We often get asked straight away “how much does permeable paving cost?”. But it’s not always a straightforward answer…
Firstly, permeable paving is often specified because you can’t use normal paving or concrete due to town planning restrictions – such as tree protection, or to meet WSUD criteria. So before looking at a direct cost comparison to normal paving, remember that the permeable paving might have been the only way to get planning approval for your project in the first instance.
Also, by using a permeable pavement, you may be reducing the amount of costly stormwater system works or other WSUD treatments, which can be considered as another indirect cost saving.
What’s the cost of permeable paving vs normal paving?
To give us a ballpark to compare against, let’s assess some of the permeable options to compare with normal concrete and paving finishes. These prices are pretty typical values that we hear for full installation, excluding excavations:
$50-70 / m2
$70-90 / m2
Exposed aggregate concrete
$100-160 / m2
$180+ / m2
$180+ / m2
$200+ / m2
As you can see, the cost of permeable paving is pretty comparable to other high end paving options such as good exposed aggregate concrete and natural stone pavers – with the added benefit of being permeable.
So let’s have a closer look at the cost of some permeable paving options:
How much does it cost to install permeable pavers?
A wide variety of permeable segmented pavers are now available, with manufactures and wholesalers promoting the fact that any landscaper can lay permeable paving. Typically, the supply only cost is around $85/m2 (which seems pretty cheap when you look at the table above).
But what’s the installed cost per square metre?Most manufacturers would recommend installing a driveway on a 200 mm sub grade of compacted no fines crushed rock, with a 50 mm bedding course of 7 mm screenings. Here’s a table showing you our estimate of the cost for a 100 m2 job:
Cost per square metre
Cost on a 100 m2 driveway
Excavations to 300-350 mm below FL
|Not included – see below|
|$85 / sq m||$85.00||$8,500.00|
Spare pavers for cuts and breakages
200 mm of no fines crushed rock
|$85 / cubic metre||$17.00||$1,700.00|
50 mm of 7 mm screenings
|$90 / cubic metre||$4.50||$450.00|
Mortar for haunching
Consumables and waste
Labour – 4 people, 4 days
|$350 per person, per day||$5,600.00|
|TOTAL COST excluding excavations and profit margin|
= $183.25 / m2
We’ve looked at the different options in a previous blog post, so won’t go through them again here. But remember that a normal landscaper will not specialise in permeable paving, and will be unlikely to know the subtle but important differences between normal and permeable paving, differences that ultimately determine the success and stability of any permeable installation.
Here’s some permeable pavers laid by normal landscapers in a commercial streetscape. The pavers themselves aren’t defective, just the installation!
If you’re getting quoted a “per square metre” installed rate for permeable pavers that is much lower than $180/m2, then that’s only possible by two ways – either the contractor is doing the job to the recommended specifications at a loss (very unlikely), or they are reducing the thickness of the subgrade to save money, and therefore reducing the durability of the pavement.
Resin bound permeable paving
We install our resin bound permeable pavements on a reinforced permeable concrete base, and for a job over 100 m2 we normally charge around $180-190/m2 + GST fully installed. And don’t forget that by getting a permeable paving specialist for your project, you’re getting years of industry-leading experience thrown in as well.
>For jobs under 100 m2, a sliding scale between $190-240/m2 applies, with several factors affecting the ultimate cost. If you’re after a price, then the best thing to do is to email your plan to [email protected]. We’re always happy to price at design and tender stages of the project too, so that realistic budgets can be determined from the beginning.
Beautiful permeable paving, professionally installed to mitigate against movement.
…and don’t forget the excavations and site preparation costs!
We’ve deliberately excluded the excavations from the discussions above about prices because the cost can vary on several site specific factors.
Don’t underestimate the cost of professional excavation work and disposal costs.
But the biggest factor affecting the cost of excavations is the cost of carting and disposing of spoil.
For one of our permeable driveways, we need the site excavated to 150 mm below finished paving level. For most permeable pavers (most pavers alone are 60-80 mm thick), once you account for the base courses, you need to excavate to 300-350 mm below finished level.
Therefore, you’re going to be looking at removing double the volume of spoil to install pavers, taking longer, and costing more. Plus, digging to these depths dramatically increases the likelihood of encountering (and possibly damaging) services such as stormwater, and water and gas mains.
There’s also several subtle differences that need to be accounted for when excavating for permeable paving to minimise soil movement due to water drainage, which is why we recommend engaging us for the excavation works too.
Very approximately, our typical excavation costs for around 100 m2 are between $2-3000 + GST, depending on the quantity and type of material to be removed.
Not all permeable paving is equal
We’d always recommend that you do your due diligence before deciding on building works. Part of this is getting multiple prices (verbal or written) for similar products. But don’t forget to compare what you’re getting. We’ve written before about how there is no specific Australian Standards for permeable paving installations, so it’s doubly important for you, as a potential client, to ask questions about how and why, and not just how much it costs.
If you’d like a quote or to find out how we do our permeable paving installations, then give us a call on (03) 9543 3013, we promise to provide the best permeable installations with outstanding customer service to boot!