The Knockdown-Rebuild Process: All You Need to Know



The Knockdown-Rebuild Process: All You Need to Know

Many people have begun to consider the knockdown-rebuild process as being more viable than a standard home renovation. This can be for many reasons, including the following:

  • Their growing family can no longer be accommodated in their existing home.
  • Their current home is already old, decrepit, and badly in need of major repair work.
  • They want more space or wish to downsize.
  • They want to change the structural design of their house, e.g. a duplex to replace a single home property.

The rising cost of renovation jobs has made knockdown rebuilds particularly attractive, especially if, in the final home plans for the new build, very little of the original structure would be retained.

So if you think you can realise your vision for a new dream home with a knockdown rebuild project, we’d say go for it. However, before you rush into calculating site costs, contract signing, soil testing and conducting site surveys, there are other details and information about knockdown-rebuild projects that you need to know. We’ve covered the most important items in detail below.

Knockdown-rebuild process – preliminary details

Having your brand new home built on the same block of land as the old one is certainly convenient and financially advantageous. But before you start looking for a building partner, make sure your sort out the following items first:

  • Land title documents, block size, property orientation and site conditions
  • Planning regulations, including conditions pertaining to heritage designation, flooding and bushfire
  • Possible accessibility and privacy issues with neighbouring properties
  • Council requirements and local planning/zoning laws, including covenants, easements and design overlays
  • Home construction cost research as your basis for setting a realistic budget

Further steps

When you’ve checked through all of the aforementioned items and your plan is green-lit, you can move on to the other steps in your new home building project.

Identify a home design that you want

Before selecting a builder for your project, make sure you have a particular home design in mind. If there’s no exact image, sketch or drawing of the house you want, find one that looks close to it to be used for inspiration. Make sure you are clear about what materials you want and the dimensions you have in mind as you may need to talk about these when you interview prospective builders and ask for estimates.

Choose a reliable builder specialising in knockdown-rebuilds

It’s important to partner up with a specialist in knockdown rebuilds as they can better advise you on what costs you need to prepare for. These include the demolition, design and building approvals, aside from the actual site work. You can also depend on them to give you professional advice on whether the design you want is workable. Alternatively, they can provide you a suite of home designs you can choose from, which will be specifically drawn-up for knockdown-rebuild projects.

In case what you have in mind is a duplex or dual property project to replace your current residence, you need to discuss this with your prospects. Usually, it’s best to go for the exact builder type you need so that all of your requirements are met.

Once you identify the builder you want, you should ask questions and clarify your responsibilities as well as theirs. This is the stage when you’ll be required to make a deposit and provide copies of all property-related documents such as the land title and land contract. The first deposit typically covers the site start allocation, security for the base price and any special offers from the builder.

Schedule a property assessment and site inspection

Your chosen builder will be able to establish the suitability of your project by assessing the frontage, size, property accessibility, drainage and power supply, traffic management requirements, location of trees and vegetation, block slope, and other details. They will also take care of soil testing, site surveys and fulfilling council requirements.

At this stage of the project, you will be tasked to make colour selections which will be covered in the new home tender from your builder. Other items included in the tender are site-related costs, preliminary site plan, façade selections and selected variations.

Contract signing – preliminary and final

Depending on the builder you choose, there may be a preliminary contract signing which includes details of your home plans and costings. This document takes into consideration the latest upgrades and modifications discussed with the consultant, plus site costs.

The contract (or final contract) signing proper happens when all home plans are finalised and you have approved all the corresponding costs. Before signing the contract, read the fine print and clarify everything that is unclear so that contract can still be modified until you and your builder are on the same page.

Your builder will then proceed to apply for a building permit. This is the time when you’ll need to engage the services of a demolition contractor that may or may not be a company recommended by your builder. There are also builders who provide this service in-house.

Commencement of demolition work

You need to vet your prospective demolition partner, and the chosen demolition partner will file a separate application for demolition to the council. Once approved, they can then provide you with the demolition permit and asbestos clearance certificate.

To reduce the cost of your project, you should check with your demolition contractor if they have options for salvaging and recycling usable materials from your old home.

After the demolition work is done, a final test and survey are conducted, so there may be a few modifications in the construction plan and adjustments in site costs.  

Knockdown-rebuild work proper

Finally, it’s time to start building your brand new home from scratch. Your construction or site manager will handle this part of the job. Of course, you can always coordinate and check on the work progress with them until project completion.

So, if you’ve resolved that a knockdown-rebuild is exactly what your house needs, use this as a guide in navigating this lengthy process. In fact, it may take around 12 months or more to get everything done! Hopefully, everything will go smoothly, and the time for you to move in to your dream home will arrive without delay.

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