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Estimated building costs

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The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) provides building costs to assist territorial authorities to arrive at realistic estimated values when they have questioned the job value provided with a building consent application.

This page features the latest figures and various building types by region, and explains how they are derived.

Costing information for a series of building types has been provided by a firm of construction cost consultants. A set of authentic construction documents have been used to establish a unit cost that is as accurate as possible. .

Why estimate costs?

Form 2 of the Building (Forms) Regulations 2004, Application for Project Information Memorandum and/or Building Consent, requires that the estimated value, including GST, be provided for the building work for which the consent is being sought.

The application of a realistic cost per square metre for a range of common building types appears to be the soundest method of arriving at estimated building values. This approach can be used to establish the estimated cost where there is no better basis on which to base it, as is likely to occur where no quantity surveyor, or similar consultant, has been employed. Obviously, if a list or contract price is available, then this should be used as the cost of the proposed work.

Note: Territorial authorities should not insist that the MBIE's estimated costs be applied unless there is compelling evidence to the contrary. If the owner has an actual contract price (or aggregate of prices) agreed with contractors independent of the owner, then that is the value to use.

Latest figures as at July 2013

These are the latest estimated building costs by building type, which include all necessary internal and external finishes to achieve compliance with the Building Code, all services and provision of standard appliances, and site works. Refer to the table below to work out an estimated value, or use our quick calculator.

New Zealand. Region Building type
  Small house*
145 m2
$
Large house*
202 m2
$
Light commercial
414 m2
$
Commercial
896 m2
$
Retirement home
394 m2
$
1 1,822 1,660 1,340 1,448 2,115
2 1,803 1,642 1,323 1,446 2,092
3 1,824 1,660 1,350 1,465 2,116
4 1,800 1,638 1,318 1,444 2,084
5 1,836 1,670 1,353 1,454 2,128
6 1,797 1,635 1,315 1,444 2,085
Notes:

1. The rates for the Canterbury Region are assessed at a base level. The concentration of Christchurch earthquake rebuild work is assessed to have a 10% to 20% additional price premium over the above value.

2. The 'rest of' North and South island regions are wide spread areas and values provided are assessed averages.

The costs for houses are provided for one-off speculative houses. These costs do not reflect the economies that may be gained by builders of group houses, or reflect the additional costs normally associated with architecturally designed houses. To differentiate, group houses have been assessed as being, on average, 21 percent cheaper than speculative houses, while architecturally designed houses are assessed as being 20 percent more expensive.

The cost of the speculative house can be used as a base cost on which to establish the cost of group and architecturally designed homes. For example, cost per square metre of small group houses in the Auckland region at January 2013:

= Auckland base cost less 21% 
= $1,810 [$1,810 x 21%]
= $1,810 - $380 = $1,430/m2

Disclaimer: The unit construction costs are built up from current commercial prices of materials and labour along with current allowances for contractors' overheads and margins. Pricing is based on a model building for the region and consequently allowances will need to be made where recognition is deemed necessary for particular and specific conditions. The rates per square metre of gross floor area for each building type include GST (at the rate of 15%). Unit construction costs are provided as a guide to territorial authorities in assessing building consent fees. They are not intended as a definitive cost for actual buildings and are not to be used for such a purpose.

Building descriptions

Click on a floorplan to open in a larger window.

Small house 145 m2

Single-storey house on a flat site including internal double garage, three bedrooms, open-plan kitchen, dining and lounge, bathroom, separate toilet, en-suite, and separate laundry. Constructed of reinforced concrete slab, laser frame walls and trusses, brick veneer external cladding, aluminium external joinery, pre-finished steel roof, and plasterboard linings. Carpet is excluded.

House 145 m2.

Large house 202 m2

Single-storey house on a flat site including internal double garage, four bedrooms, open-plan kitchen and family room, open-plan dining and lounge, bathroom, separate toilet, ensuite, separate dressing room, separate laundry. Constructed of reinforced concrete slab, laser frame walls and trusses, brick veneer external cladding, aluminium external joinery, pre-finished steel roof, plasterboard linings, and intruder alarm in addition to standard services. Carpet is excluded.

House 202 m2.

Retirement home 394 m2

Single-storey building on a flat site, including 12 residential bedrooms with washbasins, separate sanitary facilities, dining and lounge, commercial kitchen and laundry, staff accommodation, and office. Constructed of reinforced concrete slab, timber-framed walls and prefabricated timber-trussed roof, external cladding of fibrecement with textured coating, aluminium external joinery, pre-finished steel roof, and plasterboard linings. Siteworks and carpet are excluded.

Note: The estimated building cost for the retirement home specified includes H1.2 treatment of external wall framings in line with Acceptable Solution B2/AS1 (Durability). It is the only building in this article affected by this change as it is clad with fibre cement sheet and falls within the category of buildings requiring H1.2 timber to its exterior wall framing. (The two remaining houses are of simple design, clad with brick veneer, where no treatment is required. Both commercial buildings have external walls of precast concrete.)

Retirement home 394 m2.

Light commercial or Industrial Building 414 m2

Single-storey warehouse, with mezzanine on a flat site accommodating warehouse, office accommodation, reception and display area, staff lunchroom, kitchen, and toilet facilities. Constructed of reinforced slab, reinforced concrete columns, tilt-up precast concrete external walls, powder-coated external aluminium joinery, roller shutter doors, Colorsteel roof, timber-framed internal partitions with painted plasterboard linings. Siteworks, security and carpet are excluded.

Light commercial 414 m2.

Commercial (bulk retail) 896 m2

Single-storey building on a flat site with two retail units: one comprising retail area, two offices, kitchen, and toilet facilities; the other containing retail and toilet facilities. Constructed of reinforced slab, driven timber piles, steel columns, tilt-up precast concrete external walls, powder-coated external aluminium joinery, automatic sliding doors, Colorsteel roof, timber-framed internal partitions with painted plasterboard linings, suspended ceiling to all but warehouse areas, and steel-framed fire wall between retail units. The unit construction costs include all necessary internal and external finishes to achieve compliance with the New Zealand Building Code, all services, and provision of standard appliances. Siteworks, security and carpet are excluded.

Commerical (bulk retail) 896 m2.