Choosing the right site for your home

Over the years we have often been asked questions like, “How do we select the right block of land to suit moving a house to?” or “What are the things we need to consider when buying land to suit a removal home?”

There are some myths surrounding the answers to these questions so it might be helpful here to dispel a few of the common ones.

Myth 1. The site needs to be level. Fact – It can be helpful to have a level site, but its certainly not essential. Very steep sites can pose some problems, but there are ways to overcome even moderately steep situations. Removal homes normally have a timber platform floor supported by posts or stumps. This foundation system is very flexible and does not require a level building pad as post heights can be varied across the building. The main concern usually revolves around how to get the building into the position you want on the slope. This usually means creating a road up to, down to or within reach of the chosen site to allow the house transport vehicles to drive or reverse into position. Most modern day house transport vehicles have hydraulic raising and leveling systems incorporated into them to allow the load (i.e. the house) to be driven, up, down or even across, a slope.

Myth 2. You can’t put a removal home in a new estate. Fact – The local council needs to approve the project and as part of that process they assess how well the house will fit into its surroundings. Many new estates have had houses moved in to them and some have even been completely populated with removed houses. The exceptions are housing estates in newly developing suburban areas intended for the brick and tile stereotype housing development. In those areas the council could argue that a used house moved there would be in conflict with its surroundings. Some estates have covenants that will not allow development involving the use of used products which will preclude a used Removal Home, but not necessarily a new Transportable Home. For most sites, particularly rural ones, as long as there is no particular existing consistent style of development on the surrounding sites that visually conflicts with what you intend to do, then you should be allowed to do it. If council refuse an application you think is reasonable, there are inexpensive and informal tribunals you can access to lodge an appeal and many inappropriate council decisions have been reversed in this way.

Myth 3. All houses are cut into sections for transport. Fact – Many homes are moved without being cut for transport, in fact in Queensland about half of all houses moved are moved whole in one go without being cut. The biggest factor in determining whether the house needs to be cut is the route available to get it to its new site. The roads need to be wide enough to allow it without major physical obstructions in the way. Another consideration might be obstructions on your own intended house site, but these can usually be dealt with easily given you own the site and can make the necessary improvements to access if required.

So here are some things you could consider when looking for an ideal site.

1. Look for a site with reasonably wide roads leading to it without particularly tight corners, overhanging trees or other obstructions.
2. The site itself can be sloping, but a loaded house transporter will need to be able to drive into position or close by the final position, so in some cases a road may need to be cut with an earth moving machine to allow that to happen.
3. Consider whether cutting a level pad for the house might suit your own requirements better, or whether it is more desirable to stump the house on the natural slope.
4. Consider the orientation of your site to catch prevailing breezes, and take advantage of views etc.
5. Consider the position and number of potential on site obstructions to moving a house into the ideal position on the site.
6. Have a look at surrounding properties to see if they are likely to be reasonably compatable with the type of house you intend to move to your site.
7. Talk to your local council about your intended site to see if there are any particular requirements relating to moving a house to the area.
8. Ask the seller of the land if there are any development covenants on the site that might prevent you from moving a house to the site.
9. Some house relocation contractors will inspect properties for you to give you specific advice on an intended site before you decide on one, however it is helpful to have the particular house you intend to move available because relocation considerations will be slightly different for each individual house. You may be charged for this service.

The above is by no means a comprehensive list, but keep in mind that most sites that suit construction of a new home will generally suit a removal home providing the house can physically be moved there. It can be a very environmentally freindly, practical and cost effective way to obtain a home even if the home needs to be cut into sections and rejoined again to overcome road access and on-site obstructions if necessary.

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