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Choosing your block of land

by Sekisui House on 04 09 2017 in Tips & Advice

When you're out looking for a block of land, there a few things to consider, keep reading to find out what they are.

Regulations
Council regulations and requirements exist to ensure the overall safety and happiness of the community. These regulations may affect what you can build in a certain area, so it’s best to approach your local council directly. Your New Home Consultant can also help. Some developments also have a set of design guidelines called a ‘Building Covenant’ to ensure a certain standard of home is built. This can further affect what you can build in a development. However, covenants also protect your investment, as you can be sure other homes in the area will be built to a similar standard. We will guide and help you to ensure you have a good understanding of these requirements, and that your new home complies with relevant regulations.

Dimensions
 The most important aspect to take note of is the width of the block. Homes are designed to a certain width, but can sometimes be lengthened or shortened. Ensureyour ideal home will fit on the block you choose. It’s also important to find out if there are any building envelopes, easements or causeways, as these may affect where your home can be built on the block. The sales consultant selling the land should be able to tell you this, and provide the necessary documentation for your builder.

Orientation
Ideally, you want to build a home with the living areas facing north, so you can make the most of the sun and create a more energy efficient home. It’s best to choose a block that will allow your chosen home design to do this. However, if the block isn’t ideally oriented, home designs can compensate to a certain extent

Site costs 
Site costs include the costs associated with preparing your land for building, and include levelling the land and building foundations or footings. These costs are affected by the amount the land has to be levelled, and by the quality of the soil. All of these things are assessed and estimated as part of your home buying process. However, it’s a good idea to find out as much as you can about the land early on in the process. Having a block with a slope that needs to be levelled can add to the site costs quite significantly. However, some sloping blocks can add value to your home if they offer views, privacy or added interest. The presence of rocks on a block may not always be obvious and can result in additional costs during construction. If you have a battle-axe, hatchet, or hammerhead block where there is an existing home, or third party land between the road and your new home site, there may be additional costs when accessing your land to build.

Soil
 The soil on a block of land is classified by geotechnical engineers according to a recognised Australian standard. Classifications range from stable sites through to blocks of land where there are expected to be varying degrees of surface movement over the life of a building. As soil classification relates to the reactivity of soil to moisture change, all issues with soil movement are water-related - either too much in times of high water volumes or too little in times of drought.

Build access
 Sites that are difficult to access may attract additional costs due to extra deliveries, manual handling of materials and clean-up of the block. Traffic control may also be needed. Acreage sites will possibly incur additional costs for remote site charges, or ensuring roads have all weather access.

Vegetation  
Vegetation on the block may have a significant impact on the build costs and home design - especially if there are protected trees which cannot be removed. Removing trees and other vegetation needs to be considered carefully to ensure roots are properly removed before construction. If you’re building in a bush fire zone, additional costs may be required to comply with requirements.

Wind classification  
As Australia has varying climatic conditions, it is important to consider the wind rating on a property as it may result in additional construction costs. In the early stages of the home building process, a report is commissioned by Sekisui House that confirms the wind rating.

Suitability  
After choosing your home design, it's important to make sure it will be suitable for your block of land - and to determine if any variations are required, and if so, what they will cost. During this time you need to decide where you wish the home to be built in relation to existing trees, fencing and your neighbours’ properties. Once you've thought about all of these factors, we suggest you speak with your Sekisui House New Home Consultant, who will be able to offer help and guidance as to local council requirements.

To make this appointment valuable, you should decide on the following and bring detailed information if possible on:          
  • Your preferred front facade (elevation) style
  • How your home will sit on your block, taking into account future plans (e.g. gardens, patios, pools).

The following information would also be helpful, if available:
  • Current rates notice
  • Details of your land
  • A block plan (survey)
  • Details of any applicable covenants for your homesite
  • Sewer diagram. This can be obtained from your local water authority.

Need help choosing a block of land?
Take a look at our house and land packages where we’ve done the hard work for you and matched our home designs with the perfect block of land, or call 13 74 22 to speak with one of our experienced consultants. We’re here to help.