How to save on costs

Before Paying Anything

Contour Survey

It costs about $1200 for a contour survey and if you intend to tender through multiple builders its a cost you may want to minimise.

At the tender stage there’s no need to repeat these costly surveys and the builders you have chosen may accept previous ones you’ve done to reduce the deposit required but not all will agree to this. If you are doing this through the builder for the first time, ask them if you can get a copy of the .dwg file and the report. The .dwg file is used by the draftsman to include that in their plans and without these they cant do this and would need new ones to be done. If they wont supply this then you may want to engage the surveyor directly and pay for this upfront, and as its the same company the builder uses, then they may be willing to use them. Alternatively you can pay the surveyor afterwards for a copy as they wont need to repeat it which would cost about $300-500.

Post handover

Common items people will consider doing after handover to save on costs are the following:

  • Flooring post handover
  • Alfresco tiling post handover
  • Blinds
  • Pool before the build
  • Ducted Air conditioning – For single storeys only, as ducts need to be run between floors for double storey homes


Depending on the wiring required in some cases it can be cheaper for things like chandeliers, fans and other lights to be installed after handover. Even wiring behind the wall might be cheaper to do afterwards but it depends if you have to open up walls which in that case its unlikely to be cheaper when you have to repair holes and paint.


Downlights can cost around $125 per light installed but only $75 to be provisioned ie. a hole in the ceiling with an outlet you plug into. After handover you plug in the downlight and push it through the hole, its simple. If the ceiling is very high then consider the building installing these. The builder will normally use downlights that cost $10 so you can save a lot here. You can also think about using smart lights which comes to a similar overall cost per light.


Managing the project yourself

  • Hire excavator
  • Get soil and other materials for landscaping dumped after demo, before the slab is installed, if your access will be limited

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