Learn how to include slope and site conditions in all your quotes.

We’ll take you through step-by-step instructions and teach you how to read contour lines, price them up and add them to a quote to ensure you never lose money on a job again.

You will need to have; 

  • Logged in to canibuild.com
  • Looked up an address
  • Uploaded and placed an architectural plan. Click HERE for a step by step tutorial of how to upload a plan

Now that you have placed your secondary dwelling into the ideal position and determined that it does comply with state regulations, site conditions need to be determined. This will affect the  structural design, possible floor layout and site cost. 

Most blocks have some form of slope. The greater the slope, the higher the implications for the build. 

Click on the contour icon found on the right hand side of the screen. The contour icon is characterised by two curved lines parallel to each other. 

You will notice coloured wavy lines appear over the selected block. These lines indicate the slope of a block and are critical to understanding the slope of a block, helping clients save thousands of dollars in site costs.

So how does it work?

Index lines are the thickest lines and are labeled with numbers. These numbers indicate the elevation above sea level. The difference between the numbers on the index lines highlights the difference in elevation on the block. 

Each line represents an equal point in elevation. Changes in elevation mean that there will be inconsistent spacing between the lines. Essentially, the closer together the contour intervals the greater the slope. The larger the contour intervals, the lesser the slope. If there is consistent spacing between the intervals, that area is consistent.

Index lines are the thickest lines, often with numbers. These numbers represent the elevation above sea level.
Contour Interval is the space inbetween the contour lines. The larger the interval the lesser the slope, the closer the intervals are together, the steeper the slope.
The dotted lines are contour lines.The distance between these lines is typically 250mm.
In this image alone, we can see a difference of 4 meters in slope.

The colours of the slope also help users understand the slope. A gradient is used ranging from blue to red. Blue signifies the highest point above sea level, and red signifies the lowest point. 

This particular example shows contour lines from blue all the way to red. The blue and green lines (at the lowest point of elevation) sit extremely close together, signifying a larger slope as opposed to the red and orange lines (highest points) which have a slower, more gradual slope. 

When determining the placement of a Granny Flat on a block, understanding the slope is crucial. If a client chooses to place a Granny Flat on an area that has a large slope, builders must utilise a drop edge beam. A drop edge essentially sits at the edge of a concrete slab, acting like a retaining wall. This way, builders can fill areas around the slab to flatten the slope of the land. This however also adds thousands of dollars to a build, making the build expensive for clients. 

By using the Canibuild contour lines, users can determine the best placement of the new structure that is the most cost effective. Users can ensure the Granny Flat is placed on a flatter area, or an area that has a lesser slope on the property.

Let’s go through an example together.

Image 1: The Granny Flat is positioned on an area with a large slope. The slope is around 1m. This will add thousands of dollars to a build.

Image 2 The Granny Flat has been moved roughly 3 meters, avoiding the 1m slope. This new position will save thousands in site costs and avoid the drop edge beam


This tool can also help builders give the right quote the first time. Builders can now determine the exact slope of a property during the first consultation / site visit, no longer waiting for a surveyor to give them the answer, saving plenty of time. 

But, how do you quote the slope of the property? Let’s break it down for you

1.Feasibility Ensure that the secondary dwelling is in the ideal location and all state regulations are positive

2.Click onto the “quoting tab” on the side hand side panel. Here you will be able to create your quote and view the final pricing. The base price of the architectural design should already be preloaded

3. Add Items click onto “add items

4.Search for items you would like to add to your quote. For example, if a site has a slope you can search for slope in the search tab. Click on the slope that relates to the slope of the property. In this example we have used an 800m-1200mm slope. CLICK HERE for a tutorial on how to upload your items and prices.

5.Click onto Add Items once you have selected all your additional upgrades / costs. You will be able to view the final cost on the left side panel. If you are happy with the final pricing, click ‘Get quote.”

6. Access your quote You can access your quote on ‘my documents’ tab on the left hand side panel in a few minutes. A copy of the quote will also be emailed to your email address.

Did you enjoy reading through our step-by-step guide? Canibuild is simple and easy to use. 

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