The desire for families to build their forever home in Sydney continues to be strong however, the fight to find land has become challenging for many Australians, week to week. Vacant land is just not available in many major urban areas in today's market. Whilst this creates hardship for people who are in search of the land, it also presents an opportunity to invest in knocking down and rebuilding a home to breathe new life into an established area. Many homes in Sydney's older neighbourhoods are starting to show their age and are no longer suitable for modern living; however, with established infrastructure and land values increasing, these pockets of suburbia gold have become incredibly desirable for families wishing to build their forever home.
As designers and builders we are known across Sydney as a knock down and rebuild specialist building company. We have our own set of challenges in negotiating escalating supplier costs and the unpredictabilities of ordinary living that the world might throw at us at any time. We are adaptable and resilient to changing situations so that we can decrease the impact on our clients that unexpected and difficult circumstances can have.
Before you commit to knocking down and rebuilding a home, make sure you prepare yourself and your family and consider things like; design goals, time frames, floor plans and the overall home design. If you have a larger block, a single storey home may suffice. However smaller blocks might better suit a double storey home. Take time to Do your own investigation and even speak to a specialist who can help you understand the costs involved. This will ensure you get the most out of your long-term investment.
Preparing you and your family to knockdown and rebuild.
Building a brand-new home might be something you will only do once. While it will most certainly be worth the effort in the end, it’s important to make adequate preparations beforehand. To help you build your dream home with maximum success and minimal stress, it’s best to prepare yourself and other household members.
Checking in with yourself and making sure you are ready is the greatest place to start. You may have an emotional link to your previous residence, or you may be terrified by the unknown, given that everything is so new. So, even if you believe that demolishing your current home will provide you with the ideal home, you still want to be comfortable with the process and your decision. This is your chance to compile a list of advantages and disadvantages and determine how invested you will be in the entire process. The path will be much easier once you are ready and fully committed.
Prepare Your Family
If you live with a partner or family, make sure they ‘re on board with the process as well, as they will be affected directly. Take the time to sit down with your partner and explain why you're thinking of doing a knockdown and rebuild, what's involved, and how the process will go. This will help them tolerate the disturbance by allowing them to realise what you're trying to accomplish and how much better their home will be once the project is over. To move forwards quickly on a knockdown rebuild project, both sides must be involved and on the same page. The commitment to make decisions is one of the most significant roadblocks we encounter during the process.
Hamptons. Freshwater, Sydney NSW
Prepare Your Finances
When it comes to construction, budgets are always crucial. Depending on the scope of your knockdown and rebuild project, you'll need to determine whether you have the financial resources to complete it. Check with your accountant and bank to see how much you can borrow to fund your knock-down and rebuild, so you're financially prepared and know what to expect. Even if you don't plan on taking out a loan, you should think about how you'll fund your project and where your constraints are. As vigilant as we are with planning and compliance, unexpected costs may rise in the form of soil quality, rock removal and other environmntal factors that are out of our control. If you decide to invest beyond the Hall & Hart Standard Inclusions this may become an additional cost also. It pays to consider which areas of your home you wish to upgrade and allocate an additional budget. i.e. Kitchen with custom joinery, flooring and electrical.
What are your design goals ?
The next step is to define your goals for the knockdown and rebuild project. What are the non-negotiables and what are the 'good to haves'? Are you adamant about having a pool and a paved outdoor space, or are you flexible about how many rooms and bathrooms you want? While you don't need to have anything set in stone at this time, it's critical to conduct research and determine your project's overarching objectives. This early planning will be part of your Hall & Hart Design Brief when you meet with one of our designers. When it comes to the design part of our process, being prepared will put you miles ahead.
Consider time frames
Construction projects take time to complete from start to finish, so you'll need to consider the best time of the year to start your projects it’s what works best for you. We all engage in life-changing activities, so plan your knockdown rebuild project when you have the time to devote to it. This will minimise disruption and guarantee you get the most out of your build.
Investigate builder options
Do your research, as there are many building companies and display home villages to visit. This is your chance to learn more about who they are, what they do, and their previous experience in order to choose the best builder for your requirements. Remember you are investing in a 12 month+ relationship so you want to make sure you share a common vision and most importantly, get along.
Research floor plans
The way we live in our homes has changed; we now juggle work, rest and play as well as home-schooling at times. Our homes serve numerous purposes, and we must address the demands of multiple generations who share the same space. Design considerations now include escape rooms, zoom rooms, and pet-friendly places. It's about striking a balance between being functional while yet desiring a sanctuary.
Your new home must represent your lifestyle, which is why probably why you're considering a knockdown rebuild project. Finding the best plan might be difficult, time-consuming, and overwhelming, but the time and effort you put into it will pay off in the end. Find a plan with a good foundation and then customise it to fit your lifestyle, interests, and needs.
Regulations and legalities
Some preliminary research into the legislation and legalities of demolition and construction, such as local council regulations or planning limits, will help you understand what's possible on your property. These include:
local council laws in relation to asset protection and planning if the building is subject to planning approval.
planning approval for overlays, size of allotment or heritage overlays. Factors such as a heritage overlay are an important consideration early in the project as they can influence your final design plans significantly.
building approval for your intended project, which can be issued either by your municipal building surveyor or a private building surveyor.
traffic management plans for the duration of your build, if it will interrupt the roads around your site
A thorough investigation into your site, design and overall project is necessary by your builder. A intensive site investigation early in the process will reveal any considerations that must be dealt with diligently. Have confidence and trust the experts when it comes to compliance, it’s impossible for anyone without the knowledge and resources to supply you with accurate information.
It's all worth it
Just remember, there’s nothing like the feeling of entering your brand-new home for the first time and feeling the sense of pride knowing that you designed it perfectly for your lifestyle and future. While a knockdown and rebuild is a big project, you will get a lot of joy and satisfaction for many years to come, and all the planning and construction phase will be quickly be forgotten.
Costs to Knockdown and Rebuild
When it comes time to knockdown and rebuild there are a lot of questions about how much it is going to cost. From demolition costs, site costs and ultimately your new home building costs. The costs to knockdown and rebuild your home is not a one size fits all. We highly recommend to not compare the costs of someone's build to yours - this is an unrealistic approach to a knockdown rebuild project. This will be your personal journey where your site, design, and personal requirements will differ.
Knockdown Rebuild Costs Include:
1. Size of the existing home (sqm) that you are knocking down
2. Site costs including clearing for the new residence
3. Location –coastal, bushfire zones
4. Heritage conditions if applicable
5. Traffic control especially on busy roads
6. Demolition of the existing home and asbestos removal (if applicable)
8. Trees, not just on your property but your neighbours too
9. Plan changes and where they are made in the process
10. Fixtures and fittings
Our experience with the changing needs of suburban living is a vital component of our success. Our understanding of the surroundings allows us to make a customer's investment go further, from home types to council standards and regulations.
The best way to get a realistic assessment on how much your knockdown and rebuild will cost is, when the time is right, visit our display homes and speak to our highly experienced Sales and Design Consultants who will provide you with a no obligation sales estimate. All of our Sales and Design Consultants are knock down rebuild specialists and can give you great advice. Using advanced technology, they will site your preferred design on your block of land and give you the true estimate to build your forever home. You will often find that our final price is within 5% of what we originally quoted you in your sales estimate.
Your final price will be dependent on your site conditions, materials used in your build, demolition and internal fixtures and fittings. Generally, on a standard level block the average price per square metre can start from $2,500 for a custom built home.
What are site costs?
Specialising in Knock Down-Rebuild's we understand every site & every council are different. Site costs relate to works needed to be carried out to create a suitable building platform for the project which is compliant with the relevant authority (Council or CDC) as well as the building code.
Leveling out your land if it’s a sloping block
Excavation i.e earthworks
Removal of soil or import of fill
Zoning requirements for:
Marine (refer to coastal building here)
Stormwater & hydraulic design
Private electrical pole
Acoustic requirements (if applicable)
Control of airport noise
Management of roadside noise
Slab type, some areas of sydney have large amounts of clay in the soils which can require a thicker or stronger slab
Acid sulphate soils are typically found when building on coastal areas. If not detected and treated correctly, when disturbed acid sulphate soils generate large amounts of sulfuric acid, iron and aluminium which can cause major damage to the environment and infrastructure i.e. damage to steel and concrete structures
During construction, trees are frequently harmed and even destroyed. However, with little forethought and consultation with a skilled arborist in the early stages, you can minimise damage and enjoy your trees for many years to come. A tree’s root structure can travel a long way and is integral to its health and survival and therefore must be properly accounted for.
Changing the location of services and connections for gas, water, NBN, Foxtel
Material handling (labour costs)
Material handling covers many site specific elements some being things such as over head powerline protection (tiger tails), shade cloth to second story scaffolding when in close proximity to neighbours, split deliveries on sites with tighter set backs, additional crane allowance when dealing with overhead powerlines, trees, tighter sites or a combination of all three. Complexity around slope & access to the site for our tradespeople.
Beware not all building quotes include your site costs – we highly recommend that if your find yours doesn’t, you should allow at least an additional 30% for unknown site costs.
Do you include site costs in your Sales Estimate and Building Contract?
Yes, rock is generally the only site cost which remains an allowance when the building contract is finalised.
Do I need to organise the demolition of my existing property?
Yes. This is organised by the owner. You will need to engage the services of a licensed and insured Demolition Contractor as once demolition is complete, we will require a Clearance Certificate. Alternatively, we can put you in contact with our preferred demolition company that can explain the full process to you.
Demolition costs in Sydney
The average cost for demolition of your existing home in Sydney can start from $30,000 and generally takes approximately 7 days (weather permitting.) However it is strongly recommended that you work with your preferred company to book demolition in early, especially when considering a pool. Demolition costs vary with the size of the house and costs include:
Access to site
Hazardous/asbestos removal (if required) Non-professional practice is often an attempt to save substantial tip fees by burying asbestos and other dangerous materials under the site. Your building site would then become a hazardous area and could cost you thousands to clear it up
Rubbish removal. Tip and recycling fees
Established fencing between you and your neighbours. You will need to review whether is needs to be removed, which could become a shared cost
Council or independent certifier costs to approve the demolition which range from $800 - $1,500
Does your project quotation include tree removal?
No. If you have established trees on your property which need to be removed, you may need to apply for a permit from your local council. This needs to be done before we can access your site to begin construction
Are there additional costs if we are building our home in a flood or bushfire zone?
Yes. This would be dependent on your council. Factors that can influence these costs are:
Different foundation often resulting in using bearers and joist construction for flood zones
External materials (BAL rated front entry doors, aluminium mesh screens) to coincide with the Australian standards for bushfire zones
When you engage Hall & Hart alongside our trusted consultants, we will provide accurate guidance and estimates for these additional costs. When design decisions are approved and finalised, we fix these costs. If you proceed to request a project quote, we can provide what these costs are after we complete a thorough site inspection of your block and apply for the 10.7 Certificate.
When do I sign the building contract?
At Hall & Hart Homes we want to ensure we are giving you the true cost of building your dream home which is why you will sign your building contract:
AFTER you have signed off on your internal and external selections
AFTER your plans have been approved by the authority (Council or CDC) and
AFTER we issue your Home Owners Warranty and Construction Certificate. It is then we require a 5% Contract Signing Fee.
We give you every opportunity to design the home you want before you are required to sign your contract, ensuring there are no hidden costs along the way.
How long will it take before I can move into my new home?
Time frames can vary greatly due to a number of factors including approval process (Council or CDC), site conditions, complexity of build & client decisions. For initial budgeting, we recommend allowing the home to be vacant for at least 12 months. Our build times are typically around 12 months however factoring in demolition, a pool, finding a suitable property to live in or vacating a tenant as well as moving back in can all take extra time. Also Christmas shutdown and any excessive wet weather also needs to be factored in to your timing consideration.
Do you provide landscaping and pools?
No, we do however provide concept landscaping plans to enable your stormwater design & authority approval. We do have a preferred supplier who is able to assist with both pool & landscaping design & construction, at your request we can put you in touch.
Hamptons KDR Project in Northbridge
When it comes to designing and building your dream home, deciding on a design style can be tough; it has to have longevity and cater to your family’s changing needs.
For Sydney homeowners Robyn and husband Jonathon, it took more than five years before finding the perfect builder and locking in a home design they were both happy with.
Custom. The Hills, Sydney NSW
Considerations when deciding on a builder
Building your home can be one of the biggest investments of your life, and deciding on the right builder is one of the most important steps in this journey.
There are many factors you need to consider around:
quality of materials
the flexibility to make your own choices
the worry of any hidden costs (The worry of any hidden costs which can range anywhere from a low inclusion level where you feel you MUST upgrade finishes to a disregard for compliance and authority requirements resulting in significant cost increases. Most builders complete these stages AFTER a building contract is signed and 5% of the project cost is paid as a deposit.
If you are considering a knockdown rebuild, you want to be completely comfortable with your choice of builder.
Years of experience in understanding how Australians live has taught us to think beyond the functional elements of planning and construction, to factor in things you can’t necessarily see but you can always feel; the things that make the most difference to building – and living in – your brand new dream home.
You may wish to have:
Extended ceiling heights
Premium flooring throughout
Timber front doors
Premium brand appliances
Often, these kinds of features are not included and may be charged as extras which can put pressure on your budget and misalign with your expectations. Therefore, it’s important to select a builder that includes premium features so that you can create affordable luxury in your knockdown and rebuild project.
Its our full service design team of architects, landscape architects, lighting specialists and interior design team who optimise your home unique to your household and lifestyle to help you achieve your forever home.
It’s our attention to detail, it’s the ‘nice to have’ extras you never knew you needed, but will enjoy from the day you move in, saving you time, money and inconvenience down the track. That’s the Hall & Hart difference, and we welcome you to discover it for yourself.
From the initial plan to design and construction, we have the process, skills, and people to handle your knockdown rebuild project. Experience with the changing needs of suburban living is a vital component of our success. Our understanding of the surroundings allows us to make a customer's investment go further, from home types to council standards and regulations.
Whether you want to stay in your favourite neighbourhood or remodel an existing house somewhere else, our knowledge of the Australian construction landscape allows you the opportunity to design something new that is tailored to your preferences and lifestyle.
If you have a design style in mind or would like to discuss your custom home knockdown rebuild project, we would love to help you. Simply complete the form below to request an informal discussion about your custom home.
Bringing Beautiful Homes to Life
Beautiful homes are more than bricks and mortar. It’s the spaces that connect, that work. The absence of interruption. Good design is invisible. Style, tangible. A natural flow, a considered aspect, a productive day, a successful dinner party, a quiet space…
A simple elegant detail you live with every day that maybe no one else notices. A coming together of all your ideas into one unique, living, breathing home.
Hall&Hart – Bringing your home to life.