At the initial stage before designing anything, you need to obtain as much information about the project as possible.
Firstly, you will require basic information related to the building block (called the Site). You will need to have information such as:

• Title Plan (Site Boundary) - this is very important so you know the maximum area you can take up on the site for the floor plan, as well as allow for any setbacks required from boundaries or easements over the site. It is often a good idea to have a Land Surveyor provide you with a site plan showing accurately where your title boundary is in relation to any existing fences or buildings as sometimes they encroach on neighbouring land.

• Soil Type – this information is critical so that suitable footings for the building are designed. A Geo-Tech engineer can be employed to provide you with this information by taking soil samples of the site and determining the soil class.

• North location of the site - this will tell you where the direct sunlight is and allow you to design the windows shape and location, and also introduce any eaves or canopies to suit the design if required. This information is usually of the title plan.

• Site Slope - Knowing if the building is a flat building site or on a steep hill will make a difference to either possibly the design, or construction methods employed to build the building. Flat sites are more favourable most of the time. (Land Surveyors are often engaged to provide a site plan with spot levels to help determine the slope of the land)

• Neighbouring Buildings - It is important to know the distance to adjacent buildings, location of their habitable room windows, and also their private outdoor spaces to ensure you meet planning regulations. You can determine this information yourself approximately, or employ a Land Surveyor to do it for you. • Services – Although not as critical as some other areas of basic information required, knowing what services/utilities available is important too – particularly in country/rural areas. Sewerage may not be available meaning a septic sewerage system will need to be located on the site…. this in itself can be problematic so it is good to know in advance.

• Location/Direction of any aesthetic views - in areas where there may be sea views, views of the city skyline etc., it is important to try and capture as much of these views as possible to enhance the living of the occupants of the building.

• Zones/Overlays – In Victoria, all areas are designated a zoning, such as residential zone, industrial etc. and can sometimes have 1 or more overlays on a property that dictate further rules that need to be adhered to. This is very important information to have as it may affect the entire projects viability - some land may not even be allowed to have a house built on it. In Victoria, this information is available at LandVic (

• Planning – Some projects require a planning permit as well as a building permit. Building a house will always require a building permit…. but planning permits are not always required. If a planning permit is required though, there will often be specific rules in the design of the building set by the governing municipality. In Victoria, this information is usually available on the council’s website as well as LandVic (

• Environment – This is an area that can impact on the house design and cost of project. Being aware of the building sites location is an important consideration in relation to things such as: Cyclones, flooding and bushfires. If the site is hard to access during construction, it may not be possible to get trucks or to other equipment site at all, meaning that it may be impossible for certain things to be done.

In addition to the information I provide for designing and drafting your own house, I have another side project that tells you how long a house or land has been For Sale or Rent in Australia.
It is also Free to Use and also has a search to give you a price range indication of house and land for sale that doesn't have a listed price.
It is called Get House Date Mobile Friendly too.