Archive for the ‘New Homes’ Category

Building Permit for a Deck

Monday, July 7th, 2014

Tranquility Deck

A Building Permit must be granted prior to the commencement of any building works unless the work is exempt under Part 18 and Schedule 8 of the Building Regulations 2006.

To confirm if the building works you propose to carry out require a building permit, you should contact our building design department for a overview of the project and permits requirements.


Our building designer team will assess the overall project, along with doing a desktop research on your property and its localisation effects on the proposal.

Our building design team will also help with design options to reduce overall costings or  design issues you may have.

Our building design team can be contact via email at


WMO assessment

Saturday, June 21st, 2014

As many of you are aware, since black saturday, Local councils have initiated a new Town planning overlay called WMO, Wildfire Management Overlay. This is basically assessing your proposal against the local CFA and council recommendations for a wildfire management plan to avoid loss of life during a bushfire.

Obvioulsy this is just a new Town planning overlay, with very few speacilists available to write WMO management plans and reports, the waiting time for approvals is increasing.

Fast Track’s town planning department are specialists in preparing both WMO managements plans and BAL, building action levels. We assess your proposal and ensure that it has the best chance of being approved. our usual timeline to get the documentation completed by our team is within a week if we have all the required information needed, also, as we specilize in these reports, we provide all the information that the local council and CFA require for a quick and successful application, allowing you to get on and obtain your building permit.

So, if your a local Melbourne builder, Melbourne designer or architect or home owner wanting a quick and cost effective result to your WMO issues, please contact our Town Planning Team for a fee proposal.

Why use a Tendering Process?

Monday, June 9th, 2014

Drafting Happiness.

Developing the project with one Architectural services team then bringing on another to oversee the Melbourne builders works is a little like raising a child to six years of age and then handing him/her over to someone else to raise them thru school and beyond. Continued support throughout the lifecycle of the project will always yield better results and that is where contract administration by the design team with suitable construction experience is fundamental to the outcome of your project.

Contract administration is often seen as an aspect of the melbourne builders cycle that can be fudged by someone with some or little general building management skills. In actual fact nothing can be further from the truth. It’s folly to underestimate the importance and complexity of the contract administration process when trying to ensure the building is constructed the way the draftsperon and client intended it.

All this whilst also managing all the myriad of situations which arise during construction that needs significant design-intent and construction detailing experience to resolve.

your draftsperson is  familiarity with all the construction details, the intricate features and finished expectations of your building that allows us to provide valuable assistance which in-turn streamlines the contractor’s workflow and mitigates construction risk.

Fast Track provides various levels of contract administration services. These can include some or all of the following:
  • tendering the project to Melbourne builders
  • liaising with contractors to ensure accurate tender responses
  • delivery strategy selection and project programming
  • cash flow planning and elemental programming
  • regular or programmed team meetings
  • monitoring and reporting
We welcome you to come and discuss these processes with us and how they will benefit you on your next project.

What is a Quantity Surveyor?

Friday, May 16th, 2014

A Quantity Surveyor is a person or company that is used on medium to large builds and most commercial projects to estimate the approximate cost of the total project costs within 10%. This margin may vary depending on the information your builder in Melbourne supplies. The quantity surveyor uses a computer program that does a take off from the drawings supplied by you draftsman in Melbourne.


An estimate is essential for your project especially if you are constructing the project on a tight budget. Your draftsman in Melbourne will be able to help you with finding a suitable quantity surveyor for your particular project. This also helps you when you get back quotes from builder in Melbourne  to compare the actual cost and the quoted sum, to see if your paying a fair price.

Quantity Surveyors costs vary from $800  upward, depending upon the project and the amount of work for the quantity surveyor to accurately estimate the project.












What is the Difference between an Owner Builder and a Melbourne Builder

Saturday, May 3rd, 2014

What is the Difference between an Owner Builder and a Melbourne Builder?

Simpy – A Melbourne Builder is a registered builder with the Victorian Building Commission. This is the only legal registration board in Victoria, There are “associations” like Master Builder’s Associations, but these are just information and resource outlets which builders in Melbourne can become members off. They have no legal authority, but they are a rich source of information for builders.

An Owner Builder is a person who owns the land which they are building on, this can be either a commercial or residential project. You are required by law to register with the VBA if your building project costs exceed $12.000. Here is a link to the owner builder kit which has all the required information and forms to complete.

Being an owner builder means that you assume the role of builder in Melbourne and all its guarantees and liabilities. It is recommended that you should only register as an owner builder if you have had some experience with building, as there is many factors, regulations and timelines that need to be adhered to, and if you have no experience in this, then you are likely to cost yourself time and money on the project.

compose and written by William Brinfield of Fast Track Plans & Permits P/L.



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.

Asbestos Removal

Sunday, March 30th, 2014

Asbestos was used in firmly-bound and loosely-bound building materials throughout homes built before the late
1980s. The most common asbestos is in firmly-bound, which was used in:
• Asbestos-cement sheeting;
• Fibro water or flue pipes;
• Roof shingles;
• Flexible building boards;

• Imitation cladding;
• Plaster patching compounds;
• Textured paint;
• Vinyl floor tiles; and
• The backing of linoleum floor coverings. The loosely-bound form was generally used in older types of insulation for:
• Hot water pipes;
• Domestic heaters and stoves; and
• Ceiling insulation (more often used in commercial building permit) Loosely-bound asbestos poses a higher health risk than firmly-bound material. In most instances fibre glass has replaced asbestos in modern day insulation products

What should i do if i find asbestos?

Generally, if your home was built by a Melbourne builder before the 1980s then it is likely that asbestos will be in some of the materials used. This doesn’t mean you are necessarily at risk because if asbestos building materials are in good condition they are unlikely to release fibres.

Can i remove asbestos?

You or your Melbourne builder may legally remove asbestos from your property, but it should be done with extreme care and precautions. The removal, packaging, transport and disposal of asbestos are all times when you are at the highest health risk from fibres and dust, if the material isn’t handled correctly. Only a licensed professional or Melbourne Builder should remove loosely-bound asbestos, as the health risks are significant and much greater than firmly-bound asbestos.

When Do I Need A Planning Permit?

Friday, March 28th, 2014

While building permits generally relate to the construction of a building or development, planning permits relate to the zoning of the land, including whether the land can be used for residential or commercial developments. Not all projects need a planning permit.

Planning permits are legal documents giving permission for a land use or development, and may be required for all building work. If a planning permit is required, it must be issued before the building permit can be issued. A planning permit does not remove the need to obtain a building permit. The building permit documentation lodged with the relevant building surveyor must be consistent with the planning permit approved documentation. Amendments made through the planning permit process will need to be mirrored in the building permit approved documentation.

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.

Do I need a council permit for a deck or pergola?

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014


Council permits for decking and pergolas

Arranging and paying for permits is the right thing to do, and will ensure that your decking and pergolas are built safely and properly.

When it comes time to building your deck or pergola, you will first need to make sure that you have approval from your local council. Though you may be advised by friends or family that a permit is not required, it won’t be them paying the fine or having to remove the structure if it turns out that you do.

All councils will have their own sets of regulations regarding decks, pergolas and other house extensions. These regulations cover things like structural integrity, what materials you can use and minimum construction standards that must be met.


What kinds of permits are required?

There are two types of permits that may be required, a building permit covers things like compliance with safety regulations and construction details. Local councils offer planning permits, but you may be directed to contact a registered building surveyor for a building permit.

There are many components of your construction which will likely require you to obtain a permit. Some of them are:

  • Any closed roofed structure such as a steel or acrylic roof pergola (shade cloth and sails will likely not require a permit, but check anyway).
  • Footings, and specifically their depth, construction and ability to cope with the load of the deck or pergola roof.
  • Any structures attached to the house.
  • Structures located high up where there may be a need for a fence or rail to prevent falling injuries.


Is it a pergola, a verandah or a carport?

These structures are pretty similar in terms of how they’re designed by your draftsperson, but even if they’re used for different things it’s often important to make a ‘technical’ distinction to understand why a permit might be needed.

  • Verandah - open or partly open portion of a house or building, or a roofed space attached to a building outside the principal rooms, and covered either by the main roof or a separate, lower roof.
  • Carport - roofed, open or semi-enclosed structure for sheltering of motor vehicles, most frequently associated with a dwelling.
  • Pergola - open-roofed framework over a path, terrace or patio, supported on posts or columns, and usually covered with plants trained over the members.


Depending on where you live, the difference between these three things as far as regulations are concerned can come down to what sort of roof it has – if any. If it’s got a solid roof made of tiles, metal or polycarbonate, for example, it’s likely to be treated as a verandah or carport. If the roof’s made of mesh, battens or lattice – or if it doesn’t have a roof at all – it’s likely to be treated as a pergola.

How the structure of your building’s defined (i.e. based on the roof) can make a significant difference in terms of:

  • whether a permit’s required,
  • how close to your property boundary it can go
  • structural requirements, and
  • whether or not non-combustible materials are necessary

Obviously it’s far better to establish these things before you make any commitments – so a call to your draftsperson or  local council’s building services department is a very good idea.


Enquiring about exemptions and guidelines

When talking to your draftsperson or local council, ask them about the exemptions that exist for decks and pergolas – that is, conditions under which a permit is not required. If it’s only a matter of some basic adjustments to your original intentions, you may be able to tailor your construction to these guidelines. If you are able to construct without a permit or only need to make some minor cosmetic adjustments to fall outside the permit criteria, then you can save yourself some money and time.


What do permits cost?

The cost of obtaining a permit will vary from each council or surveyor to the next, but will likely pale in comparison to any fines issued for non-compliance. The additional risk of not obtaining a building permit is that your structure may be unsound and could cause injuries to family or friends so whatever the permits cost, it’s likely to be a small price to pay for the reassurance it brings.