This section is written by John Gersteling who has experienced the following services and products, that includes extensive research and personal investigations. John Gersteling recommend these goods and services: 


BRADFORD ENERGY SOLAR backed by CSR a homegrown Australian company. Ph: 1800 332 332

Bradford Energy Solar Contact: Brendon Petrovic Ph: 0499003627

By taking control of your energy needs, Bradford Energy Solar is confident that clients enjoy good returns on investment for many years to come. Not only to save you money on your future electricity bills, you also be contributing to a clean energy future.

The system does not include the installation of solar compatible utility meter for your meter box. Contact your Energy Retailer to discuss upgrade before Solar installation.

Best average system available: 7.92KW  (24) Black LG Neon 2 panels with  (1) Tesla powerwall 2


LG NEON 2.330W SOLAR PV PANEL  Manufacture’s Product Warranty 25 years

TESLA POWERWALL 2 AC  (BATTERY)  Manufacture’s Product Warranty 10 years

SOLAREDGE INVERTER HDW SE800H 8KW SINGLE PHASE INVERTER  Manufacturer’s Product Warranty 12 years

SOLAREDGE POWER OPTIMIZER P370 for 60-CELL MODULES P370-5RM4MRM  Manufacturer’s Product Warranty 10 years


TESLA POWERWALL GATEWAY Manufacture’s Product Warranty 10 years

This system estimated annual kWh produced is: 11246 kWh

The system is fully independent self sufficient with minimal use of the power grid companies. (only if no sun is available for extended periods) Approximate cost for this system from: AU$ 22,000.- to AU$ 25,000.- depending on your electricity use. Products are of superior quality, warranty and installation workmanship. If you don’t want to deal with electricity retailers and don’t want to receive their overcharged electricity accounts, GO SOLO. 


Be careful of cheap TV solar panels advertisements of $3,500.- per system. Find out what their warranty includes and where the panels are made and by whom and what is included in this system? Choose established credible SOLAR companies that are in business for more than 10 years. Do your research and do not repeat the mistakes that where made during the “Roof/ceiling insulation” period when roof insulation companies popped up like mushrooms…! and then disappeared after the system was cancelled by the government. For best product protection choose Australian, German, South Korean or Canadian made solar products. Remember…”You get what you pay for”.


FAMELI CONSTRUCTION PTY LTD (SILVERDALE, RIVERLAND & LOWER BLUE MOUNTAINS AREAS)   Contact: Domenic Fameli, Mobile: 0407870065 for inquiries

When selecting a builder to construct your building project, home owners should be very careful choosing and engaging a builder. There are a few steps to take to make sure you have made the right choice and decision to award your building project to the accepted construction company/builder. John Gersteling was a licensed builder from 1975 to 1980 and is currently a certified NSW Building Supervisor No: 30094S

We recommend our builder whose projects are shown on the website. We have known Fameli Construction since 1992 and have used them personally.

Before you choose and engage your builder, check and ask the following:

  • Check that the builders license is up to date and current
  • Check with local State Departments that the builder has no current legal matters pending (state tribunals or courts)
  • Make sure that the builder is financial secure and has not been bankrupt previously (check with creditSavvy)
  • Talk with previous home owners that have engaged the builder for their projects and find out if they were satisfied with his work and professionalism
  • Make sure All Parties (all owners) sign the construction/building contract it must be a recognised building contract (H.I.A. BDAA or State accepted contract) that does include the architectural & structural engineering drawings and full building specifications
  • The contract must stipulate a deposit (10% to 20% of construction cost) and after, payments must be released by progress payments, at the nominated stage of construction and % as indicated by the contract
  • Check that the builder has all the required insurances as indicated by the State Government such as Home Owners Warranty, Public Liability, and that all his subcontractors have the required subcontractors licensing and insurances (make sure that the builder is aware of the “Work Health and Safety Act 2011”)
  • Meet the builder in person and have a conversation with the builder to see if you can work with the builder, after all, he will be on your site for a minimum of 1 to 8 months (depending on the size of the building project) find out what his communications skills are. You must get along with the builder if you want your project to be of minimal pressure during the construction period


Brickworks Limited  Austral Bricks 738-780 Wallgrove Road, Horsley Park NSW 2175 Ph: 02-98307800

Brickworks Limited is a dynamic and innovative group of Australian-owned companies. Their main business is the manufacture and distribution of clay and concrete products, property development and realisation, and investments. Brickworks Limited operate in all states throughout Australia and in New Zealand. Today, Brickworks are one of the nation’s leading providers of building products. They have a long, unbroken tradition that stretches back to the days of the Great Depression. It was in 1934 that a group of leading Sydney brick manufacturers formed a company to ensure the ongoing viability of the local brick industry. The expansion of the company was rapid and its success assured through technological innovation and strong management.

PGH Bricks & Pavers a CSR company 49 Durgadin Drive, Albion Park NSW 2527 Ph: 131579

PGH Bricks & Pavers™ is one of Australia’s largest clay brick manufacturers. It offers a broad range of bricks and pavers for residential, architectural and commercial applications on Australia’s East coast. PGH Bricks & Pavers™ is committed to service excellence and has manufacturing capabilities in South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.

PGH Bricks & Pavers™ was then part acquired by CSR in 1989, marking CSR’s first foray into the brick industry. In May 2015, CSR and Boral formed a joint venture, Boral CSR Bricks Pty Ltd, which combined their brick operations along the east coast of Australia. This partnership brought together the best of Boral and CSR’s brick offering under the one brand of PGH Bricks & Pavers™. 

In November 2016, CSR acquired Boral’s interest in the joint venture. PGH Bricks & Pavers™ is now wholly owned by CSR. CSR is one of Australia’s oldest companies and today has revenues over $2.0 billion and is part of the ASX100 with over 3,000 employees across Australia and New Zealand.

PGH Bricks & Pavers™ provides a broad range of quality clay bricks and pavers across the east coast of Australia. From timeless Dry-Pressed, stylish Smooth and reflective Metallic collections; through to the textured earthiness of Sandstocks and our vibrant Glazed range, there is sure to be a PGH Brick for you to make your mark in your next project. Visit our website to view our extensive range and be inspired by the amazing things you can achieve with PGH bricks. I have personally used PGH sandstock Homestead blend and recommend this product.


WEATHERTEX P.O.Box 21 Raymond Terrace Heatherbrae NSW 2324 Ph: 1800 040 080

Weathertex is the preferred cladding manufacturer by many builders, architects and designers all over the world, with history dating back to 1939. As 100% Australian owned manufacturers, we offer a wide range of high quality timber cladding, weatherboard and architectural panels like our Weathergroove, plus also our wall shingles.

Our company only uses PEFC certified state forest or private hardwoods from controlled sources.  The logs are chipped, pulped and pressed with 3% natural wax to make Australian eco-friendly, timber products that are completely natural with no chemical additives.  We’ve recently gone through a rigorous evaluation from Global GreenTag to determine the “green performance” of our products and we are proud to announce we have been the FIRST GLOBAL manufacturers product to receive a Green Tag Platinum certification with a GreenRate Level A for our natural range products. We also received Gold certification for our primed flat cladding (Classic/ Selflok) and wall panel sheets.  At Weathertex, we are committed in playing a role in improving the sustainability of Australian construction products and practices.

JAMESHARDIE 10 Colquhoun Street, Rosehill NSW 2142 Ph: 13 11 03 

JamesHardie James Hardie Australia takes pride in producing high quality, dependable, compliant products and systems which are easy to design with. Products backed by industry-leading expertise which enable fresh designs and cost-effective solutions in lightweight construction.The Hardie’s range of products and systems includes façade systems, wall systems, cladding, permanent formwork, internal lining, eaves, soffits, substrate flooring and decking.James Hardie provides design inspiration, guidance and specifications. 

Around three quarters of Australian homes are built with timber frames. The frame is constructed first, then the roof, windows, and exterior cladding and internal linings are attached to the frame. Often there is confusion around external cladding – where it is used, and how it works. Fibre cement cladding, building facade systems and weatherboards are engineered for many advantages. James Hardie’s premium fibre cement is durable and resistant to fire, rot, termites and damage from moisture. Typically installed by carpenters, it’s easy to build with and cuts cleanly as sheets and boards less than 9mm thick can be scored and snapped using a score and snap knife. James Hardie fibre cement, compressed fibre cement and Scyon fibre cement products can be easily cut using a circular saw with a dust reducing fibre cement saw blade such as HardieBlade.

CEMINTEL 376 Victoria Street Wetherill Park NSW 2164 Ph: 1300 236 468

Cemintel new materials influence the way buildings are defined. Cemintel is responding to the growing importance of external and internal cladding with the release of new prefinished ranges. These ranges respond to the preference for high performance, lightweight materials and the desire for buildings to enhance the environment where we live. From external façades to interior surfaces, these ranges are a reinterpretation of cladding as we know it.

Fibre cement is perhaps one of the most flexible building materials available today.

  • It can be manufactured in numerous panel sizes and thicknesses.
  • It can be cut into various shapes and patterns.
  • It can be compressed for high strength applications.
  • It can be used in acoustic systems.
  • It can be used as a superior wet area lining product.
  • It can be painted.
  • It can be tiled.
  • It can be used for fire resistance applications.

UNITEX 7-9 Yato Road Prestons NSW 2170 Ph: 13 48 63 

Unitex is an Australian owned and operated manufacturer and distributor of a wide range of building products suitable for both residential and commercial architectural projects. The range includes lightweight Wall Cladding, Acrylic Renders, Architectural Textures and Finishes, Mouldings and Columns, and Render Accessories. The Unitex® brand is built on a platform of innovation and service.

Our goal is to become the #1 choice in Australia for customers wanting technically superior lightweight powder renders; cost-efficient and high quality textured coatings; attractive and lightweight mouldings; and advanced lightweight insulation systems, for their building projects.

Through innovation and service we will deliver a superior level of customer satisfaction by meeting the needs of customers – promptly and effectively. This customer-driven philosophy will apply to all interactions with our customers  

We use high-quality raw materials to ensure our customers are delivered a consistent, high-quality product. Our company’s programme of continuous raw material evaluation ensures that we use the most cost-effective, proven and best ingredients to provide our customers with fair-priced end products. Where possible, and without ever compromising the high quality of product our customers expect and deserve, we incorporate recycled raw materials. This helps us do our part for the environment. Our Research and Development team are continuously challenging convention. Developing smarter ways of working and innovative new products with increased customer benefits as the defining focus. 


BREEZWAY a JELDWEN Company 35 Cambridge Street Coorparoo QLD Ph: 0738470500

Breezway Altair Louvre windows by Breezway are extensively tested for compliance to Australian and International Standards and their performance has been proven in real-world cyclonic conditions. Each window is made to order, allowing the widest choice of customising options and resulting in a window that fits as perfectly into custom designed homes as it does into schools and apartment buildings. Allowing more ventilation than any other window type, louvre windows have been used for generations to create naturally comfortable buildings. Modern Altair Louvres by Breezway are award-winning, cyclone rated and are the most energy efficient louvre window in Australia.


Architectural Window Systems  is one of Australia’s leading suppliers of aluminium window and door systems. AWS offers an extensive range of locally designed aluminium window and door suites for residential and commercial applications. AWS designs, tests, finishes and supplies aluminium window and door systems under the Vantage and Elevate™ brands to more than 200 licenced manufacturers throughout Australia. Local manufacturer: Custom Aluminium Windows, St Marys

CUSTOM ALUMINIUM WINDOWS  5 Narang Place, St Marys NSW 2760 Ph: 02-96235833

Custom Aluminium Windows is a family owned business which was established in 1984. We fabricate attractive and functional aluminium windows and doors which are always of excellent quality. The well trained staff at Custom Windows take a great deal of care when manufacturing Vantage Aluminium Joinery Products, which meet the performance requirements of the Australian Building Codes.

CORINTHIAN DOORS Holm Road St Marys NSW 0296737100

Corinthian doors has earned its reputation as Australia’s leading designer and manufacturer of doors for over 70 years. Corinthian’s unrelenting pursuit of quality, and a passion for craftsmanship continues to be at the heart of everthing we do. Corinthian takes entrance doors from just being a functional necessity, to a design and style statement.

As Australia’s largest timber door manufacturer, Corinthian has taken its famous brand around the world, securing an international reputation for quality, innovation and design. Corinthian is now part of the JELD-WEN family, the world’s largest supplier of timber doors and windows.
Established in 1942, Corinthian has showrooms and manufacturing facilities in all mainland Australian State capitals. Its major manufacturing facility ocupies a 4.5 hecctare site at St Marys in Sydney’s west.
Corinthian has worked hard and long, since its foundation in 1942, to establish a reputation as a company with total commitment to customer service. This is a reputation Corinthian guards jealously.

These key words are impressed on every employee, with the result that Corinthian customers know they can rely on prompt delivery, total reliability and consistent quality.

Experienced and knowledgeable sales personnel are available to help with any enquiry, supported by computerised sales offices, warehousing and distribution systems.

In Corinthian’s extensive range, you will find door designs to suit every decorating theme and almost every architectural period, and to meet every budget requirement from low-cost doors to products for the luxury home market.

An innovator in the door industry, Corinthian’s development of ground breaking manufacturing technology has brought stylish doors within the price reach of the widest possible section of the consumer market.

HUME DOORS & TIMBER 120 Hume Highway Lansvale NSW 2166 Ph: 02 9794 1111

Hume doors & timber has the culture, skills, experience and enthusiasm of the people within Hume is the engine that drives our development. We place a premium on developing talent internally and promoting from within. This forms the backbone of our operations, reinforced by a recruitment

program that strengthens our skills and capabilities. The result is an unusually high degree of continuity within our different activities. Hume Applied Technologies harnesses the significant Research & Development, technical expertise and innovation born from over 60 years of manufacturing and applies its unique intellect and approach to improve product development and product performance.

Hume has developed strong strategic alliances with other innovative companies in the industry and continues to work on innovative solutions to provide advancements in all areas of operations.

Hume Doors & Timber is the nation’s largest 100% Australian owned timber door manufacturer with over 60 years of proud history. Hume Doors will always stand by its family based values and exceptional customer service. Whether leading the

way in sustainability, innovation or design, Hume Doors & Timber remains committed to developing outstanding products for the Australian market.



COLORBOND Since 1915 the steel industry has been an essential part of Australia and its economy. BlueScope’s heritage traces back to the very beginning. BlueScope is a global manufacturer of premium branded coated and painted steel products, such as COLORBOND® steel, ZINCALUME® steel and TRUECORE® steel. Genuine COLORBOND® steel has undergone over fifty years of Australian research and development, which has allowed for proven durability and long lasting performance when subjected to some of the harshest Australian conditions. With a range of designer colours and a new matt finish, COLORBOND® steel gives you the flexibility to realise your design vision.

A roof made from COLORBOND® steel makes perfect sense. Strong, secure and energy smart, COLORBOND® steel is tried and tested in Australian conditions to look great and deliver outstanding, long life performance. With 22 colours in the range, you can choose a roof colour that sets the theme for your whole home, or complements your other building material choices. In particular, you can ‘mix and match’ colours with your gutter, fascia and downpipes made from COLORBOND® steel. Furthermore, the range of thermally efficient light colours can help to keep your home cooler on hot, sunny days.

Adapting to the demands of the building market, COLORBOND® steel has changed a great deal since its introduction in Australia in 1966. Not only has the colour range evolved, so too has the technology involved in COLORBOND® steel’s production. The most recent innovation, ACTIVATE® technology was introduced in 2013 and BlueScope holds numerous patents on the technology, both in Australia and around the world. No wonder we’re now seeing COLORBOND® steel being used on roofs for anything from homes all around Australia, to large commercial buildings like the Adelaide Velodrome and the Margaret Court Arena. To be sure you are getting genuine COLORBOND® steel from BlueScope, make sure you ask for it by name, and check for the brand mark on the material.

LYSAGHT  128-138 Russell Street Emu Plains NSW 2750 Ph: 02 47201900

Lysaght products are made from Aussie steel, LYSAGHT® products are extensively performance-tested, come with a BlueScope warranty, and offer our customers confidence and peace of mind. Our quality Australian-made steel products, including Roofing & Walling, Architectural Cladding, Home Improvements, Structural product, and Fencing, are only part of our unique offer. Our people are located in over 30 locations throughout Australia and are always ready to assist. It’s our commitment to delivering genuine, helpful customer service, and an unmatched technical support and expertise that has helped us become the trusted experts and industry leaders.

Custom-Orb: The original Australian corrugated roof sheeting and wall cladding ideal for modern and traditional architecture in residential and commercial applications.

  • A lightweight yet strong roofing and walling material
  • Versatile – Can be laid flat or sprung curved
  • Nominal cover width: 762mm
  • Minimum roof slope: 5°

Trimdek: Versatile roof and wall cladding featuring bold, trapezoidal ribs and subtle fluting in the pans. Ideal for commercial, industrial and residential buildings.

  • Long spanning cladding permitting wide support spacing
  • Can be used withTRIM-KLIP™end and expansion joint system
  • Nominal cover width: 762mm
  • Minimum roof slope: 2°

Spandek: A modern, simple square-corrugated roofing and walling cladding that is strong, impact resistant and economical – ideal for both commercial and residential applications.

  • Highly serviceable roofing and walling cladding
  • Bold ribs offer high strength and high water carrying capacity
  • Nominal cover width: 700mm
  • Minimum roof slope: 2°*

*For roof slopes down to 2° a number of provisions and details will need to be adhered to. Please call your nearest Lysaght branch for advice.

Klip-Lok 700 Hi-Strenght: An advancement of the original concealed fix roof cladding with bold ribs making a strong visual statement rising from flat pans. It is a superior product which has earned FM Global approval.

  • Concealed fixed offering supreme watertightness
  • Can be used withLOK-KLIP®end and expansion joint system
  • Nominal cover width: 700mm
  • Minimum roof slope: 1° (subject to design provisions being met)


ITI AUSTRALIA  59 Dunheved Circuit St Marys NSW 2760 Ph: 02 8805 5000

ITI Australia (Independent Timber Importers) stocks the largest range of structural and decorative timbers, including industry leading brands such as ModWood, TimberTech and LP Solid Start. Together with exceptional staff, ITI creates a world class service for all of its customers.

As an environmentally conscious team, ITI continues to push the boundaries to source and supply socially and environmentally sustainable products to the Australian market and is both FSC® and PEFC certified. We will continue to grow and innovate in our supply, with a mission to provide the Australian construction industry with the best timber and building products available for any job. Our sustainable timber is high-quality, offering a great finish with every job. We are happy to supply timber from renown manufacturers and take pride in FSC® certified joinery. Composite decking and panels are now corners stones of the construction industry, ITI are proud to offer industry leading brands: Modwood, TimberTech, and Inex products As a rapidly growing industry, ITI Australia is always bringing in new talented team members, and strives to innovate with every product supplied.

As an independent brand, ITI believes in providing a premium range to every customer, ensuring they get the most out of their purchase. We’ve quickly grown and expanded across Australia, ITI is the supplier of choice for traditional timber merchants, furniture manufacturers, landscaping supply businesses, frame and truss, staircase manufacturers, window and door manufacturers.

COUNCIL’S in the State of NSW, Australia Sydney Western suburbs area’s

BLUE MOUNTAINS CITY COUNCIL: Great Western Highway crn Civic Place Katoomba : Ph 02-4780 5000

PENRITH CITY COUNCIL: 601 High St Penrith Ph: 02-4732 7777

BLACKTOWN CITY COUNCIL: 62 Flushcombe Road Blacktown Ph: 02-98396000

WOLLONDILLY SHIRE COUNCIL: 62-64 Menangle St Picton NSW 2571 Ph: 02-4677 1100

Council’s are the authority body that have the responsibility to either to approve or reject your proposed building project.

Private Certifier’s are certified organisations that “handle” you’re building proposal and go through the process of approval or rejection but……your local council has the final say regarding approval or rejection of your building project.

In most cases the fee’s charged by these private certifiers are similar that of the fees charged by your local council except…..the approval or rejection time with private certifiers are shorter than the time that your local council takes to either approve or reject your project.

Many forms of development require approval from your council, technically known as development consent. You apply for development consent by lodging a development application (DA). This guide is most relevant to small residential development including: • Alterations and additions to houses. • New houses. • Secondary dwellings – i.e. granny flats. • Dual occupancies.

There are some forms of development that do not require development consent (exempt development) and others that may be approved via a fast track approval pathway (complying development).   

Stage 1: Pre-lodgement (Getting it right at the start) This section describes actions you can take when you are preparing your DA that will make the development assessment process easier including understanding your land, putting together your expert team, talking to council and talking to your neighbours.

Stage 2: Lodgement and initial administration by council, of your application. This section describes the information that must be included in your DA, and the initial steps council takes in its processing (notification, referral and allocation to an assessment officer).

Stage 3: Assessment (What happens to my DA now?) This section describes the process council will follow when undertaking its assessment. It is important to understand these processes so you can understand what is happening, when you can expect to hear from council and how you can participate in the process.

Stage 4: Determination (The Decision) This section explains the possible decisions council can make about your DA and the importance of conditions that council might place on your development consent, if approved. This section also describes mechanisms that allow you to seek to: • Modify your development consent. • Have council reconsider its decision; or • Appeal the council’s decision to the Land and Environment Court.

Stage 5: After decision – get your Construction Certificate (approval to build) and start Your development consent is an approval for the carrying out of development as proposed in your DA. You also need to get a construction certificate for any building work, which considers how your building will be built to ensure it is safe, healthy and in accordance with the development consent. You can obtain your construction certificate from council or an accredited certifier.

Stage 6: Get your Occupation Certificate and celebrate. You must obtain an Occupation Certificate to certify that you have met the requirements of your development consent and construction certificate, and that the building is now ready to occupy  

The planning system has a risk based approach to development. The type of consent or approval you require, if any, depends upon the scale and potential impacts of your development (such as on traffic, noise, privacy and solar access) on adjoining properties.

There are three assessment pathways that may apply to small residential development: exempt development; complying development; and development that requires consent from a consent authority (typically a council).

Exempt Development

Exempt Development is minor development that will have minimal impact on the site and surrounding neighbors or locality. It does not require any consent or approval, if it meets standards set in either State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) or your council’s local environmental plan (LEP).

Examples of exempt development are: • Barbecues. • Small fences. • Satellite dishes. • Small decks.

Complying Development

 Complying development is a fast track and cost-effective approval process for routine development, including one and two storey homes, alterations and additions and outbuildings. It can be used for development that meets specified predetermined development standards listed in the Codes SEPP or your council’s LEP. Obtaining a complying development certificate is a potential alternative to obtaining development consent. Complying development certificates can be granted by council or an accredited certifier and they can advise further what standards would apply to your development. 

Development that requires consent

A DA is a formal application for development that requires consent under the State Environmental Planning and Assessment Act. It is usually made to your local council and consists of standard application forms, supporting technical reports and plans. The focus of this guide is the DA process.