Why we’re local experts on building coastal homes

  • Building

There’s nothing quite like living on the coast, particularly when you live in our part of the world. However, building a coastal home requires a special kind of attention that other homes don’t need. Coastal homes face a range of elements — wind, salt spray, bushfires, wildlife — elements that can wreak havoc on a new home. There are also specific council requirements around building along the coast that you need to adhere to.

At Hamlan, we understand the advantages and challenges of building on the coast, and have guided hundreds of clients through the process of achieving their coastal dream home that’s built to last.

Building homes on the coast is where it all began for us. Hamlan was established in Anglesea in 1983 after the Ash Wednesday bushfires and has grown into Geelong’s largest locally owned and run builder.  Since then we have continued to pay homage to the coast, incorporating our Coastal Heritage into almost every build.

Coastal Heritage is a Hamlan Hallmark

As local experts in coastal homes, we consider our Coastal Heritage as one of our Hamlan Hallmarks. Hamlan’s six hallmarks are our defining elements of design, construction and delivery that tell our story long after we’ve gone.

Our homes reference our Great Ocean Road origins — from view-enhancing designs to coastal materials and colour palettes.

You only have to look at our designs to see this. Our Kennett 256 is a double-storey design with a first floor that can pivot on its axis in 6-degree increments, up to 12 degrees left or right, to allow you to make the most of your panoramic outlook. It also comes with a split-level option for sloping blocks.

Our split-level homes — the Sheoak 234 HS, the Sheoak 294 LS and the Hopkins 250 – suit a range of different sloping blocks.

We design our homes to incorporate the landscape, which is why we also encourage colour palettes and fixtures and fittings that suit the look and feel of a home’s backdrop.

Our Erskine 225 display in Oakdene Estate, Ocean Grove is a great example of how to incorporate a coastal theme throughout a home. Its facade is the Stellar, which has modern clean lines and a dramatic skillion roofline that flows inside with raked ceilings at the front of the home. The facade features Silver Top Ash cladding and the James Hardie Scyon Axon and Matrix Profile weatherboards, creating a beautiful combination of natural elements and modern design. This home is all about summer vibes — internal finishes include Lemon Scented Spotted Gum flooring, cabinetry in Aged Ash Oak and fishscale tiles throughout the kitchen. The bathrooms take a different beachy tone, with cabinetry in Stringybark.

The products in this home are all intentional in their selection.

The right products for your coastal home

It’s not all about the look and feel. Behind our striking facades are clever products and materials that not only reflect the quality of our craftsmanship but the extent of our knowledge of the area.

Cara Oliver is Hamlan’s business relationship consultant and works with clients on development projects, our new Accessible Range and custom builds.

Cara says that when it comes to building coastal homes, care and thought must be put into how the home is built.

“Clients who have historically built coastal homes have always wanted a unique home that speaks of their own character and tells a story of who is living there,” Cara says.

“Clients don’t want a suburban home with a hipped roof and tiles, which is why Australian coastal homes tend to be modern with skillion roofs.”

Maintenance is an important aspect to address when building on the coast. We often ask, how much maintenance they are prepared to do for their home?

“Most clients want low-maintenance homes,” Cara says. “James Hardie products are great for this reason. We run through information on James Hardie products with our clients and usually recommend James Hardie’s Linea, Axon and Matrix cladding.

“Brick and block work are very low maintenance, but bricks often don’t meet the coastal look clients are after. We’ll usually recommend a mix of materials with blockwork.”

Timber is also an option — but requires more maintenance.

“It does grey off over time and clients need to be prepared for regular maintenance as it will require staining every six months or so,” Cara says. “If the timber is facing west we generally don’t recommend this but if it’s south or east the level of maintenance is reduced.”

We also offer decorative aluminium products that replicate timber that can look like timber screening or batons.

“These products are expensive but if you have the budget, there’s no maintenance besides maybe the occasional hose down,” she says.

You also need to consider other issues that arise when living on the coast, such as cockatoos in Lorne eating cedar windows on holiday homes to salt spray damage.

“If budget allows, we recommend products such as Colorbond standing seam cladding — an interlocking steel cladding, or Alucobond — which is made up of aluminium sheets and a mineral-filled polymer core that creates a flat finish.”

For custom clients we recommend an upgrade to Colorbond Ultra Steel if their homes are within 1kms of the coast.

“This product is ideal for salt spray and extreme weather conditions,” she says.

Expert advice on the right approvals for a safe home

In addition to building a beautiful, well-built home, Hamlan also understands the council requirements that face a build on the coast.

“Our years of building along the Surf Coast have given us lots of experience working with the council to get custom home jobs through council planning,” Cara says.

“We have a longstanding relationship with Council which helps us understand what we can build.”

Surf Coast Shire has restrictions on the design of homes that can be built and the colour choices. Neighbourhood Character Overlays dictate the preferred colours to ensure homes are within the context of the landscape.

The Shire also has restrictions on the reflectivity of products used on new homes. For example the Colorbond colour Surf Mist, which is a very popular colour choice in greenfield estates, is seen as too reflective by the Shire. This colour isn’t allowed in bulk form on for example the roof as it attracts glare. Preferred colours in the Surf Coast Shire tend to be from an earthy colour palette.

Coastal homes built between Jan Juc to Lorne also need to adhere to the Bushfire Management Overlay (BMO). Each build requires a bushfire management statement and needs to go through the Council. There are a number of criteria the build has to meet, such as the property needs to have a defendable space around the home and it must be built with non-combustible material for the Bal rating.


When building your dream coastal home, you want a home that can stand the test of time. By choosing Hamlan, you’ll know you’ve chosen a builder who is the local expert in building coastal homes.

Building homes on the coast is where it all began for us. Hamlan started in Anglesea in 1983 after the Ash Wednesday bushfires and has grown into Geelong’s largest locally owned and run builder.

We continue to pay homage to the coast and incorporate our Coastal Heritage into almost every build — from view-enhancing designs to coastal materials and colour palettes.

We understand the range of elements — wind, salt spray, bushfires, wildlife — that can wreak havoc on a new coastal home. And have the advice and knowledge to overcome those challenges. We also understand the specific council requirements around building along the coast that you need to adhere to.

Learn more and speak to a new home consultant.

We have display homes located in Armstrong, Gen Fyansford, Oakdene Estate. Warralily Coast and Lucas Ballarat

Visit one of our displays

You can submit your enquiry here.