Category Archives: Design

Building on a Sloped Block – 2

Further to our last post about building on a sloped block, we have modified our Lyrebird 29 to suit a slope of over 1.3m. Stepped down in 2 stages, this design optimizes the layout over the profile of the land.

Have a look at the internals of this house via a Virtual tour here. Hope you enjoy the experience.

InnoHomes Lyrebird 29 on a Slope

Building on a “Sloped” Block

Building on a Sloped block is generally what most Volume builders will try and avoid – or hit you with major site costs. However it presents you with an opportunity that is not afforded on level blocks.

For an extensive slope (greater than 2m), a design similar to our Boyne may be suitable (More on the Boyne a bit later). But for sites lesser than 2m of slope different ideas can be used. Steep DrivewayMost Volume builders will consider cutting the block to level the site. But this can cause unforeseen problems such as:

  • Greater driveway slope. You will not enjoy the feeling similar to driving off the side of a mountain. As a client once mentioned, it’s like building a house in a hole.
  • Massive retaining walls. Often Retaining walls are part of landscaping, so not the problem of the builder.
  • No view from the house. The fence line would still follow the profile of the block, so you would have super high fencing around your block
  • Drainage issues
  • A house that will be difficult to resell, as what may not be obvious on plans is now built and right in front of you

A much better option would be to have stepped slab. The slab of the house follows the slope of the land. It gives you the benefit of much reduced site costs, at the same time giving you a design with a “WOW” factor.

Stepped House Design

Raft Slab vs Waffle Slab

Raft Slab :

Raft slabThe steel reinforced raft slab is also commnly called an engineered slab. It consists of thick steel reinforced concrete slab integrated with steel reinforced concrete beams founded into the bearing soil for strength and support.

The classic approach is:

  1. Trenches about 450mm wide x 450mm deep are dug around the perimeter of external walls and under load bearing walls
  2. Reinforcement cages are laid in the trenches and reinforcement bars are also laid at this time, and turned up to pass above the top of the strip footing to accommodate later slab structure
  3. Concrete mix is poured into the trench to ground level with vertical reinforcement bars protruding up to be formed with the floor slab
  4. Moisture protection, termite protection, electrical conduit, drainage and sewerage pipes for bathrooms and kitchens are positioned
  5. Formwork for the slab is then erected along the outer edges of the building footprint and on top of the cured concrete footings
  6. Steel reinforcement is laid for the slab
  7. Concrete is poured in one operation creating a slab that covers the entire floor area

Waffle Slabs

waffle slabWaffle slabs are a reinforced concrete footing and slab system constructed on ground. They consist of a perimeter footing (edge beam) and a series of narrow internal beams (strip footings) at one metre nominal centres running each way. The whole footing and slab system is constructed on top of the ground.

The sides of the slab are made by edged Formwork, and polystyrene blocks (pods) create the formed voids between the strip footings. When viewed from underneath, the system of internal strip footings looks like a waffle – hence its called the Waffle Slab.

Waffle slabs achieve their strength by varying their height above ground. The higher the slab above ground – the deeper the beams. The deeper the beams – the more stiffness the system has.

It is InnoHomes’ preference to build on Engineered Raft Slabs. While Waffle Slabs may be cheaper to build in some circumstances, they do not work very well in:

  • Soft ground conditions or where the soil can move.
  • Sloping sites. In simplistic terms – there is only their weight stopping them from sliding down a hill.
  • Cyclonic areas and high wind areas. High wind forces will engage enough of the waffle slab to resist the force but not without deflection of the slab. In very high Wind conditions it is possibe that the waffle slab will lift and the walls crack.

Also these are some considerations in our opinion, for preferring an engineered raft slab

  1. If the ground around your house gets eroded or washed away, the area under a waffle slab is exposed. Exposed areas under the Waffle Slab can attract reptiles and other wildlife seeking Shelter.
  2. Ground preparation must be immaculate and kept that way for the life of the slab, by the owner/resident of the House. Care must be taken not to overwater the ground near your house, build up the ground around your house, allow surface water to run towards your house (and under your house) or plant gardens next to your house, as this may all affect the slab.
  3. Raft slabs are cast against the ground whereas waffle slabs are cast onto polystyrene void formers and strips of concrete. An overloaded raft slab is less likely to crack because it is cast onto the ground.

Diagrams used are from the RMIT website.

Preview Opening of the Innovative InnoHomes Display Home

We are happy to say that we were able to have a preview opening of our innovative Display home at Officer. Nestled in the gentle valleys, and situated in the plush Timbertop Estate, we were privileged to have the Mayor of Cardinia Shire – Cr.Graeme Moore, and our local MP -Brad Battin, the Member for Gembrook attend. Among the other invitees were folks from the media, and our partners who have helped make this project a success.

Cr.Graeme Moore, Mr. Brad Battin, MP, and Kathy our vivacious real estate agent cut the cake made specially for us by Ninas Cupcakery.
Cake Cutting at the InnoHomes Display Home

While the home is not 100% complete, our invitees were able to experience our design philosophy, our innovatiove space usage, the premium fixtures and yes the elevator. The elevator got a serios workout, with everyone excited to explore all the constructed spaces.

The following is an image of the article published in the The Packenham Gazette:

Article on InnoHomes published in the Pakenham Gazette

Copyright on House Plans

Steer Clear of Copyright Issues When Handling Floor Plans

Construction and copyright – not two words that you would instantly relate to each other, right? Admittedly, copyright infringement is the last thought that comes to one’s mind when thinking about construction designs, especially floor plans. One may be caught completely off guard with such information while trying to remodel their home or office, in case they are unaware of the existence of copyright laws.

We protect our Copyright

We protect our Copyright

Say for example, you buy a new house. It might not be enormous in size but you like the way in which the living area opens into a small balcony and the little reading area just down the corridor. An ever helpful architect on the premises explains every one of your queries regarding the floor plan. Later on, you hand the floor plan to your architect for a remodeling work and he comes up with a design of your liking. And it is just then that you are served with a lawsuit charging you and your contractor with copyright infringement on the original property’s floor plan. Compensation of possible damages might also be demanded.

In order to avoid landing oneself in such unfavorable situation, it is better to have a general idea about architectural copyright laws. Australian law boasts of the most comprehensive coverage of floor plans. The Copyright Amendment (Moral Rights) Act of 2000 amends the Australian Copyright Act, 1911, thereby; providing for individual creators with a couple of new moral rights. Namely, these are the rights of attribution and integrity of authorship.

These rights emphasize that existing copyright owners will receive attribution as authors of their work. They must be identified according to the specifications that they set. These owners are entitled to exercise their rights against false credits of their work. They may also do so if their work is subjected to derogatory treatment like mutilation, distortion, alteration, or anything that is detrimental to the authors’ honour or reputation.

More detail can be found on the website of the Australian Copyright Council at Their information sheet is available here

Will Your Home Remain Suitable As You Grow Older?

Few Simple Tips to Help Make a House Suitable for when you are Older

Couple ridingWhen buying their dream homes or starting a remodeling project, people rarely think about the time when they will inevitably be faced with an impending old age. It is always about what is needed and how convenience can be enhanced just a little more for the time being. This trend might lead to the aesthetic appeal and convenience getting increased ‘for the time being’; however, very little, if anything, gets improved for the future. The elderly, especially those who are troubled with mobility issues, come across various problems around the house when trying to go about their day to day activities. Everything from turning the doorknob to climbing the stairs might seem like a mammoth task to them.

So, here are a few steps that might be incorporated to make life easier for the seniors within the house:

  • When building a home for elders, it is better to have an alternative to stairs, as many people find it difficult to negotiate them due to conditions like diabetes, cardiac problems, arthritis, etc. Making the stairs less steep with sturdy railings is a must. Elevators are a great alternative to stairs.
  • All floors should be made slip-resistant, wooden surfaces are the best. Rugs and nonskid mats can also be used as alternatives. The floor must be checked to make sure there are no bumps and dents.
  • Lighting is also critical. A well-lit place means better visibility. A dark room is nothing short of an invitation to a bump or a fall. Entryways must also be well lit.
  • It is also important to make baths safer. Dry areas must be kept alongside bath areas. Provisioning for grab bars may also be a good idea. Step in showers are probably the more convenient options than tubs. Installing hand held showers for people with limited mobility is also a wise decision.

Consult us at InnoHomes, we have access to some of the most creative professionals, who can layout your house as you need it.

Mobility Issues Affecting Older Australians

How Mobility Issues Are Affecting the Older Australians Today

When one is in their forties or fifties, they can still crack jokes about needing help while getting out of the bed in the morning, or climbing down the stairs to the front porch in the afternoon. However, those men and women who have already hit their seventies (or even earlier), and need help to do simple activities like climbing stairs, mobility is no laughing matter.

mobility2Research shows that even though the percentage of people needing personal care and assistance for day to day activities is still low, more than forty per cent people between the age 50 and 64, admit that they have problems with moving around, especially climbing stairs due some health problem or the other. Even though these conditions start between the ages of thirty nine to forty nine, the problems escalate with increasing age. While obesity remains a cause of serious concern, other conditions include arthritis and rheumatism. Back and neck problems, diabetes, depression, anxiety, or other emotional problems are also a cause to seriously impede mobility. It is imperative that these concerns are adequately anticipated and considered while choosing a design for your new home.

The first step in overcoming the mobility limitation issues obviously involves getting holistic pain management treatments. The second step would absolutely be about finding the solutions available to help with one’s specific problem or needs. There exists a large amount of potential solutions, due to the advanced technology available at competitive costs now. As it is the home where you would spend most of your time, the construction plan of the property should be integrated to cater to your needs well into the future.

InnoHomes, proudly designs homes integrated with elevators, so that your home is one place where you will not need to struggle.

-Referenced research by Division of Behavioral and Social Research at the National Institute on Aging.