Thursday, March 31, 2011

Latest Property News from Ted Hanson

Friday 01 April 2011
Investor's need is the seed

Before buying, decide what you hope to achieve, writes Kate Robertson. With a lazy $500,000 to spend, what is the best investment choice? Established property, off-the-plan, newly built or a property with potential to grow in value immediately with renovation? Read the article

Builder's son makes top architect

A builder's son credited with `changing the landscape of suburban housing in Australia' and mentoring decades of leading architects has won the nation's top annual architecture award - the 2011 Gold Medal for Architecture.

Architect Graeme Gunn was awarded the honour at the second Australian Achievement in Architecture Awards (AAAA) ceremony last Thursday by the Australian Institute of Architects National President, Karl Fender.

The Melbourne-based architect is known as `being a fighter for better housing for all Australians' and for working consistently to enhance our quality of life by `improving our housing and urban environments' throughout his 50-year career to date.

He is best known for his current role as principal architect for VicUrban, as foundation dean of the Faculty of Architecture and Building at RMIT and for his early innovative housing work, particularly for Merchant Builders in Melbourne.

Gunn has also established a body of work across rural and regional Victoria, the south coast of NSW, Sydney and Dilli in East Timor. His most recognisable projects are the iconic Plumbers and Gasfitters Union Building in Victoria Street, Melbourne and the Melbourne City Baths; his project housing with Merchant Builders and the Bower House; urban design projects including Melbourne's Prahran Market; cluster housing projects Winter Park in Melbourne's Doncaster and VicUrban at Heathmont.

Well-known single residences include the Shoebridge House in Doncaster East, the Yencken House in Tathra on the NSW south coast, and the Scroggie/Claire House in South Yarra.

Other industry leaders recognised at the ceremony included:

- Paul Pholeros, of Sydney-based Healthabitat, recipient of the Leadership in Sustainability Prize - Janet Holmes a Court, recipient of the Institute's President's Prize - Dr Marcus White of Melbourne, recipient of the Emerging Architects Prize - Sam Bresnehan, of the University of Tasmania, recipient of the BlueScope Steel Glenn Murcutt Student Prize; - Associate Professor Anna Rubbo, of the University of Sydney, recipient of the Neville Quarry Architectural Education Prize; - Daniel Brookes, of the University of Adelaide, winner of the Student Prize for the Advancement of Architecture; and - Carly Barrett, Christina Cho, Yuri Dillon, Jefa Greenaway and Brendan Murray, winners of the Dulux Study Tour prize.

Population growth slows

The rate at which our population grew last year was the lowest in four years, according to preliminary figures released this week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The figures show that, with an increase of 345,500, Australia's annual population growth rate slowed to 1.6 per cent for the year ending September 2010.

This is down from its peak growth rate of 2.2 per cent in the year ending December 2008 and is the lowest since the year ending September 2006 (319,100).

Net overseas migration continued to decline to the end of September 2010. The preliminary net overseas migration estimate for the September quarter 2010 (42,500 people) was 41.2 per cent lower than that for the September quarter 2009 (72,300 people).

Australia's population reached 22,407,700 by the end of September 2010, growing by 345,500 people over the year. Net overseas migration accounted for 54 per cent of this growth, with the remaining 46 per cent due to natural increase (births minus deaths).

For the year ending September 2009, net overseas migration accounted for 65 per cent of the year's total growth, with the remaining 35 per cent due to natural increase.

Western Australia continued to record the fastest population growth rate at 2.1 per cent, followed by Queensland (1.8 per cent), Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory (both 1.7 per cent), New South Wales and the Northern Territory (both 1.3 per cent), South Australia (1.1 per cent) and Tasmania (0.8 per cent).

Based on preliminary figures, there were 301,500 births registered in the year ending September 2010, 1.1 per cent more than the previous year. The number of deaths registered over the same period was 141,700, 0.1 per cent fewer than the previous year.

Living with possums

Even for those who don't spook easily, the guttural hiss and heavy thump of a possum scurrying across the roof is not an appealing sound in the middle of the night. Worse still, possums often take up residence inside roofs, which in most cases means the new noisy neighbour isn't just passing through.

Possums can gain access to the roof space through loose tiles, loose roofing iron, broken eaves and holes in timber or brickwork. Regular maintenance checks of your roof should ensure that this access is restricted; however you may need to take decisive action to deter the visitor permanently.

As they are a protected species (it is illegal in NSW to relocate the possum more than 50m away from its habitat), you can either call your local wildlife rescue group, check the yellow pages for a possum remover, or take steps yourself to remove the possum and possum-proof your roof.

W.I.R.E.S. (Wildlife Information and Rescue Service) offers the following tips -

* provide an alternative home (a possum box attached to a tree at least 4m above the ground to keep it safe from dogs and cats) * climb into your roof, remove the possum's nest and place it in the possum box (best done at night when the possum is not there) * place a small piece of fruit in the possum box to encourage the animal to investigate * trim away any branches near the house that might give the possum access to the roof * place a light in the roof cavity and leave it on for a few days - the light should keep the possum away * block off any holes in the roof to ensure the possum doesn't return (make absolutely sure there are no possums in the roof before you do this!).

Concrete answers to climate change effects

We often take the stable ground beneath our feet for granted, but a new report has highlighted the effect that changes in our environment could pose on those steady foundations.

Understanding how climate change could impact on the deterioration of the basic building block of much of Australia's infrastructure - concrete - is crucial to ensuring major assets such as roads, ports and buildings continue to perform to expectations, according to a CSIRO report.

The report's lead author, CSIRO Climate Adaptation Flagship's Dr Xiaoming Wang, commented that in order to better understand such potential changes, we need to establish an accurate national database on the rate, and factors involved in, the deterioration of concrete infrastructure.

"Failure to consider the effects of climate change may compromise the safety of concrete structures, but overcompensating in our efforts to adapt for climate change may unnecessarily increase costs," Dr Wang said.

Concrete deterioration is caused by a range of physical, mechanical and/or chemical factors.

One of the major threats to the longevity of concrete structures is carbonation, which occurs when atmospheric CO2 penetrates into the structure to expose steel reinforcements to corrosion.

"We need to establish an accurate information base on future concrete deterioration for Australian infrastructure," said Dr Wang.

Corrosion caused by chloride penetration is another serious threat to concrete durability causing cracking, delamination or spalling, especially in marine and coastal areas.

"Both corrosion mechanisms are influenced by climate change but, the time it will take for climate change to exacerbate carbonation and chloride-induced corrosion of concrete structures will depend on their location and level of exposure to the elements," Dr Wang said.

He noted that the durability of concrete structures depends on the method of construction and types of materials used, and the environmental conditions they are exposed to.

"Currently, the primary assumption in construction designs is that environmental conditions will be similar to those of the past," he said.

"However, scientists and engineers from CSIRO, in collaboration with a colleague from the University of Newcastle, have shown that increased atmospheric CO2, in addition to a changing climate - including 'chronic' factors like increasing CO2 concentrations, temperatures and humidity and `acute' factors like extreme weather events - will alter environmental exposure of most concrete infrastructure over their relatively long lifetime.

"This means that concrete structures will generally deteriorate faster with major implications for the safety, serviceability and durability of infrastructure, particularly in warmer inland and coastal areas," Dr Wang said.

Funded by the Australian Government Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, the report makes a number of recommendations on the design of new and maintenance of existing concrete infrastructure.

Bearly full of beans

The saying `let sleeping dogs lie' definitely applies also to grizzly bears. In fact, there are very few situations in which you or any family member should come close to a bear in any state of consciousness.

One of the exceptions is the Big Sleeping Grizzly Bear Bean Bag. Stylised and printed graphics give the large, knitted beanbag the appearance of a sleeping bear, which can be adored from across the room, or used as a chair or sofa.

Murder mystery house for sale

Would you live in a house someone had been murdered in? What if the entire country had seen the events on television?

A six-bedroom family home on the market in England has seen more than its fair share of excitement, murder and mystery, and according to the UK Daily Mail, all of it has been for the screen.

The 400-year-old house has had corpses in almost every room - for years the owners have sublet to production companies for the filming of shows such as Midsomer Murders, Dr Who, Spooks, Waking The Dead, Harry Potter, James Bond, and Torchwood. Fittingly named Black Park Cottage, it is the only home on Black Park, with 530 acres of pine woods, heathland and a lake.

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