Case Study: Swanbourne (Structurally Insulated Panels)
Check out our feature story that appeared recently in the Sunday Times.
Custom builder Rob Frigo had been waiting for the perfect opportunity to construct a house with the innovative R9 construction product – and he couldn’t be happier with the result.
Favourite is a powerful word and one that Promenade Homes owner Rob Frigo doesn’t use lightly. The custom builder worked in the construction industry for 30 years before he could confidently use it to describe the Swanbourne project his team completed in March.
“The home is functional. It’s not too big or over the top,” he says. “It is the favourite of all the projects we have worked on.”
Rob’s clients, a professional couple with two children, were looking for a builder daring enough to tackle a home design by architect James Edwards that envisaged using some unique construction methods.
Rob says his ears pricked up when the couple mentioned they’d toyed with the idea of incorporating alternative materials into their new home.
He introduced them to an innovative West Australian product called R9, an affordable, lightweight panel building system that he’d been waiting for the perfect opportunity to use.
Made of dense polyurethane and fibre-cement, the extremely strong R9 panels can replace brick, concrete and steel construction methods. The product is very energy efficient and saves time and cost in construction.
“A traditional double-brick-and-tile building is slow to build and not as environmentally friendly or flexible,” Rob says. “With this project there were only two rubbish bins, compared to the usual six that are on site.”
Now in place of the original 1940’s asbestos-laden home that sat on the block, the owners have a luxurious, striking beach house.
The pair also called on the skills of an old friend, former Olympic high-jumper Alison Inverarity, who is an architecture graduate, to give their home its modern yet relaxed feel.
Recycled face brick and James Hardie cladding feature on the eye-catching elevation.
Limed oak flooring and a light, bright colour scheme, teamed with plenty of timber, add tranquil touches to the interiors.
The main living spaces are downstairs and lead out to an alfresco area, swimming pool and landscaped garden.
Four bedrooms, two bathrooms and a sitting area are grouped upstairs.
The owners say they couldn’t be more thrilled with the result and the direction Rob and his team took.
“We never wanted another acrylic-rendered house. We wanted a different look and different finish,” one of the owners says.
“(It had to be) something that blended in, was beachy and worked behind the trees.
“Now we have long-term energy efficiency which keeps it warm in winter and like an Esky in summer. We recently returned from holidays and immediately loved coming home.”