How much does it cost to knock down and rebuild a house?

This article was originally published on Canstar as How much does it cost to knock down and rebuild a house?

A knock down rebuild can be an opportunity to get into the home you’ve always wanted. Here, we break down some potential costs and savings, and consider some of the pros and cons of this method relative to renovation.

Say you’ve just bought a block of land in an area that you love, but the current house on it just isn’t up to scratch. Alternatively, say your current house is already in an area that you love, but you’re feeling like you’ve started to outgrow the old place, and it’s time to refresh the design and layout, and perhaps take more advantage of space you have on the block.

While a renovation might be one option, a knock down rebuild can be an opportunity to create a totally new home more suited to your current needs. If you’re giving some thought to knocking a home down and building again from the ground up, it’s important to get a picture of the costs you might face.

In this article, we’ll answer:

What is a knock down rebuild?

A knock down rebuild involves demolishing one house in order to completely build a new one in its place. Typically, the demolition process will involve completely levelling a block, and getting rid of all structures on it, as well as things that may be underground. The vacant land is then used to build a completely new house from the ground up.

How much does it cost to demolish a house?

Managing Director of Ownit Homes, Brad Ganim, told Canstar that the cost of a demolition can range from $20,000 to $40,000. There are various things that can both add to the price and help you save money, depending on the block itself, the material that the house is built from, and various other factors we discuss in more detail below.

What can add to the cost of demolishing a house?

While a demolition quote will typically address requirements such as council demolition approvals, capping off utilities like gas and water, and soil testing and surveying, there are additional factors that can drive the price up. These can include access to the block itself, and the cost of removing tree roots and pipes, plus hidden nasties such as asbestos.

Access to the block

Mr Ganim told Canstar that access to the block, or lack thereof, can be a contributing factor in driving up demolition costs. “If the house is on a main road and street parking is not very good, or if you’re on a very narrow block and they can’t get in there, that will make it a lot more difficult.” This is one factor that could make a demolition more expensive.

Things lurking below ground

Mr Ganim also said that when it comes to demolition, it’s just as important to know what’s underneath a block as it is what’s on top. “If there are old pipes, for example, we need to know because there are costs that come into it with replacing those kinds of things.”

He said that there can be a lot of other things underground, such as old footings and tree roots and the like, that need to be removed before a rebuild, and this can add to the cost.


The presence of asbestos in the house can also add up to $10,000 to demolition costs, builder Jason Thistlethwait told Canstar. Mr Thistlethwait, who is the owner of Stroud Homes and has three decades of experience as a builder, said that asbestos is one of the main factors that can add to the cost of demolishing a home.

“You need to get licensed asbestos removalists in ,” Mr Thistlethwait said. “They wear suits, they come in and take it away and wrap it up in plastic.”

Asbestos was a common construction material in Australia from the 1940s through to the 1980s, and was often used in homes for fireproofing or insulation purposes. There are two main types of asbestos you might find in a home – bonded asbestos, which has been bonded to interior or exterior cladding, and friable asbestos, which is loose. There is a chance that either of these may be present in homes built before 1990.

HiPages estimates that the removal of external cladding with asbestos can cost between $4,000 and $5,000, while the cost of removing internal cladding with asbestos from a single room can be between $1,000 and $1,500. HiPages estimates that the cost to remove a roof with asbestos can be between $3,500 and $5,000. Prices will vary depending on how much asbestos is in your house or on your property, and where it is situated.

What are some ways you can save money on a demolition?

Mr Ganim told Canstar that you might be able to save some money on a demolition by recycling materials from your old home. He said that materials such as timber and red terracotta roof tiles can be worth money, and that if a demolition crew picks and resells these things, the benefit can be passed on to the owner.

He added, however, that this is not the case with all materials. He said that brick, for example, is less likely to be recyclable than other kinds of materials, and that while some companies will remove and resell bricks, a brick dwelling will typically just be demolished.

He said that another way to save on demolition costs is to sell the existing structure to a house remover. “That’s a way of saving a lot of money,” he said. “Sometimes they’ll take the house for no charge ‒ you get no money, but they get the house for free.”

While house removal services commonly deal in old timber dwellings such as Queenslanders, Colonial and Post War-style homes, others from more recent periods may also be moved, as long as they are built on platform timber floors. Although it is possible to move concrete slab homes, it is more costly, so if you are curious about this as an option, it would be wise to make enquiries with individual home removers in your area.

Read more about our Knock Down & Rebuild Process here.