How do I choose the best location to build my house?

We get this question a lot. The reason why we can’t go to everyone’s site and tell them is… because of time and distance usually. Plus also, you know where to build it, deep down, you know already.

In a nutshell, choose a spot ….

Where it’s flattest, with the nicest views, has the best north facing position and summer breezes and somewhere that you absolutely love… and just check with subbies and council

Here are just some points we’ve written to help you, it’s just a guideline though…

  • The flattest bit of land is always good, it’s easy to build, access and safe. But that’s not always possible, we understand. But if you’re on a slope, it’s more expensive to build and the design won’t be straight forward either
  • The further away from services such as power and water, the more it will cost. Sometimes this is the cost you pay for having a home with incredible views, but note, it will cost more
  • Can you get access to where you want to put the house? Without putting a huge mark on the land or cost you a fortune putting an all-weather accessible road there (you need that in order to build a home)
  • North is critical, can you get the long side of the home facing north to north/east (or if in a really cold climate north/west). Work out which climate you’re in and which is your harshest season (summer or winter). If it’s both (Canberra for instance), then north is good
  • Views, where are the views, we built our first home with THE best views, and it payed off. Every day it was worth it while we were building and living there. And we were able to sell it, because of those views. Views are the key
  • Breezes, can you get easterly breezes in summer and block out the bitterly cold winds from the west in winter (building on the downhill easterly side of a hill is great for that reason)
  • When your home is surrounded by trees, vegetation or natural waterways, you can cool your home naturally. If you don’t have these, you can always plant vegetation once you’re done. The downside of vegetation is having them too close to the house or in bushfire zones
  • Do you need to clear land where you want to put the land
  • Zoning, setbacks and boundaries. There are zones which dictate you can’t build eg. Nature corridor or natural waterway (you can’t build on those). Are you far enough from the boundaries (ask council what the setback distances are to your neighbours). For instance, they usually have a distance where you can’t build x metres to a dam or waterway. The first time we built, we nearly, like very nearly, wanted to build the house on the neighbour’s property. The fence wasn’t where the actual land stopped!
  • If you’re in a bushfire zone, you’ll have to decide on a spot that minimises your risk of the house burning down. Try to get in BAL29 or below or else the costs to build a BAL40 or BALFZ home is quite prohibitive
  • Bedrock can be ok to build your home on, but once we hit bedrock, we have to pier down till we hit bedrock at each part of your home (so it can cost money in piering).
  • Are you close to clay, sand and water so we can use materials from site and put them back into your walls

Services: On rural blocks, you’re going to have to get services to the house, ask subbies for their opinion. When you get a Geotech report, you’ll need to know roughly where you want the house, so that they can put the septic trenches on the downhill slope