Building a home is already a big project, but building on a sloping block can add an extra element of complexity to the process.
Before deciding if building on a sloping block of land is right for you, it’s important to consider a number of factors, advantages, and disadvantages that come with it. For some, it can be a challenging and relatively expensive project. However, building on a sloping block can also offer unique opportunities such as spectacular views and added privacy.
It’s important to consult with an experienced home builder or architect before you begin. If you’re still deciding whether building on a sloping block of land is right for you and your home, here is everything you need to know.
What is a sloping block of land?
A sloping block of land is a piece of land that has a slope or incline, rather than being flat. The degree of the slope can vary, from gentle inclines to steep hills, which can dually present unique challenges and a variety of benefits.
In order to build on a sloping block, it’s important to have a good understanding of the geology, soil types and drainage patterns of the land. The slope and soil type can affect the stability of the property, and appropriate measures must be taken to ensure the safety and integrity of the building. You will also need to take into account the drainage patterns to ensure that water is directed away from the building and does not cause damage or erosion.
We strongly recommend working with professional home builders, engineers or architects with adequate experience to ensure that the design and construction of your new home are completed safely and comprehensively.
What are the benefits of building a home on a sloping block?
Building your home on a sloping block of land will offer a variety of aesthetic and practical advantages.
5 reasons why you may benefit from building a sloping block home
- VIEWS: A sloping block can offer panoramic views that aren’t accessible from a flat block of land. If you live in an area with hills and valleys, a sloping block home has the potential to significantly raise the value of your property.
- PRIVACY: Another key benefit is the added privacy, as sloped land creates a natural barrier between your property and the surrounding area.
- NATURAL DRAINAGE: Want to reduce the cost of your drainage systems? A home built upon sloping land provides the opportunity for natural drainage, which doubles as a way to prevent damage to and erosion of your property.
- UNIQUE DESIGN: A sloping block of land provides unique and flexible options for architectural design projects. Common designs on sloped land include split-level homes, built-in retaining walls, gardens, and decks.
- SPACE OPTIMISATION: Continuing on from the last point, sloping block builders can show off their creativity and functionality by completely optimising the floor plan and landscaping. Some homes on sloped land boast beautiful gardens positioned under grand decks.
What are the challenges associated with building a home on a sloping block?
It’s important to consider the obstacles that may arise from building on a sloped block of land.
5 reasons why building on a sloped site can be challenging
- THE FOUNDATION: The slope of the land will significantly affect the house design that you are able to use. The steeper the slope, the more likely you will need a complex foundation and retaining walls.
- EXCAVATION: The excavation and earthwork required for a sloped site will be extensive, adding to the overall cost of the build. The process can be complicated, so we strongly encourage you to speak to an experienced professional engineer.
- ACCESS: Gaining access to the sloped block of land can be more complicated and costly compared to flat land. It may also require the construction of an extended driveway and extended landscaping work.
- CODES & REGULATIONS: Building codes and regulations may vary depending on the location of the land and the requirements of your local government. For validation purposes, we encourage you to research the current requirements and information provided by your area’s council.
- COST: A construction project on a sloping block tends to be more expensive than building on flat land, due to the specialised engineering, design, and landscaping required for safe completion.
What type of home is best suited to be built on a sloping block?
The specific characteristics of the land and your preferences as the homeowner will determine the type of home that is best suited for a sloped block of land.
With that in mind, here are 4 types of homes commonly built on sloping blocks:
These homes are built on different levels to take advantage of the land’s natural contours. Main living rooms and entertainment areas are typically positioned on the upper level of the home to take advantage of the views and natural light.
Single-storey homes are commonly built on the lower level of the property. This allows the homeowner to take advantage of the property’s slopes for natural drainage and outdoor living spaces.
These homes can be built on the higher level of the block to take advantage of the views and natural light. Like split-level homes, two-storey houses built on sloped blocks will position the main living rooms and entertainment areas on the upper level.
Contemporary builds take full advantage of the unique qualities of sloped blocks. They typically incorporate large windows, balconies, and decks to take advantage of the views. An experienced builder knows how to include the slope of the land in the overall aesthetic of the house, so be sure to view display homes and online references to determine the kind of home you want to live in.
There are several construction professionals who are experts at building on sloped land, and we recommend consulting with a trusted company to get an estimate of the expected costs, resources, and labour needed to get the job done.
6 Tips to determine if a sloping block is suitable for building your home
To determine if a sloping block is suitable for your home, it’s important to consider all of the following factors:
1. Consider the direction of your slope
When building on a sloping block of land, it’s critical that you consider the direction of the slope. This can affect the natural light, privacy, and views, along with the complexity of the foundation and retaining walls. Airflow is also a factor to consider, as the property’s location and slope will determine whether you have natural ventilation and cooling.
2. Conduct a soil test
The land’s soil affects the property’s stability and suitability for building. A soil test can help determine if the soil is suitable and if any additional measures are needed to ensure the safety and integrity of the building.
3. Conduct a drainage assessment
Drainage patterns will need to be assessed to ensure that water is directed away from the building and does not cause damage or erosion. An assessment will also determine if any additional drainage systems are required.
4. Understand the codes and regulations
Building codes and regulations may vary depending on location, as well as additional approvals from your local council. Be sure to reach out to professional builders in your area who will keep your construction up to code.
5. Evaluate the cost
Constructing on a sloping block can be more expensive than building on a flat block due to the specialized engineering and design, increased excavation and earthworks costs, and potential issues with drainage and soil stability. Determine your budget and assess if a sloping block of land is the perfect fit for you.
6. Consult with professionals
It’s critical to work with experienced professionals such as architects, builders, and engineers to ensure that the design and construction are completed safely and correctly. The more experience they have, the better they’ll be equipped to take into account the challenges and costs associated with building on a sloping block.
Building on a sloping block of land can present unique challenges and added costs, but it can also offer spectacular views, unique design, and added privacy. When determining whether building on a sloping block is right for you and your home, it’s important to consult with experienced professionals to take into account critical factors such as the slope, soil type, drainage, access, and local building regulations.