How much does land clearing cost?

by | Sep 13, 2023 | Building costs, Building new

Land clearing is something you’ll need to consider to prepare the land to turn it into a construction site. But what is involved in the process and what costs can you expect? Here’s our land-clearing cost guide to help you budget for clearing land, knocking down existing structures, and other site preparation costs.

What impacts the cost to clear land?

What are land surveying costs?

Land surveys are an essential part of any building site preparation as it provides invaluable information to your contractors. Some of the surveys you may need (and costs you can expect) include:

  • Topography survey: $350-10,500
  • Contour Survey: $1,000
  • Subdivision Survey: $2,000-10,000
  • Boundary survey: $155 per hour
  • Fence survey: $400

What are building demolition costs?

Demolitions may be a consideration for your land clearing job, whether it’s to remove some smaller structures or the knockdown part of a knockdown rebuild. To demolish an entire house, you’re looking at a price between $12,000-$20,000, depending on the size of your home, where the block is located and the complexity of the job.

What are soil testing costs?

Soil tests and contour surveys both play an essential role in the planning stage of building your home. Soil tests measure various things about the soil health of your block which can indicate structural integrity, acidity levels and other information that can prove to be vital. Knowing whether you have sandy soil, clay soil or solid foundations and your soil type influences how your builder will approach your house design.

A soil test usually costs between $250-400. If you’re performing excavations, a knockdown rebuild or anything that may disturb the soil, it’s highly recommended you perform a soil test both before and after these tasks.

What are the site excavation costs?

Professional excavation services can cost between $70 to $300 per hour, depending on the company and the task you’re asking them to perform. You also have the option to rent equipment from $550 to $900, however, this will only save money if you know how to operate these machines. If you don’t, you’re probably going to cause more problems than you solve.

Some other tasks you may want (and the price you’re likely to pay) include:

Soil Removal or adding additional soil: $30-$50 per cubic metre

Land clearing for residential properties: $40-$150

Excavation jobs, including tip trucks: $140-170

Pool Excavation: $500-$3,000

Rock excavation: $30-$100

Excavation driveway or path: $500-$900

How much does a soil stabilisation cost?

Soil stabilisation is the process of strengthening or improving problematic blocks of land. There are three main types of soil stabilisation, which are:

  • Biological stabilisation
  • Chemical stabilisation
  • Mechanical stabilisation.

Some key factors that will influence the price of soil stabilisation include:

  • What the soil will be used for?
  • The method you use.
  • Weather during the build
  • The condition of the soil you’re working with
  • Who did you hire to perform this task?

How much do concrete slabs and foundations cost?

Pouring a concrete slab is the first stage where an actual part of your house will be built. Most companies that pour slabs will charge about $60-80 per square metre. The biggest factor determining the price is the thickness of the slab.

What is site planning and what does it cost?

A site plan is what you submit to the council as a means of providing all the necessary information about your building project. Site plans are essential for any structure that requires building approval. Just some of the things your site plan will cover include:

  • A location map specifying where the property is, especially in relation to other buildings.
  • Property lines.
  • Locations of existing and proposed structures.
  • Slopes.
  • Trees and information about any vegetation
  • Any information regarding floods, including whether you meet all the regulations required.
  • Non-structural information (location of pools, fences, etc.)
  • Access information (roads, driveways, etc.).
  • Easements.

Site plans usually only cost between $90-159, depending on how much detail you need to include.

How much does it cost to set up underground utilities?

The cost of setting up underground utilities will vary depending on what you’re installing. Digging a trench will cost around $27 per metre. This may sound pretty reasonable but the real costs come with whatever you’re planning to install. Here are a few estimates:

Drainage: $1,900-5,100

Retaining Walls: $600-2,100

Electrical: $600-2,100

Foundations: $4,300-13,300

Water: $600-2,400

HVAC: $3,800-7,200

Sewer Line: $1,400-4,600

Gas: $300-800

How much does building a driveway and access cost

Driveways usually cost anywhere between $1,500-$3,000 to design and build. For rural properties or anywhere that needs a larger driveway, expect this price to be higher. For especially larger driveways, we’ve seen prices exceed $10,000.

How much are the labour costs of clearing land?

Whenever you hire someone, labour costs need to be taken into account. From our research, most companies will charge between $150-$250 per hour. While this might seem like a lot, remember this covers fuel costs, insurance and, most importantly, a fully qualified operator for the machinery. Not only will a professional be able to do the job faster than an amateur, they’re less likely to cause costly damage to your land or property.

What tree-clearing cost should I suspect?

One of the key land clearing services you’ll is clearing trees. Tree removal can cost anywhere between $350 to $8,000. While this might seem like a pretty broad estimate, keep in mind trees can be very different from one another. Also, the amount of trees, how deep the root systems are and the location of the trees will affect cost estimates. Some other factors which will influence the price of tree removal will include:

  • Size of the tree
  • Type of tree: Large trees cost more than small trees.
  • Vegetation density
  • Difficulty in the task of removing the tree safely.
  • The condition of the tree being removed
  • How many staff are needed and the heavy machinery is required for the job?
  • Tree stumps usually cost less to remove

Remember, native vegetation and certain trees, like protected species, may not be able to be removed according to your local councils or local government.

Our tips for hiring experts to help with land clearing

  • Talk to a few companies and compare land-clearing quotes. Each land clearing company should provide you with a quote allowing you to get an idea of what’s available.
  • Check with your local council to see if there are any land-clearing permits or approvals you need before you start.
  • See if one company will do multiple jobs (for example, demolition and excavation) and see if they offer a discount for this.
  • Talk to a building broker. Buildi can get you in touch with the best contractors and builders in your area and give you some helpful advice. Get in touch with us today to find out how we can save you time and money.

Need help with your land-clearing project? Get free advice from an experienced building broker


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