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If you are considering building a new home in the Tweed Shire or considering making alterations and additions to your existing home including garages, carports, sheds, swimming pools etc, Part A of Section A1 of Council's Development Control Plan (5.46mB PDF) provides detailed planning and design control guidelines. An alternative option when designing a home is the provsions of Exempt and Complying Development , these are somewhat restrictive click here for further information.

Although the Development Control Plan is essentially a guide it has been prepared with community consultation to improve the quality of building types setting out the objectives and design controls to be achieved. Your development application will be assessed against these controls and prescribed statutory considerations and any variations to the plan will need to demonstrate why a control cannot be met. It is therefore essential that your proposal is checked against these design controls during the planning phase and prior to lodging your application with Council. Council has also prepared a series of check lists that will assist you with this process and the lodgement requirements for your application. Please [ click here ] to visit our page containing links to the checklists and other information.

Bush Fire Considerations

In addition to these design controls you will also need to identify if your land is situated in an area that is identified as bushfire prone. This may be done via Council's Online Mapping Page or by contacting Councils Building and Environmental Health Unit. The legislation relating to building in bushfire prone areas was introduced in New South Wales in August 2002. It required the fire impact on buildings to be considered in the development assessment process for buildings and new subdivision proposals in bush fire prone areas. If the land is identified as bush fire prone the New South Wales Fire Services in conjunction with the Department of Planning have created a document called Planning for Bush Fire Protection which sets out specific design requirements for bush fire protection. Further information in relation building in bush fire prone areas is available through the NSW Rural Fire Service (external link) web site.

Site Analysis

Understanding your site and making informed decisions about how your house design, living space location and deck areas relate to elements such as the sun path and prevailing breezes is an important part of the design process.

A site analysis plan will assist in understanding the opportunities and constraints of the site and in selecting or designing a house that responds to the site and the local characteristics. Similarly, how your house presents to the wider streetscape builds local character. Designing to take advantage of the site context, opportunities and constraints will result in a more liveable house, enhances the streetscape and contributes to the overall built form character of the Tweed and its localities.

The submission of a site analysis is a requirement for all new residential development and is required to be submitted as part of a development application and should include information about:
  • general site dimensions and orientation
  • slope information
  • solar path information
  • prevailing breeze information
  • views
  • adjoining buildings and structures, and
  • existing landscape and environmental features
Site Analysis is a two step process that involves understanding the site and selecting and designing a house to suit that site.

A Site Analysis Requirement Matrix (85kB PDF) has been developed to correlate typical information that would be required for difference development types. In order to assist you in creating your site analysis, you can download a Site Analysis Template with Checklist (70kB PDF). A Sample Site Analysis of both the Existing Condition and Design Response (466kB PDF) can be downloaded for your reference to demonstrate the level of detail required.

Designed for people and the environment. Whether you are building a new home or renovating your existing one, incorporating Smart Housing features at the design stage will ensure your house is more comfortable to live in, cheaper to run and has minimal impact on the environment.

Top 10 Considerations

  1. Orientation: The north side is warmer in winter and the best place for rooms you use a lot, like living areas. The west side gets hot in the afternoon and is best for rooms you don’t use often, like bathrooms, garages and laundries. The south side is the coolest and good for bedrooms in warmer climates, as well as rooms you don’t use often. The east side gets morning sun and is good for breakfast rooms, kitchens and bedrooms.
  2. External Colours: Light coloured external walls and roof sheeting absorb less heat from the sun than dark colours, ensuring the home remains cooler.
  3. Roof Eaves: Wide overhangs provide shade to external walls and windows, helping to keep the home cool and protect it from the elements.
  4. Water Heating: Energy efficient hot water systems such as solar hot water, natural gas and electric heat-pumps will lower your water heating bill and reduce the households carbon footprint by an average of 4 tonnes of CO2 per year.
  5. Breezeways and Zoning: Position the windows and doors to provide good cross-ventilation throughout all rooms of the house. This will help catch the breezes and cool the home. Use internal doors to separate areas of the house so if you do have to heat or cool your home, it can be a smaller area.
  6. Insulation: Insulation acts as a barrier to heat flow and is essential to keep your home warm in winter and cool in summer. A well insulated and well designed home will provide year-round comfort, cutting cooling and heating bills by up to half. This, in turn, will reduce the households carbon footprint.
  7. Ceiling Fans: Fans will create movement of air, increasing comfort in the home.
  8. Look for the Stars: Make water and energy efficiency a top priority for appliances and fixtures. You can search and compare the water efficiency rating of appliances and fixtures at (external link). You can do the same for energy efficiency at (external link)
  9. Lighting: Make smart lighting choices. Refer to ‘designing in detail’ for more information.
  10. Stormwater Pollution: Where possible, include a grassed area adjacent to the driveway so vehicles can be washed on the grass instead of the driveway. This will prevent vehicle wash-down water from ending up in local waterways.
A well designed and well fitted-out home may cost a little more up-front, but it will be more comfortable, have cheaper running costs and demonstrate your commitment to a sustainable future.

A series of fact sheets have also been developed to assist in identifying some of the key considerations when designing a new home. The fact sheets include:

Please click on the headings below for more information...

New Home Buyers
Designing in Detail
Solar Hot Water
Solar Power
Rainwater Tanks
Grey Water
Green Granny Flats
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