Know your building costs.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

We all know that every year building costs keep going up. More and more regulation requirements must be met at both the planning and building stages and material prices are always on the increase.

When deciding to build, the cost allowance in most minds is generally a M2 price based on the size of the proposed home. This is only a basic costing guide and definitely a good starting point but falls well short of the actual all up costs from concept to completion.  M2 estimate rates can also vary considerably and are not accurate when planning your budget. Many factors contribute to a varying M2 rates such as site slope and foundation type, desired style and finish of the home and choice of materials. It’s difficult to determine an all up cost to build in the very early stages, without some fundamental knowledge or a base plan of what you want to achieve.

What about the ‘hidden costs’?

These are costs outside the ‘build price’ and can be considerable.

Many home builders say they wish they’d known about the hidden costs right from the start, before they got too carried away with the design. To help with your budgeting, check you have included the following items in your all up costing estimate:calculating-price-per-square-foot

Design and working drawing by your Architect or Building Designer

Site survey

Soil test

Waste water design (if it’s an un-serviced site)

Energy efficiency assessment

Engineering design for the footings and structure

Bushfire hazard assessment (if in a bushfire prone area)

Building Surveyor assessment and inspections (certificate of likely compliance)

Council planning, building and plumbing approval fees and possible bonds

Local water authority assessment fees and possible bonds

Connections to services

Excavation and drainage

Waste water disposal systems and water storage tanks (if it’s an un-serviced site)

Driveways, pathways and landscaping

Legally required construction extras (e.g. scaffolding, security fencing)

Construction insurance premiums

Depending on where you’re choosing to build and who with there may be some additional costs to add.

Your builder or designer can provide some assistance with your costings. Ask them if any of the items we have mentioned are included.


  1. Alternatively prior to taking you plans to a builder you can have your plans checked and an accurate costing done by an estimating company, If you know first what your home should cost it will give you plenty of bargaining when negotiating with the builder.

Leave a Comment