Save money… Use energy efficient lighting.

With the cost of essential services always on the rise, especially electricity supply which is used 24/7, it is worthwhile considering LED lighting for your next project.

 We have some cost-saving suggestions for you:

For existing homes:

- Replace existing globes where possible with new LED globe or alternatively have a qualified electrician replace the existing fittings with new LED type. The savings will outweigh the initial cost to replace fittings or globes. -There are also some government schemes going around at present that will cover the replacement of your current downlight globes with new LED globes. Check it out and take advantage of the free upgrade. 1. When renovating or extending (general house extensions): - Ensure that your home designers or your building design call for LED lighting. 2.New homes design: When your architectural drafting is being prepared for your new home design, insist on having LED lights. Have the building designer incorporate the LED lights into your new house plans.

All new home designs and house extensions now need to comply with the new requirements of 5w/m² and the best way to achieve this is by using LED lighting. LED lights are a proven method of energy-saving sources.

For more info on LED lighting, see options at or contact 0414 102 070 for any requirements you may have.

Being Prepared For The Design Stage.

When initiating into the design phase for your project; whether it be a new home, renovation, extension, or unit development, it is important you do some thinking and gather some information to share with your building designer / architectural draftsperson. Having this information could firstly save you in consultation fees, and secondly, help you achieve the right design that you’re after.

First up, I suggest you provide the building designer with an understanding of your lifestyle and cultural needs. That may include the number of children you have or plan on having if you like to entertain often if you have any specific cultural or religious requirements within the design ie. Feng Shui or separated living spaces etc. Experienced home designers will ask a series of questions to obtain this information to incorporate it into the design but it is also best for you to be prepared with more information.

Provide your home designers with your minimum room requirements in terms of the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, toilets etc., also the sizing of the rooms and more importantly the maximum size of the overall house/extension to suit your budget. It’s a great idea to get a visual idea of the room sizes by either looking at a room of similar size or marking out the size within a space to get a more visual idea – sometimes gauging off a piece of paper just doesn't cut it.

Ensure that your home designers have a clear understanding of the style of house design that you prefer so that suitable floor plans to match that style can be designed. This is very important as you could end up with a great floor plan that does not meet with your preferences of facade types or requirements. Gather ideas of different façade looks before meeting with your building designer. With thanks to the wonderful little thing called the internet, you have access to an abundance of images for you to begin your research if you don’t already have an idea of what you want. Of course, copyrights exist on designs so your building designer cannot directly copy a design you present to them but it is to simply gauge your ideas and preferences for overall design styles. You can search for images directly through Google or you can also search through websites/apps such as Pinterest and Houzz to collate ideas. You may also want to ask your building designer for examples of previous designs they have completed to help build on your own ideas and preferences.

Building designers Melbourne deal with a lot of different cultures and each culture may have different requirements, this is the beauty of Melbourne and what makes it so unique. Don’t be afraid to provide as much information to the draftsperson as possible to ensure your building design ends up just the way you desired.

When you’re next looking for a building design for a new home or house extension and renovation, contact me for a free consultation to discuss your next project.

What are building consultants?

I overheard a phone conversation at a shopping centre the other day where someone was asking “…a building consultant? What are they?” Thanks lady, you’ve given me some inspiration for my little blog post ;)

Building consultants are qualified people within the building industry that are registered with the Building Control Commission (BCC). Whether it is a building surveyor, building inspector, energy rater, engineer, building designer/home designer, architectural draftsperson or builder, they must all be registered to be able to perform works in Melbourne.

Whenever having any house extensions, new house plans or any associated building works performed, always ask if they are building consultants registered in Melbourne and ask to see a copy of their registration so you can be sure that all works will be done to regulation and to an approved standard.

Things to Consider When Designing Your New Home

Aside from the obvious of knowing how many bedrooms, bathrooms, single/double/triple garage etc. we have listed some tips and things to consider when designing your new house plans.

  • Land contour: Before anything, if you are looking for land and are budget conscious, you should consider a level block of land rather than an elevated block to minimize site costs. Wherever possible, always obtain a soil test report prior to purchasing the land so you are aware of any excessive landfill or rock formation that could bump your site costs up.
  • Orientation: Again, if you haven’t already got a block of land and are looking to buy, it is highly recommended to consider the site placement. A correctly orientated block allows for a more solar efficient design. If you have land already, you should consider custom designing your home in order to plan your design around the solar orientation to allow for maximum energy efficiency, in turn, saving money in the long term. With standard display homes, you only have the option of mirror imaging the floor plan which may not necessarily be suitable for your orientation. Of course, you have the option of shopping around until you find the right design you are happy with and suits your requirements.
  • Future House ExtensionsAs much as you plan you won’t know exactly how well your house will suit you in the following years, therefore, it’s always wise to have a design that allows for future extensions to be made easy (if the land permits) without major structural changes.
  • Wish list: When you are at the design concept stage, it is highly recommended to have a wish list which incorporates items such as the style of the house, minimum room sizes, ceiling heights, window sizes/type, any features you wish to incorporate and most of all the preferred maximum house size. The more information provided to the designer initially will save you in preliminary design fees, so be sure to do some homework!
  • Budgeting for construction: Once the preliminary concept design is completed, it is always advisable to be in contact with a Master Builder to obtain a budget costing for your preliminary design to ensure you are within your budget before progressing to the final design stage.

All in all, be sure to know what falls within your budget and work with your designer to meet your requirements and your budget. The last thing you would want is to spend thousands of dollars on your design and engineering then realize the construction costs will be out of your range.

Be wishful but realistic and don’t be afraid to ask questions!

Energy Rating Homes in Melbourne

We have been receiving many questions regarding the Energy Rating requirements in Melbourne district. This is a factor that is at the forefront of any new home design or extension and in brief and simple terms, these are the requirements:

  • For any new home design, new townhouse, or new unit design a rating of 6 stars must be achieved.
  • For an addition/extension with a size that is less than 50% of the existing residence, there is a formula that considers the volume and star rating of the existing residence plus the volume and required star rating of the addition (6.0 stars) and takes the average. This gives the required star rating that the entire house (existing plus addition) must meet (SRr = (Ve + SRe) + (Vn x SRn) / (Ve + Vn))
  • For an addition/extension with a size that is more than 50% of the existing residence, the entire house (existing plus addition) must meet 6 star standards.

Energy ratings are conducted by modeling the design into an Energy Rating software program (our company uses the common FirstRate5 software) and some factors that affect an energy rating are the orientation of the home (north-facing, south-facing, etc), building materials, insulation, window locations and sizes, glazing specifications (single, double and their efficiency), open spaces and ceiling heights, air leakage and more.

If you have any questions about the energy rating, please do not hesitate to Contact Us for more information.