New Build Journey

The inspiration for this site came from the many posts I came across and responded to in the different social media groups like Facebook, Instagram and forums. There were a lot of similar questions asked and I enjoy helping others who were in a similar position to where I was when I didn’t know anything about the build process

I hope this site helps you in your build journey.

If theres anything missing here that you think should be then please leave a comment below.

The typical journey follows a pattern like this

1. Understand what your overall budget is

It can be overwhelming to find out what a house can cost to build. The Budget guideline will help guide you on this.

2. Understand what home you want to build

You need to know what you can build on your land. This will be set by either DA (Council) or CDC (State) guidelines. The critical points to initially understand are:

Floor to Space Ratio (FSR)

Determines the size of the house you are allowed to build


Side setbacks can be different for the ground and first floor and will impact the width and length of the home that you can build.

For the home, you need to think about your use of the space and what’s important to you, not just for now but for later too. For example, a theatre room might be great when the kids are older but for now, it may just need to be a playroom. If it’s a playroom you might want to have it in close sight from the kitchen. You should also consider the following for your build:

  • Single or double storey
  • How many bedrooms and bathrooms
  • Single or double garage
  • Type of facade and overall look eg. modern, French provincial, Hamptons
  • Steps in the house or outside if it’s on a slanting block

2.1 Understand what you don’t want in your home

This is incredibly important because it helps narrow your search from an endless amount of options to a few. Its hard to visualise a floorplan so its worthwhile Getting Inspiration and looking through Great Sources of Information for building a New Home

2.2 Designing a floorplan

You can engage with an architect, building designer, or draftsman to come up with a custom design. Alternatively, you can choose a builders floorplan and customise it. Almost everything except the staircase in a builders plan can be changed.

2.4 Visualising your home in 3D

When you look at a floor plan theres only so much you can see how the home might look at feel. There are some great 3D apps which start with simple to very complex ones that can help you visualise the house.

2.3 Design Tips

Some parts of the design can lead to excessive costs to the build. There are tips in this link for an efficient building design that will still give you a great result at a lower cost.

3. Choosing a Builder

Choosing a Builder is important because this is who you will be working with over the next 1-2 years and there are different aspects to investigate when doing so. I found the following valuable though they’re just a subset of what I would look for.

Take a look through the first link in this section for more about this.

4. Pre-Construction Phase

This is what happens from signing to before construction starts and includes below. Its good to understand what inclusions you want in your build too as it will impact your overall cost.

4.1 Timeline

Each build is different and has different timelines for each phase of the development so its best to confirm these with them. The timeline in the image provides a high level view of the different stages of the pre-construction stage.

Other stages to consider:

  • Tender
  • Selections
  • Construction contract signing
  • DA/CDC
  • Demolition

4.2 Selections

The selections phase will provide you an opportunity to add many different options to your home for example:

  • Building Materials
    • Brick, cladding or otherwise – Brick, Hebel, James Hardie Cladding, etc.
    • Windows – Residential frames, double glazing, uPVC/Aluminium/Timber frames, thermally broken frames, and different types of windows and doors. This also considers different UVal and SHGC values of glazing.
    • Thermal Insulation – Insulation in exterior and interior walls, between ceilings and otherwise. Comparing different R ratings and their effectiveness.
    • Timber vs Steel Frame
    • Soundproofing – Between walls and floors
  • Internal Fitout
    • Electrical and Home Automation – 1 phase vs 3 phase, downlights, plug sockets, speakers, sensors, garden lighting provisions and many other items
      • Lighting tips – Ideas on where to place lights around the house with examples of different options
    • Staircase – Modern or classic looks with examples of different options and pricing

4.3 Tips for a quicker timeframe

Your builder is busy with either a handful of clients all the way up to hundreds or even thousands at a time. Just because you could be spending over $1mil on a build will mean very little to the admin team. My biggest tip is dont trust the builder will get things right or will have initiated something unless they’ve confirmed this. Also dont trust that the costs they pass on or the building regulations they say your build needs to follow is actually required. People make mistakes and things can easily be misinterpreted. The following are tips to help speed up your journey

4.3.1 Understand your build regulations

  • Do your best to understand how the house will be built and learn the regulations that apply eg. CDC vs DA setbacks, building heights, what types of windows can be used, etc. The more you know the quicker you can make decisions and anticipate issues.
  • BASIX Requirements – You might be able to use alternative methods that are suggested to pass this

4.3.2 Council Requirements

  • Call the council to find out more about your site like hydraulic requirements and what options are available. When you receive your stormwater plans you will be more informed to suggest alternative options that suit you more.
  • Driveway applications – Some councils can take 4 months or longer to approve these alone. Call the council to find out what the current wait times are. Once you have your signed off site plan ask for this application to be raised asap.
  • DA Applications – Dont wait for the admin team to update you on this. You can speak directly to the council to find out where things are in the process and what is outstanding. Its up to you to chase, the builder will mostly wait for the council to get in touch with them unless you ask them to follow up.

4.3.3 Selections Preparation

Be well prepared for your selections. You should know exactly what you want before going to the appointments and have a list of items you want costings for. Going back and forth and adding to these will further delay the process.

5. Construction

Timeframes (single/double)

Build process:

  • Demolition
  • Pool install (left empty and with an engineered had cover which can cost between 2-4k)
  • House build
  • PCI
  • Preliminary and full occupancy certificate

6. Maintenance/Warranty

Its important to know your rights here as builders can put off maintenance issues and defects for weeks or months, sometimes longer, and people arent aware of ways they can reduce this. Take a look at Conflict Resolution & Quality Control to know what you can do before and after the build.

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