Difficult Building Sites

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Home design for Difficult Building Sites – Odd shaped blocks.

Difficult Building Sites where we and our team of specialists offer solutions to get the job done. In this example we worked in closely with Joh Domingo of Building Buddy whom we have shared a number of successful projects with over the years.

Today’s example had a combination of complicating characteristics:

  1. It was an irregularly shaped difficult building site – a true triangle with only three boundaries. The site demanded a custom home design.
  2. We were building on a Small Lot which fell under the Brisbane small lot code, which meant ideas from our collection of small lot home designs would be useful.
  3. It was also a sloping Lot with a 1.75 Metre fall over its tiny building footprint.  A split level home design was appropriate and suitable.
  4. It was crisscrossed by two Sewer lines which were only 600mm below the surface, so an engineered built-over-sewer foundation design and building application to the Brisbane city council plumbing department was required.
  5. The owner already had paid for, and received, a design proposal that wasn’t suitable prior to contacting us.

Difficult Site Complications Make Property Subdivision Management Vital.

The original property was an 800 M2 Block in Brisbane containing an existing home. The client had applied to subdivide the lot from the existing property and was trying to deal with a myriad of issues arising from this subdivision attempt until after many frustrations he contacted us.

SCM set about the sewer diversion for the adjoining property, eliminating one of the sewer mains that bisected the property and then approached Building Buddy to design a suitable dwelling on the new lot to make the entire project profitable.

Together with the owner, and Building Buddy, we planned a home design strategy calculated to deliver a feasible residential development project. The determination was that building an expensive two storey home on the property, as was originally planned, would not work because the build cost would make the project unprofitable.

Keeping it simple With a Single Storey Home Design

We determined the best Return on Investment would be a single storey home design. To limit costs, a slab on ground construction method was preferred. But the depth of the sewer ruled out a simple cut and fill earthworks solution to provide a level building platform. We opted for a split level home instead, using drop-edged slabs to achieve the steps required to maintain a minimum clearance to the shallow sewer being built over.

To accommodate the stepped ceilings created by the split-level design, and the triangular home demanded by the extremely odd shaped block, Building Buddy recommended a skillion roof configuration.

Split-Level Single Storey House Design, Built-Over-Sewer Foundation Design & Skillion Roof Sructure Saves the Day.

After a little to-ing and fro-ing, the water and sewer services issues were resolved by Subdivision Construction Management. Together with the client and Building Buddy, we carefully managed to upgrade the building specification in a cost effective manner. This enhanced the final result significantly.

The project is testament to what is possible when a team of professionals work harmoniously towards a goal despite significant negative site obstacles.

A look at the final home design layout on the site highlights the issues that were overcome.

  1. Despite the sewer running just 600mm below the surface, the split level home design, with drop-edged concrete slab allowed the home to follow the sloping site. The clearance to the sewer was better than minimum throughout.
  2. Slab, Foundation and site costs were minimised despite the need to bridge the foundations over the sewer line along the entire length of the home. The Slab design above shows the limited extent of bridging piers required.
  3. We were able to provide a spacious 4 bedroom single storey plan that complied with the Brisbane city council acceptable residential design solutions for the small lot code, and only required a minor relaxation for a property line setback.
  4. The Building orientation achieved was perfect, with the living areas facing north, as was the alfresco area. The home is pleasant to live in year round, and occupants will seldom require the use of the installed air-conditioning system.
  5. The use of lightweight reinforced rendered cladding was a cost-effective way to achieve an upmarket rendered finish to the home, as well as it being another environmentally efficient way to keep the home cool. With a 75mm anti-con blanket insulation under the custom orb roof, combined with insulation batts in the ceiling and behind the lightweight FC cladding to the skillion gables; this is a really cool home.
  6. Far from letting the odd shape of the block be a detriment, we took advantage of the lack of a fourth boundary to maximise the building envelope (which boundary is the rear boundary?). Taking advantage of the lack of boundary definition, we chose to nominate the entire road frontage as the front boundary, thereby taking advantage of the width to add a double garage to the design. The small lot code prohibits a double garage facing the road, except in circumstances where the lot was wider than the norm. In this case wider than 15M. The lack of a rear boundary also meant we could build to within 1.5M of every boundary except those along the road frontage. The lack of a rear boundary also meant we could build to within 1.5M of every boundary except those along the road frontage.


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