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7 STEPS WHEN PLANNING A KNOCK-DOWN AND REBUILD – PART 1

Building a new luxury house is a significant event in your life. This is especially true when your dream home is not that of the cookie cutter variety that you would find at any stock display village, with stranded options, colours and a handful of minor changes allowed. But instead designing, planning, and building a custom home design made just for you.  

The first step in your journey to building your dream luxury house is finding the right piece of land. Only then can your architect begin designing the house. They will need to know the land, block elevations, terrain, and the building envelope. 

Sometimes, the block of land already has a home that is connected to utilities. You’ll need that house to be demolished before you can build your own home. 

At Domination Homes, Perth home builders, we have outlined the steps and tasks required to plan and execute a knock-down and rebuild, read Part 1 below.  

 

  1. Council Planning

 

Before you make an offer, the first thing you need to do is to contact your local council. This will help you determine if there are overlays (heritage and vegetation) that affect your land. Also, it will tell you what you can do and where you cannot build. 

It is important to have this information ready in case you bid at an auction. If you call out the winning bid you will be purchasing the property “unconditionally”, meaning that there is no way to cancel the purchase if you don’t like the outcome. 

Summary of the Land’s Planning Zone and Overlays can be provided to you by your local council. For more details, contact your council. 

Remember: Australia’s property industry is one that is tightly controlled. Violations of its codes of conduct can result in severe penalties. But agents aren’t trained in the law, so it is important to do your research. 

We recommend that these reports be submitted to your lawyer and architect for review, even if you are not very knowledgeable in the meanings of these restrictions and codes. 

 

 2. Block Frontage and Depth  

 

Both the frontage (generally, the block’s width or the length that runs parallel to the street) as well as the block depth have a direct impact on the size and type of home you can construct. 

It must not only be the right size but also have the right aspect and location. 

Just as you think you have found the right one, you discover an easement that runs through the exact spot you intended to put the shed or the only north-facing area you would like to add the pool. This could completely change your plans for your custom home design. 

It is because of this that it can take years to find the right piece land for your home. 

The block’s dimensions may be one thing but the actual building envelope, or the amount you are allowed build on, can be another. 

There are regulations regarding the area that you can build on and the minimum amount of land that must be kept as an outdoor space. Additionally, there are restrictions about the area the home may remain within the boundary. These rules are for fire safety, privacy, noise pollution and energy efficiency (sunlight and airflow)

You and your neighbour cannot legally build on the corners of a block without following all rules for new custom home design construction. 

Regulations are necessary to ensure a high level of living and protect our health, safety, and value of our homes. 

Finally, you must also allow for the setback. This is the space between the street and the point where your home will be built. 

 

 3. Easements and Setbacks  

 

You may not be aware of the rules that govern how far you can build on your block if you have never built before. New dwellings must adhere to building regulations, which require minimum setbacks at the rear, side, and front. 

In established areas, your home must be at least the same distance as your neighbour’s. If you want to go further, approval from the council is required. This process of assessment can take approximately six weeks depending on how the council handles it. 

Your architect or draftsman can advise you on what is reasonable to allow council approval. 

It is possible you may be wondering why so many homes built more than a century ago were built up to the front of the block. Because at the time, walking was the only mode of transportation for most households. Cars were not a common mode of transport until much later, when town planning was altered to permit parking spaces at the front of homes. 

When designing your new home with a trusted Perth home builder, make sure to consider the current driveway location. You can’t simply move it to another block. If you want to modify it, you will need to get approval from the council. 

 

4. Easements

 

Are there any easements attached to your land? It is rarer for your land to be without an easement than to have one. But the impact it has on space and location will differ from block to block. 

An easement refers to a section of ground that has services running beneath the ground. Services such as electricity and water must not be blocked by any building if the easement owner wants to access it through your property. 

If any structure is found on top of the easement it can be removed by the council. 

You will see any easement on your council subdivision plan. This will tell you exactly where you are not allowed to build. You can also contact easement’s owner (ie: water, council) to find out what kind of easement it is. In some cases, depending on its age, type, or whether it is still in use and the condition of the easement, the easement may be lifted. 

 

 

5. Drainage

 

Legal Point of Discharge

No matter if you are building on a vacant lot or renovating an old home, you will need a “legal point of discharge” (LPOD) and a “sewer tie” or “point to connection to drain the site. 

It is crucial because many of our clients are rebuilding a home on the same site as an older home. The existing LPOD may not be suitable for a new dwelling. 

 

What’s the “legal point of discharge”?

The legal point of discharge, which is the point at which water can flow, is generally the lowest point on the property. Stormwater that is deposited on a property is collected and drained at the lowest point, the ‘legal points of discharge’. 

The stormwater is then discharged or released into the Council stormwater network. This is an underground drain located in the street or an easement. If there is no stormwater system in place, the stormwater can be run to the curb or gutter. 

Stormwater can cause severe damage to your home and those of your neighbours if it is not able to drain properly. The homeowner responsible for any damages caused by an inept drainage system will bear the cost of correcting the fault and paying the legal costs. 

To obtain a Legal point of discharge report from your local council, you will need to: 

 

  • The Legal Point of Discharge as per the Building Act 
  • The Point of Connection (sewer tie), – to the city’s sewer system 
  • The location of any available council drains 
  • Further planning and building advice 

The property owner is responsible for ensuring that the LPOD meets council regulations. Additional costs are also the owner’s responsibility. 

There are three more steps to go, stay tuned for Part 2.  

 

But if you are ready to start planning, designing, and building your dream luxury home in Perth? Then get in touch!