Monday, 29 July 2013

Building Next to Units - Pros and Cons

Neighbouring our house is a two-storey unit block - not exactly ideal. Most would consider this as a negative from a planning and design perspective, particularly as we are on a small lot. It has, however, presented opportunities for innovation that has greatly influenced the overall design of the house.

The proposed design of our renovation is such that it has "turned it's back" on the unit block next door. We have eliminated window openings towards the units, and the design has ensured that there is little if any overlooking from the units onto our private outdoor space. Had there been a house next door, it would have probably been sited one-metre from the boundary which could have made noise and privacy issues a lot harder to deal with. The units have advantageously created a 5-metre buffer zone between both buildings due to the location of the driveway, something of a rarity now in our inner-city suburbs.

Fortunately for us the unit block is on our Western side which blocks out the hot afternoon sun during the Summer and should, in theory, save us money by limiting our air-conditioning requirements as well.

And it would seem that our renovation is not only benefitting us. Just have a look at what our neighbours on our other side have faced since the units were built:

View from our neighbour's back garden. 
Absolute zero privacy (and a bit of an eyesore really.) Everyone has been scratching their heads as to what that blockwork structure in our yard is for  - a pool, water tank perhaps? No, it's going to be a terrace complete with outdoor fireplace.

And this will be our neighbour's view when our renovation is completed:

And with some thoughtful planting along the fence line, I think this will be a good outcome for them as well.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Very clever design. Your neighbours will be thrilled! We also have an ugly unit block neighbouring our property but at the rear. It had a big influence on our design too. Shame there were no DCPs back in the seventies! But I must say the buffer between us them is great and means we rarely see or hear a thing.

  3. Sounds like it's win, win for all concerned. I'd be thrilled to have your construction next to our home - much nicer and thoughtful than the McMansions which shall be constructed around us... :(

  4. I agree, living next to a unit complex has benefits. The units near us have three monthly residents and they are rarely full (6 units) and they make about the same noise as the rest of the neighbourhood, so we don't need to worry about noise polution. I bet your neighbours will be thrilled with the extra privacy from your reno.

  5. Great idea, I recently looked at a property with units next door am still thinking about it. This has given me something to chew over....

  6. You smarty, great design which will work for both the neighbours and yourself. x

  7. Nothing better than a clever design that is a win for everyone involved. Your reno is going to look amazing. mel x