Renovating Resources

Good prefab design can provide high-quality buildings, to budget and on time so a prefab solution for their renovation was just the ticket for this Melbourne family.

Habitech’s Hampton Extension


I’m so excited to introduce this great extension to an existing residence in Hampton East by Chris Barnett from Habitech in Melbourne which really highlights the amazing advantages that good prefab design can achieve. As Prefabnz states, “Prefab is a way to create innovative high-quality buildings on time and within budget.” We look forward to bringing you more interesting ideas from the prefab-ulous world! Caroline Pidcock


night 2Adding a New Back Garden Pavilion

The brief for this back garden extension to an existing residence in Hampton East was made challenging by the limited access to the site, with all materials for the new building needing to be carried in through doors at the rear of the existing garage. Our clients had been through the process of having the project traditionally designed and costed, with the over-budget result limiting the outlook from existing living areas and leaving them looking for a better solution.

With an 8-week total build time for the completed project, Habitech’s modular construction system minimised the disturbance to our clients’ lives that extending a family home entails.

“Our new room is living up to all the expectations and desires we had for it and the reactions we get from our visitors are great. They are blown away by the design and finishes – an obvious reflection of the time, effort and professionalism you all demonstrated. We would like to say a big thank you to all at Habitech. We couldn’t have been happier with how the whole process unfolded, how contactable and flexible you were throughout every stage, and how patient you were with our questions, design tweaks and general client “insecurities”. We would happily recommend your services and product to anyone looking for a supportive design process and a high quality, finished product.

Client Brief


We approached the brief by siting a separate 8.2 x 4.6 metre pavilion form clear of the existing house, linked to the existing living spaces by a bridged connection, and with a north-eastern aspect deck connecting to both existing and new living spaces.

The new pavilion form contains a separately zoned living area and study, with bi-fold doors opening onto the new deck. The glazed bridge element, with a lowered plywood ceiling, and the mirroring of another existing northern window into the new form is designed to give a sense of transparency through the new living spaces.

Dual wall polycarbonate roofing over the deck maintains winter sunshine to the existing door opening, while providing weather cover to the deck and outdoor furniture.

The investment in a highly insulated and sealed building fabric has resulted in the 4 star rated heat pump installed for heating and cooling in the extended living area being rarely used. The new space has been able to maintain stable, comfortable temperatures, holding overnight temperatures of 19 degrees through nights with minimums below 10 degrees.

Maintaining winter solar gains and retrofitting double-glazed doors to the existing living areas has also significantly reduced the amount of time required to heat and cool these areas.


floor plan

Project Details

Project Name:Hampton Extension
Project Designer:Habitech Systems
Location:East Hampton
Clients:Working couple with two children
Builder:A&D Building
Year of Completion:2013
Building Area:40m2 + 22m2 deck
Project Cost:N/A
Climate Zone:NatHERS 62 Moorabbin
Project Costs:Total construction cost = $117,000
– Wall and roof panels supply = $17,400
– Wall and roof installation = $3,800

Sustainable features

  • Passive solar design – maintain winter solar gains to existing living areas
  • Material efficiency – Structural integrated panel material efficiency, reduced wastage from factory manufacture, reduced packaging and waste in delivery
  • High levels of insulation – walls R4.3, roof R5.5
  • Glazing – double-glazed timber doors retrofitted to existing living areas and new pavilion
  • Lighting – LED light fittings throughout
  • Rainwater capture – extending existing rainwater tanks with 2,000 litre tank from new roof

A Video of the Building Process

Liveability Q and A with the owners

Was energy efficiency an important factor in the brief to your architect?

Definitely. We originally started researching pre-fabricated design options to try to reduce the amount of time involved in the on-site construction phase of our project. However, the more we researched the subject, the more we became aware of the proven benefits of using structural insulated panels (SIPs). These benefits manifested themselves not just in the reduced time on site of the builders, but also in the environmental benefits due to superior insulation qualities, the manufacturing process of materials which involves less wastage / landfill, and the construction itself. e.g. less materials required in the framing of the building. We then started looking for an Architect who was already utilising and designing with this type of product, and fortunately we came upon Habitech Systems locally in Melbourne.

Do you see a home renovation which optimises environmental factors as being: better for the life in the house (comfort), or for the energy efficiency of the house or both ?

Both. The superior insulating properties of the structural insulated panels (SIPs) has translated into reduced heating requirements  made the house far more comfortable

How were issues concerning sustainability addressed in the design?

The design incorporated the use of structural insulated panels (SIPs) for wall and roof construction, double glazed windows and doors, use of timber framed windows and doors to lessen temperature transference, underfloor insulation, external screens positioned over windows to lessen entry of summer sun into the house, large volume water tank to capture rainwater which is plumbed back to our toilets / washing machine , and the actual site orientation of the construction.

Are you addressing sustainability in other areas of your life as well? If yes examples

Yes. A couple of examples are changing our existing halogen downlights to LED lights, and the recycling of green waste to use as compost for our garden where we are growing a variety of food plants for consumption.

Caroline Pidcock

Caroline Pidcock

Caroline Pidcock, the curator of our Liveability ‘be inspired by design’ is founding Principal of the design firm PIDCOCK – Architecture + Sustainability which is focused on desirable, sustainable architecture. The practice aims to excel in ecologically sustainable design, documentation and advice and to demonstrate how such a focus can deliver potent influences in design and can produce delightful experiences. PIDCOCK is particularly interested in renovations, where it is possible to identify the best of what is existing and help to recognise, adapt and develop this to be part of a strong and relevant future.

5 Responses to “Habitech’s Hampton Extension”

  1. I would like to build a house in cairns. do you have a representative here in Cairns? do you have a choice of house plans? do you have any suitable designs for beach front properties suitable for a tropical climate?
    thank you

  2. I would like to build a house in cairns. do you have a representative here in Cairns? do you have a choice of house plans? do you have any suitable designs for beachfront properties suitable for a tropical climate?
    thank you

  3. Donna,

    Thank you for your enquiry.

    We do not currently have any projects or representatives in northern Queensland, but have been able to find builders to work with in Tasmanian and NSW projects to date.

    We do not have any standard plans for tropical sites, with one of the advantages of our modular system being that it allows for design to specific sites.

    The thermal performance our system delivers will provide benefits if your planned house is to be air-conditioned, but otherwise a lightweight, responsive (rather than super insulated) building fabric will perform just as well if operated passively.

    If developing a design for your brief and site is of interest, please get in contact through the ‘Get Started’ button on our website.



  4. I find this article interesting and informative. Building an extension to one’s home can sometimes be as challenging and expensive as constructing a new house itself. With the need of the home to function without severely upsetting the daily living activities even during the construction period, the cost of materials but a lot do not even get used but end up in a landfill, and the length of time to finish the project. Your structural insulated panels and prefab options do address the common issues that arise in home extension projects, such as working within a reasonable budget, less wastage, less length of project time, and convenience to the family. It does show the need for service from home extension builders to attain such convenience and efficiency that is satisfactory to everyone.


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