Bajo El Sol Residential Development

Structural engineering design for a high-end luxury home located in Burleigh Heads



Bianca Gemmill, from BCG Design, approached us to provide structural engineering design for a high-end luxury home located in Burleigh Heads.

The owner, Kellie Howard-Dean, a successful interior designer, purchased an existing property with the vision of knocking down the house and creating her dream home. A luxury home that could be used in photo shoots.

Her objective was to showcase her innovative design style, which is a combination of Ibiza, Greece, Mexico and Palm Springs to create the feeling of a resort with natural light, shapes and different textures


Our brief included undertaking geotechnical services, pre-construction dilapidation reports for the neighbours’ homes, structural design, engineering drawings and site inspections throughout the construction period.

The structural design included footings and slabs, screw piers, block work, timber and roof framing, steel beams, bracing, tie downs and the luxury pool.

It was essential to liaise closely with the architect and builder (Paul Harms from PJH Constructions) to incorporate the architectural design intent and Kelle’s interior design vision in the structure.


Due to the high interior and architectural design value of the home, it was critical to ensure that the design was unique, elegant and showcased the style of the owner. This included designing large, suspended planter boxes and a flat pitched roof with hidden gutters, to ensure the design resembled the resort-style architecture.

Working closely with the builder, architect and the owner (interior designer) ensured that changes could be accommodated easily. The owner initially wanted one skylight across the shower in the master en-suite as a design feature. Unfortunately, as the wall is three metres long, a single skylight couldn’t be achieved.

The updated design included two smaller skylights with a space in the middle to structurally support the skylights. The owner was thrilled with the design that enabled natural light to pour down the wall in contrast with shadows.

One challenge was the large open plan living space with high ceilings. This required structural header beams and considerable floor beam spans to create the sizeable open floor area. In addition, due to the high flood levels on the site, a suspended sub-floor system was required, which is unique to this home.


The owner was extremely happy, as her dream house has been built according to her vision.

The architect and builder were happy with the level of structural detailing we provided, which ensured the project was fully co-ordinated between the architectural, engineering and interior design plans.

Since the team has worked together before and really understood the vision that the owner had, we were able to buy-in to the project to make it a special design and build.

This also led to a seamless interaction with minimal questions during construction, no delays and significantly reduced variations to the builder’s contract during construction.

The result was that the homeowner was extremely happy with the outcome as the construction of their new home was on time and to budget.

What’s more, this home has won the 2020 Master Builders Gold Coast award for residential build between $950,000 and $1.25 million dollars. It has also been nominated for the People’s Choice awards, which will be announced at the end of October, 2020.

See more of Kelle Howard's work on instagram- or