The great Australian Dream of home ownership doesn’t get any better than when you can build your dream the way you want it – whether that’s doing a renovation, or a new build. And having a “view” is always the sweet bonus we all want.
However, having a view means a sloping block.
There are two types of sloping blocks. One is a block that is higher than the street (upslope) and the second is lower than the street (downslope). Both can offer views & advantages, but both also challenges.
Let’s start with some of the advantages:
- The views: stunning vistas of lakes, valleys, or woodlands/parks etc.
- Natural lighting: Sloping blocks allow unobstructed views which also means lots of natural light and airflow.
- Privacy: Sloping blocks allow you to create private little nooks, or terraces, that are protected from the wind, and from neighbouring eyes.
- Increased landscaping options: Just as with privacy, creating terraces allows you to create “rooms” to wonder through and around. Those rooms not only make the entire space feel larger, but also create micro-climates so you can have specific planting/design corners for a greater variety of plants/uses.
- Reduced/lower purchase price: regardless of views etc. most people know sloping properties are challenging. For this reason, it’s easier to negotiate a substantial price reduction, due to the anticipated cost of working on a sloping block.
Your sloping block’s degree of challenge comes down to:
- Slope gradient
- upslope or downslope
Foundation Costs Increased
Sloped land, with a significant slope, regardless of if the land is sloping upward or downward, requires developing, in preparation for not only the house site itself, but for the additional work for the reinforcement of the foundation, and for drainage considerations.
Depending on the gradient, and other considerations (soil, weather etc.), the development stage can, in extreme sloping blocks, with complex foundation and support structures, be as expensive as the entire remaining house-build. Even moderately sloped sites require more construction materials, building stilts, retaining walls, and specialised solutions for drainage and water waste systems.
DRAINAGE & SEWAGE: Effective, and well-designed drainage systems are crucial when building or renovating on sloping land. With the recent, and ongoing, floods across much of Victoria, having an effective way for excess water to drain away, has never been better demonstrated.
Poor draining solutions can resulting in:
- Streams caused by heavy rainfall
- Build up of water undermining foundations, driveways etc.
The cost of excavation, and of removing excavated materials, is only the beginning. Additional costs, starting with Engineers reports, followed by retaining walls, additional structural reinforcement of foundations, levelling off areas such as driveways, additional costs to ensure drainage and sewage issues are addressed before building starts, as well as higher landscaping costs and ongoing maintenance, means a sloping block, for all its benefits, can be a nightmare financially.
Therefore, having expert advice before you break ground, and ideally before you buy, is the best investment you can make – knowing what something is likely to cost enables you to better negotiate the initial purchase price & will 100% save you heartache later.
At MEC, our engineers are experts in building drainage solutions. We will work you’re your builder, to ensure your beautiful sloping block, with its wonderful views, gives you everything you want, without the financial and emotional headache.
Next month we will continue with Part Two – So you bought a Sloping Block, where we will look at specific things, experts, you should have on your list, before you break ground, and when and who to call in.