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Light Weight vs Heavy Weight


Constructions Systems are an essential component of your homes and therefore great consideration should be given to the choice of the latter. Construction systems are the different ways in which materials are used together to make the different components of your homes. They can generally be classified as heavy weight systems such as concrete or brick and light weight systems such as timber. The following graphs would help provide a new home owner enough information in order to make an advised decision on which construction system to use for their homes.

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1. How much is the price difference?

There is a notable price difference between light weight and a heavy weight system with the latter being the more expensive option. The main reason for this is because of the materials used in heavy weight systems as well as the equipment and labor required are more expensive. Lightweight components are usually made of more available and re-useable materials. Using lightweight instead, would really benefit budget wary owners. For a standard 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms house construction costs savings can be anywhere between $100,000 to $150,000 more.

2. How much to invest?

The choice of the system for your home would have a considerable impact on the capital that you would invest in building your home. This is important especially if you are considering selling your property within a few years of its completion. The choice of the system plays a determining factor on the amount of your investment. This would work in accordance to price range of homes in the surrounding area. Investing in new home made of just heavy weight system would drastically increase the amount of investment. This could affect the resell of the house if there is a significant gap from the median price of the houses in the community. However, this can also prove to have a similar effect in a reverse situation. Going for a low investment system can also have a negative impact and it would prevent to maximize the return on the property. Having a smaller resale value could make potential buyers wary and cause the house to stay on the market for a long time.




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3. Energy savings

For home owner who are environmental conscious. The construction system has a major role to play in making your home more energy efficient. Both systems have different advantages and disadvantages on the environment and the choice would vary depending on a long term or short term view.

On the first hand, the use of a heavy weight system would have major impact on the environmental footprint of construction. This is mostly due to the fact that the material used such as concrete is not as sustainable and have higher embodied energy- energy used during all the stages of construction. However, this initial energy expenditure can be offset in the long term. Using materials such as concrete helps increase the thermal comfort and decreases the need for operational energy and insulation. In contrary, lightweight system is made of more sustainable and available materials that can be easily re-used. Timber and light steel have lower embodied energy. However, the downside of this system, is that the thermal comfort decreases and therefore there will be more need to use system such as heating and cooling which would cause an increase in operational energy, an important factor for a new home owner.

4. Durability and Maintenance

Another important factor to take in consideration would be to consider the further costs and arrangement that would come after the construction such as maintenance.  Regular maintenance of a house is important as it helps to allow to prolong the lifetime of the materials used and at the same times diminishes the need for expensive repairs. Regardless of the system chosen the need of maintenance would always be a requirement. However, the choice of the system would determine the intervals between maintenance. Light weight construction systems are comprised of materials such as timber and steel which are less durable and more prone to wear and tear and therefore demand more attention in order to ensure proper functioning.  Heavy weight system in contrary require less often maintenance than light weight system due to the nature of the material used such as concrete that are more durable and more resistant to wear and tear.

5. Resistance against noise and fire

Sound acoustics is an aspect of the house that home owners do not usually pay great attention to until too late after construction has been finished. The significance of designing for sounds acoustics comes in account during the occupancy of the house. Sound acoustics help to determine the level of personal comfort of the home occupants against noise in their daily life. Heavy weight system such as concrete slabs are a great method to reduce air borne noise- sounds produced from voices, appliances or traffic. They, however, do not stop impact noise such as the sound steps on surfaces such as tiles and floorboard being transmitted. Lightweight system, however, do not provide much insulation against airborne nose and impact noise.  So additional insulation is required in conjunction with light weight system in order to remediate this and make the house acoustically adequate. As stated, impact noise is not stop by heavyweight system and therefore also require sound insulation. However, comparing the need of sound insulation for both systems against each other, light weight system would require more attention between the two.

Fire rating is another crucial aspect that needs to be considered when designing the construction systems of your home. The importance of the fire rating for you home can sometimes be overlooked as it is hard to witness its importance in the daily life and ideally it be preferable for home owners not to judge its considerable influence.  The choice of the construction system needs to be chosen would determine the fire rating level of the house.  The Australian Building Code has set fire rating standards that Builders need to comply to when constructing houses. Heavy weight system such as concrete and brick as it can be easily assumed are highly fire resistant materials and therefore can protect the house against effectively. However, it would be a considerable investment.  Light weight system such as timber can wrongly be assumed to be easily combustible and therefore less resistant to fire. The timber used in construction has been treated before use and possesses significant fire retardant properties.  Timber can use freely to build a strong and fire resistant home.

6. Light weight vs heavy weight - Combination of both

The ideal scenario for a house would be a combination of both light weight and heavy weight systems as together. The combination of both would provide a mixture of both the structural and environmental aspects.  An example of such of combination system would be a party wall which is a heavy weight system used to split the boundary dwelling. The need for such a system here is due to the different advantages the system brings such as an effective sound and fire barrier.

Another reason for using a combination of both would be the need for some specifics section of the house to be made of a stronger and durable material. Investing in concrete slab ensures your home to have a stable base and ensure that the rest of house can built safely.



Carmel Home’s ultimate goal is to ensure a unique, luxury custom home for each client from start to finish. Whereas some builders make a business in building variations of only a few dwellings over and over again, each Carmel home is truly an original, just like you. Moreover, our service offering is unique and tailored specifically for each build and each client. At Carmel Homes, we walk the client through the full build of their new home and consider every detail.


Most importantly, Carmel Homes works with your own style and tastes, assisting and guiding you throughout the entire process, helping you to realize your unique vision for your custom home. Our quality materials and experienced trades people are hand selected to fit not only the superior quality standards that our clients, can expect from Carmel Homes, but to also match your discriminating and individual tastes.

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Carmel Home’s ultimate goal is to ensure a unique, luxury custom home for each client from start to finish. Whereas some builders make a business in building variations of only a few dwellings over and over again, each Carmel home is truly an original, just like you. Moreover, our service offering is unique and tailored specifically for each build and each client. At Carmel Homes, we walk the client through the full build of their new home and consider every detail. 


We understand that building a luxury home can be both exciting and stressful and we go to great lengths to make building with Carmel an enjoyable and stress-free experience.  We recognise that great communication and customer relations are just as important in ensuring each projects success. As a family business with over 30 years of experience, you will have the same dedicated consultant from the beginning to end. You can take comfort from the fact that the person you deal with owns the business.


Clients love working with us because we make their project easy, our knowledge saves time, money and stress, our budgets can be banked on and our timeframes can be lived by.


If you are looking to build and you want the job done right with the quality your project deserves please contact Carmel Homes. 



1129 Toorak Road

1300 79 28 29

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