Save Money – Owner Build

Owner Builders you may have missed out of the Federal Government’s hand out but each state has increased their First Home Owners Grant or have a stamp duty discount, a Building Bonus even a grant for household goods.

Below is a list of what you are entitled to when building, so check out your States/Territory’s incentives for you as an Owner Builder.

Since 1987 we have been helping Owner Builders and the two main reasons to Owner Build have not changed – Control of the project and to save money, and how you save money is to take the place of the builder and save his margin and this can be up to 40%-50% in the case of renovations.

So take advantage of the governments offers.

Original article from Domain

NSW – $35,000

On top of the new HomeBuilder grant of $25,000, NSW first-home buyers already have access to a $10,000 grant for new properties costing less than $600,000 and owner-builder/building contracts worth less than $700,000.

If you’re buying land to build a new home, the total price – including the land and home – must be no more than $750,000.

There is also no stamp duty payable on property under $650,000, or vacant land under $350,000, while properties between $650,000 to $800,000, or vacant land between $350,000 to $450,000 get discounted stamp duty.

That’s a saving of up to $24,740 on a $650,000 home.

Victoria – up to $45,000

Victorians already had a $10,000 grant available for new first homes, and $20,000 for new homes built in regional areas, valued at $750,000 or less. They also don’t pay stamp duty on property under $600,000, with discounted stamp duty applying on property between $600,000 to $750,000.

That’s a saving of up to $31,070 for a home worth $600,000.

First-home buyers building or buying a property in regional Victoria can claim $45,000, while those buying closer into Melbourne will receive $35,000.

Queensland – $40,000

Queensland first-home buyers already got $15,000 towards buying or building a new house, unit or townhouse valued at less than $750,000. With the federal government’s HomeBuilder scheme, that will take the total available to claim to $40,000.

Queenslanders also don’t pay transfer (stamp) duty on homes costing less than $500,000, and a discounted rate up to $550,000. That translates to a saving of $15,925 on a home under $550,000.

Western Australia – $55,000

First-home buyers in Western Australia already had access to $10,000 to put towards the cost of building or buying a new home, but the past week has seen their incentives go next level.

On Sunday the state government announced it would spot home buyers a bonus $20,000 for new residential builds on top of the $25,000 already offered by the HomeBuilder scheme.

For first-home buyers, that takes the total cash pool to $55,000 – and that’s before the stamp duty concessions. 

Based on a purchase of $430,000, a first-home buyer would save $14,440 in stamp duty.

ACT – $25,000

Despite the ACT receiving the least amount of help, all ACT first-home buyers are exempt from paying stamp duty on all properties under a concession scheme which applies to new and established homes as well as vacant land, and at any price, as long as the buyer earns less than $160,000.

Prior to the scheme, ACT first-home buyers had $7000 available to them, but the grant was scrapped to make way for stamp duty abolition.

Tasmania – $45,000

Tasmanian first-home buyers were already eligible for a $20,000 grant from their state government. This applied to any new property, of any value.

Tasmania provides a 50 per cent stamp duty discount on properties below 400,000, which equates to a saving of nearly $7000.

South Australia – $40,000

A grant of $15,000 is already available for new properties valued at less than $575,000, so the HomeBuilder grant will take the total for South Australian first-home buyers to $40,000.

All first-home buyers pay some stamp duty in South Australia, although there is an off-the-plan stamp duty concession available of up to $21,330 on properties under $500,000.

Northern Territory – up to $55,000

A number of grants are available in the NT, as outlined on the Home Owners Assistance web page, but they include a $10,000 grant for first-home buyers, as well as a BuildBonus grant of $20,000.

Any home owner is eligible for BuildBonus but it is limited to the first 600 applications.

There is also a discount on stamp duty that could get first-home buyers up to $18,601 off the cost of stamp duty, as well as a scheme that gives them up to $2000 towards the cost of household goods.

Not including the stamp duty exemptions or the household goods grant, first-home buyers in the NT could get up to $55,000 in cash incentives once the new HomeBuilder grant is factored in.

The post Save Money – Owner Build appeared first on Australian Owner Builders.

Building in a Bushfire Prone Area: BAL Ratings BAL 40 and BAL FZ

You’ve discovered that your property has a BAL 40 or BAL Flame Zone (BAL FZ) BAL rating on it. And everyone is telling you this Bushfire Attack Level, or BAL rating simply means your home will cost A LOT more to build or renovate.

However, there are specific things to know and ways that you can navigate this, to simplify the process overall. In your material choices, your project strategies and the help you seek.

Jeff Dau, Ember Bushfire Consulting, shares what to target in your bushfire resistant design strategy for rebuilding, building or renovating in a smarter, more resilient way.

In this interview, I speak with Jeff Dau from Ember Bushfire Consulting.

EMBER Bushfire Consulting is a team of qualified, accredited and experienced fire industry professionals.

Co-Founder, Jeff Dau, has had 28 years of experience as a professional in the fire services industry. For the past 12 years this has been in a range of fire safety fields including fire safety engineering, bushfire protection, building certification and regulation and urban planning.

So let’s dive in.

INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT

Amelia Lee + Jeff Dau (Ember Bushfire Consulting)

[Amelia Lee]: I can imagine you get a lot of pushback from people saying “it’s just going to be so much more expensive. Do I seriously need to do this?” Particularly if a BAL 40 or a BAL Flame Zone rating comes in.

That can be a horrendous shock to people to see what that might mean.

How do you talk through clients in terms of … I know that you’ve had a client who had a property that didn’t have a building on it that went through the recent fires, and they’re now kind of considering how they’re going to actually build on that property to be better performing?

How do you, once you deliver your assessment, how do you talk through clients, that process of ‘Okay, this is the scenario, but this is actually the opportunity’.

[Jeff Dau]: So I think the hardest part is, is that when I look at a site, I see a, you know, I try very much to visualise what it’s like on a bad day. And trying to relay that to the client. And they obviously say “What is the, you know, what is the threat? I don’t see any threat here, you know, like, it hasn’t burned in 50 years, it’s not going to burn again”.

So that’s, you know, they’re not seeing what I see. And that’s often the hardest part of it. Even like in a grassland setting (they’ll say), “it’s an empty paddock for goodness sakes”. But we know that grass fires can still be very, very destructive, very dangerous.

So that’s the first part is that, you know, you know, ‘why do I have to do this?’ I think that argument now is becoming less and less. We can just see that when we’re vulnerable, and more and more areas are vulnerable. So that’s hard.

But what I do try to do, obviously again, if there’s opportunity to move, and this is again that he planning system working, is push you to areas where it’s a lower BAL rating, so it’s safer. It’s also less to build. So that’s the response.

Luckily, the places that I’ve assessed, where they haven’t built yet, that that BAL Rating wasn’t that high. The trick will be, as I said, in these spots where it was always BAL Flame Zone, and the houses 40 – 50 years old or older, and now they have to rebuild.

But I think if it’s been burnt out, then the argument speaks for itself, I think. But it is going to be very hard, you know, just being straight up, it’s going to be hard for some people to deal with that BAL 40 and BAL Flame Zone.

And also councils when they let, you know, people rebuild. But I don’t think that’s going to be the case. You know, Rosedale will still continue to re built, but they’ll have to have some pretty tough ones there.

But what I would say is that it is what it is, you know. Let’s … don’t try to duck and weave. And it’s when we duck and weave, that it ends poorly from a planning and a DA (Development Application) point of view, because they can see that you’re trying to avoid that.

And the council doesn’t want to, you know, sort of have a bar of that. They don’t want to have ownership in under-constructing or building in places that you probably shouldn’t build.

Don’t be fearful of it, get good advice, and then you know, and listen to that advice as well.

But don’t … I think soon as we start to avoid, then that’s when you start running into trouble. Or put it on the shelf … “Oh we’ll deal with that later”. That’s when it really hurts. Because then you have to retrofit. Or that design that you’ve had, that hasn’t taken into account is all of a sudden, you know, you begin to lose all your timber facade or your timber deck, it’s gone. So get in early.

[Amelia Lee]: And I think that’s the key thing, isn’t it that if you actually understand these assessments and rating up front early and can factor them into your design process, then it’s not a budget shock down the track. It’s actually creating a different strategy.

And I think that’s going to be key for rebuilding in a lot of these areas. That you’re not necessarily just replicating what you had before, but you’re actually using it as an opportunity to strategise something different.

And something that’s much more resilient.

Can you perhaps … just with the BAL 40 and the BAL Flame Zone (or BAL FZ) … could you just talk through some of the detail of what that can mean for the construction of a property?

And also I suppose other strategies that could come into play?

You touched on bunkers. I had heard that somebody was able to, in a recent project, they were able to include a bunker and that gave them some leeway in the construction of property itself.

How can BAL 40 and BAL Flame Zone be approached and what kind of strategies can you use to get good results in those kind of ratings of areas?

[Jeff Dau]: Well, I think the first thing is in BAL 40 and BAL Flame Zone is (having) absolutely no combustibles at all. So timber is off the shelf all together. That said, you can use products like Modwood for decking and any number of other products that are still reasonably visually appealing.

So that’s, I guess that’s the first thing. As I said, there’s more and more products that are becoming available. And then BAL Flame Zone it gets up there.

One of the recent changes has been the shutters. So in AS3959 if you can, and certainly in New South Wales, you can use shutters. So you can go for good traditional sort of window set, if it’s protected by the by an appropriately rated shutter.

So that opens up some opportunities. And I can hear people saying “Well, yeah, but shutters are ugly”. Yes, but there are ways of putting within the reveal. There’s … there are you know, there are design, there are techniques, there are ways to address that.

So there’s a little thing there, is the shutters, and that can also reduce the price, particularly if you’re in the BAL Flame Zone area. There is some benefit. So that’s BAL 40 and BAL Flame Zone.

Going on to the bunkers. Bunkers is an area of kind of new work. There’s only recently a standard that came in. At the moment, I can only speak to New South Wales. I know in Victoria where, from what I heard through the industries that where you were in Flame Zone, if you put in a bunker that was built to the standard, then you could possibly come down a BAL rating.

So that I think that they do … Again, I think there’ll be more …. there’ll be improvement here. New South Wales RFS (Rural Fire Service) are kind of not sold on it. They’re certainly not opposed to the idea, but from my understanding, it’s not going to get you any concessions.

That said that, you know, I think that personally, I think they’re a great idea. There was a client down in Smiths road down in the area adjacent to the ACT. Great, you know, quite an impressive story that the owner of that property had survived or … they had survived for 2003 bushfires, but their property didn’t. And rather than becoming fearful of it, and I think obviously this took some time, they moved out to the bush.

They were in a very bushfire prone area, but that didn’t let them … it didn’t put them off. They accepted the, you know, accepted the threat. And they put a bunker in, and they just they had everything in place. They knew that they were going to leave early.

But the fact that they did that … rather than I guess running away from this …. going, ‘you know what, for 10 years, this place is going to be beautiful every day of the week, you know, and we’re going to enjoy this.

But if the inevitable does happen at some stage, then we do have a plan B which was this bunker’. I was very impressed by that attitude. And I think that it was quite cheap too. I think it was between $10,000 and $15,000 and, you know, that’s a fantastic insurance policy.

And their road was about 20km out. It’s one way in, one way out. So it is a bushfire prone area, you know, and it also has many access issues there. So I think, again to the question, I think with bunkers, you will see more in this space.

And with a hope that, that they may, they may offer some concession to these BAL 40 / Flame Zone areas. And that’s where we hope. The RFSS are always sort of adjusting … so …

[Amelia Lee]: I think it’ll be interesting. It was a report that I read after the 2009 Victorian fires that had mentioned that, that that thing of somebody was then rebuilding and they were a BAL Flame Zone.

And they were told that they could spend $15,000 on installing a bunker to standard and then lower the house to BAL 40. And it was going to save them about $80,000 overall, because to make the house BAL Flame Zone was a significantly bigger investment than putting the bunker in and dropping it to BAL 40.

So it will be interesting to see if these strategies … there’s a lot of contention I hear around bunkers. But I think it’s because we have so many that are kind of just DIY built things that mould ridden, are not properly ventilated, are not actually fireproof at all and end up being traps for people.

So I think that actually to create some legislation around how they’re constructed and what they need to be, the standard that they need to be built with in order to be an offset measure could actually be a huge opportunity to have holistic kind of solutions to to dealing with construction in those areas. So it’ll be really interesting won’t it?

[Jeff Dau]: Yes, I think so. I think that’s the good that comes out of these not so good events, you know, is that there’s these improvements. So yeah, it would be good to see.

THIS IS PART 6 OF MY INTERVIEW WITH JEFF DAU, EMBER BUSHFIRE CONSULTING. WATCH OTHER PARTS HERE: PART 1 | PART 2 | PART 3 | PART 4 | PART 5

This interview is part of our Rebuild + Build Better series.

Be sure to stay tuned as we share more information and expertise in helping you rebuild after bushfires, or build homes more resilient to climate conditions and in bushfire prone areas.

Resources mentioned in this video:

Get in touch with Jeff Dau, Ember Bushfire Consulting >>> https://www.bushfireassessor.com.au/Find a qualified bushfire consultant by searching for an accredited provider on the Fire Protection Association Australia website >>> http://www.fpaa.com.au/Get access to the Australian Standards AS3959 (instead of Hardcopy, change to PDF Download for 1 user to change the fee to FREE) >>> AS3959 IS HERE
The post Building in a Bushfire Prone Area: BAL Ratings BAL 40 and BAL FZ appeared first on Undercover Architect.

Bushfire Building Standards | BAL Ratings and AS395

Bushfire building standards and codes: What do you need to know about BAL Ratings and AS3959?

When you first discover your property has a bushfire overlay, or is bushfire prone, the various building standards and codes can become overwhelming.

How do the Bushfire building standards and codes relate to each other? And what do BAL Ratings and AS3959 mean for your future home?

And how do ember attacks and the rate of bushfire spread need to be factored into your design approach for a new home or renovation in a bushfire prone area?

In this interview, I speak with Jeff Dau from Ember Bushfire Consulting.

EMBER Bushfire Consulting is a team of qualified, accredited and experienced fire industryprofessionals.

Co-Founder, Jeff Dau, has had 28 years of experience as a professional in the fire services industry. For the past 12 years this has been in a range of fire safety fields including fire safety engineering, bushfire protection, building certification and regulation and urban planning.

So let’s dive in.

INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT

Amelia Lee + Jeff Dau (Ember Bushfire Consulting)

[Amelia Lee]: We’ve got the BAL rating, so the Bushfire Attack Level. We’ve also got the Australian Standard AS3959. How do those two things factor into each other and talk to each other as part of your creating solution in a bushfire prone area?

[Jeff Dau]: Okay. So the BAL rating is a product of Australian Standard 3959 Construction of Buildings in Bushfire Prone Areas. AS3959 is a methodology to conduct a site assessment, first off. So it’s broken into two parts.

The first part is how you would actually conduct a site assessment. It’ll help you classify the vegetations or talk about slope. It’ll talk about setback distances and how you measure that. That’s the first thing.

So it gives you this methodology on how to come up with this, the BAL level. Once we’ve established what the BAL Level is, then we have the BAL rating, then we have a prescription on how to actually then build a house that’s either BAL 12.5, 19, 29, 40, Flame Zone.

So there’s the six settings, there’s also BAL Low. So two parts: how to assess it, and then how do we then construct to that level. So that’s the first point.

And it’s very, very descriptive. It’s very clear. There is a bit of detail in there but if you’ve come up with your BAL 12.5, then you can go to the relevant chapter.

It will tell you what your expectations are for your glazing. What the roof system needs to be. What materials you can use for the facade, and about the decking. It’s really quite comprehensive.

And so that’s how it works, the methodology and then the recipe on how to put a structure together that will match or meet that fire intensity.

So … I hope that explains it.

[Amelia Lee]: Yes, fantastic. I think it’s hard because because the Australian Standards, ofcourse, are paid documents. So you see this number crop up as a homeowner. And yes …

[Jeff Dau]: So the good news here is that Standards Australia are releasing AS3959 for free. Yes, it’s very good. Just to have as it as a reference.

So they’re all obviously acknowledging that, and it’s giving that you know, the whole community a chance to have a look at it. And I’d encourage anyone who’s, you know, obviously very interested … the homeowner is very interested in the parts … it’s not that difficult to go through.

But again, a good bushfire practitioner will guide you through that process and material selection as well.

[Amelia Lee]: That’s brilliant. Thanks, Jeff, I have to find a link to that and pop that in the resources.

Now with these bushfires, we saw a rate of spread, and we saw ember attacks, I suppose in ways that people hadn’t necessarily experienced before.

Can we talk through … you mentioned some of the research that Justin Leonard at the CSIRO has been doing … just in terms of what the impact might be for rebuilding in some of these areas and understanding how to build more resiliently around dealing with that right of spread and those ember attacks.

[Jeff Dau]: So what I might do, is I’ll connect the construction with those BAL levels.

So at BAL 12.5 and BAL 19, we’re predominantly looking at ember attack. There’s a bit of a radiant heat there … and I sort of missed that point is that the BAL rating is a measure of radiant heat flux in kilowatts per square metre, which is just basically … to give you an idea, five kilowatts per square metre is, you know, a human can withstand it for a very short period of time. 10 kilowatts/m2 a firefighter in full PPE can withstand that for a very short period of time. Beyond that, then it escalates. So at 29 kilowatts/m2 and above, we have unpiloted ignition of timber. So it means, just through radiant heat alone, you’ll get something that will combust.

So, how that then ties in, is that BAL 12.5 and BAL 19 are predominantly to deal with ember attack so we’re screening windows etc. So at those lower levels that’s the expectation, that the new dwelling would have good ember protection.

There will be some other parts … obviously largely non combustible. Although there area number of timbers that can be used at that level.

At BAL 29 very select few timbers but we’re now starting to see that radiant heat. So as I said, a bushfire will pull apart a structure through the ember attack, through radiant heat, and then through flame contact.

So at BAL 29 and BAL which is the dominant factor there. And then above BAL 40, we’re starting to actually get flame impingement. So we’re getting … the structure is immersed in flame. And obviously, that’s the highest level.

So I think, to answer the question, a lot of these places may come into higher ratings and that’s obviously going to prescribe those higher, those higher levels. There’s a cost associated with that.

And this will be a challenging time for councils, for homeowners. So where once was … and I’m probably speaking of somewhere like Rosedale … there was the beautiful, beach shack that was made out of, you know, some sort of fibro … they find the site now is a BAL 40 or Flame Zone.

And then obviously, there’s going to be a decision point there. And I don’t … the the story from 2009 was that some some sites, you know, not many, but some sites were verydifficult to rebuild. But yes, that will be the challenge.

I think the good news here is that, because this has been underway for quite some time, or you know, AS3959 has been around for some time, there are more products that are available.

The price is coming down, it’s more achievable. People understand the standard. And yes, it’s becoming more and more doable at higher end. But at the lower end, it’s pretty straightforward.

I think, the numbers that are thrown around in terms of cost, is that for, you know, BAL 12.5, BAL 19 ember proofing … the glazing is minimal. Looking at about $10,000 – $15,000 on top of a, you know, very standard build.

So I hope that’s answered the question. But that would be the expectation there.

[Amelia Lee]: Yes, I think that it’s really interesting to see … you know, before you and I, in our correspondence before we jumped on this interview, we were talking about how the Australian Standards for construction … and this is the standards in most places around the world … they’re the minimum that construction needs to adhere to. They’re not the gold standard. They’re not the best performance standard. They’re the bare minimum of what a home needs to, to be, obviously, a shelter.

And it’s really interesting to see homeowners becoming more and more informed about the need to actually exceed standards in order to have a functioning, performing, durable, long lasting home, that is comfortable and is going to last them for the decades that they want it to.

So I’m seeing homeowners actually desiring to build beyond their standards, because they understand that. And many feel that we’re on the cusp of a realisation that these standards need to shift. And there’s obviously pushback in other parts of the industry that makes that a little bit slow to happen.

But it’s quite interesting to see how much this has been led by consumers saying, “look, no, actually, I want something better for my home. I want to protect myself and my family and my asset. And I want to understand what’s involved in that”.

THIS IS PART 4 OF MY INTERVIEW WITH JEFF DAU, EMBER BUSHFIRE CONSULTING. WATCH PART 1 HERE and PART 2 HERE and PART 3 HERE.

This interview is part of our Rebuild + Build Better series.

Be sure to stay tuned as we share more information and expertise in helping you rebuild after bushfires, or build homes more resilient to climate conditions and in bushfire prone areas.

Resources mentioned in this video:

Get in touch with Jeff Dau, Ember Bushfire Consulting >>> https://www.bushfireassessor.com.au/Find a qualified bushfire consultant by searching for an accredited provider on the Fire Protection Association Australia website >>> http://www.fpaa.com.au/Get access to the Australian Standards AS3959 at no charge for a limited time (instead of Hardcopy, change to PDF Download for 1 user to change the fee to FREE) >>> AS3959 PDF STANDARD
The post Bushfire Building Standards | BAL Ratings and AS395 appeared first on Undercover Architect.

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