Cost guides for the building process
From architects to builders, valuers’ reports to consents, here are some handy tips and a rough guide to how much you might expect to pay for elements of the building process.
For PIM and engineer’s reports
It's a good idea to get a PIM (Project Information Memorandum) report about your piece of land before you buy, which you can get from your local authority, and if you have any questions about the suitability of the site, get an engineer’s report too.
- a PIM could cost you $150-$1,000, or more, depending on the scale of your project
- an engineer's report could cost $1,500-$4,000 or more.
To get a PIM you may need a design sketch, but a designer may want to see the PIM first – which is confusing! So be prepared that it could work either way around.
For design and documentation
If you want something designed especially for you, you'll need to employ an architect, designer or draughtsperson. Some builders do supply design services, and some companies include the design as part of a package.
For a new home, the design and documentation ranges from around 6-15% of the building cost.
Make sure you get a written estimate or quote, including GST and any set costs, and ask about prices if you want to make changes.
For a builder
If you're using an architect they can manage this process for you. If you're finding your own builder, ask people you know for recommendations and get several quotes.
Building work costs vary from region to region and depending on the nature of the job. It’s important to include a contingency in your budget of approximately 20%, for the unexpected such as council amends, changes to plans and other unforeseen circumstances.
If you use a registered master builder or a Licensed Building Practitioner you should be able to expect quality work that carries a guarantee on materials and labour. Licensed building practitioners (LBPs) have undergone an application process that includes a written application, verbal testing by proficient assessors, and referees’ confirmation of their work. They keep up with the changing industry and undergo continuous skills maintenance.
Find out more on who LBPs are and when you need to use one here.
For a valuation
A registered valuer can give you a valuation based on your plans. You'll need this for your loan, but it can also help ensure you don't pay too much, or spend too much on renovating an older home.
Another professional who can help you check that you're paying the right price for your build is a registered quantity surveyor (some suppliers also do this job for free). They work out the quantities of materials required for a job.
For plans and consents
Depending on the nature of your project, you may need to get resource or building consents from your local authority, based off your plans. Your architect or builder may arrange these as part of their contract with you.
If your project requires building consent and relates to the primary structure of your home, or affects its weathertightness, it's considered ‘restricted building work’ and must be done by or under the supervision of a Licensed Building Practitioner (LBP). You’ll need to include the name of your LBP in your building consent application to the council.
More information on when an LBP is required
Consents can cost anywhere from between several hundred, to several thousand dollars.
Getting consents can take a lot of time, and can be costly if you have to alter and resubmit your plans several times. So be prepared, and have patience.