How to Find The Perfect Site For a Knockdown Rebuild

Date Wednesday, 31 October 2018 12:00 AM

Building your own Knockdown Rebuild home in the Northern Beaches of Sydney can be a truly amazing experience, albeit a little overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. Don’t underestimate the time and consideration you need to put into the search process – your block is going to dictate far more than just your address. 
 
Here’s what to look out for in a potential site, with explanations of why each is as important as the next.
 
Which direction does it face?
 
Your primary concern should be aspect and outlook. Everything else is manageable with good design which can improve livability and reduce building and ongoing costs as well as environmental impact by building smarter.  
 
When selecting a site, you ideally want it to extend along the east-west axis to maximise the home’s northern outlook. The more windows and rooms you have facing north, the better your home’s ability to capture and store winter sun and heat.
 
 
What’s already on the block?
 
Along with the orientation, the current built environment should be considered when looking to purchase the site. Any neighbouring buildings close to the site or trees to the north, no matter how small, will shade some portion of the north face of the house, and will therefore dramatically affect the home’s overall performance. A corner block with an uninterrupted north face, for example, will require less auxiliary internal temperature control than a block with a three-storey house in close proximately on the north face.
 
How will the location affect the home’s materials, design and cost?
 
The location or your block can have a huge impact on the overall design of your home, as well as the construction cost. Whether it is by the coast, in a bushfire-prone area, or even in the suburbs, different locations will require the home to meet specific standards in order to comply with certain building codes, along with standing up against mother nature.
 
 
How steep is too steep?
 
The terrain or slope of your land also has a huge role to play in the overall design and cost of your home. Severely sloping sites may require cutting and filling of the land and large, expensive retaining walls. Sites with more gentle slopes may not require any cut, fill or retaining, but may require the design itself to step and follow the contour of the land. This can result in a more interesting and dynamic design, but also has the potential to add additional costs to the overall construction budget.
 
 
How strict is the local council?
 
Believe it or not, your council has a lot more say about your house than just dictating the rates that you pay. Some councils are stricter than others and enforce more refined guidelines as to the types of developments they wish to see in their area. Some even have particular guidelines within individual pockets of the area. These guidelines can have a big influence on the overall style of your home design.
 
Some councils require your house to follow a certain form or style – possibly a pitched roof if located in a character area, or even being opposed to any modern forms. Other councils can limit the materials they will approve for the front elevation. If you have a particular architectural style in mind for your home, it’s always good to talk to the council or a professional to make sure the rules governing the block you are purchasing don’t restrict this.
 
 
 
Are you clear on the site’s council requirements?
 
You may think that two 400-square-metre blocks you are comparing in two different locations are like for like. However, chances are they’re not. The council restriction of the particular block dictates the numbers behind the design. Among many items, it will dictate the percentage of land you can actually cover with your house, the size of your outdoor living area, the percentage of your house that’s permitted to overshadow any adjoining properties, and the distance you must set back your home from the front street. When comparing land, ensure you are comparing like-for-like council requirements.  With a recent merging of councils in the Sydney area and particularly the Northern Beaches, the requirements in your local area have remained the same.
 
The search for a suitable site for your new home can now begin with confidence. Happy hunting!
 
If you are looking to build in the Northern Beaches of Sydney, you need look no further than G.J. Gardner Homes Sydney North.
 
Having lived in the area for most of their lives, and with nearly 30 years of experience within the building industry, husband and wife team Mel and Horst, certainly know what it takes to make a home.
 
Call 029939 3339 or read more here
 

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