Monthly Archives: November 2016

Most Common Mistake

Ask and Expert

Expert Advice

This week’s article to help save  money when designing your new home or renovation comes off the back of a client meeting in Mount Isa.

During our discussion and  taking the Design Brief my client  asked a very interesting question. “Whats the biggest mistake people make when designing a home.” ……….hmmm my initial response was that  they just don’t listen……..but went on to expand a bit.

IN our industry we call it  “iknowitis”.  They’ve watched all the TV shows, visited all the Display Homes, researched on the internet and  found  what they like.  And then must have it all !!  “I know what I want” is the common catch phrase. So many times I’ve had clients bring in a floor plan that they like and want to  put on their  block of land. Unfortunately it doesn’t fit, the land  sloes away, and the  soil conditions make the particular design  prohibitive to build.

But with some expert input and a detailed design brief, your building designer can  convert your ideas into a design that satisfies all your criteria. And in the most cost effective way possible.

Know Everything 1

Modern cars now have  a myriad of electronics. Gone are the days when Uncle George could service our car or  fix it when something goes wrong. ………Today’s modern  housing construction is similar in many ways.  Many new materials and construction methods, not to mention the REGULATIONS which are changing constantly.


As we say  “drawing the plan” is the easy bit. Anyone can  put some lines on paper, or arrange some rooms but to get the  best out of any new design concept all of the constraints must be considered.

There are two types of constraints:

  1.  Non – Negotiable  – These cannot be changed and may include
    • Budget (maximum)
    • Building Setbacks
    • Covenant regulations
    • Location of local infrastructure – sewer, storm-water and power
  2. Negotiable – These may be changed or modified to accommodate the design
    • The site – earthworks can change the profile to suite the design
    • Landscape
    • Non essential services
    • Material selections
    • Building Structure – slab on ground Vs Highset
    • Orientation

For some  new home buyers  they  want the convenience of an  “off the shelf” home that most Project Builders and some of the product is excellent, but if you want to get the  best out of your design that suites your lifestyle, site and  budget then a custom home design is for you.


Call us between now and the  end of December for a FREE 2 hour site evaluation and Desktop Analysis of your  potential Dream Home Site

Simply call  me on  0410 488 165 or email

and  mention  our Facebook Page or Web Page to qualify:  (valued at $265.00)




Site Evaluation is Critical !!

Welcome to  our updated Web Site and Blog !!

In the past 12 months many changes have  involved  Southern Cross Design and Drafting relocating to Tropical North Queensland now based in beautiful Townsville.

Our focus is  providing a  more Excellence in Personalised, bespoke service to  our existing clients in Sth East QLD as well as  servicing  North Queensland and as far a field as Cloncurry and Mount Isa.

This week’s article is about  the beginnings of the design process and one  of the biggest decisions that is made. .The EVALUATION and PURCHASE of the site.


Driving through the  new Stage Release of a  brand new Residential Estate  gets the  creative  juices  flowing. We imagine building our Dream Home and the excitement kicks in as well.. But where to start?

Many of my recent clients have   visited a number of Builders’ display and  picked a plan they fall in love with. Only to find that the Builder doesn’t build on sloping sites  or the design  doesn’t fit the site.

A SITE APPRAISAL is one of the critical first steps in  realising your dream home’s full potential. In our opinion it is important that the Design  suite the site, not the other way around. Therefore is imperative to assess  your site correctly before  designing  your Dream Home.

Your Licensed Building Designer will visit your site with you to get an “feel” for the site itself and  chat initially about what  your vision is. He’ll walk over the site, making some  notes, maybe throw some grass clippings in the air, and assess any potential  opportunities and obstacles.

** Why did I highlight “Licensed Building Designer“?  Well many  clients I have seen have  visited a Display Home nearby and are taken in by offers of “FREE DESIGN”.  Ask if  the “designer” is experienced, trained and qualified. A new home is  arguably the biggest investment you’ll ever make. Why would you  engage an unqualified “designer” to design your home?

Site Evaluation

                          Our Senior Architect Ahtee discussing options with Builder Kieran.

Once we have visited the site some investigations and information gathering needs to be undertaken. This  Desktop Analysis details “

  • location of services ie electricity, sewer lines, drainage, easements, NBN
  • location of driveways and  infrastructure that may impact access
  • slope analysis (if contours are unavailable a Licensed Surveyor may need to be engaged)
  • Soil Test where geology may impact the design
  • Ecological Conditions – breezes and  sun position. (orientation to North)
  • Design Guidelines when  considering land in a Master Planned Community.

Once all these factors are collated thought then can be given to the  design of the  new home.

Case Study

A young couple building their first home were searching for land in the suburbs of Townsville and came across a block of land that was  some $40 000 cheaper  than others in the same area.

They had an appointment to  meet the agent and sign a contract  to secure  the block as it was too good to be true!! ……..and it was.

Sewer Main


Although an Easement was not noted on the Registered Plan a search revealed a very large and deep Sewer Main that  traversed the site. Some calculations  revealed that  with all the  building setbacks and constraints  on the site  the  allowable building footprint would not allow a single story home to be built.

Without  this critical information the  project  design and budget would have been seriously compromised in this case.

“Every Successful project starts with the right advice.”



Call us between now and the  end of December for a FREE 2 hour site evaluation and Desktop Analysis of your  potential Dream Home Site

Simply call  me on  0410 488 165 or email

and  mention  our Facebook Page or Web Page to qualify:  (valued at $265.00)


Stay safe and well