What should I budget for a new house?

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Costs of building are often the main point of friction on any project. Get these right and you are guaranteed a smooth, successful design and build.

Do you think that architects are expensive – with little regard to building efficiency? Or that house building companies are better value, but poor at design? Contact us now and get the best of both worlds with Box™.

Depending on your site and design requirements there will be different types of costs that you need to be aware of when budgeting for an architectural build.

The first thing we do before you agree to work with us, is to meet and go through a budget exercise for your particular project.

There are two approaches: 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.

Every build project will incur a range of different costs. Clients are often not aware of the ‘other’ costs that builders and architects don’t include in their ‘square meter rate’ – such as GST or floor coverings! The difference with Box™ is that we try and get some certainty as early as possible in the project.

The table below provides a range for a 3 or 4 bedroom 180 sqm architectural house including double garage. Costs include GST.

*additional resource consent costs may apply if your build is subject to a Resource Consent
**this will be different for every site, but will include earthworks, retaining walls, foundations, drainage, stormwater, wastewater, power
^fully finished house, ready to go
^^decks, steps, any external structures


Cost of BuildingThe costs of building and contingency sum will be hugely dependent on the characteristics of your site. We encourage you to contact us so that we can advise on what costs will be required. Needless to say, a flat, fully-serviced site costs less in terms of siteworks; a steep, vegetated site without reticulated stormwater or wastewater will cost more.

The house design will also have a large cost impact – a cube is easier to build then an ‘L’ or ‘H’ shape.If you are unsure what to budget, or whether modular or custom is right for you, please get in touch with us. We will then arrange a meeting to guide you through the costs of building and the budgeting process.


Frequently Asked Questions:

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.

What is the cost per square metre?

The Box™ sqm rate varies depending on whether the house is single or double storey, the site is flat or sloping, and the configuration of the final design — for example, a cube is more cost-effective than a ‘U’ shape. During the house design process we also consider the efficiency of the build to get the design in on budget. Remember that there are potentially site costs and ‘pre-construction’ costs (design, council, survey, engineering etc) to add to this. If you’re in any doubt feel free to contact Box and we go through a thorough costing exercise as a first step.The smaller the house the higher the cost per square metre. Bear this in mind when comparing with other companies who sell houses of 250sqm+, which reduces the square metre building cost. We prefer to see houses designed better and more efficiently, rather than follow the trend of ‘if you can’t design it well, design it big!’. Quality of space, not quantity is what we’re good at.

Are you more expensive than other design & build companies?

Box™ is less expensive than bespoke architect-designed house builders and more expensive than group house building companies. We sit bang in the middle of the two. Our system is a hybrid — you get good architectural design, with efficiency of build and certainty of cost. We often bring down the cost-per-square-metre rate by designing your new home to be slightly smaller, but better — with no loss of quality of space or perception of size. The design costs are generally 20% to 50% less than what you would pay other architectural practices, because of our ‘one stop shop’ setup.

Box™ is a team of designers, builders and architects in Auckland. If you’d like to chat about your next project, email our Team or give us a call on 0800 717 717.