The Gruen Eco Design blog about how to convert your dream from an energy efficient home into a reality.

Getting A Building Permit

I thought it was time for a little update from us. As usual, things are going slower than we were hoping. I guess that is the price you pay when you have lots of exciting projects to work on, therefore not having enough time to work on your own project. But I don’t want to complain. That’s the way it should be.

Even though it’s moving slowly, we are finalising our drawings for the building permit. Yay!

A lot of things have been completed.

  • Final Engineering has been received. And I am very excited that we don’t need any steel at all in the house, due to our compact and simple layout.
  • Selections for the external floor coverings are finalised.
  • Most of our internal finishes and fixtures have been chosen.
  • Windows and door selections have been fine tuned. Including your yellow front door.
  • We have come up with a nice design for a pergola structure.
  • The passive house calculations are progressing further and are with the certifier now. Luckily it turns out that we only need 2 external blinds, rather than the 5 or 7 we originally thought. Which saves us a lot of money.
  • Energy rating has been completed for the building permit. Will explain more about that shortly.
  • We were able to keep the wall on the boundary for our little studio / tiny home at the back lower than the existing garage wall on the boundary from our neighbours, which means that we do NOT need a report and consent for this. Yay! Saving us time and money.

A bit more about the energy rating. Some of you might wonder why only 8.6 stars? Given that we are building according to the passive house standard and even with the triple glazing?

There are a few reasons for this. For once, our orientation is not that ideal, consequently we don’t have perfect solar access. But even worse, we have 2 internal bathrooms, without natural ventilation. With the energy rating scheme, you do get substantial point deductions for this as the program assumes each time you go into the bathroom you have to turn on the light and the exhaust fan. You can get up to 1 star point deducted just for an internal bathroom. But anyhow, not really relevant for us.

So, you might wonder, why did we get an energy rating done at all?

Even though you can use the passive house calculations, it is all a bit more complicated and can take longer, so we decided to go the easier way and get a rating done. Hoping to not slow down the building permit process.

But, there are still a few more things that need to be done before we can get a building permit:

  • Apply to build over the easement (our carport will be over the easement)
    And we had to wait for the engineering drawings to be completed before we could do this.
  • Finalise the lighting calculations for our home to prove that we use less than 5 watts per square metre.
  • Our neighbours need to sign a protection notice, since we are building a studio onto the one boundary and a carport onto the other.
  • But most importantly, now that the engineering has been completed and our drawings are almost finished we have to get a fixed price from our builder and start working on the contracts.

Without having a signed build contract and the builder’s insurance you cannot get a building permit.

And the last thing, of course, we have to finalise our finance.

But we are getting closer.