What should I look for when viewing sites?

Site Selection

The first step in buying a block of land should be to ensure that it has the services that you consider necessary for your lifestyle. Things to consider include the availability of schools and childcare, employment, medical services, shopping centres, recreation facilities, access to public transport, restaurants etc.


Services

When buying a block of land you should consider the cost of connecting and maintaining services, including:

Water – Town supply vs. other
Electricity – How far to the nearest connection point
Sewage – Town wastewater vs. septic tanks
Gas – Town supply vs. bottle
Telephone – How far to the nearest connection point.


Hidden Costs

You should assess the block of land carefully, looking for issues that might become hidden costs at a later stage. Some examples of things to look for include:

Steep sites – may increase building costst
Rock – may increase building or excavation costst
Trees – some sites may require a permit to remove trees if necessaryt
Soil stability – any fill that may exist on the site.


Covenants

Covenants are rules that apply to the construction of the building on the site. When buying land you should enquire about any building covenants that are attached to the land or subdivision. These can include minimum floor area sizes, specification of materials to be used in construction of the building, maximum roof heights etc.

Well designed covenants assist keeping the value of your property, although to stringent covenants will add extra time and cost to the design of the home.


Orientation

You should consider the orientation of the block and where your main living areas will be situated in relation to the sun.

Did you know that the way your home sits on your block can have a big impact on your energy bills?

When you're looking at different blocks consider how you could position a home so that it can be naturally cooled. It's important to position your home to take advantage of cooling breezes where possible. Good shading is also important, and blocks with their long side running east-west make it easier to position a home to keep out the sun.

Positioning your home the right way should not add to building costs and will naturally improve comfort. The main priorities should always be to keep out the sun and locate living areas and bedrooms to allow as much air flow as possible.


Boundaries and Easements

You should have the boundaries of the land measured by a registered surveyor and check with the local council about the building boundary setbacks. Check the property to see if there are any easements for services on the land that will restrict the positioning of your home.


What is the difference between a raft concrete slab and a waffle pod concrete slab?

Raft concrete slab

This is the simplest and most common slab construction. It consists of a 100mm or thicker steel reinforced concrete slab integrated with steel reinforced concrete beams founded into the bearing soil for strength and support. The raft concrete slab provides great flexibility and strength on most soil classes and site conditions.

Waffle pod concrete slab

This is often used on sites with very reactive soil classes or shallow rock. It is constructed above ground on a level surface. Polystyrene pods are placed in a grid formation, typically 1m x 1m, separated by 110mm wide internal steel reinforced concrete stiffening beams to support a 85mm steel reinforced concrete slab. The waffle pod concrete slab provides improved insulation qualities.

Which concrete slab should I use?

Both concrete slabs are engineer designed and therefore structurally sound. They both provide clean, level finishes to accommodate the installation of blockwork or clad framing as well as a suitable base for most floor coverings. Both will likely develop thin cracks over their life.

The most common used slab in the Northern Territory is the Raft slab.

To determine which concrete slab is best for your site you should consider site conditions, slope, soil classification and complexity of house design. The right choice will take into account not only the slab cost, but the incidental costs associated with any excavation of the site and any requirements for retaining structures or soil fill to level the site before and after slab construction. These considerations are not only critical in preparing the site for the slab construction; they will also impact on your enjoyment of the site once your home has been constructed.

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Our house started at the same time as our neighbour. We have had a dream run, moved in early and would build with Abode again. Our neighbour doesn't have the same feelings for their builder." Sharon