The Dion Seminara Architecture Blog


Top 6 sustainable savings tips for your home

8Ok so we often hear about sustainable building practices and lots of people quite rightly want to work with sustainable architects in Brisbane. And if you read a lot of my articles you will understand that I understand a lot about sustainable building principles and in particular how sustainable building designs can save you money in Brisbane’s sub-tropical climate.

Now sustainable practices are great for the environment and they can also be great for your hip pocket. But it’s not only renovations or new home designs that benefit from our expert understanding of sustainable practices. You can also make significant savings through some simple household additions that don’t cost the world.

So here are 6 ideas of things that you can add to your home to enhance its sustainability and therefore save money: Read the rest of this entry »


Termites in Brisbane – how to defend your home

Termites in BrisbaneThere are termites in Brisbane. There are in fact termites in every state bar Tasmania, but the ones that we are concerned about are the termites in Brisbane.

Oh and there are borers in Brisbane too.

Now mention the word ‘termites’ to many people and they will immediately have cartoon like visions of swarms of termites devouring an entire home in seconds. And whilst the reality of termites in Brisbane is somewhat different to the cartoon versions, termites and borers are still a very real risk to your Brisbane home.

Hiding termites

You see the biggest challenge with termites in Brisbane is that they can be hard to detect even for professionals. And this is because they seldom leave much in the way of visual evidence of their presence.

You may have heard or read that termites like dark, damp places and this is true and is due to the fact that termites can very quickly dry out and die when exposed to sunlight or heat. For this reason termites tend to live in nests underground and create tube or tunnels out of mud mixed with their saliva and feces. And these tunnels are often the only way to visually spot them.

Because termites don’t like sunlight, or anything that might dry them out, they seldom eat all the way through the timber that they are eating. They will typically leave a thin layer of timber to protect themselves from exposure, so it can be hard to spot them from visual inspection alone. Oh and it’s not only timber, they can also eat through water pipes as well.

So now that you understand that, imagine you have termites (it’s estimated that as many as 1/3 of Australian homes do) that are eating their way through the timber in your walls or deep in your floor. Picture this and you might begin to see why detection is so difficult, even for professionals.

Now consider that a single termite queen can produce many thousands of eggs in just a single day and it’s not hard to see why termites are such an expensive problem.

Preventing termites in Brisbane

Now having said that termites are hard to detect, it is still worthwhile getting regular pest inspections done as professionals find dozens of cases of termites in Brisbane homes every week and can then treat the infestation and eradicate the threat.

Home owners that I speak to will typically have a termite inspection done annually, but given the sub-tropical conditions that we live in, I would suggest that every 6 months would be preferable.

But aside from inspections, there are things you can do to minimise the threat of termites attacking your home. Here are a few tips that you should embrace:

  • Termites eat wood so keep pieces of timber away from your home. Don’t leave timber lying up against your home or store it underneath your home. Same goes for firewood, if you have firewood keep it in a dry, well ventilated area away from the home itself.
  • Termites like moisture so make sure to fix any leaking pipes ASAP. Ensure that your downpipes don’t leak and that air conditioner overflows are captured or directed away from your home.
  • Termites like dark, humid places so good sub-floor ventilation and drainage under your home can act as a deterrent.
  • Keep garden beds and other vegetation away from the edges of your home. Termites cannot chew through concrete slabs that have been correctly laid, so don’t give them an easy way to bypass your slab.
  • During any renovation or building work aim to use treated timber or timber that is naturally less appealing to termites, particularly if that timber is coming in contact with the ground.

Termite barriers

There are two types of termite barriers which are physical barriers and chemical barriers.

Physical barriers are fitted at the time of construction in new homes however they can be retro-fitted to older homes as well.

Physical barriers are made from materials that termites can’t eat through effectively blocking them. But that doesn’t mean your home is automatically safe. Termites can still bypass these barriers, however in doing so they make themselves easier to see. Ant caps on stumps, whilst not a true barrier in themselves, force termites to create tunnels over them thus making it easier to detect their presence during an inspection.

Chemical barriers are typically insecticides placed under concrete slabs or around the home. These are designed to deter termites. Whilst chemical barriers can only be installed by licensed professionals, they can be fitted to existing homes as well as new homes.

Dealing with termites in Brisbane

Whilst termites are found in most places around Australia, there is no doubt that Brisbane is a prime location for them due to our sub-tropical climate. Having a professional inspections carried out on a regular basis is vitally important and pre-purchase termite inspections are a must for anyone looking at buying a home in Brisbane.

But prevention is just as important. You really don’t want to find that termites have taken hold of your property and caused tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage.

At Dion Seminara Architecture we can advise you on preventative measures that will help to reduce the risk of termite attacks on your home. So contact us today and find out how we can help.


Real Estate Sales: Why Promote an Architect?

Everyone understands the value of an architect when developing, renovating or building a new home, but are you missing out on the value of promoting architects in real estate sales? Through a solid connection with a great architect, a real estate agent can provide helpful information to his clients and help them make the final decision to purchase a home.

How Architects Can Help Real Estate Agents

One of the biggest advantages of promoting architects in real estate sales involves explaining the possibilities of increased property value to potential buyers. Most neighbourhoods and suburbs meet the needs of a demographic by following some set of design and architectural features. As new homes are built and old homes are renovated within a suburb, new architectural designs start to take over. The homes that don’t meet the new criteria can be tough to sell, but by promoting an architect, you can overcome this problem.

Imagine that your client has a three-bedroom home in a certain neighbourhood. Almost all of the homes in the suburb have four bedrooms, but since that is what all the buyers want, the prices have gone up. Your client doesn’t have the budget to add another bedroom.  With the help of an architect, you could talk to potential buyers about how profitable it could be to purchase a three bedroom home and add a fourth bedroom in this situation. The same idea goes towards swimming pool additions, modern kitchens, bathrooms and more.

By promoting a good architect, you not only increase your competence with your clients, but you also add value for them by offering a solution and finding a way to sell their home to buyers who may otherwise not be interested. The best real estate agents go above and beyond to make clients happy and increase sales. If you would like to speak to an architect in Brisbane, contact Dion Seminara.


3 top water saving tips for Brisbane homes

Water WiseAustralia is naturally a very dry country. In fact Australia is apparently the driest continent in the world. And whilst Brisbane itself can receive a lot of rain – at times too much – it is also prone to drought and it is predicted that we are about to enter into another prolonged period of below average rainfall.

Because of the potential of drought, Brisbane water prices are quite high so it pays to save water (and therefore money) wherever we can. So with that in mind, let me share with you 3 top tips to help Brisbane home owners save water.

1. Harvesting rainwater Read the rest of this entry »


Dual Living Zone Homes Making Housing Affordable

Zone HomeThere is no doubt that in this climate of rising prices it’s getting harder for many people to enter the property market. But dual living homes, also known as ‘zone homes’, can change all of that and with the new Brisbane City Council’s City Plan 2014 set to allow secondary dwellings on smaller blocks, it’s an option that is set to become commonplace in Brisbane.

Dual living homes in Brisbane are nothing new, we have been doing them for some time now. In fact we believe that when it comes to dual living home designs in Brisbane, we are right up there with the very best. But although the concept of dual living homes is not new, in recent times they have become increasingly popular.

Rising house prices, electricity bills, grocery bills etc have resulted in many people looking at buying a home as little more than a pipe dream. But dual living homes mean that these people now have a realistic option to get into the property market, as rental returns on part of their home can help with mortgage repayments and associated costs. Read the rest of this entry »