An Illawarra builder's hard work has been acknowledged by winning a state award for the second year running.
Unanderra-based builders Souter Built won a Master Builders Association of NSW Award last week for a project dubbed 'The Cottage'.
Souter Built won in the 'Best Granny Flat - $200,000 and over' category.
The winning project was a two-bedroom granny flat located in Ashfield.
Director Adam Souter said 'The Cottage' is in a heritage conservation area, with the project designed to be sympathetic to this.
Mr Souter said the brief centred on how the project could be made as energy-efficient as possible.
"We proposed to use the principles of a certified passive house, which is a German science practice to heat and cool the dwelling using minimal energy."
However, he said the project was a challenge before even getting out of the ground, as this secondary dwelling was built over not one but two Sydney Water easements.
Mr Souter said efficient, compact machinery was used in all the earthworks to remove, replace and encase with concrete of the two sewer easements servicing the entire block.
He said tight site access was an obstacle, including the removal of existing camphor-laurel tree stumps with root systems that engulfed the entire worksite.
This two-storey handmade onsite structure consists of 40-degree hand cut pitched roofs with dormer windows on both sides, exposed hardwood rafter tails with V-grooved lining soffits, 95 per cent recycled timber Weather-Tex boards and Accoya timber windows and doors with double glazing and low-E coatings on both sides.
All the timber windows and doors are made of Accoya timber, glazed with double glazing and special foam sealed and taped, eliminating any thermal loss or gain through the building envelope.
All floors, walls and roof have quality insulation with only ceiling fans and a heat extraction fan (that automatically turns on when the building reaches 30 degrees) needed.
No air conditioning is installed in this project, and the hot water is heated by a six-star, energy-efficient electric heat pump.
All on-site rainwater is kept within two 5000 litre rainwater tanks to be used onsite.
The project was completed in May, having taken seven months to build.
Mr Souter said the owners are currently renting it out as a form of passive income.
Souter Built won the 'Alteration and Addition' category for a project in Lavender Bay at last year's state awards.
"It's fantastic to have two state award wins in back-to-back years; it just shows that we're doing something really well," Mr Souter said.
"The philosophy of quality above all is working."
Meanwhile, Mr Souter was also one of the finalists in the 'Master Builders Association Young Builder of the Year' category this year.
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