What are the steps of a knock down rebuild?

You’re ready to build the house of your dreams in the neighbourhood you love. But what are the steps involved in a knock down rebuild?

Homes by Howe, Canberra builder, knock down rebuild, Deakin
Homes by Howe’s knock down rebuild in Deakin which included demolition all the way through to landscaping.

A knock down rebuild is the perfect solution if you love your neighbourhood but not your home. Unlike a renovation it provides you with complete control over the project. Knock down rebuilds give you the ability to design and build your dream house from the ground up. With the current growth in house prices in the ACT and low interest rates for the foreseeable future, there has never been a better time to build the house of your dreams!

Homes by Howe, Canberra builder, knock down rebuild, Downer
A Homes by Howe knock down rebuild in Downer demonstrates the design potential a new home.

Step 1: Council rules and regulations

You want to start by checking your local councils rules and regulations surrounding a knock down rebuild. Most councils have strict rules regarding building in established suburbs. The easiest way to do this is to discuss your plans with your local councils planning and building section. This will help you understand the permits and zoning that pertain to your block.

Homes by Howe, Canberra builder, knock down rebuild, display home, Chapman
Homes by Howe display home and adjacent Tudawalli Place knock down rebuild.

Step 2: Seek advice from a knock down rebuild specialist

Once you’ve talked to the council you’ll want to start looking for an experienced professional to build your dream home. Preferably you want to hire a knock down rebuild specialist. They will have an in depth understanding of the council regulations and processes involved in a knock down rebuild. This makes them better equipped to help you with organising the various permits and approvals required. Getting expert advice as early as possible in the knock down rebuild process will help to avoid delays and mistakes further down the line. Check out Homes by Howe 19 Questions to ask your Builder Article for help when choosing the right builder for you.

Homes by Howe, Canberra builder, Managing Director, Brendan Howe
Managing Director and Founder of Homes by Howe; Brendan Howe.

Step 3: New home design

Once you’ve chosen your builder they will conduct a thorough property assessment in order to check your blocks suitability for a knock down rebuild. This includes a soil test that determines the reactivity of your soil and a feature survey. A feature survey is a scale drawing of your site that shows landfall, service connection points, easements and any other pre-existing features. Once this is complete your builder will present you with a new home tender. This covers site-related costs and the preliminary site plan. At this stage you will work with your builder and/or architect to finalise colours and materials.

Homes by Howe, Canberra builder, knock down rebuild, Red Hill

Step 4: Contract signing

Once this is complete your chosen knock down rebuild specialist will prepare a HIA New Home Contract for you to review. This will include the results of the preliminary soil test, feature survey, contract drawings and colour selection. As soon as you’ve signed the HIA Contract your builder will submit your building application. You will need to pass this on to your lender so they can prepare your progress payments.

Homes by Howe, Canberra builder, Managing Director Brendan Howe talking to Client

Step 5: Demolition

You’ve signed your contract, done your initial soil test and feature survey and it’s time to knock down your old home. You will need an independent licensed asbestos assessor to verify that your site is free of asbestos. If successful you will be issued with an asbestos clearance certificate. You will need to provide your builder with a copy of your demolition license and disconnect your utilities in advanced. Not all builders offer in house demolition, so may refer you on to a demolition specialist for this part of the build process. A knock down rebuild specialist like Homes by Howe covers all parts of the knock down rebuild process, from demolition through to landscaping. A builder like this will make your experience and the build process smooth and stress free.  

Homes by Howe, Canberra builder, knock down rebuild, site works
Homes by Howe covers all parts of the knock down rebuild process

Step 6: Knock down rebuild site prep

Once demolition is complete your builder will order another soil test and feature survey. As there may be additional findings on the site post demolition. This is necessary for your builder to finalise your construction plan and make necessary adjustments to site costs. Your builder will now prepare your block for site start and excavate your land in preparation for the concrete slab.

During the knock down rebuild process mandatory inspections are carried out. This is to prevent major issues from arising in the future and ensure all work is up to code. The first inspection occurs during the site prep stage. The building inspector will inspect excavation work, boundary clearances and reinforcements before your slab is poured.

Homes by Howe, Canberra builder, site works

Step 7: Foundations

It is now that initial works for underground power and plumbing are carried out. A second building inspection is conducted before the concrete base is poured. The slab is then poured and given time to ‘cure’. This is also the stage when the first progress payment is often made. However this will vary according to the specific contract agreement you have made with your builder.

Homes by Howe, Canberra builder, knock down rebuild, slab pouring
Homes by Howe on site pouring the slab.

Step 8: Frame

This is when you can start to see the bones of your new knock down rebuild taking shape. If you have opted for a timber frame, carpenters will start erecting the wall frames and roof trusses of your new home. A third building inspection checks that the dimensions and placements of your frame conform to the approved plans. They will also ensure that the tie down straps to your slab are correctly installed.

Homes by Howe, Canberra builder, new build, Burra, frame
Erecting the frame of Adam Mcgrath’s home in Burra.

Step 9: ‘’Lock-up’’ Stage

The ‘lock-up’ stage refers to the point in the knock down rebuild process where the roof, walls, external doors and windows are installed. Effectively making your new home water tight and ‘lockable’. This is also the stage where the fascia, guttering, brickwork and external cladding are completed. While this is going on plumbers and electricians will ‘rough in’ the necessary piping, cabling and fittings. They will bring various lines to the house without making the final connections. At this stage only NSW and QLD have a mandatory building inspection for waterproofing.

Homes by Howe, Canberra builder, knock down rebuild, frame

Step 10: Fixing stage

This is the stage where you’re really going to see your knock down rebuild taking shape. Interior features start to be fitted, plasterboard is installed on the floor and ceiling. Internal doors, cabinets and shelving are fitted as well as skirting boards and architraves.

Homes by Howe, Canberra builder, new build, Denman Prospect

Step 11: Knock down rebuild completion stage

It’s the race to the finish, it’s time to make your new home ready for you to move in. Painting and tiling are finished off. Electrical and plumbing fit offs occur, including shower screens, mirrors and bench tops. External render is completed. At this stage the final building inspection will occur. A throughout inspection will make sure that all areas of your new home are completed according to building code. If everything is up to standard the building surveyor will issue you with a certificate of occupancy. Once this is all done your builder will arrange for you to be walked through your new home and confirm the handover date. During this stage make sure you double check that everything is working and up to standard. Most builders will have a maintenance period after your knock down rebuild is complete, incase you notice any defects after settlement.

Homes by Howe, Canberra builder, knock down rebuild, Griffith

Step 12: Settlement

It’s time to celebrate; you’ve finally crossed the line! This is the most exciting stage of your knock down rebuild. Your payments are complete and you get the keys to your beautiful new home.

We hope this article has helped to shed some light on the knock down rebuild process. If you are ready to take the plunge and embark upon a knock down rebuild of your own, get in touch with the knock down rebuild specialists at Homes by Howe and book an initial design consult.