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Dariusme

Help/Advise needed for reconstruction

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Hi, I am now in a dilemma. I am about to make a offer for a corner terrace and my plan is to do a rebuild. However, I just get to know when I was talking to a builder that doing a rebuild will need to adhere to the 7.5m front setback rules. Because the house frontage is quite big around 10.9m and the depth is around 20m, the house will become very strange squarish shape with the 7.5m and 2m setback and this will make the house become very small. I start to talk to some designer that specialize in landed and he advise me to do reconstruction instead to preserve current house setback (3-4M only). He also told me if Not very builder or architect know how to do this as this requires a lot of designing and discussion with bca. Is this true and if anyone has any good architect or contact that can do this kind of work to recommend to me?

 

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Firstly, check if the house is located within any landed housing areas which have specific guidelines on setback by URA. Certain landed housing areas do not need to comply with the 7.5m and instead can be at 5m or retain existing setbacks to be in line with the neighboring houses. 
 

Yes, for reconstruction, you can retain existing non-conforming structures like deficient setbacks. But there are also quite a lot of other requirements as well and does involve the architect and PE to determine if the existing non-confirming structure would be safe to integrate with the new house or not. So basically more paperwork and approval from URA needed. 
 

for a total rebuilt, you would end up with a building footprint of about 8.9m wide and 10.5m deep. The footprint is actually slightly larger than a “standard” 1600sqf inter terrace plot which is about 6m wide and 24m deep which gives a building footprint of about 6m wide and 14.7m deep.

So in terms of buildable area, you don’t actually lose much from a normal inter terrace house. Since this is a corner terrace plot, you gain the side areas which an inter terrace don’t have.

though a squarish footprint may seem weird, it all boils down to how the house layout is being designed. So instead of having rooms which are like 3m x 5m, you can have rooms which are 4m x 4m in size. 

When rebuilding a new house, you can plan the layout as how you like it without the constraints of the existing structure. Also, one need not design the house layout in the standard manner where the living room is at the front, kitchen and washing area is at the back. In fact, I have seen house layouts where the kitchen is the first thing that one would see when entering the house. 
 

If you have not bought the DIP and SIP for this house, please go and buy first to see if there are other deal breakers for this house. If there are drainage and sewerage issues/restrictions for this house, then it would be better to just walk away and find something else as these drainage and sewerage issues would cause more problems which sometimes can’t be solved by money

 
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Hi snooze, thanks for the informative feedback. The land of this plot is 28xx and I don’t think can  compare with standard inter terrace 1600 as it should be bigger and will expect it to have bigger build in and build up. So far already check those drain and sewage and it seems ok and no major issue. 

 

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37 minutes ago, Dariusme said:

Hi snooze, thanks for the informative feedback. The land of this plot is 28xx and I don’t think can  compare with standard inter terrace 1600 as it should be bigger and will expect it to have bigger build in and build up. So far already check those drain and sewage and it seems ok and no major issue. 

are you sure your land area is correct? based on what you mentioned in your initial post, the dimensions of the land is 10.9m by 20m which gives a land area of 218sqm. coverting to sqf will give you 2346.5sqf which is almost 500sqf off your 28xx. in order to get the 28xxsqf based on same plot width, your depth of the plot would be around 24m instead of 20m.

my comparision to a 1600sqf inter terrace is based on the land area of 2346sqf. but with a corner terrace, you are bounded by a 2m side setback as well which means you will lose 2m x 20m = 40sqm = 430sqf of buildable space similar to an inter terrace which does not have a side opening. this will effectively put your land area at 178sqm = 1915sqf which is about 315sqf larger than a inter terrace. to put this 315sqf into context, this is about 30sqm of land which further translates to a width of 1.5m based on your 20m land depth. so this 1.5m additional width would not give you a very significant additional buildable area for your house. 

 

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29 minutes ago, Dariusme said:

My bad, the land is roughly like that 

B135E1D4-0D2F-4842-8B9F-9F2F6785446D.jpeg

I assume that the 21.9m part where there is a kink is a dead end?

 

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the official set backs of the plot would look something like this. the square area plus the kink area would give you an estimated buildable foot print of about 120sqm. so you could get a total GFA of more than 3000sqf for the house if you are to do a rebuilt. throw in a mezzanine floor and you can get close to 4000sqf.

unfortunately there's nothing you can do about the existing land shape and you would have to just work with the constraints for a new build. 

2020-09-14_10-45-15.jpg

 

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47 minutes ago, Dariusme said:

I think so too, that’s why probably doing recon will suit better 

I think I saw the house you're interested listed on one of the property portals. if i got the correct property that you are eyeing on, your diagram is a bit wrong as well on the plot size as the kink area is actually a sharp corner and that area is almost negligible. the property I found is not in a normal landed house residential zone but is in a 1.4 plot ratio zone. this means that the landed houses in that zone can be built up to 3.5 storeys high which is why you see some low rise apartments there.

if you want to do a recon and add another 1.5 storey, you may run into issues with the foundation especially on the existing soil conditions. since there is a possibility to build up to 3.5 storeys, it would be better to just do a complete rebuilt which can give you maybe 5000 sqf built up area rather than try to do a reconstruction and retain the existing setback. also (if I got the correct property), the 2nd storey at the front is cantilevered with no columns supporting it at the bottom. if you are to build a new storey or attic above the 2nd storey for a reconstruction, you may not get the approval from URA since you may need to add new columns to support the new storey/attic within the setback area which is not allowed.

 

 
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1 minute ago, Dariusme said:

I thought adding columns and beams is allowed in recon?

I may be wrong. but the main problem is your additional structure is in the supposedly setback region. based on what I read on the URA guidelines, any new proposed structures must fall outside of the 7.5m setback region. so if you need new structure columns and beams to support the additional storey, then they should be after the 7.5m setback and not within the disallowed region.

Best is you call an architect to get more clarity on the regulations.

quoted below URA guideline

Currently, landed houses that undergo Addition & Alterations (A&A) or reconstruction can retain existing parts of the building that do not comply with prevailing development control (DC) guidelines, such as building setback. The deficient setbacks of the existing structure could have arisen due to the application of an old setback standard. For instance, an existing wall that was previously approved with a front setback of 5m can be retained upon reconstruction with proposed new structures having to setback according to the current setback control of 7.5m. However, if these non-conforming structures are demolished during the A&A or reconstruction process, all new structures erected must comply with the prevailing DC guidelines.

 

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I remember an architect told me before that if they retain enough pillars and walls then it will be considered reconstruction? Maybe can check with them how much need to be retain. Also can email BCA or PUB to ask if you need to clarify on your site’s specific situation. We made the mistake of listening to so many contradicting stories from Builders and architects, in the end asking the officials can be quite simple. But I Guess don’t over ask like it’s a counter service. 

 

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Hi Darius,

Yes Snoozee is right. any NEW structures/building will need to be inside the setback region. So meaning if there are existing 2 stories with only 3 m set back and you want to build another 1.5 stories. The new 1.5 stories will still need to comply with the 7.5m setback anyway. Meaning that actually you might not be gaining that much space with a reconstruction/A&A route.

And another thing to note that actually the difference in cost between reconstruction and a brand new erection is not that much if you are looking at construction new floors above. Percentage savings could be only 10-15%. Reason being that you will still need to spend a lot of money on temporary propping structures to support the existing structure while you are construction new footings/columns within the existing house. For that percentage savings, you will have to compromise on ceiling height (forced to stick to the existing), flexibility of layout/design will be determined by existing structure, 1st storey floor slab waterproofing and anti-termite cannot be redone etc.

Aside, speaking as an architect, squarish layouts are in fact more interesting to design with! Longish layouts tend to be more less flexible as most of the time you need to incorporate some form of long circulation space to allow people to walk from one space to another. Square layouts are actually more space efficient as you have less "wasted circulation" spaces. Just a thought.

 

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