Just read this article about the most terrible things about Australian houses - http://www.domain.com.au/advice/the-most-terrible-things-about-australian-homes-20160913-grf2ln/
I certainly agree with some of the list, like the number of beautiful brick houses that end up with ugly render on them, overly big garages, environmentally ignorant design and McMansions that are too big and stacked right next to each other.
Big one for me with modern homes is their lack of eaves, which is stupid in our climate. Our homes are just not very energy efficient.
The thing I envy about American homes is their huge basements and attic spaces.
Someone more knowledgeable than me (like @BIM_Engineer) might be able to confirm, but I think the reason why most Aussie homes don't have basements is that councils won't let you excavate without a lot of expense and bother. It's something we should look at though because the price of our land is so expensive and its great for insulation and privacy.
The average house in Australia seems very poorly insulated compared to houses in Europe. Not just ceilings but floors, walls and of course double glazed windows.
Totally garee @Kermit, I saw a new build that had provision for a basement years ago & I'm a big fan of them, in that they have inherent sound isolation & also are a more stable area for temperature control. In my mind, the digging of the hole shouldn't be a put off (more beneficial than an inground pool excavation), but the waterproofing is a major issue, & must be done right or you're going to have massive issues down the track.
I don't see ventilation as a deal breaker, as you could easily incorporate an underground venting system at the time, which could solve the problem, & be routed to the remainder of the house as well.
@Isobel, I agree with everything in that article, I sense & applaud the tone of anger from the author.
Damned right, we should all be up in arms about how we've been duped out of backyards for kids to play in, the front garden which used to be a show of Australian pride, the loss of an area for fruit trees & chooks etc etc.
In a new estate that was going up nearby years ago, I saw a single continuous concrete pour, that was for 2 adjoining homes. Not only that, they had a common wall & no parapet for ceiling fire abatement. When we built in '75, the closest you could build to the perimeter, was 3' if there were no windows, or 4' with windows. The idiocy continued in that the Southern house, had no provision for environmentally savvy North facing windows. Are developers devoid of intelligence, or is profit the driving force behind the bastardisation of the Australian dream? I say YES to the latter. To think that these blights on commonsense are less affordable than years gone by, yet are being snapped up by desperate consumers, is mindboggling.
I could continue my rant, but I'll cut it short, & pass the baton.
Having said that, I saw a show on TV which featured a luxury home builder, who set rigid guidelines/restrictions that the client must agree to, or they wouldn't take them on.
If there was a view to be had, they'd maximise it, but not at the expense of energy efficiency through bad orientation. They only build homes that are elegant, & environmentally efficient, & the particular home on show, worked for multiple generations. In a word, it was brilliant. It had aged access to cover the unexpected down the track, & an intelligent layout maximising privacy, though welcoming to accommodate family stays, whether they be planned, or longer term to cover emergencies. No stone was unturned, & it embraced the future.
OK, there had to be a downside, & there was, the price. Would you believe the build, not including land was only $220K?
Let's wind the clock back to '75, when we built for $28Kish, dual income working 40 hour week each (80 hours total), & play the inflation game. The ultra stylish, futureproof featured build is in dollars, < 8 times the price of ours.
I don't have accountancy accreditation, nor do I have the gift that our all embracing parliamentarians have, who when handed a portfolio that they have zero background, or understanding of, dictate our future, so could someone please explain to me what has transpired over the last 40ish years?
I don't want to confuse the issue, but back in the early '70s, the asking price for an expansive block with a view, & boasting a pioneering first, of underground power (Foxfield, South Australia), was a very expensive $7000. Foergo the view, corner block $2400, normal street frontage, for $1700.
How does that stack up now?
Here's the rub, multiply the land price of the street frontage block that I spoke of without a view ($1700) by 10 (not the < 8 times of building), & I promise you that you would not get a plot bigger than an indoor toilet, within 100Km from the CBD.
I'm with MartyH on this one - simple way to increase space but not make a larger footprint on a residential block.