In the early days of my search for a new home, I’d spoken to a dozen or more major builders and there was one important subject that none of them could give me accurate information on – site costs. 

Every builder I spoke to said that site costs are those that relate directly to the particular location which you are building your home.  But, there is more to this than meets the eye…

What constitutes a site cost?

These could be such things as the slope of your land (steep blocks will be more expensive), costs involved in building on your soil type (clay, rock, sand?); location (will the builders need to travel far each day to get to your site? Will they need traffic management?); Or the services that are available on the street in front of your block (Electricity, gas, NBN). 

Despite all builders agreeing on what constituted a site cost, none of them could give me an accurate picture of what that figure would look like, or even what the average was. Any projection of this cost, I was told, could vary widely.  Even 2 blocks next door to each other could have sharply differing costs.

This presented a problem for 2 reasons. One was that besides the base price of the house, site costs would be the largest single cost in the construction of my new home. The second reason is that it made it difficult to determine with any level of accuracy, the level of bank financing that would be required. Plus or minus $35K matters to most of us.

Traffic jam

When Henley presented my initial quote to build, included in that was the estimated site costs of $40,000. That figure appeared low compared to quotes I’d received from other builders, but there was one line item that was not included in the site costs – traffic management. 

Cash

I live on a quiet suburban street, albeit one that has a primary school at the end of it. Despite there being 3 other knockdown rebuilds on my street (including another Henley build directly across the road) in the last 12 months, not one of them had any official traffic management in place that I could see.

Despite all that, the figure Henley estimated for traffic management on my block was $17,000. 

That figure appeared outrageously high to me but despite my protestations to my new home consultant, Anne F, that was the sum that Henley would stick to for their quote. 

Tender appointment

Having any clarity on the likely level of site cost would need to wait until a soil test and survey of the block had been conducted, the results of which would be considered before presenting an estimate at my tender appointment. 

The sum presented at the tender appointment is only an estimate, the final figure would be presented in the final contract. Unbelievably, with Henley your contract is provided only after your existing home is demolished. 

Final site costs

To assist others in understanding what site costs may look like I have attached an excerpt of my tender document that relates to my site costs. Of course, your site costs will vary, but these figures will give you some idea what to expect.

In the near future I will post about my contract with Henley, which I received a few days ago. That contract, and the supporting documents is around 200 pages long and I’m still going through the details. Needless to say, every cost has been itemized and I’ll walk you through some of those in the next week or two.

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