Finance | 22 April 2020

What Does “Fixed Site Costs” Actually Mean?

by Taylah White

The definition of this phrase can vary from builder to builder, and it’s vital you know what it means before signing a land or building contract.

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After the base house price and the cost associated with purchasing land, the next major component to consider in a budget for any new home build are site costs. These are the costs associated with your specific block of land, which arise from preparing the site for construction, and can change depending on your block’s soil classification. Because these costs are so variable, they can be challenging to deal with, particularly for those working to a fixed budget.

Many builders promise certainty around the cost of a new home by offering “fixed site costs”. However, while this phrase can look very attractive at first glance and provide a level of comfort, these offers too often come with conditions that mean your total site costs could still be subject to significant variation. So, it’s imperative that before you sign any building contract, you know exactly which site costs are, and are not, included.

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Image source: Carlisle Homes

A comprehensive approach to fixed site costs

According to Carlisle Homes Group House and Land Manager Nicole Dowling, it’s common for people to be confused by what the phrase “fixed site costs” means. “Often it’s only once we break down site costs in detail with a customer that they actually realise they’re not comparing apples with apples, and that their seemingly low quote for fixed site costs from another builder has a long list of costs that aren’t covered and could potentially be added to their build contract later on,” she says. “By contrast, when Carlisle Homes says we offer fixed site costs, we really mean it. And they’re fixed from the moment you pay your deposit.”

The list of costs that Carlisle Homes covers as part of our Fixed Site Costs option is comprehensive. There are the costs that relate to preparation of the building site, such as earthwork, rock removal and drainage, as well as additional engineering requirements like slab upgrades, bored piers and deepened beams. There are also council requirements for managing construction, like temporary fencing and timber footpath crossovers. And developer requirements, such as specific facade treatments and roof pitches, and fibre optics. All of these are included in our pricing. In fact, we are very transparent in advising that there is just one cost that isn’t included in Carlisle’s Fixed Site Costs option – corner facade treatments, for blocks situated on a corner. Apart from that single factor, if there are any surprises with your block of land that lead to increased site costs, Carlisle Homes wears that additional cost and you don’t pay a cent extra, so you can embark on your home-building journey with confidence and surety.

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Questions to ask about fixed site costs

Carlisle’s Fixed Site Costs are so comprehensive it means that your quotation from us provides an excellent checklist for comparison with other builders’ fixed pricing offers. So, an important question to any builder should be, “Does your fixed site cost cover all of these items?” Carlisle Homes also supplies a Fixed Price Certificate, which states our agreed cost. The certificate is printed, and your Carlisle sales consultant will sign it in front of you, to formalise our commitment and provide you with assurance. You should ask other builders if they’re also willing to sign such a certificate; if they won’t, perhaps the site costs aren’t really fixed.

It pays to be meticulous when comparing builder quotes. Because starting your project knowing exactly what you’ve committed to spend not only brings peace of mind, it gives you options for managing your finances. If the total project cost comes in below your allocated budget, you can choose to pocket the savings, or you can reallocate those funds to things that will enhance your home, such as a premium kitchen upgrade – a much nicer scenario than starting a home build not knowing if an unforeseen site cost could blow your budget altogether!

For more information about fixed site costs, we recommend talking to our friendly team on 13 27 67

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Taylah White

House & Land Specialist

Taylah sources land exclusively for Carlisle Homes. She leverages her strong connections and relationships with developers to ensure that Carlisle Homes can provide the best house & land packages for their customers.

Taylah also invests considerable energy into the development of her team and believes their professional development is key to Carlisle Homes' outstanding customer service. 'My team work towards a common goal, to find land that not only exceeds customer expectations, it moves them one step closer to living in their dream home'.

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