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What is a Dropped Edge Beam and Why Do I Need One?

When building a brand new home, it’s possible to get lost in all the building jargon. While we do our best to make the process simple to follow and understand, it can be helpful to learn certain phrases and building techniques so you have a better understanding of what’s happening with your new home build.

For example, during the planning process, one of our team members might mention the need for a dropped edge beam. This is quite a common term for us - but it might be a little bewildering for our customers!

You might be wondering what a dropped edge beam is and why we’re recommending one for your home. In this blog, we aim to clear the air and provide a helpful explanation of dropped edge beams and their advantages. Read on.


What is a dropped edge beam?

When builders cut into a hillside or slope, the soil from the area is removed and is then used to create a flat area for the slab or “foundation” of your new home. Most blocks - even level ones - need some adjustment to create a flat surface for the concrete slab.

A dropped edge beam is where the edge of a concrete slab turns down to retain fill underneath the home. This alleviates the need of building a retaining wall on the boundary which can cause issues down the track with neighbours and your local council. For a more visual idea of what dropped edge beam can achieve, see the diagram below.


The below diagram illustrates the result of no dropped edge beam and the need for more cut and fill and a large retaining wall.


Why do I need a dropped edge beam?

Dropped edge beams are essential for homeowners looking to build on a sloping block. Even blocks with a slight slope of 1 metre may require a dropped edge beam.

The dropped edge beam elevates the level of the slab which can reduce drainage issues.

Here is a photo of a Montgomery Homes drop edge beam prior to brickwork:


How much does a dropped edge beam cost?

It’s the question all of our clients want to know - how much does it cost to have a dropped edge beam installed? What are the extra costs on top of my new home build?

To give you an idea, some of the additional costs involved with a dropped edge beam come from the machine hire to prepare the site for a dropped edge beam and the additional concrete and steel required to reinforce the foundation.

If a builder only accounts for site excavation and not dropped edge beams, you could be left with additional surprise costs at the end of the build, such as expensive, large retaining walls which would end up costing you much more than a dropped edge beam. With our 30+ years of experience constructing engineered split level slabs, we have the expert skills to work with any type of block.

We work with the natural slope of the land and don’t dig in as far as the average builder, meaning we’re also reducing long term costs such as the need for large retaining walls, reduce potential drainage issues and mitigate the risk of neighbour disputes.

So what makes us so special?

Along with our extensive split-slab experience, we include excavation and dropped edge beam costs (if required) upfront in your new home build tender. If you’ve chosen one of our home designs for a sloping site, we’ll include the site costs in the total tender price, so there are no unpleasant surprises at the end of your build.

Build your dream home with the sloping site specialists and reduce your site costs

We’re known for being the sloping site specialists - and our ground-breaking building techniques prove it! Our goal is to minimise building and site costs for you, so you can achieve the home of your dreams without blowing your budget.

We’ll include all site costs upfront in your tender. We’re committed to offering the best building experience in NewcastleSydney, and the Central Coast. Get in touch today!

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What is a Dropped Edge Beam and Why Do I Need One?

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