How to start planning building on empty land?
September 23, 2012 9:08 PM   Subscribe

How do I get started building a small house on my (potentially difficultly zoned) empty land on the south coast of NSW?

My sister and I inherited a bit of land from an aunt - we had no idea she owned it before she died. Since that time more than 10 years ago the property has sat empty, costing us a bit in council rates and land taxes each year. I now have the financial opportunity to do something with it, but I have no idea how to start. Who do I contact to get the ball rolling?

Bottom-up approach: Have ...someone... look at the zoning etc. and do a physical survey of the property to see what is possible. Who is this person?

Top-down approach: I have a basic building idea in my head, should I find an architect who can then refer me on (or organise it themselves) to the right people to to the initial investigations?

To complicate things, when we look at the Shoalhaven Council's website, it is zoned "1(g) Rural (Flood)" - probably because of a creek flowing diagonally though it. There are other properties with the same zoning nearby, so I'm guessing this isn't necessarily a deal breaker in regards to building. Does anyone have experience with approving buildings with this zone (I'm guessing probably unique to Shoalhaven with a lot of overlap in other councils)? Also it is currently not cleared.

Thanks heaps, happy to give any further needed details.
posted by trialex to Grab Bag (4 answers total)
Talk to council re zoning, and development requirements. I really suggest you have a look around for an architect you like, locally or further afield. Set a budget as the process is really dictated by this figure.
posted by jb2824 at 11:24 PM on September 23, 2012

Architect absolutely first. They'll know all the zoning stuff, will tell you their fees upfront, do all the paperwork for council and think of stuff you'd never dreamed of.

All the smart folk acknowledge that cutting costs by not using an architect is not actually a money saving strategy in the long run. They save you money. They know the laws and know when to buy cheap things and when the important stuff needs the extra dosh.

And they'll get the powerpoints, doors, windows and skylights in the right place.

Serioudly, interview a few architects as your first step. Luck!
posted by taff at 1:57 AM on September 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Architect - yes. But not now.

First ask the council building people what your zoning means, as you are thinking of building. They may say 'no way Jose', or no problem, just meet these (expensive) conditions ... such as floors of living areas must be so high, walls on lower level must be made this way ... you get the picture.

When you know what will be required, then start looking for architects. Memail me for a name of a canberra architect who did my house which I built on a shoestring ... it was money I couldn't afford, which turned out to be the best money I spent ;-)

Good luck
posted by GeeEmm at 4:27 AM on September 27, 2012

GeeEmm - thanks for the reply. Who do I ask for when contacting the council?

jb2824 and taff - thanks for the replies. I've started looking around for a local architect.
posted by trialex at 8:34 PM on September 29, 2012

« Older How to learn photography and painting   |   And that's why they call me "Adjective Noun"... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.