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Easily Calculate Your Building Costs

Last Updated Feb 1, 2018 · Written by Rob Schneider

You're in the early planning stages of your building project and just want a ballpark estimate of what your building costs are going to be. This can be a very difficult exercise or relatively easy. Either way, you need to make sure you understand what the cost of building a house includes.

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The Easy Way to Calculate Building Costs*

The easiest way to calculate building costs is to use figures supplied by your local council. In most cases, the estimates will be divided into low or project home prices; medium or standard finish; and high standard finish. An example of a regional New South Wales standard finish home might look like this:

  • Timber frame: $1480 per square metre (m2)
  • Brick veneer: $1610m2
  • Full brick: $1680m2

The price difference can be significant between the standards chosen. In the same area, a "project" brick veneer home would be about $1000m2 while a "high standard finish" brick veneer house is estimated at $2250m2.
To arrive at an estimate of your building costs, all you have to do is calculate the size in square metres of your house and multiply it by the estimate provided by your local council.



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What is Included in Building Costs?  

As a rule, cost estimates provided by council will include all the building costs, including council fees, materials, labour and building inspections. They do not include the cost of a drafter, an architect or structural engineer. The square metre costs provided will be an average cost based on the costs of hundreds of houses. One "standard" timber frame house might have cost only $1100m2 while another may have cost $1800m2, with the "average" being $1450. When you multiply the number of square metres you need by those square metre rates, the difference is significant, so add or subtract from the average depending on your inclusions.

The easiest and most accurate way of calculating building costs is to let the professionals do it for you. Get preliminary quotes from local builders and they can give you cost estimates based on their experience in your area. Be sure to get at least 3 quotes and ask them to include all costs, including the cost of obtaining a building permit, inspections, insurance and other costs. Our Get Quotes service is the easiest way to get the quotes you need there is. Just fill in the handy online form once and our dedicated staff will handle the rest.


*Cost and prices in this article are indicative and should only be used as a guide. They also vary locally and are subject to market forces.


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