”So the students are involved in the whole cycle in the project, from day one, from start to finish.” This week we visited Builders Academy trainer Hafiz Adyan at his own sustainable building company, Greenxhomes. Check out the gallery for his advice on sourcing materials for green builds and making energy efficient decisions without spending heaps of money.
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Name: Hafiz Adyan
Job: Builders Academy Australia trainer, registered building practitioner, and owner and principal contractor of Greenxhomes
“When the idea for Greenxhomes was born back in 2008, it was a huge challenge to choose something very sustainable. When you start a new business, you just couldn’t approach the people who were environmentally aware and were doing million-dollar houses because they want someone with tonnes of experience behind them. This I didn’t have, so I needed a couple of jobs to prove that this idea works.”
“A lot of people think, ‘Oh, a green build is expensive, and we are on a budget and we don’t wanna go there’. So our goal was to target that market, not the one with the million-dollar homes. If we get houses built our way we can make a significant difference in energy efficiency. Our prices are exactly the same, and it’s a better product for the same price. The consumer benefits are a significant saving in energy bills. If you have got a true six-star property, it means you should be saving around 60% of your energy bill.”
“There are a lot of fantastic products in the market that we can use and tell the client about, but they come with a price. So our approach is to build the property right, so then you don’t need fancy stuff to achieve the same result. It’s in the construction process that we can achieve this and we use this terminology we call ‘deadset winners’. A deadset winner is something where you don’t need to spend any money and you win. The win is huge.”
“Our entire office is sustainable, it has been saved from sites and it cost us nothing. It’s perfect. It doesn’t cost much. A lot of people think that you have to spend a lot of money to achieve these star ratings but you actually don’t. If you do it right with a bit of extra planning, you can achieve it. We are the examples right here.”
“We had an office before, but we required a factory where we could store a lot of material. Because what happens is: we order timber, we order steel, we order a lot of stuff that, in the past, got wasted on site. So we decided to have a factory where we can bring all the timber and materials back. We store it and reuse it on different sites. We leave trailers on-site for any tradies to place any waste material. For things like bricks, we recycle them into crush rock and we bring it back on-site to use as a driveway base material. It’s fantastic. It’s the same thing for timber, same thing for concrete, same thing for plaster. Boral plaster recycles all that plaster. And for paint we bucket it up in a bucket provided by Dulux and we use a solution they provide which dissolves the paint residue and leaves clean water.”
“This is the tool that I use to check that the paintwork and the sealant for the external doors has been done. It’s very important. If you don’t do that—and a lot of painters don’t do it because you will never see it—the energy efficiency will be affected by the weather. The door will swell up and it will become very hard to close, void the warranty of the door and add to draughts.”
“We make sure that all the gaps between the windows and all of that are caulked and sealed with the foam-work so that there is no draught coming inside the property. Once it is finished, we make a thermal imaging scan of the property which the naked eye cannot see, and the imaging provides us with more data in terms of how the building has been built, quality-wise, draught-wise and all of that.”
“My regular day starts at 6 o’clock and, if need be, I will go on-site to make any decisions that need to be made. As a principal contractor, I have to be there for decision-making. Then I come back to the office, where there is a lot of work that happens behind the scenes to make sure everything runs smoothly. Then there’s the other usual stuff in the office: paying invoices, raising purchase orders. Having said all that, I love it. If I didn’t love it I wouldn’t be doing this at 6 o’clock. My classes end at 9.30pm, so by the time I head home it’s 10 o’clock. I do that 4 nights a week so it does get full on.”
“I went to Ikea and got this massive candle. It changes the environment a bit. It’s so stressful all time and it just kind of calms you down.”
“I’ve found in class that the students have more questions about the practicality of the work, rather than the theory. They get a benefit out of hearing my real-world experiences. The way that I teach, I tell them that they need to know about how to run their business. Trial and error is big. I openly share my mistakes in a class. The first job I did I forgot to write in the contract ‘rock removals not allowed’. I didn’t write that and the client said, ‘Well Hafiz, you didn’t mention it. That’s your problem, mate’. That was a bill of around $30,000 that I have to pay from my pocket just for not writing that one line there. Now where is it in the book that says you gotta do that? It won’t teach you that. Because I lost the money I want to make sure that no one else does. And that’s just one example, I can give you plenty.”
“I’ve had students ask, ‘How do I initiate a call with a client?’ and I’ll say, ‘Let’s do it’. So I demonstrate the procedure of the first call with the client: the communication, getting the plans, pricing the job, winning the job, doing it, working it, finishing it. The only way I can give this experience is by running Greenxhomes during the daytime and letting the students see the process. I am running two classes and in both of them, we rang the client, they’ve sent us the plans, and right now we are pricing the job. So the students are involved in the whole cycle in the project, from day one, from start to finish. Hopefully when we finish the class we will be able to finish the project and the guys will know about the whole process. They absolutely love it.”
Legend. Thanks, Hafiz!