I’m building a new two-storey house. I don’t want to be looking into that neighbour’s yard. What is the solution?
Building a home for the first time can be a steep learning curve. Whether you are building a second storey over an existing home or starting from scratch, that learning curve can feel like a roller-coaster ride of government regulations, building codes, and rounds upon rounds of approval.
Somewhere between starting your first Pinterest board about kitchen cabinets and turning the key in the door in real life, you will need to spend a lot of time considering your neighbours, even if you have no idea who they are. For the sake of your sanity, your neighbour’s sanity and general neighbourhood harmony, you must make privacy a priority and it is much easier and less expensive to know the rules before the build than after it becomes a problem.
Know the regulations
The first thing to do is talk to your architect or builder. It is their job to know the regulations. But it is wise to get a copy of the regulations yourself. The one that concerns lines of sight into your neighbour’s property is 54.04-6 Standard A15 – Overlooking regulation 419. If you are looking for the best advice for your property must call Property Conveyancing Brisbane and Property Conveyancing Melbourne our friendly staff will assist you.
It states that any new buildings should be designed ‘to avoid direct views into the secluded private open space and habitable room windows of an existing dwelling, within a horizontal distance of 9 metres. Views should be measured within a 45-degree angle from the plane of the window, and from a height of 1.7 metres above floor level.’
What this means is that you should not be able to peer into your neighbours’ private space, usually their back yard, or any of their windows. If your neighbour’s block is quite narrow, this regulation might even apply beyond your immediate next-door neighbours.
Remember, while regulations must be followed, there might also be reasonable expectations to consider. Many neighbourly relationships are ruined before they begin by builders doing the bare minimum to meet overlooking regulations.
Try to get neighbours onside by understanding their concerns and explaining your plans. Too often have people built their dream home only to find they have ruined any chance of a positive relationship with their neighbours by hindering their neighbours’ ability to enjoy their home.
You don’t want to feel like a peeping meerkat when you look out any of your windows. But you do want the light and fresh air coming into your home. So, what are your options?
- Blurred vision: Frosted glass or adhesive films can obscure the view out and in;
- High windows (1.7m from the floor): These are effective in that you won’t be able to see anything below the horizon from a standing position, but it can make your room look like a basement or bunker with large portions of the windowless wall; or
- Privacy screens or awnings fixed to the outside of the window are a popular option, providing more benefits than a ticked box for overlooking regulations.
- Melbourne Security Door can measure and install Privacy Screens for your windows. They can also be great options for pool areas, patios, decks, gardens and backyard areas. The experts at Jim’s Security Doors can help with design solutions that provide two-way privacy in style. No one can see into your windows, and when someone looks out, the screen louvres are angled at 35 degrees so that you cannot see below a certain point. Your windows are still able to let in light and provide sky views. Also, because privacy screens are set out from the wall, the window can be opened for airflow.
Screen it in style
Privacy screens are available in a range of colours and designs to suit your home and your personal style. Screens are made from sturdy slat panels which are easy to clean and maintain. Because they are made from aluminium, they are corrosion resistant.
For screens to effectively protect your privacy and that of your neighbours’, they should be custom made to the specific requirements of your property. Security Door Melbourne offer a free measure and quote and installation.
Privacy is precious which is why people get very possessive of it if they suspect it’s about to be taken away by the new house. Your future neighbours may well feel uncomfortable approaching you directly with their concerns about overlooking and might choose instead to go through official channels. This can hurt, especially if you are meeting all the regulations. Legal letters and threats do not make for happy neighbourhood relationships. It is good to turn to your architect or builder who will have experience in settling such matters. Try to keep an open mind. Building a house is a rollercoaster ride. But rollercoasters can be very rewarding and lots of fun.
Click here for more information about Jim’s Security Doors. Or for expert advice on boosting security and privacy at the same time, please contact our friendly and experienced sales team on 13 15 46.