Building on acreage in the Byron hinterland - so many questions
To my husband's eternal horror, I'd like us to buy small acreage in the Byron hinterland. We are a multigenerational family - my stepdaughter and her child, plus my stepdaughter's partner, would live with us on the property, but in a separate dwelling. So my dream/plan is to build a home for my husband and me, build a separate guest cottage for visiting friends, and for my stepdaughter and her family to live in a third building (this could feasibly be whatever residence is already on the property, as is quite common in that part of the world). I also need a workshop for my art hobbies but that could be an extension to a garage. I'm aware I would need council approval for new builds - one of the reasons I'm interested in acreage is to ensure sufficient land area to permit additional dwellings. My challenges are several: I've only been living in Australia a few years, so I'm struggling to find definitive information about regulations and permits for northern NSW, so I'd be so grateful if anyone could point me in the right direction.
Other questions I have are:
- what would be the best building materials for northern NSW? I want to minimise the need for AC but I know how very hot and humid it can get up there. And I also know that it can rain heavily, and parts are prone to flooding.
- where can I find out about the best firesafe practices?
- water tanks - any advice? I saw elsewhere on Houzz someone suggesting that several smaller tanks, while more expensive, are not as conspicuous as one large one. On a related issue, any advice about boreholes and the cost of having one installed?
- roofing - I'd like a raked ceiling to help with airflow - what is the best roofing treatment for a raked ceiling design in terms of insulation, noise, solar panels etc
- architects and builders - I spoke to a real estate agent near Byron recently who said all the builders are fiendishly busy so the earlier I find the right one the better...if you have any recommendations, I'd love it if you could share them with me.
- and finally, any advice/tips/warnings about buying and building on acreage would be hugely appreciated - even though I have been living here for over seven years and I have already done lots of research, I'm finding that the more I learn the more I realise how much I have yet to learn.
Thanks very much in advance.