• James Stephenson

What will my build cost? (and the importance of getting several quotes)

Size isn't everything when it comes to cost.

In 1996 I had a 250 sqm single storey 'queenslander' style home built for $125,000.

In 2015, the 80 sqm granny flat above cost $220,000. The queenslander had none of the following features which the granny flat does have:

- insulation under-floor, in the walls and in the roof

- high sloping ceiling

- air conditioning

- stone benches in kitchen

- custom built vanity unit

Time (inflation) and quality makes a big difference to the cost of construction.

It is hard to know what a one-off new home or renovation is going to cost, because it is hard to find out what similar recent projects have cost.

By contrast, it can be easy to find out the cost of a new home built by a mass market builder. Just check their promotional material to get the starting price. Then add the cost of anything which is not included that you actually need - like stronger footings for poor site conditions, or the tiles & bricks you prefer rather than the ones included.

How to get an early idea about building costs

Mass market house designs have already been priced, but a one-off custom build has not.

You may be fortunate enough to find a recently built project similar to the one you have in mind, and to find out the true cost of the project.

Or you can ask for a builder to give you an opinion. However, if you don't yet have at least some reasonably detailed design drawings for the builder to look at, his opinion might not be very accurate or helpful.

The most reliable method, which will take some time and investment but will pay off, is to engage an architect to work with you and develop a well balanced design on paper. Then you may get several builders to give you a conditional price. Or you can get a building cost estimator to prepare a budget estimate of cost.

When you have an architect who is experienced with your type of build, he or she can anticipate many of the cost traps and design them out early, while keeping the essence of your requirements.

How to ensure you get good value for money

(and keep the building industry efficient)

Request prices from several builders, based on detailed drawings and specifications prepared by your architect. You will get truly comparative pricing. When builders are not asked by project owners to participate in competitive tendering, the building industry is not challenged to improve efficiencies. Most other industries have had to continue to drive efficiencies, and maintain standards.

How to select the right architect

Look for architects who have done the type of project you are planning. Talk to several. Ask for written service proposals. Compare the proposals and ask questions.

Some more projects, and what they cost

Oxley 2018 - $220,000

  • Increase area from 140 sqm to 213 sqm

  • From 2 bedrooms & home office to 3 bedrooms & home office

  • Enlarge lounge / dining

  • Enlarge laundry

  • Add new bathroom

  • Add new playroom / homework space

  • The most cost-effective option for this property was to do a rear extension

Indooroopilly 2018 ~2020 - $1,050,000

  • Increase area from 170 sqm to 440 sqm

  • From 2 bedrooms + sleepout to 5 bedrooms

  • Extend upper level, and lower level

  • Add pool, pool house & cellar

Yeronga 2008 - $350,000

  • Raise upper level and build under

  • 2 additional bedrooms at lower level

  • Add lower level Rumpus Room & Bathroom

  • Garage at lower level

  • Raise the brick chimney



More Information

Call 0411 627 477 for information and ideas.

50 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All