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What Makes an Award Winning Home?

What Makes an Award Winning Home?

If you’re researching designs for your new custom home you’ve no doubt stumbled across many homes with Master Builders Association of Victoria Excellence in Housing Awards. But what exactly is it that makes an award-winning home? What are the essential and intrinsic qualities make one home stand out from all the others each year? Our article below explains exactly what makes an award winning home.

Firstly when it comes ot the Master Builders of Victoria housing excellence awards, t takes sixteen judges to makes these decisions. Between them they have more than 500 years’ accumulated industry experience. They come from engineering, design and carpentry backgrounds. Some have specialised in renovations, restoration, project management and administration. One is active in the not-for-profit Habitat For Humanity organisation, another is a devoted supporter of the Cats football team.

Together they bring their professional knowledge, insights and enthusiasm to select homes  – for which the builders have nominated themselves – that meet the demanding criteria required to build a standout residence that will win an award.

The first essential ingredient is high quality of construction, inside and out. Materials matter. What materials are used and how are they used?  How are complex problems solved?  Foresight, good planning, craftsmanship and fine attention to detail from the beginning to the end, matter.

The curving rammed earth walls that form the primary structural spine of this 2012 winner, a six-bedroom home at Merricks North on the Mornington Peninsula, demonstrate this. Extra effort was needed for the set-out, computerised surveying equipment and multiple templates were used. Carefully placed undulating timber ceiling-battens and polished concrete floors reveal craftsmanship. The necessary fixtures, fittings and all-round finish were meticulous.

The house won the 2012 Master Builder of the Year Award for its builder, DC Construction. The judges also voted it Best Custom Home over $3 million.

Included in the selection criteria are client relationships. Well thought-out strategies that allow frequent discussion and negotiation mean better decisions are made. Systems and processes put in place from the beginning with frequent meetings both on and off site lead to much better outcomes. Home building then becomes an involving and exciting project for the client and satisfaction for everyone else.

The Merricks North house, set within a peaceful vineyard environment, showcased two other categories that need to impress the judges: design and execution of design. Design starts with a creative idea; execution of the design is putting it into practice – making it work. The challenge is twofold: creating an elegant, aesthetically pleasing and innovative design and then bringing the concept to fruition.



Architecture, style, materials and methods need to come together to blend into the chosen location. Little things and unusual solutions mean a lot. The Merricks North house has a custom-designed, bronze front doorknob. A clever system of concealed magnetic catches within the timber veneer walls control door actions.

The judges evaluate houses across a range of price groups, so value for money is another category to be considered. Cost management is essential. Costs must be in line with current market trends, and ideally kept consistent throughout the project, with minimum unexpected variations. Whether it is a luxury home or a less-expensive dwelling, costs have to be reasonable and the money spent wisely and well.

And finally, the judges look for sustainability and innovation. Use of natural light, thoughtful design, plus imagination and inventive technology are needed to meet the environmental expectations of current and future generations. The award-winning home must consider energy use, water conservation and maintenance requirements for the years to come.

Energy dependency is reduced in the Merricks North house with its hydronic slab insulation layer, and water is conserved with its 70,000-litre underground tank. The water is collected and treated on site. Windows are detailed internally to prevent thermal transmission. These are the ideas that make a difference.

And, of course, an award-winning residence must delight its owners and provide a comfortable and enjoyable living experience for many years.


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