between the builder and your insurer, state legislation dictates that a building contract between the builder and the owner needs to be place for larger domestic repair works. This is ultimately to protect your interests and in some cases it is a prerequisite to obtain a home owners warranty certificate, that may protect you in the unlikely event you have an issue in the future

How do I choose my fixtures and finishes and who can advise me on what I need?

Before works commence your supervisor will assist and guide you in the selection process. We have established trade suppliers that we have partnered with on the basis of their quality products and service delivery, and with whom we can put you in contact with for detailed advice. Repair scopes of works are produced to reflect replacement of items on a like for like basis, however you may have the opportunity to upgrade/improve, but it should be noted that any associated cost will generally be your responsibility. To assist you in the selection process we will also provide you with a written selection guide detailing what you need to choose, where you can choose these items and what to consider when making a selection.

How do I pay my excess?

Your insurer will notify you if your policy has a payable excess when you lodge your insurance claim. In many cases, the insurer will instruct that we collect the excess on their behalf, in this instance we will issue you with an excess invoice detailing the amount due and payment options to pay your excess (via credit card, or bank transfer). Please access the pay-my-excess page for more details. Your excess payment represents your intention to proceed with the claim and needs to be paid prior to any works being scheduled.