Many years ago, the square metre rate gained popularity in the building industry as a way of giving clients a ballpark figure of what a home would cost to build. While still used by volume builders across the country today, when it comes to a custom home that’s unique to your needs, a square metre rate simply won’t cut it.

A volume builder will build the same home over and over again, with minor variations meaning it is possible to gain a somewhat accurate estimate of the cost per square metre. When it comes to custom home building, each and every client is very different, which means each home is also unique.

What’s your square metre rate?

When you call a builder and ask for their square metre rate, it’s an impossible question – where do they even start? How many bedrooms are you looking for? And bathrooms? What type of fixtures and fittings have you chosen? How big is your backyard space going to be?

When you’re so early on in the building process, these questions can be impossible to answer, and it isn’t until you start planning the finer details of your new home and making legitimate selections that your builder will be able to give you a well-informed estimate and cost plan for your project.

What’s in a square metre?

Custom home builders who do offer up square metre rates should be approached with caution. If you’ve been provided with a square metre rate that seems cheap, it may be that this is not an average rate of the entire home, but the cheapest square metre of the home. For example, an open space costs far less to build than a bathroom or kitchen – perhaps this is the rate you have been provided with?

Builders who provide clients with a square metre rate are also likely to either – a) not be including fixtures, fittings, all labour, materials etc in the rate, b) only include the bare minimum or c) include only the cheapest / lowest quality selections on the market. As you’ll need to add these on later, or upgrade when it comes time, this can blow out your building budget further down the track.

Beware of exclusions

Many builders will provide a square metre rate, which may seem well and good, until you consider what specifications, fixtures and fittings your rate doesn’t include. Often times, builders will sell ‘house-only’ rates, which means no landscaping, driveway or fencing will be included.

Others will set aside prime costs for inclusions rather than working with you to select specific fixtures. Should you wish to upgrade or change these base level items during the build, you’ll be paying a premium for it.

The other big exclusion, which can cause significant budget blow outs is when the quoted fit out is very basic. For example, only one powerpoint in each bedroom, or just two downlights in the living space. When you ask the builder to add in more, watch as the costs start to increase exponentially.

When it comes to building a new custom home or renovating your existing space, there’s really no one-size-fits-all formula. That’s why it’s important to speak to a builder early on in the process to get personalised advice and a customised building quote specific to your needs.

To find out more about bringing your dream home to life, get in touch with Hobart’s home building expert, Westwood Family Homes today.

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