Top 6 Home Building Myths

Lauren O'Grady
December 8, 2021

We get it. Building a home can be scary, hard and very overwhelming but there are many misconceptions of Custom Home Builder’s. This blog will debunk the Top 6 Myths about building a custom new home or renovating in the hope that it will put away your fears and inspire you to take the big leap in 2022.

Myth 1: Builders have hidden extra costs

The most common myth associated with building a custom home is that there will be hidden costs during construction. I can’t speak for every builder but in our case the only time you pay more is if:

  • You change your mind on certain elements of the build during construction
  • The conditions discovered on site are different or unexpected (renovations) than noted in the plans or reports ie soil report.
  • We come across rock during excavation
  • Price increase of materials during construction.

This is why the Product Specifications document is so important at quoting stage. You have heard me say numerous times how important it is to have a thorough Specifications document which outlines everything going into the house which is signed and forms part of the building contract.

An example of where people can come unstuck on a poorly documented specified project is.

Tiles: For example, you wanted mosaic tiles on your shower walls but you signed Specifications simply stating “Wall tiles in the shower” with no further information. Mosiac tiles can cost double the labour to install than standard 450mm x 450mm tiles.  Therefore when you tell the builder you want mosiac tiles during construction he will slap you with a Variation for the extra labour to install them.

To avoid this, you need to communicate with your builder early on what you want. I know this may be hard, as many people aren’t actually sure what they want until they start building. However, the down side of this is you will receive many Variations during construction.

Over 2021 residential construction costs have jumped by 7.1 per cent - the highest annual increase in more than 16 years. The reasons for this is due to the amount of construction activity that’s been approved at a time when we can’t import more skilled labour or materials due to COVID, material shortages and increased prices of freight. The increase of building costs certainly do not go towards the builder’s profit!

When we quote a project we receive prices from our trusted suppliers and their prices are as current costs. Therefore, during construction if the price increases clients are to pay the difference. If builders were to pay for these continual increases it would cause many builders to go bankrupt. Therefore, if you’re planning on building in the next two years have a small contingency amount  available in this case.

Myth 2: Renovating and Extending a home is cheaper than building a new one

This Myth is completely False. When we’re trying to make old things new again the associated costs mainly labour can be exorbitant. When we’re working with existing structures we don’t know exactly what is going on behind old walls and we can’t preempt possible non compliant construction structures therefore this can lead to possible budget blow outs. We have quoted many renovation/extension projects and afterwards the client realise they could build a brand new home for the same amount of money or even less. I wrote a blog on “Renovate or Rebuild”. See the link here

Myth 3: All Builders are unorganised, late for meetings and untrustworthy

Gone are the days when builders would drive around in a beaten up utes, wearing dirty boots, come to a meeting an hour late or seem secretive. These days the majority of builders I know are perfectionists, clean freaks, punctual and people pleasers. This all comes down doing your research and making sure you trust your builder. I wrote a blog “8 things to look for in a trustworthy builder”

If you follow these steps I can guarantee you will find a good one. We are mostly out there I promise!!! Just skip around a few dodgey ones.

Myth 4: Construction is a “Man’s World” and most of the clients we deal with are Male

It is true that mainly men work in the construction industry however the overall number of women in construction roles have increased by 34 per cent in five years. This is mainly made up by Architects, Project and Office Managers but there are many women who have chosen a career as a trade like painting. I have worked in Construction for almost 10 years. Initially, I started out as a wife helping out the builder husband (who was and is still computer illiterate) but now I would proudly say I pretty much run the show in this company. Yes, Lonnie is the registered builder and he has 70% control of the building site but I take care of everything else. Yet, I still come across people who want to ‘wait to speak to your husband’. I promise this is not a feminist rant, just stating the facts.

Interestingly, research shows that women make 80% of the purchasing in a house including home building and renovating. Women are great researchers, wonderful at empowering themselves with knowledge and are excellent communicators and organised.

Therefore, if you’re female (single or attached) and you want to navigate your building or renovation project please don’t be worried about going into a ‘mans world’. Your builder should make you feel confident, guided and supported all the way through designing and building your project.

Myth 5: You will save money and time if you get your family and friends to help out with the construction

This is a big Myth and I will guarantee you that most people that do this, regret it. We have learnt the hard way and after being in construction for 15+ years we have never seen this situation turn out well for the owner’s. We had a build a few years ago where we allowed the owner’s to use a family member for all plumbing works. This plumber was very busy in his own business and therefore our client’s house was last on his priority list. The consequences of this was mistakes were made due to miscommunication between ourselves, the plumber and the owner’s. Our schedule was continually being pushed back due to the lack of work from this plumber which in the end resulted in us claiming “Liquidated Damaged For delays caused by Owner” Clause 17.4 of the MBAV contract. This was a very stressful time for us and the owner’s and I know they regretted their decision. Construction is stressful enough. Leave your family and friends out of the equation.

Myth 6: You should get all of your plans drawn first then contact a builder.

FALSE. You don’t need me going on and on again about the importance of getting a builder involved during the planning stages of your project. Just as a recap though head over to my blog “Why you Should Collaborate with your Builder During the Early Stages of Designing your Home”

While the thought of a construction project may cause some stress for owners, knowing the difference between fact and fiction can help provide a more realistic picture of what to expect during construction. With this insight, we can work to alleviate fears and create excitement for upcoming project.

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