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8 Essential Elements to Consider When Building a New Northern Beaches Home

Posted by Paul Ackling 17th Jul 2014

When building a new home on the Northern Beaches you want to be prepared on all levels. So to help you out we’ve created a list of some of the essentials you will need to know before building.


We have such a wonderful outdoor environment to enjoy. Having an outdoor living area is an essential ingredient to any new Northern Beaches home. This part of the home should be far more than a simple deck with a pergola. It’s always best to incorporate it into the design of the home right from the beginning.

Here’s some features to consider for your outdoor living area:

  • Ceiling fans for those still evenings
  • Heat panels to enjoy during winter
  • Flexible lighting (i.e. task lighting to cook or read by and low lighting to entertain)
  • Privacy screens that are movable and can direct breeze and sunlight into your space
  • Fixed gas point for your BBQ
  • BBQ rangehoods to reduce smoke
  • Easy access to a garden tap for cleaning


This is a feature that is often overlooked but can be incredibly beneficial when designed right. The idea is to have one area that’s exposed to the cool afternoon/evening breeze (for those hot summer evenings) and a second that’s sheltered when it gets cool or too windy. To have the option of which area to use makes sure you’re always able to enjoy the outdoors.


Being so close to the coast, it makes sense to make full use of nature’s air conditioning. Opening one window in a room will let in some air; opening another window in the same room or the end of a hallway can greatly increase that airflow. Couple this idea with flexible windows that can remain open when you’re out or during rain. It will make a major difference to your home.


When it comes to insulation, most people think of ceiling batts and that’s all. Yet to completely insulate a home requires an comprehensive approach. Effective insulation doesn’t stop at reducing your energy consumption and costs. It also makes living in your home that much more comfortable. Some insulation items to consider and include are:

  • R3.0 ceiling batts
  • R1.5 batts to external walls
  • R1.5 batts to internal walls and ceilings
  • Insulated roof blanket under metal roofs
  • Sarking under tiled roofs
  • Breathable wall wrap behind claddings
  • Subfloor ventilation if your home is raised off the ground
  • Tight seals on windows and doors
  • Window coverings/blinds to keep the sun out on a hot day and to maintain warmth on cold days


If you are building on the oceanfront, trying to optimise your views should be a no brainer. But what about in areas on the Northern Beaches without an ocean view? Considered placement of windows can turn them into picture frames of your gardens, the sky or even a neighbour’s tree. A pleasant outlook can have a wonderful impact on your day to day living.


This can make or break your plans to develop your block of land. There are many guidelines and rules that relate to building on the Northern Beaches. Getting to the right outcome can take an enormous amount of work behind the scenes. But it’s well worth the effort to completely grasp the rules and regulations specified by local Councils.
Some basic points to ask about when considering a new home:

  • Can you build under Complying Development Regulations?
  • Are there any easements on your property?
  • Does your landfall to the street?
  • Are you located in a flood or bushfire zone? (you may be surprised)
  • Will your new home shadow your neighbours?
  • Will the size of the home you want fit on your land?

The compliance of your home requires the work of professionals who know the rules and how to apply them. Getting this right at the start can not only save you money but also ensures your build process runs smoothly.


A lot will change with your new home but one thing that will never change is the ground that it’s built on. Not surprising, the Northern Beaches has a wide variety of soil types and ground conditions. At the extremes, it can vary from the hardest of sandstones to the softest of sands. You could also encounter underground water or have issues with overland water flow. Most often, local knowledge and experience is the best way to avoid any issues. If the structural elements of your home are correctly designed, they’ll take into account your site conditions. Then once the build starts, there will be no surprises on site.


Our coastal environment provides some specific challenges. Salt corrosion is the most common and can be partly overcome by using the appropriate materials. Don’t be fooled though. Even when using the correct materials, they’ll need ongoing maintenance to prolong working life. Here’s some simple ideas to help maintain your property:

  • A garden tap on your balcony to make frequent cleaning easier.
  • Well designed drainage to prevent overflows during storms
  • Roof anchor points to provide safe access

Another less considered challenge when on the coast is the wind driven rain and heavy local storms. Attention to detail in the design and construction of your home is the best way to defend against this. When done right, you may not notice the difference, but you definitely will if it’s not!

It all can be a bit overwhelming when you first set out to build your home. But that’s why we’re here! We’re more than happy to provide an info pack and a quote to help get you started on the path to building your own home.

Is there something we’ve missed? We’d also love to hear your ideas in the comments section below.


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