Tis the season……and often the only time of the year that people take the chance to consider building design or improvements without the distraction of daily work.
Whether it be the home or temporary holiday based accommodation, the summer season often provides opportunities for taking stock of how the dwelling experience can be enhanced.
This brings conversation to the bigger picture – our variable contexts. It is not unusual for Australia to experience a range of extreme weather conditions within a short period of time, as has been the case in the last month. This makes it vital to incorporate well designed features – as espoused by experienced design architects in the field of residential construction, according to Archicentre Australia.
While impossible to totally negate the effects of extreme weather, the national architect’s advisory service says that quality design can minimise the risk of damage.
Within the last month various parts of Australia have seen bushfires, flooding, storm damage and now cyclones, while large parts of the country are still in the grip of drought.
Archicentre Australia director Peter Georgiev says engaging with an Archicentre Australia design architect at the outset of planning for a new residence or for alterations or additions to existing homes can ensure that these plans include appropriate design measures that take into account factors such as site context, aspect and importantly, climate patterns.
This is particularly crucial, he says, for homes in areas prone to extreme weather, such as in bushfire zones, areas that regularly flood or receive strong winds, northern cyclone regions, or drier parts of the country.
In relation to bushfire risk, this summer is shaping up to be severe and protection for people and property is a significant issue. Peter Georgiev says legislation is in place in most states to regulate construction in designated bushfire-prone areas.
“Rather than adopting a ‘head in the sand’ approach, engaging with an architect when planning a new home or additions to an existing residence ensures that sound design principles are incorporated to minimise the bushfire risk.
“This means that the home can appropriately respond to the environment.”
He says before embarking on any building project, professional advice should be sought to ensure that an appropriately bushfire resistant design is put in place.
Similarly, in flood prone areas and tropical areas where cyclones bring damaging winds and heavy rain, design principles incorporated into new builds or additions can help keep residents safer and mitigate if not protect dwelling fabric from damage.
With most of Australia prone to drought, water conservation indoors and outdoors is an important component of sustainable living.
“As with all sustainability measures, water conservation is enhanced by considering site natural attributes, including site, soil type, climate and compatibility with the dwelling,” Peter Georgiev says.
“Incorporating water conservation measures in the design phase of a new home or apartment and in the design of additions makes sure benefit is gained by the occupants.”
Extreme heat is another issue for many Australians and, he says, incorporating ‘passive solar design’ principles freely available from natural site attributes into new-builds and home extensions or renovations is the ideal way to stay cool.
“If your home does incur damage from extreme weather, it is vital that any repairs are not rushed,” the Archicentre Australia director says.
“Archicentre Australia architects act as GPs for the building and construction industry and are fully qualified to assess the constructional integrity of buildings.
“Much of the damage caused by extreme weather may not be visible to the human eye, which means that the advice of qualified building experts should be sought before repairs are undertaken and buildings are reoccupied.
“Taking the time to have an Archicentre Australia architect assess a home or building before undertaking repairs or re-occupation represents a sound investment.”
Archicentre Australia has a range of informative fact sheets that outline some of the things that need to be considered in extreme weather event, particularly in relation to safety, drying and building integrity. The fact sheets are available on the organisation’s website – visit www.archicentreaustralia.com.au/fact-sheets/
For more information go to www.archicentreaustralia.com.au
This media release has been written and distributed by:
Peter Georgiev, Director
Level 1, 9 Strathalbyn Street,
Kew East, VICTORIA, 3102
Phone: 1300 13 45 13 | 03 9859 9950