We are currently working on a new SIPS passive house in Blackburn at the most beautiful location. Overlooking a park and with lots of amazing gum trees.

While these trees do look great and create a great character. They had also lots of other implications. The site has a Significant Landscape Overlay. Thus we must stay at least 4 metres away from all significant trees. 

This means to avoid a planning permit we had to make sure we designed our home around the trees. All up a total of 13 trees!!!

The clients wanted to build a single storey home. And we had tried a few options. But in order to fit in the rooms they were after we would have needed a planning permit. 

A planning permit can take anywhere between 6 – 12 months. Even longer, if your neighbours object and take you to VCAT. But also the whole process can cost a lot of money. You can be out of pocket between $3,000 – $10,000.

So, we changed tactic. And started working on a double storey home.

Once we had the design sorted, we’ve organised a written confirmation from council. Making sure that we do not need a planning permit. And then we started talking with builders. 

Our clients had some discussions with a few builders and have now settled on one. 

At this stage you don’t have to sign up on the full Construction. 

Our clients usually engage the builder more as a consultant.

And getting a builder on board now is a game changer.

We had an amazing meeting with our structural engineer and the builder. Where we discussed the structure of the house. We looked at the 3d model. We discussed the different options on building the house. Simple but effective changes.

And we agreed on the simplest and most cost-effective options for the footings. How to handle the flooring and how to handle works within the tree protection zones. 

We’ve also talked about the most cost-effective options for the balcony. And roofing over the alfresco.

And how best to sort the floating stairs.

As part of this we also looked at the roof. Where would the beams be? How big would they need to be? How to support them? Are there better or easier options?

We’ve realised that we could simplify the entire roof structure big time. With a very simple but effective small change.

Giving the house a much cleaner look. But also making the internal raked ceilings look much nicer. 

But the best thing. By doing this we now don’t need a middle post or support anymore for the roof. Meaning we can open up the entire room. By using a beautiful exposed truss that will be the hero of the living area. 

Not only will the house be much easier to build, we chopped thousands of dollars off the build. Win-Win.


If you want to know more about our process and how to get a builder on board for your home, please get in touch.

Photo By:  Arc Studio Inc