Garages and Carports Part 1 Groundworks

March 16, 2020

Garages and Carports Part 1  Groundwork’s


My website attracts plenty of enquires from people interested in off-street parking and storage. Off-street parking can be a carport or garage structure at the rear. This is the only option for most people living in cramped housing typically found in the inner suburbs of Sydney. As you move further out larger blocks allow more expansive developments. In wider frontage properties people may want carports or garages at the front of the property. You should be aware that the majority of councils will not allow you to build in front of the building line. If you have space at the side of your property then this is where they will expect you to develop. Some councils will allow carports in front of the building line if there is no other choice. If there are already other houses in the street that have carports in front of the building line then you will probably be able to do the same. An easy way to check development controls is to read the council Development Control Plan. This is located under Development along with the LEP Local Environment Plan. Once you have found residential in the DCP go to Carports and Garages. If they say a single carport is allowed and you want a double then be prepared for an argument.  Arguments as we all know are there to be either won or lost and you will need to formulate a good argument if you want to win. Garages in front of the building line are very rare. I had one approved in Narrenbern some time back but it was a sympathetic design cut into a sandstone foundation with a balcony on the roof.  The parking in the street was non existent day and night and the council was sympathetic to the residents needs. This is not always the case. Planning departments can be blissfully ambivalent to the needs of the residents and not even a blazing comet heading towards earth would make them consider anything that wasn’t  a preferred option in the DCP.

If you decide to build a Garage or Carport because you think it will be a cheap option think again. There are exceptions to the rule but in my experience most people have a belief that a 6m x 6m brick garage or open carport  is not going to cost much more than a new Japanese or Korean car. If you are thinking a Chinese copy of the new Korean or Japanese car then you really are dreaming.

Let me enlighten you. In 99% of cases you will be doing a Development application for a Garage or Carport development. To present plans to council you will require a full identification survey, you will also require floor plans, elevations, sections, site plan, site analysis plan, stormwater plan, soil and water management plan, colour and materials sheet and if there are any trees in the vicinity an arborists report. When you have a DA determination you will have a fifteen to thirty page document that tells the builder and the owner what to do and how to do it in some cases.

Some people believe that if they knock down an old garage they can rebuild on the slab. More than likely if the garage was falling down then the slab will have to be replaced also. A lawn mower man who does a bit of building is not an authority to rely on. You will need an engineer to access the slab and more than likely he will tell you to install a new slab with appropriate footings.

Moving on, if you live in the inner west in a federation or Victorian era house that has never been renovated or was renovated twenty years ago, you can bet that the sewerage and stormwater has never been looked at since the day the house was built. There are exceptions but if there is no stormwater and the property floods every time there is a serious rain event you will need to fix it. Even if you don’t intend to deal with it more than likely council will have other ideas. An engineer will prepare a stormwater plan at the DA or CC stage and you will have to comply. If your property is higher at the front than the rear or falls from one side to the other you will need to excavate and build retaining walls that can be part of the structural walls of a garage but you will need to create drainage systems and probably waterproof the walls below ground level. Let us  throw a few figures around to enlighten you. Soil Excavation removal of old slabs and crumbling walls inconveniently positioned trees all can cost between $5,000 to $10,000. Excavation of footings may need to be done by hand particularly if they are located on the neighbours boundary and require about 10 cubic metres of bins close to $2,000 for soil disposal alone. Once the excavation is complete you have steel and concrete for the footings. Steel for a 6m x 6m carport or garage will be around $1,000. You will need  form workers and steel fixers to prepare the frames and step downs. This is not a job for an enthusiastic amateur.  Concrete is anywhere from $260 to $300 a cubic metre for a 6m x 6m garage or carport you will need between 12 cubic to 15 cubic metes of concrete. To place the concrete you will need a concrete pump Conrete pump around $800.00 and concreters’to finish off the job.  Most concreters’ drive large trucks and there are usually a minimum of three. You can expect to pay $2,000 to $3,000 for the concreters’ services.

Once the concrete has been poured you can turn your attention to building. If retaining walls are required you may need to use besser blocks with vertical steel running up into the blocks. Once the blocks are laid they need to be filled with concrete and then the brickwork can begin. To get a 6m x 6m carport or garage out of the ground to a professional standard will be a minimum of $20,000.00. If your sewerage is running underneath the development or if you have a communal line where half a dozen houses feed into the line that then runs to the boards sewer in the back lane then the plumber may need to replace old earthen ware pipes. The plumber should be informing the inspectors from the department of fair trading of a changed development and the plumber will have to comply with the standards and it will all be inspected before being signed off. You can probably add another $5,000 to the $20,000.00. It may be less drastic than this but the point being made is that once the concrete is down you will have already spent a significant sum and I haven’t include the builder who needs to coordinate everything and he/she  is going to want to be paid to manage the project.

If you drive along any lane in the inner west most of the un-renovated  properties present a neglected facade to the street or lane. Fences are generally old, stormwater systems are non existent or broken. Retaining walls are leaning over and the root systems of trees are exacerbating all the problems. If fixing these issues was cheap and easy there wouldn’t be any issues. What we have just discussed above are the groundwork’s. The groundwork’s are the first stage of any new garage or carport. Groundwork’s generally cost a lot more than you anticipate but they need to done and they need to be done properly.

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