13 Hidden Costs Of Building A Home


Here is a list of unforeseen costs that can quickly skyrocket your budget! Make sure you ask your builder about all of these points....  



Before any builder or building company will give you a fixed quote for a build they will need to do a soil and contour test (2 separate tests) that can cost more than $1400.

Soil Test – Surveyors will come and drill 3 holes in your property and analyse the soil. If you have rocky soil or any issues with your soil that makes it difficult to build, then you will incur extra costs.

Contour Test – A contour test surveys the land and gives details as to the slope of the property. Builders need to adjust plans based on the slope of the property and if you buy a sloped block you are likely to incur extra costs.


2.      SITE COSTS

This is likely to be the biggest hidden cost that you will incur when building your home, and unfortunately it has the largest variability.  It could be anywhere between $10,000 to $70, 000! This cost will be based largely on your soil test and your contour test. The worse the soil and the larger the slope, the larger the site costs.

Aside from the quality of the soil and the steepness of the slope, site costs can also be incurred when:

·         Lots of trees needed to be cut off

·         The site can cause traffic interruptions or road closures

·         You need to construct retaining walls

·         The area is prone to bushfires

·         The area is prone to flooding

We recommend you to talk to your builder to see which fees apply to you so you can get a rough estimate of the total site costs.



Although every builder is aware of them, unfortunately they often leave it out of the base price. Speak to your builder & ensure they are included into your initial quote. These can cost upwards of $5,000.

Councils require some, if not all of the following items:

·         Asset Protection Permit Sediment Control

·         Termite Protection Temporary Fencing

·         Site Toilet Crossover Protection

·         Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) Perimeter Guardrail Safety Barrier

·         Sediment Control

·         Temporary Fencing

·         Crossover Protection

·         Perimeter Guardrail Safety Barrier



It is a mandatory requirement that all new homes meet a minimum 6 star energy rating. Unless you have made significant alterations to the builder’s house design, you should not have any additional costs to maintain a 6-star energy rating.


5.      FLOORING


When you build a house, the flooring in your house may not be included in the quote. Generally, your house will be constructed on a concrete slab, and the rest is up to you. Make sure you speak to your builder about what flooring you would like to get a quote on and get a reliable estimate.




Many building quotes only include the dwelling, and not what is outside the building. Like the flooring, your driveway may not have been covered in the quote. Depending on the driveway design and material you want, the price will vary. If textured driveways are out of your budget, you can opt for the concrete standard.


Some builders will also only provide a small amount of landscaping (eg. 15 square metres of turfing), whereas some builders will provide none at all. Like driveways, you may need to pay for this on top of what you are already paying.




Any alterations when you build a house after signing your building contract, will cost hefty charges, including extra labour and material costs, engineering, drafting, and approval fees, and legal and penalty clauses for modifying the contract. So make sure you’re totally happy with a design plan before you sign the contract!



Developer approval guidelines are set by the developer of an estate to ensure every home built within the estate has a consistent look and feel. Your developer guidelines can affect your façade colour selections and material selection. You should obtain a fixed price on what it will cost in order for the builder to meet all the developer’s requirements.



If you are in an area that is very bushy, or close to bush or national park then your property may have a Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) rating. If you have a bushfire attack level rating then there are changes that need to be made to the building of your home, which will incur costs, to make it as bushfire safe as possible.




If the area is prone to flooding then this will also incur costs as your house needs to be designed in a way that if a 1 in 100 years flood comes through that no one in the property will die. As always these changes are not standard and thus incur extra costs.



If your builder is required to close the road or interrupt traffic whilst building your home then this may incur a fee from your local council or state government. Talk this through with your builder to see if this applies to you.



It is mandatory for your contractor to take out home warranty insurance on your behalf, therefore ensure it is included in your base house price. Most residential building work done in Queensland valued over $3,300 (including labour and materials) must have home warranty insurance. As part of the building process, the builder pays a premium to the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC). The amount is included as part of your contract and is paid before work begins. If the QBCC pay out on a claim, they will pursue the builder to recover the claim amount.



Builder’s display homes often include standard inclusion items as well as many upgraded features. This can be anything from floor coverings to upgraded high end kitchen fittings. So have a chat with the new homes sales consultant and find out what is standard and what upgrades are available for what additional cost. After you have done your research, present your list of ‘wants’ upfront in the initial sales process and obtain pricing on each item so that you can make an informed decision before you commit. Also, if you are unsure of what the builder offers, request to browse their colour showroom, and do so as many times as you feel the need to.