The major advantage of building on a sloping site is of course the views which means plenty of floor to ceiling glass. The entire design therefore must revolve around taking advantage of these views with as many habitable rooms as possible. Living, family, dining and kitchens are the priority rooms, but if we can position a few bedrooms onto the views, that’s even better.
We take open plan living, to the extreme. Large covered deck or entertain areas are essential and ideal for barbeque as they are usually the entertainment centre of the house, especially if they are close to the kitchen and dining areas.
Privacy is another important factor. You tend to be much higher up than your neighbours to start with plus the house us usually elevated up another 2.5 M above that. You’re not looking into a neighbours paling fence. Building above ground level also allows natural breezes to flow under the house and makes for a cooler more pleasant environment.
We know after 39 years’ experience in sloping site design & construction it’s not much use buying a cheaper sloping site with terrific view, if it’s going to cost you a fortune to build on.
Many builders, draftsmen and architects have little or no experience whatsoever in dealing with the problems of sloping sites. In contrast, show us a flat site and we wouldn’t know where to start. Generally speaking homes built on sloping sites are extremely expensive however over the last 39 year period we have managed to fine tune our designs, engineering and building techniques and eliminate many of the huge costs generally associated with sloping site construction.
Most builders want to build on billiard table, flat sites, because they’re easier with less things to go wrong. Many are dead scared to even price something that is not brick veneer or slab on ground. Most want to excavate the hell out of the site and plonk a concrete slab down. Then they build a Bessa or timber retaining wall behind the house. They look atrocious and have constant ongoing maintenance problems.
Even builder’s experience in sloping sites will look at a sloping site and tell you to go and find a draftsman or architect to draw something up to suit the site. This is where things start to go wrong as 99% of these design guys haven’t the faintest idea how much things cost, for sloping site construction.
They don’t ask you the most important question “How much do you have to spend?” They just draw and draw, anything you want. It’s not until you get a price from the builder that you find out the price is 50% up, on what you have to spend. So you blow thousands on drafting or architectural fees and unfortunately, 3 or 4 months in time.
When making your final decision on which site (if you haven’t already done so) you should choose, also consider the capital growth history and resale value of the location of the land. Historically, land values in elevated areas have averaged higher resale prices than those in lower lying areas. This can mainly be attributed to desirable views or outlooks, seasonal benefits of breezes through the warmer months and the zero risk of flooding in severe weather conditions.