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A Spanner In the Works?

Made a phone call to the salesman today to make an appointment to sign the building contract. He returned the call and said that there were some potential problems with getting the house approved for the land we'd bought.

Firstly, the council has a 40% coverage rule, meaning the total under main roof area of the house must be less than 40% of the land area. Secondly, they have a minimum of 60 sq m of private open living area as a requirement (this means the back yard must be at least 60 sqm). Thirdly they are not allowing any construction that requires retaining walls of more than 500mm high.

Our chosen design includes an 'alfresco', which is basically 16 sqm of outdoors area covered by the main roof. If the council is silly they will include this in the total area of the house. If they're not silly they'll recognise that this is exactly the same as a verandah or pergola added later and they won't include it. Exactly the same argument can apply to the minimum open private living area requirement. In both cases we comply comfortably if the alfresco area is not considered to be part of the main house structure.

I'll address the 500mm retaining wall requirement separately because of the sheer ridiculousness of it. Firstly, none of the vacant land in our development would be able to comply with this rule, hence according to the council, all this land must remain vacant. Secondly, 90% of the existing homes in our development are therefore, illegal. How dumb is this!

The outcome of all this is that the salesman has put our site plan through to council for a preliminary approval just to see if we are completely wasting out time putting the final plans in. We'll find out more tomorrow.


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