Archive for the ‘Town Planning’ Category

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 the difference between a residential and commercial builder.

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

 Step 1

Apart from the obvious, that one builder does residential building and the other does commercial building work, I have outlined below the other differences.

  1. Can a residential builder also build commercial buildings?
  2. Are there different types of commercial builders in Melbourne?
  3. Do residential and commercial builders need to be registered?
  4. Are residential building contract laws the same for commercial builders?

1 – Can a residential builder also build commercial buildings?

Simple answer is NO. But a commercial builder in Melbourne can do a residential project.

 2 – Are there different types of commercial builders in Melbourne?

There are two types of commercial builder’s licenses in Melbourne.

CB-L and CB-UL

Commercial Builder – Limited & commercial builder unlimited.

There are also 3 tiers within the commercial building in Melbourne,

Tier 1 – Big company commercial builders.

Tier 2 – Mid size companies that have the capacity, staffing, knowledge and money to do major projects

Tier 3 – This is the smallest of the companies, usually doing single factory construction to shop fit outs, companies that have limited recourses and cash flow.

 3 – Do residential and commercial builders need to be registered?

Yes, both commercial and residential builders in Melbourne need to be registered with the VBA – Victorian Building Authority.

 4 – Are residential building contract laws the same for commercial builders?

There are big differences to the initial contract between residential and commercial builders. With residential builders in Melbourne, you can get pre-designed contracts for all manner of projects from extensions, to new build’s from your local bunnings, and you simply fill in the spaces where needed. This is good, as it allows for a minimum requirement for your builder and you to make a binding lawful contract that is cost effective and quick.

Where-as, in the commercial side, there is no such pre-made contracts, as the saying goes” the big boys should be able to look after themselves”, This means that commercial builders in Melbourne or designers of the project will generate their own contract specifically for the project, as will the client. This is to ensure that timelines, quality, safety and all other client and legal requirements are meet within the legally biding contract.

How to choose a Builder in Melbourne by their quotes

Friday, April 11th, 2014


Step 1

You would want to have at least 5-6 quotes to assess from.

  1. How long did the builder take to get the quote to you?
  2. Did the builder from Melbourne ask for further detail or information before he quoted?
  3. Does the quote have an estimated figure plus variation costs?
  4. Visit their previous work.

1 – How long did the builder in Melbourne take to get the quote to you?

All builders, no matter how busy they are, will have a system for quoting, either using a program likes kordells or through any other take off system that allows them to use the plans you supplied and estimate your project accurately.

All builders in Melbourne will also have a system on how quotes are processed within the company; some will offer 2-3 days turn around whereas some will take 3-6 weeks to get back to you.

It is important to know before hand what your prospective builder in Melbourne quote timeline is, as this is your first experience with the builder and their abilities to keep timelines, which means if they are late on getting the quote to you, it means that they have no system in place and this should be a red flag.

 2 – Did the builder from Melbourne ask for further detail or information?

This is now another way to access the builder in Melbourne. Most builders will need to speak to you or your designer about the finishing and the PC items. If you get a quote back from a builder in Melbourne that hasn’t made contact or asked about PC items and finishes, this is a big red flag, as the PC items can be as much as a 1/3 of your budget. Some builders in Melbourne will allow for this in a variation cost, which is something to stay well clear off.

 3 – Does the quote have an estimated figure plus variation costs?

A variation cost a cost the builder in Melbourne can not estimate without further information. The only variation cost you would expect the see on a quote is possibly for foundation variation, as it is very difficult to know what is under the ground until you start to dig, unless of course you have done a grid system soil report, but that is way too expensive for most residential projects.

Basically, if you see variation costs in the quote, get them taken out, by either supplying the information the builder in Melbourne needs to amend the quote. Variations are red flag’s for budget blow out’s down the track.

 4 – Visit the builder in Melbourne’s previous work?

Usually you will have 1-2 quotes from the 5-6 that you received that are in your budget range and that you felt comfortable with the builder in Melbourne. The next step, and a very important step is to see their previous work, including where they are working at the moment, this will allow you to see the site as it is run on a day per day process, speak to the current client on how the builder is keeping within budget and timelines. Finally see another of his projects that has been completed, to visually see the finished quality and the clients feedback, as they have been down the road you are about to take with the builder in Melbourne.

How to choose a Builder in Melbourne from their quotes

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014


Step 1

You will need to have all your working drawings, structural engineering, energy reports, soil reports, specifications in order for a builder in Melbourne to quote on your project, if you don’t have these, they will not take the time to give you a quote and it is both a waste of your time and theirs to think otherwise.

  1. Do you have all the documentation required?
  2. Do you want a small or volume builder?
  3. Do you have any recommended builders?
  4. Where do you find your builder?

1 – Do you have all the documentation required?

Your builder in Melbourne will need working drawings, structural engineering, energy reports, soil reports, specifications. These are obtained by your building designer and drafts person. Some builders in Melbourne can also supply these documentation, but you will be paying more for these and have less input than if you went to a building designer and drafts person. An average cost for the documentation is about 2.5% – 5.5% of your total building cost.

 2 – Do you want a small local builder or volume builder in Melbourne?

You will find that a volume builder will usually only do new builds, therefore, if you are doing extensions, renovations, you will only be looking at a local builder in Melbourne. If you are doing a new build, then volume builders offer a very competitive option and they will have show room and show homes and very good system’s in place to ensure that your build starts and finishes on time and with the products you have selected, you can pick and see your products before you buy. There pricing will be competitive and their timelines very good, as they have teams of trades people working on tight schedules. Variations are kept to a minimum as you will have selected all your materials and products before the start of the project.

A local builder in Melbourne will have a very personal approach to your build, as he will usually be the person on-site doing the build, so personality and repour are important, as any complaints or changes you decide to do will be dealt with by him, and you want someone that is approachable and understanding. The quote from a local builder in Melbourne will vary substantially, and that is why you should get a minimum of 5 quotes from local builder in Melbourne.

 3 – Do you have any recommended builders in Melbourne?

This is one of the best ways of selecting a builder in Melbourne. If you know someone that has used this builder in Melbourne in the past and have great things to say about him, this is one of the highest recommendations and should be on the top of your selection process, he may be a little more expensive than some of the other builders in Melbourne quotes, but this maybe worth the comfort of knowing he will do a great job without conflict.


 4 – where do you find a builder in Melbourne?

Recommendations from friends are your first selection, your building designer or draftsperson will also have very good recommendations.

Look at building projects around your area, find out projects that have been built that you liked the finish off, try and speak to the owner of the building and get the builders details and their experience with the builder, and this could be very glowing feedback or very negative feedback. The good thing about this is that you are getting t look at the builder in Melbourne past work, to see if it is of sound quality and to speak to a past client.

Lastly – you can choose a builder from Melbourne
from any other normal process, google search, local papers, Master Builders etc.

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How to choose a Builder in Melbourne by the way the site looks

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014


Look around at builder in Melbourne construction sites; look at what the builder in Melbourne is building, and assess the site yourself.

  1. Is it the building site project similar to your project?
  2. Is the building site clean?
  3. Is there work actually going on at the site or have you noticed over the last few weeks that he site is always closed?
  4. Are there clear safety barriers, portable toilet on site, clear and well label signage, is there lots of building materials stacked up all around the site?
  5. Are there lots of trade’s people milling about or are they all working on a task?

1 – Is the site project similar to your project?

You want to look for a builder in Melbourne that is doing similar projects to what your project is, this means that they are well versed and experienced in your type of project, it also means their trades people are experienced in your type of project. This also means that the builder in Melbourne is more likely to quote and to quote accurately on your project. You want a local builder, as it cuts down on the builders travel time and he is more likely to be on-site, rather than organizing your project from another site. It also means that the trades people and supplies he uses will be local.

 2 – Is the builder in Melbourne site clean?

This has to be one of the most important tell tale signs of a well organized builder in Melbourne, if the site is a mess, then this usually means the builder is not in control of his site, which means he is not in control of his business, which means, he is not in control of your project, and this will cost you time, money and quality.

 3 – Is there work actually going on?

Common complaint that we hear is that the builder in Melbourne started demolishing, and then wasn’t around again for 6 weeks. This is easily assessed, if you’re driving by over a two week period, you would notice minor to significant changes to the project over this time, you would also expect over the two weeks to see activity on the site.

 4 – Is the site well label and secure?

The site should be surrounded with 2m wire fencing. The first thing you want to read is all the signage on the fence, there should be a very clear sign stating safety requirements for entering the site, there should be a clear sign stating who the builder in Melbourne is, registration number, the building surveyor who is overseeing the site and there registration number. Both these signs are minimum and most well managed sites have more than these two signs. These signs are required by law, and if they are not up, it either means the site is run by un-registered builder.

Another issue is poor ordering schedule, if the builder in Melbourne has poor time management; you will notice stacks of building products on-site that are not being used over a period of time. This costs you money, it also leaves the products out in the environment and can create weathering issues to some products, and also creates access and movement issues around the site, but the most important thing is that it welcomes theft.

 5 – are there lots of trades people milling around?

This is a compound issue, it means that either the builder in Melbourne is running behind, or his time management schedule is poor, maybe trades people are waiting on products the builder was suppose to order and forgot. Either way, idle trades people on site is a red flag on poor site management and site control and this will cost you money.

Building In A Bushfire Prone Area

Sunday, April 6th, 2014

Are you building in a bushfire prone area?

Building in a bushfire area requires careful town planning, siting and design. Buildings
must be designed and constructed to minimise the risk of ignition from a bushfire.
Following the recent bushfires in Victoria there are new regulations which involves
the site to have an assessment done which is called a BAL which is a Building Attack
Level which will assess the buildings in terms of construction requirements. The
BAL is used as part of the Building Permit application.
The BAL must be assessed by a Qualified Building Practioner which Fast Track Plans
& Permits Pty Ltd is and is another part of our service. The BAL includes a site plan
and other information such as a report to identify vegetation, slope direction of the
site, access and access to water supplies.
It is our responsibility as the designer to incorporate the appropriate construction
requirements in the house design and work with our Melbourne Building Surveyor to ensure you
obtain your Building Permit.
We charge a flat fee of $300 for a BAL and can have it completed in one day to
ensure you can obtain your building permit.
Call our building design department today to get assistance with your.

Speeding up the Town Planning Process

Sunday, April 6th, 2014

The following principles underpin your town  planning permit process:
• Strategic basis – your proposal  addressing schemes concisely and clearly express a strategic vision and policy basis approach.

• Clear and consistent
 – Standard provisions apply across the State and are clearly expressed, and having your application address these in the form required by council to highlight clear and consistant information.
• Transparent – Rationale for policy, requirements and planning decisions, consents on your appliation are made transparent.
• Third party involvement – Public consultation and engagement by affected people in the formation of town planning schemes, in assessing development and in reviewing decisions.
• Timeliness – An assessment process that does not delay consideration of proposals, and this has been highlighted by councils as the main cause of delays by applications not being submitted fully with all the information required.
• Improvement - Town Planning schemes and processes are regularly reviewed by council, we are aware of these and the impact on your project.
 Single point of assessment – One person coordinates necessary referrals and notification, and determines the application process and follows it through council.

• Tailored assessment
 – Different levels of assessment dependent and independant on complexity and impact of proposal.

• Independent review of decisions
 – Opportunity for town planning permit decisions to be reviewed by an independent body, VCAT.

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.