How much does it cost to knockdown and rebuild a house?

What is a knockdown rebuild?

Put simply, ‘knockdown rebuild’ is the term that sums up the process of demolishing an existing house and building a new home on the same land. 
You might immediately assume that a knockdown rebuild cost would be far higher than even a substantial renovation but there is more nuance than you might expect. 
Let’s delve into the knockdown rebuild cost. How much it can cost to knock down and rebuild.

The average cost of rebuilding a house in Australia

How much does a knock down rebuild cost? We’d love to offer you an average cost of knock down rebuild in NSW but the truth is that knockdown rebuild projects vary hugely in size, scope and therefore cost.
The work involved in the demolition of the existing house, the extent of preparation required of the land and then your choice of new home design and finishes will all impact the ultimate price you pay.
Our recommendation is to get to understand the process involved in a knockdown rebuild as well as options for cost savings at all stages, then to find an experienced and reputable builder to seek a quote from.

Factors that impact the cost of a knockdown rebuild project

1.      Demolition costs
Costs at demolition stage include items that are vitally important but probably aren’t top of mind for you, such as temporary fencing, traffic management and site toilets.
Demolition also includes clearance and removal of outbuildings, like sheds or chook-pens, old service pipes, and retaining walls, trees and shrubs that won’t be part of the new build.

It’s important to note that the demolition component of a knockdown rebuild is not always part of the scope of works that your builder allows for. If you’d like, you can organise the knockdown yourself with a third party, otherwise it’s best to make sure that your builder has allowed for this when planning and quoting. 
2.     Council/Government approvals
Some regions will find council/government approvals for a knockdown rebuild relatively straightforward (though even these still come at a cost). 
Others, particularly in older parts of Sydney, NSW and ACT that are affected by heritage or other overlays will involve a more complex process, higher costs and potentially some restrictions on the feasibility of a knockdown rebuild project. 

3.     Construction
This is obviously a big one with a significant price difference based on the home design you prefer – for example, the price will vary significantly between a three-bedroom, two bathroom home with single garage versus a two-storey, five-bedroom, three bathroom and double garage home. Once the home design is decided on, prices will vary depending on the fixtures and fittings you desire. 

At Rawson, you can choose from three different build options to find the one that suits you best: 

  • Select: pre-designed range of our most popular architecturally designed homes and floorplans, simplifying your home building journey.
  • Adapt: provides the flexibility to make additional modifications to your chosen Select floorplan, to suit your lifestyle.
  • Tailored: bespoke and premium service providing total personalisation and customisation.
Differences in construction costs also extend to less obvious tasks, like stormwater and sewer connections and driveway construction. Some builders leave these more mundane (yet crucial) costs out of initial quotes, meaning you’re exposed to unpleasant budgeting surprises later on.
At Rawson Homes, our costs are broken down into these exact three stages. Our upfront pricing includes elements that some other builders do not: site costs, council requirements, assessment fees and all your design choices.
4.    Personal factors
Undertaking a knockdown rebuild, by definition, means that you’ll need somewhere else to live during the process from demolition through construction to the magical day when you’re handed the keys to your new home. 
If you have somewhere you can stay at no or low cost – perhaps at a relatives or via house-sitting – you’ll be spared the cost of renting elsewhere for this time. 
Then there’s the cost of your finance package. Your borrowing will be based on the value of the future home and might include staged repayments. 

Tips for saving money on a knockdown rebuild project

With so many factors contributing to the overall cost of a knockdown rebuild, when you know every detail included in that cost you can plan and budget with certainty. 
At the design phase, having options to choose from are key to getting the right balance between ensuring your home is ideal for your needs and your budget. 
As outlined earlier, Rawson Homes helps you consider how to save money on the design of your new home (as well as taking the strain out of decision-making) by offering you three different build options:
  • Rawson Select: beautiful architect-designed floor plans created with modern families in mind. The prices reflect that you’re choosing an existing design without individualisation.
  • Rawson Adapt: allowing you to modify or tweak existing designs so you know your new home will be ideal for your needs.
  • Rawson Tailored: if your budget allows, you can take full control with total customisation to suit your unique circumstances.
During the demolition phase it can be tempting to try to save money by finding the cheapest possible quote, but if the selected demolition company aren’t experienced, reliable and include all the costs in their quote, this can lead to problems down the track. 
We all know that it’s better to pay more upfront than be hit by unexpected costs or, worse, needing remediation work before the build can commence. Rawson Homes use licenced demolition companies who are competitively priced while ensuring every demolition detail is definitively dealt with. 
It’s also worth exploring costs that you won’t incur by choosing a knockdown rebuild over moving house, like legal fees, moving costs.
One big saving is stamp duty. On a median house in Sydney worth $1.4 million, stamp duty adds an additional $61,000 – that’s money you could put towards designing and building your new dream home.
Then there are savings that can be harder to quantify but involve real money, like savings on future bills that result from designing and building a more sustainable home. Not to mention the money you’ll save by being more than happy to stay in on an evening and weekend rather than going out!

The process of rebuilding a house from scratch

Before you get into the nitty gritty of your knockdown rebuild, check in with your local council/government to make sure that your ideas fit within planning laws. 
Then, the first step of a knockdown rebuild is to start where you plan to finish; with designing your new home. You can enjoy the process of choosing the design, floorplan, fixtures and fittings that will both work for your everyday life and make your heart sing each time you arrive home. At this stage it’s important to work with your builder to make sure this design will work on your land, and will factor in the local council/government requirements. 
With your builder, you will need to sign off on all of the tender and contract documents, and make your submission to council/government for approval. While the council considers your application, it’s an ideal time to make sure your finances are in order. Once you receive confirmation of finances, and approval for construction from council/government, the next step is demolition and removal. Then comes construction, a time when your excitement about your new home can build with each stage completed. That’s all the way through to the ultimate moment; the handover of keys.  
A good builder will be with you every step of this process. Rawson Homes will take you through from your initial appointment to guiding you through the choices of design features. Once the build commences, your assigned Site Manager will be there to keep you informed and answer any questions you have. 
Even after you’ve moved in, our Warranty Manager will visit to make sure everything is just as it should be. At Rawson, we believe that open and regular communication is key to making your knockdown rebuild as smooth and stress-free as it can be.

Choosing the right builders for a knockdown rebuild project

A knockdown rebuild is a big process so it’s vital your chosen builder is trustworthy, experienced and quotes based on real prices without leaving any hidden surprises. 
Firstly, you need to ensure your builder (or builders if you’re getting multiple quotes) are registered. It’s ideal to choose one who are experienced with knockdown rebuilds specifically. 
Choosing a builder that offers fixed price tenders means you have the peace of mind of knowing what budget you are working towards and are protected from changes in the price of building materials between signing and completion.
Not all land is created equal when it comes to knockdown rebuilds! The reality is that sloped, narrow or other challenging blocks incur additional expense so find a builder who is not only experienced in this type of building but completes a thorough site inspection before quoting rather than giving you a standard figure only to change it when they see the land. 
Then there’s the end goal: the home itself. What standard design options are available and are more individually tailored custom builds an option?
If your dream home includes certain sustainability measures, specific materials or design features like pools, ensure your builder is open to these wishes. 
And, check what happens if you change your mind on any aspect of your home (we’re not saying it’s likely but it’s certainly possible)!
Rawson Homes prides ourselves on:
  • Better design
  • Better price
  • Better quality
  • Better experience
Our Ultimate Guide to Knockdown Rebuilds gives you all the essential info you need to get started while keeping it simple and easy to understand, helping you as you research to find the best builder for you.

Is it cheaper to knock down and rebuild or renovate?

You might assume it will be cheaper to renovate but this isn’t always the case. In addition to knockdown rebuilds often being cheaper than extensive remodelling, renovations can be hard to fully cost out prior to beginning. And, renovators will tell you that it’s not uncommon to have unwanted surprises, like discovering asbestos or degraded pipes and wires, happen along the way.

What is the cost of average knockdown?

Though we’d love to give you a figure, the truth is that every knockdown rebuild project is different and costs can vary hugely depending on the detail of demolition, process of site preparation, and the design and finishes chosen for the new home.

How much money do I need for a knockdown rebuild?

You need sufficient funds to cover building and fitting-out your new home as well as enough to cover demolition and removal. Other costs include council permits and covering accommodation during the build.

How much does knockdown rebuild cost Sydney?

The specific cost of your knockdown rebuild will vary according to a lot of factors, so it’s best to get a quote from an expert. In Sydney, you’ll have good access to knockdown rebuild specialists like Rawson Homes.