Building a Custom Home on a Sloping Block in Sydney
6 minute read time
Sydney blocks come in all shapes, sizes and elevations. In many cases, a flat block with a slab on ground design is preferred to a sloping block. Sloping blocks are undoubtedly a more challenging and costly undertaking requiring very specific intensive site planning and design considerations.
On the other hand, there is a lot to gain from a sloping block and if an innovative design approach is employed, a split level custom home can offer many unique and flexible advantages.
Opportunities to innovate in design
Custom homes built on sloping blocks allow designers to employ innovative design features.
Multilevel Volumes that can create interest in geometric facades
The opportunity for stunning high Ceilings
The potential to flip your design and have all your living areas upstairs to take advantage of views
Include light-filled voids and atriums that use glass extensively
The potential for large amounts of mezzanine storage
Slopes create levels. Levels Maximise Space.
It’s a truly unique opportunity to maximise the space you have in your custom home. A slopped site offers the perfect seating to design spaces vertically with multiple levels and spans.
Views for days.
Generally speaking, a sloping block is going to have some sort of view and for the really lucky ones maybe an incredible one. The great thing here is that a split level design will help to maximise your custom homes ability to take full advantage of these vistas and blue skies.
I’ll take that natural drainage & ventilation.
The more slope and the higher your custom home is the more natural drainage and cross ventilation you will get. This can mean lower energy bills and if designed correctly and the right avenues of due diligence are taken in the site analysis process it will almost certainly rule out most issues you can encounter with dampness and flooding.
Let there be light.
Houses situated on the side of a hill tend to lend themselves to take advantage of lots of natural light. By integrating lots of glass in the design phase you can welcome the light.
You need to identify some major aspects of a sloping block when considering if it’s the best solution for you. These include but are not limited to –
Direction of the slope
Degree of slope
Slippage prone ground
With sloping block there often comes an excess of contours and natural formations. These can add interest and natural beauty but are also a huge factor when considering design and should never be considered as an afterthought. With a detailed contour survey and forethought hazards like landslip and erosion can be dealt with.
Getting a geotechnical survey on a sloping block is paramount. This type of testing is conducted by a geotechnical engineer and will access a site for things like – soil structure, water table depth and moisture. These are key factors in the design amount of engineering that needs to be incorporated to make it all work.
Access is a critical component for building on a sloping block and a solid plan needs to be hatched early in the piece to ensure safe egress/ingress for materials, vehicles, heavy machinery and pedestrians. This process will also normally figure out the best position for a driveway.
Ideally, you want to look at a design/block that is going to work towards requiring as little excavation as possible. The right split level designs transition the grade while taking advantage of the use of internal retaining and this can be a great way of reducing excavations. There’s also the option of going down the pole home route where it may be a more realistic and cost-effective option than going into battle with the slope.
When it’s all said and done excavation is expensive, it can increase chances of erosion by altering the stability of soil profiles and by removing topsoil and vegetation in bulk it can have a significant impact on your blocks biodiversity.
It’s important to be aware building on your dream home on your dream sloping block is going to be a more costly exercise than building on a flat block but if you’ve read this far we are going to assume you have a block in mind and are pretty committed. Just quietly sloping blocks offer the most character so we understand. Just be aware that a sloping block may be cheaper to buy in some circumstances but the built is more complicated and expensive.
Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions. We’d be happy to have a chat and offer advice before committing to purchase any block with a view to build. Contact Us