What should I budget for a new house?

When building a new house the ‘How much should I budget?’ is a simple question for which there is no definitive answer. As a result, it is often frustrating for owners and in return leads to mis-information from builders, designers and house companies trying to sell you their service.

Since the building site, brief and budget are rarely the same from one project to another. The following will help you as a starting point to understand the ins and outs of building costs & budgets for your new home.

There are two approaches we use at Box™: either we can design to a specific brief, or design to a specific budget.

We go through a process and a number of iterations in order to meet your design expectations and budget.

1) Building your budget

First things first. It is important to be clear on what your budget is. You may already know this, if not you will need to talk to your bank or a mortgage broker. From there you will have a starting point and know what you can do.

There is nothing wrong with having a wish-list or brief that is out of whack with the budget. It is our job to take you through the budget process, so you can understand what is doable.

There are 4 main elements that you will need to budget for;

  • Pre-construction (design, engineering, council consents, surveyor and potentially other consultants)
  • Siteworks (demolition, earthworks, retaining walls, drainage, power, wastewater, stormwater, foundations)
  • House
  • External construction (driveway, decks, hard landscaping – paths etc)

Read more on how much to budget for your building costs.

2) Comparing Apples with Oranges

The “cost per square metre” rate causes the most confusion when you are putting together your budget. This is due to the fact, there is no common definition to the “Cost per square metre”.  In short, the square metre rate can only be taken with a pinch of salt.

There are a few important questions to ask when you receive quote a “price per square metre”. There are also things that will push up costs/m2 that you need to keep your eye on.

  • GST. Architects are notorious for not including GST in their rates.
  • Siteworks. Does it include earthworks, driveway, drainage, wastewater treatment, foundations etc?
  • What is excluded? Appliances? Floor coverings? Cabinetry? Painting?

We’ve put together a comprehensive article on understanding the building cost per square metre.

3) How Box™ Can Save You Money (and Frustration)

In short, Box™ does not re-invent the wheel on each project and works efficiently as an end-to-end design and build company.

Architects are expensive, often 10% to 15% of the cost of a project. While building companies have their construction companies nailed, their designs can be underwhelming.

We bring together the best of both worlds and meet in the middle.

We see ourselves being driven more by design, yet pragmatic enough to design with efficiency and affordability in mind. We would compare ourselves to architects, but with the ability to provide costings throughout the process and work as a design-build team from start to finish. Therefore, you save money as a result of:

  • 20% lower design cost than the recommended NZIA fee
  • Quantity surveying (costing) for a fixed fee, no matter how many revisions you do

Get the details about how Box™ can save you money on your construction costs.

4) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What budgets do you build for?

Box™ has worked with building cost budgets from $500k to $3m. Typically, total project budgets are between $500,000 and $1,000,000.

Do you give a fixed cost to build a house?

Yes. We fix the cost for all construction work, with the exception of works in the ground – usually drainage and earthworks (unless it is an easy site). We estimate earthworks costs as accurately as we can, but the final cost is sometimes dependent on factors in the ground that we cannot see.

More frequently asked questions related to building costs.

If you’re interested in learning more: Read more on our case study projects!