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How Much Will it Cost To Build Your Home?

As you begin the journey to build your new home or extension to your existing home, one of the biggest questions you face relates to cost.  Just how much will this cost me, anyhow?  

This is certainly a reasonable concern.  After all, you may want to make additions to your house, but be unable to afford it.  There are a few ways to help determine the feasibility of a home addition and just how much “new home” you can afford.

The most common measurement is cost per square meter.  This tells you how much it costs to build one square meter: simple.  While understanding this measurement is easy, determining the cost may not be quite as elementary.
Here are a few items that comprise this measurement.
1. Extensions, additions, and renovations are often twice as expensive, per square meter, when compared to new
construction.  This is an average; for some people it will be more than double and for some people less than double.  Please consult a local builder to learn the true cost, per square meter, of your construction project.
2. The average cost for a custom designed house, on a great site, that utilizes only basic finishes is about $1500/square-meter.  A project home will cost about $900-1200.
3. That same custom house, utilizing standard finishes, will need an additional $300/square-meter.
4. If using high-end finishes, add at least $700/square meter.
5. Not all building sites are excellent; some are just good.  For instance, sloping land or difficult access constitutes a poor building site.  In this instance, add an additional 7% to the starting price of $1500.
6. If the building site is even worse, add a minimum of 20%.
7. Outdoor areas like patios, decks, and verandahs cost less; averaging about $900/square meter.  If the area will have a roof, or is located high above the ground, it will be more.
8. Garages cost about $1200/square-meter. Of course, any complications increase that value.

Construction Cost and Calculators

Before consulting a construction expert, many people use an online construction calculator to “ballpark” or estimate their cost.  This allows homeowners to determine if a house extension is even feasible. Most online calculators are hosted on sites run by construction companies and there will be slight variations from one calculator to the next. Some simple calculators are easy to use and often ask no more than six questions.  These very basic cost calculators are easy to use and a great place to start. If you are looking for a more in-depth cost calculator, be prepared to spend a bit more time answering questions.  They typically ask at least 20 questions but provide a more realistic estimation.  These calculators will take a few minutes to complete but it is worth the time to gain a more complete outlook into the project you are undertaking.

Building Quotes

Often, the next step is to have a building company or construction professional come out to your construction site and give you a building quote.  Naturally, this quote will be highly detailed and very accurate.  Before you call anybody to your house, you need to have working plans/drawings, in hand, to give to the builder.  These need to be detailed, with plenty of dimensions and notes.  Ideally, they will also include information for other tradesman who will be working in your home; this permits the builder to give a more accurate cost estimate.  If an Architect works on your home plans, you will receive a building specification.  However, if you did not have an Architect already working on your home plans, you can purchase a standard specification at your local council; this provides information on Australian Standards and is a legal document that can form part of the contract. Obtaining more than one quote is standard practice and is a great idea. Often, homeowners obtain quotes from three different building companies. Another option is to retain the services of a Quantity Surveyor.  Quantity Surveyor’s specialize in pricing both renovations and new home builds.  You can save a lot of money and heartache, down the line, by having them come out during the design phase.