A knockdown rebuild means that your present home will be pulled down, the foundations broken up, dug out and all the remnants carted away to make room for a new one to be built in its place. It allows you to stay in the community you love without having to move away while bringing your dream home to life.

However, before you start tearing down your walls to jumpstart rebuilding (any demolition is best done by experts anyway as lots of older homes contain hazardous asbestos – more on this later), you need to take time to consider some important things that may affect or limit the home you’re planning to build. Below is a knock-down and rebuild checklist that should help you understand everything that’s involved in the process.


Consider planning regulations

First, get in touch with your local council to find out if any vegetation or heritage overlays affect your property. Overlays set conditions that your build will need to conform to, and may have a considerable impact on your plans. Many local councils now have their regulations on their websites for you to find and download. Our team can also help you with any questions you may have in regards to what department at your local council office you need to speak with.


Depth of your block and the street frontage

As you choose your new home’s plan, it is essential to consider the size of your block. If your home is in an established area, your local council may likely require that the principal frontage of your property be set back in line with your neighbours on both sides. You will need to apply for a pre-lodgement meeting with your council to discuss any plans to set it forward.


Easements & setbacks

Easements and setbacks, if applicable to your property, can impose restrictions on the size and design of your new home, so it’s best to find out early in the process so you can plan accordingly.

Your planned new home will have to comply with building regulations. It will need to meet the minimum front, side, and rear setbacks. If you are planning to change your driveway’s position, you will require approval from the local council.

An easement is the right to access or use someone else’s land and can include things such as a footpath or access road, or a right to access services such as water supply or gas/electricity supply or sewers. Easements can impact the design of your new home, and you will be required to contact the water authorities or local council, or whoever owns the easements. In NSW you can contact the NSW Land Registry Services to check if there are any easements on your property and what the details are.


Stormwater drainage

You will need to know where the LPOD (legal point of discharge) for your property is before any building work can start. The LPOD is for proper stormwater runoff drainage within the property boundary and may affect your knock down rebuild. For example, in most cases your new home’s design will have a different driveway position, so you’ll need a new system of drains and underground pipes to channel stormwater to the legal point of discharge.

Once again, its good to know beforehand of the LPOD’s location. When building with Kaplan, we’ll ensure the stormwater drainage meets all the council’s requirements. If you choose a builder that does not install drainage that satisfies the council’s rules then you will be responsible for any costs related to any corrective measures.


Street access

You will need to consider the accessibility of your block of land for both demolition and rebuilding. When your property is difficult to access due to narrow roads and/or the presence of overhead power lines, it will affect the cost of your project due to manual unloading of materials and traffic management.
You can arrange for us do a preliminary site inspection to assess your land and determine if its suitable. To keep costs manageable, Kaplan will not build on sites where our trucks cannot access.


Your neighbours

When building in established suburbs, any neighbours next to your property, including those behind, must be taken into account as they will be affected by the construction. Neighbours can either agree or object to your home design, so being on friendly terms with them is a big help. Any objection could cause delays, so it’s a good idea to be considerate of your neighbours when thinking of the design of the new home. If you don’t know the people in any neighbouring properties well, a polite letter informing them of your intentions and the new home design you’re considering is a good way to break the ice and see if they have any issues early on. This can also help identify any neighbours who are cranks that’ll complain about anything and everything. Then you can plan to deal with them early and avoid costly changes in later stages of the build.

Also, any shared fencing that may be affected by the project, such as shared costs for new fencing, will have to be discussed with your neighbour(s).


Swimming pools, trees and existing features

If you have an existing pool, you’ll need to speak with your builder regarding whether you are keeping your old pool or are planning to build a new one. This also applies to any existing features, such as a beautiful big tree or other landscape features you’d like to retain. These factors may impact the final house plan and the construction.


The knock down

Although this is the first site work in any knock down rebuild this step should be arranged only after your new home has passed Development Application (DA) approval. Most older homes contain asbestos or have hidden asbestos buried beneath from previous constructions so its important to find a good demolition company who’ll give you an upfront quote that includes proper asbestos handling and removal. If you choose us then we can recommend some reputable demolishers we’ve worked with before as Kaplan does not do any demolition work.


Research and plan

If you’ve gotten up to this point then well done! There’s plenty to think about and research, even before you start shopping for a home builder. Before you visit any builders’ display homes, spend 10 minutes to read our handy online guide to avoiding the common pitfalls that may occur when building a new home:


As the saying goes, knowledge is power, and the more you know, the better you’ll be at spotting any dodgy practices from the no-so-trustworthy builders out there. Take your time to research and plan and you’ll be saving a lot of money and stress in the long run.


Knock down and rebuild – it’s worth it

If this sounds too much and the prospect of doing a knock down rebuild seems daunting then don’t despair! Just remember that a knockdown rebuild is a very worthwhile undertaking, you’ll enhance your daily life by living in a beautiful brand new home in the colours and finishing that you’ve always wanted! Plus you’ll be adding a lot of value to the worth of your property, so from an financial perspective it’s a very good investment.

The catch to all this is you’ll need to find a reputable builder that you can trust to build your dream home without blowing out your budget by making rookie mistakes and fleecing you with hidden costs. If you’re in our build zones (we do build outside our active build zones and these are determined on a case by case basis, just contact us to discuss) then you’re in luck – Kaplan Homes are knockdown rebuild experts. We’ve built hundreds of homes over the years for our happy customers so we’ve got the experience and know-how to see your project to completion. We also have more inclusions than any other Sydney builder – just see our 7 Star Luxury Inclusions. To simplify things we’ve packaged up some of most popular knock down rebuild homes with all inclusive pricing.

Best of all we are the only builder to offer written guarantees to protect our customers at every stage of the home building process with our Big 4 Guarantees including Lifetime Structural Guarantee for as long as you own the home.

We hope you’ve found this guide helpful and wish you the best with your home building journey.

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