Western Australia’s famously varied landscape means there’s is a diverse range of block options available to those looking to build.
From narrow infill lots through sprawling country blocks, hilly terrain to the east and the desirable coast to the west, the range is vast, and can at times prove challenging for builders.
Factors which can add a layer of complexity to building include steepness or contours on a site, ease of access for materials and equipment, soil make-up and water content and the presence of limestone or granite on a block.
Milford Homes offers both timber-stumped and concreate slab homes, and has been building in the state since 1987.
According to Milford Building and Design Services Manager Peter Harding, client lifestyle ambitions aren’t always conducive to building on an ‘easy’ block of land.
“Building on a sloping site, for example, can be a tricky and costly exercise, but is very rewarding as an end results,” he said.
“Often sloping sites are found in areas which bring sweeping views of all the hills, large rural settings or costal outlooks. In these situations, builder reps often focus on the physical design of the home, as that’s what sells, without consideration for what could be costly earthworks.
“Builders in WA which truly build on stumps are very limited in number, but if you find the right one it can make the job a lot easier.”
In a stumped build, fully treated timber helps to fill the gaps on hilly and challenging terrain, according to Mr. Harding.
“The stumps basically take the place of any earthworks, such as land cuts, landfills, compaction of sand, retaining walls and subsoil drainage,” he said.
“Building with this method allows us to avoid the use of heavy earthmoving equipment, keeps disturbance to the property at an absolute minimum, and as a result, when you compare it with what it would cost to carry traditional WA styles of build on a challenging block, keeps costs down.”
While removing some of the costs when compared with traditional building methods, stumps also have the potential to help homeowners maximise their block.
“Building on stumps on sloping sites brings in the ability to easily capture views, park cars and have storage under the home, keeping more of the property open with useable space,” Mr. Harding said.
“With all our homes including decks, handrails and balustrades, clients can enjoy outdoor living spaces which easily flow from inside the home, all while being elevated above the ground outside.”
When considering buying a block of land Mr Harding said people should consider a range of factors, including access for builders, boundary setback requirements or building envelopes, nearby water tables, flood and bushfire zoning, council waste storage requirements, distance to power and water services and whether uncompacted landfill has been introduced.
Article published in The West Australian, New Homes, words by Jack McGinn.