Ecoliv Buildings FAQ’s

1. Siting & Design

Do you have a display home?

The Ecoliv Buildings Display Centre is located in Wonthaggi, Victoria which is a scenic coastal drive just two hours south from Melbourne CBD. We welcome all our clients to visit the Ecoliv Buildings Display Centre so we can walk you through our award-winning designs and explain how each module is sustainably constructed within our factory. We invite you to make an appointment so we can make the most of your visit.

What size are the modules?

Our Ecoliv Buildings designs include a combination of standard modules which are typically up to 4.5m wide x 15m long and 3.8m high. These standard dimensions ensure transport costs are minimized. We can customize the modules' dimensions to suit a specific design requirement, however this may increase modules transport costs. See a more in-depth overview of our modules here.

Can I change the standard floor plans?

If the standard floor plans don't meet your living requirements, we can design a bespoke home utilizing a range of standard modules. To achieve a minimum 7 star energy rating, many Ecoliv Buildings are a custom configuration of our standard modules to suit your site and living requirements. Our expert designers will assess and advise you on floor plan best suits you and your site.

Can my Ecoliv Buildings be used to extend to an existing home?

Of course! If your site can accommodate an extension, we can add more modules as required. This is one of the main benefits of modular construction. Utilizing modular construction ensures minimal site disturbance including noise pollution and halves the construction time of a traditional ‘on site’ construction.

How long will it take, from start to finish?

The design stage of your home is usually a more lengthy process than the construction stage. This will depend on your specific living and aesthetic requirements of the project. If town planning approval is required for your project the council application process can take longer.
Generally, Ecoliv Building modules take around 14 weeks construction time. Ecoliv Buildings bespoke designs of a complex or extensive nature may require additional time however our strong relationship with clients means we can stay in constant contact and provide you with regular updates.

Can prefab modular home be installed on sloping sites?

Yes we can design a footing system to suit all sites, whether its sloping bushland, a steep suburban block or a cliff top beach property. Bespoke footing systems for single or multiple level configurations on sloping sites can be designed specifically to suit the gradient in the site. During the Preliminary Design Stage our building designers assess the property orientation, site contours, and soil type to create a module configuration that is both energy efficient and suited to your location. A benefit of building with modular homes for sloping sites is that an engineered footing system is installed prior to module delivery which minimises site impact and neighbourhood disturbance making the installation process quick and easy.

Can prefab modular home be installed on narrow sites?

Definitely! Due to the size constraints of our modules for transport and delivery our homes are perfect for narrow sites. Our homes have been delivered on a number of narrow inner city sites and each project is specifically tailored to the unique needs of the land, location, local planning guidelines and client lifestyle. Additionally every Ecoliv Building has smart, efficiently designed spaces which provide the functionality of a much larger house than its actual footprint.

What heating and cooling options do I have?

A range of heating and cooling options can be suggested to suit your location and climate. The minimum 7 star energy rating of our homes maximise natural heating and cooling processes so additional artificial temperature control is only relied apon during extreme weather periods to ensure your home is comfortable year round. We have a range of energy efficient options available or you may provide your own system for us to install.

2. Materials and Energy Efficiency

How do we choose internal and external finishes for our Ecoliv Buildings?

Our EcoSelect Materials Selection Centre is an interior design service that provides you with a range of high quality sustainable fixtures and finishes. Each product has been evaluated to access:

  • Resource efficiency e.g. energy, water, materials
  • Waste reduction including re-cycled content
  • Efficiency in processing and manufacturing
  • Minimising embodied energy
  • Preservation of biodiversity and the natural environment
  • Social and cultural heritage issues
  • Toxicity e.g. indoor air quality
  • Support of local suppliers and Australian owned companies.

We have a range of external claddings, windows, decking, heating/cooling, joinery, bench tops, paints, plumbing fixtures, appliances, electrical fittings, carpet and tiles from which to choose during the Preliminary Design stage.

I want my Ecoliv Building to be as sustainable as possible. Which extras can help me achieve this?

All Ecoliv Buildings feature solar power, solar hot water, 10,000 liter water tank configuration, high star rated appliances and high WELS rated plumbing fixtures to ensure each home reduces reliance on mains power and water. We also have a range of eco upgrades available from which to choose such as black and grey water recycling systems, composting toilets, worm Farms, and wind power systems.

What footing system is used in Ecoliv Buildings?

A suitable footing system will be designed to suit the site and design requirements of the module configuration. This is ascertained after a soil test is completed.

What do I need to know about solar panels?

Solar panels can pay for themselves within 5 to 10 years after installation. Depending on your solar set-up, power can be fed back into the supply grid and not only reduce your power bill significantly, but provide rebates from electricity suppliers. If you can produce more energy than you consume, it's money in the bank.

I'm interested in 'living off the grid.' What are the most important things I need to know?

The term off-the-grid (OTG) can refer to living in a self-sufficient manner without reliance on one or more public utilities. A true off-grid house is able to operate completely independently of all traditional public utility services.
Solar panels and sufficient water tanks are essential if you're thinking about living off the grid. A 1.75Kw Solar system and 10,000 liter water tank are standard inclusions with Ecoliv Buildings. These items can be upgraded and grey/black water systems added to provide an off the grid home.

What are energy ratings and how do they work?

40% of home energy usage is spent on heating and cooling, so our designs aim to reduce this dependency on cyclic temperature appliances. We use the National Home Energy Rating System (NatHERS) to rate our buildings' thermal efficiency, or put simply, how effectively your building can maintain a comfortable living temperature. We achieve a minimum seven-star energy rating for all our Ecoliv Buildings; however we always aim to attain the highest energy rating for each home.

How does Ecoliv Buildings achieve their excellent energy ratings?

Ecoliv Buildings are committed to creating sustainable buildings, so we include sustainable features as standard inclusions in all our designs. Some of these inclusions are double-glazed windows, a 900mm eave overhang and insulation manufactured from recycled glass and sand.

How much will an Ecoliv Buildings modules save in living costs each year?

You can save up to 30% off your running costs each year across power usage for heating and cooling, lighting and appliances. This is just with our standard inclusions. On average, our clients save a considerable amount each year in running costs with noticeable difference in their electricity bills.

Why is modular building more sustainable than tradition ‘on site’ building?

The design and layout of Ecoliv Building modules maximizes the use of standard building sizes and lengths in common building materials to minimize material wastage. Using prefabricated factory-built modules can reduce overall construction waste by up to 52%. In accordance with our Waste Reduction Plan any excess materials are recycled or re-used.

3. Permits, Regulations & Compliance

What permits are required?

A building permit is mandatory for all constructions, while a town planning permit is only required in some cases. Town Planning application and approval may take approximately six months to receive an outcome. We manage both these processes on behalf of our clients and a quotation to obtain these permits is provided at the Preliminary price stage.

Will Ecoliv Buildings help with the subdivision of my land if needed?

Subdivision is a town planning issue and remains at the discretion of your local council. We can advise on your course of action and provide general advice for subdivision.

Why do I need a soil test?

It has been mandatory for many years to have a soil test for every home site. Soil testing will assess the soil moisture and composition to determine if the soil can withstand the forces applied to it, such as determining the footings required for the building weight. Each site is different and a soil test will ensure the appropriate footing system is designed for your new Ecoliv Building.

Do I need a Bush Fire Assessment Rating?

A Bush Fire Attack Level (BAL) Assessment is required for bush fire prone areas. All developments on land that is designated as bush fire prone have a legal obligation to consider bush fire and meet the requirements of Planning for Bush Fire Protection 2006 and AS3959 – 200. To find out if you live in a bush fire prone area, information is available from your local council.
If your BAL rating is 12.5 or higher a range of design and materials considerations will apply for your Ecoliv Building. We have a range of BAL compliment materials from which to select in our EcoSelect Materials Selection Centre.

Do I need an Energy Rating for my home?

Yes each new home requires an energy rating. The Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) is a national framework for the purpose of regulating how Australian homes are rated for their thermal performance.
The costs and environmental impacts of heating and cooling a home can be reduced through good design and construction of our homes. Assessment of a building's thermal performance at design stage by a NatHERS accredited assessor can identify simple, economical ways to make it more comfortable and save energy.

4. Logistics and Site

How long does delivery and installation take?

Given that we deliver modules across Australia, delivery time will vary, but the majority of on-site installation is completed in a single day. Modules are bolted together and made water tight before services are connected to make the modules operational. For addition/extension modules and larger more complex projects, some connection work may take a little longer.

How will my site be prepared for the module delivery?

Following a soil test, an appropriate footing system will be designed for your site. Our standard footings system replaces the need for extensive earth moving or leveling equipment. The footing locations are determined by our plans and the pre-built modules are fastened to the footings. We consider the design closely to minimally affect any existing flora or fauna.

How much are transport costs?

Transport costs are dependent on the distance of travel required and the size of the modules. An estimate is calculated early on at the preliminary price stage. The cost is estimated at approximately $1,000 per hour per truck from our factory in Wonthaggi, Victoria to site.

How much is crane hire?

Crane hire is only applicable to projects with assess issues and multiple story’s. For straightforward deliveries crane hire can be $10k while more complex deliveries where longer hire periods apply costs can be up to $15-$20k. Following a site investigation an estimate is provided at the preliminary price stage.

Do you deliver interstate?

We have the knowledge and experience to deliver your modules anywhere in Australia. Your modules are safely and securely attached to a truck and transported with zero damage. With the flexibility to assemble modules either in our factory or onsite, our deliveries are hassle free. Transport costs depend on the distance, but this cost will be estimated at the preliminary price stage.

Are Ecoliv Building modules resistant to extreme climates or weather events such as alpine/desert regions or cyclone prone areas?

Yes, Ecoliv Building modules can be designed to suit any climate in Australia. Each module configuration will be designed to harness the site specific features of each site. So if you are in a tropical climate materials and design will focus on ensuring the home is cyclone compliant and has the ability to facilitate cross flow ventilation and shading. Homes within an alpine region will require maximum insulation to ensure thermal comfort.

Can I add to or relocate my Ecoliv Buildings module?

Yes, we can easily add additional modules as needed or relocate an Ecoliv Buildings module that is already installed on-site.

5. Warranties and Finance.

I am having difficulty securing finance for my building project. What should I do?

Bank MECU can provide a mortgage package specific to your needs. Bank MECU provides a home loan which offers you a lower rate when you build a 7 star rated home or higher and a conservation land bank where the impact of their banking products is offset. For more information visit www.bankmecu.com.au

Are we eligible for the 1st Home Buyers grant with Ecoliv Building?

The First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) is a national scheme funded by the states and territories and administered under their own legislation. Under the scheme, a one-off grant is payable to first home owners that satisfy all the eligibility criteria. For more information on legislation in your state visit www.firsthome.gov.au

Which warranties come with my Ecoliv Building?

We have a three 3 month rectifications warranty on every construction. This means we will fix any problems within identified within this period at no cost to you. We also include the industry standard seven year builders' warranty.

What does the seven year builders' warranty include?

The builders warranty is designed to protect consumers from financial loss arising from defective or incomplete works. In this period, a builder must return to the insured property and repair any defective works. We have found that a strong relationship with our clients means they have an excellent understanding of their construction project, so they can confidently communicate anything they feel is important.