Monday, 14 July 2014

Building a house or 2, Soil Tests

ask all the right questions. Fact finding is crucial for your developments success.

In this blog I pose the question - 
Do I need a soil test before committing to a block of land purchase or can i get one afterwards? 

Ok so in my first blog called, Building a house or 2, block buyingI really did forget to reinforce something so important to buying your block/s, so scratch the info i was going to share around planning phase as more of that is yet to come. Today i need to answer this question for all you building first timers.

What does your soil test determine?

I was only speaking to a bloke today while in my other role as a business consultant and he told me he had just sold his block of land which he never built on because the soil test (after the block purchase) returned findings that his block was in "fact" a swamp waiting to basically engulf anything established on it. Opppps!! Fortunately he has now been able to sell off this land again. 

Certainly not the result you want! and before buying our block we never knew the importance of a soil test. 

When do you ask for a soil test? 
well we waited until after the purchase of our block because you can gather fairly substancial and free information up front from your local council or planning consultant- which we made the most of both,  So we had a good indication going into our block purchase that a soil test for us would then result in such things as end- result materials costs and structural implications for the house - steel and concrete- the foundations

Ask the vendor prior to purchase if a recent soil test has occurred! but please note even if it has and it seems all viable for your building vision, you are still according to launceston city council planning regulations have to obtain your own soil test- now thats head shaking worthy! 

it does cost 

we had to get two soil tests on our recent development plans as we are building two houses but literally next to each other (on seperate titles however) and were very impressed with the service from Geo strata who rocked up on their day off to get the test done! The price we paid is our building IP but we will say - never pay full price for anything!!

Our growing pile of documents related to our building project!!!

I hope when you buy your block that you consider the soil testing question at the right time and that you use the results to your advantage - which is making the most informed decision 

The soil testing guys will send you a hefty report and to be honest I was very time poor in reading this so I got on the phone to them for the verbal run down. 

In summary- a soil test can determine viability of building on your block and will determine material cost and Qty for your build. 

Thanks for reading
Matt and Sarah - Launceston Plumbing and Gas PTY LTD - 0438 274 269

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Building a house or 2, part 1, Block buying

Hi my name is Sarah and my partner and business partner Matt is to my right. 
Recently we put up a photo on our facebook business page of our property plan, both to be developed in the popular family friendly location of West Launceston- close to the Cataract Gorge,  later this year. 

Our faces may look happy in the photo above, but let me tell you what this has personally taken to arrange this project - which is the development of two houses on different blocks (next to one another), one for re-sale and one for potential re-sale (we are undecided on that bit yet).

I have made the decision to share with you the steps we have needed to take since Feb last year (2013) which includes our journey right from the block buying stage.

This is a real account of what those wanting to build and arrange the building of their home design will have to do!

I hope I can provide a useful and really clear insight into the process of planning your building projects. Because as we have learned, a one stop shop for information to help us plan our project from scratch has been a challenge to find! Lucky we love a challenge. 

This first blog - below - will be covering the process of buying a block and what thoughts and strategies we had at this stage of our project. 

Block buying
Feb last year we looked out our window, down across our large backyard and over our fence to the vacant block behind us and decided let's build! This process of deciding and buying a block of land we found relatively straight forward and convenient seeing as though the block was right outside our back door and that we believed we were in the position to buy this block and make clear decisions around its use/ benefits and purpose in moving forward.

Our current backyard and the block we purchased behind us.
 Important things we recommend when buying a block of land:

Don't ever pay the asking price !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Can you afford it? 

Buying a block means paying for the utilities once committed (rates and water bills) and in many peoples cases, paying for additional loan costs because chances are they may already be paying off another mortgage from the home they are living in and are needing to take out a loan to buy this block of land.
Depending on the building option you run with (in our case, fairly heavy and lengthy building project timeline) you will find that you are neither generating an income from this purchase or decreasing your outgoings as you juggle the bills and payments of the existing dwelling you live in while you prepare this block for building. So be strategic in your thinking when you buy a block, aim to take away the emotion when buying and then follow my next snippet of advise below (even before you buy)

Talk to your accountant!

Your bank and their systems will indicate to you whether you can "on paper" afford to buy a block of land. However back this up by visiting your accountant as they can actually provide "advise" as to whether they think you 'actually' are in a position to afford the block of land and whether you can afford to achieve your future goals in and around this potential purchase! THIS IS V. IMPORTANT!

Why are you buying a block of land?
I actually cannot wait until some of my later blog posts come to life to discuss this question further, because anyone who has purchased a block of land to build, I am almost certain in this day and age and economic client/ council crazyness will ask themselves this question the entire way through their project lifespan. 
But at the initial stages, ensure you have had the discussion with either your partner, trusted others, bank and accountant, as to your intention or purpose for the land you have your eye on. Basically, avoid an impulse buy and give yourself every chance at succeeding in an financially efficient way.
We purchased the block behind our exiting dwelling because we see value in the geographical location, we see the opportunity to build on our existing dwelling which creates an opportunity to build two developments in unison which aims to decrease overall building cost ( like buy in bulk and save type mentality) we also saw the opportunity to Maximise the earning capacity from our existing block of land by being able to build a townhouse on it (building a home on a free block of land), and then proceed to build a larger family home (in comparison to the home we currently live in, which for our family of 4, we are quickly outgrowing) - we love this area so why not give ourselves the option to live basically in the same street - as mentioned at the beginning we are actually undecided about whether we will love into the larger home which we build and are therefore making cut and dry decisions about the build in order to not get to emotional on our building expenses - later blog on this one to come!!
You see all the thoughts we considered in this process not to mention our future goals of progressing towards property development, other income streams etc...(later post to feature on this).

Other things to consider when purchasing a block of land!
Visit your local council, and really do your research as to the blocks - serviceability! If it doesn't have serviceability in place you have just added further costs to your budget. 

Bottom line is in my view -buying a block is where alot of unseen money goes to in the initial stages. You really do need a plan in place before comitting to this type of investment/ purchase. 
Another bottom line is - visit your local council and triple check that your intention for use of your block of land can  become a reality. Rules and regulations may be the downfall so start fact finding!!

So many more blogs to come following this! it is literally unbelievable how many steps and decisions come into play when being extensively involved with building your own home.

Stay tuned because in my next blog I will be covering - 
Soil tests

Launceston Plumbing and Gas Pty Ltd, for all plumbing, natural gas and lp gas jobs
0438 274 269 or email to

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Traditional warmth with these modern gas fire ideas

Most homes these days are being installed with gas heating systems. Choosing a natural gas option if it is available to you, is convenient, affordable, safe and reliable or perhaps opt for a LP Gas connection to your gas fire, working on gas provided through cylinders.

Gas heating in the form of these gas fires (featured below) typically have the highest energy efficiency

Below is an ornamental gas fire looking very similar to what we have recently installed,
 Most of these products are around a 4 star energy rating. They just have a much warmer vibe and add a feature to any home. Prices for such heaters range from $1200 to $20,000 so there is one for every budget. This one pictured was about $3500 installed. 
Only time this fire will make a mess is the clean-up after the install! 

Whether wanting to find something true to a traditional looking fire place or something ultra modern, there is a wide range out there for, all providing a cosy atmosphere in your home. 

Tip for installation:
Advise our licenced fitter on how much you intend on using your LP gas fire if opting for this type, they can let you know how long your gas cylinder should last for and what size is best for your needs.

Contact Launceston Plumbing & Gas for more info.

Friday, 9 May 2014

Bathrooms with a View

Take 5, relax and enjoy the view!
Whether you can capture an amazing view from your bathroom or need some inspiration to make your relaxing place, just that! Then find some of my favourite bathrooms with a view below- Sarah (Manager, Launceston Plumbing & Gas


(Taken from Reece Plumbing Website)

A Country View! - Amazing

Sea Escape

Minimalist Bathroom, with private view

Mountain Views

If you are planning your bathroom/s then you are welcome to call us, Sarah or Matt from Launceston Plumbing on 0438 274 269 or email us to
we will direct you to the right places and info to plan your amazing bathroom space.