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Tips For Building in a Flood Zone NSW

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Australia is world-renowned for having wild and often unpredictable weather. Over the past several months, we’ve had bushfires, floods, and incredible storms.

When it’s time to start planning a new home build, it’s important to consider how these wild weather conditions will impact the construction process - for example, the council approval process and which home designs will reduce the vulnerability of your home in the unfortunate event of a flood.

In this blog, we explore building in a flood zone in NSW specifically, and all the things you need to consider before deciding to purchase a block or build a new home.

#1. How do I know if I’m in a flood zone?

According to the Australian Building Codes Australia (ABCA), living close to a creek, river or major storm water drain can put you at risk of flooding in wild weather conditions. It is also possible to be at risk due to a low-lying area.

If you’re planning to build in a flood zone, the NSW State Emergency Service (SES) recommends creating a plan for you and your family in the event of a flood. You can find local flood plans here.

#2. Areas considered not to be “flood prone areas”

Flooding can often happen where we least expect it. However, the ABCA has outlined certain situations where water problems would not be considered a “defined flood area”:

  • Part of flood areas which are prone to mudslides or landslides during long periods of rain
  • Part of flood areas which are prone to storm surges and coastal waves.

If possible, these areas should be carefully considered when searching for new land or places to build.

#3. It is not possible to guarantee a home built within government regulations will be safe from flooding

According to the ABCA, the flood zone building standards are designed to reduce accidents and injuries in the event of a flood.

However, it’s also important to note there is no guarantee your home will not be subject to flooding. The ABCA’s standards are not a stand-alone solution to flooding. Reducing the risk of life and injuries in the event of a flood depends on a comprehensive set of measures, for example:

  • Limiting building in flood zone areas (like floodways)
  • Planning for flood hazards
  • Flood mitigation measures
  • Flood warning and emergency response planning
  • Following building standards.

If these elements have not been addressed ahead of building, there’s no guarantee that flooding can be avoided or minimised. It comes down to how committed you are to the block of land and how thorough you’re willing to be with your flood defences and planning.

#4. House designs for flood prone areas

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Image: ABCA. Ideal house design for flood prone areas.

If you decide to build your new home in a flood prone area, it’s essential to figure out what kind of house design would be ideal for your unique block of land. For example, the ABCA has provided an “ideal” outcome above, where there are “non-habitable floor areas” and “levels” in the event of a flood.

At Montgomery Homes, we’re committed to ensuring the safety, comfort, and happiness of our customers, no matter the weather. We use special building techniques and materials to minimise flooding damage, for example:

  • Bearers and joist. This flooring system uses a timber support structure to lift your home off the ground and give you access to underneath the house. This method can also provide a clear pathway for water to flow through in the event of a flood.
  • Concrete slab. Our team will bring in fill to build the new home and create a slab floor level above the required flood hazard line.
  • Tiles instead of carpet. One consideration is swapping carpet for tiles throughout the house. Tiles are more durable and water resistant, plus they’ll make clean-up easier after a flood.
  • Install air conditioning and the hot water system up higher. This will ensure these systems aren’t damaged in the event of a flood.

In the planning process, we will determine how intense the threat of a flood is on your block of land, then we will discuss potential changes we can make to your home design to reduce potential flood damage.

#5. Approval processes for building in flood zones

  • CDC. When development is proposed in a flood zone, a council or accredited building certifier can issue a complying development certificate (CDC) in accordance with development standards for flood controls.

    The general requirement is that the home complies with the Building Code of Australia (BCA). However, in the planning and construction process, we’ll take care of approvals for you.

  • DA & CC. On a piece of land where flood planning applies, the consent authority (for example, the local council or current land owner) can issue development approval (DA) based on the flooding risk. This ensures the appropriate measures are taken to manage risk of life from flood.

    Following development approval, an application for a construction certificate (CC) will be reviewed by the BCA. They will determine whether the safety measures and provisions implemented will be acceptable for your new home.

Again, it’s important to remember that Montgomery Homes will take care of these applications and approvals for you. We will be with you every step of the way, making the approval and building process easier from start to finish.

Get in touch with our team for more information on building in a flood zone in NSW

Building a new home can be exciting, life changing, and daunting all at the same time! However, we’re here to help.

Our goal is to make the home building process much easier. We’re the experts in building complex homes, from sloping blocks to narrow blocks and even homes in flood prone areas. We’re known as the go to home builder when building in flood zones.

For more information on building in flood prone areas in NSW, get in touch with our knowledgeable sales team. We’d be more than happy to discuss your home building needs.

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