A Guide to Construction Costs

Budget wisely, avoid surprises, and achieve your dream project economically.


At Kube, we understand that building a home is one of the largest financial and emotional investments our clients will make in their lives. That’s why we’re committed to sharing as helpful information as possible about the design and building industry with you.

Interest Rates?

With the Reserve Bank of Australia lifting interest rates nine times in succession1 (source: Forbes), the building industry is in a very different place to what it was two years ago. Add in the well-reported rise in construction costs due to shortages caused by the COVID pandemic and the Russian-Ukrainian war, demand now outstrips supply in both materials and tradespeople, with the rate of construction sitting 81.2%2 higher than pre-pandemic levels (source: UDIA).

But, like all circumstances, when you’re armed with the correct knowledge and right expectations, you can build your favourite place to be – your new home – right now.

There is no magic number when it comes to the cost of building a home – it’s akin to asking, “how long is a piece of string?”. With so many factors at play, it can be impossible to give a straightforward answer.

At Kube, we believe in transparency and we are dedicated to spending time with our clients so they understand what to look out for when setting a budget to design and build their new home.

We’ve broken down the main elements that could affect how much you’ll need to budget for.

Knockdown Rebuild Project vs. Renovate and Extend

It’s an age-old debate for those who have an option, do I knockdown rebuild or renovate and extend? For clients who choose to knockdown rebuild, in some instances the building process and budgeting can be more predictable. Sometimes the build progresses more quickly because the entire home is built new, meaning the site is like a blank canvas. And that means any unknowns, including existing structural and subfloor elements as well as any required restoration, become irrelevant.

However, some clients don’t have this option, or they make a deliberate choice  to renovate. As specialists in heritage renovations and extensions, we have a soft spot for reimagining your existing heritage home to meet everything you need for modern living.

Town Planning and Overlays

Depending on your suburb and street, a heritage overlay, or general overlay may apply, so make sure to do your homework. For suburbs with rich heritage character, which is part of their charm, heritage overlays mean additional regulations and guidelines must be observed to uphold these heritage characteristics. Requiring additional documentation and compliance, architects will commonly charge extra to comply and navigate these requirements on your behalf.

Size of your home

Generally speaking, the larger the scope of a design and building project, the more materials and labour required, so inevitably, it will be more expensive and likely take longer to build. There are always exceptions, however typically speaking – size does matter when it comes to your hip pocket!


High-quality materials and selections will always be more expensive than budget options. This is not only because of the raw material itself, but because they often require more attention to detail and higher levels of craftsmanship, thereby increasing labour costs.

However, quality equates to long-term affordability, and your home is a long-term investment. Therefore, it is wise to invest in durable and longer-lasting materials to prevent the need for maintenance down the line.


At its essence, the simpler the project, the easier it will be to build.  A standard house plan incorporates basic details, such as conventional skirting boards, cornices and architraves, standard window and door sizes, and other universal features. Any deviations from or additions to this, such as insulation, stone bench tops and luxury flooring, will increase pricing.

Elements such as a curved façade demand more time and attention because of the inherent detail. Dedicated workmanship is needed to finesse the finish, compared with a standard square or rectangular shape.

Architectural designs that include elements such as voids, split-levels, and open plans are usually more expensive to build, as they may require specific materials and specialist design skills. Furthermore, unique features, such as specific cladding, curved island benches, and vaulted ceilings, also add to costs due to the specialist craftsmanship required.

Site conditions, costs and access

The condition of your site has a role to play in how much you will need to build your dream home. Depending on slope, poor or difficult soil conditions, is close to a water source such as the bay, on a busy road or adjoining another property, your build is likely to have added costs for specialist engineering and construction expertise.

Complex conditions can also affect how easy it will be for builders to access the site for deliveries and storage of materials and machinery, so if site access isn’t straightforward, builders will need to factor potential costs to rectify this situation.

Additionally, some costs aren’t directly related to your new home, but are just as important to consider when budgeting. At Kube, we include many of these in our quotes to ensure there are no surprises, such as

  • Connections to water, sewer, gas and electricity
  • Fencing
  • Retaining walls
  • Clearing the site
  • Site surveys
  • Soil tests

With the right design and building team, there is no need to wait to bring your dream home to life and create your favourite place to be. If you’re ready to start the conversation, contact us today.

  1. https://propertyupdate.com.au/how-much-on-average-does-it-cost-to-build-a-house/
  2. https://udia.com.au/research/udia-state-of-the-land-2022/