Home' Belonging Early Years Journal : Vol 6 No 2 Contents V6 N2 2017 13
Building a Centre
lessen the burden of purchasing land, or developing
partnerships with large landholders -- such as
churches, state agencies and private owners and
developers -- to increase land supply.
Townsville City Council instituted an incentive-
based approach, which encouraged development in
the CBD. It's worth checking with your local council
to see what support you might be able to access.
In Victoria, the Metropolitan Planning Authority
developed a set of detailed guidelines to support
the delivery of accessible, integrated and adaptable
community infrastructure, and in doing so, to
encourage local employment opportunities.
But before you get building, your development will
need approval. Planning and building approvals will
go through your local council, and these take into
account things like which zone the site is in, whether
it is in a neighbourhood plan area, and whether
there are any overlays on the property.
The soil may also require testing in order for the
proposed development to be approved for use as
an education and care service. These tests will
measure levels of contaminants in the soil and take
into account any odours. Environmental consultants
can be hired to conduct the soil assessment and,
in some cases, a complete environmental audit.
Contact your state government for more information.
Knowing what information to look for, and where to
look for it, is a crucial step in building a childcare
centre in the right location. It almost goes without
saying that childcare centres should not be on
busy main roads. Where they should be is close
to community focal points and facilities, including
public transport, libraries and shopping centres. For
this reason, it's important to understand the local
area and what services are currently being offered.
Visit www.mychild.gov.au to see where existing
childcare centres are located.
Local councils often undertake community
research and engagement to assess the needs
of the community and whether they're being met.
The Leichhardt Municipal Council consulted the
community on early education and care services,
and the results were of great use. Not only did
they discover that there was a supply shortage, of
284 places to be exact, but the review revealed
that parents preferred child care that was within
walking distance of their homes. Preferences and
gaps like these are just some of the useful pieces
of information that can be highlighted by council-led
community feedback projects.
Population projections, land use mix and community
feedback together formulate a detailed picture of
supply and demand. With demand for childcare
services increasing in so many areas, it's important
to understand the type, locations and amount of
child care the community requires, to ensure that
your business meets those expectations and, in turn,
to ensure the success of your business.
The national government guidelines state that the
minimum space per child is 3.25 square metres for
indoors, and seven square metres for outdoors. This
is a non-negotiable standard that all centres must
In terms of car parking, there is no exact or universal
formula for determining what's necessary. Often,
local governments will take into account the site's
context, such as the level of public transport;
parking already available in the area, including at
clubs and shopping centres, as well as on-street
parking; and whether there are bikeways nearby.
Convenient access to public transport and a drive-
through pick-up bay can mediate the need for
The impact of noise on the surrounding area is
another consideration, and thinking about this early
on may save you time and money in the long run.
The use of landscaping buffers and building design
can successfully minimise the impact of noise on
neighbours, as well as the impact of external noise
on the centre. For example, sleep rooms should be
placed away from external noise sources, and where
possible, building designs should be based on 'U' or
'L' shapes to provide a noise barrier.
Your first port of call when a childcare development
becomes a possibility should be your local council.
Collate as much information as possible about
the community, the necessary approvals and how
to get them, and the benchmarks you'll need to
meet before you start pouring the concrete. A little
forethought and research at the beginning will
ensure that your childcare facility has a long and
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