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A guide to building a split-level home on a sloping block


You’ve finally found it – the piece of land you’re looking for. It’s close to family and friends, in a suburb you love, nearby schools, shops and public transport and not that far from work. It’s a dream come true – but there’s only one catch. It’s a sloping block.

There’s indeed an art to building a split-level home – we won’t deny that there are complexities – but a sloping block is absolutely not a dealbreaker. In fact, there are many advantages to a block on an angle.

Homes built on a sloping block are all but guaranteed to give you a nice, sweeping view of the neighbourhood or surrounding area. You also have the option to play with the design – whether you create segmented living zones or a feature staircase – there’s a variety of opportunities to make your home on a sloping block really special.

With over 45 years’ experience building homes across Australia, we know a thing or two about split-level homes. So, we’ve put together a guide to building on a sloping block.

What is a sloping block?

A sloping block is a piece of land with varying elevation levels, meaning one side of the block is higher or lower than the other. Blocks can slope in many directions – sloping up means the highest point is at the road, sloping down means the lowest point is at the road, or cross fall where the slope is side to side. To build on a sloping block, you'll need to be creative with the house design and floorplan.

What are the main benefits of a sloping block?

Plenty of light

A home built on a slope is in prime position to absorb tonnes of natural light. Your home will be elevated in some zones, allowing sunlight to pour in. You can utilise large windows as a feature when building a family home on a slope.

If you're after energy efficiency features, make sure you consider the solar orientation. Split-level homes are a prime candidate to utilise solar energy due to the amount of sunlight that hits the roof.

Sweeping views

Similarly, depending on the gradient of the slope, you may be able to take advantage of some fantastic views of your neighbourhood or local scenery. Houses built on sloping blocks can allow you to see the city skyline, glorious sunsets, coastal views or a look over your suburb thanks to the extra height you’ll have from the slope.

Unique designs

Building a home on a sloping block will not prevent you from featuring some incredible inclusions. Voids and high roofs are popular additions to split-level home designs, turning your light-filled living areas into a wide-open space. You’ll also benefit from multiple living spaces separated by different, staggered levels, ensuring your home flows seamlessly from one section to another.

The interiors aren’t the only way you can create something unique - you can also get creative with your landscaping. Depending on the steepness of the sloping block, you could construct a layered garden with retaining walls, distinctive greenery, a hidden firepit or for those lucky enough, a sunken spa.

What are some of the difficulties associated with a sloping block?


Clear and easy access to sites on sloping blocks can be one of the biggest challenges for trades and builders – especially if heavy machinery is required. Without easy access to sites, building a home on a steep site can be incredibly difficult, and the last thing you want to do is rely on cranes to drop in building material.


Drainage can be a blessing or a curse depending on the slope of the land. On the one hand, your block could naturally drain water away and prevent flooding. On the other, you might need to use water tanks, pumps, easements or pits to appropriately funnel water away from your property. Each block of land is different, and it’s undoubtedly one of the first questions you should ask your builder during the site assessment.

Excavation and fill

There’s certainly more work involved in preparing a sloping block for a new home than a flat block. Your ground type comes in to play here too, as earthworks involving rocky ground will be more complicated than soil. You also need to be aware of the environmental impact that excavating has on your piece of land, including how it impacts the draining and erosion potential. The less excavating you need to do, the better.

Is it more expensive to build a home on a sloping block?

Generally speaking, there are additional costs involved when you build on a sloping block than when you build on a flat piece of land. There are a few extra tasks your builder must tick off to make sure your dream home is completed to the highest standard possible.

For example, your builder might need to develop an alternative drainage solution, including the use of pumps or easements, to make sure that stormwater and sewerage is taken care of properly. Another added cost could be the materials and labour involved in laying the foundations of your home. As mentioned above, you might need to cater for excavation and fill costs, retaining walls or a non-traditional slab.

That being said, you might find that sloping or irregular blocks are cheaper than their flat counterparts. So, you could save on land and spend more on construction if you crunch the numbers and work with the pros.

Where to begin?

Sometimes, building a split-level home on a sloping block is unavoidable. The best thing you can do is chat with an expert home builder to ensure you are getting the best advice from the start. Metricon has been building homes for over 45 years and has plenty of expert sloping block experience you can rely on. Get in touch with us today and our team may be able to point you in the direction of a display home built on a sloping site. Alternatively, you can browse our split-level homes online and find a design that suits your needs - we have both single and double-storey homes perfect for difficult sites.

Learn more about split-level homes, and find designs available in your state.

Get in touch with Metricon to enquire about building on difficult blocks - including sloping and narrow block home designs.

Metricon builds on sloping block homes in Melbourne, Regional Victoria, Brisbane, Sydney, Regional NSW and SA. View our testimonials to learn more from real customers.