Archive for the ‘Building Plans’ Category

What you should know when building a wall on a boundary

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

Fast Track Plans and Permits is encouraging anyone planning to build on the boundary of a property to make sure they accurately identify the title boundary line to avoid encroaching on an adjacent property.

any encroachment may be considered a trespass of land.

“Encroachment could result in the adjacent land owner taking the property owner to court to seek to have the encroachment removed

There appears to be some confusion around this matter, with some people thinking that Section 272 of the
Property Law Act 1958 allows for a 50mm or 1/500 tolerance (depending on the boundary length) for buildings to encroach over the title boundary.

This legislation is aimed at limiting minor boundary discrepancy claims related to the sale of land, and only provides for a margin of error for dimensions appearing on title documentation, such as a plan of subdivision.
It does not allow for a margin of error for site boundary dimensions determined from ‘on-ground’ measurements.

“Given the potential outcomes of an encroachment over the title boundary, we recommends getting a your local builder, designer to engage a licensed land surveyor to carry out a re-establishment survey before beginning any building work on the
boundary. Note that only a licensed land surveyor can supply a re-establishment survey, so ensure that they are licensed.

Building A Home- Tips For Attaining A Cooler Home Enviroment

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

The design of your house is a very important matter when building in Melbourne. By using the right building plans, you can save a considerable amount of money. It is possible to build an effective home by using the right design and construction process. If you are thinking of applying for building permits to execute a specific Melbourne building plan, then you should take time to evaluate the suitability of options available.

The choice of plans has direct influence on whether or not your home will become cool and hospitable especially in summer. You might think of installing air-conditioners, but the most effective way to regulate house temperatures is to design the interior to enhance coolness.

The secret to a comfortable living home 

Each year, thousands of homes are built in Australia, sadly, most of them can be labelled “hot boxes”, because drafts person and home builders used ineffective building plans. Most builders ignore the solar aspect and the orientation of the home. To help you maximize on the design of the homes and businesses and avoid hot homes, we suggest that you do the following.

1. Select a South Facing Land Orientation - This allows the outdoor living area to face North East, thus making it ideal for outdoor living and outdoor activities.

2. Choose Home Design for land Block - Majority of home plans typically vouch for North orientation, However, you can choose the East, West or even South orientation.

3. Minimize Heat Transfer - you can achieve this by eliminating ordinary windows and using high under eave windows, double glazing, or cool glazing in permanent windows.

4. Construct High Pitched Roofs - These are effective in reflecting heat away and holding more volume of air which has an insulating effect. Besides that, it will also maximize the harvesting of rain water.

5. Reduce Size of Roofing Facing West -  A West facing block can lower temperatures and make the home cooler. With a narrow roof side facing the West, more heat will be deflected away.

6. Insulate the Garage Area-  Do this if you have a West facing block, you should also use eaves and insulate the est facing garage door.

7. Insulate West Facing Walls and Ceiling Space - Other than the summer heat, you should also take note of the cold Westerlies in spring. Use thermal wrap foil and invest in Batts too. Also, given that the roof is the largest area facing the sun, heat radiates on this space. Insulating it will prevent the transfer of heat to living areas.

New 2014 Building Regulation Amendments

Monday, December 30th, 2013


Melbourne Builders,  we have just received a couple of important Building Regulation amendments that have been in the pipeline for some time now.

1.Walls on boundaries now can be up to 200mm instead of the 150mm from the boundary and still be deemed on the boundary. Yes for those of you that have been around long enough it used to be 200mm.

2.The averange wall height on the boundary has been increased to 3.2m which was previously 3.0m. Not a huge increase but significant enough to avoid unnecessary report and consents for nominal falls in the natural ground level.

Also the planning schemes have been amended to incorporate these changes, so there will be no conflict on these Regulations.

The Team at Fast Track Plans & Permits wish all our loyal customers, contractors and trades a happy and healthy 2014.


Can I use my shed as a permanent dwelling?

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

Buildings in Melbourne such as sheds are not normally approved for use as homes or dwellings as they may not have been constructed to comply with the requirements of the Regulations for a residential dwelling. Following the 2009 bushfires, certain concessions for temporary accommodation in buildings on bushfire affected properties were introduced to the Town planning scheme. These concessions will expire on 31 March 2012 by which time all buildings must comply.

If you are considering building a shed with a view to later using it as a dwelling it is important that you seek professional advice before you Draftsperson, as it may not be the best or most cost efficient option for you. The first choice should be to construct a new dwelling that fully complies with the Building Regulations 2006 (the Regulations).

The following information on sheds (Class 10a building) and dwellings (Class 1a building) may assist you in considering your options carefully.

What are the building permit requirements?

A building permit is required for most Melbourne building work including the following buildings:

• Construction of a shed (Class 10a building) greater than 10 m2 in area;

• Construction of a dwelling (Class 1a);

• To change the use of an existing building from a shed (Class 10a) to a dwelling (Class 1a).

A shed used temporarily as a dwelling is not exempt from the requirement to obtain a building permit for its construction. You should consult your draftsperson or local council for further advice on building permit requirements.

Are there exemptions for people rebuilding following the 2009 bushfires?

People rebuilding following the 2009 bushfires may be exempt from the requirements to obtain a planning permit until 31 March 2011 to complete the construction of the building for temporary accommodation or a new dwelling because of amendments to the Victorian Planning Provisions.

The use of a building for temporary accommodation will need to cease by 31 March 2012 unless the building is brought into compliance with the planning and building legislation requirements for a dwelling.

Can I retain a building used as temporary accommodation on my site permanently?

It will depend on the type of temporary building, whether you had a building permit for its original construction and what your planned use of the building is as to whether you can retain it permanently. You may need to obtain a building and planning permit for a change of use or works to bring it up to a suitable level of safety or amenity.

To assist you in determining whether you may be able to retain your building permanently, a number of different scenarios are provided below. Further advice can be obtained from the building and Town planning departments of your local council.

Town Planning and building legislation contain provisions relating to sheds on properties where they are not associated with a dwelling. Where a shed is proposed to remain on an allotment and a dwelling destroyed by the bushfires has not been re-built the local council may have additional controls and requirements that need to be addressed. Further advice on this can be obtained from the planning and building departments of your local council.

Building legislation issues that will affect your change of use application

A key point to note is that a building permit and occupancy permit cannot legally be issued after the building has been constructed (except where additional new work is proposed).

Where a change of use is proposed, Regulation 1011 of the Regulations allows a municipal building surveyor (MBS) or a private building surveyor to issue a building permit and an occupancy permit to allow the change of use of a building to occur.

The Regulation states “A person must not change the use of a building or place of public entertainment unless the building or place of public entertainment complies with the requirements of these Regulations applicable to the new use”.

There is some discretion given to the building surveyor to allow partial compliance with the Regulations applicable to the new use, however they must take into account structural adequacy of the building, health and amenity and fire safety requirements when assessing your request to change the use of the building.

As many of these buildings will be in bush settings a major issue for consideration in determining if a change of use to a dwelling is feasible will be the construction requirements for buildings in bushfire prone areas.

The following scenarios may help you understand the factors that may allow or prevent you from retaining your temporary accommodation or shed.

Scenario 1

You obtained a building permit to build a shed and would like to retain it as a shed

• This is acceptable;

• You should ensure that a Certificate of Final Inspection has been issued for the shed; If you have used your shed as temporary accommodation following the 2009 bushfires and installed facilities such as a kitchen, toilet, bathroom and laundry, you will need to remove these by the 31 March 2012 when the occupation of the shed as temporary accommodation will no longer be allowed.

Scenario 2

You did not obtain a building permit to build the shed and would now like to retain it as a shed

• Building Surveyors cannot legally issue a building permit and certificate of final inspection after the building has been constructed.

• MBS from the local council could issue a Building Notice (show cause) and possibly follow up with a Building Order to carry out building work, and if satisfied, could allow the structure to remain, however the structure will not be issued with a building permit.

• If the MBS doesn’t allow the structure to remain the owner would either remove it or appeal the Building Order to the Building Appeals Board (BAB), however the BAB would need to be satisfied that the building was safe to remain as a shed.

Scenario 3

You obtained a building permit for a shed and would like to change its use to a dwelling

An owner may apply for a change of use permit however the building surveyor would need to be satisfied that relevant requirements applicable to a dwelling (Class 1a building) have been met.

The change of use may mean you also need to obtain a Town planning permit from the local council.

The building surveyor would also require plans drawn up by a draftsperson, to show as constructed details and proposed building work still to be carried out. The building surveyor will be concerned about non-compliance and defects, especially with the safety of current and future owners and would need to be satisfied that the building was safe to be occupied as a dwelling.

It can sometimes be very costly to change the use of a building as you may need to replace concrete slabs, footings and other building requirements (see other considerations below). You may also need to consider the requirements in the building standard for construction in bushfire prone areas.1

The building will need to be assessed for energy efficiency and the installation of insulation and other energy efficiency measures may be required.

A building permit will be required for the works to convert the shed to a dwelling and an occupancy permit issued upon completion.

Scenario 4

You do not have a building permit for a shed and would like to retain it as a dwelling

It may be more difficult to justify retention of the shed as a permanent dwelling because the construction details may not be known.

Building surveyors cannot legally issue a building permit (or an occupancy permit) for a dwelling after the building has been constructed without approval.

The Municipal building surveyor (MBS) could issue a Building Notice (show cause) and possibly follow up with a Building Order to carry out building work, and if satisfied could allow a structure to remain; however the owners will not have a building permit or occupancy permit.

The MBS will be concerned about non-compliance and defects, especially with the safety of current and future owners.

Building owners may appeal the Building Notice or Building Order to the Building Appeals Board (BAB), however the BAB would need to be satisfied that the building was safe to remain as a dwelling.

Other considerations

Seeking to change the use of a shed to a dwelling is not simple. There are many considerations and it is recommend that you seek professional financial, building and regulatory advice before you make your decision.

Some other considerations include:

Is it feasible and cost effective to upgrade the temporary building to a standard that it can be used as a dwelling (Class 1a building)? The first choice should be to construct a new dwelling that fully complies with the Building Regulations 2006.

• To successfully change the use of your temporary building to a dwelling you will need to ensure that the structure meets the requirements of the Regulations and the Building Code of Australia. This will include the preparation of suitable plans of the building and a site plan, and the provision of a number of reports such as a BAL assessment, energy rating, geotechnical (soil) report and structural engineering design where required. Key construction elements that you will need to consider include:

o Bushfire construction requirements for the site;

o Energy efficiency requirements;

o Structural construction requirements for footings/slab on ground (soil test required), wall and roof framing; Slabs for dwellings have different requirements to those used for sheds. If the shed slab does not meet the requirements for a dwelling then it is not feasible to consider a change of use.

o Damp proofing under concrete floors;

o Termite protection where required;

o Minimum ceiling heights (2.4 m for habitable rooms and 2.1 m for laundry, bathroom, corridor and toilet);

o Minimum window sizes (including openable portions for ventilation);

o Required facilities for cooking, laundry, bathroom, toilet and damp proofing of floors and walls;

o Certificates of compliance for electrical, plumbing and glazing;

o Septic Tank system (where required);

o Complying steps, landings, balustrades (where required) and

o Hard wired smoke alarms.

1 Australian Standard, AS3959-2009 Construction of buildings in bushfire-prone areas.

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Sub Division in Melbourne

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

How do I subdivide my land?

What is subdivision?

Do I need a permit to subdivide land?

Subdivision involves dividing a property into smaller lots that can be sold separately.

There are 4 main steps in the subdivision process:

1)      obtain a planning permit from council for the subdivision.  There are 2 applications Council require, A Planning Permit and The Certification Application.

2)      obtain a Certified plan of subdivision, this involves using a licensed Land Surveyor.  They will survey your land and prepare a draft plan of subdivision. It is a good idea to discuss this with a Town Planner to make sure Council is going to approve it.

3)      obtain a Statement of Compliance which is the final approval letter stating that all the external authorities and Council requirements are met. Council needs to refer your subdivision application to the servicing authorities, including: South East Water, Yarra Valley Water, Melbourne Water, Multinet Gas, Untied Energy, Citipower, Telstra and Vicroads.  Council has 7 days to do this. These services must consent to the plan of subdivision before issues a Statement of Compliance.

4)      lodgment of the Certified plan of subdivision at Land Victoria (the Titles office) A solicitor, surveyor or Town Planner will lodge the plan of subdivision and the statement of compliance at Land Victoria and new Titles will be issued.

If the subdivision is approved by council then it goes to Advertising to give public notice of your intentions so that neighbors have the chance to object.

If you want to know if you can subdivide your land or about any town planning issues, call the team at Fast Track Plans & Permits Pty Ltd today.

Planning Advertising

Saturday, December 11th, 2010

When a planning permit application for a Change of Use, Dual Development Applications is lodged, it is at Council discretion to determine whether public notification is required.

This is depending on the size and possible impacts of the application, Council decide on advertising to the public either by direct mail notification, on-site signage or advertising in the local paper.

If public notification is required, it must be carried out for a period of at least 14 consecutive days, during this time, any person can make a submission in writing either in support or objection to the proposed permit.

The advertising must be done to council requirements, if it is not done to the letter as required by council, then re-advertising will need to be done which means extra cost and extra time for objections to be submitted.

It is highly recommended that you seek your town planners advise on placement of advertising.

The invitation to comment that is issued by the council is taken seriously by the council and needs to be addressed accordingly by any developer as it could make the difference between a successful or refused application.

Any comments received are called submissions, and these are lodged with the council during the advertising period, submissions that oppose a proposal are known as objections. Most submissions are mostly objections and need to be dealt with promptly by your town planner before council makes its final decision.

It is also important to note that all objections that are successfully dealt with by your town planner are done in writing, as a verbal  acknowledgement to withdraw the objection is not observed by council.

Housing Affordability and Town Planning

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

According to the global housing affordability index the definition of ‘affordable housing’ is when the median house price is no more than three times the average yearly income of the buying population.  However, the median house price raised to four times the average Melbournian’s income in 1988 and has increased yearly to be eight times the average income in 2009.  While home owners enjoy the gains of these increases, an entire socio-economic group has been priced our of the market.

The question is, what has caused this housing affordability crisis?  One factor is land supply, namely the Urban Growth Boundary which dictates where development can take place and has increased the price of land.   In addition to increasing property taxes such as Stamp Duty which is highest in Victoria.    Furthermore, break downs in Town Planning within councils has meant unnecessary delays and inconsistent decision making on councils part which costs home buyers in time and money.  Victoria’s planning system is one of the least effective in the nation.  A recent survey by Master Builders displayed that the average cost for planning delays due to council is $35,000.  Despite all councils being required to process planning permits within 8.6 weeks the average length of time to secure a permit is 23 weeks.  This time can be reduced by engaging a private Town Planner and Drafting team, like Fast Track Plans and Permits.

Lastly, increasingly complicated and costly government regulations linked to housing increases the cost of housing.  The government have stipulated a range of housing regulations such as ensuring Five Star rating $7600, Six Star rating $10, 000, Water Tanks $2,000 to name a few which increases the cost of building.

How can our drafting and town planning company assist with the Housing Affordibility dilemma?  We can cut the time delays with council for planning permits and can help you design a house using more efficient and cost effective materials.

Melbourne / Frankston Development applications

Friday, October 29th, 2010

If you’re thinking of renovating extending, building, demolishing or subdividing you will most probably need to lodge a development application with your local council. There are no general regulations on this – you must contact your local council for specific details however, we have put together a general guide of what the process can involve.

What is a development application?

A development application is an application made to local council for consent to carry out development such as demolition, extensions, subdivision, house construction and possibly renovation. So if you are thinking of adding on, building a shed, undergoing a knockdown-rebuild, altering the structure of your home or making any other major change to your building or garden you may need to submit one.

How do I know if I need to submit one?

Not everyone who does a renovation has to submit a development application – the exact requirements are dictated by each local council. That means that your renovation in one location may need one, while your mate’s identical renovation in a different location may not. The only way to be sure is to contact your own local council. Some of the general stipulations councils use to determine whether you need an application include:

Zoning regulations – your local council is divided into zones such as residential or business. Different regulations for factors such as building height apply to each different zone.
The council’s Local Environment Plan – establishes what forms of development and land use are permitted in a council area. Different types of development will be permitted in different zones.
Development Control Plans and land use regulations – these provide additional information and guidelines to the Local Environment Plan on development and land use.
Visual impact of development – will the development change the look of the area or streetscape? Will it be an eyesore?
Impact on adjoining property – how will the development affect the neighbours?
Many local councils will have information online detailing their guidelines but it may be worthwhile organising a meeting with a council member. They will tell you:

Specific planning controls as stipulated by the above points (they will have a long term plan that considers factors such as streetscape, fire hazards, drainage, erosion, waste management, wildlife and sustainability).
Whether you meet the criteria to be exempt from development consent (it’s still worthwhile notifying the council of your proposed work anyway).
Whether you meet the criteria requiring development approval.
Whether you meet the criteria requiring involvement at a higher level due to wider social, economic or environmental impact.
Whether you are prohibited from development.


Before you submit a development application we recommend consulting the neighbours. This allows you to explain your development plans in detail and allows them to voice any concerns. A small change in the plans now could make the neighbours happy and potentially save you a lot of cash.

Supporting information

Again, you will need to check with your local council the specific supporting material needed to be submitted with your application. This may include but is not limited to the following:

Scaled architectural plans
Reduced A4 plans
Architectural model
Site analysis plan
Survey plan
Landscape plans and calculations
Drainage plans
Erosion and sediment plans
Environmental impact report
Geotechnical reports about the soil
Shadow diagrams
Waste management plan
Statement of heritage impact (if property or area is heritage listed)
Accoustical report

Engineers certificate for structural design


Any supporting material (as listed above) will cost you extra. Depending on the size and type of your development you could be looking at thousands of dollars. Each council will have a Development Application Fee that you will have to lodge alongside your application. The amount is dictated by the size and type of your development. Contact your local council for a schedule of fees. They may have them online.

Public notification

So you’ve submitted your application. It doesn’t stop here. You may have a period of public notification (depending on your local council) whereby members of the community have access to your application and can lodge an objection. This is where consulting your neighbours prior to submitting will benefit you.

The decision making process

At this point you may be required to do the following:

  • Submit additional information
  • Undergo a council inspection of the site
  • Attend a council meeting

There are a number of ways your application will be assessed and this is generally determined by which criteria you meet. Assessment options include:

Assessment by council planning staff under delegated authority
Assessment by your council conducting a development assessment meeting – this can occur due to objections to the proposal or because it does not comply with the council’s standard regulations and policies. (This may differ slightly from council to council).
Assessment at a council meeting – this is when the application is controversial, has attracted a large number of objections or has been referred from a development assessment meeting.
Approval notification

Now it’s a waiting game – how long the approval takes depends on the type of application,your Town Planner and your council. Some can take a few weeks while others may drag out for months. You will be notified by mail of the outcome of the application process. Depending on the council you may be able to track the process on the internet. Some council’s publish results in the local newspaper.

Additional info

You must remember that while the general process for obtaining a development application is the same across Australia, requirements and processes will differ from council to council. Before you start your application it’s essential to contact your local council or town planer. They will be able to give you a list of specific requirements and guidelines you need to follow.

Changing sustainable housing laws around Australia

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

We look at each state and find out what is required of owners and Builders Melbourne and Draftsperson.

New South Wales

The NSW program is the Building Sustainability Index, or BASIX. BASIX is an online tool which calculates the energy and water efficiency of a new home design. You need to get a BASIX Certificate to get planning approval for your home.

The questions relate to:

The size of the house and its orientation
The building materials to be used
Whether a rainwater tank will be installed
Water fittings, including taps, toilets and showerheads
How many windows and where they are in relation to the sun
Choice of hot water system
How the house will be kept warm and cool with insulation

The BASIX tool then evaluates your answers and provides scores. In order to get a BASIX certificate your house must:

Score 25 or more for energy
Score 40 or more for water*
Achieve a pass for thermal comfort
* The BASIX water target varies across the state, depending on the climate. The eastern areas have a water target of 40.

BASIX is flexible in that there are a few ways you can achieve the target. For example, you may not always need to have a rainwater tank to get your water target; in some areas installing AAA plus showerheads, toilets and tap fittings will be enough to get you over the line.

BASIX was introduced for single dwellings and dual occupancies in the Sydney area on 1 July 2004, the rest of NSW on 1 July 2005 and for all residential dwellings including low- and high-rise apartments on 1 October 2005.

In July 2006, BASIX became a requirement of all residential additions and alterations in NSW, and the energy target was increased to 40.


The Victorian program is called 5 Star, and stipulates, unsurprisingly, a 5 star energy requirement for all new homes.

In addition to achieving this rating for the building fabric, 5 Star also requires either a water tank that must supply water to all toilet cisterns, or a solar hot water system. Where there is reticulated gas the solar hot water system must be gas boosted.

5 Star was implemented on July 1, 2004. For the first 12 months a transitional period existed where 4 Stars for the fabric could be achieved with the addition of either a water tank or a solar hot water system.

This transitional period has been extended until April 30, 2006 for homes with a suspended timber floor or of earthwall construction.

The 5 Star verification method requires the design to be assessed by a person accredited in the use of energy rating software. The approved programs for Victoria are FirstRate and NatHERS. The energy report will form part of the required documentation for building permit approval. As an alternative to using software packages, in the case of the 4 Star plus option, the Building Code of Australia (BCA) energy efficiency provisions can be used.

For apartments, an average 5 Star rating is required for the whole building and each sole occupancy dwelling must achieve a rating of at least 3 Stars. There is no requirement to install a water tank or solar hot water system in an apartment building.

As well as the energy provisions there are water conservation requirements for Victoria through the plumbing regulations. The regulations require pressure reduction that will restrict water pressure to a building and also flow restriction to shower heads and taps.

There is some discussion about a move to 6 Star, but nothing has been agreed on as yet.

Australian Capital Territory

The ACT’s program is called ACTHERS, and is based on NatHERS. The minimum rating is 4 stars, assessed using FirstRate, and is based on these design factors:

Air leakage
Design features
Floor type
Thermal mass
Width of eaves
Cross ventilation
Common walls
If the rating is acceptable, an Energy Efficiency Rating Statement (EER) is issued.

Importantly, a valid EER is required for new house designs as well as the sale of an existing house.

In line with changes to the BCA, the ACT will move to a 5 star minimum for all residential designs on May 1, 2006. The ACT Government is also considering adopting the NSW BASIX system, although this is unlikely to occur until late 2006 at the earliest.

The BCA states

Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory use the Building Code of Australia’s energy efficiency provisions, which came into effect on January 1, 2003 (September 1, 2003 in Queensland).

The BCA calls for a minimum energy rating for new houses of 4 stars, which is based solely on the design and construction materials used in a new home. This includes requirements for:

Roof and wall insulation
Eaves and other shading
Glazing and high performing windows
Natural ventilation
The BCA allows for assessment either through a ‘deemed to satisfy’ method which specifies the construction materials needed to achieve the home’s energy efficiency rating. Otherwise computer software such as FirstRate and NatHERS can be used. These give more flexibility in mixing materials and design options.

Some states have slight variations in the deemed to satisfy requirements, while others are looking at adopting their own programs which rate energy and water, such as BASIX.

Although the above states have developed stricter regulations beyond the BCA, all states are represented on the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB), which manages the BCA.

This means that the ABCB is looking at revamping energy efficiency regulations to become stricter and standard across Australia.

In 2006, the proposed changes to the BCA will increase the energy efficiency requirements for homes to 5 stars, but the changeover date hasn’t been finalised.


Queensland’s Sustainable Housing initiative has proposed additional requirements beyond the BCA. These new requirements will require all new houses to have:

Greenhouse-efficient hot water systems
Energy efficient lighting
AAA-rated shower roses
Dual-flush toilets
Water pressure-limiting devices
Rainwater tanks (not required by all councils)
In units and apartments, the standard will require:

Energy efficient lighting
AAA-rated shower roses
Dual-flush toilets
The standard also affects bathroom renovations, requiring:

AAA-rated shower roses
Dual-flush toilets
The new standard will come into effect on 1 March, 2006 with a second stage of changes opening for discussion some time after that.

South Australia

South Australia has no plans to develop their own standard, so will be sticking with the BCA. However, the SA Housing Code also regulates sealing capacity, air movement, hot water services, and where external glazing and/or shading is required.

Furthermore, roofs, external walls and suspended floors must achieve a minimum total thermal resistance.

The most common form of appraisal for builders in South Australia is the BCA’s deemed to satisfy.

The 4 star minimum is to become a 5 star minimum on July 1, 2006, and from that date all new homes and homes undergoing major renovation must have a plumbed rainwater tank. Tanks must be 1000 litres and plumbed into a toilet or laundry.

Western Australia

Although it is looking at BASIX, Western Australia will probably stick with the BCA and its more stringent guidelines next year.

In terms of water efficiency, dual flush toilets have been mandatory for a number of years through the state’s plumbing regulations.

For approvals, WA is reviewing AccuRate, the successor to NatHERS.

In 2006, the proposed changes to the BCA will increase the energy efficiency requirements for homes to 5 stars, but the changeover date hasn’t been finalised.


Tasmania has no plans to move away from the BCA. For assessment, Tasmania uses only the deemed to satisfy method and does not provide the option of using a computer generated model to assess the design.

DTC allows the builder to submit a design that meets a set of minimum criteria. The assessor will ask questions such as ‘Does it have insulation of 3.5 in the roof?’, ‘Does it have insulation of 0.5 in the walls?” and ‘Does it have insulation of hot water pipes?’.

Northern Territory

The Northern Territory government is contemplating the adoption of the BCA 2006 5 star energy efficiency requirements. If adopted, the NT government is undecided as to what method of assessment they will use but currently the preference is for deemed to satisfy BCA provisions.

This is primarily a result of the difficulties that were experienced in applying the NatHERS computer model in tropical Australia due to an issue with natural ventilation in the tropics. The updated version of the NatHERS model, AccuRate, is currently undergoing practical testing.

*article by curtis cooper from 15.03.2010

Pre-design Meetings Offer

Monday, September 20th, 2010

Since the introduction of our pre-design meetings, we have had an amazing response from people and the feedback has been very positive. We are offering new customers from melbourne $100 off our normal design meeting price until the end on this month. That means you get a complete design briefing for $250 instead of the standard $350.

When you order a design meeting, the most senior of the design team, the Director, comes to site and discusses your design with you, your design needs and outcomes, the general costs of construction, ways of budget reduction, the issues and timelines of your project, realistic budgeting and innovative design ideas.

The design meeting usually takes on average 1-2 hours, and goes over all the issues and making the process clear and concise on what documentation you need for your project, and a step by step process for you to follow if you decide to move ahead with the design once you have assessed all the information.

We can also discuss the differences between using a architect in Melbourne and a Melbourne Draftsperson, we can also highlight the some of the pitfalls in the building trade and inform you of how to avoid these.

If you have been thinking of getting a quote for a design, wanting to know if your design will actually work, or can afford the design you want, call us and take us up on the special offer now.

Call the design team on (03) 9770 5858 or call me on 0404 906 803.