Build Your Dream Home

Frequently Asked Questions.

What are the commonly asked questions for building custom homes, knockdown rebuilds, and renovations?

What Services are Included in a Preliminary Agreement?

Preliminary Agreement Services:

A preliminary agreement outlines the services provided, offering a description of the project. This description allows the builder to assess the necessary work for formulating both the project scope and cost analysis.

Preliminary Work Undertaken by Exceed Homes:

Depending on the client’s stage, Exceed Homes provides various preliminary services, including:

  • Detailed and contour survey
  • Identification survey
  • Feasibility study
  • Soil or geotechnical report
  • Engagement of a designer/architect to draw up a concept and subsequently detailed design
  • Engineering design
  • Town planning advice
  • Other specialist consultant reports
  • Locating existing infrastructure within the site
  • Cost analysis/quoting

Client Stages and Task Requirements:

  • Clients in the very early stage of the land purchasing phase or those who have yet to engage a designer/architect may require Exceed Homes to perform all tasks in the list.
  • If the client already has these documents in order, Exceed Homes may be required to review the documents and produce a tendering quote.
    Why We Opt Against Offering Square Meterage Rates

    We frequently receive inquiries about why we don’t offer a square meterage rate. The reality is, for a custom-built project, there is no fixed rate. This is because every project is unique, site conditions vary, and clients have individual requirements.

    While a square meterage rate can be beneficial initially for creating a starting budget—where the client allocates a budget (X amount) and estimates the building size by dividing it by the rate—it’s crucial to note that this rate must be verified by the builder through a comprehensive quote. Often, the rate applied at the beginning of the design process differs from the ultimate cost.

    Providing an accurate property quote entails the builder fully comprehending the plan, the scope of work, site conditions, and time constraints. Similar to assembling Lego pieces, each component is priced individually before being put together to determine the final figure.

      Why Do You Charge a Fee for Quotes While Other Builders Offer Them for Free?

      For a quote to hold meaning, it must be accurate and provide clear, detailed information for both parties involved. Achieving this accuracy demands a significant investment of time and resources, given the unique nature of each project in terms of scope and site conditions.

      While obtaining a free quote may seem convenient, builders offering such may not dedicate the necessary time and effort. Some may apply a square meterage rate or underquote, compensating by lowering standards or adding extra costs during the construction process. Frequently, owners opt for the lowest-cost builder due to the challenge of deciphering quotes. However, what appears to be a good deal initially can lead to higher costs or an unsuccessful project outcome.

      Opting for a paid service allows us to delve deeper into the project. Particularly for renovations, multiple site visits and confirmations may be necessary. When we commit to an agreement, our focus is on delivering a quality quote that thoroughly assesses the project scope and accounts for unforeseeable items. It’s important to note that if we do not secure the job, our expenses will not be recouped from the fee we charge. During the initial consultation, we assess the owner’s budget viability, and if there’s a significant mismatch, we refrain from offering this service.

      What documentation is needed for a quote?

      With accurate and comprehensive documentation, we can generate a precise quote, typically within a 4-week turnaround for a standard project. The fee for this service varies from $500 for an estimate to $5,000, depending on the job’s complexity and size.

      Conversely, if the provided documents are insufficient, the quoting process can be completed in a couple of days. This scenario often arises when clients seek an estimate during the design phase. While a basic concept drawing can be used, it’s essential for clients to understand that accuracy may be compromised.

      What is the cost of obtaining a quote?

      The fee varies between $500 for an estimate and $5,000, contingent on the complexity and size of the job.

        What do Prime Cost (PC) and Provisional Sums (PS) refer to?

        In order to enhance the accuracy of the quote/contract, it is crucial to specify every detail, including elements as specific as the type of light bulb to be used. However, there are instances where such details may not be determinable at the quoting or contracting stage. Two commonly used terms accommodate these variables.

        Provisional Sum (PS):
        A Provisional Sum is an allowance included in a tender or contract to account for specific work that couldn’t be finalised before tendering or contract signing. This sum encompasses the total cost of both supply and installation, such as joinery, landscaping, air conditioning, or rock removal. When Prime Cost Items (PCs) and Provisional Sum (PS) allowances are detailed in a tender or contract document, the indicated amount should be inclusive of GST. For example:

        • Landscaping Provisional Sum: $10,000 (inclusive of GST)

        Prime Cost Item (PC):
        A Prime Cost Item refers to an allowance within a tender or contract specifically designated for the supply and delivery of materials (e.g., taps, baths, light fittings) that haven’t been chosen at the time of tender or before contract signing. Alternatively, it may pertain to items for which the Contractor couldn’t provide a fixed price upon entering the contract. The final selection of the item subject to a PC allowance is typically made by the Proprietor/Owner.

        • Tile allowance PC: $35/m2 (inclusive of GST)

        What is an Identification Survey, and what purpose does it serve for me?

        An Identification Survey, commonly known as an Ident, is a survey conducted to identify existing buildings and improvements on a parcel of land. This survey is exclusively carried out by a Registered Surveyor. When purchasing a property, it is strongly advised to enlist a Surveyor for an Ident survey. Typically, your solicitor will obtain an Ident report as a standard procedure, aiming to safeguard against issues that only a Surveyor can uncover.


        What does a Contour and Detail survey entail?

        Detail surveys are a fundamental requirement for both building and land development, primarily serving to delineate features on and around a property. These surveys play a crucial role in providing architects and planners with the essential site features and levels necessary for effective planning and design. In the context of land development, a topographic survey, which includes detailed site information, becomes integral to the success of a development application.

        Key components of general detail surveys encompass:

        • Levels and contours referenced to the Australian Height Datum (AHD)
        • Tying into cadastral reference marks and outlining approximate boundaries on the plan
        • Conducting a field survey to capture site details and features
        • Field locating visible services
        • Establishing spot levels and contours across the site
        • Documenting details of significant trees with a trunk diameter exceeding 0.2 meters
        • Noting information about retaining walls, changes in grade, etc., onto adjoining sites
        • Identifying the location of existing and adjacent houses/structures, along with floor and apex levels
        • Capturing road and curb details at the site up to the crown
        • Establishing the site level datum
        Perform dial-before-you-dig searches

        Before engaging in any excavation projects, it is essential to conduct dial-before-you-dig searches to assess the presence of underground services around your property. Common searches involve identifying the location of telecommunication lines, gas lines, sewer mains, water supply lines, stormwater mains, and underground electricity supply.

        Exceed Homes can provide guidance if there are any challenges in connecting your house to the mains. Potential issues may include the unavailability of a connection to the sewer main, the presence of a manhole on your block, or the lack of a stormwater main for a legal point of discharge.

        Urban planning and overlay restrictions

        As part of the initial searches, we engage in retrieving information from the council pertaining to your property. Most of these searches utilize publicly available data. Exceed Homes is here to assist you in interpreting the search results. We particularly focus on addressing common constraints, including:

        • Zoning of your property
        • Protection status of the existing house if you are considering demolition and reconstruction
        • Potential impact of flood or being in the overland flow path
        • Presence of protected vegetation
        • Heritage listing
        • Bushfire zoning
        • Indicative contour of the site
        What does Soil Testing entail, and why is it necessary?

        The soil typically found beneath the topsoil in residential building-zoned land can generally be categorized into two main groups: granular and clay. Frequently, the foundation soil comprises a mixture of these types. Issues associated with soils containing granular elements often stem from erosion, while clay soils may experience problems related to saturation and swell/shrinkage.

        To classify soil in a specific area, obtaining a geotechnical report, commonly known as a soil test report, is essential. Given that many structural issues in buildings arise from clay soils, there is a significant focus on classifying soils based on the extent of swell and shrinkage they undergo with variations in water content.

        The table below, extracted from AS 2870, the Residential Slab and Footing Code, provides general definitions of site classes, emphasizing the relationship between soil types and their potential for ground movement due to moisture changes:

        A Most sand and rock sites with little to no ground movement from moisture changes
        S Slightly reactive clay sites with only slight ground movement from moisture changes
        M Moderately reactive clay or silt sites, which can experience moderate ground movement from moisture changes
        H Highly reactive clay sites, which can experience high ground movement from moisture changes
        E Extremely reactive sites, which can experience extreme ground movement from moisture changes
        A to P Filled sites
        P Sites including soft soils such as soft clay, silt, or loose sands; landslip; mine subsidence; collapsing soils; soils subject to erosion; reactive sites subject to abnormal moisture conditions or sites which cannot be classified otherwise

        Reference: CSIRO BTF18 Foundation Maintenance and Footing Performance: A Homeowner’s Guide