Renovation vs Knockdown Rebuild

drobson on February 16, 2021
We speak to a lot of clients in the South Coast region of NSW who are trying to decide if they should complete a major renovation or simply knockdown and start again. It’s not an easy decision to make, however there are things to consider before deciding which way you would like to go.


Factors to consider


When a house is demolished to the ground, there is an amount of demolished material that will end up in landfill. Anything that is reusable will be recycled, repurposed or reused, but inevitably, there will be some material that will go to waste. For the environmentally conscious, this may be a contributing factor to the decision making process. This is often an important factor to people in our communities of Kiama, Nowra and beyond.

Existing Structure

Is the existing home structurally sound? How much work is needed to make it so? Will it be suitable to cope with any additional loads the new works may out on it? Depending on the extent of your renovations/additions the existing structure may need significant alterations to create more usable space and make way for the new works.


You need to consider what your needs and desires are for your home. Ask yourself, how much of the existing home is usable space? How much work is required to make the space more suitable for your needs?


Quite often, the cost of a full renovation, meaning full strip down to bare frames, compared to a knock down rebuild, is similar in pricing. Some homeowners can spend a lot of money trying to retain the existing structure because they think they are saving some money, but this is not always the case. It all comes down to the extent of your works.

Sentimental / historical value

If you have lived in your home for some time, the sentimental value of the home can far outweigh any other factor in the decision making process. Demolishing a home completely is also, in reality, destroying a piece of history. And if the home is of historical significance, there can often be restrictions placed on the extent of the works you will be allowed to take on. Your local council will be able to help you out with further information.

Real Estate Market conditions

The biggest concern we see with our clients is that of over capitalisation. There is such a trend to max out your borrowing capacity to get the nicest home you can possibly afford. People want to know that if push came to shove, that they could make their money back if they had to sell. This is a valid concern. On the other side of the coin, if you are not at your limits with borrowing capacity and you are building your forever home, over capitalisation may not be as much of a concern. Your best bet is to reach out to your local real estate agent and get some advice on what the market is like.

Your block of land

It’s much easier to build on a flat block rather than a steep sloping one. If your block of land is difficult to build on, it may be easier to extend instead. Other things to consider include vegetation, trees, soil conditions, council setbacks.

Where will you live

If you were to knockdown & rebuild your primary residence, you will need to consider your living arrangements for the duration of the build. This will be an additional cost that needs to be factored into your budget.


The points raised above alongside your unique circumstance should help you come to a sound conclusion on which direction will be best for you. Remember to involve an experienced builder with a good reputation early in the conversation as you begin to plan your knockdown rebuild or renovation.