Broken Plan Living: what is it and how does it contribute to better spaces?

Open-plan living used to be the preferred layout for homes, now there is a new alternative that seduces more and more our clients: the broken-plan living. So what it is? A broken-plan living is a transitional movement between the modern open plan layout and traditional separated home layouts. It distinguishes the living spaces by using varying textures, steps, different sized spaces, different ceiling heights or even different floor and ceiling finishes.

Our building designers breakdown what you need to know about the broken-living space and explain its clever use of space.

  1. Allow the light to flow throughout the spaces.

Access to the natural light is primordial when designing these spaces therefore it is important to keep the same flow of light. The use of internal windows is a good way to solve the noise dilemma and still allows light to pass through unlike standard partition walls.

  • Use levels to divide spaces.

This approach works pretty well for kitchen and living areas by having the kitchen (often busy) on the lower level than the living room (relaxing atmosphere). Mezzanines can also be considered to maximise the air space when there is a high ceiling. The use of glass balustrade is a smart add-on to keep the spaces linked and allow natural light to reach the upper floor.

Look for professional advice from our building designers to turn your dead space into something liveable and functional. They work closely with our building surveyors to ensure that any additional space and elements such as internal balustrades or steps are compliant with the BCA and related Australian Standards.

  • Clever dividers

The whole idea with a broken-plan layout is that you can easily update your home by using non-structural dividers. Decor and furniture play a key part in how the spaces in your home are used. Choosing modular furniture/elements ensure it is “future-proof”. For instance, the use of partial walls with storages and fireplace integrated is a good way to separate major living spaces. The trend nowadays is the use of a hit and miss brick wall; either random or patterned bricks are missing from the dividing wall allowing light, ventilation and visual views to pass through the wall. Finally, the use of a simple change of material such as painting walls or laying different types of flooring to distinguish boundaries in open areas is another way to create division.

Whether you need advice in terms of the design, the compliance or even the structural feasibility of your project, get in touch with our team which is composed of building designersbuilding surveyors, engineers and energy assessors.

Western Australia is prone to earthquakes and therefore earthquake performance requirements within the NCC should be considered.

Western Australia is prone to earthquakes and therefore earthquake performance requirements within the NCC should be considered.


The Building Commission recently released a notice to Building Surveyors and other industry professions to remind the industry that Western Australia is prone to earthquakes and therefore earthquake performance requirements within the NCC should be considered.

AS1170.4 is the acceptable construction manual that provides a deemed-to-satisfy solution with regards to structural design and earthquake actions. ABCB have also released guidance to the standard “Design of non-structural building elements for earthquake forces”. All of which are to be considered by a building surveyor before certification.

Our building surveyors have reviewed both publications and would also like to bring to our subscribers’ attention that this impacts on the below non-structural components;

  • Walls that are not part of the seismic force resisting system.
  • Appendages including parapets, gables, verandahs, chimneys and the like.
  • Partitions.
  • Ceilings.
  • Mechanical and electrical components including smoke control systems, fire suppression systems, boilers, escalators, transformers and the like.

If you would like further information on how earthquake performance requirements will affect your next build or would like further information on another matter, please contact one of our building surveyors today on 6114 9356. Alternatively, our building surveyors can be reached via email at

Due to constantly evolving legislation the information provided within this blog may no longer be valid. The advice given on this site is general in nature and does not take into account your specific circumstances. Please email one of our building surveyors to check what is right for you.

New timber opportunities in the 2019 NCC – a learning process for our building surveyors!

The 2019 National Construction Code Volume One (NCC) which will take effect on the 1st of May 2019, deals with new timber opportunities with more creativity and flexibility for building designers, developers and builders. The extensive changes to the NCC involves further training for our building surveyors to gain an in-depth understanding of the changes to come.

The update extends the range of buildings (up to 25m high) using fire-protected timber construction systems – including traditional lightweight timber framing and mass timber options like cross laminated timber (CLT), Glulam and Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL). This system was restricted to multi-residential, office buildings and hospitality accommodation and is now applicable in mid-rise buildings such as schools, retail premises, aged care facilities and hospitals.

Throughout the years, the Forest & Wood Products Australia have worked hard to give builders and designers a wide range of options and combinations with a lower cost. For example, the use of timber is no longer required to meet the “performance solution” which is an expensive process for building approval. It can now be gained as long as the design complies with the Deemed-To-Satisfy requirements.

At Green Start Consulting building surveyors and building designers are working closely to assist you in any future project you may have using timber. The 2019 NCC also include more requirements in terms of fire safety with sprinkler systems and fire resistance levels. Feel free to call one of our building surveyors for more information.

Due to constantly evolving legislation the information provided within this blog may no longer be valid. The advice given on this site is general in nature and does not take into account your specific circumstances. Please email one of our building surveyors to check what is right for you.

Common websites mistakes to avoid when designing your webpage

In 2019, your website design will either make or break your company’s goals. Not only is the way it looks a major key to gaining more customers it’s also the way your website functions and how easy it is to use. Our Web Page designers here at Design Web Perth say having a website that is hard to navigate and full of too much information can come across as unorganized and drive customers away.

Our Web designers believe avoiding these few things are just some of the steps you can take to assure your website is appealing to potential customers.

Having a slow loading website;
A fast loading web page is key to gain more viewers. If your page takes more than a few seconds to load, it is likely that your users will not wait and will redirect themselves to a website that loads quicker. At Design Web Perth we believe having less images, caching your web page, removing unnecessary line breaks and extra space are all ways you can help increase the speed of your website.

Using poor quality images;
Using pixelated or blurry mages on your web page can make your website seem nonprofessional and potentially lose you customers. Your website may be the first introduction to a potential customer so any images on your website should be off top quality.

Not having a mobile responsive website;
Your website needs to be responsive to both smartphone and desktop based web browsers meaning it needs to be configured to load quickly on a screen of any size. Our web page designers at Design Web Perth believe having a mobile responsive website plays a big role in today’s generation. A mobile responsive design can make a website more available and accessible as anyone with a smart phone can view it at any time anywhere, rather than having to be on a desktop. If your page cannot be easily accessed or viewed over a smartphone then you could potentially miss out on a number of customers.

Assuming the longer your page the better;
A long web page with a large amount of text can be seen as too much effort meaning that you’ll most probably lose your audiences interest resulting in them finding a different web page. If you provide a small amount of text with all the right information included it you are more likely to hold your audience’s attention for long enough to deliver your intended message. Most readers only skim through web pages looking for keywords of the products or service they are after so do not under estimate the importance of subheadings and bullet points.

Not talking about pricing;
Many company do not have price listing on their website and it’s understandable when the answer to “How much are your services?” Is usually “It depends.”  Here at Design Web Perth we think not mentioning pricing altogether can be seen as annoying to customers who would rather know a rough cost of your services before giving you a call or submitting a form for a follow up.

If you would like more information on website mistakes contact our Perth web designers today on or give us a call on (08) 6424 8643.