There are a few things to consider when building a home.

Base Price

This is the cost of building the same home on a level block and no changes made to the design

Site Costs

Site Costs (20-140k+) – Even for a flat block with ideal conditions a builder will charge you for this. Standard site costs are minimal. They can be broken down further

Sloping land costs – You may decide to have a bigger split in your home to so your DEB cost is lower but your higher ceilings are more.

Drop Edge Beams (DEB) (0-40k+)

These are basically retaining walls under your house and can be costly.

Splits in home (0-40k+)

This means higher ceilings and associated costs.

Hydraulics (10-30k)

This is to manage stormwater for your home from the roof and hard surfaces. This wont be a fixed price from the builder as they need to pay engineers to design a system for your property and there are multiple options to solve the problem.


Onsite detention tank – This is a tank underground that retains water and slowly releases it to an outlet.

Charged System

These are where water from your pipes go to a rainwater tank and from there the excess water is fed uphill to a drain. Water can fill to a certain level in your pipes and since it’s a closed system it pushes water out as it fills past a certain point. Generally the outlet is to the street (pipe or gutter or similar)

Silt arrestor pit

This is a gravel pit in your garden with a grate on top. Water pipe lead to it where water can swap into the land around it.

Spreader system

Gravel channel where water collects and spreads it across the channel. This reduces erosion to a certain point.


This is where you need to allow water from your property to flow through an adjoining one. Most owners wont want to give you this as having an easement on their property can impact their own property value and what they can do around it. You can either negotiate with your neighbour or you can issue a legal request for this through a section 88b but its not a pleasant experience.

Rock Removal (5-40k)

While cutting your land for your house after demolition or if it’s new land they can encounter rocks that’s impossible to tell beforehand. They would need to break it up and remove it.

Soil Removal

When cutting a site there may be more soil than anticipated or too little to fill and the associated import or export can be an unexpected cost. This is also more applicable for non fixed price site cost tenders.

Traffic Management/Control (5-10k)

Depending on where you live, even sometimes in a quiet road, you may require traffic management of OH&S. Even where the council has said traffic management isnt required your builder may enforce this. What normally happens is the builder will ask for a provisional amount to be included in your contract and whatever isnt used throughout the build they will refund you at the end. They wont know how many times this will be required as factors like weather or availability will impact this.

Extra Piering

Applies to non fixed price site cost tenders


More information: Inclusions

Builders have varying inclusions like 2740mm ceilings or polyurethane kitchen cabinets that others may exclude in their base and can add up quickly so never just compare the base price. Go through all the options you want and price them separately with the builder to get a good idea of the total cost. The main ones to look for that are commonly asked for are:

  • 2740mm ceilings to both floors in a double storey
  • Polyurethane kitchens
  • 40mm stone benchtops
  • 600x600mm tiles or laminate

Owner Costs


Budget: $22-40k+ (Costs have gone up over 50% in 2022)

If you are doing a Knock Down Rebuild (KDR) then you will need to demolish the property thats there before the build can commence. Normally a builder is not involved in this process but they can recommend companies who they work with regularly. This involves some of the following

  • Disconnecting utility services
  • Temporary fencing
  • Demolishing of the property and removal of such
  • Rock removal
  • Levelling of the block

Demolition CDC

Budget: $880-1000

This is normally on top of the cost of the demolition cost and is fairly straight forward. Its valid for 5 years after approval

Gas Abolishment

Budget: $1141

Before demolishing your property you need to apply for a gas abolishment. In NSW Jemena does this and they say they do this within 20 business days however it can take a bit longer if its not straight forward. The property needs to be vacant before you apply.

NBN & Electricity Disconnection

Budget: $300 for Electricity 

If you have a smart meter then it can take a bit longer to disconnect your electricity. EnergyAustralia units are removed quicker than others

Council Contribution

Budget: 1% of the build cost (single residential homes), $8.4-20k (other types of properties like duplexes)

Aka Section 7.11/7.12 Environmental, or previously Section 94 Contribution Plan, or Planning & Assessment Act, 1979 (EP&A Act) contribution plans

This varies from council to council and is payable by yourself to the council. I havent come across any builder that will tell you about this and its a costly expense. Some councils do not charge this or offer reduced rates for certain types of buildings eg. granny flats.

You can check if you are subject to it if you look at your 10.7 certificate for your property:

Councils that ChargeExempt Councils
Georges River CouncilWilloughby Council
Ku Ring Gai CouncilWollongong
Sutherland ShireCampbelltown 

Section 7.12 applies to single residential homes including knock down rebuilds.

Section 7.11 applies to a number of other types of properties including subdivisions, granny flats and duplexes. The cost can be up to 20k. More research into your situation would be required as there may be other factors which exempt this or reduce the overall cost.

More information: Local contributions. Georges River Council – Local Infrastructure Contribution Plan (Costs)


Budget: $9-13k

For a standard coloured concrete double driveway this can cost around $11k and can range from $8k upwards. (todo: add different types eg. aggregate)

Crossover Replacement

Budget: 4-5k

Many builders will include this cost in the tender so it’s not normally a surprise.

OHS (Occupational Health & Safety)

Tiger Tails

Budget: $2k

These are installed at the demo stage of the build and remain until the build has completed. They are just covers for electrical wires so that trucks that come past your property can easily view them. They are normally required when the electrical wires run past your property and it may not always be required. Most builders dont include this and wont tell you about it until after the tender stage.

Overhead Power Line Safety Dunedin | Electrical Wire Insulation
Tiger Tails

Engineered Pool Cover / Pool Void Cover / Pool Hard Cover

Budget: $2.4-4k

These are normally required if you have a new or existing pool in your property and oddly still is required if you have a permanent fence around them. They are a hard cover which allows people to walk on and prevents people from falling into the pool or void. Ask your builder if they will require this as it may be optional for some.

Pool Cover


Budget: $50-75k for a fibreglass pool, $60-100k+ for concrete pool

(todo) add more details


Budget: Tesla Battery: 16k, Solar panels - 5-25k

Builders can offer solar as a package but this is just an offer from an affiliate of theirs and doesnt offer any major benefits unless they wont pre-wire the home for you. Its still possible to do this after handover but you may have pipes along the side of your home, though look further into this.

You may be able to get a government rebate to offset some of your costs. Its worth looking into a battery system like Teslas so that you dont pay for electricity and you can get paid for supplying power to the grid. Its difficult to justify the ROI for solar batteries that cost upwards of $10k. This is due to the fact that they have a 10 year warranty and it can take about 13 years to pay it back and by that time you may need to replace the battery.

General Items

These can be done after the build but may be required to get a full occupancy certificate.

For an occupancy certificate you will need at least

  • Letterbox
  • Clothing line

Retaining Walls

If your property is lower than your neighbours or if there is a step in the land you will need to retain the soil. Below a certain height you can do this without involving an engineer and once above it you would need to engage one to design an appropriate one. This can become very costly to do. You may be able to do this yourself and where required have it certified by an engineer. Im not full across this yet in my build journey and will update these details as I have more information.

A retaining wall will need to start at a certain level below the surface and in some cases come further out away from the soil to retain to form an L-shape. (Todo: Add images)

Some options to consider

  • Treated timber is relatively cheaper to do
  • Timber look concrete sleepers
  • Sandstone


For properties built on new land you may not have a fence around the perimeter of the property. The cost can be shared between yourself and your neighbour. Once you get a few quotes you can share these with the neighbour and come to a decision and they are required to pay for half but this may be for the cheapest option if they choose.

Also consider a front fence that would be more expensive. (todo: add costs when I have these)


After your build the land around the house will not be level and may even slope towards the house. The cost of landscaping can be considerable even for blocks of land that are 400-500 sqm. Quotes can easily come to over $100k for a low to medium feature design. A front fence can cost $12k+ for a mid range one. Levelling and laying of turf can quickly add up to $15-25k.

You may consider

  • Engaging in a landscape designer which can cost upwards of $800
  • Adding a concrete perimeter to the house which slopes away from the house
  • Levelling the land, importing soil underlay and turf
  • Plants

Steps from the house or alfresco

Unless otherwise requested, steps from the alfresco or the house eg. laundry, will need to be done after the build. These can be built by concrete or timber and there are cost effective ways of achieving this. You might be able to do this yourself as bunnings sells timber stair frames or you can construct it yourself. Over a certain height you may require balustrades. It can also form part of a deck (todo: add images)

Independent Building Inspector

Budget: $800-4000

There are different stages that an inspector is normally involved in which you can instruct them to inspect the build. Its a service you pay for where you are the client. Each stage can cost up to about $8-900 per inspection.

More information can be found in Construction Phase

Arborist Report

Budget: +- $1500

If there are any trees that meet a threshold you may require an arborist to write a report that includes things like the zone of interference. These would be for trees that dont require removal but may require tree protection.

(todo: add tree protection images)

Acoustic Report

Budget: $1650 to $3800

If your property impacted by noise like aircrafts overhead or a trainline you may need to get a report that will assess the impact to your property. This will affect the materials used in your build eg. double glazing, wall insulation, etc.

You can find out if you are impacted by checking the 10.7 certificate for your property or if you live near a railway you may require this without there being a mention on the 10.7 certificate. More details will be provided in a page about this (after Oct 2022)

BAL Report

Budget: (todo: ??)

If your property is in a bushfire zone you will need to get a BAL (Bushfire Attack Level) rating to determine what materials you need to use to protect your property. The different levels can be found in Building in a bush fire area. Materials you may need to use for instance are aluminium flyscreens, solid treated timber front door, etc.

You can find out if you are impacted by checking the 10.7 certificate for your property

BALDescription of risk
BAL – LOWLowest risk from a potential fire.
BAL – 12.5Risk is primarily from potential embers during a fire.
BAL – 19Moderate risk, particularly from embers and burning debris.
BAL – 29High risk, particularly from embers, debris and heat.
BAL – 40Very high risk. Likely to be impacted by embers, debris, heat and potentially flames.
BAL – FZExtreme risk. Directly exposed to the flames of a potential fire front.

Flood Report

TBC – Unsure if this is required if your property is in a flood zone.

You can find out if you are impacted by checking the 10.7 certificate for your property

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *