May 31, 2017 2:58 pm
I have just joined up to the forum and am very new to the whole house building thing. My partner and I have just bought a block of land, and are now starting the process of trying to choose a builder. We have been visiting a few display homes and chatted with a few people, but it seems a daunting process to decide on one! I have a few questions for people who have recently built in Adelaide:
1. How far can you go in regards to getting house plans etc drawn up before builders want to start charging? We thought this might be a good way to compare (we want to design our own home).
2. Is getting an architect or draftsman to design the home a good idea, or can the builders do it themselves for less money (and just as good)?
3. Any tips on recommended builders? So far on our list is Oakford and Metricon, but we'd also like to investigate smaller builders too if there are any recommendations......Kookaburra??? Gasparin???
4. How is the best way to decide on a builder? Compare specs? Compare display homes? Compare plans? I realise everyone chooses on a different basis, but it would be interesting to hear people's experiences.
Thank you for any information you can offer!
Re: Deciding on a Builder in Adelaide2
May 31, 2017 8:10 pm
Hi Adelaide Girl
Where is your block in SA?
We built in SA in 2009 with Dechellis Homes on Hindmarsh Island. Kym the Sales Consultant was awesome. When we first saw there displays at Seaford Rise we thought we couldn't afford to build with them. Turned out they were cheaper than the bigger builders. We chose one of their plans and pretty much changed it to fit on our block. Our block was only 11m wide at the front and 14.5m at the rear. The build started in August 2009 and we moved in April 2010. We were very happy with the home when it was completed. We sold in December 2016 and currently building in Queensland with Nu Trend Quality Homes. We received prices from different builders comparing apples with apples and divided the $$$$$$ by m2 to see what the builders were charging per m2. There are so many things builders charge for and the prices are usually different. Using a spreadsheet might be helpful . Keep an eye out for the different footings and charges. The soil in SA can be very inconsistent and can add a lot of cost to your build. There are some Dechellis builds on this forum as well as other SA builders. You will also find lots of info and advice for your build on this forum
Re: Deciding on a Builder in Adelaide3
Jun 01, 2017 9:44 am
Thanks for the reply. Our block is in Ferryden Park. You are about the third person to recommend Dechellis to me. We also thought they were too expensive but maybe we should investigate more!
Re: Deciding on a Builder in Adelaide4
Jun 02, 2017 11:20 am
We are close to signing (having soil testing next week) with a custom build with Adelaide Designer Homes. We have been really happy with the process and Jahl - I think we are about concept 10 at the moment, and have only just paid 850 which is for soil testing.
We did look at Deschellis too and loved the Daintree. We went as far with them as getting a quote, which didn't cost us at all.
As far as quotes go, they were similar, but hard to compare as ADH includes all floorings which Desc don't, but then Desc had some upgrades such as caesarstone for the kitchen
Re: Deciding on a Builder in Adelaide5
Jun 02, 2017 11:44 am
It is quite a daunting process, but worth it in the end. We ended up comparing rough prices with builders and then narrowed it down to about 3. We heavily compared spreadsheets with included and not included extras. In the end we just kept going to display homes until we felt comfortable. It was hard, but to compare on price we tried to get as close to possible on a direct comparison with similar floor plan with same sized rooms and same features.
We were also able to go see the kitchen company and interiors company and they showed us the standard selections. We ended up with very little in the way of variations. With a couple of other builders they were very reluctant to show us the standard inclusions for things like tap fittings and doors, and when we went for an actual sit down meeting to get an official quote we realised the standard inclusions weren't very flattering. The initial price comparison seemed comparable, but once adding on a mid range set of fixtures their price wasn't as appealing.
You can get pretty far in the process before needing to put down any money. Our salesperson would draw up any changes to the plans (with white out tape and pen) and price us up for it. We went through about 5 rounds of changes. We then paid our initial fee (something like $2200 deposit) and they came back with the full architect plans which were very close to what the salesperson had done. Minor things like window placement to allow for brick layout and stuff were about the only differences.
Make sure you allow in your budget for site works. We were able to get a bunch of footings costs and soil reports for others who built in the same area as us and our estimate based on this was correct. This is one area where there could be anywhere from 20-40k difference in prices of builders, and you kind of don't find out that cost until after they do their soil tests themselves. You kind of feel invested at that point, and may have even paid your deposit by then and they kind of have a get out of jail free pass where they can say it was only an estimate not an engineering report. Also, check if the builder does a fixed price on this stuff.
If the block needs any retaining walls or water meters moved check that out. Also things like soil removal, septic tanks, stormwater, rainwater, etc are often missed in the budgeting stage
There is a really good thread on here with a list of things to include/check. It's long but there is a pretty good list on this page https://forum.homeone.com.au/viewtopic.php?p=1034752#p1034752
Good luck. There are no dumb questions. Check everything, and get it in writing on the actual quote. Don't assume the builder will remember, or because you saw it in a display home that it will be in yours.
Building a Fairmont Custom in Seaford Meadows
Our Build Thread
Re: Deciding on a Builder in Adelaide6
Jun 02, 2017 2:19 pm
Yeah - footings are very expensive - we have been quoted between 45 - 70 000 for ours. We have chosen the company that came with the most expensive and hoping that we get a nice surprise when engineering report comes back. (our slab will be about 316 in size)
Re: Deciding on a Builder in Adelaide7
Jun 03, 2017 9:46 pm
Hi Adelaide Girl - congrats on the land!
I think everyone's different in the way that they choose a builder, it depends on what your highest priorities are - cost? Quality? Inclusions? Flexibility?
The first things I would be asking potential builders are; if they do custom builds (Metricon and Simmonds won't do custom) and if they can build on a sloping block (if you have any slope that is, if you have a perfectly flat block you're fine). Most builders should be able to draft basic plans for you at no cost, but they can't give you exact details until they get soil and engineers reports which is when you'll have to cough up. From what I've heard smaller builders will generally be more flexible in the process than volume builders.
We've just signed final contracts with Dechellis after our first builder went belly up late last year - it's technically a custom build as we're using the plans from the first one. Rossdale and Metro were other builders we had positive responses from and were quite helpful in the initial stages. Good luck!!
Re: Deciding on a Builder in Adelaide8
Jun 17, 2017 10:03 pm
We built with Oakford a couple of years ago, and i've been happy with how it went. We narrowed it down to a short list based on display homes and analysing the type of feedback on the web. Most comment on builders are complaints, as that's what motivates people to say things, but you can read between the lines on how issues were handled.
If you can, it's good to go with a plan, and give this plan to each builder on your shortlist. You don't need full architectural plans, but just something that accurately shows the layout and dimensions. Windows sizes and facade detail is also helpful, but you're probably better being a bit flexible in letting each builder do things their way a bit. The builders may want to change the design a bit, but bear in mind that any changes that one builder suggests you can't really take to another builder.
It's a bit hit and miss getting design input from the builders. It seems to depend a lot on the particular consultant you happen to deal with. The best one I came across was actually a sales consultant at Rivergum, who was a qualified architect, and a draftsman who was doing sales at statesman homes. If you want design assistance, ask them who would be working with you on the design, and make sure you have a talk with that person first to see if are comfortable with the way they think about design. If you know fairly well what you want, and find someone who speaks your language, you won't need your own architect. Finding that right person may tip the balance in the choice of builder. An architect would cost more, and you'd have to look around to find one that would produce designs suitable for a volume builder. Some people also get a lot of design input by posting their design process on these forums for input.
You're unlikely to get a final price prior to starting putting money down for design work. There may be some loose ends like kitchen and bathroom upgrades that you don't fully cost. What you can do though is get prices on some of the upgrades, and try to get a feel for how pricey they are for their upgrades. Overall though, when getting prices, try to specify as much as you can, as upgrades will tend to cost more after you've signed up than before. A plus in my mind for Oakford was when I asked one of their sales what the cost was for their display home as displayed, he had ready an itemised full costing. Many don't know, and some are misleading. For one company I asked this question. I got the response $___, and then I asked "does that include the downlights". ... "oh no, that's not part of the house...". I didn't go any further with that company.
Our shortlist was Oakford, Dechellis and Statesman. When comparing like for like, they all came in around the same price. A strong reason in favour of Oakford is that their display homes were more in line with the type of build I was after. It seemed to sit the best in the form vs function spectrum. If you go against their standard market, you have to work harder in your specification. In retrospect I think this was the right choice, but the others may have been fine as well.
Re: Deciding on a Builder in Adelaide9
Jan 11, 2019 11:44 am
Hey Adelaide Girl, who did you end up choosing? We used https://kookaburrahomes.com.au/ for our holiday home (York Peninsula) in 2016. We couldn't speak more highly of them. From start to finish they were great to deal with, and were beyond stoked with the final product. I'll upload some photos in a few weeks when we head back down there.
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