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How Long Does it Take to Build a House?



When planning to build a house, construction timelines are always difficult for both you as a customer and for builders. It’s difficult for customers with different expectations to hear that their build will take X number of months or weeks over the anticipated timeline. It is equally difficult for builders who pride themselves on producing fantastic quality housing on budget and on time to have to break that news to their clients.

 But how long does it take to build a house? What’s a normal timeline, and how can the minutiae of the construction industry affect these timelines? Let’s explore the question, “How long does it take builders to build a house?”

 As custom home builders, we understand how the construction industry works and the factors affecting construction timelines.

How Long Does it Take to Build a House?

There are many factors to consider in the timeline estimates when you consult with a custom home builder and ask, “How long does it normally take to build a house?” They’ll likely give you an estimate based on other projects of that size and scale they’ve completed recently. However, they may also provide a revised estimate based on typical delays, such as weather events, product procurement delays, labour shortages, inspection delays, etc.

 A typical 2-bedroom home can be completed within 8 to 12 months. From the first breaking of ground to the handover after construction has been completed; that’s not bad considering that this timeline was almost 18 months over a year ago!  

Factors Influencing Construction Timelines

 As mentioned above, myriad factors could affect construction timelines. These are almost innumerable, but we’ll go through some of the most common factors that could significantly lengthen the timeline of the construction of your home.

The Home’s Overall Size

 It almost goes without saying, but your home’s overall size will affect how long it takes to build. A larger home requires more building materials, which take more time to order, have delivered to the site, unload and construct. The more square metres your home takes up, the longer it will take to construct. When asked, “How long does it take to build a large house?” builders will often give an estimate based on a two-bedroom design, as these are among the most common.

What About Tiny Homes?

 How long does it take to build a tiny home? About four weeks. At least, that’s the timeline for commercial tiny home builders, not including furnishings, plumbing or electrical work. Tiny homes are a relatively new phenomenon in Australia that’s rocking the housing market as they become more popular. People are downsizing and looking for ways to enter the property ladder without spending their life savings or being tethered to a huge mortgage for 25+ years.

Types of Materials Used in Build

Another factor contributing to construction timelines is the type of materials used in the build. For example, if you were to ask a builder to build you a duplex, maybe as a rental property, and wanted them to look the same on each side or level, then that would double the amount of materials you’d need – doubling the procurement timeline.

For example, if you wanted to build your home with a specific type of timber (say, Douglas Fir), that would increase the timeline of your build, as Douglas Firs are imported from North America, rather than using native Australian timber such as Radiata, Cypress or Hoop pine.

While material shortages aren’t as bad as they were post-COVID, they’re not quite up to pre-COVID levels, meaning they’re still occurring at an alarming rate. It’s a supply-and-demand issue, where the demand outweighs the available supply! So, if you’re asking a builder, “How long does it take to build a duplex house?” Don’t be surprised if the timeline is longer than expected, particularly if you need the duplex to be a carbon copy on either side.

Building with Brick, Wood, or Cement?

 In a similar vein as the above, the type of material you use for your build’s exterior can greatly increase or decrease the construction timeline. For example, wood houses go up faster than brick or concrete houses.

     How long does it take to build a brick house?

 As brick veneers are required to be built by a qualified team of stonemasons and bricklayers, these builds (depending on size) could take about ~20 weeks, whereas building with wood generally takes about 12 to 14 for exterior framing.

     How long does it take to build a concrete house?

 If you plan to build your home out of concrete, you can expect it to take the shortest amount of time, as four walls that create a rectangular structure can be made from pre-cast concrete—concrete that is laid inside a cast and then sets over a period of days and weeks.

Incorporating Specialised Technology

Another construction delay may occur if you want to incorporate specialised technology into your build whilst the build is in progress. For example, installing solar shingles as opposed to traditional roofing. This will require the hiring of a company to install the roofing for you, which may cause delays with other areas of your build.

Labour Shortages

 Despite the best efforts of the Australian government over the last couple of years to hire more construction workers, a labour shortage continues to plague the industry. Whether your building company is dealing with no-shows of their workforce or is behind on other projects and isn’t able to take yours on because of their backlog, the national labour shortage within the construction industry is yet another factor contributing to building delays.


Another reason for construction delays is bureaucracy. When building a new home, there’s a lot of paperwork and steps that have to be taken before the ground can even be broken on the project. Land acquisition, planning permission approval, re-zoning application submissions, survey of the land, and the building permit issuances to your builder.

Then, once the build has begun, there are multiple inspections at critical stages by your locality’s structural engineer. An engineer also inspects plumbing and electrical before being approved. All of this must occur before you can even move in! So, if you’re wondering “How long does it take builders to build a house?” and why they’re not moving any faster on your build, it may be that they’re waiting for an inspection to occur, or a particular permit to be issued.

Tips to Reduce Construction Times

You can do a few things as the would-be homeowner to ensure that your construction timeline isn’t elongated any further than is absolutely necessary.

Get Paperwork in Order

When builders or other persons involved with the construction of your home ask for a specific document (for example, an environmental assessment), ensure that you have it on-hand, or at least know where to find it. Whilst it can be easy to lose track of paperwork amidst the hustle-and-bustle of a new home build, ensuring that your paperwork is in order and easily locatable is imperative to ensuring the smooth running of any bureaucracy that you’ll encounter.

Chase Up Permits

In a similar vein, you must be proactive when it comes to obtaining permissions from councils and localities for various things. While all of these documents take time to prepare, authorise, and dispatch to you or your builder, if you feel like it’s been too long for a permit to come through, don’t be scared to call and ask whether there’s been any progress on it.

Diversify Material Choices

While you may want that beautiful maple hardwood flooring, or that gorgeous marble countertop, obtaining these materials may cause significant timing delays to your new home’s construction. For this reason, you may want to have a list of alternative materials that you’d be happy to substitute your first choice material for.

Plan Accordingly

When it comes to how long it takes to build a custom home, there are plenty of things that you can’t do anything about that can cause delays: extreme weather, for example, or labour shortages. Plan to add a couple of weeks or a month to your initial estimate provided by your builder to give you leeway in case your build encounters unforeseen issues of any kind.

Final Thoughts

We all want our homes to be built beautifully and to our exact specifications and within our timeline. Unfortunately, that isn’t always possible, but understanding the degree of difficulty that goes into building a beautiful home will help you to weather the storms when they occur and appreciate the final result that much more.

As one of Australia’s premiere custom home builders, we at Provincial Homes do our best to deliver every one of our projects on-time and on-budget, but when we’re asked “How long does it take to build a house?” it is sometimes one of the toughest questions we’ll receive. Because we can only provide an estimate. But, we’ll always do our level best to meet your deadline and will always keep an open line of communication so that you know how your home is progressing.

Frequently Asked Questions

As one of Australia’s premiere custom home builders, we get asked about building timelines fairly often. Here are some of our most frequently asked questions on the subject.

Are there any strategies that homeowners can implement to ensure their house is built within a reasonable timeframe?

The best advice we can give to homeowners looking to ensure that their home is built within a reasonable timeframe is to keep your paperwork in good order and to chase up any outstanding permits and stay on top of what your builders, plumbers and electricians need from you in order to do their jobs.

Keep everything in order. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and be flexible when it comes to your building material desires. Decide whether the extra six weeks you might need to wait for a specific type of wood floor or a specific type of bathroom tile are worth the wait. If it is, that’s okay. We’re here to serve your needs, but all we ask as builders is that you consider your options carefully.

Can unexpected delays extend the construction timeline and if so, how are they typically addressed?

Yes! Unexpected delays happen all the time. Whether it’s raining for days on end, or specific parts or materials are on-back order with regular suppliers, many things can extend a construction timeline.

Typically, if there’s a material supply shortage, we’ll try and find a different supplier of the same material that may be able to get it to us quicker. Or, if there’s a forecast of days of rain, we’ll cover up the exterior of a building (if unfinished) and work inside where we can and do what we can.

Is it cheaper to build or buy?

There are trade-offs to be made and priorities to weigh up when answering this question. The general answer is that it depends on what you’re building, but it is generally cheaper to buy a pre-existing home. You don’t have to wait on construction timelines and variable costs associated with that and you can just move right on in. Or, depending on your budget and the state of the home you’ve purchased, a knockdown rebuild might well be a cheaper option in some circumstances.

In short, all variables aside, it is generally cheaper to buy an existing home than to build brand-new, unless the existing structure requires so much work (which would cost more than knocking it down and building anew).