The humble Australian deck
The humble deck is a quintessential part of Australian backyard culture. It’s the meeting place for summer barbecues and home of that outdoor setting that everyone has sat around at some point over the warmer months.
With summer on its way, you might be thinking about building a deck or a pergola, however, before you go shopping for timber, there are a few key steps to complete in order to get your deck off the ground. With our quick guide, you’ll be sizzling snags with a beer in hand in no time.
The first step is to roughly map out what size you would like your deck to be. You can do this by simply stepping it out and using a temporary line paint or some sort of marker to show the boundary so that you can get a feel for just how big or small the area of the deck will be.
Get a draftsman on side
Once you have an idea of what you want, meeting with a draftsman at your house is a great starting point. The draftsman will be able to give you an idea of how large your deck can be from the perspective of your local council laws. There are often setbacks and easements for various reasons in particular areas, so getting familiar with this early on will help in the long run.
Next, it’s time to get a surveyor on board to begin the process of applying for a planning permit and once this has been approved, the building permit. These are required by law and if you do go ahead without the appropriate permits, you can face hefty fines or potentially having to pull down the structure. Councils can now use drones and flyover software to catch any structures that have been newly or re-built.
A surveyor will assist with the following contracts and forms:
-The application for a planning permit and then the building permit itself
-A protection of works notice and a response to this notice
-An application for occupancy and certificate of occupancy
-The final certificate
-They also assist you in inspecting works as they progress, putting your mind at ease that the works will be to Australian standards.
To demo, or not to demo
Another thing to consider is demolition and whether or not it’s required. If it is, refrain from doing so until the draftsman has visited the site so that they can add this into the drawings if required. The level of demolition may vary too depending on the advice given by the draftsmen.
Let’s talk timber
Now for the fun stuff, decking materials! Think about durability, maintenance, colour tones, width and thickness of timber and what will go with any existing timber used throughout your home. There are so many options now, recycled timbers, dressed all round, skip dressed, wire brush finishes. There is no right or wrong choice, it’s just about choosing what appeals to you. Are you thinking of including a pergola? Garden boxes? Stairs? Screens to block out neighbours? Now is the time to think about these things. It’s also important to consider legally required safety precautions like handrails if your deck is higher than one meter off the ground.
Once you know exactly what you want and you and the draftsman are on the same page, it’s time to meet with your builder. Your builder can offer a wealth of knowledge and ideas, so use them and pick their brains! Once your vision is cemented, confirm with your draftsman so that working drawings can be completed. Now it’s time to sit back and watch the magic happen. When the build is complete it’s time to make the most of your brand new outdoor entertaining space and celebrate with a hard-earned beer, vino or whatever takes your fancy. Fire up the barbie and entertain the masses with your homes newest asset.