Mother of four builds home for her family

Liz Pratt is a true embodiment of the Paal owner-builder spirit, tackling a five bedroom home mostly by herself, with a strong determination to succeed.

A single parent with four children, she found that the family were outgrowing their existing house, so took it into her own hands to build something bigger for them all.

“I was looking online at home designs, saw the Elizabeth on Paal’s website and loved it. The home was affordable and so I talked to the housing consultants at Paal about becoming an owner-builder and they were very helpful and encouraging.”

Liz lived in Kurrajong on the lower slopes of the Blue Mountains, but had been raised next to the Hawkesbury River and wanted to move back there. She bought land on a ridge overlooking the river at Lower Portland.

It was a sloping bush-block, so she chose a steel floor raised three metres at the front and 400 mm at the rear. The concreter set the posts, but she fitted the bearers and joists herself and laid the particleboard flooring.

“Although the site was up a steep driveway, this was no drama for Paal when delivering the kit. They offloaded the truck further down the hill and used their forklift to bring the materials up,” she said.

Working through the summer months with continuing 40 degree weather and no shade was tough, Liz admits. She kept at it, drawing on the grit and physical toning acquired during her long hours of training as an Australian representative kayaker.

“I’m a very practical person. I also have lots of determination and a willingness to keep going,” she said.

“You learn something new every day when building a home. I called Paal a few times. At one stage John Noye came out and checked my work and said it was ‘all good’. That was fabulous and gave me confidence.”

She will employ a roofer to put on the iron, but intends doing all the cladding herself. Once the house is secure and dry, the kit internals will be delivered.

“I’m showing my kids that you can do anything you put your mind to. You just have to believe in yourself, read the Paal manual a few times, and when you actually start the work it does all fall into place,” Liz said.