For readers of this article that find themselves in a city, you may often spot cranes, building new apartment complexes in urban centers. From studio apartments to short-stay accommodations and family apartments, there is a range of apartments that suit all walks of life.
An apartment building can seem complex, but in fact, it can be broken down into a series of smaller processes. Let’s explore how apartments are planned and constructed – from how materials such as steel and shotcrete sprayed concrete are utilized during construction, as well as the different types of apartments you may encounter.
Planning an Apartment Complex
Planning an apartment can often seem like an arduous process. Typically, a property developer will engage the services of drafters and architects to plan out the scope and scale of an apartment building. Soil testing and initial surveying may be used to determine the quality of the soil and suitability for various types of foundations.
Upon completion of the plans, these will typically be sent off to local, state, and sometimes federal planning authorities for approval. Plans will be compared against regulatory standards such as the Apartments Design Guidelines that are present in the Victorian market. This process can take an extended period of time, as regulators seek to ensure that an apartment development is built in such a way that doesn’t compromise local heritage laws or the living environment of neighboring complexes.
Building an Apartment Complex
Building an apartment complex is quite similar to building a skyscraper, in many ways. There are typically four main steps involved – laying a foundation, framing up the apartment building, weatherproofing the building, and subsequently fitting out the apartment.
Firstly, laying a foundation. For buildings of varying size and scope, this can vary – depending on the particular engineering designs of an apartment, techniques such as piling with the assistance of materials such as shotcrete may be used to transfer the weight of the building to a depth. In smaller apartment developments, a simple foundation slab may be built.
Once a foundation is laid, the next thing that typically happens in apartment development is the framing up of an apartment building. This involves building up the overall structure of the building – from the steel formwork to laying in precast concrete floors, one stage at a time.
Upon completion of the framing up, it’s time to weatherproof the building. Once large fittings such as bathtubs are placed into the apartment complex, a glass facade, exterior features such as balconies, and cladding are set up along the exterior of the building. In some cases, this may be as simple as fitting a simple roller door – in more complex cases, floor-to-ceiling glass panels may be used to provide a better view of the town.
The final stage of building an apartment complex is typically the fit-out. This typically covers all steps necessary to make the residence habitable and within the regulations of state and federal bodies. Internal doors are fitted, utilities are connected to a central system, and facilities such as foyers and garages are finalized.
The Many Different Types of Apartments
There are a variety of different types of apartments that are constructed in contemporary Australia – from studio apartments to short-term accommodation, there’s a range of different apartment developments under construction at any given time.
Three of the most common apartments that you may encounter in Australia include:
- Studio apartment: typically consisting of a single, open-plan living space with a micro-kitchen, and generally shared laundry facilities, a studio apartment typically caters to a university student who doesn’t mind trading off some of the benefits of a full-sized apartment for ease of access to university grounds.
- Family apartment: typically consisting of a number of bedrooms, a shared living space as well as a laundry and kitchen, these apartments typically cater to families living in dense urban environments.
- Short-stay apartments: these may be functionally similar to family apartments, however, may be smaller, or offer fewer long-term facilities than a regular lived-in apartment. This style of the apartment has been highly controversial in recent years, as the debate in Australia rages on about affordable housing.
While it may seem like a complex and lengthy process, in reality, building an apartment is not as excruciating as it seems, provided you have the right help on hand. If you’re looking to buy an apartment, it’s best to speak to a licensed real estate agent and perhaps consider the services of a buyer’s agent – hopefully to find your dream apartment.