What do we need to know about building on a lifestyle block? New at this.

7 years 1 month ago #529703 by bigcitycountryholme
Hey all,

My husband and I are in the planning stages of moving to a lifestyle block just out of Waiuku and have found a block of land we like but trying to make sure we cover everything in our budget before putting an offer in.

Having only ever lived in town what things may we have not considered? Any places you have come across hidden costs? Hints and tips from building rural you have come across?

And also how much difference in cost does it make between managing the house build ourselves and just going through a kitset style company (either for full build or just to lock up). Is managing the build along side a builder actually manageable? We've looked into the cost of building a plan we like through a company but their initial base price they gave us has jumped almost $200k for full build so trying to work out whether there are some obvious things attributing to this that we haven't considered.

Thanks for all your help


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7 years 1 month ago #529707 by LongRidge
Welcome. Some of the things to consider are
1. Is building a residence of right, or does the site need Resource Management consent? I have a block of land that has been rated for many years as though building was permitted, but building has never been permitted of right?
2. Are there RMA requirements where you can build? We looked at a block that the Agent told us had a magnificent site, but were told by Council that it would be impossible to get a permit for that site.
3. How are you going to access water? Check the monthly records for the last 20 years unless there is reticulated water on site?
4. Water? I would seriously consider solar if I were building again, but it would need huge lifestyle changes.
5. Sewage? Is there space and slope for a good drainage field?
6. How much do you like gardening?

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7 years 1 month ago #529710 by tonybaker
good thoughts Longridge, most buyers don't do their homework and avoid going to the council to check things out. Internet access is another thing I would think about and is there a level patch for a house site not too far from the road?

As far as building costs go, I would go for quotes from recognised franchises and that will give you a ball park figure. Forget fancy things like mud brick, rammed earth and straw bale, far too expensive. I think a concrete floor, stud framing and zincalume cladding would work out cheapest. Solar power, water heating is not economic so go for a good woodburner with wetback.

5 acres, Ferguson 35X and implements, Hanmay pto shredder, BMW Z3, Countax ride on mower, chooks, Dorper and Wiltshire sheep. Bosky wood burning central heating stove and radiators. Retro caravan. Growing our own food and preserving it. Small vineyard, crap wine. :)
The following user(s) said Thank You: Bidwell123

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7 years 1 month ago #529713 by Anakei
Get a soil test done for your foundations. Some places need extra deep foundations because of soil conditions.
Also check that you have enough access for big trucks. We needed a crane to get some big beams in.

Urban mini farmer and guerilla gardener

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7 years 1 month ago #529714 by LongRidge
Check out the Council's flood photos of the area.

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7 years 1 month ago #529728 by Geba
I have just finished doing this, ie, project managing own build on block. Stressful ... probably took about 50K off the cost, but definitely hard work. So, some quick things:

Find out if you need resource consent plus building consent, or 'only' building consent. Make sure you know how to apply for these, otherwise you'll have to pay someone to do it for you. RCs especially can have a lot of associated paperwork.

Like LR said, make sure your block has a building site or is suitable for building - some are not. This includes having a site suitable for a septic system for your area, taking into account distance from property boundaries, house site and waterways, sufficient disposal field size, installation & maintenance access, and power requirements.

Find out about services - power & phone. Power costs about 25K per km to put in if there's no line there already, and you may pay extra for a transformer. A wireless rural broadband connection can work really well, but you need to have good coverage.

Make sure your access to the building site & access to the block generally can be used in all weathers, don't stint on drainage and getting a structured (sound & solid) access road put in as it will just keep costing more and more in re-metalling & repairs later otherwise.

Cost your build & services carefully. EG, double glazing (compulsory in new builds now I'm pretty sure) can reduce/remove your need for winter heating depending on your position & internal layout, so you may not need a large woodburner (or any). A concrete slab floor will provide passive heating if your building can be sited for sun exposure.

If you're going to have someone else do the building to lock-up stage and finish it internally yourself, note that works insurance & public liability insurance needs to be in place right through to getting code of compliance - and, due to earthquake/s, insurance companies are also restricting new policies at the moment so see if this will affect you.

Lastly, aim to keep a cash reserve, over estimate all your costs, and remember that every little thing can increase the final cost, so watch like a hawk!

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7 years 1 month ago #529729 by Gracelands
The main rural additional costs that you don't have in town are:
1. A driveway.
2. A septic tank
3. Water supply for the house
4. Power to the house site

Additionally to these basic house costs you will also need to think about:
5. Fencing and water supply for animals
6. Yards and loading ramp for animals
7. Sheds. You will need a lot more than you think

"Just living is not enough. One must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower."
Hans Christian Anderson

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7 years 1 month ago #529900 by Westiechick
Check out the Auckland Council geomaps for the zoning of the property and figure out what would be a permitted activity (will not require resource consent). It's a bit painful but if you find the zone on the maps then you can go to the appropriate part of the plan and figure it out from the activity tables. If in doubt call the Council and ask to speak to a duty planner. Look for the flooding risks also.
If you do a title search (your lawyer should do this prior to purchase) also check if there are any consent notices that may specify additional restrictions e.g. covenants, amount of building coverage, requirements for stormwater retention.

Make sure to include these in your costings as most are not included in your building company base house cost:
Earthworks (depends on the site slope/building coverage etc - ask your building company for a rough estimate)
Topographic survey - ~$1500
Geotech survey ~$1500
Building consent fee (this is sometimes included or partially included in your building contract price - it depends on the value of the build)
Services to house (power/phone)
Water tanks/pump/filter
Power connection, meter
Phone connection fee
Floor coverings
Septic system
Heating (heatpump/fireplace)
Water supply for stock
Spec upgrades e.g. kitchen appliances/bathroom tiling etc
Stormwater retention/design (if needed)

Personally I think unless you have done project management before/work in the building industry and or don't work the cost savings are not going to be worth the stress.

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7 years 1 month ago #529938 by max2
Ensure everyone who works on the build is either fully licenced or directly working for the licenced builder. The only one who should be taking advantage of your owner builder status with Council is you!

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7 years 1 month ago #529939 by max2
Also consider what building experience do you have? How well do you know the building code (some aspects of the code changed again last month)? If you have to take time off from current employment to be on site, what sort of reduction in income will you experience?

Don't be surprised at all with rising building costs. One of the major suppliers to the NZ industry put their prices up by 4% last month. 4 of us in the industry over the last 3 months have lost sub contractors or employees. On a Remuera job Hubby just finished at, the builder there is having to pay $65 per hour to keep his carpenters from wandering to another employee.... and anyone with a good reputation you will be waiting for.

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