The Hidden Costs of Building a House
Building a house can be a tricky thing. You can get 10 different quotes from 10 different builders and each quote is a different price and includes different items. This makes it very difficult to compare quotes and for you to under if you are getting a good deal.
If you don’t know what is included and excluded in your construction quote then you could end up having to pay the extra hidden costs, that were not included, as they arise.
Soil and Contour Test
Before any home builder can give you an accurate quote for your home build, they need to do a soil and contour test (2 separate tests). These tests can cost over $1,500.
The soil test is where a surveyor will drill three holes from the area on your property that you plan to build, and then analyse the soil. Different soil types have implications for your build specifications and cost. For instance, rock can be costly to excavate and some soils are not stable and require larger foundations (at high cost).
The contour test is assesses the slope of the property. The building construction need to meet the slope of the block. Flat blocks are the least costly to build on and highly sloped blocks can require extensive excavations and or retaining walls and are the most costly to build on.
Energy efficiency Requirements
Now in Australia there are Government regulations that require a high level of energy efficiency of newly constructed homes. It can also include things like having a water tank to reduce the demand on the domestic water supplies.
Landscaping is an item that is often not included in the build quote. However, property landscaping is often required by the local council. Landscaping costs can add significant extra cost to your build cost. Sometimes people DIY the landscaping but plants are not cheap.
Driveways can be costly. The driveway is another item that is often not included in the build cost. To save money some people install a cheap gravel driveway and then upgrade later when they have some spare cash.
Flood prone areas
If you are building in an area that is subject to flooding, even if only in 1 year out of 100 you will need to have the building constructed so that if a flood occurs no one in the property will die. These features can incur additional costs.
See the NSW Planning System for building in flood prone areas below.
If you are in a bushfire prone area then you will need to considered in the construction.
In NSW there are six bush fire attack levels that are used to determine the appropriate construction to be applied to a development: BAL-LOW, BAL-12.5, BAL-19, BAL-29, & BAL-40 Flame Zone (Alternative Solution required).
The categories of attack are determined by:
- The type of vegetation
- How close your building is to the vegetation
- What the effective slope is (i.e. fire runs more readily and with greater intensity uphill).
- The Fire Danger Index applicable to the region
The building requirements for house design and construction vary according to the bush fire attack level that a development falls into. The building requirements for each BAL are set out in Australian Standard: 3959 Construction of buildings in bushfire-prone areas 2009 (AS3959). A full version of this document can be purchased from Standards Australia.
Closing Roads or Causing Interruptions
If the builder of your home will be required to close your road and or interrupt traffic then it is likely that the local council or State Government will charge you a fee. This fee may not be covered in your build contract price and may be passed on to you.
Because it is difficult if not impossible to estimate these cost yourself, you need to get the soil and slope test completed and then armed with this info speak to a quality builder about your new custom home. Your builder will be able to quote specific prices.
NOTE: The information provided here is general in nature. I provide no warranty for its currency