Building A New House
Feb 08, 2011 10:29 pm
I am new to this forum, so may ask lots of questions! I am hoping to find a reputable builder that I can trust, good communication (doesn't seem to be a lot of that) and the experience won't be too stressful. I will be building in South Australia. Some of the builders that seem to have a (mostly) good name, after reading posts on this forum are Dechell1s; F0rmat; Adelaide Designer H0mes; McCracken. I also read somewhere that Precisi0n Homes are good. I realise that there are other good builders too (Fairm0nt has had some good reviews and the current home we built is a Fairmont home) but our preferences are with builders that include a lot of 'extras' as 'standard'. I look forward to hearing positive experiences from others. We are not in a hurry to sign anyone up as we would like to sell our house first (at least get it on the market but want to tidy it up a bit more first). We had been looking for a block for a long time and this one came back on the market after having already been sold due to unforeseen circumstances so we got in quick before it resold or we changed our minds!
Re: Bought a block in SA- now to find a builder!2
Feb 08, 2011 10:39 pm
I'm not sure if looking for builders with the most extras is the best approach. All builders operate on similar profit margins and the basic material costs are similar. The cheapest house or the one with the most extras for the same price is going to be cutting out something. If that something is quality thats when problems start.
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Re: Bought a block in SA- now to find a builder!3
Feb 09, 2011 12:03 am
ignore the 'extras as standard' line. it simply means their base price was inflated to begin with.
look at the reviews on productreviewdotcomdotau or here. people's actual experiences are the most relevant information. find a builder that communicates well. we've been at the design stage (custom plan) since october, most of that time wasted because the builder is hopelessly slow at responding to requests.
Re: Bought a block in SA- now to find a builder!4
Feb 09, 2011 10:20 am
Thanks for your replies. I realise the starting cost is more expensive with certain items being included as standard but, from what I've read on here, by the time the upgrades are added at selection you end up paying as much or more. They are items that we would be including anyway. It does seem that the build quality is better with the upgraded builders (by reading posts on this forum). We need to design our house ourselves as we cannot find a design to fit our requirements. This means we can go to any builder with our plans. I am hoping to hear of positive experiences with any builder to help narrow my search. I have been reading reviews and blogs and this is helping to work out builders I DON'T want.
Re: Bought a block in SA- now to find a builder!5
Feb 09, 2011 10:41 am
Totally agree with b0son and bashworth. We ended up going with Fairmont homes even though I didn't like their standard inclusions. I chose them as I like their design and my parents built with them and are happy with the result. We've added the fittings we wanted (eg. Caroma bathroom accessories, stone benchtops throughout, etc.) and found their prices have been very good. I was afraid we would get ripped off if we change things but their prices have been excellent. I did look at more expensive builders but their inclusions weren't necessarily what I wanted. The base price was more and I still had to add to that to get what I wanted.
When I first started looking for a builder I went to productreviewdotcomdotau and to be honest, it scared me off building for a while. I think a lot of people who have had a bad experience feel motivated to share it on that site.
My Build Thread: http://forum.homeone.com.au/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=43997
Re: Bought a block in SA- now to find a builder!6
Feb 09, 2011 3:15 pm
We need to design our house ourselves as we cannot find a design to fit our requirements. This means we can go to any builder with our plans.
My limited experience tells me a project home builder's business model is setup to build a range of pre-existing designs and inclusions, and not much else. if you want to deviate, costs begin to mount up. Perhaps a smaller independent builder may be more appropriate for the cost-conscious?
Try and specify as many of the internal inclusions at the tender stage. the less you have to upgrade post-tender, the less extra $$$ you'll need to find once building is under way. Anything you get out of the builder $-wise pre-tender, they'll almost certainly attempt to claw back once you start making variations.
It may also be worthwhile getting your soil report before you go to a builder (assuming a builder will accept the report provided by someone other than his usual person). at least you wont get a nasty surprise when the site costs come back.
If you get a soil report beforehand, make sure the tender includes site costs, and the slab is costed as per what the soil requires.
Re: Bought a block in SA- now to find a builder!7
Feb 09, 2011 4:03 pm
Welcome Dreamcometrue. We took our design to a couple of project builders who offered to do a quote on owner design. We are going though World Concept homes. May I suggest that you work out how much you want to spend on your home, then work out exactly what inclusions you want, include everything. Tell the builder that you only have X amount of dollars to spend and these are all the inclusions I want. Once you get the quote you can always look a the things that you can easily replace or do later and take them out. But remember if you have stone benchtops and they cost say $2,000.00 on the quote if you ask them to take them out (as you can do later) you will not get a credit for $2,000.00 it will be less than that. So really think about what you want included in the quote. We thought that we had everything cover and had gone deluxe spec. but still managed to spend another $8,000.00 odd dollars at selections. As an example we had deluxe specefication to the cupboards to the kitchen only I thought we had deluxe for all cupboards, so I had to pay extra to have the same quality to the bathrooms, laundry and linen presses. We had been over our quote and thought we had it all covered but when we signed probably didn't read the deluxe specification booklet properly as we just scanned and signed. I could go on and I am happy to if you would like more detail about the things to look out for. But in saying that we are happy with World Concept, great communication, we are just waiting for the bank (we were preapproved but ofcourse that only lasted 6 months), our Bank Pack was given to them outside of the time and now we have to start all over again. The joy of building. Good Luck.
Re: Bought a block in SA- now to find a builder!8
Feb 09, 2011 4:42 pm
If your doing a custom home Adelaide Designer Homes will be really good for you. They don't have a lot of there own plans and do a lot of custom designs instead. Where are you building? I am currently building a small rental property @ Andrews Farm through ADH. You can go past and have a look if you want, the kitchen only just went in.
There tradies keep the block pretty clean and work to a high standard. I can always get hold of them or a return call within a day.
Re: Bought a block in SA- now to find a builder!9
Feb 09, 2011 8:36 pm
I appreciate your advice mrsroc and aza0. I haven't had a look at World Concept yet but have heard good reports on ADH. We will be building at Golden Grove. I think you gave some great advice mrsroc and will certainly start to get a list together. I would love to check out your rental property aza0.
It may be that those builders getting great reviews a couple of years ago may not have the same consultants/tradies so may not be as good today and some of the builders who may have been a bit slack previously could have lift their game and now be great to build with - in the end I guess we sign and hope for the best...
Re: Bought a block in SA- now to find a builder!10
Feb 09, 2011 11:17 pm
One thing we did was cruise through all the display homes, and photograph all the features and finishes we liked, and had them incorporated into the quote. At selections, we ended up adding 8K to the quote like others. When I went back over the numbers (before signing) to see what I could cut (as we were over budget), I had a hard time as it was a large number of small tweaks, that in total completely change the look of the house. There was no real standout "big ticket" cost addition - apart from the slab variation !
My reccomendation is to get the best floorplan you can, and model (ie make scale model furniture paper cutouts) how your furniture will look. If you are thinking of spending $1500 extra to get that bedroom made a little bit wider, do it. You can always get cheaper carpets or curtains to offset the cost - and these are replaceable.
Big tip - the garage dimensions on the "marketing" floorplan handouts from some builders will be the outside dimensions, not the inside ones. There will be a BIG difference between a garage that is 6m wide (on the inside) and compared to 6m wide on the outside.
Why are priates scary ? Because they yaargh..
Re: Bought a block in SA- now to find a builder!11
Feb 10, 2011 4:49 pm
Hope you don't mind me jumping in on your thread. Your thoughts seem so much like ours
We got ourselves a block just last month so, yet to settle on it even but like you, we've been "researching" reputable builders and have also since visited a number of display homes. Had sort of narrowed it down to about 3 builders from those display homes but then from having spoken to a few others (not from this forum though) is now likely to go with an architect first. We've got a fair idea of what we want and don't want in our new house so it was going to be a custom built in the first place but need help in having it all put together and fleshed out.
Thus, would love to follow your journey and see what you end up deciding on. We'll be renting out the property we've purchased in the first instance while we do further research and all the subsequent preparation work that goes with building.
Re: Bought a block in SA- now to find a builder!12
Feb 10, 2011 10:05 pm
I have tentatively narrowed down to:
1) Adelaide Designer Homes - because I read they are willing to do a true fixed price footing before signing on the dotted line. They seem to be more of a custom build company. They sound like they have good communication. I have yet to talk to a consultant myself, hopefully on the weekend.
2)Format Homes - because we have built a rapport with the sales person who lets us know about the block when it came back on the market without obligating us to build with them. (The consultant was honest in that the land was owned by Land SA and not Format). They have a lot of inclusions that we would otherwise have to add at selections. They seem to have a good reputation on here.
3)Dechellis - purely for the posts and threads on this site. Will talk to a consultant.
Also interested in the Kersbrook building company after reading posts here.
There are a couple of other possibilites but it is early days...
I have heard architechs can be expensive and sometimes their plans are so radical that builders won't touch them. It was suggested to me to go to a plan drawer rather than an architect but I haven't looked into this at all. My understanding is that an architect is good if you need/want an unusual design/environmently sustainable or have an awkward site.
We are preparing to sell our current home and then rent closer to the build to keep a close eye on it.
Likewise I would like to follow your experiences.
Re: Bought a block in SA- now to find a builder!13
Feb 10, 2011 10:11 pm
Also, thanks for your tips Captain Morgan particularly the dimensions on the handouts. McCracken are also on my list of 'check them out' due to your posts. I believe you are also building at GG?
Re: Bought a block in SA- now to find a builder!14
Feb 10, 2011 10:48 pm
I visited a lot of show homes, and in the end chose one that was more to my budget.
Some builders had a double garage included in the price. Some didn't.
Im not sure if it is with all builders, but i was able to change any internal wall, with no cost. So if you like the general shape of the house, but a few things bug you about the internal plan, you should be able to move walls at no cost. I extended part of the house frame about 2m by 3m, thinking it was going to cost a fortune, it was only $5,000, and totally worth it for the extra space. So dont feel limited in what you see in the plan - most can be modified to how you want them. Mine looks nothing like the original plan and barely cost anything!
Re: Bought a block in SA- now to find a builder!15
Feb 10, 2011 11:57 pm
we have built in golden Grove.
Others have had a great experience with Dechellis, but we had endless issues regarding pricing and that with them. we got out of it a week before they were going to start. long story.
We built through Fairmont. Some issues, but you will have that any way. Our product is absolutely AMAZING. I cannot say anything bad about our house We didnt move to go to a cheaper house at all, but we ended up saving a bit of money and we believe we have ended up with better inclusions.
Moved in 05/11/2010
Re: Bought a block in SA- now to find a builder!16
Feb 11, 2011 11:08 am
Hi Jessie and Chel
Jessie, I have read of your experience with Dechellis and have just been reading Robbie C's thread with the air con problem. Seems there will always be problems with any builder.
Our current home (of 11 years) is a Fairmont home and mostly went ok with minor problems (some never did get fixed) and I would consider them again especially as they seem to be building so many in Golden Grove. In regards to picking a design and changing it, there really isnt a design that comes close. We have two adult sons still living with us (18 and 27) so we want to have an almost separate area for them at the front of the house behind the entrance/lounge/media room. This area will include the main bathroom and laundry. Back to the hall and past the 'spare' room (will be a room for me and DH and our hobbies/computers). Then into a large open plan family/ kitchen/dine. A small hall will lead from here to our ensuite (which can also be accessed from the back garden and from the family room to save having a third bathroom) and our bedroom. An alfresco area will be to the side of the family area and in front of our bedroom, which will hopefully give the bedroom a B'n'B feel to it. All rooms except the spare room and lounge will be almost north facing which I'm planning to do 600mm eaves for. The north facing aspect also has great views of the hills. The house will most likely be split level at the family room (we may not need to have a split but will put one in anyway to bring the room up higher for the view; only a couple of steps, and maybe another couple for the bedroom area). We had considered an activity type room for the boys to have a tv but they spend so much time in their rooms that DH would prefer to just make their bedrooms extra large, that way they can do their own thing.
Re: Bought a block in SA- now to find a builder!17
Feb 11, 2011 11:24 am
Oh, and we want to use timber-style panelling (not sure of the name) instead of brick
Re: Bought a block in SA- now to find a builder!18
Feb 11, 2011 2:25 pm
Oh, and we want to use timber-style panelling (not sure of the name) instead of brick
If your after a lightweight home you might want to look at rivergum or sarah homes. They build lightweight homes all the time. Also check with council that they will allow the type of cladding you are after.
Just PM me if you want to have a peek at my Rental, just remember its still under construction and it is a brick home.
If you want another builder who is trustworthy and honest to build you a lightweight custom home I know of a good builder. BUT he is so busy and hard to deal with, that you have to constantly chase him and hope that he will answer the phone. I had him do a extension for me @Kersbrook and I currently having him do a build for me at Mawson Lakes - I have been waiting for a quote for about 5 weeks now.
Re: Bought a block in SA- now to find a builder!19
Feb 11, 2011 7:13 pm
Hi Jessie and Chel
In regards to picking a design and changing it, there really isnt a design that comes close. We have two adult sons still living with us (18 and 27) so we want to have an almost separate area for them at the front of the house behind the entrance/lounge/media room. This area will include the main bathroom and laundry.
I remember seeing this plan with Rossdale. Im not sure about them as a builder, but the plan has bed 2/3 up the front of the house in their own little area with a retreat, with the master bedroom and bed 4 at the back.
Re: Bought a block in SA- now to find a builder!20
Feb 11, 2011 11:25 pm
Debbie, your 3 tentative candidates are certainly popular builders with many on the forum here. In fact, Format is building on the property across the road and just one house down from us atm. Saw them putting their slab down this Monday.
We were originally going to steer clear of architects for the exact same thoughts you mentioned, ie. expensive and radical. Hence, why we went as far as having narrowed it down to 3 potential builders. They are on the higher market end though (Alan Sheppard, Samuel James & Scott Salisbury). Even then, like you again, we found none who really have a ready design that came close to the floorplan of what we have in mind although all 3 were more than happy to custom design for us when we did our initial queries with them.
The floorplan / layout we want is as basic as it can get - sleeping areas all in front and open plan living at the back but we need help in putting it together and fleshing it out further and we also want that person to be able take into account some of our lifestyle needs eg. bedroom for my dd to have a wir and study area. As we have a good block as well - rectangular size block with a direct northerly rear aspect we want to take advantage of that too so want the house to be solar passive with hydronic heating / cooling. Thus, having done a bit more homework and spoken with a few more people who had renovated / built before, indication is that we should at least talk to an architect first. Purportedly, not all are way out there with their design but feel the right architect would be able to design specifically for our needs rather than what is easier for them as in the case of builders. More importantly, they seem to think that we would have copyright to the drawings and we can then shop around with it.
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