The Building Diaries: Part 4, Framing and Trusses :


Build me. Editor Hana Deavoll and family are building their own home in Queenstown. Follow the journey as they buy land, plan their dream home and oversee the building process. The Deavoll Family includes Hana (37), builder Sam (36), and their children Indy (7), Phoenix (4), Sonny (2) and #4 due next year.


You will see the addition of another family member in the intro, so as a family-of-six-to-be, it is a good thing we are building a bigger home. A home that is fast becoming a reality with the framing and trusses that have gone up over the last two weeks.


Our home arrived on the back of a truck, shipped down from Northland, where the Triboard kitset had been custom cut from our plans by Durapanel. Although not the norm, Triboard and other prefabricated building materials are gaining in popularity due to time savings that can be made on site. My husband has been building with Triboard the last few years, after working for Modbox in Queenstown before going out on his own as Deavoll Construction

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A pile of Triboard walls ready to stand up.


What is Triboard?

Triboard is a 3-layered panel with a wood strand core sandwiched between an MDF outer "skin". The result is a 36mm clean-lined panel that has high resilience and impact resistance and greater stiffness than other similar products. The dimensionally stable core provides superb load bearing and screw holding, and the MDF surfaces give a smooth finish for painting or overlaying. In terms of equivalence to traditional products, Triboard is your framing, gib and first layer of paint all in one panel.


Additonal benefits of Triboard include:

- Maximises floorspace by 6% compared to traditonal 90mm walls

- No need to locate studs for hanging paintings etc, you can use any part of the panel.

- Made from a sustainable, renewable resource, and grown in the Aupouri forest in Northland

- Thermal efficiency from increased airtightness

- Faster construction time


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The first panels go up.

Assembling our Kitset


Our Triboard walls arrived with a detailed plan of where each numbered panel was to go. With a crew of 4, the entire bottom floor was put up in 2 days. Each panel was fixed to the foundation by concrete cast anchor brackets as well as screwed and glued to the other panels. As the building is in a high wind zone, temporary bracing timber (4x2's) was put in place until all the panels and hold downs were in place.


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Once the walls were up, the Triboard ceiling panels (18mm) were placed on top, ensuring the entire structure was now stable. It is just like assembling a giant puzzle!


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Triboard stairs were installed so that the following week we could start on the top story and trusses. With the panel walls in place, we could get a really good feel for the layout, it was great to see some visual progress. 


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Week two saw the arrival of the trusses (roof framing), prefabricated from Trusstech in Cromwell, again arriving on the back of the truck and then hi-ab'd on to the top of the ceiling. A further advantage of Triboard is that there is no need for safety net precautions, as the ceilings mean the builders can walk on top of the building to assemble and prepare the trusses. Our main living room has scissor trusses, meaning that the trusses also frame the sloped interior ceiling, so the crew erected a temporary structure to assemble and work on those.


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Week three saw the crew spending many hours putting fixings and hold downs in place. Steel beams were installed under the second story area before that too was erected. building nz, triboard kitset, build own home, build me, construction, joists



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With all the trusses in place, the entire structure of our house is now up and we are very pleased with how it is looking. I have to say, it is bigger than expected, and it will take some adjusting to inhabiting the space there after living in a tiny apartment for the last few years. But we absolutely love the outlook from all the windows and are grateful that this is going to be one pretty special home.

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In other going ons, earlier this week I met with Paula and Josie from Ezed Engineering, to discuss the possibility of getting our home Homestar certified. They briefed me on the process, which was very in depth, and requires providing documentation of every material and product used in your home as well as multiple site visits from the Homestar assessor. I'm not sure if we will go though with it, so in the meantime I did the self-assessment test on the Homestar website which was a very worthwhile exercise. Our home scraped in at a 6star estimation, which I was very happy with!



Next week - Roofing!


Related Articles 

The Building Diaries: Part 1, The Section 

The Building Diaries: Part 2, Design & Planning

The Building Diaries: Part 3: The Foundations

The Building Diaries: Part 5, Roofing

How to Build a House

Free EBook - Building in NZ: An Essential Guide to Building Your Own Home