How much are site costs for building a house?

by | Aug 31, 2023 | Uncategorized

Whatever the size of your new home or the type of block you’re building on, there are going to be site costs involved in your build. These are essential steps to getting your land ready for building, however, knowing how much site work costs can be tricky, especially when builders aren’t upfront. In this article, we’ve got our sights on site costs, including the type of costs you can expect along with the prices you’ll need to factor into your overall budget.

What are the site costs?

Site costs, or site work, is anything that needs to be done to prepare a block of land for construction. Site preparation of a building site is an essential part of the process The exact definition of what counts as a site costs can vary with different builders so it’s important to have this information clear before signing a contract. It’s also essential to know which site costs will be handled by the building company and which will be your responsibility to sort out.

What are the average site costs paid for new homes?

Site costs for the average Australian home can range anywhere between $12,500-$30,000.

Site costs are going to vary depending on several factors including:

  • The size of your home
  • The size of your block of land
  • What results the soil test shows
  • Whether your land is a flat surface or a sloping block of land
  • Your choice in builder and contractors.
  • The amount of tasks needed to be performed on your land

What are the most common site costs to expect?

Soil and contour tests

Soil tests and contour surveys are both important steps in preparing for building your new home. A soil test measures 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.

Contour surveys measure the elevations of your land, including the angles of a sloping block of land and any uneven terrain. This information is critical in designing your home, especially the foundation and ground slab. A contour survey will cost around $1,000 but can be more for larger or more complicated properties (such as a steeply sloping block).

Site cutting and filling

Site cutting and filling is the process of levelling out your block of land. Many land developers will have taken care of creating a flat block before you purchase the block, but it is not uncommon for adjustments to the land to be made to create a better foundation class for your home.

The price for this will vary in different areas but expect to pay a rough estimate of $80-100 an hour for these services. Obviously, the bigger the job, the longer it will take.

Slab preparation

Most companies that pour slabs will charge about $60-80 per square metre. The biggest factor that will determine the price is the thickness of the slab.

Retaining walls

A retaining wall can end up costing you anywhere between $1,000-10,000 depending on the size of the wall and the material you decide to use.

When building a retaining wall, expect to pay these amounts depending on the material you use:

Treated Pine: $250 to $350 per sq/m

Treated timber sleepers/hardwood: $300 to $450 per sq/m for treated timber sleepers/hardwood

Sandstone blocks: $300 to $550 per sq/m for sandstone blocks

Reinforced concrete blocks: $400 to $680 per sq/m

Concrete Besser blocks: $550 to $700 per sq/m

Excavation and removal

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, though you’ll need to be able to operate this machinery or else you’ll 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

Additional costs for bushfire and flood zones

Building in an area that is a known flood zone or has a high bushfire attack level (BAL) can increase the cost of your home by $10,000. This is due to specific guidelines that need to be met to ensure your home will be safe in these high-risk areas.

Temporary Fencing

Temporary fencing tends to cost around $7-10 per metre for a week. However, many fencing companies will offer you a better deal for a longer hire.

Tree removal costs

Tree removal can cost anywhere between $350 to $8,000. This may seem like a huge range, but when you think about it, trees can be very different from one another. Some of the key things which will influence the price of tree removal will include:

  • Size of the tree
  • Type of tree
  • Difficulty in the task of removing the tree safely.
  • The condition of the tree being removed
  • How many staff are needed and the equipment required for the job

Termite treatment

Termites can cause havoc to a timber home and it’s worth investing in steps to avoid any issues. Termite treatments can range from $1,000-$5,000 depending on what method you use and the scope of the job.

Sediment control

Erosions and sediment control are important to ensure stability in your land. For an average block of land, this should cost around $1,600-2,000. A few factors can add to the price, including the condition of your block and the size.

Are there any hidden site costs?

Any of the above factors can be considered hidden costs if the builder isn’t upfront about them. Therefore it is important to be thorough with your research and when talking to your builder. Buildi can help you with this by sitting in on meetings and checking the overall quality of any contract you’re offered.

How to avoid unexpected site costs?

  • Be prepared and try to have all these costs covered before construction begins. Anything that needs to be done during construction will cost more and could have a detrimental effect on your build.
  • Be aware of what to expect. While reading lists like this is a great start, do some research into the area you’re planning to buy land in and see if there are common issues you need to be aware of.
  • Be willing to talk to several companies and get quotes that you can compare.
  • Hire reliable contractors who not only get the job done right but will let you know if more needs to be done.
  • Talk to a building broker or building consultant. With Buildi on your side, you’ll end up avoiding mistakes, saving tens of thousands of dollars

Talk to an experienced building broker for free about your new home build


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