Table of Contents
  1. Definition
  2. Examples
  3. A Note

This is such a massive topic so covering it all and in comprehensive detail will be a challenge.  However I will provide you with enough information that when you sit infront of any builder – you will sound like an expert.


Site Cost is the amount it costs to physically “put” your home on your land.

If the base price is the price of your home component from the slab up, the site cost is the money you pay for your home component from the slab and down.

Site Costs generally include piering, slab, earthworks, concrete pumps, etc…

What a lot of builders do is exclude most of the costs or have provisional allowances throughout the site costs.   For example, they only “allow” for a limited number of lineal meters of piering so later they can charge you more.

It’s like buying an 8-piece dining table and you pay for 6 pieces upfront and once you make a sizable deposit, they will say “oh by the way Mr. Smith, it looks like you need 8 pieces for your 8-piece dining table and we have only allowed 6 in our price.”


Site Vegetation Scrape

This is to prepare your site for earthworks and conduct a top scrape of grass and vegetation etc…


This includes benching your site to form a building platform.  This is where the cut/fill happen to your site in preparation for your slab

Service Connections

This included telecommunication, sewer, stormwater, electrical, gas, water, etc…

Drop Edge Beams (DEB)

If your site has a slope in it, then you may need DEB.  DEBs are like retaining walls to your slab.  Much like a normal retaining wall keeping the soil and structure intact, so will a DEB to your slab.

Spoil Removal

Be very careful with this as most builders don’t include spoil removal as a result of benching your site or from preparing your DEB.  This is a real cost that you have to take into account when you are doing your numbers

Temporary Fencing

This is external temporary fencing for you site during construction to secure your site and comply with authority requirements.

Slab Classification

A soil test is needed to determine how reactive your site is and whether your slab will be an M / H1 / H2 / etc… class.  There are also other classes, but these are the most common slab when building homes in Sydney

Concrete Pumps

This is for pumping concreted from the truck direct to you slab

Termite Protection

This states the termite protection that your builder is going to use to protect your home from potential termite damage.  Examples include:  reticulated, blanket, etc…

Site Scrape

This involves cleaning the site off any shrubs, debris, existing structures, rubbish, long grass, trees, etc… to make the site ready for construction.

Machine Hire

well the name says it…

Electrical Mains Metering

Some builders will include a single phase mains electrical service from the existing energy supply pillar to your meter box.  Others may include a 3-phase mains electrical service.

Your electrical box will be built to suit the electrical service.


These are dug into the ground to support your concrete slab and foundation

Frames and Trusses

Some builders include this as part of their site costs.  I think this should be in the home price.  It’s not like you can have a home without frames and trusses.

Site Establishment Fees (SEF)

For application to the electrical supply authority for a new National Metering Identifier (NMI), i.e. new metering and new service.

Onsite Detention System (OSD)

These are generally compulsory for new constructions (specifically duplexes and some single dwellings depending on council) or developments.  Put simply, it is a means of detaining the stormwater from your site to ensure the water is safely controlled and distributed accordingly to avoid flooding or stressing the stormwater asset on your street.

A Note

Above are just some of the site costs you may expect to see on your tender.  Now some of the above might not come under the  “Site Costs” section.

For example, you might find some of these costs under “Slab Costs” section which may include three of the above items.  So then the Site Costs for one builder are “cheaper” than the next builder who would include all the above costs under the one Site Costs section.

It would work well for you to understand that different builders will include some / all site costs in your tender and some will not.  It does not matter if the builder does them or you end up doing them, it is still a cost to the project if it’s required and should be treated as such.

Some questions to consider:

  • what should be included in site costs?
  • how do you compare costs?
  • Is there a general rule for labeling or grouping costs?
  • does it make sense to compare site costs between different builders?

It is important to note that it does not really matter what the site costs are – they should not form the basis for comparing builders.  Remember, you do not just pay for site costs so it would be good to pay attention to the overall price that you will be finally paying.  That is the price of your home!

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