Where to find a custom home builder in Melbourne?09/29/2022
Can I Use a Square Metre Price to Estimate the Cost of My Project?10/01/2022
One of the biggest mistakes to make during the building process is to get the design done before you consult with the custom home builder. Far too often clients approach me with fully finalized town-planning documents, working drawings, engineering drawings and energy assessments, sometimes spending in excess of $30,000 before they start looking for a custom house builder, then they realize that their design is too ambitious for their budget. The main cause of this situation is that regardless of the architect’s/draftsman’s best intentions and indisputable knowledge, they’ll get paid for their drawings whether or not the project goes ahead. Custom home builders, on the other hand, lose time every minute they speak with you about your custom home project not being able to meet your budget expectation.
One of the first questions any good custom home builder should ask on their first site visit, if not earlier during a phone conversation, is What is your budget? Or What budget are you hoping for? It’s much easier to work the design around the budget than the budget around the design. The biggest savings in building can be made during the custom design stage. Any good Melbourne custom house builder should have his own trusted architect/draftsman and engineer, and the custom house builder should be able to give a realistic, non-obligatory, verbal cost estimate on the first site visit to make sure that everyone is on the same page. Obviously, the price may vary due to circumstances at the time not known to the custom homebuilder, such as town-planning requirements, exact design features, geotechnical difficulties, bush fire track level (BAL) and similar; however, we should have a ball-park figure established by the custom home builder quite early on.
On your first meeting with the custom home builder, you should disclose what kind of price you’re expecting. It may be completely unrealistic, and that’s fine. The custom home builder should advise you that he can’t get it done for the price you’re hoping for. I find that some clients are very uncomfortable about disclosing what their budget is—maybe they’re afraid that the custom home builder will overcharge them.
Good custom house builders should also propose their own practical and cost-efficient ways of delivering the most appropriate solution.
I was approached by clients whose architect told them that their house extension project should cost them X, and I quoted twice the amount. I didn’t hear from them for a few months, and when they contacted me again, they told me that my quote was cheaper than the other two quotes they got.
They considered selling the property and buying something more appropriate to their needs, but they couldn’t afford anything suitable, so they asked me, ‘What can we do?’ ‘Well,’ I replied, ‘let’s start from the beginning and create the custom design to suit the budget.’ After an eight-month delay at the beginning of the Covid pandemic when the prices started to rise sharply, we ended up with reduced original drawings and a small price reduction from the original custom design.