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Are the foundations included in the price of my new home



We sometimes get the question as to whether the foundations and stumps are included in the price of a new home. We know that the answer to this may sometimes vary from builder to builder, but in line with our approach to honestly answering questions, we wanted to outline what’s most common in the industry. And by the way, we’re generally referring to a suspended floor system, although the same principles do apply for a concrete slab system.


So, are the foundations included? The short answer is yes, but the long answer is that there may be additional costs for specific sites or home designs. Let’s talk through the long answer for you.


Every home needs foundations. We don’t care what sort of house it is – it needs a foundation. So it’s a vital part of the home, and because of this it has to be part of the scope of works, and so of course a cost needs to be allocated to it in the estimating stage. But the question comes up – what size foundation should the cost be based on?


We’ve got a separate blog all about soil tests – good reading if you get a chance – but without trying to go into too much detail here, the soil on your particular site is tested by an engineer and then the foundations are designed to provide the needed strength for the home based on the characteristics of that soil. And the foundation design can vary wildly from site to site and from home to home – which means the costs can also vary wildly.


But when a company provides an initial cost estimate for a home (say for example when you call them to ask how much their homes cost) they don’t have any site-specific information on which to base the footing design. And so what typically happens is that the estimator uses a ‘standard’ size footing. Or maybe they’ll use the most common soil type in the geographical area they build in. Or we have heard of companies using the smallest possible size based on optimal soil characteristics. So whatever it is, the builder will always use something to come up with a cost for the home.


And these costs would typically include the excavation costs to bore the holes or dig out the trenches, and any steel stumps and reinforcing in the holes, and of course the concrete to pour into the footings, and the labour cost to make it all happen. There are often other periphery costs but these are the general items.


So, yes, footings – or foundations – are included in the cost of the home. But if your home site has soil that moves more than the average or is softer than what the building company has allowed for, then there will be extra costs. It’s very hard to provide a range of what these costs may be, but for a suspended floor, we typically see somewhere between $1k and $3k per home for highly reactive clay sites, but have seen up to $9k for a filled site that was problematic. There are also stories around of seriously moveable sites costing up to $50k extra for a concrete slab system.


When you’re talking to your builder, ask them what their ‘standard’ footings are based on. And then talk to them about what the extra costs may be if the soil on your site is not as good as what they’ve based on their allowances on. And if they can’t answer you clearly, then start asking yourself whether you feel they have a good understanding of what it takes to build a home on a solid footing.


As always, asking for advice until you feel reassured is always the best option.
Disclaimer. This blog is our opinion only. The information provided in our blogs is accurate and true to the best of our knowledge, but there may be omissions, errors or mistakes. The information presented in our blogs is for informational purposes only and we are not professionals, so the content we provide shouldn’t be taken as legal advice. We strongly recommend consulting with a professional before taking any sort of action. We reserve the right to change how we manage our blog and we may change the focus or content at any time.

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