Well here are a few things to consider before placing that deposit…
- Allotment size: a) Is the block large enough or suitable to cater for the size of home you wish to build? Especially if it’s a single storey home (in most cases you can only build on 60% of the lot) b) Consider the width of the lot based on the front façade and style of home you wish to build
- Contour of Land: a) Contour of land in general terms means the fall in the land. Does it fall to the front, rear or side to side? Falls in land can have effect on what you wish to build especially if you want to build to the boundary, as there is a max height of 3.2m on the boundary b) Also large falls/slopes on land can cost you extra when it comes to site costs.
- Orientation of lot: a) Always consider the direction of north on the lot and ensure it will work with the style of home you want to build. Ideally, good designs will have the living areas windows facing to the northerly direction to have a more energy efficient home. Ideally, lots that have north direction to the sides of the allotment or to the rear of the property will be better suited to your standard designs.
- Easements: a) Easements are usually set aside for sewerage and drainage mostly, but sometimes you come across easements that contain gas and sometimes power; these are not as common. Always be aware of easements as you cannot build over them. In some cases you are permitted to build garages over them with special permission (this needs to be applied for). Also, keep in mind that when building close to easements or over easements with garage, you will incur additional costs when it comes to foundations (the deeper the services in the easement, the greater the cost to your foundations pending the distance from the services). Therefore, always be aware of easements and ensure they will work with your proposed design ideas.
- Specific design guidelines and body corporate fees: a) Many new subdivisions these days have specific design guidelines that need to be adhered to and in most cases require developer approval of your design before you can submit for building permits. Always ensure that you read these conditions and understand how they will affect the style type and home you wish to build (if in doubt, seek some professional advice from your building designer). b) There are the occasional subdivision these days that have a body corporate attached to them which incurs an additional fee that you are required to pay on top of your standard council rates.
- Soil conditions: a) This is the big one. Soil conditions can really affect your site costs; especially in relation to the type of foundation that will be required based on the soil conditions. As a designer and builder I would suggest that you always obtain a soil test report to attain the soil condition of the lot prior to purchase, that way you eliminate any surprises. The average person will not really be familiar with the soil test results, so therefore I suggest you discuss it with your designer or builder for professional advice. The average person will not really be familiar with the soil test results; therefore I suggest you discuss it with your designer or builder for professional advice.
Here at APT Design, Drafting & Construction PL we can provide you with all the professional advice you require prior to your purchase to ensure you have all the facts and make the right purchase to suit your requirements. Once you have made your purchase we can assist with all your design requirements through to obtaining permits. All works guaranteed.
Hopefully these tips help when next looking to make a purchase.
When buying an investment property or first home, I can’t stress enough the importance of ensuring the foundations are in good health. As a building designer and builder, I can tell you that the most expensive item on a house initially and also the most expensive part to repair if it starts to fail is the foundations. Always avoid large trees around the house as they are a major cause of foundation movement. Also, look at what type and size of trees are in the neighbouring properties as they can at some stage affect your foundations (consider that you may need to install root barrier at some stage if neighbouring trees are affecting foundations). Generally trees should be at least 1 x the mature height to 1.5 times the mature height away from the residence pending the species of tree. So, keep this in mind when next looking to purchase a property. Below are some general foundation tips on recognising foundation problems for when you’re looking to purchase your next investment
a) Brick Veneer Homes
- Look for visible signs of cracks in brickwork
- Inspect expansion joints to see if gap is consistent. If gap at bottom is eg. 10mm and at top say 40mm then this is generally a sign that there is foundation movement.
- Squeaks in flooring
- Cracks in wall
- Out of level door header. This is sometimes a sign that there has been movement and repairs have been carried out
- Check if down pipes are connected and not just running onto the ground as this is a major cause of foundation footing movement
b) Weatherboard Homes
- Check if stumps are timber or concrete (if timber, it’s almost a guarantee that it will need restumping in the not too distant future).
- If you look along the walls down the length of the weatherboards, you can generally tell if the house has moved. If the weatherboards drop at ends or are like a speed hump this is a good indication that the house is out of level.
- If flooring squeaks then this is an indication that you may need to have a re-stumper look under the house and provide levelling and blocking (generally over time stumps will move independently especially in clay sites like the western suburbs)
- Also refer to items iv, v and vi of ‘Brick Veneer Homes’ as this will also apply.
I overheard a phone conversation at a shopping centre the other day where someone was asking “…a building consultant? What are they?” Thanks lady, you’ve given me some inspiration for my little blog post ;)
Building consultants are qualified people within the building industry that are registered with the Building Control Commission (BCC). Whether it is a building surveyor, building inspector, energy rater, engineer, building designer/home designer, architectural draftsperson or builder, they must all be registered to be able to perform works in Melbourne.
Whenever having any house extensions, new house plans or any associated building works performed, always ask if they are building consultants registered in Melbourne and ask to see a copy of their registration so you can be sure that all works will be done to regulation and to an approved standard.