So you think you’ve come up with your “dream home” and had “the plans” drawn up for your big renovation before looking into what approvals might be required before construction can commence!

Development controls are often established by local Councils that influence what can – and can’t be done on a property, particularly in areas of high landscape or heritage significance. It’s critical to find out whether your land is affected by such controls before any design work is done and it’s vital to obtain the necessary development approval if required.

Residential construction work is also governed by the National Construction Code (NCC) and all work must comply with this and State based regulations, as well as any supplementary setback, height or other requirements developed by the local Council.

Covenants or easements can also affect your plans by preventing, for example, construction of more than one dwelling on a block (bad news for would-be developers); excavation (bad news if you want an in-ground pool) and lightweight building materials like weatherboard, cement sheet or metal cladding (bad news if you want to seek counterpoint architectural features to the original building).

Finally, if you’re building on a new subdivision, there are frequently Design Guidelines regarding facade treatments, material colours, roof forms or fencing.

Clearly it pays to check things out before anyone puts pen to paper.

Starting your project with an Archicentre Australia design sketch that balances your requirements with energy efficiency considerations and all applicable design controls can save you time and money in the long run.