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  • Carmel Homes

How Much to Knockdown and Rebuild a House?

There are many good reasons knockdown rebuilds have become a popular choice for those looking to build a new home. But despite this, some still worry that the extra steps involved in these projects mean they will be too expensive. They also believe that, due to the added cost, a knockdown rebuild may not be worth the time or money.

But, in reality, opting to knockdown and rebuild, especially on a sloping block, is generally much more affordable than most people expect. Moreover, taking a block back to a blank canvas minimises the risk of unexpected issues or expenses. As such, a knockdown rebuild is often the most cost-effective way to achieve a modern home design.

But all this begs the question, how much does it cost to knockdown and rebuild? While this can be a little difficult to answer, here, we will explore the factors that influence the price. We will also consider what a knockdown rebuild involves and whether it is worth the cost.

What activities are involved in a knockdown rebuild?

As the name suggests, a knockdown rebuild is made up of two key activities – knocking down the existing structure and building a new one.

The knockdown phase aims to return the site to a vacant block by clearing it of all built elements. This usually means bulldozing the current structure, tearing up the foundations and footings, and removing all the waste materials. It often also involves additional groundworks (stabilisation, levelling, etc.) to prepare the site for the new building activities.

Once this work is complete and the site has been cleared, the project moves on to the construction phase. The build process will usually be fairly standard, following most of the same steps as any other new build. This includes everything from laying the foundation and framing up through to final fixtures and fittings and formal handover.

Generally speaking, these two phases will be managed separately and carried out by two different teams of specialists. That said, these teams will need to work together to make sure all requirements are agreed upon and fulfilled. This will help streamline the process and should minimise the risk of issues arising during the later stages.

What costs will you need to pay when knocking down and rebuilding?

Much like the process itself, the cost of knocking down your current home and rebuilding is best broken into phases. Specifically, there are three broad tranches of payments you should make sure you account for in your budget.

The first of these is the planning phase, which is all about developing the design of your new home. This includes deciding on the floorplan, picking the fixtures and finishes, and setting the overall look and feel. It also includes the development of all architectural drawings and any other documents required to get planning permission.

How much this phase will cost will depend on your location and the planning requirements you need to meet. Who you get to help you with this phase will also significantly impact the amount you will end up paying. For example, if you engage an architect, they will usually charge a percentage of the total build cost. But if you use a design and build builder, these costs will usually be rolled into the overarching build contract.

Once you have completed all your documentation and secured development approval, you can move on to the demolition phase. As noted above, this is when the existing structure is torn down and all debris is removed from the site. It is also when any required groundworks are carried out to fully prepare the site for the new building.

Given the potential for safety issues, this phase needs to be managed by a specialist demolition company with suitable experience. As such, your builder is unlikely to do this work themselves – however, they should know a suitable contractor you could use. And while the exact cost will depend on the scope of work required, you should expect to pay around $20,000 for demolition.

Finally, once all the preparation work is done, the building phase can begin. As noted above, this is when the rubber really hits the road, and your new home takes shape. This stage includes all required building works, from laying the foundation all the way through to you getting the keys.

Generally, this will be managed by a single company that will engage and manage its own team of specialist subcontractors. In addition to being much less stressful, this approach allows you to set up a fixed-cost contract for all building works. However, the exact cost of this contract will depend on your design and the quality of finish you want to achieve.

As the above shows, there are many variables involved in planning and executing a knockdown rebuild. This means it is almost impossible to provide an accurate and meaningful indicative price for these works. So, if this is something you are considering, we recommend contacting an experienced knockdown rebuild builder, like Carmel Homes. Once they have discussed your plans with you, they should be able to provide you with a detailed quote.

Due to the extra steps involved, a knockdown rebuild will usually be one of the most expensive options. But while buying an existing home, or even renovating, may cost less, there are unique benefits to choosing to knockdown and rebuild. These include:

  • It means you can stay in the location you love: If you love where you currently live but not your current home, you can get the best of both worlds with a knockdown rebuild. It means you can build an entirely new home with all the space you need and features you want. It also means you can stay where you are, close to your favourite amenities and connected to your existing support network. This is something you are unlikely to find in a new home or be able to achieve through a renovation.

  • It can make it easier to get into the location you want: Alternatively, if there is somewhere you would love to live, a knockdown rebuild can make it easier to move there. It means you do not need to find the perfect existing home, just the right site for one. And, in highly competitive or sought-after areas, a knockdown rebuild will often be cheaper than buying a comparable existing home.

  • It means you can build the exact home you want: When you knockdown and rebuild, you have complete control over the design of your new home. This is quite different from a renovation, where the condition and style of your existing structure will significantly influence your plans. For example, if you own a traditional California bungalow but want a grand French Provincial, you could not achieve this through a renovation.

  • It reduces the risk of issues: Building on the previous point, renovation projects are notorious for being plagued by unexpected issues and budget and timeline blowouts. This is largely because you need to work with the existing building, which may be damaged or incorrectly constructed (at least by modern standards). With a knockdown rebuild, you are effectively building on an empty site, so completely avoid this issue. As such, knockdown rebuild projects are much more likely to be completed on time and within budget.

  • It can save you money in the long run: Because everything will be new when you knockdown and rebuild, your new home should be much lower maintenance. You can also make sustainability and resource efficiency a key focus of your design, which should reduce your ongoing costs (utility bills, etc.). As such, even if you need to spend more upfront, a knockdown rebuild could still be the most cost-effective option.

  • It increases the potential for capital growth: Generally speaking, a new home will perform better than an older one, or even a renovated one, regardless of the market conditions. This means it should hold its value better in a soft market and increase in value faster in a strong market. So, while the cost of a knockdown rebuild may be higher, it should deliver a stronger return on investment.

All that being said, whether a knockdown rebuild is right for you will really depend on your situation. If you have specific requirements, want to be in a certain location, and have the time, it could be a good choice. However, if you need to find a new home quickly, other options (like buying an existing property) may be more suitable.

Want to discuss this further?

If you have been considering undertaking a knockdown rebuild, but are worried about the cost, contact Carmel Homes. As leading custom home builders in Melbourne, we are experts in knockdown rebuild projects and can guide you through the whole process. Contact us today to discuss your plans, set up your free design consultation, and arrange your obligation free quote.


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