How Long Does It Take to Build a House?

How Long Does It Take to Build a House

You’ve decided to build your dream home, but how long will it actually take? With so many factors like builder type, house size, construction materials and more, it’s tricky to pin down an exact timeframe. To get a handle on how long your home build might take, you need the inside scoop. From differences between project and custom builders, to how the number of floors impacts the schedule, this guide breaks down all the key details.

Whether you want a simple single-storey or a sprawling two-storey estate, we’ve got you covered on real-world timeframes. Read on for the low down on variables that influence construction duration, from brick versus timber to the impact of luxury finishes. Arm yourself with insider knowledge so you can set realistic expectations and budget accurately. Building a home is a huge undertaking, but being clued up on timeframes will make the journey smoother.

Factors That Influence Build Times

Building a house is a massive undertaking, and the timeframes involved can vary greatly depending on several factors.

Builder Type

The type of builder you choose will impact how quickly they can complete your home. Project builders that construct many similar homes at once are typically the fastest, often finishing in 6-12 months. Custom home builders designing a unique house specifically for you usually take 9 months to 2 years. Luxury builders creating a high-end, customized property generally need 1-3 years or more.

House Size and Complexity

The larger and more complex your house design, the longer the build will take. A small 3-bedroom home may only take 6-9 months, while a spacious 5-bedroom place with multiple levels can require 1-2 years. Unique features like curved walls, custom woodwork or stonework also add time.

Construction Method

The materials and techniques used to construct your home significantly impact the schedule. Timber or steel-framed homes with brick veneer are generally the quickest at 6-12 months. Double brick structures need 9 months to 2 years. Concrete homes usually take at least a year. Alternative methods like rammed earth can take 2 years or more.

There are many variables in play when determining how long it will take to build your house. The best approach is to discuss timeframes upfront with your chosen builder, who can evaluate all the factors specific to your home design and provide an accurate estimate of the total construction schedule. With the right builder and an understanding of what impacts the timeline, you’ll be settling into your new home before you know it!

Average Build Duration

So you’ve decided on the type of builder and construction for your new home, now it’s time to consider how long it will actually take to build. As you’d expect, larger, more complex houses typically take longer than smaller, simpler ones.

Small Houses (1-3 Bedrooms)

For a small house of 100 to 200 square metres with basic finishes, you can expect the build to take around 6 to 12 months. These compact homes are quicker to construct since they require fewer materials and less time-intensive details.

Medium Houses (3-5 Bedrooms)

A medium-sized house of 200 to 400 square metres will usually take 9 to 18 months to complete. At this size, extra time is needed for adding bedrooms, bathrooms, living spaces, and more intricate features like timberwork or stone cladding.

Large Houses (5+ Bedrooms)

Big, luxurious houses over 400 square metres can take 18 months to 3 years or more to build. Mansions require enormous amounts of materials, specialised trades, and custom details which significantly impact the schedule. Multiple levels, home theatres, swimming pools, and lavish finishes all add extra weeks and months to the timeline.

The total duration will also depend on the availability of your builder, delays from suppliers, weather conditions, and any unforeseen challenges along the way. While it’s difficult to give an exact timeframe, you can use these general guidelines to estimate how long your dream home might take to complete. The good news is, no matter the size or type of house, the end result will be a place you’ll be proud to call home.

Construction Methods

The type of construction method used for your new home build will significantly impact the total timeframe. Some methods are faster than others, while more complex builds will naturally take longer.

Timber or steel frame

If you opt for a timber or steel frame home, you can expect a shorter build time. These lightweight but durable materials are quicker to work with and assemble. For a typical 3-4 bedroom single-story house, construction may only take 6-8 months. The frame itself can be erected within a few weeks.

Brick veneer or double brick

Choosing a brick veneer, where bricks are only used on the exterior facade, or a double brick home will lengthen the schedule. Laying bricks is an intricate process, and the materials themselves take longer to source and deliver. You could be looking at 10-14 months for the construction of an average-sized brick home.


A concrete home, whether using poured concrete walls or concrete blocks, generally has the longest build time. Concreting is a multi-step process – the foundation and walls require time to cure and set. A basic concrete bungalow-style house could take 12 months or more to complete.

The number of floors in your home design will also impact the timeline. A single-level house is faster to build than a double story, simply due to less square footage and fewer materials required. Similarly, a sprawling 5-bedroom mansion with multiple wings will take significantly longer than a compact 3-bedroom cottage.

You can expect a timber or steel frame home to have the shortest build time, while brick and concrete will be on the longer end of the scale. The size and complexity of your design will also determine how long the build takes. But the good news is, with an experienced custom home builder helping you through the process, the wait will be well worth it!

Site and Ground Conditions

Site and ground conditions can significantly impact how long it takes to build a house. Challenging ground such as rocky or clay soil may require extra preparation work before construction can begin. This can add weeks or even months to the overall schedule.

Some factors that influence build time, based on site and ground conditions:


Difficult sites with a lot of rock or hard clay can significantly lengthen the time needed for excavation and foundation preparation. Additional equipment like rock hammers, pneumatic drills or hydraulic excavators may be required to break up and remove hard materials. This can add weeks to the schedule.


Sites with poor drainage or a high water table may necessitate the installation of additional drainage systems such as sump pumps and French drains. Installing these systems can lengthen the construction timeline by several weeks.


Unstable or compressible soil may require a more complex foundation system like helical piers or driven concrete piles. These foundation options require additional engineering, specialized equipment and time to install. They can add one to two months to the overall build time.

Retaining walls

Steep sites often need retaining walls to create a level building pad. Constructing and backfilling retaining walls is a time-intensive process that typically takes one to three months, depending on the wall height and design.


Difficult access due to steep driveways, narrow roads or limited space for construction vehicles can slow down deliveries and waste time. Temporary access roads may need to be constructed to reduce delays.

Weather delays

Inclement weather like heavy rain or snow can halt outdoor work, particularly for exposed foundations and concrete pours. This can cause delays ranging from a few days to several weeks, depending on the severity and duration of adverse conditions.

With proper planning and engineering to address site challenges, experienced builders can help minimize the impact on your construction schedule. But in general, more complex sites with difficult ground conditions will correlate with longer build timeframes for your custom home.

Types of Builders

Custom Home Builders

Custom home builders design and construct houses tailored to your specific needs and budget. They handle the entire process, from the initial consultation to the final coat of paint. Expect a custom build to take 9-24 months or longer, depending on the size and complexity of your design.

The pros of custom building are that you get exactly what you want in your dream home. However, custom builds typically cost 20-50% more than project homes and the open-ended timeline can lead to lengthy delays. Make sure you understand all contractual obligations before signing to avoid potential disputes down the track.

Project Home Builders

Project home builders focus on building standardised homes on a large scale. They offer a range of pre-designed floor plans and facades for you to choose from, speeding up the building process. You can expect a typical project home to be completed within 4 to 12 months.

The main benefits of project homes are lower costs and faster completion times. However, you have limited design flexibility and less control over the quality of materials and workmanship. Be sure to inspect the builder’s previous projects to determine their level of quality before purchasing.

Luxury Home Builders

Luxury home builders specialise in high-end, architecturally designed homes using premium materials and the latest technologies. They handle the entire custom build process with meticulous attention to detail. Timeframes for luxury homes can span 12 months to several years depending on the scale and complexity.

While luxury home builders deliver an exceptional level of quality and workmanship, their services come at a premium. In addition to higher costs, more stringent council approval processes can also increase the overall project timeline. However, for those wanting the ultimate bespoke home, a luxury builder is the only option.

The duration of your home build depends on various factors like the builder type, house size, construction method and available resources. Make sure you understand all timeframes and costs before starting your project to avoid unwanted surprises!


So there you have it, a thorough breakdown of the main factors that determine how long it’ll take to build your dream home. While project builders will be the quickest option, custom and luxury builders allow you to create a more bespoke abode. Consider build types too, like double brick for robustness versus timber frame for speed.

And don’t forget scale – mansions take longer than cottages! But with the right builder for your needs, you’ll be kicking back on the couch before you know it. The key is doing your research to find the perfect fit. Then watch your vision come to life day by day. Before long, you’ll be welcoming guests over the threshold to your stylish new pad.


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