One of the first things a property developer must do before embarking on a new project is to consider the slope of the land. Discover how much slope is acceptable.

The reality is that many lands have diverse terrains, making property development not a straightforward process. This is why understanding slope gradients is crucial for successful projects.

But why exactly?

The slope of a land not only influences design considerations but also establishes the accessibility of a structure. It also determines buildability and how safe a structure will be should it be constructed on top of a slope.

Discerning whether a slope is too steep is imperative for effective planning and execution.

For many property developers, a 6% slope might be considered easy to build on. But how steep is a 6% slope really, and what does it mean for property developers?

We answer that in this article. Keep reading to know the specifics of a 6% slope, its practical implications, and its significance in property development. 

Understanding a 6% Slope

The term “slope” in the property industry essentially refers to the steepness, incline, or grade of the surface of a land. A 6% slope implies a gradient where for every 100 units of horizontal distance (or “run”), there’s a 6-unit vertical change, either rising or falling (the “rise”). 

Simply put, if you were to measure 100 metres horizontally on a plot of land with this slope, there would be a 6-metre vertical change, either upwards or downwards.

A helpful way to visualise this is to think of a 6-metre tall two-storey building. If that building’s base stretched out 100 metres, the slope across that length would be 6%. 

This might not seem overly steep at a glance. But in construction, even a seemingly small gradient can present unique challenges and opportunities. 

So, how much slope is acceptable?

The easiest terrain to build on has a slope of less than 10%. Gradients between 11% and 20% are deemed “moderate,” whereas those over 20% are deemed “steep.”

Note that when the gradient is greater than 15%, building costs start to rise. This is because of the risks involved—the dangers are greater and construction is more difficult.

Calculating Rise and Run for a 6% Slope

Recall that the rise refers to the vertical distance or height of the slope. Meanwhile, the run pertains to the horizontal distance or length over which that slope occurs.

To calculate the vertical rise for a 6% slope with a given horizontal distance, simply multiply the horizontal distance by 0.06.

Let’s say the land has a horizontal distance of 100m. The vertical rise would be 100m * 0.06 = 6m.

Now, to find the horizontal distance for a 6% slope with a given vertical rise, just divide the vertical rise by 0.06.

For instance, if the vertical rise is 12m, the horizontal distance would be 12m/0.06 = 200m.

Knowing these calculations can aid property developers in various phases of a project that involves a sloped terrain.

Comparing Slopes: 6% vs. Other Common Grades

What makes a 6% slope acceptable to many property developers is that it’s an ideal midpoint between flat lands and more pronounced inclines. 

Flat areas, with their 0% to 2% gradients, are favoured for large-scale construction and development projects. They are already level, after all. The caveat is that flat areas have a propensity for drainage issues, which is why this type of terrain requires careful planning. 

On the other hand, terrains between 4% to 8% are preferred in residential projects. But they require a meticulous infrastructure layout. 

Slopes exceeding 12%, in particular, are reserved for specialised developments. They offer unique vantage points but demand higher construction outlays and careful erosion management. 

In essence, each gradient offers its own unique challenges and opportunities. But the 6% slope provides the right balance for property developers.

Applying Knowledge to Everyday Situations 

To put things in better perspective, here are three examples to show why a 6% slope matters.

Safety Standards

Road designers and construction professionals utilise slope gradients to ensure stability and prevent landslides, especially in hilly areas. It influences decisions about road material, width, and even guardrail requirements. 

A 6% slope, for instance, will affect the kind of vehicles that can comfortably and safely traverse the road. 

In regions prone to rainfall, adequate drainage systems need to be incorporated into the sloped areas to prevent waterlogging and reduce the risk of landslides.

Legal and Engineering Guidelines

Different jurisdictions, including local councils, have regulations around the maximum allowable slope for particular types of land use. 

A property developer looking to construct a commercial building on a parcel of land with a pronounced gradient might encounter limitations. They may also have additional requirements compared to building on flatter terrain. 

As such, it’s crucial to consult with local authorities, town planners, and engineers to navigate these guidelines. This is how you can ensure compliance.

Home Design

A 6% slope offers a chance to create a unique property development project. For instance, you can incorporate terraced gardens into the property. This can not only prevent soil erosion but also provide distinct levels for planting different flora. 

Split-level homes, which are increasingly popular in suburban Australia, can be designed to seamlessly blend with the land’s slope. Doing so offers intriguing interior spaces while ensuring proper drainage.

Make Evaluating Slopes A Breeze with Archistar

Knowing the intricacies of a property is pivotal in property development and construction. And one area that needs particular attention is the slope of the land.

Admittedly, determining the slope of an entire property is a time-consuming task. But it has to be done to ensure your property development project will not encounter issues even in the long run.

To make this step easier, try using tools like Archistar. 

Archistar’s intuitive platform allows you to effortlessly calculate the slope of your property. And its other integrated features will help you understand the importance of slopes in your property development projects. 

Try out Archistar for free today so you can see how you can maximise a site’s potential, even if it has a 6% slope.