Home' Homes : Homes 2011 Contents 92 Scoop Publishing | WA’s Best Homes & Design 2011/12
Check the pipes
Check where the sewerage
connection is at www.
It could affect your building
plans. Building plans have to be submitted to the
Water Corporation for approval to ensure you
don’t build over, or too close to, its infrastructure.
Have this done before signing
a building contract. Site
characteristics can have
a big impact on costs. For
example, non-sandy soil that contains clay, silt
or peat may require the removal of unsuitable
foundation soils and the import of filler. Concrete
and foundation costs can rise if the site soils are
unstable. The investigation may be done by a
builder or independent consultant.
Discuss a white-ant
(termite) barrier system
with your builder before
building starts, taking into
account the topography and risk factors of the
area. A more recent arrival to WA is the European
House Borer (EHB), which lives in untreated dry
softwood used as structural timber. See www.
ehb.wa .gov.au for more information.
If renovating, be aware of
potentially deadly asbestos.
It’s found in most homes
more than 25 years old. If you
suspect it’s there, call your local council for more
information or visit www.public.health.wa .gov.
au/3/1143/2/asbestos.pm. Only asbestos that’s
being disturbed, considered unstable or badly
weathered may need to be removed. Removal
should preferably be done by a WorkSafe licensed
asbestos removalist, especially if the asbestos
material is in poor condition.
Ask the local government
authority about the by-laws
and building restrictions on
the site, any additional filling
requirements, storm water disposal and the
winter high-water tables (if applicable).
Don’t forget zoning and future plans for land
use around you. Check to make sure something
you don’t want to live next to, like a freeway
or shopping centre, isn’t a possibility in
future. Find out about height restrictions
and restrictions to preserve other people’s
views. If you have a view, ensure others won’t
be able to encroach on it in future.
Small lot challenges
Narrow and small lots are
becoming more common
and bring with them a
host of unique challenges.
Building costs per square metre can be higher
for bigger houses on small lots, due to the
need for additional cavity walls. And approvals
from neighbours may be necessary for new
buildings regarding boundaries, setbacks and
overlooking property issues. Rules that limit
the size of a garage to less than 50 per cent of
block width may mean you can’t build a double
garage. Also, site access can prove tricky for the
delivery of building materials.
Survey the neighbourhood
If you’re considering
buying land check out local
transport, schools and shops.
Visit at different times of day
to find out about traffic problems and any other
potential stumbling blocks. Ask the neighbours
about potential problems .
Do a title search
Get the Certificate of Title
because it may contain
something that prevents you
from building what you want.
Find this record of all current information on
the block, including registered encumbrances,
by doing a title search online at www.landgate.
wa.gov.au. Survey plans, which contain
information on lot dimensions and angles,
are also available on the site.
Take the expert
Take your architect or builder
when choosing your block to
prevent problems. They can
advise whether it’s suitable
for the type of house you want to build. Among
the issues they can assess are the gradient and
amount of rock and how it will affect building
costs for excavations and footings, how the slope
can affect access and the cost of retaining walls.
“Save on site costs by
taking into account
the site gradient when
designing a house. It may
be most efficient to design
the house around the site.”
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