Knockdown Rebuild Process Explained

Wondering what the knockdown rebuild process is? Then we’ve got you covered with this informative guide.

Have you always dreamed of a better home but don’t want to move from the neighbourhood?

Well, you can always find a new one in the area, but we know that is one hell of a job. So, how about a knockdown rebuild? After all, there’s a reason why this form of homebuilding has become popular in recent times.

Knockdown Rebuild Process Explained

However, we know that homeowners need to have a fair idea about it. And that’s why we’ve curated this guide with everything you need to know.

So, without further ado, let’s begin!

What Is Knockdown Rebuild?

As the name suggests, Knockdown Rebuild (KDRB) is the process of ‘knocking down’ or demolishing an old house to build a new one in its place. Also referred to as Knockdown New Build or KDR, it’s swiftly taking over the homebuilding sector in Australia.

The apparent advantage includes not moving from your neighbourhood to living in a new house. But that’s not the only reason why more and more people are opting for KDRB.

On that note, let’s take a look at some of the other key benefits associated with it:

Completely Customized Homes

For one, homeowners have the liberty of making their home exactly how they want without having to run from auction to auction. What’s more, once you have the specifics listed down, there’s every chance you may even exceed your expectations!

Unlike renovating or extending, homeowners aren’t restricted to the limitations of the existing floor plans and design of the current home. From an open plan layout to modern finishes, the possibilities are practically endless in KDRB.

Moreover, you can opt for more energy-efficient systems in compliance with the energy star rating system. Likewise, there’s complete control over the minute details like the colour scheme, fixtures, and fittings.

Stay In Your Preferred Location

Staying in your favourite area is more than just the comfort of the familiar neighbourhood in terms of convenient commutation and having emergency services nearby.

When people stay in a particular location for long, they develop an in-depth knowledge of other important aspects like drainage, flooding, etc.

Hence, it becomes easier to choose the best and most effective countering those problems. Furthermore, having places of daily commute saves you the trouble of changing your lifestyle even in a new house.

No Surprises

Undoubtedly, renovating or extending your current home can bring about a host of nasty surprises. Despite putting in a ton of money and planning, you don’t know what you’re dealing with until the construction begins.

Some of the most commonly uncovered problems may include asbestos, shoddy foundations, damaged plumbing, faulty electricals, etc. And depending on the severity of the situation, homeowners may end up paying thousands of dollars extra.

Since KDRB essentially gives you the chance of starting from scratch, there are very few chances that you might run into something like this. You can quickly mitigate the concerns with old housing structures as new houses should adhere to building codes, regulations, and standards.

Beyond that, many KDRB services may offer a Lifetime Structural Guarantee for greater peace of mind and confidence among homeowners.

Keeping The Costs Down

No matter how many advantages we bring to the table, the list can never be complete without talking about the costs. To begin with, let us say that compared to renovation prices and the cost of buying a newly established home, knocking down your house to build one can be an affordable alternative.

If you already own the land, KDRB can become cheaper than relocation since it’s often the price of the land that makes buying a new house so expensive. Plus, stamp duty fees add significantly to the overall cost. That’s why “fixer-uppers” are priced at millions of dollars in the inner-city suburbs.

If you live in an old house or have purchased a rundown property, you’ll mostly be spending a lot of time and money researching the renovation process. Finding similar materials won’t be easy or cheap.

And as we have mentioned before, “hidden situations” during renovation can make it very difficult to stick to a fixed budget. But when you build a home from scratch, the costs are upfront from the start of the process with no hidden fees throughout.

Convenience Of The Builder

Many builders will tell you that rebuilding is more convenient than remodelling or renovation.

The Master Builders Association of Victoria states that builders have a better understanding of the construction without making educated guesses about the quality of the existing work. Moreover, depending on the scope of the design, it may indeed be possible to wrap up the project ahead of time.

The Knockdown Rebuild Process: What To Do?

Sure, a knockdown rebuild is a big project. But that doesn’t necessarily correlate to a difficult one, especially if you follow the proper steps. And so that you can build the home of your dreams with minimal stress, here’s a basic overview of the entire process.

Check The Regulations

Like any other construction project, the first step in undertaking KDRB is to check the regulations with the local authorities. Homeowners need to thoroughly investigate all the legalities pertaining to demolishing and rebuilding, including council regulations and planning restrictions, which may affect the process.

Many homeowners prefer to get a current section 149 from their local council in this regard. For the unversed, section 149 (or planning certificate) contains the planning information about the land, like zoning, levelling, or any constraints that may apply. The purpose of obtaining one is to ensure that the process runs smoothly without any undue hiccups.

In addition, local councils have laws relating to asset protection and various planning laws, mainly if the concerned building is subject to planning approval—furthermore, factors like planning overlays, heritage overlays, allotment size, etc.

You may need to secure a building approval for the intended work, which is generally issued by a municipal council building surveyor or a private building surveyor.

It can be broadly thought of as a 3-step process, with the first step involving an analysis of whether the building requires planning approval in the first place. The next two steps largely involve preparing a suitable design to reply to the planning and building approval requirements.

Lastly, you may also need to factor in traffic management plans for the duration of the build, and your local council will be of great help here.

Apart from that, your builder will tell you if the construction requires a Complying Development Certificate or Development Approval. While the former is about predictable, minor environmental impacts, the latter is for more complex buildings and the set guidelines and structure details that must be strictly adhered to.

Enter The Designing Phase

Once you’re done with the legal formalities, it’s now time to take on the most interesting aspect of the job- designing the house. Builders will provide you with hundreds of options to choose from, or you can browse through the plethora of floor plans, photos, videos, and virtual 3D tours available on the internet.

Most KDBR services have physical display centres where New Home Advisors will assist you with the plan’s details. Make sure to get all your questions resolved and ask for the extent of customization feasible on your desired plan. This is also the step where you can expect an initial budget and timeline quotation.

Getting The Details Right

So that homeowners don’t have to endure the stress of completing all legal formalities, builders take it upon themselves to formulate and get the proposal approved. However, we’d still strongly recommend going through the rules to ensure that nothing is overlooked.

Surveys And Testing

The next step in the process is all about the physical examinations of the site. Professionals will get the soil tested to finalize the site assessment and draw possible limitations, like the slope of the land, drainage, access to services, etc.

Preliminary Contract And Signing

When you are satisfied with the assessment results and are happy to proceed, the company will organize the preliminary contract. At this point, you’ll find a detailed overview of the house plan and itemized costs with the upgrades and changes that have been decided upon, including the land cost.

Adding The Finishing Touches

After signing the preliminary contract and depending on the size of the building company, homeowners visit specialized design and selection studios for picking up the finishing touches. With the right assistance from professional design consultants, you can select the colours, finishes, fixtures and customize them as required.

Electrical consultants meet with homeowners and discuss the lighting options and electrical layout, etc. If you plan to employ solar power for certain sections of the house, now is the time to talk about it.

Final Contract Signing And Building Permit

Complete with all the costs and clauses, this final contract signing provides the “green light” to the job, alongside applying and obtaining the building permit.


An important thing to note is that not every rebuilding service offers to do the demolishing part. That said, they may connect you with the right people for the job. While at it, look for a demolishing company that will complete the job to the tee, from obtaining permits to clearing the mess.

An asset protection permit from the local council is another key consideration. It will cover the cost of damages caused to the footpaths or driveway crossovers. While the total demolition cost will vary according to the structure, the price range is usually between $10,000 and $15,000.

Keeping Track Of The Project

Once the construction begins, you have to keep track of the process, stage by stage. Your site manager will keep you updated about each stage, namely:

  • Base: pouring the slab
  • Frame: receding the frame
  • Lock-up: finishing the roof and walls
  • Fixing: completing the interior and exterior details
  • Completion: the handover of the new home

Are There Any Challenges?

To answer it in one word, we’d say yes. Knockdown Rebuild is not free from its share of disadvantages. But then again, what is? While we don’t mean to scare you away from the idea, here are some points we feel you should keep in mind.

Problems Concerning Approval

Aside from design and heritage considerations, building a different home in a particular neighbourhood can dent the chances of getting a KDRB approval. For instance, if you plan to build a duplex in an area dominated by single-story buildings, you may face significant difficulty getting the project approved.

Delays And Chaos

Bad weather and personal tragedies of the workforce are just some of the unforeseen reasons that may delay the timeline. And since you’d want to live on the site during the rebuild, it will invariably result in uncomfortable living in cramped spaces. Arranging for temporary accommodations is another pain in the neck as you also have to store the furniture safely.

Getting The Right People On Board

Without thorough background checks, you’ll likely end up with the wrong people and spending all your budget for nothing. So, don’t rush with the first builder you come across. Make sure the prices and service are reasonable enough.

Final Words on knockdown rebuilds

That brings us to the end of today’s guide. Hopefully, we’ve solved all your queries related to the knockdown rebuild. As a final piece of advice, we can only stress the importance of putting in a great amount of thought before you decide to continue.

Is this the right time to rebuild? Will renovation be more cost-effective for me? Is my preferred builder credible enough?- these are the questions that should be answered at the onset for a smooth journey to your new home.

Here is a list of questions you should ask any builder before hiring them.

On that note, allow us to take our leave. We wish you to get only the best of everything to build the home of your dreams.

Till we meet again, take care!

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