Building works at home can cause a lot of upheaval. Adding to your home or building large outbuildings is a big step. It’s an even bigger decision to build your own home.
With the recent announcement of the new HomeBuilder package to incentivize home building and renovations, construction activity in Australia is likely to increase. But it’s really important to ensure that your building work complies with the relevant regulations.
If you’re not a building professional, it’s likely that you might find all the rules and regulations a little confusing.
Have no fear! Our simple construction guide will help you to ensure that your project stays within all the required regulations.
All About House Building Regulations in Australia
Before you start on any building project, it’s important to understand how the regulations for building in Australia work. These guidelines are important to ensure the safety of all buildings and the materials with which they are constructed.
The National Construction Code (NCC) is a set of rules which apply to the whole of Australia for the design, performance, and construction of all buildings. The code is broadly subdivided into regulations concerning plumbing, and those concerning building. These are collected in the Building Code of Australia (BCA).
There are various methods of demonstrating compliance with the regulations. These include the CodeMark Australia Certification Scheme. Using this scheme, builders can gain approval for innovative new building products and techniques and ensure they are BMA compliant.
Construction Guide for Home Building
The BCA Australia contains regulations concerning many facets of homebuilding. The Australian Standards within the code are mandatory – this means they must be adhered to in all building projects.
The regulations include ensuring the energy efficiency and sustainability of the building and that the health and wellbeing of the residents are protected. The code also covers access and egress to the property and provision of services and equipment.
Critically, following the Lacrosse Building fire in Melbourne in 2014, the code also contains updated rules for fire-resistant materials and structural adequacy. We’ve summarized below a few key points which may affect your home building project.
Be a Good Neighbor
There are various regulations in the code concerning the position of your building in relation to your neighbors. It’s important to adhere to these, not just to stick within the law but also to ensure good relationships with your neighbors too.
Don’t build a property or add an extension which results in your neighbor’s sunlight being blocked. You should also avoid any windows or balconies which overlook a neighbor’s private outdoor space. Frosted windows and screens can help with this.
If you’re building a new property, it should be set back the same distance from the road as buildings on either side of the site. If you are really keen on additional space or features at the front of your house, you are permitted to build a structure such as a porch or a pergola.
You should check the regulations specific to your state as to how far this structure can encroach from the setback, and also how tall it is permitted to be.
It should go without saying, but you should ensure that you are absolutely sure of the boundaries of the site you are building on. This means there’s no risk that you will encroach onto someone else’s land. Getting a good land survey before building should help with this.
There are regulations about how close to your neighbors’ boundary you can build. This includes walls and fences. There are also specified heights for fences that you should not exceed.
It makes sense aesthetically to keep your fence the same height as your neighbors’, so it’s in keeping with the surroundings and doesn’t look over someone else’s property too much.
Keep Things in Proportion
The building code has rules which prevent overdevelopment. This includes regulations around how close to other structures you can build.
Residential buildings must not be so tall as to dominate the neighborhood. Where possible, basement level building should be considered for additional space, rather than adding additional stories.
Building regulations in Australia also specify the proportion of the site you can build on. This includes garages and any other structure with a roof. This is to prevent overdevelopment and ensure each property has sufficient outside space to support health and wellbeing.
There are various design solutions you can explore to make the most of the whole of your property. It’s part of every home builder’s dream to have a great outside space – t’s important for health and wellbeing to spend time outdoors. You can create a space where you can spend quality time with the family.
Fire and Flood
Fire safety is a massive issue in building regulations and one which you absolutely cannot afford to ignore. There are strict rules around permissible building materials and fire resistance. The regulations also include rules about sprinkler systems in residential buildings.
You should also be mindful of local flood regulations. The regulations dictate that a specific proportion of any property must be permeable. This means that it allows water to be absorbed or pass through it.
You could consider adding decking or permeable tiling to help to retain water. This can prevent water runoff, which in turn can lead to blockages and flooding.
The Next Steps in Your Building Project
Now that you’ve read our simple construction guide, you will be more familiar with the sorts of things you need to consider in your home building project. The next step is to choose a group of professional builders to help you realize your dream.
Be sure to check out the rest of the blog for some great design ideas. We can help inspire you for your residential or multi-family project and turn your vision into reality.