What is Multi-Dwelling Housing and Tips to Tackle It?

Multi-dwelling housing or multiple dwellings may not be your first thought when you mull over investment or property ideas, but they are necessary in the scheme of things in higher density areas. Multi-dwelling housing tends to refer to properties such as apartments and units, many of which provide all the necessities that a full-size house can bring to the table.

Confirm Minimum Requirements and Specifications

Before you go ahead with the purchase of your property or your building plans, it is necessary that you double check all measurements to determine whether the size of the property and frontage meets the minimum specifications required by your local government. There are strict rules and regulations in each Australian state to make sure that all building guidelines are met.

Finance May Be a Serious Hurdle

Despite all your well thought out plans, try not to get your hopes up on a possible property venture before you have spoken to your bank or lender. Seeking development finance for multi-dwelling housing can be tricky, and even near impossible, for those without previous building or construction experience. You may find that the banks will not even consider you for such a project without a solid track record behind you.

Do the Math

Building is complicated and stressful without a doubt, but multi-dwelling housing can bring issues that single dwelling homes don’t even have to consider. Make sure you understand this before signing on the dotted line. You don’t want to see your potential profits eaten away by a myriad of unexpected issues. And don’t forget to take into account the GST if you wish to sell. Forgetting to take this into account will guarantee your costs are underestimated and your profits are reduced. A property development accountant can assist you in these matters, so you are fully educated. It is important to understand that in some cases the return on the property may be even less than initially realised, so enter the project with your eyes fully open.

Build a Great Team

In larger scale building projects, it is crucial that you set yourself up with a knowledgeable and experienced team to help you fill in the gaps and ensure your project can get off the ground without issue. Backed by those in the know will ensure you are one step closer to success.

Do Your Due Diligence

Understanding the risks that may occur on a multi-dwelling housing project is crucial to its success. It is only then can you ensure that the risks are minimised at the very least or eliminated in their entirety. You may wish to consider a conditional contract of purchase to take into account planning permits or a builder’s estimate. Due diligence on all aspects can never be underestimated.

What is a Complying Development Certificate?

A Complying Development Certificate or CDC is what you are issued when you receive building and planning approval from the Council or an accredited building certifier. It is a fast-track approval process which can be sought for residential, commercial and industrial development. CDCs are applicable for one or two storey homes, fences, swimming pools, demolition and structural supports.

Before a CDC application can be submitted, the applicant must demonstrate that the building or planning process complies with all controls and standards which are applicable to the land in question. The State Environment Planning Policy (SEPP) has individual codes for specific types of development including General Housing Codes, Housing Alterations Codes, Subdivision Codes and Demolition Codes. Each code has its own development standards which need to be met before a CDC can be issued.

A CDC can only be issued if the development is in full compliance with all building and planning criteria as determined by the Building Code of Australia (BCA), SEPP, Local Environment Plans (LEP) and other relevant Acts and Regulations.

If the proposed work does not satisfy the local, state or national criteria, a Development Application (DA) must be submitted to the Council. A Construction Certificate (CC) will also need to be approved before any planned work can go ahead.

No building work can be commenced before the CDC, or the DA and CC, is issued unless the work is exempt. Exempt development work tends to be of a minor nature and can be carried out without Council consent. Exempt development covers building improvements such as retaining walls, pergolas, greenhouses, patios, decks, emergency works and skylights. Regardless of the work, however, all building working and improvements must be structurally adequate and continue to be in compliance with the BCA whether or not a CDC is required.

Complying development will generally not be approved for land reserved for public purposes, land within a heritage conservation area, land in a riverfront area or buffer area, and land which is ecologically or environmentally sensitive.

To find out whether your building or renovation project requires a CDC, visit the NSW Government Planning Portal for more information.

How to Read House Plans?

If you have never even glimpsed a set of house plans, then you might struggle with understanding what is set out before you. It is definitely a learned art, and unless you are a skilled builder or architect, the language of the layout can be difficult to comprehend. While they used to be termed blueprints signifying the blue lines printed on white paper, today’s house plans are more often than not viewed online for ease.

A set of standard house plans or a drawing set which comply with Australian standards will communicate everything a builder needs to know about your home. It not only covers the room layout, but it will also detail such things as plumbing and electrical specifications.

What does a set of house plans include?

A set of house plans may encompass:

·         A sketch of the finished exterior

·         Floor plans showing walls, rooms, stairs, window, doors, electrical outlets and fixtures

·         Roof plans detailing the slopes and outline of the exterior roof

·         Wall details showing insulation materials for the floor, ceiling and walls

·         Interior elevations including vertical wall measurements and built-in cupboards

·         Exterior elevations providing measurements of the four sides of the house

·         Structural plans will include trusses and framing for second and third floors

House plans are always drawn to scale, shown as 1:100 for example, and the actual scale will be noted on the title block along with the details of the architect, the date and other pertinent information.

Your house plans will also contain a myriad of standard symbols that can be identified by any builder or architect in Australia. Symbols will represent doors, windows and electrical outlets to name a few. Your house plans will also detail the materials and finishes used in the floor, walls and on countertops.

Important basics of a house plan

At first glance, you can’t help but notice the walls which are indicated by parallel lines. Breaks in the walls will indicate openings between rooms, adjoining doors and windows.

Key fixtures and fittings will be pretty easy to interpret. They will include toilets, fridges, sinks, ovens and bathtubs. You may find that beds, sofas and dining rooms are added to the plan for context and scale. This will help you imagine what the room looks like when complete.

The specific type of flooring may be marked by drawings of wooden planks or square-shaped or rectangular tiles.

If you struggle to understand what you are viewing, your architect or builder will be more than happy to answer any questions. While it may look complicated to amend if there is an issue, it is much simpler adjusting a set of house plans than demolishing a newly built house and starting again.

Tips On How To Manage Your Build

While each build is unique due to the style of the home and the slope and dimensions of land, there are some generic tips which are relevant to every build regardless of where you live.

#Top Tip One - Know What You Want

Before you begin your build project, you need to know exactly what you want. This will help you when it comes to discussing particular aspects of your home with designers and builders. Know your must-haves and maybes so you are not swayed into accepting anything less.

#Top Tip Two - Research You Builder

If you fail to research your builder, then you are basically going in with your eyes closed. How are you going to feel if your builder fails to listen to you or complete the job on time? Always do a complete background check and seek references, so you know where you stand.

#Top Tip Three – Make Time

Managing your build will require much of your time, so plan for that before you begin the project. If you are balancing a full-time job while juggling the kids and other tasks, it will be difficult to keep your eye on everything. You will need to follow up with builders and contractors to make sure that everything is being done as per the agreement.

#Top Tip Four – Budget More Than You Need

There may be delays, and you may need more money than you originally anticipated for, so have extra set aside as a buffer in case you run into problems. You don’t want to run the risk of not being able to complete the build because the kitty is empty.

#Top Tip Five – Keep Those Communication Lines Open

It is completely understandable that you want to be kept in the loop every step of the way and double check that everything is going according to plan. Your home may be just one of many builds your builder is working on, but to you, it is your number one priority. Make sure the updates are constant and regular, so you can nip any problems in the bud early on.

#Top Tip Six – Seek Help If Necessary

Project managing a build can be difficult especially if you are emotionally attached to a project, such as the building of your first home. If you find that you need assistance with the management of the build because you believe you may be a bit out of your depth or lacking in experience, then there are options to assist. By doing so, you can save multiple headaches and a great deal of money in the process if things happen to go awry.

What does Low Rise Medium Density Housing Mean?

You may have heard tell of the low rise medium density housing code or even the design guide, but what do they refer to? While the codes are created to encourage homeowners and builders to construct more low rise medium density homes in Sydney and across New South Wales in general, low rise medium density housing relates specifically to one and two storey homes which are more compact than traditional full-size home. Low rise medium density houses tend to be smaller than homes or bungalows, but larger than apartments, and go a long way to providing affordable homes with all the same facilities as their larger counterparts.

Not everyone wants a large home. Australian couples looking to start a family or even retirees and empty nesters are looking for something smaller without the maintenance of a larger property, and that’s why low rise medium density housing is so appealing. These types of builds are limited to two-storeys to fit into most streetscapes without negatively affecting the view or the character of the already established neighbourhood. They tend to be located near to all amenities and are built on smaller lots, providing a wonderful option for those looking to rent or buy.

In an effort by the government to encourage more properties of this type, builders looking to invest in low rise medium density housing will find that the rules and regulations are quite straightforward. This relatively new streamlined process allows a builder or landowner to gain low rise medium density housing build consent from a private certifier in the form of a Complying Development Certificate (CDC) without the need to go through a local government body. While the CDC only applies to R1, R2, R3 and RU5 zones where medium density homes are already permitted, the certificate will provide the added benefit of a quicker turnaround time for approval and ultimately construction.

Medium density housing is a great option for the country providing a diversity of homes to suit Australia’s changing population. As house prices continue to increase, it is these properties which will fill the housing requirement for young families and the older population. As our population is expected to reach 1.75 million by 2036, low rise medium density housing will help by meeting the need of our ever-growing population. The fast track approval process will ensure that buildings of this type can be produced quicker and more consistently providing greater housing options and fewer property shortages.