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Frequently asked questions about country homes


Contract vs finance approval

We get it: all the paperwork and technicalities surrounding your home build can be a bit overwhelming.  Contracts, finance approval and permits… not to mention the 101 decisions you must make when planning the home itself!  However, we’d like to assure you that even though it’s an emotional and exciting journey, the team at Hensley Park are here to support you every step of the way.

Most customers require additional finance in the form of a bank loan to be able to complete their new home.  This is perhaps one of the most important steps in the initial building process, and one that can be rather daunting, especially if building is a new experience!  Over the years we’ve noticed that the concept of signing the home contract in conjunction with getting finance approval seems to cause confusion in the minds of some of our customers, so we’re taking the time to explain these two points here – we want to ensure that you understand and are comfortable with every stage of your new home build, from start to completion.

It’s important to understand that when a bank gives pre-approval for finance, this is only calculated on a set of basic criteria such as current earnings, potential equity position etc.  It doesn’t take into consideration a lot of the fine details such as accurate pricing, the building company, the method of the build and permits, all of which are necessary for the bank to process the loan application and progress it to a full finance approval.

Here’s how it works:

Your bank will require a signed contract to grant unconditional finance.  We understand that you may feel hesitant to enter into signing a contract without guaranteed funds, however it’s super important that you understand that Hensley Park’s home contracts are subject to finance approval: i.e. your home contract is not binding until you receive confirmation of your unconditional finance from your financial institution.

So, once everything is sorted (including plans, specifications and planning permit) and everyone is happy to take the next step, the contract is signed by both parties (Hensley Park and the customer) then it’s the customer’s job to go back to the bank with the newly signed contract and apply for unconditional finance to get the home build underway.  The bank processes the application and approves it, then the customer pays the 5% deposit and the contract is actioned: from here it’s all systems go!

To summarize, it’s critical to understand the two separate steps of signing and paying the deposit: signing the contract simply means that both parties agree to and lock in all the relevant details of the home (plans, specifications, pricing, terms & conditions etc.) whereas paying the deposit is the means by which the contract is ratified or activated.

Typically, banks take several weeks to process and approve finance.  Our contracts include a minimum 21-day clause for finance approval, however, if the wheels of progress are moving slowly, we can handle that too: the key is good communication between us and the customer, so we know where the approval is at.  If the approval process is really dragging out (e.g.: upward of 3-4 months) and the home price has increased slightly, it may become necessary to cancel the initial contract and re-sign a new one, however, this situation is rare.

Just another point to consider: sometimes customers require their bank to fund the initial 5% deposit, for which the bank will require a building permit.  However, as the builder, we can’t even apply for a building permit until the contract is ratified by the deposit. We understand that this situation is a bit of a ‘catch 22’ however, the key is to be aware of it and discuss it with your banker or finance broker early in the process.  Generally speaking, the situation can be worked through and a method of funding the deposit worked out between the customer and the bank.

As always, a clear understanding of each stage of the process and open communication between all relevant parties will ensure a smooth and enjoyable home building experience.  And the team at Hensley Park are here to help you create and enjoy a home that exceeds your expectations!


Can I get gas to my new home?

Are you wondering whether it’s possible to get gas to your new country home? And if so, what it will cost? How will it be delivered, stored and refilled? These are common questions and we understand your concerns, that’s why we’ve taken the time to explain the ‘ins and outs’ of gas supply to homes in rural areas.

Gas is made from fossil fuels in the ground, and for domestic use it is supplied in two forms:

• LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) is not under pressure and simply runs through underground pipes. LNG is delivered to the property via a gas main and is generally available only in cities.
• LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas) is a by-product of LNG and is stored under pressure in cylinders. LPG can be supplied to any new Hensley Park Home, wherever your property is situated.

Can I Get Gas to My Property?
Piped gas is generally only available in central residential areas. However, LPG (bottled gas) is available right across Australia and can be supplied to any new Hensley Park Home, wherever your property is situated.

What Size Gas Cylinder Do I Need?

Gas is supplied by a company called Elgas (there are several gas suppliers in Australia and Hensley Park Homes is not aligned with any one company; we have simply referred to Elgas in this blog for ease of use), and there are three sizes of gas bottles supplied for domestic use. Their dimensions and capacity can be seen in the table below:

Cylinder Sizes
45kg LPG Gas Cylinder Dimensions 90kg LPG Gas Cylinder Dimensions 210kg LPG Gas Cylinder Dimensions
Diameter 375mm 510mm 765mm
Height 1250mm 1380mm 1460mm
Capacity 88L 176L 411L
Tare Wt 33kg 65kg 140kg
Full Wt 78kg 155kg 350kg
Energy 2205MJ 4410MJ 10,290MJ

Credit: Elgas Ltd.

The 45kg LPG gas cylinder is probably the most commonly used size for domestic use (this is what we have at our Hensley Park Display Home in Warrenheip). Homes are generally fitted with two 45kg gas bottles and to maintain an even supply, when one bottle is empty Elgas simply removse the empty bottle and replaces it with a new one. The gas head or fitting (commonly known as a ‘pig-tail head’ because of the two little curly copper pipes that connect the gas bottles), connects the two bottles, however only one bottle is ever in use – when the first bottle runs out it’s simply a matter of turning that one off and turning the second one on, then calling to Elgas to arrange a new bottle. For the 45kg gas cylinder, Elgas replaces empty bottles with new ones.

Larger cylinders are re-filled rather than replaced. In this instance a hose is connected from the truck to the tank, and the refill happens on the spot. It is possible to have two larger bottles; however, the cylinder rental costs will rise accordingly.

What Does Gas Cost?
At the moment, the price of gas is sitting at approximately $1 per litre:

• 45kg (88L) = $88.00
• 90kg (176L) = $176.00
• 210kg (411L) = $411.00

Please note: these prices are approximate and need to be confirmed directly with the gas supplier.

There are also annual rental costs for the actual cylinders: from $50 for the 45kg bottle up to $260 for the 210kg bottle.

Gas cooking is the lowest form of usage. If gas is used only for cooking, the average household would need to get their 45kg gas cylinder replaced 2 – 3 times per year. A gas hot water service uses slightly more: if gas is installed only for hot water, the average household would need to replace their 45kg cylinder 3 – 5 times per year (depending on the number of family members). Gas heaters, especially large, ducted systems will require the 90kg or 210kg cylinders. Depending on the severity of the climate, the average household could reasonably expect to have their gas bottles refilled every 3 – 4 weeks.

Please note: these examples are estimates only. We can’t exactly guarantee the gas usage of an appliance – it depends on the model, efficiency and amount it is used.

Where Should I Store My Gas Cylinders?
The placement of your gas cylinders is largely determined by their size. The small 45kg bottle may be stored in more ‘out-of-the-way’ locations such as the back of the home, down a path etc. because they can be handled by one person and replaced easily. The placement of larger bottles will require an assessment by Elgas. Because they must be refilled rather than replaced, they must be easily accessible, and there are added dangers associated with storing large quantities of a combustible product.

The outlet or fittings of any gas cylinder must be at least 1.5m from any openable portion of a window.

How Can I Tell When My Gas is Getting Low?
There are two simple ways to check how much gas is left in your cylinder:

1. use your hand to gently ‘knock’ down the side of the bottle – you will hear it go from a ‘hollow’ ring to a more ‘dead’ sound. The hollow sounding portion is empty, the dead sounding portion is full.
2. Gently pour a jug of warm water down the side of the cylinder. You will notice a condensation line appear on the tank – this will show how much gas is left.

Who Arranges the Gas for My Home?

At the end of the building process, you’ll need to call a gas provider of your choice (ie, Elgas) and arrange the gas cylinder/s and establish a gas agreement. If it is a large cylinder, it will be delivered and installed with a minimal amount of gas in it, then after it has been plumbed in and tested by the plumber, Elgas will return to fill it up to maximum capacity.

Elgas’s re-ordering system is extremely user-friendly. Ordering can be done via SMS or by phoning. After Elgas has monitored your gas usage for a certain length of time, they offer a service whereby they can notify you to check your cylinders and see if they need replacing/refilling.

Gas is commonly installed in Hensley Park Homes and our team is here to answer any other questions or discuss other concerns you may have regarding gas at your new country home.