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All you need to know about build­ing on small sites

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Home - - FRONT PAGE - More McDon­ald Jones Homes, mc­don­ald­joneshomes.com.au

Dis­play homes are tra­di­tion­ally large, spa­cious and open plan. Af­ter all, that is the ap­peal of walk­ing into a new home in a builder’s dis­play vil­lage. While the larger homes ob­vi­ously still play a part in streetscapes across Syd­ney, builders have an­swered the call for more af­ford­able hous­ing with nar­row de­signs, some of which are only 8m wide, de­signed to fit on a 250sq m site. De­spite their small frame, they are not just aimed at cou­ples. In fact, they are de­signed to ac­com­mo­date a grow­ing fam­ily, of­ten fea­tur­ing four bed­rooms, two bath­rooms and open-plan kitchen and liv­ing/din­ing ar­eas. And all this with a back­yard. “The mar­ket is an­swer­ing the need for af­ford­able op­tions,” says Phil Haigh, McDon­ald Jones Homes’ sales di­rec­tor.

But buy­ers still need to be wary, es­pe­cially when de­cid­ing on their block of land, be­cause some­times the cheap­est site can end up cost­ing you more in the long run.

“Small, nar­row blocks should be dead-level sites to make them work as a build­ing site,” says Phil. “Oth­er­wise you will in­evitably be look­ing at ad­di­tional costs.”

Tight, nar­row blocks slop­ing to the rear might be tricky be­cause they can in­crease costs as­so­ci­ated with stormwa­ter and sew­er­age.

Phil says that if you’re buy­ing a block from a de­vel­oper in a mas­ter­planned com­mu­nity, make sure those ser­vices are placed by the de­vel­oper be­fore you sign up, so you don’t end up with another bill to pay.

“On the flip side, blocks fall­ing to the rear can be great be­cause you can get high ceil­ings at the back of the house — of­ten where the liv­ing ar­eas are — which im­proves liv­abil­ity and adds value to the house,” he says.

McDon­ald Jones Homes con­sid­ers any­thing smaller than 12.5m wide as nar­row, with 9m be­ing its small­est op­tion. Any­thing from 10m to 12.5m can ac­com­mo­date a two-storey de­sign and dou­ble garage. Any­thing smaller than 10m would be de­signed with a sin­gle garage.

“We now reg­u­larly build on nar­row blocks and there are a lot of great de­signs on of­fer, but five years ago if you asked me if you could build a new house on a 10m-wide block, I would have laughed,” Phil says.

The Tul­loch 31 by McDon­ald Jones Homes might be less than 9m wide but there’s still plenty of liv­ing space for ev­ery­one.

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