19th January, 2022

Planning to build a house? You need to know about these fees.

Buildshare™ regularly help clients with queries on whether certain fees are normal during their projects or not.

So much that we thought we’d pull a list together, and an example to help understand what is normal and how much they can all add up to.

Being unprepared doesn’t just have the ability to ruin your development experience, it can also catch you off-guard and cause delays.

Here is what you should expect before you’ve even started building.


SUMMARY TABLE (for $500k Build)

Fee When How much
1.              Section 10.7 or Section 149 Before you think about designing $53
2.             Topographical Survey Before you start designing ~$1500
3.             Geotech or soil test During the design ~$2000
4.             BASIX Certificate During the design $50
5.             Section 307 (Water Compliance Cert.) During the design ~$150
6.             Long Service Levy payment Before getting approval to start building (CC or CDC) 0.35% or $1,750
7.              Section 94A Development Contribution Before getting approval to start building (CC or CDC) 1% or $5,000
Total (for $500k project) Before you start building $10,503



1. Section 10.7 or Section 149 (Local council zoning certificate) – $50-60

A zoning certificate is generated by the local council specific to where your property is located and is based on their Local Environmental Plan (LEP). It includes information such as the land zone (e.g. R2 Residential) and other important considerations like bushfire, flooding, relevant State environmental policies, road widening etc. It basically tells you what type of development can and can’t be done on the site. All property sale contracts will enclose a Section 149 Certificate but once your idea to develop has become a serious reality, you are going to want to immediately request an updated one to ensure you’re aware of all planning considerations from the outset. Most councils will charge around $53 to issue a new certificate.


2. Topographic or Contour Survey ~$1500

The topographic survey ensures all the measurements and features of your site can be factored into your design. Many of the rules and regulations that a development needs to comply with rely on the data from this survey and without it nobody can complete any design work. This is usually a defining moment in realising if you are serious about building or not.

3. Geotech or Soil Test – ~$2000

The soil test ensures you gather your sites soil properties which are critical to the design of your foundation and other structural elements of your building. The cost can vary a fair bit depending on your development shape and size, and your site shape and size. If you are serious about building, make sure you get this early in the design process to ensure nothing in your structural design is based on assumption, standard values, or nearby site comparisons.

4. Section 307 (Water Certificate of Compliance) – ~$150

Once your engineer has completed the stormwater design for your new development and hit you with their bill you’ll think you’re done… but you’re not. The section water compliance certificate confirms that your development meets the relevant Water Authorities requirements and is required by your certifier in order to provide approval. Yes you pay your engineer to produce a compliant design but they probably wont include this fee in their proposal so be ready.


5. Basix Certificate – $50

If you’re building a new home, undertaking renovations of $50,000 or more, or installing a pool or spa of more than 40,000 litres, you will need a BASIX certificate. Just like the section 307 this is another one of those certificates that is provided when your design complies and is required at the time you submit your development for approval. Again, yes you pay your engineer/architect to produce a compliant design but they probably won’t include the payment of this in their quote.

6. Long Service Levy Payment – 0.35 % of the build cost

Most states put a levy on building and construction work costing over a certain threshold of build cost. The levy is paid into a fund administered by the Long Service Corporation, and from this fund, the Corporation makes long service payments to building and construction workers. In NSW the levy is 0.35% of the total building cost for any work over $25k. This has to be paid before you can get an approved CDC or a DA construction certificate so be prepared for it because it can sting a little.

7. Section 94A Development Contribution Levy – 1% of the build cost

Development contributions are payments to the local council and are made during the development approval process. For builds greater than $100k you are required to pay a levy of 0.5% – 1% of your total build costs which cover the council’s additional infrastructure and facilities costs to cater for the new population your new development will house. Search “section 94A cost” in your local government website and you’ll see how much you will have to pay to obtain approval to build. This is the last major one you’ll have to pay before you build and if you’ve come this far you’ll probably be too excited to care about it but just… BE PREPARED for it because it’s a big one and if you haven’t SECURED FINANCE yet it could really catch you off guard.