Back to Top

Projects & Planning

sisters home


Intro - Nigel Bell



Planning sets many of the parameters for design. At ECOdesign we are able to integrate many factors into our services – potentially saving you time and money - that may include:

  • environmental (sun, wind, rain, topography...),
  • contextual (adjacent development, local character, heritage...),
  • social and cultural (public policies, sites of aboriginal significance...),
  • bushfire planning (Planning for Bushfire Protection 2006, AS 3959-2009 Construction of buildings in bushfire prone areas...),
  • regulatory instruments (typically Local Environmental Plans, Development Control Plans, State Environmental Planning Policies... and more).

Sometimes further specialist advice is required for ecologically or culturally sensitive sites, such as a Flora & Fauna Report plus the ‘7-part test’ for rare or endangered plants and species, LALC reports for sites of aboriginal significance, or everyday matters such as land surveys. We can organise this work on clients behalf.

Statements of Environmental Effects (SEE) are required for all Development Applications, be they small or large.



Review of Environmental Factors (REF) are required for

Bushfire planning includes project Bushfire Attack Assessments to meet often onerous and mandated bushfire requirements. Nigel has written three Environment Design Guideline ‘notes’ for building professionals, as well as representing architects on several Australian Standards committees for bushfire matters. After the devastating February 2009 Victorian bushfires, Nigel spent 6 months assisting the collaborative re-planning of the Marysville community – see ECOdesign Consultants website.

Collaborative Planning that includes all community and stakeholders is increasingly necessary at a time when ‘leaving it to the experts’ is typically a shortcut to public disquiet. See how ECOdesign Consultants can effectively facilitate more positive planning change.


View Project Gallery

How to build a sustainable home to a tight budget on a steep narrow 50’ block, with extreme bushfire danger? Keep it compact, use levels and sunlight, prefabricate a steel frame, make it entirely non-combustible externally, and wrap it all with a covered deck. Even the shape is aerodynamic to shed burning embers, with great care taken with sealing all external joints.    
Correct orientation. Passive solar design costs nothing to build into new homes other than understanding and imagination. The sun provides free natural warmth, whilst some summer breezes can provide natural coolth. In almost all climates, combining northerly orientation for most of the (efficient) glass, appropriate thermal mass (ie. concrete, bricks/blocks, earth) and high-level insulation will make homes most comfortable. Re-designing existing buildings to achieve these principles is for us, an everyday task.
Energy-efficient. All new houses now need to be 6-star energy efficient design – but that’s the new minimum. With good design it’s not hard to do better again as is needed with rapidly rising energy costs. Overseas, 8 and 9-star efficiency is becoming mandated, with developing concepts of Zero Energy Buildings (ZEBs). Upgraded insulation is the single most cost-effective step you can take, followed by eco-redesigning for sunlight deep within buildings. We can tell you more.


ecoArchlogo NB