To see our Hillside Home Plans appropriate for sloping block sites, click here.

 

 

 

Building on a Sloping Block

by Craig Gibson

So you’ve decided to build a house on a sloping block but you’re not quite sure how to go about it?  You’re not the only one.  Building on a sloping block can present some unique challenges but it is possible to work around any potential issues.

 

Potential Issues to be Aware Of

When selecting your home design, you will need to take into account the slope of your block.  The slope can vary, with some sloping down from the street towards the rear boundary, and others sloping up from the street.  The former can be easier to work with, while the latter may require the use of retaining walls and need more excavation, which can significantly add to the total cost of the building project.  However, building on any sloping block will cost more than building on a flat block. 

By working with the unique slope of your block, and designing a home that works with the slope, you can reduce the need for excavation and retaining walls.  Too much excavation can cause additional problems in itself.  It can interfere with the drainage of the block, exacerbate erosion, and cause instability.  To reduce the risk of soil erosion and the problems that it can cause, have the builder use sediment control measures to protect the block’s integrity.  Be aware that masonry homes are generally better for level sites while lightweight or pole homes are better for sloping sites, especially those that slope steeply. 

The Good Points to Sloping Blocks

However, there are some good points to sloping blocks as well!  Sloping blocks have a better view than level blocks, giving them a higher value.  And because sloping blocks work so well with elevated homes, using timber flooring means that the cool breezes will flow through the house and keep the home cool – a great example of environmentally friendly passive cooling.  You are also able to put thegarage underneath the house at a lower cost.  Sloping blocks also have significantly better drainage than level blocks.

Pole Homes – Perfect for Sloping Blocks

Pole homes are the ideal method of construction for sloping blocks because they have the least impact on the site, offer the best views, and have a tremendous amount of flexibility.  In fact, pole homes are one of the easiest homes to add extensions to in the future!  Because excavating a sloping site can quickly become astronomically expensive, choosing a pole home is an enormously affordable alternative.  There are two types of pole homes.  A pole platform is where poles are used to support a level frame on which a conventional house frame is built.  A pole frame is where the poles are extended throughout the house right through to roof level and are used to support the entire building.

However, when building a pole home, the builder will need to pay attention to sewerage, water, and energy efficiency.  There will also need to be a focus on design and materials to ensure that the house looks as attractive as possible.



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