Design and Construction Principals
As a developer of affordable and community housing stock, the HHC is challenged by the need to produce environmentally responsible, aesthetically pleasing, durable, and accessible housing stock, all as low a price as possible. We relish the challenge, utilising a balance of innovation and attention to detail to remove excess features while retaining those that are essential to the success of the project. The major factors considered in our design and construction can be highlighted in four areas: usability; sustainability; affordability and design aesthetic.
The HHC endeavours to ensure that all developments are designed to meet the needs of the people who will be using them. Our designs are guided by a client analysis, which has highlighted the need for easily accessible units. As such, the HHC, where possible, designs single-level dwellings, or in multiple level units, lift access, to allow the use of all units by those with mobility problems. We attempt to adhere to Universal Design Principles, which means the selection of products and design features which can be used by the widest range of people. Features such as wider doorways, hobless showers, large light switches and lever taps are low cost ways to improve the usability of our product, and are considered for use in our designs.
The HHC is committed to reducing the impact that our buildings have on the environment. We also identify opportunities where reducing emissions also assists in reducing costs for tenants; for example, the use of gas hot water systems in our Southport development reduces carbon emissions while reducing electricity bills for our future tenants. All developments will utilise compact fluorescent and other low wattage lighting, include water tanks to reduce water consumption, and where possible will use solar or gas hot water systems to reduce electricity bills. Just by producing smaller, higher density product, we are reducing the footprint of our buildings; the efficient use of space reduces unnecessary materials (and thus embodied emissions) and saves land from clearing. We are also looking at implementing more advanced technologies, such as grey water reticulation, water treatment, green roofs and solar power generation where the higher costs can be justified.
Perhaps the most important design criterion for our products is affordability. The less we have to spend on construction, the more homes we can build. However, the HHC refuses to compromise on the quality of our buildings; such cutbacks are often more expensive in the long run, with higher maintenance cost and repairs. Instead, we look to use efficiencies in design, removing features which are unnecessary or too expensive, as well as looking at the size of our product and efficient layouts which minimise building materials without compromising on useability. Economies of scale, along with innovative materials and construction methods can also reduce costs without affecting quality. We also consider affordability, not just in the short-term, but over the life of the building, and for our tenants. While a hard-wearing material may be initially more expensive, it will also save money in the long run by reducing repairs and maintenance. Again, there is also a balance to be made with aesthetics, where some hard wearing materials can appear 'institutional' and undesireable.
It is important to us that our products have a suitable design aesthetic. We're not concerned with making them attractive for the sake of it, but so that our dwellings add to the urban landscape, as well as blending with it. What our developments look like depends on the location in which they sit; sometimes, we may blend our developments so that they are unnoticeable among existing houses; sometimes we may make a statement with our buildings to improve the character of an area. The HHC is committed to building products that neighbours and tenants can be proud of. We also believe the design of structures can affect the emotions and moods of the people who live within them; that our products should avoid an 'institutional' feel and appearance. With plenty of natural light and private and communal open space, our developments seek to be pleasurable places to live.
For examples of our current and future projects, click here.