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Square Metre Rates

Ahhh, the good old square metre rate. You see them all the time, group home builders love them and we can understand why, they make sense to their customers. We reckon that’s the number one thing that makes a homeowner more comfortable when building new, a square metre rate feels safer, more so sometimes than a builder coming up with their own estimate that doesn’t seem as concrete, even though its mostly just a case of perception.

Thing is, that’s really just a marketing ploy, the square metre rate is enclosed by so many terms and conditions that by the time the customer has completed their build the square metre rate is out the window. By that stage though they have usually fallen in love with their new home so it matters so much less.

We get builders frequently ringing and asking what we reckon a good square metre rate is. My answer? How long is a piece of string? There are massive variables, all well and good if you are building a box, but we don’t see very many of those these days!

Here’s why we don’t think square metre rates should be bandied around….

The trick is, the ratio of (PLM) building perimeter to GFA (gross floor area).

When you think about it, building perimeter covers off things like :

1. Exterior cladding and its finishes

2. Fascia/gutter

3. Perimeter foundation

4. Windows

5. External wall framing (and its treatment)

6. Etc

Whereas, the GFA covers off things like :

1. Floor coverings

2. Foundation/flooring

3. Ceiling coverings and their finishes

4. Services (sometimes measured this way)

5. Roof coverings

6. Internal framing

7. Etc

Now, you can have a building that is 100m2, and if it is a box, then it looks like this :

1. 100m2 – 40lm (10+10+10+10)

You can also have a building that is 100m2 that is a rectangle, and it might look like this:

1. 100m2 – 104lm (50+50+2+2)

How about a house that’s only a metre wide?

1. 100m2 – 202lm (100+100+1+1)

You catch our drift….. We have peer reviewed houses that are of a similar style to a group home but designed for maximum external shelter for someone who was unwell.

The style of house otherwise was that of a very similar simple finish to any other standard home, except for several outdoor patios each with three external house walls.

This threw out the PLM vs GFA ratio something ridiculous and after a review the true m2 rate was twice the number that had been offered.

Take their concept drawings and at the very least get a budget estimate completed. If you do find yourself in an impossible discussion where a knife is being held to your throat for a m2 rate, then give us a bell and let us help you come up with a robust tags and clarifications list to protect your bottom line!

Want to know more ? Contact Paul Watson, Ph. 027 238 1866,

Email :

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