There are a heap of do’s and do nots when it comes to building and design.
Like do build and design something that is functional and looks good. But don’t build and design something that will give you the mother of all headaches to get through council!
There are ways of knowing which path you’re likely to head down, you just have to know where to look!
There are many governances when it comes to building, and so there should be. Australia has some of the most stringent rules and regulations to follow when it comes to laying down bricks and mortar. But this has seen us manage to avoid many horrible events, like the apartment block fires in Grenfell, London from 2017 which was partly caused by the very flammable external wall cladding.
So, this is mainly a good thing.
The headache comes from how these rules and regulations are interpreted by the various members of staff at each of the councils around our great state. One council may make things easier for you on topic A, but be particularly difficult when it comes to topic B. In most cases it really does depend on who gets your file and which direction the wind is travelling at that time!
“They give us designers and drafts people a set of guidelines for everything…”
However, when you are designing and drawing your next project, you may want to make things easier on yourself in the long run, and work with a set of guidelines called the R-Codes. The R-Codes are the governing set of documents over any type of residential building; hence the ‘R’.
They give us designers and drafts people a set of guidelines for everything; from how close a building can be built to a boundary, to the number of parking spaces required for a block of strata units. They give us guidelines when it comes to town planning, percentages of open space to ensure there is plenty of light and ventilation in and around your home.
Basically, this is one of the first documents council will check your project against, and it should be your first stop to check the compliance of your project too.
‘But is it written in plain English?’
I hear you ask. Well there are plenty of codes and sub-codes to follow, but there are also graphs and images that are referred to throughout the R-Codes, and they can all be found towards the back of the document. These are an absolutely brilliant source of easy-to-understand regs; and the best part? They’re in picture form! Pictures are always easier to understand!
So do yourself a favour and check out this link https://www.planning.wa.gov.au/Residential-design-codes.aspx where, thanks to the Western Australian Planning Commission, you can download your very own copy of the R-Codes and sign up to the mailing list to keep your copy up to date.
Is there a plan B?
Of course there is! If all of this sounds like hard work, too much, and just downright daunting, don’t despair! Please call
me, I am only too happy to help!