Things to Consider When Building a Home on a Sloping Site

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Things to Consider When Building a Home on a Sloping Site

A block of land with a slope can be both a blessing and a curse. While it can offer magnificent views and allow you to build a unique and spectacular home, building on a sloping site can also pose some very specific challenges. It requires creative and innovative thinking, meticulous analysis and planning along with a budget that can accommodate a wide range of additional costs. At Elliott Hardie, we are the expert new home builders Canberra locals trust to design and deliver their dream home. If you have your heart set on building a home with a view on a sloping block, there’s quite a few things to take into consideration. Let’s have a look at some things you need to know before you begin designing and building on a slope.

What is a Sloping Site?

As the name suggests, it simply means that the land is on an incline or decline (or even slope sideways) and isn’t flat like a standard building site. The block will have what is termed as uneven levels of elevation. There are many different types of sloping blocks, but they generally fall into one of the following categories:

  • Sloping up – the low point being at the road
  • Sloping down – the high point being at the road
  • Cross fall – the slope is from right to left or vice versa
  • Cross fall + sloping – a combination of the above

Whether your block slopes up, down or from one side to the other, the biggest consideration for design and additional costs will be the severity of the slope. Steep slopes will create many more design challenges and potential site work costs when compared to a gentle or gradual slope. A general rule to follow is the steeper the block, the more challenges it will present.

Why Build Your Home on a Sloping Site?

From a design point of view, building on a sloping block has the huge benefit of allowing you to be much more creative and add more visual interest to your home. You may also choose to build on a sloping block to take advantage of stunning views, natural drainage and ventilation, natural light and the opportunity to be innovative with design features and landscaped gardens.

The Cost of Building on a Slope

Due to the nature of works required, the costs of building on a sloped site are going to be higher than if you choose to build on a flat piece of land. While it is impossible to estimate the exact cost of building on a slope, usually the steeper the site, the more expensive the project will be. Generally, blocks of land that slope upwards from the road will incur more site works cost as there is a lot more cut and fill work required. Site access is also a big cost consideration as the builder will need to roadmap the process for site works and construction to ensure the required machinery and vehicles have access to the site. Other costs to consider when building on a slope may include retaining walls, water proofing of underground walls, additional steps, split levels inside the home to allow transitioning to natural ground level outside and the removal or import of additional fill. The key to minimising construction costs is to reduce the amount of earthworks required and reduce the amount and extent of engineered retaining walls. This can be achieved by adopting a house design that suits your block.

Designing a New Home for a Sloping Block

One of the keys to success when building on a sloping block is to choose the right designer and builder. Using a team that is experienced and understands how to design on sloping sites is essential as they will be able to take creative and flexible approach and find design solutions that others may overlook. As a starting point, you should work with your builder to carry out a site inspection and analyse the physical characteristics of the land, this is highly recommended to help achieve the best design and cost outcomes. The team should be able to advise you on how to reduce the costs of excavation and retaining walls required whilst allowing for you to maximise views as well as consider other design issues such as height restrictions, engineering, overshadowing, drainage, maintenance, overlooking, services access and run ins to the home.

If you have purchased, or are considering purchasing, your dream block of land which is on a slope, you need to talk to a builder who is experienced with designing and constructing homes on this type of land. Sloping blocks will almost certainly require a unique custom home, designed specifically to suit your individual site, needs and budget.

At Elliott Hardie, we continuously exceed client expectations building quality assured homes in Canberra and we are highly experienced in designing and building quality custom homes that far exceed our client’s expectations. We can offer you valuable advice to help you achieve the home of your dreams. To find out more, contact us online now or call 0479 106 944 .

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