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Courtyard walls in Canberra?

By 9 November 2012 4

Google is totally failing me today…

I discovered that I am allowed to enclose the frontyard of my yet to be built shoebox-with-windows as long as I use “courtyard walls”. After trawling ACTPLA documents, I also discovered that the wall can go across 70% of the width of my small block. And that it needs to be made of brick with or without “feature panels”.

Who would I go to get a quote? A standard builder? A landscaping place?

Has anyone done this and do you have any tips on how to save money and make the process as painless as possible?

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4 Responses to Courtyard walls in Canberra?
#1
jesse11:27 am, 11 Nov 12

Hi, we have just had some excellent courtyard walls built by Plandscape. If you look at my recent post under “landscaper wanted” you will see that we had a terrible job just getting quotes for the work we needed done. Bertie Whalan from Plandscape happened to be working next door. He gave us a very prompt quote and started the next day. Their brickwork – and paving – is first class. They also put down a granite drive. Looks great! Bernie can be contacted on 0407 275 223.

#2
King_of_the_Muppets1:07 pm, 21 Nov 12

Almost any builder or landscaper could construct these for you. I would suggest that you go with someone who has been recommended by a few sources. Ask to see images of their completed work if possible.

You may need to organise approvals for this project. It may be exempt from ACTPLA approval but may need to be certified by a private certifier. You may be best asking your contractor to take care of this for you. They would have established contacts who can take car of this.

Make sure you get a detailed quote which clearly explains the scope of service, materials and finishes.

Most importantly – You hold the chequebook so you have the power. Don’t pay a cent until your happy with the job and have all the required documentation. This is where I see people get it wrong over and over again.

#3
Holden Caulfield2:48 pm, 21 Nov 12

Any brickie can build the wall, and for a relatively small job cash may be king. It’s the ACTPLA/certification that will probably give you the most hassles.

Actually, why don’t you just get your shoebox builder on the case? You’ll only need a small number of extra bricks by the sounds of things and doing it with the rest of the house may prove more timely while the trades are on site (even if you pay the brickie on the side).

Oh a word of advice, until you get a signed approval from ACTPLA (if required) treat anything they tell you prior to that point as legitimate as the advice you get on here.

We had a courtyard wall built at our old place in Harcourt Hill many moons ago and Mrs C handled the approval process. Prior to submitting our application she had discussed at length with ACTPLA about what we wanted to do—an ACTPLA rep even came out on site to inspect. We were given a verbal okay that our submission would be approved.

It wasn’t.

We only had to make a few minor amendments and managed to beat them at their own game in the end to get a more satisfactory result, but we still didn’t get our first preference. That was on a corner block though, so there may have been more grey areas for us, assuming you are dealing with a single street frontage.

#4
Innovation3:44 pm, 21 Nov 12

Just a suggestion, but if you are not in a hurry, you might like to use hedging rather than heavy brick walls. I’ve seen plenty of examples where owners have run mesh fencing down one side of the hedging, which the hedging quickly grows into and covers. If you have the money you can buy moderately mature hedging plants. I’m not sure of the rules but there’s plenty of examples around town where ACTPLA has either turned a blind eye or didn’t get around to enforcing their rules before the fence was covered up.

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