The slope of the block
Building a property on sloped land is easier said than done. This is because it involves complex processes to ensure that the ground within the building stays firm and steady. There are two primary ways to build a house on a sloped lot including:
- Cut and fill method: This involves levelling out the ground by adding and removing soil to create a level surface. Depending on the soil conditions and quality of the land, cutting and filling can make construction much more expensive than building land on a flat site.
- Stilts: This is an alternative to the cut and fill method that is generally more cost-effective. It involves using a crane to lift the building onto steel columns.
This will depend on a variety of factors such as your location, the terrain on which your property is built, and whether there is a significant risk of events such as fire or flooding. The higher the risk, the more you will have to pay out in insurance.
The size of the land
Bigger lots tend to cost more money, particularly if they are in desirable areas. Before settling for a particular lot, you will need to budget thoroughly to ensure that you do not run out of money before the property is built. It is better to underspend on your lot and have money left over than to overspend on a large lot of land and be rendered unable to complete your property.
Quality and type of materials
The price of your property can be significantly affected by the calibre of its materials. For example, if you are hoping to build an ecologically friendly home using the latest energy-saving, carbon-neutral materials, then you will probably end up spending much more than if you were to opt for the cheapest materials on the market. Of course, opting for cheap materials comes with its own set of serious risks and could end up costing you a significant amount of money in repairs further down the line. Your project manager or architect will be able to advise you about the best kinds of materials for your budget and needs.
Building designs and blueprints
Remember to factor in the cost of blueprints and design plans when budgeting. If you are doing much of the design yourself and are knowledgeable in the construction industry, then you will probably end up paying less than someone with little to no knowledge about building houses. The cost of your blueprints may also go up if they involve particularly tricky engineering problems.
Do builders offer drafting and design services?
This depends largely on the remit of the business you have opted for. Some are only able to follow designs that have already been drawn up, whilst others are happy to work with their clients from the design stage all the way through to the finishing stage. It is also worth noting that some builders will only agree to build properties that they have designed themselves. In this way, it is important that you talk through your plans with potential builders well before the drafting stage commences.
What licenses do builders in Australia require?
The type of licence that a builder needs in Australia will differ from state to state and will only be valid for a set period of time. For example, in New South Wales, builders need to obtain one of the following:
- Contractor licence: Issued for one year or three years and allows workers to conduct work that is described on the licence.
- Qualified supervisor certificate: Issued for three years and does not allow workers to contract for jobs.
- Endorsed contractor licence: Available to contractors who are experienced enough to become qualified supervisors.
Other states offer different kinds of licences that are broadly based on experience levels and the types of tasks the worker intends to take on. It is always worth investigating your state’s individual rules surrounding licences and asking to see the licence of any builder before allowing them to work on your home.
What type of insurance should a builder in Australia carry?
It is mandatory for Australian builders to possess public liability insurance to protect against personal injury and property damage. Likewise, it is mandatory for builders working on developments costing more than $20,000 in New South Wales to hold Home Warranty Insurance to protect the homeowner if the builder goes bankrupt, retires or dies. Although not mandatory, it is beneficial for builders to take out contract works insurance to protect against property damage and financial loss incurred throughout the building process.
Can builders also provide renovation and design services?
In short, yes, although it is of course up to the individual builder or their firm as to whether they wish to take on such work. Some are only qualified in exteriors and new builds so may not have the expertise to carry out all of the work you require. In this case, it is worth shopping around for builders with different kinds of skills.
How long does it take to build a house?
This will depend largely on the scale of your project. On average, however, it is not unreasonable to expect the concept and planning stage to take around six months, and for the construction phase to take between six months and a year. Display homes may be a little speedier, particularly if similar properties have been built before.
What can a first-time home buyer expect when building a home?
As described above, home builders will guide you through a number of steps during the planning and construction process. This will involve the consultation stage when you work out whether you are eligible for a home builder grant and establish an initial budget, coming up with a suitable house design to suit your needs and desires, preparation of the land, the building of the house’s exterior, and the completion of all interiors to your tastes.
How long does it take to build a commercial building?
This very much depends on how urgently the building is needed and the size and scale of the project. Often, commercial buildings are worked on by more labourers than residential buildings and subject to stricter deadlines. As such, small commercial properties could be built in as little as four months. Large-scale projects could take up to as long as a couple of years, however.