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Add value to your Perth home with a carport - design and cost perspective from a structural engineer

There are many practical options to add value to your Perth home and adding a carport, patio, shed or a swimming pool are certainly great ways to improve the practicality of the home. Whilst there are a number of options on the market when it comes to carports (such as colorbond carport, stratco carport, patio carport, carport kits) the focus of this article is on the more traditional brick and tile carport constructed using brick piers and a tiled roof which might find in the post Federation and Californian Bungalow architectural styles.

Planning Phase

An architect or an architectural designer should be appointed to assist with creating the design. A good designer with experience in Perth will be able to advise on the local planning requirements and discuss the proposed location of the carport with consideration for vehicle access requirements. Other considerations should include existing street trees, service and drainage locations and of course the location and size of the proposed carport.

If a site plan is not available, it is recommended that the site is surveyed by a licensed land surveyor to check the location of the lot boundary, vegetation, structures and site levels. A qualified structural engineer should undertake a site inspection to check the site conditions and to provide the certified structural design. It is also a good idea to use a private building surveyor (or certifier) to review the plans and certify that they meet the applicable building standards before lodging to the permit authority for the approval.

Whilst the focus of this article is primarily related to adding value to your Perth home with a carport, we have described the process required to obtain a building permit in our post titled "Structural engineering of swimming pools in Perth" which the reader may find very informative.

Having the best team working with you is critical in the success of any undertaking, and a great structural engineer will be able to assist with the specific engineering requirements such as the wind classification, soil classification and impact on existing buildings or structures. To assist with your cost estimates for structural engineering services in Perth, click here to contact us.

From an aesthetic perspective, it is ideal if the carport matches the existing home style, however it can become quite difficult to find matching bricks and roof tile profiles. There are a number of demolition contractors and construction materials "recyclers" in Perth that can supply a wide range of bricks and tiles that are no longer manufactured. There is also the option of finding selections that would match closely to the existing materials of your home.

Cost estimates

During the early planning phase, you should be able to obtain budget cost estimates from building contractors. Alternatively you will be able to source some local cost estimates by researching the construction materials that you require.

It is good practice to produce cost estimates containing line items for labour, materials and machinery/equipment (as required). For example the cost of the concrete supply in Perth for the pad footing can be estimated as follows:

  • the concrete pad footings for this application will be approximately 500mm x 500mm x 280mm deep. The cost of 0.5m3 of concrete is approximately $240.00 using the BGC Concrete online estimator.

You may also like to refer to the Rawlinsons Construction Cost Guide available online or from your local library which is commonly used by architects, builders, quantity surveyors and engineers.

After the planning phase is complete and the project requirements are very clear, you should obtain at least three fixed quotes and once you have identified the best contractor you should sign a fixed price contract to undertake the works. This ensures that there are no unexpected budget blowouts with your project.

Construction Phase

After the building permit is obtained and consideration is given to aspects such as health and safety, structural engineering, environmental and heritage requirements in line with the local government and Building Code of Australia, the carport is ready to be constructed.

It is very important that existing services are identified and not damaged during construction. For example, the structural engineer must consider the location of the sewer line and a Dial Before You Dig enquiry should be submitted by the builder. Following these checks, the construction of a carport is relatively straightforward if you are using a registered builder. The following are some of the steps involved:

  • Site clearing and excavation to predetermined levels;

  • Compaction - (the building permit will most likely be subject to a compaction test certified to be provided by a practicing professional structural engineer);

  • Pad Footings;

  • Brick Piers - typical brick piers for this application would be minimum 230mm x 230mm using standard brick size which are 110mm wide 76mm high and 230mm long. However, for architectural impact, there are several other options that you may like to explore;

  • Installation of beams construction of the roof frame;

  • Concrete slab;

  • Landscaping, fencing, screen walls etc.

If you are purchasing a home in Perth, it is essential to engage a qualified building inspector such as a structural engineer to undertake a pre purchase structural building inspection to provide a written report and to determine if any structural issues are present. Our team can assist with structural engineering services, structural building inspections in Perth & the South West as well as your pre purchase structural building and pest inspection.

If you have any questions regarding a project of this type in Perth or the South West, get in touch with us to discuss your requirements and to obtain a free quote. Blog image courtesy of Glenda Scherler via Pinterest.

Rotaru Building Consultants

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