After weighing up the options, selling and buying an established home or embarking on a renovation, you have settled on a knock down rebuild (KDR) project to achieve that home of your dreams – that’s one big decision out of the way. You’re happy with the area but you’ve outgrown the house, or maybe you’ve chosen an established area that is close to the kids’ schools and suits your lifestyle needs, but can’t find the perfect home.
Before you start demolishing your house or buying that knockdown home, you should invest some time to make sure you have chosen a property that is suited to the KDR process. Here is a starting point on the check list, but it is always recommended to consult a builder as early as possible in the process, to avoid being left without shelter!
1. Regulations and guidelines
A good starting point is to review the title documents associated with your (potential) property, this will give you confirmation of the exact dimensions of the block and any easements which may be enforced. Check in with the governing council to confirm any overlays and covenants that may be in place. Heritage overlays are common, and can impact the size and style of your new home. Various planning regulations will apply governing setbacks and controlling overlooking instances.
2. About the block
With a confirmed understanding of the block dimensions, review its orientation, street frontage and depth. Most builders and architects will advise to look for an option that provides a north facing rear open space, in order to maximise outdoor use and influence passive heating/cooling and natural light for your new home. The existing driveway position should be inspected, although applying for a re-location is possible, it does add another step to your KDR project. The slope of your block is an important criterion to consider and will significantly impact your home building. Speak to your builder about organising a site survey if you are concerned. You should also check out the existing drainage and site infrastructure details such as power, gas and telecoms, as these all play a role in the preparation for demolition and the sit works for the new construction.
3. Who are your neighbours?
Check the style of your neighbours homes surrounding your block, as these can affect the type of home you can build, particularly if a council overlay exists. Pay close attention to their front setbacks, as in most cases, your new home setback will be governed by the adjacent neighbor with the greatest setback.
4. Traffic management and access
If your property is on a major thoroughfare or in close proximity to schools and shopping precincts, there may be the need for additional traffic management services (most KDR projects will incur traffic management costs) during the demolition and construction processes. There also needs to be consideration for over-head powerlines and other impacting issues that may require relevant permits from governing bodies. While this doesn’t mean your property isn’t suitable, it does add another step in the project, which could have associated costs. In addition, if access is restricted such as via laneways or battleaxe blocks you will need to check with your builder whether your project is suitable.
5. Trees and contaminants
Your existing home or potential property purchase may have an abundant garden, rich with established trees and shrubbery. It is important to note that in most demolition processes the entire block will be cleared, not just the building envelope and in some cases permits for tree removal will need to be obtained. Some older homes and other site structures (sheds, carports) may include contaminated materials such as asbestos, which will involve careful handling by a certified contractor during the demolition process and will require inspection certificate to obtain clearance that the site is safe for new construction.
6. Property sales
If your KDR project is a shorter term investment, that you intend on selling after completion, it is a good idea to speak to local real estate agents to get a feel for its resale value. They will be able to advise you of other KDR homes in your area, as well as sales results for similar properties, which can provide a good starting point for your overall budget.
7. Builder inspections
Without doubt, the number one item on your checklist should be to speak to your knockdown rebuild professional from the very beginning of your decision. They will most likely inspect your property for suitability and provide you advice on the journey forward, such as home designs to suit, permit requirements and finding demolition contractors