Real Talk: Site Costs 

Real Talk: Site Costs 

Real Talk: Site Costs 

Posted on: 31st August, 2021

The term ‘site costs’ may be something you’re familiar with – or maybe not. This commonly overlooked expenditure comes before building has even started and is an important thing to consider when building a house.

It’s crucial to be aware of what site costs are and which ones will apply to your block before you commence your project, as unexpected surprises at this early stage can easily lead to budget blowout down the track.

To protect yourself – and your budget – it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with what the common site costs are and determine whether they apply to you.

What are site costs?

Site costs are charges you should expect to pay before building commences. It is important to analyse the plot of land you’re planning to build on to ensure it is fit for purpose: this can include testing soil, slopes and neighbouring properties and preparing the block for building.

Examples of common site costs

Connection of services: Connection of essential utilities such as water, sewerage, electricity and gas will need to be undertaken, all in compliance with local regulations.

Soil testing: It’s crucial that the soil of the land you intend to build on is suitable for supporting construction, so your home is structurally sound. Before building can commence, tests will need to be carried out by an engineer to analyse its content (i.e. whether it’s high in clay, silt or sand, which may cause the soil to expand or contract with moisture). Its classification will determine what type of foundation is required, how thick the concrete needs to be and how many steel reinforcements will be needed.

Soil levelling: The soil will also need be levelled to create a flat base to build on. The greater the slope on your building block, the higher the cost of this service. Depending on how much is excavated, removal of soil may be another cost to factor in, along with the addition of drainage and any concrete reinforcements required. If rock in the land gets in the way of excavations, this will need to be removed using heavy machinery, or even blasted by a specialist.

Retaining walls: The construction of a structural retaining wall may be required to provide stability to ground that you have cut into – particularly on a hillside – to prevent the ground from shifting or slipping down.

Working site costs into your budget

In all the excitement of choosing a block and working up design plans, clients can often overlook initial site costs. These can be expensive – so a portion of your overall project budget will need to be allocated.

Total site costs will vary depending on the block you’ve chosen – for example, a large amount of levelling and excavation may be required, or perhaps not much at all. Take into consideration that these costs are generally due upfront, so this should be accounted for in your initial budget to avoid holding up the project.

Here at Achieve Homes, we’ll outline the costs upfront then work them into your contract document across your payment schedule.

Engage your builder early

As with most things in life, preparation is key. Engage your builder at the earliest point possible – ideally, before you buy your block – so they can ascertain which costs will be involved in preparing it for building. It can be a shock and a blow to your budget to discover a multitude of unexpected site costs are required before construction can even commence.

Choosing a combined house and land package can offer added reassurance, as the right block is selected for you together with a builder, who will have assessed the plot for its suitability. Learn more about our house and land packages here.


Interested in working with the team at Achieve Homes to build your dream custom home? Get in touch today for a no-obligation chat with a member of our friendly team on 1300 234 432 or submit an enquiry here. 

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