What are Knock Down Rebuilds - Benefits, Process & Costs Explained

The Ultimate Guide to Knock Down Rebuilds

The Ultimate Guide to Knock Down Rebuilds

Posted on: 30th June, 2021

Last updated on April 21st, 2022 at 10:54 pm


As time passes, your lifestyle matches your stage of life, and the home you once bought as your “dream home,” no longer works for you and your family.

A knock down rebuild allows you to build your new dream home, while staying in the area you know and love. Knock down rebuilds are a popular choice for growing families and they have many benefits.

But a caution: if you haven’t done your research and planning, you will likely end up stressed, behind schedule, and you might even blow your budget!

1.   What is a knock down rebuild?

A new home doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to your beloved neighbourhood.

A knock down rebuild is exactly what it sounds like — your builder will demolish your existing property, clear and prepare the land, and build you a brand new home to match your family’s changing needs. This allows you to custom-design a new home to suit your current lifestyle, while staying in an area you love.

Over the past decade, Australia has seen a real surge in the number of homeowners who invest time and money into knock down rebuilds. In fact, according to the Housing Industry of Australia (HIA), nearly a third of all new detached homes are the product of a knock down rebuild.

2. What is the process for a knock down rebuild?

You’ll begin your new knock down rebuild project by meeting with our team for a site assessment, allowing us to determine your site’s conditions, the necessary planning and council requirements and restrictions, potential service connections as well as any possible challenges that may arise.

Then, you’ll select your floorplan and façade. You will choose the design that best aligns with your unique vision, including goals, personal style and key features that you wish to include in your new home. Our team will also ensure your build will comply with council and planning restrictions.

Next, you’ll sign your preliminary contract and pay your deposit. Our team will go ahead and secure the required preliminary reports to start your demolition, including soil tests, engineering designs, and much more.

Following on, it will be time to choose the selections that you want to incorporate in your new build. From tiles to tapware, our team will guide you through the unlimited potential at our Selections Studio to help you find the perfect look and feel for your forever home.

Our team will organise and collate the essential permissions and approvals from the local council, managing all the documentation prior to the demolition of your existing structure.

From capping off the sewer point to installing a new power pit, we will ensure your home is completely vacant and ready to be demolished.

After your site is clear, we will conduct final tests and surveys prior to completing your site drawings and construction plans. Lastly, a building permit will be obtained and your materials will be ordered – site works will be ready to commence.

As construction progresses, we will deliver concise site updates and organise site visits throughout your new build. Once construction is complete, our team will walk through the project to ensure you’re completely satisfied before we hand over the keys.

3.   Why choose a knock down rebuild?

Increase demand and sales prices have pushed you out of the market

Selling your property and buying a new home can be a daunting task, especially with the high demand and even higher prices we are seeing across Australia at the moment.

New record prices are being recorded every day for existing homes, and with the current shortage of land in most major cities, more people are choosing to stay in their existing homes.

You have a tricky site

Perhaps you’ve got a large tree that’s been planted years ago whose roots are now causing havoc on your plumbing? Or maybe you’re set up on a sloping block that has to meet specific building guidelines?

Knock down rebuilds are a great opportunity to have a home built to your block specifications, without having to compromise on constructing a contemporary home with all the features you’re looking for.

Your family has changing needs

No matter if your family is growing, or if your children are “flying the nest”, it might be time to consider what you want your home to look like moving into the future. A new home in a spot that you love, can be the perfect chance to support your lifestyle and the memories you plan on making there.

For example, you may want a contemporary designed home that’s energy-efficient, alfresco dining areas for those warm summer eves or bigger living areas for celebrating your families achievements — it is up to you!

Not keen on renovating

Renovations are notorious for running over time, over budget, and bringing a whole lot of extra stress to your life. Many renovations are priced relying on the “bones” of the house being in great working order. Unfortunately, too often, this is just not the case.

Remove the risk of hidden costs by starting from scratch and avoid having your budget blowout. Save money, save time and save yourself a whole lot of stress by investing in a knock down rebuild instead.

You want a custom home tailored to your needs

Want loads of storage, after specific features and finishings, or have you gotten as far as having plans drawn up? Instead of spending days, months – even years! – searching high and low for your dream home, the right builder can bring your vision to life. Building quality custom homes, designed to your specifications, within an agreed-upon time frame and budget is all part of a knockdown and rebuild with a reputable and experienced new home builder.

You want to stay in your neighbourhood

Minimising family disruption can be a key factor in choosing to knockdown rebuild. It’s only natural to be fiercely loyal to a suburb after living in it for years and establishing your routine.

A knock down rebuild will allow you to stay in your neighbourhood, and there’s no need to change schools, alter schedules around getting to work or re-establish the family in an unfamiliar neighbourhood. Stay close to family and friends in a location you love and build the house you love to match.

4.   What are the common mistakes to avoid with a knock down rebuild?

Not factoring in council approvals timing

If you require planning approval before you can start building, this could cause potential delays. Typically, councils have a requirement to decide on planning/development permits within 60 days.

However, it often takes much more time for a planning permit application to be approved. The average wait time for building and work applications to be authorised is closer to 210 days.

With that being said, you will want to give yourself plenty of time to acquire the correct permits and applications before starting the demolition of your current home.

Because permits and applications can be expensive and time-consuming, this will likely be the first step of the knock down rebuild process for you. Some rebuilds may not require a permit at all. This is something a qualified and experienced new home builder should be able to confirm for you quickly.

Not thinking about temporary accommodation and storage

Most people understand that you will need to seek alternative living arrangements while your home is being demolished and rebuilt. However, many people fail to include storage for their existing appliances, furniture, and other possessions during the process.

Ideally, you should build the cost of temporary accommodation and storage into your budget (or home loan request) to ensure that you don’t blow out on unexpected expenses.

Not choosing a reputable and experienced builder

Not all builders are created equal. Unfortunately, most horror stories that you hear from people renovating or building their new home are to do with their choice of builder.

You will need to sign a contract with a builder, and they will then be responsible for building your home to the relevant standards and codes under their building license.

If you are approved for a home loan, your bank will also release a portion of the funds to your allocated builder according to the stages of them completing your new home.

Another caution: the relationship with your builder is legally binding and is messy to change if there are issues during the building process. The relationship with your builder is very different to that with a tradie that you might hire for a one-off job for example.

Before you sign any contracts, ensure you do your research.

Ask for the builder’s license number. You can then run a check on them with the free online builder license checker in your relevant state, which will identify any potential red flags (e.g. public warnings).

Ask them the size of their team, and the number of projects they are currently working on. This will help you understand if they are adequately resourced to take on your knock down rebuild and thus minimise the likelihood of delays.

Take a look at their previous work by visiting their display homes. Are you happy with the feel of the house? Is the quality and choice of finishings up to your expectations?

Ask their process for resolving issues if they do arise. A good builder will have a set process for any potential issues that could occur during a knock down rebuild and should put your mind at ease with their response to this question.

5.   What’s the cost of a knock down rebuild?

Cost-effective and time-efficient knock down rebuilds are becoming increasingly more popular, especially in the inner suburbs near larger cities. While a home renovation may appear less intimidating, they actually carry a higher risk for unforeseen costs, disruptions and construction problems.

Expenditures for a knock down rebuild are subjective, considering it is dependent on the size of your current home and the home you wish to build. It is important to understand what kind of costs you will encounter throughout the entire process, so you can better prepare for this life-changing decision.

Knock down (demolition) costs

As the name suggests, you cannot build a new house without obviously knocking the old one down. The cost to knock down your current home will be significantly less than what the rebuild will be, however, it must be done safely and correctly to avoid problems later on down the road during the building stage.

The average price tag for knocking down a three-bedroom house is about $17,000, but additional factors could affect the price, increasing the price up to as much as $40,000.

Additional factors include the size of your property, the foundation your home is sitting on, what type of equipment is required, tree and pest removals, the potential presence of asbestos and mold, additional structures you may have on your property, and permit costs. Typically, you can expect to pay between $40 and $65 per square metre to remove a house.

Additional excavation charges may also apply, including $140 per hour for a bobcat and tip truck. Other specialised digging equipment can cost you $100-$500 per day.

Rebuild costs

Once the land is cleared and ready, it’s time to start rebuilding. The main costs are accrued during this phase of the process and are dependent on the size of your new home, the materials used, the structural designs, and the fittings and décor chosen at the final stage.

The easiest way to work out structural costs is to calculate the dollar per square metre. For example, if your home is 250 square metres and the cost estimate for floor area is $1,550 per square metre, the estimated cost of building a house is $387,500. The cost range per floor area depends on what state and city you live in, all the way down to the block your home is situated on. For a clearer picture of what your rebuild may cost, it is best to compare quotes from various builders in your area.

The design costs of your new home can also vary by up to 20%. Depending on the style you are going for, different pricing will apply. The building materials you select for your new home are also an integral part of the knock down rebuild. Depending on your budget, you will want to set aside money for durable, high-resistant materials to ensure your house is not only stable but will also hold up against inclement weather over the years.

Finishes and other minor expenses should also be incorporated into your budget. Depending on the builder you choose, some may have a “basic” layout to follow, and any additional finishes may accrue additional costs. While you want to have the opportunity to customise your new home as much as possible, it is important to understand what your builder will be providing at base cost and what additional features are extra.

6.   How long does a knock down rebuild take?

The first question many home owners and renovators ask is, “how long does a knock down rebuild take?”

The short answer is 8-12 months. But there’s a lot more that goes into that rough timeline than you would think. Several factors can affect the duration of the project, so it is beneficial to be aware of potential problems that could arise and set back construction.

Design and size of your home

The design and size of your home have a huge impact on how long your project will take. For example, if you are planning to build a single-storey home with limited customisations, it will take much less time to construct than a two-storey home with a very complex set of plans and design alterations.

Choice between volume vs custom builder

Choosing a volume builder could potentially speed up the process as well. This is because volume builders typically devise plans based on set stages of construction, making the whole process move along a little bit quicker.

Custom builders give you the flexibility to make design decisions yourself and finetune features of the new build, leading to a lengthier planning and overall construction process.

Other potential disruptions

Like any construction project, delays are inevitable but at the same time, extremely frustrating. Some common mishaps during the rebuilding phase of your home could include:

  • Change in contractors or management
  • Inclement weather conditions
  • Land or soil issues
  • Design change
  • Financial delays
  • Power and plumbing connectivity
  • Project complexity
  • Inefficient materials and equipment

While some holdups are impossible to foresee and control, picking a trustworthy contractor with experience goes a long way. While it may require a bigger budget, choosing someone who knows what they’re doing will likely keep your project on track.


A knock down rebuild is a fantastic way to stay in your neighbourhood while enjoying the increased space, updated fixtures, floorplan and design, all while staying under budget.

Here at Achieve Homes, we are knock down rebuild specialists and can ensure that your project is taken care of. Our Land Prep Pack details the costs, standard inclusions and estimated time-frames, making the entire process transparent, comprehensible and stress free!

If you’re looking to knock down rebuild your home, get in touch with one of our friendly sales team today with any questions.

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