Written by Jake Brady

What to Avoid in the Building Process

With decades in the building industry, we’ve seen and heard the full spectrum of building successes and disasters. We’ve also seen the mistakes clients make along the way, resulting in blown budgets, delayed works and most upsettingly, a construction journey they didn’t enjoy. In order to help you avoid this type of experience, we’ve collated all the things you should be avoiding when building your new home.

Avoid focusing entirely on price 

It can be tempting to focus completely on the price of your new home, but this is the most common mistake homeowners make. You need to understand what is included in the price and just as importantly, what the builder has excluded from the quote.

What does it cost to build a house in NSW? Some background information will help you understand where your money is going.

Let’s say you have a $700,000 budget to build a house. The following non-constructive costs will be dispensed before a building approval takes place (assuming there are no other issues LIKE town planning approval, building over or near a sewer etc)

TOTAL BUDGET = $700,000.00, minus…

10% GST
= 63,636.36

Compulsory insurance
= 5,347.59

Compulsory levy
= 3,325.00

Architectural design fee
= 31,500.00

Soil test and surveyor
= 2,200.00

Engineering design = 2,000.00

Plumbing approval
= 808.00

Building certifier fee & energy report = 1,980.00

TOTAL LEFT OVER: $ 589,203.05

A large difference in cost can be tied to the tradesmen a builder employs. A good builder will rely on handpicked tradesmen to deliver quality and craftsmanship, resulting in a home that’s of the highest quality. Remember this when comparing prices – ask what is included and do not base your decision on the cheapest quote.

Avoid getting too many quotes 

Seeking multiple quotes is common as many homeowners are weary of builders milking their precious savings. A detailed quote typically takes four weeks compile and involves input from the builder, multiple tradesmen and suppliers. If the builder believes they are only being contacted as a price check, naturally they are reluctant to dedicate time.

Do your research first and only select builders you feel will be the right ones for you. If you do not intend to work with that builder, please refrain from asking for a quote because that price is irrelevant.

Many reputable builders will charge a fee to prepare a quote for the homeowner. This fee is typically a fraction of the cost to prepare a quote. It ensures the clients are genuine and the quote produced will be accurate and useful.

Avoid being unrealistic 

Often the expectations of a homeowner don’t match what is achievable with their budget. It is in your best interest to be honest with the builder when explaining to them how much money you are hoping to align with your project.

If the quote is too high, consider removing certain features of the house or simplifying spaces. In our experience, it is far better to spend money on making a room feel right than to have a larger space, which feels empty.

Avoid skimping on design

For a custom-built home, it is a sin to skimp on the design fee. You can employ the best builder to craft you the best house but it won’t function properly without a smart design. A well-designed house will enhance enjoyment for the homeowner and add value to the property at resale.

Options to designing a house include engaging a draftsperson, a building designer or an architect, each of which brings their own benefits and challenges. They will be able to provide you with a considered design that addresses all your needs.

While the ideal project is a direct replica of an architect or designer’s drawing, it is almost impossible to build without variation during the process.

Avoid treating your Architect and Builder separately 

Another common problem for homeowners is when their fantastic architect-designed house is priced at twice their budget. Architects and designers are extremely talented in creating great designs but on some occasions, they can fail on costing.

A good architect will usually get the builder involved during the planning stage. This means that they can work together on ensuring the budget is realistic with the design and scope of work at hand.