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How to add that wow factor to your custom-built dream home

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Homes with a wow factor contain elements that are evocative, inspiring, and even surprising. What gives a home a wow factor? That’s a very difficult question to answer because one person’s wow factor is another person’s flop.

It also depends on your motivation for creating a wow factor. If you’re doing it to impress your visitors, rather than to please yourself you’ll likely take a different approach.

At ZAC Homes we see the wow factor as the unexpected, the thought-provoking ideas that push the boundaries of convention and embrace the freedoms of individuality.

The good news is that creating a wow factor in your new home can be inexpensive. You just need to be creative and imaginative.

It could be created through your choice of building materials like flooring, a feature like a fireplace or artwork, an outlook through a window or door, or even something functional like home automation.

Where to generate ideas

There are so many places to look for inspiration.

Before you get started, think about the overall style of your home, or the style you would like to achieve, because if you want your wow item to stand out you need to know where your predominant style lies.

Start with Internet searches of other homes, and visit the social site Pinterest which has a plethora of design ideas. And don’t overlook interior design magazines which you can buy or borrow from your local library, as well as books on the subject of home design.

Visit open houses to see how other people inject the wow factor, and watch TV programs where houses are spruced up for sale.

If you like to travel, you’ll see plenty of inspiration in exotic locations around the world or even closer to home. Your wow factor might even be created by purchasing a key item of artwork, statuary, furniture, or similar while you’re in a far-flung land.

You don’t have to go too far to gather ideas. You can also find inspiration in nature which could be right outside your back door or in a nearby nature reserve.

And if none of that gets your creative juices flowing you can consult a professional. At ZAC Homes we have our own inspiration on hand with Studio ZAC. It’s our colour studio for ZAC customers, to help them choose the finishes and fixtures to customise their homes, with the guidance of our experienced team. And our team is great at adding the wow factor.

How to stand out from the crowd

There are many ways to stand out from the crowd when designing your new home. The most obvious direction is to create a custom home where you start from scratch with your design.

Custom elements that can help create a wow factor are a grand entrance, a large luxurious master suite, large windows with a spectacular view, or high ceilings with a void above. There is a myriad of elements you can add to a custom-designed home. The trick is to have only a few wow factors in your home because they become less surprising or evocative if you overdo it.

But you don’t have to have a big building budget to create a wow factor. Special elements like statement lighting can be the item in just about any room in the house.

Interior elements like artwork, furniture, soft furnishings, or even paint colour can create a wow moment for you and your guests. Ideally, you want a statement item that is unique or unusual and that’s where your travels come in handy, but it might also be something you find in a second-hand store.

Adding the wow factor that will fit your lifestyle requirements

There is little point in adding a feature to your home if it doesn’t fit your lifestyle, even if it makes your visitors gasp. Like a fireplace, if you live in a tropical zone, or a very large master suite when you have to make all the other bedrooms tiny to accommodate it.

You might also love the idea of an indoor water feature, but you have small children. Obviously, the two are incompatible.

At ZAC Homes, when we guide our clients with their design requirements, we ask all the right questions to help you understand your requirements that will suit your lifestyle now, and your lifestyle as it changes over time. This is particularly important if you’re planning to stay in your brand new home for many years to come.

Build a new home with ZAC Homes with a wow factor

At ZAC Homes you will receive exceptional customer service and help to identify your wow factor. Our team will make the journey of building your new home as fun and exciting as possible. ZAC Homes builds with trust, respect, integrity and pride, which we work hard to deliver to every client. Call us on 1300 350 793 or send us an online enquiry and our team will work with you to design and build your dream home.

How to budget to build a new home

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One of the first key steps you need to undertake when building a new home is preparing a budget. How you go about this will depend on your particular situation.

The first way to set your budget is to estimate the maximum you can afford by looking at your current finances, future earnings, borrowing capacity, and more.

Or you may be in a comfortable financial situation where you can identify the attributes of your dream home and then calculate how much it will cost you to build.

Either way, you never want to start a building project without knowing the costs involved.

Should you look at house designs first or buy the land first?

The typical way that most would-be homeowners choose for their new building project is to buy the land first and then choose a building design. Recently, at ZAC Homes we’re seeing more customers looking through our display homes at Marsden Park and Box Hill before they’ve secured a site.

There are no rules that dictate in which order you undertake a home building project, but it can be difficult to make a firm selection until you know the land size, aspect, block slope, and more.

However, by looking at home designs and talking to a builder like ZAC Homes you can identify a preferred design look and inclusion level and receive a price estimate to include in your budget.

Then once you’ve acquired land you can return and determine which homes will fit on your block.

What are the different building options?

Once you’ve determined a rough budget for your build you can start considering your options.

The fastest option for most people is usually a project home, and some people like the ease of this route. You choose the standard home designs you like best, and you make minimal changes to it.

On the other end of the scale is hiring an architect and a builder. This is typically the most expensive option but also usually is the one with the most flexibility to create a unique design.

Ultimately you need to decide on a ballpark cost and identify your requirements. The option you choose will determine how many items you need to include in your budget.

Project home

Project homes are designed to make the building process easier for customers, with a range of off-the-shelf designs. They are generally good value for money but may not suit your block or your lifestyle perfectly.

On the plus side, it is much easier to estimate the budget particularly if you opt for a house and land package where you have just one final price. There will still be other parts of your budget to consider like loan costs, insurance, interest repayments, and items that aren’t included like landscaping.

At ZAC Homes, we call this Fast track where you choose an off-the-plan design, with minimal changes. It’s the fastest path to tender with the quickest turnaround times.

Architect and builder

If you choose to go with an architect and builder, you will have a design that is a one-off that is tailored to suit your site and your brief. This gives you and your family unlimited choice of style or aesthetic expression.

You will also have a home that is designed to optimise your site’s orientation to the sun, capitalise on views and enhance privacy. Architects are also skilled at incorporating specific requirements such as environmentally friendly design. On the flip side, it is the most expensive option, involves a lot more involvement from you and will likely take the longest to complete.

For this option, you’ll need to budget for the architect’s design fees, changes, supervision and more. You’ll also need to include land costs which means the purchase of the land as well as any site preparation costs and demolition. The next step is approvals which has several costs associated and then there are the building costs.

A competent builder should be able to provide a fixed price for your build, so you don’t need to break it down. However, you will also have to factor in landscaping, driveways, paving, outdoor areas, and fencing.

Custom builder

There is, however, a third option which involves hiring a building company like ZAC Homes to create a custom home. In this case, the design and build are part of the same package and handled by an expert team with nearly 30 years’ building experience.

It is a good way to know what the final costs will be from the start while building a new home designed specifically for your site and needs. This method will also save time and money compared to the architect and builder option.

If you’re demolishing your existing home, you’ll also need to include demolition and site preparation costs. For a lot of builders, this process is handled by an external company that you will have to organise. With ZAC Homes though, this process is handled by our specialised team and will be included in the quote.

The custom home option with ZAC Homes gives you the flexibility and uniqueness of an architecturally designed home, with the efficiency and experience if a project home builder.

Build a new home with ZAC Homes

At ZAC Homes you will receive exceptional customer service, and our team will make the journey of building your new home as fun and exciting as possible.ZAC Homes builds with trust, respect, integrity and pride, which we work hard to deliver to every client. Call us on 1300 350 793 or send us an online enquiry and our team will work with you to design and build your dream home.

What is a custom-designed home?

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A ZAC Homes house that is custom designed

In the world of home building, custom design is a term that some in the industry use to describe just about any home with a minor adjustment to the standard designs on offer. In truth, the words custom design mean that something is a unique design, a one-off, that is different from anything else available.

However, in reality when building homes, we usually borrow from existing designs and ideas. This occurs even if you use an architect to design your dream home.

At ZAC Homes, we consider custom designed homes to be those that are designed from scratch to suit the client’s requirements. We call this service ‘Tailored Approach’.

We also consider our ‘My Style’ service, where we use our existing designs and modify them to suit your requirements to be customised too. This includes elements of custom and off-the-shelf design and can save time and money. The great part about building a new home is you have many choices, and you decide how much ‘custom design’ you want to apply to your dream home. Here is an outline of some of your options:

Should I hire an architect?

Bespoke homes built by architects are highly sought-after due to their uniqueness. Highly-trained architects put together drawings, plans and renderings of your project. Some will also help with budgets, council approvals, hiring consultants, and even supervising the build. But you’ll also need to hire a builder.

When hiring an architect, you need to do research into their past projects and experience and understand their design style. If you’re looking to build a bespoke home, with experimental or difficult design features or fittings, it may be best for you to consult an architect. But, if you’re looking for a well-designed, functional and more conventional home you may be better with a builder who offers custom designs. Not only will they handle your whole build from start to finish, but they’ll also be more affordable.

Custom home with a builder

Some builders also offer design services. At ZAC Homes if you want full flexibility with the design of your new home then you can work with our experienced in-house designers to craft a design that is perfect for your lifestyle and block.

Our designers will work with you and your family to make your vision for your new home come to life.

You will have a much greater choice of fittings and fixtures based on what suits the design.

Having complete flexibility also allows you to include sustainability as a key design element. There are many ways a home can be sustainable including the materials used, the design, the inclusions, and more.

Choosing a custom design home will take longer, you’ll have more decisions to make, and it will generally be more expensive, but you’ll have a one-off home to suit your needs. Our designers can work with almost any site, although an undulating site will require careful and considered design, suitable construction techniques and most likely increased costs.

Modify an existing design

If you’d prefer to have some of the advantages of an existing design but make it your own, then ‘My Style’ could be the best option.

You can choose one of the many ZAC Homes designs and modify it to suit your family’s lifestyle, block and budget.

There are many ways you can customise the standard plans and make them stand out from the crowd.

You can make small changes like the addition of special light fittings, an island bench in the kitchen, or a butler’s pantry.

You could also make larger changes like an altered floor plan to create extra living space. If the standard floor plan doesn’t quite fit your needs, we’re happy to work with you to alter the floor plan with minimal structural changes to the overall design.

You could consider enclosing part of an open-plan living space to create an extra room to work from home. Sliding doors can be a great option because you can leave them open to get the open-plan feel most of the time and then only close them when you need.

Perhaps add a skylight to your new home for a little bit of extra natural light, or some additional windows or different size windows depending on the aspect of your new home. A popular way to distinguish your home from a neighbourhood of similar new homes is to change the façade. You can also experiment with different paint colours on the front door or a custom door handle.

Build a new custom home with ZAC Homes

Whether you choose My Style or our Tailored Approach, you will receive exceptional customer service, and the ZAC Homes team will make the journey of building your new home as fun and exciting as possible.

ZAC Homes builds with trust, respect, integrity and pride, which we work hard to deliver to every client. Call us on 1300 350 793 or send us an online enquiry and our team will work with you to design and build your dream home.

What to look for when choosing your builder

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Hiring the right builder is one of the most important decisions you’ll make when building a dream home for you and your family. It’s something that takes time, energy and dedication to get right.

It’s not something you can rush or solve with one phone call. There are many formal and informal checks you can undertake to ensure you find the right builder or building company for your project, whether it be a knock down rebuild, duplex, custom home, or a standard project home.

Check their past work

Before you hunt down the right builder, you must have some idea about the type and style of home you’re wanting to build, and then find a builder with the skills that best align with your plans.

It is important to find a builder who has existing home designs that you favour or has built similar dwellings in the past. You don’t have to get caught up in the minor details of colours and exact layout but if you’re keen on a Hamptons-look home and the builder specialises in ultra-modern homes you should probably look elsewhere.

Request references

All reputable builders will have the names of past clients who are happy to speak to you. You’ll learn a lot about a builder/building company by speaking to past clients.

Try finding reviews online of your builder but be wary of online reviews and use these only as a supplementary source of referral.

Ask questions of previous clients like:

  • How quickly did the builder respond to questions?
  • Were you kept fully informed at every stage?
  • Did the builder keep to the budget and timeline that was originally promised and if not, why not?
  • How did they handle unexpected problems if any arose?

If possible, visit and inspect past builds, or if they have them, display homes.

Check licences and insurance

You should never assume that a builder is fully licenced and insured. It’s up to you to check by asking them to provide the necessary proof or for you to run your own checks.

In NSW, a builder who undertakes works of more than $5,000 must have a licence, but there are different categories of licence. Several insurances are also required including public liability insurance, workers compensation insurance, and home building compensation.

A reputable builder like ZAC Homes will happily provide all the necessary details and advice about this critical area. We’ve worked with the various industry bodies and regulators over many years to ensure we are always covered to protect your dream home build and our business.

Assess how they communicate

It’s difficult to fully assess how a builder might communicate during the build process, but even in the early dealings with them, you’ll get a feeling for how responsive they are to questions, and whether they take the time to talk things through with you, and what communication channel they favour.

A reputable building company will respond right from the beginning of your interaction. This responsiveness indicates that they invest in their team to ensure that customers and their experience are at the forefront of their business.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does the builder understand my concerns?
  • Have they helped me work out what’s important in terms of design and features?
  • How quickly do they respond to my enquiries or questions?

Don’t rely on price alone

If you get several quotes from builders don’t judge them only on cost. Committing to building a new home is a huge decision and you need to be happy with what they are providing, not focused just on the cost. It’s likely that if you’re looking at two or three quotes, they have included and excluded certain items so it’s very hard to compare them. At ZAC Homes we can provide a fixed price tender if requested that provides peace of mind, no hidden costs, and no surprises.

Consider what they offer

Some builders, like ZAC Homes, will offer services right from the rezoning and demolition to the completion of your new home. Other builders will only build the new home, so you will need to organise all the approvals and demolition if your project is a knock down rebuild.

Home building companies will also vary in what they offer as far as custom builds. Some offer only project homes built to match the designs they provide with very little variation.

ZAC Homes has three different levels of building :

  • Fast Track – off-the-plan design
  • My Style – modify an existing design
  • Tailored approach – custom design with complete flexibility.

Build a new custom home with ZAC Homes

ZAC Homes builds with trust, respect, integrity, and pride, which we work hard to deliver to every client. Call us on 1300 350 793 or send us an online enquiry and our team will work with you to design and build your dream home.

How to build a dream home that will feel like a resort

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Landscaping shot of firepit

During the COVID pandemic, we all learnt to spend more time at home and cancelled our holiday plans. For many of us, we’ve continued the habit, and not only work from home more often, we spend more leisure time at home too.

When you build your dream home with a building company like ZAC Homes you can incorporate some luxury items to make your home feel like a resort, but they need not be expensive.

It doesn’t mean you’ll never go on holiday again, but it ensures that when you are at home you’ll feel like you’re in your own private oasis, and can relax and put your feet up.

Here are our tips to make your new or existing home feel like a holiday resort.

Make your bathrooms luxurious

Imagine you’re staying at your favourite hotel or resort and give your bathroom a luxurious look with a makeover or include some special touches in your new home design.

Items that have that luxury feel include a rain shower, freestanding bath, double sinks and underfloor heating.

Complement these bathroom fixtures with new good quality, fluffy towels and toiletries and put all the clutter away for a clean look – just like a hotel.

You could even put out an attractive container with extra amenities your family loves to use like bath bombs, face masks, bath salts, and scented shower gels.

Your bedroom is your oasis

The master suite of your home is your own luxurious oasis, where you can enjoy some peace and quiet. Switch off from work, family responsibilities and create a room you’ll love to be in.

Keep the furnishings minimal and dress up the space with luxurious bed linen, throw rugs, pillows and more. If you have room include a comfortable chair where you can relax.

The same theme can be carried into your walk-in-wardrobe and ensuite bathroom, just like it would in a hotel.

Lighting sets the mood

Lighting throughout your home will help set the mood and help you create luxurious and relaxing areas. Beautiful hotel rooms are never lit by fluorescent utility lights, so your resort-like home shouldn’t be either.

Use lamps, pendant lights, and down-lights to establish zones within your home, as well as create the mood.

Of course, you’ll still need practical lighting throughout the utility areas of your home, but it doesn’t need to be ugly and stark.

Add some flair with indoor plants

Adding indoor plants and greenery to your home interior is the easiest and most affordable way to instantly refresh a room and instil a sense of tranquillity.

To instantly transport you and your family to your favourite island holiday destination, fill your home with palms and tropical plants. Or to imitate a Mediterranean villa add a potted olive tree to the corner of your living room.

Focus on your outdoor zones

Spending time outdoors relaxing will instantly make you feel like you’re on holiday. Rattan furniture, a hammock, and a swimming pool will transport you to a Balinese villa without even leaving home.

And if you want to spend time outdoors in winter, install a fire pit to enjoy a relaxing evening with family and friends in your own backyard.

A beautiful, tranquil garden can also play a role in making your home feel resort-like. A tropical corner with a relaxing fountain will help you forget all your troubles by switching off.

Activities in your own luxury resort

Now that you’ve added all these luxury touches you need to enjoy them. Here are our suggestions for kicking back and relaxing in your own home.

Swim in your pool

If you’re lucky enough to have a pool, take the day off to lay by the pool and swim. Prepare some yummy snacks, catch up on your reading, and chill out.

Have a spa day

It’s not quite the same as pampering at a real spa, but you can still unwind and treat yourself to a home spa. Prepare all the things you’ll need in advance for a soothing facial, manicure and pedicure, and soak in the bath. Complement this with some soothing lotion and scented candles to set the mood in your own spa day.

Read a book

In our busy lives, we often don’t make time to read for pleasure. Put some time aside, find a comfortable zone in your home, and read that book you’ve been meaning to devour.

Have a family games night

Get your whole family to switch off from their devices and enjoy each other’s company with a games night. Dust off your favourite family games – Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, Chess, or even card games.

Turn your phone off

Pretend you’re on holiday and switch off your phone and other devices. Find a peaceful spot within your home and garden and enjoy the beautiful things around you like the birds in your backyard, tranquil décor, or the sound of running water.

Build a new custom home with ZAC Homes

The team at ZAC Homes are knock down rebuild specialists and can help you build your custom-designed home with luxury features, that fits your budget. ZAC Homes builds with trust, respect, integrity and pride, which we work hard to deliver to every client. Call us on 1300 350 793 or send us an online enquiry and our team will work with you to design and build your dream home.

Greenfield land shortage in Sydney leads to knock down rebuild growth

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In a report released last year, the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) said that the Greater Sydney Megaregion (from the Illawarra to the Hunter) is facing a severe shortage of greenfield land. It is predicted that the problem will blow out to an undersupply of more than 25,600 sites by 2030.

The UDIA (NSW) report estimated that demand for new homes across the Greater Sydney Megaregion will run at around 14,000 a year through to mid-2029.

As well as a shortage of supply, lot sizes in Sydney have gradually decreased over the past decade. The latest data from the UDIA has revealed greenfield median lot sizes have dropped in Sydney from an average of 520 square metres per block in 2009 to 362 square metres in 2021. Unsurprisingly, home demolition numbers continue to grow to offset the shortage. ABS data reveals that in the five years from the September 2016 quarter to the June 2021 quarter, there were 33,192 dwellings approved to be demolished across NSW.

What to look for when purchasing a knock down rebuild

Land prices in established suburbs have cooled a little in recent months but will continue to increase over the long run so demolishing an old house and building a new home is a good investment in the long term.

But before you leap in and buy an older home in an established suburb for a knock down rebuild project you need to do your homework.

Firstly, there are many regulations to consider, covering areas such as floods, bushfires, heritage features, soil composition and hydraulic design. At ZAC Homes we work with our clients from the beginning to guide them from land purchase right through to final construction. Here are a few tips to get you started:

Consider location carefully

The location of your property should be high on your list of important considerations when purchasing. Will the area suit your lifestyle and that of your family as they evolve? You need to consider things like proximity to transport and infrastructure, your workplace, schools, shops, and other services and amenities. Are you moving too far away from family and friends?

Simple works best

When it comes to blocks of land, the simpler the better from a cost and access point of view.

That awkward steep block on a busy road might seem like a bargain, but it will be costly to build your dream home on, and it will be difficult to access when building and living in down the track.

At ZAC Homes we are highly experienced in building homes on sloping blocks that require a customised design. We focus on helping clients design a house to respond to the natural topography of the site. We minimise the use of excavation and fill where possible to preserve natural drainage patterns and prevent soil erosion. Just be aware that building on a sloping block will present more challenges.

Consider orientation and outlook

Not every block of land in an existing suburban location will have a good orientation and outlook. When you’re considering a purchase, look at the sun’s movement and how it will move throughout your new home at various times of the day.

You may be able to change the orientation and outlook from the current dwelling that you will be demolishing, but there will be restrictions on setbacks so take this into consideration. Careful placement of your new dream home will also optimise your views from different areas of the house.

Privacy matters

Take your future privacy into consideration as well. Before you place that bid at auction, take a good look around the existing dwelling and its neighbours to ensure you will be able to achieve the level of privacy you and your family desire. Avoid having your windows looking directly into neighbouring properties, and even if it is not an issue currently, it could become one down the track if a new home is built next door.

Save money and stress with a knock down rebuild specialist

The team at ZAC Homes are knock down rebuild specialists and regardless of whether your block is sloped, narrow, above or below the road, our design team will work with you to create a contemporary design that fits your budget. ZAC Homes builds with trust, respect, integrity and pride, which we work hard to deliver to every client. Call us on 1300 350 793 or send us an online enquiry and our team will work with you to design and build your dream home.

Knock down rebuild is more affordable than you might expect

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The greatest benefit of demolishing your existing home and building a new home on your current block is that you get to stay in the community you know and love.

You and your family get to stay in the neighbourhood that you already feel comfortable in. You already know all the local shops, local amenities, nearby schools, parks and much more. Your kids won’t need to change schools, you will already know how long your work commute will take, you can stay with your favourite hairdresser, doctor, café, restaurants and more. You also get a brand-new home with modern design features and suitable building materials; in a location you already know.

Cost of demolishing your home

A Knock Down Rebuild project can be significantly cheaper than having to do multiple major renovations to get the home you want. While you may think it’s cheaper in the short-term by splitting the renovations up and working from room to room, in may not turn out so cost-effective in the long run. This is because renovating can have many unknown costs that may arise throughout the building process

That doesn’t mean building a new home is not a huge project, but with the right building company, it can be made easier and proceed without any major issues.

Like any building project, there are some significant costs associated with acquiring a suitable block of land, clearing the block, and then building the new home. From our experience at ZAC Homes, through undertaking many knock down rebuild projects for families all over Sydney, here are a few key things that will impact the cost of your dream home.

Buying the existing home

If you’re lucky enough to have inherited a family home or you already live in a location you love, then you can skip the step of buying an existing dwelling.

But, if you don’t already own a home in a location where you’d love to build your dream home, then your first step with your knock down rebuild project is to buy an existing property.

Ideally, you’ll find a rundown house in a location that you and your family love and pay land value for it, rather than buying a house in great condition. It might mean that you need to keep an eye on the locations you like for some time before the right opportunity at the right price comes on to the market. Just be sure that before you bid on that new property you undertake the necessary checks to ensure you can demolish the house and build the type of new home you want for your family.

Permits

Once you’ve got the land, the first step is to obtain the necessary permits to demolish the existing dwelling and build a brand new home. Your first point of call will probably be your local council, and depending on the zoning of your land, and the home you want to build, you may be able to obtain permission via the Complying Development system.

Demolition

From our experience at ZAC Homes, demolition usually costs about $15,000 to $25,000 depending on what material the existing house is and if asbestos removal is required.

The cost and complexity of your demolition will depend on several factors including the size of your old dwelling, the materials it is constructed from, and the ease of access to the site. Clearly, a large house made of brick or concrete is going to be harder and take longer to demolish than a small fibro house. Additionally, there will likely be house foundations to remove, outdoor zones like patios, pools and gardens to be dug up to make room for your brand new home.

Site costs

Generally speaking the flatter, the block of land, the lower the costs involved in preparing the site to build a new home. But building on a sloping block can still be accomplished with the right level of planning. At ZAC Homes, we have plenty of experience building homes on sloping blocks that require a customised design.

At ZAC Homes we focus on helping clients design a house to respond to the natural topography of the site. We minimise the use of excavation and fill where possible to preserve natural drainage patterns and prevent soil erosion. The site preparation and costs can include site topography & aspect, soil testing, site survey, vegetation, service connections, site access, and more.

Save money and stress with an experienced builder

By going with a builder like ZAC Homes with 30 years of experience and thousands of new homes completed on time and on budget, you will save money.

One of our key strengths is duplex homes like our popular Daintree design. We have built over 300 duplex homes and are experts in size, position and house style. We provide expert advice to get the most value out of your investment and your block.

Unlike many builders, we take care of everything from design, approvals, demolition (if required) and construction.

The team at ZAC Homes are knock down rebuild specialists and regardless of your block being sloped, narrow, above or below the road, our design team will work with you to create a contemporary design that fits your budget. ZAC Homes builds with trust, respect, integrity and pride, which we work hard to deliver to every client. Call us on 1300 350 793 or send us an online enquiry and our team will work with you to design and build your dream home.

What’s involved in demolishing my existing house?

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Once you’ve decided that you’re going to knock down your existing house and build a brand new home on the same land, the first major task is to demolish your old place.

The cost and complexity of your demolition will depend on several factors including the size of your old dwelling, the materials it is constructed from, and the ease of access to the site. Clearly, a large house made of brick or concrete is going to be harder and take longer to demolish than a small fibro house.

Additionally, there will likely be house foundations to remove, outdoor zones like patios, pools and gardens to be dug up to make room for your brand new home. But before you grab that sledge hammer you need to understand the demolition process. ZAC Homes handles the demolition on behalf of our clients but many building companies will require you to arrange the demolition yourself. Either way, you need to know the requirements.

Step-by-step demolition

In this article, we’re assuming that you’ve already checked that your house can be demolished and replaced with a brand new home.

The first step in the demolition process is to obtain the necessary permits. Then you need to arrange for the removal of services, vegetation, and more. Once the site is safe the demolition crew can move in. At ZAC Homes we arrange for the demolition to take place and include that in the contract, however, most builders will not arrange demolition on your behalf. They will usually recommend some reputable companies you can hire yourself. We recommend that you use a professional demolition crew rather than attempting the job yourself.

Obtaining permits

For the demolition of your house to proceed, you’ll need either a Complying Development Certificate (CDC) approval or a Development Application (DA).

In most cases a Demolition Application can be approved under Complying Development so it can be done directly through a Private Certifier negating the need to go through the local council. This is assuming the work complies with NSW Exempt & Complying Development Codes 2008 and the Section 10.7 Certificate that applies to your property stipulates demolition can be approved under Complying Development.

A Section 10.7 Planning Certificate is issued by your local council and gives information on the development potential of a specific block of land including any planning restrictions that apply to the land as at the date of issue. This includes the zoning of the property and state and local planning controls.

All applications must be lodged via the NSW Planning portal www.planningportal.com.au

If a Development Application is required, it is applied for via your Local Council and rules vary.

The CDC process generally takes around 21 days in total. During this time, as property owner you are required to hand out letters to neighbouring properties letting them know that demolition work will be taking place. The letters must be distributed at least seven days before demolition starts. Additionally, any trees that need to be removed from your property will need separate approval from the council if they are eight metres or taller or are noted as a significant tree to your council area.

Disconnect and remove existing services

An essential step is to arrange to have your utilities removed before your house is demolished. This needs to be arranged well in advance. The water, electricity, Internet and gas supply will need to be removed from the property, including all pipes and meters. This allows builders to start from a blank slate, without having to worry about old systems interfering with construction work.

Building demolition

The removal of an existing house involves deconstruction and demolition. Deconstruction is the selective dismantling of a structure to preserve its components for recycling, re-purposing, and waste management. As it is usually done by hand, it is more labour-intensive, time-consuming, and expensive.

Deconstruction also includes the removal of hazardous materials such as asbestos which is governed by strict removal and disposal requirements. After hazardous and recyclable materials have been removed, mechanical demolition can begin. In short, the house is removed using excavators and other heavy equipment which is the most efficient and cost-effective way to complete home demolition. This stage of the demolition is relatively quick with the block cleared in a matter of a few days, and the waste removed to an appropriate waste management facility.

Demolition Clearance Certificate

Once the demolition is complete and the land is clear you will need a Demolition Clearance Certificate. This certificate is essential to prove that your block of land is safe, clean and free of any asbestos, all of which are necessary criteria before the construction of your brand new home can commence.

How can ZAC Homes assist with your demolition?

At ZAC Homes, we take care of everything from design, approvals, demolition (if required) and construction.  ZAC Homes builds with trust, respect, integrity and pride, which we work hard to deliver to every client. Call us on 1300 350 793 or send us an online enquiry and our team will work with you to design and build your dream home.

How do I know if I can build a duplex on my land?

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Before you consider building a duplex on your existing land or buy land to build a duplex you need to do your homework to fully understand where you can and cannot build.

Not so long ago, the regulations varied a great deal from Council to Council but in 2018 a new code was introduced by the NSW Government that makes it easier to understand the requirement to build a duplex, and provide uniform rules for the entire state.

It is also possible to have land rezoned but this can be a protracted and costly exercise so ideally, you’ll buy an existing block where a duplex is already allowed. Either way, ZAC Homes assists clients with permits and rezoning applications to make it easier for you. We understand all the regulations and can guide you through the process.

What is a duplex?

In simple terms, a duplex construction is two homes built on the same block of land that share a common wall. The two dwellings can either share one land title and owner, or can be subdivided into separate titles so they can be owned and sold separately.

Building a duplex on your current land can be an excellent investment or a great multi-generation home, but there are several things to consider before deciding whether it’s a great option for you and your family.

What are the land requirements to build a duplex in NSW?

On 1 July 2020, the NSW Government renamed its existing Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code to the Low Rise Housing Diversity Code (LRHDC) to reflect the diverse housing choices it provides. The Code applies to all local government areas in NSW.

The LRHDC allows dual occupancies to be approved through the fast-tracked Complying Development process.

The Code applies to properties zoned R1, R2, R3 and RU5 across NSW, where this type of housing is already permitted under a council’s Local Environmental Plan (LEP).

Under the code, blocks must be either 400 square metres or the minimum lot size required by the council, whichever is greater. As well, blocks need to be a minimum of 15 metres wide, or 12 metres wide where the required car parking is provided at the rear or accessed by a secondary road.

For a duplex, the dwellings must be located side-by-side and each dwelling must have a frontage to a public road. No dwelling can be located behind another dwelling on the same lot except on a corner or a parallel road where each dwelling fronts a different road.

Dwellings must be no higher than 8.5 metres and no more than two storeys.

There are also several setback requirements for both primary and secondary roads, and adjoining properties. The minimum side setback is 0.9 metres.

The code requires each dwelling to be a minimum of five metres wide and off-street parking must also be provided for at least one car per dwelling.

Can my land be rezoned for a duplex?

The first step is to consult your local council. Councils produce detailed strategic plans, showing what areas and suburbs are set to be rezoned so check that first.

If that doesn’t apply to your situation then generally if you want to build, extend, subdivide or change the use of your land you will need to lodge a development application (DA) with the local council.

Keep in mind that rezoning a property can be a difficult and costly process. There are public hearings and there are no guarantees that your DA application will be approved.

The NSW Government is currently reviewing the process and aims to make it easier and quicker to apply for rezoning with the new rules coming into play by 2023.

The reforms aim to cut the time it takes to process a proposal to change planning rules by a third and establish an appeals pathway for planning proposals to overcome delays and progress rezonings that are consistent with strategic plans.

Can I subdivide my duplex?

As mentioned previously, a duplex can be either two homes that share one land title and owner or can be subdivided into separate titles so they can be owned and sold separately.

It can be subdivided in certain circumstances and in particular local government areas with certain zoning. Factors like the lot size and width, privacy between the two dwellings, and some environmental constraints like stormwater drainage, are taken into consideration.

As well there are floor area limitations like floor space ratios, and parking rules governing how many parking spaces are provided.

How can ZAC Homes assist with zoning for my duplex?

When building a Duplex with ZAC, everything is taken care of. We have facilitated over 300 duplex builds and are experts in size, position and house style. We can advise on the best way to get the most value out of your investment and your block.

We take care of everything from design, approvals, demolition (if required) and construction. 

ZAC Homes builds with trust, respect, integrity and pride, which we work hard to deliver to every client. Call us on 1300 350 793 or send us an online enquiry and our team will work with you to design and build your dream home.

Your knock down rebuild checklist

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Residential land being prepared

Undertaking a knock down rebuild project where you demolish your old house and build a brand new home, is a big undertaking. There are a number of key things you need to deal with to ensure your building project runs smoothly and results in your dream home.

There are plenty of benefits to staying in the same location that you know and love, while upgrading your home. It means you and your family can continue to enjoy your neighbourhood, stay at the same schools, frequent the same local shops and services, and keep close to friends.

One of the best parts of a knock down rebuild project rather than a renovation is that you are given a blank canvas. You and your family can decide how many rooms you need, how they should be laid out, what you’d like the exterior to look like, what fixtures and fittings you’d like, and much more. To help guide you through the knock down rebuild process here is our basic checklist to get you started.

Get to know your block

There is a lot more to your block of land than meets the eye. Every block of land is governed by planning regulations, easements, setback requirements, and drainage essentials.

Some home owners will undertake this research themselves, but if you sign with a builder like ZAC Homes we’ll help guide you through this process.

Planning regulations

The starting point for any suburban building project in Australia is to establish what you are permitted to build on your block of land. You need to check that your current house can be demolished and replaced, as some dwellings have heritage listings or overlays which prevent you from demolishing.

You also need to know the zoning of your area to ensure you can build a new home that will suit your requirements, particularly if you’re thinking about a duplex home on a block that currently has a single dwelling.

The first step should be to visit the websites of your local council and relevant state authorities like Services NSW. Two key measurements of your block of land are the depth and frontage. These dimensions will determine the size and shape of any new dwelling.

Setbacks and easements

When you undertake your research, you’ll also find that there are restrictions about how close you can build to the boundary, how much of the land can be utilised for buildings, and what setback you are required to meet.

In most established areas, your local council will require the setback of the principal frontage of your home to be the average of both of your neighbours’ houses. There may also be minimum side and rear setbacks to be met. However, there are exceptions and if you wish to go further forward or back on the block, you’ll need to obtain approval. The existence of easements on your land may also impact where on the block you can build. The legal definition of an easement is “the right to cross or otherwise use a portion of someone else’s land.” Effectively it means you cannot build over that portion or easement of land, commonly because it contains essential services like water or electricity facilities.

Choosing your design

Only once you fully understand your block and whether you can demolish your existing home can you start on the fun stage of choosing a design.

At this stage, you may start speaking to builders, visit display homes, and undertake research. Volume builders like ZAC Homes are usually the most affordable option, and we will walk you through the entire process, with many years of experience with knock down rebuild projects.

Some people want to move quickly and build a home just like the display, while others want to develop their own custom design.

That’s why at ZAC Homes we divide our services into three distinct types:

Fast Track – off-the-plan design with minimal changes

My Style – modifying an existing design

Tailored Approach – custom design with complete flexibility

When considering design, you and your family need to decide on your requirements like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, what size living areas you require, and more. Think about how you use your current home – do you work from home? Do you like to entertain? You should also consider things like how long you plan to live there.

Arrange the demolition

If you decide to build with ZAC Homes, we will help you arrange the demolition of your old home and incorporate that into the contract.

Other builders might prefer you to organise your own demolition but can recommend demolition experts.

Either way, there are a few important things to remember including a demolition permit from your council. You’ll also need temporary accommodation for you and your family to live in until your new home is complete.

Power supply & utilities

An essential step is to arrange to have your utilities removed before your house is demolished. This needs to be arranged well in advance. The water, electricity, Internet and gas supply will need to be removed from the property, including all pipes and meters. This allows builders to start from a blank slate, without having to worry about old systems interfering with construction work.

Site access

For both demolition and construction, you will need to understand how accessible your block is. The access to your block from the street needs to be considered as well as the size of roads, schools in the area, overhead power lines and the requirement for traffic management.

Knock down rebuild with ZAC Homes

At ZAC Homes, we have many years of experience advising hundreds of clients on the best knock down rebuild options.

We enjoy taking on a challenge and helping families build their new home in their current neighbourhood.

ZAC Homes builds with trust, respect, integrity and pride, which we work hard to deliver to every client. Call us on 1300 350 793 or send us an online enquiry and our team will work with you to design and build your dream home.