We know you’ve got questions about our panels and how they can work for you. Here are the answers to our most frequently asked ones.
Do they come in standard sizes?
No, we can make them to suit your plans. They can be 260mm to 400mm thick and up to 3.2 metres high.
Do you have standard window and door sizes?
No, we can work in with your window sizes.
I already have my plans drawn up, can I use them?
Yes, we can work out an estimate for you.
What's the cost?
Send us your plans and we can give you an estimate (they don’t have to be finished).
Why choose the panels over strawbales?
Viva Panels are quicker to install than straw bale wall systems, all of the planning and hard work is done.
Load bearing system with no further external framing required. Insulation already installed, no more required on external walls.
Once installation is completed they are are ready for the roof, windows & doors.
Less time finishing. Rendered walls have two coats of render already applied. Clad walls are ready for cladding to be installed.
Why choose the panels over conventional building materials?
- Super insulated like nothing else on the market for the width of the panels
- Healthy & Sustainable
- Energy efficient, highest star ratings achieved
- Healthy house / Building biology (healthy moisture/air in apartments which is a major issue in Europe and Australian apartments)
- Neutral Carbon footprint
What happens if you build a straw panel home and then want to add on later?
You can extend a straw panel home just as you would a conventional home. We recommend you get some advice from us beforehand if you change the structural elements or damage the render extensively. One of the main considerations when extending a house is termite protection, so design your addition to the Building Code of Australia.
What's the R value?
Starting at R3.7 for 260mm thick up to R6.4 for 400mm thick
Considering usual wall systems with conventional materials are either 0.25 (bricks) to R2 max, the Viva Panels are double most other materials.
R3.7 is still a lot more than conventional building products.
Are they load bearing?
Yes and structural meaning that they support the roof.
Can I build two storey buildings with them?
Are they only for granny flats or can I use them on a house?
You can use them on both.
Can I use them on a concrete slab or just bearers and joists?
What about during the installation of straw bales, if it is rainy weather? What if they get wet?
The way we build (post and beam and then in-fill with straw bales), deals with the problem of rainy weather and getting the bales in place. We get the bales delivered once we have a roof on the house! We ensure that the bales are kept dry and have a moisture content of less than 9% when they are baled and less than 13% when they are fitted in place, ready to be rendered. If they did get wet, it’s our problem as we are the builders, so it’s in our best interest to keep them nice and dry.
How to we put electrics, plumbing and gas into the straw bale walls?
Just as for any conventional home, we run the electric wires in conduit inside the walls. These days the plumbing is usually put into the ceiling and brought down via internal walls in conduit. For bathroom plumbing we either make the bathroom walls out of earth or build them as for a conventional bathroom wall (just in case there is a leak down the track that needs repairing). Plumbing can be run in straw bale walls however we prefer to use internal stud walls for ease of installation.
What footings are used?
Straw bale and earth homes are like conventional homes. You can have a slab, piers, suspended slabs and so forth. We prefer a slab on ground as it adds thermal mass into your home. So if designed properly, your floor will warm up in the winter when the sun hits it and in summer, it will stay cool as no sun gets onto the slab. Piers and strip footings are used where you have slope constraints.
How are they attached to my foundations?
A rail is attached to the slab and then the panels are attached to the rail. We can install them for you so you and your builder don’t need to worry.
Can I use them as internal walls?
We recommend using thermal mass inside your home on a few of your internal walls, this will help regular the temperature throughout the seasons.
Do they come with render on both sides?
We have three different options, you can have them with render on both sides, render on the inside and cladding on the outside or cladding on both sides.
Can I use other cladding?
Yes, you can use your choice of cladding.
How do you finish them off?
Once onsite and in place they are finished by adding a layer of mesh to the joints and then a final coat of render to smooth off the walls and give you your finished product.
Cladding is added with whatever fixing method is required for the type of cladding you use.
Can I paint the render?
Yes, once they are installed and finished off you can paint them with breathable paints, or you can just leave them as they come.
They’re versatile – whatever look you are after.
Are they easy to transport?
Yes we will deliver them to your site.
How do you get them to site and into place?
They are delivered on a truck and craned directly into place.
Do you install them?
Yes, we’ll just quote beforehand for installation fees.
How do I install my electricity?
We run conduit and put electrical boxes into place before we seal them with render or cladding, so you’ll need to have your electrical plans ready with everything you need.
Can I install plumbing in the panels?
Yes you can install plumbing into the panels.
How long does it take to install them?
Depends on how big the house or granny flat is. For most houses or granny flats we can install in less than a day.
Can they get wet?
No, it’s best if they don’t, you’ll need to protect them from any rain with plastic and have everything organised so that you can install your trusses and your roof as soon as possible.
Can I hang things on the wall? What about my kitchen cupboards?
Yes, pictures, kitchen cupboards etc, it’s a good idea to work out where you want to hang things and let us know before we manufacture them then we can make provisions for extra heavy things.