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Building a house


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#1 Guest_CaptainOblivious_*

Posted 02 February 2013 - 01:56 PM

Is it really that much of a big deal, or do you just tell them what you want, pick out the colours and hand them a cheque.

My plan is to go with a house and land package since all of the land in decent areas has been bought up by local builders. I'm after a 4bdr 3 living area house with a bathroom and ensuite, so nothing out of the ordinary. I plan to have it finished to the point where all I have to do it move in.

WDYT? Have you done it? What are the pitfalls to watch out for aside from making sure you've got a decent builder.


#2 Peppery

Posted 02 February 2013 - 02:02 PM

Currently building, well the slap gets laid 17 feb. I have found the process very straight forward. The land was already owned so I am guessing that it is different for house and land packages but I have to organise carpeting, concreting driveways. When they handover the keys I won't be able to move in straightaway.

Haven't found it that big of a deal so far, I may feel differently in a few weeks though wink.gif

#3 *LucyE*

Posted 02 February 2013 - 02:29 PM

I have discovered that I don't speak 'builder'.  It's a whole language unto itself and I do not understand the nuances.

We have been renovating and undertaking some extensive landscaping work.  Both times we have required the assistance of designers or architect to be the translators.  

I assume a home and land package deal with the standard home designs are much simpler because there are fewer variables.

The only reason why I am even contemplating subjecting myself to them again, is to finally have my dream home.  Having learned from our own experiences, and those of family and friends, the biggest lesson is to be prepared.  Plan everything before work commences because any changes afterwards will be expensive.  Have every last, tiny detail on paper with each party signing.

We have friends who have bought, renovated and sold several properties over the last 20 yrs.  They finally have settled on their dream home which was a reno of an original queenslander.  They project managed themselves and had a 90 page booklet in 10 point font of the specifications they wanted on top of the usual builder contracts.  Even with such meticulous detail, the builder still tried to alter or substitute products.  They also included time frames and penalties which we should have done with our house reno.  Our builder started to take on other smaller jobs to help with his cash flow which meant that we would have no one turn up for a week or two which really slowed down our progress.

#4 ComradeBob

Posted 02 February 2013 - 02:44 PM

We did a knock down rebuild with a hosing company and were very happy with it, although I think I must have looked at a couple of thousand lots of plans on line before finally finding a layout I was happy with. We went with Rawson in the end and they did a very professional job, and were happy to amend the plans to suit our specifications (some companies aren't so happy to do this). The only things they didn't do were the landscaping and the carpet upstairs, but everything else was finished. It took about 8 months all up and that included some wet weeks where nothing was happening and to my mind , it was far easier than getting an architect and doing it all yourself.

I will say though that the prices you see on building companies websites are generally the base level and you can adding another third to half on again before y get your final product.

#5 unicorn

Posted 02 February 2013 - 04:23 PM

I think most of the time it can be straight forward but I would prefer to keep a relatively close eye on things, friends of ours got burnt by when they bought a house and land package.
The H&L people outsource the labour, but the site manager wasn't keeping an eye on things and there were shortcuts taken all through the place, cheap fittings, things not going where they were supposed to according to the plans, bodgy workmanship, walls not square, gutters not leaning the right way causing leaks into the house, it has cost said friends a small fortune to rectify the problems and They are in the process of court action over it all.

Edited by Flibbertigibberty, 02 February 2013 - 04:24 PM.


#6 Pongo

Posted 02 February 2013 - 04:50 PM

We are 7 months into our custom designed and boutique built house with another 2/3 months to go.

And so far it has been fairly simple, sure sometimes things don't go to plan or an issue crops up that needs to be dealt with but our builder has been great.

As we are using a boutique builder we can change things whenever we like and we can make decisions about colours and  finishings right before they are needed.  They have also arranged whatever we've wanted so for example if we decide tomorrow we want the builder to do the landscaping they will bring in quotes for the work and we then approve it.

However our contract with the builder is a cost+ arrangement whereas most builders are fixed price.

#7 Le-a

Posted 02 February 2013 - 05:29 PM

QUOTE (WingBob @ 02/02/2013, 03:44 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I will say though that the prices you see on building companies websites are generally the base level and you can adding another third to half on again before y get your final product.


This is interesting. I am also looking into building, and am quite "green" to the whole thing. So, what makes the final cost come in at so much higher? Things like site works, or upgrading appliances/bench tops etc? Or is it just other general stuff?

Good question OP, I've been meaning to ask this for a while.

#8 Fabulous

Posted 03 February 2013 - 09:20 AM

Site costs can be expensive. Ours were 40K and the builder had only allowed 6K in our preliminary works contract. We had to put in a couple of small retaining walls to make our block flat.  Another big one is the cost of storm water drains. Our builder wanted an extra 3k to do them. Sometimes fences will need to be removed and replaced.

The base price of your home usually includes the bare minimum so you often have to budget extra for stuff like TV points, internet points, extra power points, doors on your home theatre, study ensuite etc, overhead cupboards When we built our range hood and bathroom exhaust were going to be vented straight into the roof space so we had to pay an extra $1000 to get them all flued to the outside.

Edited by Fabulous, 03 February 2013 - 09:22 AM.


#9 ComradeBob

Posted 03 February 2013 - 09:47 AM

Companies pries won't include floor coverings, for example, or site works. If you want different rooms painted different colours, that will cost more. It turned out we needed screw piers, which added $20,000. Gutter guards, we needed a retaining wall, landscaping, it's all extra. Not to mention that in certain Sydney LGAs many companies add a premium because its more challenging terrain. The base package will include only certain external finishes, so you will pay extra if you want a different brick,roof tiles, front door etc. You can also upgrade the basic package to one where you design your kitchen layout and you get nicer finishes. We paid more to get a caeserstone bench top in the kitchen, rather than laminate. Driveways aren't included in the base price, so that's another $7,000+.

#10 belindarama

Posted 03 February 2013 - 10:30 AM

You need to check very carefully what level of finnish is specified in the base price. A lot of the package homes we looked at very very basic in their inclusions. For example, if you want taps that don't look like they came from 1969 (those plastic ones with indentations for your fingers) that is extra. There were lot of things like that.

Also the workmanship is not always great. We were chatting with a stand alone builder and I mentioned the quality of the workmanship in the display homes, wonky tiles for example, and he told me they do it on purpose as they only agree to build your home to that standard. So when you complain your tiled are wonky they send you back to the display home and say that is what we agreed to provide. I agree that bringing it up to decent standard adds a third, that is what we found when we costed out what we wanted versus what the packages allowed for.

We ended up going with the stand alone guy and his work was excellent. 7 months in (living in the house) and no major problems. Minor defects here and there that don't become apparent until you move in but nothing huge. All the little things have been fixed to our satisfaction very easily.

A couple of times he was unhappy with work and made tradies do it again, sometimes I couldn't really see what the issue was but he wasn't happy.

Site costs can be an unknown. We needed extra piers so that added $10,000.

Also other things can add on more than you expect. We needed to redo the footpath out the front and move our driveway as council wasn't happy with where the original driveway was and wanted it moved. We also needed to concrete the driveway on our property to the garage and do some areas around the exterior of the house. A path around the perimeter and area for the bins etc. that cost $22,000.

Make sure you have a decent contingency because you will need it.

#11 WastingTime

Posted 03 February 2013 - 02:51 PM

The base price will be nowhere near the final price for reasons outlined above. When you are researching plans and pricing be sure to ask for a list of inclusions. Some companies like Allworth may give you a list of inclusions with pricings included. Get a spreadsheet and make a list of what you get with each package and itemize it for 'extra' things which can include basic stuff like insulation! We've built twice. The second time we had more cash to play with and knew what we wanted and were lucky to find a builder who custom designed our home and had a very generous inclusions package with things like caesarstone and nice fittings as standard. Unfortunately for them it obviously didn't make good financial sense as they have since gone under which is a shame as our place is fantastic.




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