The Process of a Knockdown Rebuild

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If you've bought yourself a demo job, or if you own your home but the family has outgrown it, and you want to stay in the neighbourhood rather than renovate or sell up, you need to consider a knockdown and rebuild. You get a brand new home that suits you better on the same block, and you can remain in the same location. Land is scarce in many regions, so you don't have to worry about buying a new block, and the same applies if you want to downsize or change the shape of your home and add some more modern inclusions. Knockdowns and rebuilds are more cost effective as well. Of course, the first step is to enquire at your financial institution about a construction loan to make sure you will have the funds necessary for the project

The process of a knockdown rebuild might be a bit confronting for some people who haven't dealt with builders and local councils before, so this is what's involved:

1. Preliminary research

Before you meet the builder you've decided upon you ought to have some ideas about your block. Check with your council about regulations, easements and any restrictions and review the title documents. Councils change building regulations from time to time so your block might have been subject to some revisions since you bought it.

2. What home design to choose

There are two main types of builders: 'project builders' and 'custom builders'. You will need to decide whether you want a standard plan from a project builder or to design your own home with a custom builder. Project Builders' businesses are based on volume, i.e. they construct a high number of houses every year. If you choose a custom builder, you are able have any kind of design you want, providing it complies with building regulations. If you want any changes, a custom builder will be more flexible. You can talk to both types of builders to decide which way you wish to proceed.

3. Deposit, colour choice, and paperwork

The first deposit is to secure site start allocation, the base price, and any promotional deals that the knockdown and rebuild expert might be offering. Your construction loan will need to have been approved by this stage, because you will have to pay the builder the first deposit and supply a copy of your Land Title or proof of land ownership. You will also need to supply the land contract, including section 32. At this stage, the builder will go through the property to do an assessment and inspect the site to check how suitable your home is for a knockdown and rebuild. Should your block be deemed unsuitable, a full refund of your deposit should be provided. The builder will supply the tender for the new home, which will include site-related costs, a preliminary site plan, facade and colour selections. You can't make any structural changes once you sign the tender without incurring extra costs.

4. Signing the contract

The builder will want you to review the new Housing Industry Association (HIA) home contract, which includes your tender, colour choice, contract drawings, preliminary soil test and survey which you need to give to the bank to secure progress payments. Once you've signed the contract, the builder submits the building application.

5. Demolition

If you've chosen a knockdown and rebuild specialist, you won't have to worry about employing a demolition expert. If not, then your builder might refer you to a demolition company. You'll have to supply your demolition permit or licence and forward it to the builder and have the power and gas disconnected. After the demolition, the builder will have another soil test done, and a site survey, a re-establishment survey and the final design of the slab, then finalise your construction plan, making any adjustments needed to your site fees.

6. Building commences

Construction starts once the paperwork is approved. Congratulations!

Published: 30/11/2021