The Dion Seminara Architecture Blog


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 »


Brisbane City Plan 2014 what it means for people building or renovating homes

The new Brisbane City Council City Plan 2014 is now current replacing the previous City Plan which had been in place since the year 2000.Brisbane City Plan 2014

The changes in this latest City Plan impact on everything from residential planning and development, to doing business in Brisbane and even parking. But for the sake of this article I am going to stick with our main area of expertise and focus on how the changes to residential development in Brisbane might impact on you the home owner.

There are a number of significant changes in the Brisbane City Council Draft City Plan 2014. Here are some of the main ones:

Small lots

A small lot is only a small lot now if it is 450sqm or less. There is now no minimum setback so if you have Read the rest of this entry »


What CAD software should I be using?

As a student studying architecture, what CAD software should I be learning to use?

There are a number of different CAD programs in use in the Australian architectural landscape at present. As a Brisbane architect practice primarily involved within the niche market area of residential project work, with mainly individual mum and dad clients we have been grappling with this question ourselves for some time.


Up until the end of the 2013/2014 financial year we had primarily used AutoCAD for all drawing work and Sketchup for presentation work. We have dabbled in the use of Revit over the last five years and have now decided to switch to the full use of Revit as our main CAD package and only use AutoCAD for projects currently being completed. To assist in our setup we have purchased the locally created “ARC” add on to Revit to help us transition into Revit. “ARC” is an add on with templates and families etc. suited to our scale of work. The reason for this is not to do with BIM so much (as with residential you don’t have a large group of sub-consultants nor facility management needs) but more importantly for us to be able to package our building documents more effectively and accurately. We will continue to use other render packages to create market acceptable visuals to present to our niche client group.

Having using traditional 2D CAD over 20 years we have found more and more of our technical staff are less able to visualise the 3D outcome from plan to elevations and so we are hoping that by using a 3D package this will eliminate these visualisation issues. What is of extreme importance, regardless of CAD package used, is for those using Revit (or any CAD package for that matter) to have technical knowledge of the type of construction being employed for the project being drawn. This is essential in any CAD work, but of extreme importance when creating a realistic and technically advanced 3D model of a real project.


Pest Inspection When Buying A House

Buying a home is a huge investment, and the decision to buy needs to be objective and unemotional. Of course you will be drawn to a house that appeals to you and you fall in love with, but you will soon be heartbroken if you find that there are many underlying problems that are going to cost you a small fortune to rectify. That is why having a pest inspection when buying a house is so important.

When you sell a house, you should always make it look clean, tidy and pretty, and make sure it smells sweet. That’s easy to do, for example by removing animal bedding and displaying fresh sweet-smelling flowers or bowl of potpourri, and of course by thorough cleaning. But often people selling homes do quick renovations that simply cover up the things they don’t want their buyers to spot, like rising damp or borer rot. Read the rest of this entry »


Why builders recommend drafts people

I recently met a couple at a social function who are in the process of building a new home. We got to talking and they asked me what I did, I explained to them that I am an architect.

The couple then started talking about how disappointed they are with the design of their home, which was already half built. When I asked who designed it they explained that they had chosen a builder and then used the drafts person that the builder recommended.

‘Why did you ask your builder?’ I questioned. Read the rest of this entry »