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12 General Works Items In Property Development Explained

General Works is the name to describe the additional items required to get your site ready for construction. We’ve put together 12 of the most common General Works items for developers in order to assist you in deciphering the items listed in your development contract.

General Works items are not included in the base price of your chosen home design, whether it is a custom design or a standard design from the Builders price book, as the cost to complete General Works items varies from one site to the next.

Some builders will add a Site Works allowance or provisional sum to your quote on sign up based on the type and location of your site. To get an accurate estimate of your General Works, however,  you need to have a current contour survey of your site, and in the event the site has clay, limestone or trees in or around the building area, you will also need an engineer’s survey.

There are too many General Works items to list, and many of them are not relevant to all sites, however we will go through the 12 main items that will affect the many projects.

1. Earthworks

Earthworks costs will depend on the type of soil on your block, for example earthworks on a flat sandy site are generally simple and not very expensive.

The variables that will affect the cost of earthworks are as follows:
• Block slope;
• Clay sites;
• Limestone Sites; and
• Sites containing root matter.


Image: Bobcat on site during Earthworks. Source: Ventura Developments

2. Access Tracks

An Access Track is often required when you are building behind another dwelling in a rear strata or house behind house development. When delivery trucks drop off materials they need clear access to the site, therefore crushed limestone is used to create an access track that allows the trucks this access to the building site.

3. House set out

House set out is required sites when the builder is constructing on the boundary. It is imperative to ensure that the construction of a wall is on the correct lot. When you are building several units on one block this will also mark the boundaries for each dwelling.

The set out is completed by surveyors who use pegs to mark the boundaries.

House set out
Image: House set out on site. Source: Ventura Developments

4. Retaining walls

Retaining walls are used to keep the sand from either falling from your site onto the neighbour’s site, or alternatively keeping your neighbours sand from falling on your site. Generally retaining walls are used when the fall is more than 150mm when fencing is being constructed.

Walls are most commonly constructed of panel and post retaining, however limestone walls are more commonly used when retaining is over 1800mm or when the wall is required to be load bearing.

WATCH THE VIDEO: Limestone retaining wall FAQs

WATCH THE VIDEO: Panel and Post retaining wall FAQs

Retaining wall
Image: Limestone wall being constructed. Source: Ventura Developments

5. Additional Material Handling

Additional Material Handling is a term used to describe the additional charges trades people pass onto the builder when there is restriction to site access.

Some sites do not have enough room to leave the construction material near the construction of the new dwelling, and so the trades are required to move the material from another location on the site, which obviously takes more time to finish the job.

Another example is when a bobcat is unable to do a site clean and remove all debris from the site, and the site is cleaned manually by hand.

6. Underground power

Underground power is the power connection from the Western Power dome to your meter box. The run will vary pending the location of the dome and the meter box.

7. Sewer and water

Sewer and water is the connection of the services from the mains, to the new dwelling. In the case of multiple dwellings being constructed, sewer and water runs will need to be installed individually to each of the new dwellings, so each home is directly connected to the mains.

Image: Piping running from mains. Source: Ventura Developments

8. Soakwells

Soakwells are connected via a pipe to the downpipes on a home and may also be located under the driveway to collect access water from the paving. The number of soakwells required can vary from site to site depending on the topography, the soil conditions and the shire requirements for this area.

9. Overburden

Overburden is the access sand that is left over after the holes have been dug for the drains and the stormwater. An unbelievable amount of surplus sand is left, and needs to be collected and disposed of by truck.

The more units on the block, the more sand is dug and therefore the larger the overburden that needs to be removed. This equates to more time in removing the sand via bobcat and more trucks required to remove the excess sand.

10. Brick paving

Brick paving varies from one site to the next so is shown as a separate item on your development quote. To ensure that the soakwells are designed adequately it is imperative that the paving is well considered at concept stage.

11. Removal of fencing

Removal of fencing is required when you are constructing a dwelling on the boundary, or if the existing fencing is in poor conditional. Most shires will require fencing to be of a certain standard in order to give your final approvals.

12. Concrete pumps

Concrete Pumps are used by the grano workers to lay the footings and the slab. Not every job requires a concrete pump; however grano workers are requesting pumps for most jobs.

Ventura Developments and Multi Living Developments offer a free consultation service so you can see if developing is an option for you. Call (08) 9241 1600.