LANDCONNECT — 02 April 2024

Roof Types in Australia: Sheltering Beauty Down Under

Roofing Down Under: Harmonizing Style, Climate, and Community

In the vast and varied landscapes of Australia, the roof over your head does more than just protect you from the elements; it’s a statement of style, a guardian against the climate, and a pivotal choice in the sustainability of your home. From the iconic corrugated iron to the sleek, modern lines of metal roofing, the Australian skyline is a testament to the country’s diverse architectural tastes and environmental needs. This exploration into Australia’s most popular roof types offers insights into how Australians are covering their homes, balancing aesthetics, functionality, and eco-consciousness.

The Classic Corrugated Iron Roof

The corrugated iron roof holds a special place in the heart of Australian architecture, a nod to the country’s pioneering past and a testament to its enduring spirit. Renowned for its durability, it stands as a bulwark against Australia’s sometimes harsh and unpredictable weather, offering protection from heavy rainfalls to scorching sun. Its ease of installation and cost-effectiveness make it a go-to choice for homes and buildings across the nation. Moreover, the corrugated iron roof’s adaptability in style and color allows it to blend seamlessly into both rural and urban landscapes, making it a timeless choice for Australian homes.

The Elegant Terracotta Tiles

When it comes to marrying aesthetics with functionality, terracotta tiles hold a revered spot in Australian roofing. Their rich, earthy tones and natural finish offer a touch of elegance and warmth, elevating the visual appeal of any home.

FeatureTerracotta TilesConcrete Tiles
AestheticsWarm, naturalVaried finishes
LongevityOver 50 years30-50 years

Beyond beauty, terracotta tiles boast excellent insulation properties, keeping homes cooler in summer and warmer in winter, a crucial feature in Australia’s varied climates. Their durability and low maintenance further cement their status as a premium roofing choice, capable of withstanding the test of time and elements.

The Modern Metal Roofing

The evolution of roofing materials has seen the rise of modern metal roofing, with Colorbond steel becoming a symbol of contemporary Australian design. Its versatility in color and form allows for innovative architectural expressions, from the sleek and modern to the traditional and timeless. Metal roofing’s key advantages include:

  • Color Variety: An extensive palette to match any architectural style.
  • Thermal Efficiency: Reflective coatings that contribute to energy savings.
  • Eco-Friendly: Made from recyclable materials, it offers a sustainable roofing solution.

This roofing type has gained popularity for its strength, longevity, and the modern touch it adds to Australian homes, making it a preferred choice for new builds and renovations alike.

Sustainable Roofing Options

As the world leans towards more sustainable living practices, Australian homeowners are increasingly opting for eco-friendly roofing materials. Solar tiles and green roofs not only reduce a home’s carbon footprint but also offer remarkable energy savings.

MaterialBenefitsEnvironmental Impact
Solar TilesEnergy generation, cost savingsReduces energy consumption
Green RoofsInsulation, biodiversityLowers urban heat island effect

These options represent the cutting edge of roofing technology, combining functionality with environmental stewardship. By choosing sustainable roofing, Australians are contributing to a greener future, one roof at a time.

Choosing the Right Roof for Your Region

Australia’s diverse climate zones from the humid tropics to dry deserts, and temperate regions require careful consideration when selecting a roofing material. Here’s a quick guide:

  1. Tropical: Opt for materials that offer excellent ventilation and can withstand heavy rainfall, such as corrugated iron or metal roofing with reflective coatings.
  2. Arid: Choose light-colored roofs that reflect sunlight to keep homes cooler, like light-colored metal or terracotta tiles.
  3. Temperate: Consider tiles for their natural insulation properties, or metal roofing for its versatility and durability.

Understanding the climate-specific needs of your region can ensure your home remains comfortable and energy-efficient year-round.

Maintenance and Care Tips

To ensure the longevity and performance of your roof, regular maintenance is key. Here are a few tips:

  • Corrugated Iron: Check for and promptly repair any signs of rust or corrosion.
  • Terracotta Tiles: Clean gutters and downpipes regularly to prevent blockages.
  • Metal Roofing: Inspect for scratches or dents that could lead to rust.

Proper care will extend the life of your roof and protect your home against the elements, making it a wise investment in the long run.

Roofing in New Estates: Meeting Design Guidelines

In Australia’s burgeoning new estates and communities, roofing choices often go beyond personal preference and environmental considerations. Developers of these planned communities typically establish design guidelines to ensure a cohesive and harmonious aesthetic throughout the neighborhood.

When building in a new estate, homeowners find themselves navigating a set of design guidelines put forth by developers. These guidelines are crafted to preserve the visual appeal of the community, enhance property values, and sometimes, to promote sustainability. They often specify acceptable roofing materials, colors, and sometimes even the pitch of the roof. For example, a developer might mandate the use of terracotta tiles in a certain color palette to maintain a Mediterranean feel throughout the estate, or require high-reflectivity metal roofing in eco-conscious communities to enhance energy efficiency.

Key Considerations When Choosing Roofing in New Estates:

  • Design Compatibility: It’s imperative to select roofing materials that align with the architectural style prescribed by the estate’s guidelines. Whether the requirement leans towards traditional terracotta tiles for their rustic charm or modern metal roofing for a sleek finish, compatibility is key.
  • Color Restrictions: Many estates specify a color palette to maintain visual harmony. Adhering to these color schemes ensures that your home complements its surroundings and meets estate standards.
  • Sustainability Requirements: Eco-friendly building practices are becoming a staple in new developments. This might mean opting for solar tiles or choosing roofing materials with superior energy efficiency to align with sustainability goals.

Understanding these guidelines is crucial for homeowners for several reasons:

  • Approval Process: Adhering to the guidelines ensures a smoother approval process for your building plans, preventing delays.
  • Community Aesthetics: Compliance contributes to the overall aesthetic and atmosphere of the community, which is a selling point for many homeowners.
  • Resale Value: Homes that align with the community’s design ethos tend to maintain or increase their resale value over time.

However, these guidelines don’t mean sacrificing individuality or preferences. Many developers offer a range of approved options, allowing homeowners to choose roofing materials and styles that not only meet the guidelines but also match their personal taste and functional needs. Innovative materials like Colorbond steel offer a variety of colors and finishes that can complement any architectural style while meeting the most common requirements found in new estate guidelines.

Navigating the design guidelines in new estates requires a careful balancing act between individual preferences, functional needs, and community standards. By understanding and working within these parameters, homeowners can achieve a roof that protects, enhances, and adds value to their home, all while contributing to the cohesive look and feel of their new community.

Wrapping It Up: Elevating Australian Homes

Choosing the right roof type is more than a practical decision; it’s a design statement, a climate consideration, an adherence to community standards, and increasingly, a reflection of environmental values. Whether it’s the rustic charm of corrugated iron, the elegance of terracotta tiles, the modern appeal of metal roofing, or the cutting-edge technology of sustainable options, the perfect roofing choice not only shelters but also reflects the identity of Australian homes and communities. In the vibrant tapestry of Australian architecture, each roof tells a story of adaptation, style, and forward-thinking, contributing to the unique character of our neighborhoods and the sustainability of our planet.

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10 Things To Remember When Moving Into Your New Home

Moving into a new home is a monumental life event. It’s exciting, nerve-wracking, and full of potential. Whether it’s your first home or your fifth, there are a few essential things to keep in mind to ensure a smooth transition. Here are ten crucial tips to help you navigate this exciting journey. 1. Plan Like […]


LANDCONNECT — 02 April 2024

Steel Frame Homes: A Future-Proof Investment?

Steel Frame Homes: Where Innovation Meets Sustainability

In the ever-evolving landscape of home construction, a trend steadily gaining traction is the use of steel frames in residential buildings. Unlike the traditional wood or concrete, steel offers a combination of strength, durability, and design flexibility that positions it as a material not just for the present but the future of homebuilding. But why are savvy homeowners and builders making the switch to steel frame homes, and what does this mean for you? Let’s dive in.

The Anatomy of Steel Frame Homes

At its core, a steel frame home is built using high-strength steel columns and beams to create a skeleton that the rest of the home is built around. This modern approach to steel frame construction is not just about the allure of industrial aesthetics; it’s about leveraging the inherent benefits of steel.

  • Durability: Steel frame homes are resistant to many of the common issues that plague wood homes, including termites, mold, and rot.
  • Design Flexibility: The strength of steel allows for larger open spaces and more creative design in steel frame homes without the need for load-bearing walls.
  • Sustainability: Steel is one of the most recyclable materials on the planet, making steel frame homes a choice that benefits not just the homeowner but the environment as well.

Comparing Steel Frame Homes vs. Traditional Materials

MaterialCostDurabilityEnvironmental Impact

While steel frame homes might seem pricier upfront, their durability and low environmental impact offer a compelling argument for their cost-effectiveness over time. Unlike wood, which can succumb to environmental elements and pests, steel stands the test of time, ensuring your home remains a sanctuary for decades to come.

The Environmental Impact of Steel Frame Homes

Steel frame homes are a nod to the eco-conscious builder. Beyond its recyclability, steel offers:

  • Energy Efficiency: With proper insulation, steel frame homes are incredibly energy efficient, keeping you warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
  • Reduced Construction Waste: Precision engineering means materials are used efficiently, reducing waste in steel frame construction.
  • Sustainability: Choosing steel reduces the demand on forestry and concrete production, which have significant environmental footprints.

Cost Analysis of Steel Frame Homes: Upfront Investment vs. Long-term Savings

ExpenseSteel Frame HomeTraditional Home
Initial CostHigherLower
Maintenance CostLowerHigher
Energy BillsLowerHigher

Though the initial price tag of a steel frame home can be higher, the investment pays off. The durability of steel significantly reduces maintenance costs, and its superior insulation capabilities can lead to substantial savings on energy bills.

The Building Process of Steel Frame Homes Simplified

  1. Design: Begin with finalizing your home’s design, taking advantage of steel’s design flexibility.
  2. Fabrication: Steel components are precision-engineered and fabricated off-site, ensuring quality and reducing waste.
  3. Foundation: While the steel is being prepared, the foundation is laid on the construction site.
  4. Assembly: Steel frames are brought to the site and assembled, a process that is significantly faster than traditional construction methods.
  5. Finishing Touches: Finally, walls, windows, and roofs are added, bringing your vision to life in your new steel frame home.

This streamlined process not only speeds up construction but ensures a level of precision and efficiency seldom seen in traditional building methods.

Design Flexibility and Customization in Steel Frame Homes

Steel frame construction opens the door to a world of design possibilities that are often out of reach with traditional materials. The inherent strength of steel allows for:

  • Expansive Windows: Fill your steel frame home with natural light with floor-to-ceiling windows, made possible by steel’s strength.
  • Open-Concept Layouts: Without the need for load-bearing walls, you can achieve the spacious, open-plan living area you’ve always wanted in your steel frame home.
  • Creative Use of Space: Mezzanines, high ceilings, and unique architectural features become feasible, allowing your steel frame home to truly reflect your personal style and needs.

Wrapping It Up: Your Future Home Awaits

Steel frame homes represent not just a shift in materials but a broader rethinking of what our living spaces can be. Durable, sustainable, and endlessly customizable, they offer a solution that meets the demands of modern living while considering the future of our planet. Whether you’re building your dream home from the ground up or considering your next investment, steel frame homes are a choice that offers both immediate satisfaction and long-term value.

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10 Things To Remember When Moving Into Your New Home

Moving into a new home is a monumental life event. It’s exciting, nerve-wracking, and full of potential. Whether it’s your first home or your fifth, there are a few essential things to keep in mind to ensure a smooth transition. Here are ten crucial tips to help you navigate this exciting journey. 1. Plan Like […]

Building A House: A Simple (But Complete) Guide

LANDCONNECT — 26 May 2020

Building A House: A Simple (But Complete) Guide

Building a new house doesn’t need to be overwhelming or confusing. If you are thinking of building a new home- read our simple but complete guide.

Future new homeowner! Are you feeling that buzz of excitement about building your own haven from the ground up? Whether you’re picturing a custom sanctuary tailored just for you or exploring the world of project homes, there’s a roadmap to follow.

With so many things to think about: that just-right plot of land, the maze of stamp duty, and the nitty-gritty of construction costs. And in a housing market that’s always on the move, staying in-the-know about market shifts and be armed with the right knowledge can help you make the new home building journey stress free. 

Whether you are a first-time buyer, a young family looking to build a forever home, or you just entered retirement, building a house can be one of the most overwhelming, confusing, and challenging experiences; however, it is also likely to be one of the most rewarding. 

In this article, we will look at several key questions you may have when embarking on the home building journey. 

We also offer practical tips and advice on how to get through the process of building a home with ease. 

We will explore what it costs to build a new home, including any hidden extra costs that may take you by surprise; we will look at how cheaply you can build a house and guide you through the step by step process of building your dream home.  So let us kick it off with the biggest question of them all. 

What does it cost to build a new house?

The cost of building a new home is influenced by five key factors. 

  • House size 
  • Builder type
  • House location
  • Lot features
  • Material types

To start with, let’s take a look at the average cost to build a house in Australia by state and territory. 

The average cost to build a new home in Australia

2018-1915~ Year % Increase
$ (‘000)Total change
New South Wales349.953.2%
South Australia275.463.1%
Western Australia298.378.5%
Northern Territory 365.452.4%

It is plain to see, the increase in the cost to build a new home has been substantial over the past 15 years. Which goes to the saying there is no better time to enter the property market than now. 

Why Build New Over Buying Established?

Ok, now that we got the first question on the top of your mind out of the way. Let’s work out how if buying or building is for you. If you’re balancing on the fence between building or buying, let’s shed some light on that decision.

1. Your Canvas Awaits: When you build, every wall, every room, every tile becomes a reflection of your vision. Picturing a gourmet kitchen for those family cookouts or a panoramic window to gaze at the stars? Building ensures that every detail has your personal touch.

2. The Future is Green: In a world where sustainability matters, new homes are at the forefront. Crafted with eco-conscious materials and innovative methods, these homes aren’t just about living—they’re about living responsibly. Think top-tier insulation, power-conserving appliances, and windows that harmonize with nature.

3. Location Dreams Come True: Got a special neighborhood or that scenic lakeside spot in your sights? Sometimes, an existing home just won’t match the dream. But with building? You can plant your flag exactly where your heart desires.

From molding your living space brick by brick, to embracing the eco-friendly movement, and securing that dreamy backdrop, the allure of building a new home is undeniable. And for those looking to craft their personal haven, the rewards are boundless. 

Lets take a look at one of the first considerations – House Size…

House size

The most apparent impact on the cost of a new home build is simply the size. The larger the home, the more expensive it will be. 

Larger homes require more materials, and labor exponentially increases with the size of the house. 

One of the difficult things to understand is the average house size being built within Australia in 2020. 

As reported by the ABS, we can see what happened in 2018-2019, the following table outlines the average new home size by square metre.

2018-1915~ Year % Increase/Decrease
m2Total change
New South Wales221.8-10.5%
South Australia198.5-1.7%
Western Australia227.5-2.8%
Northern Territory 207.8-13.8%

Due to the increase in the cost of building a new home, it is no surprise that the dwelling sizes have decreased over the same approximate 15 year period. What remains to be seen is if this will remain the case as the market is ever-evolving in 2020. 

Builder type

There are predominately two types of home builders to consider – a volume builder or a custom builder. 

The main difference between them is the scale of their operations and the markets they seek to serve. 

A volume or project builder is one who builds 100’s of homes per year typically across new estates or communities. These builders have the buying power backing them to secure some of the best industry rates. 

Volume builders are often preferred by first home buyers, those on a budget, and buyers who are seeking an excellent brand reputation. 

Volume builders also typically operate from a fixed but often vast catalogue, they also have the advantage in that you can also go visit their display homes. 

This allows them to keep costs low and to service what people are generally looking for in floorplans. Each design is well researched and considered based upon consumer demands. Therefore, you are bound to find something within their offerings that suit your needs. 

A custom builder typically does fewer jobs but offers a great deal of customisation throughout their home designs. 

These builders operate in more established areas and service those new home buyers looking for complete control over their unique design. The flexibility and customisation, however, comes at a price. They are known to be more expensive as a result. 

Building location 

Depending on where you are building location can come into play, different suburbs or towns will naturally have different prices. 

For example, if you are looking to build a remote area, you can expect that there will be an increase in fee due to the extra travel costs involved in getting materials to site for your build. 

Or if you are building in the center of Sydney, you can expect to pay more, not only for the land but due to restrictions on what you could build i.e., if there are heritage overlays on an existing site. 

Lot features

The type of lot you plan on building on can have a significant impact on your total cost. There are many factors that come into play when preparing a lot of land for construction. 

Items like rock removal, cut and fill, connections, to name a few. These all make up what is commonly referred to as site costs. 

If you are building on relatively flat land, you can expect there will be less preparation required to build your new home. There will be fewer excavation costs, less soil removal, no retaining walls, etc. 

If you are building on a lot of land which has a considerable amount of slope or fall. You will likely incur more expense because you may need retaining walls, additional soil removal, screw piles, or concrete piers. 

To understand more about additional costs involved with site preparation we have written a simple guide for you, which can be found here. 

Material types

The most elegant Italian marble, glass staircases, heated floors, designer light fixtures, and the many more extravagant items you can potentially have in your new home are lovely things to dream about. However, they all come at a price. 

The great thing about the new home building market is, it has progressed so much in relation to achieving a high-end result without the price tag. 

You can still achieve many of those more extravagant and expensive looks, without breaking the budget. 

The types of materials ultimately will weigh into the price. If you have a designer working with you throughout the process, make use of their expertise to achieve a particular look within your budget! You’d be surprised at what is possible! 

Hidden costs that pop up along the way

No one likes expensive surprises that will cost you thousands of dollars, but this can be avoided with excellent communication between the buyer and the builder. 

The key to avoiding hidden costs is to make sure you take into consideration everything you need to and if you are unsure that you take the time to first research and then ask the questions when in doubt. 

It is also essential to keep in mind and calculate any additional taxes, such as stamp duty, insurances, or conveyancing fees that you may incur during the building process.  

But for the more specific items, which could save you significant headaches moving forward. 

We have compiled a list of over 100 things people commonly forget when building a home. You can read that list here. 

Can you build a house cheaply? 

The answer is yes; it just depends on what outcome you are hoping to achieve. If you want a house for less than 30k, you can accomplish this by building a tiny home. You will likely spend more on the land than the house itself. 

I have less than 200k to build a house – can I do it? 

Building a house for less than 200k is entirely possible. As suggested above, you could build a tiny house which would come in much less than 200k. However, the amount of money you spend is highly dependent on what you decide to build. 

You could consider a volume builder in a new community in the outer suburbs of a major city and achieve a result of less than 200k for the build cost. 

You may wish to consider a house and land package, these are pre-costed designs on specific blocks of land which will help you meet a certain budget. 

What it will predominantly come down to is the size of the house you wish to build and the lifestyle outcome you are hoping to achieve. 

Keep in mind when building a house, you may have additional fees, which typically are not considered, such as conveyancing fees and stamp duty. 

What are the steps I need to take to build a house?

  • Research 
  • Start talking with builders
  • Find the right lot of land for construction
  • Secure pre-approval 
  • Buy land
  • Sign a building contract


All homeowners started their homeownership journey with the invaluable process of research! It’s a process that the earlier you begin, the better informed you will be able to become and understand the various building costs involved. 

We first suggest narrowing down the areas you are interested in to ensure you visit the area if you are not already familiar with it.

It’s ideal to become acquainted with the amenities and look to the proposed amenities by jumping on local council websites if the area is not yet fully established.

What are houses selling for typically? What has been the trend in the area? 

Building a new home is much more than just an investment, its an investment in your lifestyle and the quality of life you wish to live. However, it is good to have a basic understanding of the numbers before making a purchase. 

Start talking with builders

This is a common mistake many new home buyers make when looking to build a home, they buy a lot of land without having conversations with builders first. When it comes to building their dream home, they find out they are limited by what they can build on that lot of land. 

To avoid this potential headache. Start talking with builders early, get to know them, and what they can offer. They can also advise you to ensure you achieve the right build outcome to meet your requirements. 

It’s the small things that they will be fully aware that you may not consider. I.e, one key point is building close to an easement, while your lot may seem to fit a variety of designs, the location and size of the easement can impact what you can build, and the closer you build the more expensive it will incur for you. 

It’s super easy to avoid, start a conversation.  One great place to start is packages! 

Nailing Down Your Ideal Plot: An In-depth Look at Land Packages

For many eager to craft their dream homes, the lure of land packages is undeniable. But just like choosing the perfect blueprint for your future abode, selecting the right type of land package is crucial. But fear not, we’re here to break it down for you!

1. Vacant Land Packages – A Blank Canvas Awaits: With these packages, you’re looking at untouched land, ready and waiting for your vision to transform it. The sky’s the limit – whether you have a grand design in mind or something quaint and cozy. Just remember, factors like location, access to utilities, and the land’s dimensions are vital to consider. Dream big, but dream smart!

2. House and Land Combos – Two Birds, One Stone: Why juggle two tasks when you can handle them in one go? Here, you get a block of land along with a meticulously crafted house design tailored to it. These packages shave off a lot of decision-making time and ensure your home sits harmoniously with its plot.

3. Turnkey Packages – Just Turn the Key and Step Inside: The name says it all. You’re getting a fully-finished, ready-to-live-in home. From the foundational bricks to the aesthetic finishes, everything’s taken care of. Perfect for those who want to sidestep the construction process and dive straight into making memories.

4. Dual Occupancy – Doubling Up on Opportunities: These are the multitaskers of land packages. If you’re leaning towards a savvy investment or dreaming of a multi-gen household, these are the packages to eye. One land plot, two dwellings – it’s a recipe for versatile living and potential income. In your journey of building a dream home, it’s not just about laying bricks or choosing paint colors. It starts with selecting the right foundation, both literally and figuratively.

By acquainting yourself with the various land packages out there is a great start, but if you are one who likes to dig deep into research and find your own block to begin with, here are some considerations..

The Art of Picking Your Plot: A Deep Dive into Block Selection

Choosing your plot of land is not just a transaction; it’s a commitment, one where you decide to lay down roots, literally. And much like any enduring commitment, there’s an art and science to making the right choice. So, let’s navigate the nuances of land selection together.

A Patch Perfectly Suited for Your Vision:

You’re not just picking a plot; you’re choosing the canvas upon which your dream home will emerge. To make this choice wisely:

  1. Location, Location, Location! Yes, we’ve all heard it, but its importance can’t be overstated. Think about your daily routines, your future plans, and pick a spot that complements your life’s rhythms. And of course, the neighborhood’s appreciation potential can be a considerable feather in your cap.
  2. Think Proportion: Don’t just think about the space you need now, but envision your future needs. Whether it’s an expansion, a garden, or simply a spacious backyard for summer barbecues, ensure you have room to grow.
  3. Sun’s Grace: A plot’s orientation can either be your home’s best friend or its constant nemesis. Aim for north-facing blocks for optimum sunlight, helping your home bask in its warmth and light, while also pocketing those energy savings.
  4. Know Before You Commit: Before saying ‘I do’ to a block, get well-acquainted with its zoning regulations. You don’t want any surprise restrictions popping up when you’re all set to bring your vision to life.

Going the Extra Mile: Utilities, Infrastructure, and More

As much as you’d be smitten by a plot’s view or its neighbourhood charm, dig deeper (not literally!). Check:

  1. Utilities at Your Beck and Call: Ensuring that the basic utilities are in place or easily accessible is non-negotiable. These under-the-hood essentials ensure your home runs smoothly.
  2. Green and Clean Building: Stay updated with  Council planning guidelines. Adhering to these ensures your home is not just a beauty to behold but also eco-friendly and sustainable.
  3. Natural Hurdles: Sometimes, nature has its way of dictating terms. Investigate if there are natural impediments or challenges linked to the plot, like waterlogging issues or too rocky terrains.

Remember, every plot has its personality, and it’s all about finding the one that syncs with yours. By being thorough in your considerations, your block of land won’t just be another piece of earth; it will be the foundation upon which dreams, memories, and futures are built.

Secure pre-approval 

Prior to placing a deposit on a lot of land or a new home, it is likely that the builder and land developer will require you to demonstrate that you have preapproval. 

Without this, you may not be able to proceed. 

By securing pre-approval before embarking on the purchasing process will help expedite the process once you find a perfect lot of land and a new home. 

It will also set your expectations right from the beginning of what you can expect a lender will loan to you. 

Again, just like speaking to a builder early on, talking to your bank or local mortgage broker can help prepare you for what you are about to embark upon.

Buy Land 

Buying land from a new community is a relatively straightforward process; you will place a deposit on that land, and once the land is ready for construction and the title has been granted for the lot – you will settle on the land.

Land titles can take many months, and you will not be able to begin construction until the land has been titled. 

It is crucial you understand this and have a discussion with the land sales agent as to when titles can be expected. If you are on a tight deadline to build, ask them if they have had any prior delays in gaining titles on previously constructed stages. 

This will help you gain an understanding if you may need to be flexible on your construction start date. 

  1. If you are buying an established property but plan to knockdown rebuild, you also need to consider demolition costs and local council building permit approval.

Sign a building contract

When you sign a building contract, this will be one of the last steps before you get to the fun stuff – picking out all your colors and designing the future home you want to occupy. 

It is likely you will receive a start date; providing your land is titled, and this start date may vary depending on a builder’s schedules. 

Typically volume builders will only commit to a certain number of starts per month. So, it’s crucial you ask your sales consultant as to when the earliest start date is. 

If your land isn’t titled for some time, often builders will have incentives to sign a contract on today’s prices which may be favorable for you to avoid any price increases.  

What is the construction process of building a home? 

There are 9 standard stages of constructing a new house. 

Stage 1 – Site preparation 

Site preparation means ensuring your lot of land is ready for construction; this includes; excavation, rock removal, cut and fill soil removal, and potentially demolition if you are undertaking a knockdown rebuild. 

Stage 2 – Slab

Laying the slab (the concrete foundations) of your home is the next stage in construction. 

The slab that will be used will be based upon a soil and survey test which has been carried out by the builder, this determines what slab type needs to be used i.e the thickness of the slab based upon the soil conditions of your specific lot. 

It may also include the installation and use of concrete piers or screw piles, which provide additional reinforcement to your slab. 

It’s crucial to have the right slab for your lot of land as it ensures your new home’s longevity and structural integrity. 

Stage 3 – Framing

The frame is when your house starts to take shape – often, this stage takes many people by surprise at how quickly it comes to life. This is when the internal and external are constructed; it also includes; installation of plumbing, electrical, and gas requirements. 

Stage 4 – Roof installation 

Installing your roof and tiling commences at stage 4. If you have opted for colorbond instead of tiles, this will be part of the process; it will also include all required guttering. 

Stage 5 – Lockup

Time to secure your house, windows, and doors will be added, which will prepare your home for the finer things to be included. 

Stage 6 – Fittings and Fixtures

This is the fun part when all the selections you made regarding benchtops, appliances, tiling are installed. Your house is now approaching completion! 

Stage 7 – Completion

Your house has now been completed and is ready for a final inspection, during this inspection you will be able to examine the work and ensure that everything is of the highest quality if any minor issues need to be amended – a list will be made and the builder will ensure they are rectified. 

Stage 8 – Hand over 

The big day has arrived! It’s now time to move into your house, this is the stage in which you will get your keys and your last payment will be made. 

Stage 9 – Maintenance 

The maintenance stage will depend on the builder you choose to build with, this is a predetermined period of time where the builder will attend to fixes within your house. 

Each builder is different in the time frame they offer and how they handle this process. Be sure to consult yours to understand what they will and will not address.

Common Challenges During the Building Process

During the building process, homeowners may encounter common challenges that can cause frustration and disrupt the construction timeline. These challenges include delays in construction, unexpected costs, design changes, and communication issues.

Delays in construction can occur due to various factors such as weather conditions, material shortages, or contractor scheduling conflicts. These delays can push back the completion date of the project, causing inconvenience for homeowners.

Unexpected costs can also be a challenge during the building process. Unforeseen issues, such as hidden structural problems or changes in building regulations, can lead to additional expenses that were not included in the initial budget.

Design changes can cause delays and additional costs as well. Homeowners may decide to make alterations to the original plans, which can require adjustments to the construction process and may involve extra charges.

Communication issues between homeowners and builders can create misunderstandings and delays. Clear and open communication is essential throughout the building process to address any concerns or changes promptly.

To mitigate these challenges, proactive planning is crucial. Homeowners should thoroughly research the building process, including understanding the stages of construction and the potential challenges that may arise. 

Clear communication with the builder is also important, as it helps to address any issues promptly. Additionally, hiring experienced professionals can help minimize delays and unexpected costs, as they have the knowledge and expertise to navigate potential challenges efficiently.

By being proactive, maintaining clear communication, and working with experienced professionals, homeowners can navigate the common challenges that may arise during the building process more effectively and ensure a smoother construction journey.

How to make the building journey easier?

Making the building journey easier involves staying organized, communicating effectively, and managing expectations. Thorough planning and research are key, as is working with a reputable builder.

To stay organized, create a timeline of the building process, including key milestones and deadlines. Keep important documents organized and easily accessible. Use a notebook or digital tool to record notes, decisions, and any changes to the original plans.

Communication is crucial. Establish a regular communication channel with your builder, whether it’s through email, phone calls, or in-person meetings. Clearly communicate your expectations, concerns, and any changes to the plans. Be open to feedback and responsive to inquiries from your builder.

Thorough planning and research beforehand can save time and money. Understand the building process, including the stages of construction. Research potential challenges or additional costs that may arise. Explore different building materials and fixtures to find the most suitable options for your needs and budget.

Working with a reputable builder is essential. Look for builders with a record, positive customer reviews, and appropriate certifications. A good builder will have experience in navigating challenges and managing unexpected issues, ensuring a smoother building journey.

By staying organized, communicating effectively, planning thoroughly, and working with a reputable builder, you can make your building journey easier and enjoy the process of creating your dream home.

The Top 10 Tips for Building a House 

  • Start by researching
  • Speak with those who have built homes before. 
  • Choose your builder carefully and ensure you consult them regarding your land purchase. 
  • Take the time to understand your contractual obligations. 
  • Seek a builder with an excellent reputation. 
  • Speak with a mortgage broker or your bank and arrange pre-approval. 
  • Make sure you love the area, and it’s convenient. 
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for a deal. 
  • Ensure you have a contingency within your budget. 
  • Enjoy the process! It’s life-changing. 

Building on Stilts or Stumps?

The most common reason for building a house on stilts and stumps is that they allow you to build over rocky land and steep slopes. 

While you may be able to pick up a cheap lot of land with a lot of slope, it is likely to increase your construction cost and limit the type of builder willing to take on the job. 

Before purchasing that hillside lot, make sure to consult a builder so you can get a realistic idea of what it will cost you to build. 

What is the timeline for building a house

A new home build will typically take between 4 to 12 months. 

An example of a standard timeline:  

  • Breaking ground: 1 to 3 weeks
  • Putting in the foundation: 1 to 3 weeks.
  • Framing and roofing: 1 to 2 months.
  • Interiors: 1 to 2 months.

The above is based on a volume builder; if you are building a custom home, you can expect for the timeline to be longer. 

You can read our more detailed write up here for other considerations on what impacts the timeline of a new build. 

Is building a house cheaper than buying?

It is possible to build for less than an established property providing you find the right builder, right lot, and the right market. 

If you don’t, it could be quite possible to find an existing house to buy for less than you could build one. 

It’s always best to do your homework when making any type of property investment; building a new home is no different.

Compare the established market to quotes you have received from new home builders, which will help you determine if indeed building is cheaper than buying. 

One of the greatest advantages of building your own home is simply being able to design it to your liking. It will most likely be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. 

Understanding Stamp Duty and Its Implications

One of the financial components often overlooked by many first-time home builders is the stamp duty. This is a tax imposed on various acquisitions, including real estate. The amount you’ll have to pay can vary significantly based on the state or territory you’re in and the value of the property or land you’re buying. It’s essential to remember that when buying land and building separately, you’ll often pay stamp duty on the land purchase only. However, if you’re buying a house and land package, the stamp duty may be calculated on the total value.

Hidden Costs: What Lies Beyond the Blueprint

Beyond the evident construction costs and stamp duty, several hidden expenses can arise during the building process:

  1. Legal Fees: Engaging a solicitor or conveyancer to handle the legalities of property acquisition is crucial. They’ll ensure all paperwork is in order, and no legal barriers will halt construction.
  2. Building Inspections: Before construction, and sometimes during, inspections might be needed. These inspections ensure the land and construction align with building codes and regulations.
  3. Connection Fees: Connecting utilities, such as water, electricity, gas, and the internet, can sometimes come with additional fees, especially if the utilities need to be extended from the main lines.
  4. Landscaping: While many focus on the home itself, the surrounding landscape is equally important. After construction, you might want to invest in landscaping to make the place truly feel like ‘home’.
  5. Contingency Budget: It’s always a smart move to set aside an extra 5-10% of your total budget for unexpected costs. This might cover sudden material price increases, unforeseen building challenges, or changes you decide to make during construction.

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10 Things To Remember When Moving Into Your New Home

Moving into a new home is a monumental life event. It’s exciting, nerve-wracking, and full of potential. Whether it’s your first home or your fifth, there are a few essential things to keep in mind to ensure a smooth transition. Here are ten crucial tips to help you navigate this exciting journey. 1. Plan Like […]

House and Land Packages Explained Simply

LANDCONNECT — 08 March 2020

House and Land Packages Explained Simply

All you need to know about how House and Land Packages work

A place to call home is made up of two ingredients: the house that you’ll live in, and the land that it’s built on.

House and land packages are designed to make the process of ticking these two boxes easier. A buyer can secure a block of land and construct their new home in the one process and will be aware of the total price from the outset.

But while house and land packages are one of the simplest ways to enter the property market, they aren’t without their complexities. And the confusion for first time house and land package buyers lies in the fact that you’ll be signing not one, but two separate contracts.

Always seek expert advice

As we’re going to be talking about contracts, we should begin by saying that by no means does this blog constitute expert legal advice. Always use a solicitor or conveyancer when dealing with any property contract.

All contracts are legally binding, and once they are signed, all parties are obliged to follow them to the letter. They are critical for guiding the process and settling any potential disputes, so you need to be sure that you’re on the right side of the argument should any aspect of the agreement be broken.

How house and land packages work

The process of purchasing a house and land package is slightly different from the process of purchasing an existing home or apartment, or building on land you already own. They’re perhaps not the all-in-one purchase that the name implies.

You’ll actually be buying the land from a developer or real estate agent, and then choosing a builder to construct a house. This will result in two separate contracts – one for the land and one for the house. 

If you plan to build within two years, as almost all home and land package buyers will, these two contracts are generally bundled together in the same loan.

Land contract vs. building contract

While they’ll be included in the same loan, the land contract and building contract actually work quite differently.

Land contract

The land bought from the developer/real estate agent is purchased and settled under a typical sale, where you seek finance from a lender, the amount is paid as a lump sum, and you pay your lender back over time. The process is identical to a traditional home loan.

Building contract

The building contract works somewhat differently. 

The cost of building is set in stone, so you’re able to give a set figure to your bank (the loan amount will be based on the lower of the bank’s ‘on-completion value,’ and the cost stipulated in the building contract), but the builder isn’t paid in one lump sum. They are instead paid in installments as the construction progresses.

Turnkey packages and vacant land

Turnkey packages are the exception to this dual contract system. This is where the developer buys land, builds a home, completely fits it out, and sells everything together on the one contract. This situation is exceedingly rare, however.

A final option is available if you plan to leave your land vacant for a period of two or more years before you build. In this case, you can apply for a vacant land loan with one lender and a construction loan with another.

The house and land package loan process

How exactly does the process of securing a house and land package play out? Let’s take a look.

  1. Find a package that’s right for you: The first step is to find the best deal. Carefully compare your options before making a decision.
  2. Seek finance: The price of your house and land package should be set in stone from the outset, which will make it easier to secure finance. You should speak to a lender or broker as soon as you decide to buy a house and land package, as they’ll be able to advise you on the right type of loan, and all the intricacies of it. Depending on your circumstances, the minimum deposit required could be as low as 5% or as high as 20%.
  3. Pay for the land: Your bank releases the funds for the land component of the loan.
  4. Pay the building deposit: Initial deposit amounts vary, but generally, it’ll be enough to cover initial materials before construction can start. From time to time, you might see a promotional offer that lowers the deposit. If you’ve provided your lender with all the relevant paperwork, the deposit will usually be covered by your loan.
  5. Construction starts: Your builder begins work on your home.
  6. Builders are paid as construction progresses: Progress payments are generally made in six stages: site clearing, foundation, frame, lockup, fit-out/fixing, and completion. The buyer is only obliged to make interest-only payments until the build is finished.
  7. You’re handed the keys: Once construction is complete, you’re officially a homeowner!

House and land package benefits

Several perks are unique to house and land packages, which make them an excellent proposition for first home buyers, upsizers, downsizers, and investors alike.

  • Stamp duty: Only pay stamp duty on the land component of the loan.
  • Great value: Patience pays off – when compared to an established property, you’ll generally get more for your money if you choose to build. On top of that, your house will be brand new!
  • No hidden costs: You pay the amount stated at the outset.
  • Reduced ongoing costs: A brand new house on its own land is a tempting rental option, particularly for families. If you choose to rent out your property, you can expect healthy yields, and you won’t be paying the high maintenance costs of an established property, nor the body corporate fees of an apartment.

While house and land packages are slightly unconventional arrangements, the truth is that the process to secure your new home is quite simple, and can be incredibly cost-effective.

Whether a house and land package is right for you will depend on your particular situation. It’s fair to say that this path to property ownership has already been the best choice for many, and will continue to be the best choice for many more.

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10 Things To Remember When Moving Into Your New Home

Moving into a new home is a monumental life event. It’s exciting, nerve-wracking, and full of potential. Whether it’s your first home or your fifth, there are a few essential things to keep in mind to ensure a smooth transition. Here are ten crucial tips to help you navigate this exciting journey. 1. Plan Like […]

How Long Does It Really Take to Build a House?

LANDCONNECT — 08 March 2020

How Long Does It Really Take to Build a House?

The critical factors which determine how long it takes to get into your new home.

We’ve all watched the TV shows. An average Joes kicks their way through drywall, before putting the finishing touches on the property seemingly days later. It certainly makes building a home seem simple.

But real life isn’t like television – not even that genre which calls itself ‘reality.’ As any builder will tell you, you can’t just whip up a new home in a handful of weeks. So how long does it really take?

To help separate the reality TV fact from fiction, let’s take a closer look at the process of building a new home, and how long it might take.

The factors at play

There are a number of factors that will decide whether your new home construction is fast or slow.

The design phase

Designing a new home from scratch is an understandably time-consuming process; there are a lot of considerations to be made and conversations to be had with your drafter. And if you’re dreaming of a large, bespoke and complex house, you’ll increase the time needed to both design and build it. 

This is one of many reasons why volume builders are so popular; the homes they offer are primarily pre-designed and are very efficient to build.

The land

It’s common to be so taken with the design that you don’t consider the canvas. The land on which you build must be adequately prepared, and this can add additional time to the process depending on the unique features of the lot of land, mainly if your block is on a slope, you need trees or rocks removed, or you have reactive soil.

The building permit

Building permits can take a while to obtain. Between site inspections, the internal processes of the issuing office, and the type of permit you require will depend on how quickly this is issued.


Certain things are simply out of your builder’s control. Certain weather conditions can make construction impossible, most commonly rain, but also hail, extreme heat, and high wind.

Unplanned changes

Sometimes the construction time frame can blow out because of the client, rather than the builder or any other extenuating circumstance. 

Unplanned, post-contract changes can seriously extend the building time, so it’s best to avoid them.

Volume vs. custom builder

The decision to work with a volume builder or a custom builder will have the most significant influence on your construction timeline. 

Volume builders, with their pre-designed options and streamlined processes, can construct homes far quicker than custom builders can. 

They have instant access to all the materials they need – and will have had plenty of practice in constructing your particular home.

There is obviously a wealth of perks that come with choosing a custom builder, not least the realisation of your dream home, but speed isn’t one of them.

How long will it take?

With all these factors in mind, how long will the construction of a new home actually take? This can be a bit of a ‘how long is a piece of string?’ question, but there are some basic figures that can serve as a guide.

According to, four to 12 months is the ‘average’ amount of time, although these figures don’t include purchasing land and locking in a design.

Four months is typical for a basic pre-design build by a volume builder (some of these builders even quote time frames of as little as 11 weeks).

Can you afford to wait?

Waiting an extended period for your home to be constructed needs to be factored into your budgeting. 

Apart from the need to pay off your newly minted mortgage, expenses include:

  • Living and paying rent elsewhere during construction
  • Covering land tax, utilities, and other ongoing property expenses
  • For investors, every month that the home remains unfinished is a month of rent lost

With these expenses in mind, it’s vital that you create a budget that tells you how long you can afford to wait before you lock in a new home build.

Don’t let the renovation shows fool you. You won’t go from kicking through drywalls to soaking in your brand new bath in a matter of days or weeks. 

Please speak to your builder and get a clear idea of how long they expect it to take. Consider ways to make the process more efficient, like choosing a pre-designed home from a volume builder, resisting the urge to make unplanned changes. 

Do all this, and you’ll be relaxing in your new home in no time.

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10 Things To Remember When Moving Into Your New Home

Moving into a new home is a monumental life event. It’s exciting, nerve-wracking, and full of potential. Whether it’s your first home or your fifth, there are a few essential things to keep in mind to ensure a smooth transition. Here are ten crucial tips to help you navigate this exciting journey. 1. Plan Like […]

Debunking Site Costs

LANDCONNECT — 08 March 2020

Debunking Site Costs

A to Z on Site Costs

One of the most contentious issues when it comes to building a new home with a builder is understanding site costs. 

You may find yourself going from one builder to the next, all with a different figure for the same lot of land. 

Each builder will approach the site in the manner in which it provides the best outcome at the best price. The methods in which they calculate these costs vary from builder to builder. But it’s in their best interest to achieve the best physical outcome for your lot and the best price. 

However, why is it then sometimes you may find a variance between builders pricing when you receive your initial quotes before we get into the reasons why site costs may vary.

It’s best to bring you up to speed as to what makes up this element of the build and to help simply explain it. 

Site cost terms explained simply

As you make your journey from builder to builder. You will likely hear many of the following terms along the way. 

We have endeavored to explain them as simply as possible in the hope to arm you with enough knowledge not to feel overwhelmed when you start to hear them come up! 

Cut and Fill

Cut and fill is often the first step of the earthworks process. It is the process of leveling the ground to create an even surface to build on. Depending on the surface area of your block, your builder may need to make a ‘cut’ into the earth from above the required ground height and use that soil to ‘fill’ a hole to create the desired land surface to build on. This will create an even ground surface and is the first step in ensuring the structural integrity of your home. 

Soil Test

Unless you have experience in the building industry, you might be surprised to learn about the importance of soil testing.

You will not know your soil type unless a soil test is conducted. To ensure that no nasty cracks appear in the slab in the years to come, you need to understand the kind of soil you are building on. A builder will provide you with a preliminary site cost based on their experience within a particular area. However, a soil test will discover the grade of the soil and if there are rocks beneath the surface. Once soil testing is complete, the outcome will guide your builder and help them make the necessary preparations before laying the foundations of your house. 

Rock Removal

Rock removal is the process of removing rocks from your block to create a stable foundation. Both surface rocks and those buried beneath the surface can cause challenges when building a home.

Don’t assume that you can build over rocks and boulders that are beneath the surface. They must be excavated by a professional.

If you have a lot of rocks to be removed, your slab, in many cases, will need reinforcing with the use of piers. As the cavities where the rocks previously resided will need to be filled and compacted down. Although the process can be expensive, once removed, you can contribute these rocks towards your landscape or feature wall. 


Based on the characteristics of the soil type, an engineer will determine the required thickness as some concrete slabs are better suited for particular sites and climate zones than others. 

Compaction Test

A compaction test is an essential step in the site preparation process and is required when preparing the land to build on.

Compaction creates a flat foundation and provides the ground with greater stability through the process of applying weight. If the soil is too soft, it can cause shifting under the slab, and result in unnecessary maintenance costs or structure failures in the future.

The land developer will provide your builder with a compact report. The report details if the ground has been compacted down by heavy machinery ready for the builder. If no compaction report has been provided, the builder will often look to reinforce your slab with concrete piers. 


If you hear this term from your builder, it means merely reinforcing your slab due to the ground not being compacted enough or sturdy enough for only a slab. Piers are typically made from concrete or timber and will provide upright support to the structure for many years to come. 

Screw piles

Like piers, screw piles provide additional support to the foundation to ensure the slab does not move or crack. Their effective mechanism makes their installation relatively straightforward. Screw piles are wound into the ground the same way a screw is turned into wood. They provide in-ground performance in a range of soils and can withstand harsh conditions such as earthquakes!

Retaining Walls

Retaining walls may be required around the perimeter of your home. As their name suggests, they are typically installed to retain soil and level off sloping land. They must be adequately designed so that they can withstand significant loads to avoid construction failures. 

Utility Connections

These are the costs and works to bring your utilities to the house. This may include electricity, gas, water, sewer, NBN. These costs will typically include trenching charges and are laid down during the site construction.  

What are fixed-site costs?

Fixed-site costs mean that they will fix the cost of the works before placing your deposit. This is the standard form of house and land packaging. 

You will see many builders offer fixed site costs across their catalogues. Typically, these make up an integral reason why people may opt for a house and land package. Site costs are the expenses associated with the mandatory work needed to prepare your site for construction. They typically cover things like earthworks, site preparation, and, most importantly, the engineering requirements for the foundation of your home. 

If the builder states ‘fixed site costs’, it’s important to confirm with them whether the price is fixed before or after the soil test was completed. 

When the site costs are fixed before the soil test is completed, we can assume that the builder has enough confidence and experience within that estate to be able to fix their price confidently. 

However, if the builder has limited data or experience within that estate or area, they will fix their site costs after a soil test is completed.

Site costs are calculated based on the specific attributes of the land you plan to build on, so it is in the best interest of the builder to be transparent about these costs.  

What impacts price of Site Costs? 

  • Soil conditions
  • Slope
  • Accessibility

Ascertaining on which site costs apply to your block is an essential part of being able to stick to your building budget. Every builder is ultimately aligned to the same goal as you; the best, most liveable outcome at the best price.  

Builders will use a variety of methods of determining their site costs for your lot of land. Some may be more conservative in their pricing due to having limited experience in an area. Others may be more aggressive to try and win your business. 

If builders are conservative, they are generally that way for a reason, and if you get wildly different site costs from one builder to the next, ask them for further details as to how they came to the number and why.

Try and be pragmatic about this element of your build. It is the foundation of your future home, so it’s vital to achieve the best possible outcome without skyrocketing over your budget. 

Due to varying site conditions, builders will have to undertake different strategies to prepare the land for building. Ultimately this will have the most significant impact on site costs; the following factors will be the most significant contributors.

Soil conditions

As mentioned earlier, soil tests are required to determine the type of soil and slope of your block of land. The assessment will have a significant bearing on deciding the overall site costs. If you have rocky soil or any other issue that makes it difficult to build, then you will incur extra costs. 


The slope of your block will determine if your builder needs to cut into the land to create a level surface to build on. In the case of extreme slopes, a structural engineer may be required. Additionally, a retaining wall may be needed to stabilise the soil on the slope. 


Once the land has been prepared to build on, you will need to consider the costs of getting building materials to the site. Depending on your site, you may need a mobile crane to transport materials such as bricks, timber, and steel.

Ensure you make a comparison between builders

Once you have created a shortlist of builders, the next step is to compare quotes across the board. Gaining a good understanding of the market across your preferred builders is essential. You’ll discover that every builder offers a different product with slightly different inclusions, prices, and services. 

If there are significant discrepancies across the site cost element, don’t be afraid to ask for more information. Building a new home is a substantial financial undertaking, so it’s essential to research a builder who will meet your needs. 

Request itemised costs 

If you are unsure of any costs, request for them to be itemised to understand it. Please note that if you are building with larger volume builders, you will often get allocated an allowance as part of your quote, this means it is an indicative price as to what you can expect. It will, however, ultimately come down to the soil, and survey test were done on your lot of land.

Look at any promotions or discounts that may be available

Due to the increasing advantages of building a new home, the house and land market is becoming extremely competitive. Often, builders will have deals, promotions on-site costs, and other advantageous incentives to gain a competitive edge. Keep an eye out on what is on offer and keep a list as you go through the journey; this is the easiest way to find a builder who will meet your needs. 

Get the builder involved before purchasing land. 

Consider building on a flawlessly flat block if you want to avoid these costs. When looking to purchase your land, the earlier, you get your preferred builders involved in the discussions, the better the outcome you will achieve. They will be able to guide you to purchase a block of land that is suited for you and your goals.

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New Home Builder Comparison: Volume vs. Custom

LANDCONNECT — 08 March 2020

New Home Builder Comparison: Volume vs. Custom

Advantages vs Disadvantages

One of life’s most significant decisions, to build a home, is quickly followed by another of life’s most significant decisions: choosing who should build your home.

Almost all builders, if you’ll allow us to generalise, fit neatly into one of two categories: volume or custom.

Your choice between a volume builder and a custom builder will have a considerable effect on both how the construction process plays out, and what the end result will be. It’s wise, therefore, to make as educated a choice as possible; to ensure that you’ve considered all the pros and cons, and made a decision that’s best for your particular situation.

So, what are the differences between volume builders and custom builders, and which is right for you? Let’s take a look.

Volume builder

A volume builder is one who offers a range of pre-designed homes from which their customers choose. While customers can add customisations here and there, the blueprints and the bulk of the materials are set in stone, enabling the volume builder to maximise efficiencies and lower costs.

The pros

There are several perks that come with choosing a volume builder.

  • Lower cost: With streamlined systems making the process as efficient as possible, you can expect to pay far less by choosing a volume builder. These builders get materials cheaper by buying in bulk, and you won’t need to worry about paying for a drafter to draw up plans.
  • Faster process: Just as streamlined systems lower the cost, they also hasten the process. Practice makes perfect and having built your home many times before; you can expect a volume builder to complete the work in a quick time.
  • Display homes: Volume builders will generally have display homes that you can walk through to get a feel for a layout before you commit to it.
  • Peace of mind: Big companies have more customers, giving you more opportunities to hear other’s experiences.

The cons

Volume builders won’t be for everyone, however. There are a couple of things that these builders don’t do quite as well as their custom equivalents, which could mean that they aren’t the right choice for you.

  • Choice: While most volume builders will offer a wide variety of pre-designed blueprints, the fact remains your choice is limited to their catalogue.
  • Customisation: Likewise, volume builders will offer a wide array of customisation options, but these won’t be unlimited.

Custom builder

Custom builders do precisely what they say on the packet – build a house to your custom specifications, from the ground up. Custom builders are often local and independent, although there are larger companies in the game.

The pros

So, why should you choose a custom builder?

  • Ultimate customisation: Provided the materials can be sourced, and the builder has the skill set, your new home can be built exactly as you see it in your mind’s eye.
  • Personalised service: Your custom home will be personalised to your unique requirements and circumstances, and so will the service of your custom home builder – it has to be in order to get the answers that the builder needs to proceed with construction.

The cons

On the other side of the builder coin, the disadvantages of using a custom builder rather neatly reflect the pros of using a volume builder.

  • Higher cost: With custom builders lacking the efficiency of those who deal in volume, and with the added need to pay a drafter, you can expect to pay far more for a custom home.
  • Slower process: More consultation, more decisions to be made, specific materials to be sourced, like painting a work of art versus printing it, the custom process will be slower.
  • Greater decision-making responsibility: Custom building a home isn’t for the faint of heart – you’ll need to be decisive, as plenty of questions will be coming your way.
  • No display home walk-throughs: Without a display, home to walkthrough, you’ll need to be confident in the clarity of your mind’s eye.

Making an informed choice

As with any decision in life, the right builder will depend on your needs, wants, and situation. Before you lock one in, consider the following:

  • Your budget: Speak with a lender to understand what you can afford. Volume builders are cheaper and also bring more exceptional reputations.
  • Your maximum time frame: How long are you willing to wait for your home to be built? How long can you afford to rent somewhere else? If your time frame is small, a custom build may not be feasible.
  • The builder’s reputation: Almost everyone who is disappointed in their choice of volume or custom builder is actually disappointed with the specific builder they ended up choosing. The importance of shopping around and reading reviews cannot be understated – you don’t want to end up with a company that’s unlicensed and uninsured, for example.
  • Communication: Following on from the above, the experience of building a house is inextricably linked to the quality of the relationship you can form with your builder. Before you commit, ask yourself: what is this builder’s communication like? Are they clear and transparent? What does my gut tell me?
  • A firm quote: Does the builder’s quote include everything? Is it fixed? Check that all customisations are in writing, ask for an explanation if prices can’t be set.

Volume or custom: which is the right choice for you? That’s a question that we, unfortunately, can’t answer. But by taking the time to understand the pros and cons of each, hopefully you now can.

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LANDCONNECT — 05 March 2020

How do Builder Warranties Work?

Builder warranties explained

A home is the most substantial investment most people will make in their lives. And by building a house, you can ensure that you’re investing not just in any old property, but the home of your dreams.

Understandably, you’ll want to guard yourself against any issues with your new home. And builder warranties, otherwise called home warranty insurance, residential building insurance, and building indemnity insurance, are designed to do just that.

Builder warranty basics

In most Australian states, a builder is required to offer a warranty on certain works by law.

This warranty covers both the builder and their clients in the event that work isn’t started, is left unfinished, or isn’t up to scratch, and the builder is for some reason is unable to remedy the situation themselves. 

You may not be able to recover funds or remedy issues if your builder has become insolvent, has had their licence suspended, has disappeared, or has passed away. 

Builder warranties can be used as leverage to ensure your builder delivers excellent workmanship, everything as per your contract, and that everything works as it should when the job is complete.

Builder warranties generally cover non-structural defects in the short term and structural defects in the longer term. These periods vary state by state.

State by state requirements

As of early 2020, the builder warranty schemes of each Australian state and territory are as follows:

State/TerritoryScheme nameProject value at which warranty is requiredStructural defect coverage periodNon-structural defect coverage period
ACTResidential warranty insurance$12,0006 years2 years
NSWHome building compensation cover$20,0006 years2 years
NTResidential building insurance$12,0006 years1 year
QLDHome warranty insurance$3,3006 years, 6 months7 months
SABuilding indemnity insurance$12,0005 years5 years
TASNo schemeN/AN/AN/A
VICDomestic building insurance$16,0006 years2 years
WAHome indemnity insurance$20,0006 years6 years

Other differences between the state schemes include the type of works covered, and the maximum value of the coverage. Use the links to check for both the specifics of and any updates to your state’s scheme.

How do I know I’m covered?

How do you ensure you enjoy the benefits of a builder warranty? Good news: provided your state has a scheme in place* and you meet the minimum project value, you don’t need to do anything. Builder warranty is a legal requirement, and it’s the builder’s responsibility to ensure they are covered. No work can legally be done without it. 

A builder must submit proof of warranty coverage before a council will approve an application. The warranty certificate should come as part of the contract, so check for it, and check that it is legitimate, before you sign. Perhaps of more importance is choosing a reputable builder, because:

  1. You won’t have to worry about a lack of builder warranty insurance, and
  2. You’ll be less likely to need the warranty.

*While Tasmania doesn’t have a builder warranty scheme, the state has other checks and balances that take its place. Learn more here.

Claiming builder warranty

The process of claiming builder warranty insurance is similar to claiming any insurance. 

The first step is to try to fix the issue directly with the builder. Builder warranty is only designed to be utilised when all other options have been exhausted, like in cases of builder insolvency, licence suspension, disappearance, or death.

If one of the above applies to your situation and you’ve exhausted all other avenues, you may need to make a builder warranty insurance claim. To do so, you’ll likely need the following information:

  • The builder’s details (company name, ABN, builder’s licence, etc.)
  • The builder’s warranty insurance policy/certificate of insurance number
  • Copies of the building contract that detail the work
  • Proof of payments made to the builder (invoices, receipts, bank statements, etc.)
  • Evidence of any termination to the contract

Once you have collected all the relevant documents, you’ll need to lodge your claim with the insurer, who will guide you through the process from there.

Builder warranty is a policy that you may not hear much about, or indeed even know about, and likely won’t need. But it does serve as an extra layer of protection for what is likely your largest investment, and one that could save you from severe financial distress should the unlikely and unfortunate happen.

The good thing is that builder warranties are a requirement in nearly every Australian state, and you don’t have to do anything to enjoy the coverage. But it is worth remembering that the best form of insurance against a bad builder is to choose one with an excellent reputation and track record.

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Everything You Need to Know about Knock Down Rebuilds

LANDCONNECT — 05 March 2020

Everything You Need to Know about Knock Down Rebuilds

Steps involved in a Knockdown Rebuild

To buy, to build, or to knock down and rebuild. At the most basic level, these are your options when looking to secure a new property.

The last, the knockdown rebuild, is perhaps the least common. But in many situations, and in many ways, this could be the very best option.

Why knock down an existing home and rebuild? What considerations should be made to help you decide whether this is the right option for you? And how exactly do you do it?

Let’s take a look.

Why knockdown and rebuild?

There are several reasons why knockdown rebuilds represent the best option in certain situations:

  • Location: If you already own the property, you get to stay in the same position, but a better house. If you’re looking for a property, you can buy the worst house on the best street.
  • Value: You’ll need to be patient while the knockdown rebuild takes place, but you’ll be rewarded by saving massive amounts when compared to buying new in the same area.
  • Personalisation: Get the home you’ve always dreamt of by designing it from the ground up.
  • Subdivision: If you own or buy a large block, there may be an opportunity to knock down, subdivide, and then rebuild, with the money from land sales funding the construction of your dream home!

The perks of knockdown rebuilds are tempting, but…

Is a knockdown rebuild the right choice for you?

There are many considerations that you need to make before deciding to knock down and rebuild:

  • Cost: Do you have the money not just to knock down and rebuild, but to pay for rental during the process?
  • Time: Are you prepared to wait for the often long demolition and construction process to play out?
  • Feasibility: Is your local council happy to approve your plans?

Benefits understood and considerations made, you should now be able to say whether a knockdown rebuild is right for you confidently. If the answer is yes, it’s time to move onto the next and most exciting stage.

The process of a knockdown rebuild

Purchasing a property, demolishing the current house, and rebuilding another is an understandably complex process. So let’s walk through how it generally plays out to prepare you for what’s to come.

Stage one: research and preparation

  1. Find a property: Where will you knock down and rebuild? If you don’t already own a property, search for the worst house on the best street.
  2. Find a builder: After securing a property, you’ll need to secure a builder, as they will be in charge of directing the entire process. Volume or custom, independent, or franchise – the choice is entirely yours.
  3. Inspect the site: If you are thinking of purchasing as a site specifically for this purpose, many consultants will be willing to inspect the site to gain an understanding of its characteristics. These will govern your rebuild options, and highlight any challenges that you may face.
  4. Design your new home: The fun part – in consultation with the builder, you’ll make plans for your new abode.
  5. Sign the contract: This sets your plans in stone, marking the first true step toward your dream home becoming a reality.

Stage two: demolition

  1. Secure permits: Planning permits, bushfire management permits, demolition permits, asset protection permits; there is a lot of paperwork at this stage, but all of it must be done. Your builder will guide you through this process. 
  2. Disconnect/remove services: All water, gas, telephone/internet, and electrical connections must be removed from the site in consultation with the appropriate service providers and authorities.
  3. Demolition and removal: The demolition contractor goes to work, knocking down the old structure and removing debris and waste. You’ll end up with an utterly empty lot.

Stage three: construction

  1. Assess the site: Conducting final site surveys and soil tests to ensure all is well before construction proceeds.
  2. Foundation and framing: Underground power and drains are installed, the concrete slab is laid, and the frame is erected.
  3. Lock up and fixing: Your house begins to look like a house. Brick, roof, and exterior work is completed before the focus turns to the internal finishes.
  4. Complete and settle: The house is completed! Final payment made, your builder will hand over the keys, and you’ll furnish, decorate, and finally move in!

Knockdown rebuilds are a little more detailed than a regular build as there are more considerations to navigate within established areas. 

For those who understand the perks and pitfalls of the process, these projects tend to be a great way of staying in your existing area, while upgrading your lifestyle to a new home. 

The great thing in most builders will be able to effortlessly guide you through the process and hold your hand along the way. 

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Builder Comparison: How to Choose Who Builds Your Home

LANDCONNECT — 05 March 2020

Builder Comparison: How to Choose Who Builds Your Home

What you should consider when choosing a builder.

Unlike choosing toothpaste, toilet paper, or what you’ll eat tonight, selecting a builder is a process that you may only go through once in your life. And such an unfamiliar task can be understandably confusing.

When you start shopping builders, you’ll be inundated with new information from prices to floorplan options, colour choices to what facade to choose. It is no wonder so many people just like yourself, feel overwhelmed by the decisions that lay ahead. 

You need to bring a bit of order to the process. You need to know the most important considerations so that you can easily compare one builder to another. So to help you do just that, let’s take a look at the five things that you should focus on when shopping for someone to build your home.


You’re not just buying a house; you’re building what is likely your most significant and most important investment to date. So need to make sure you feel comfortable with the company you to choose to construct your home. Common questions that you may want to ask yourself; Are you happy with how the house is designed and flows? Does it suit your lifestyle needs, and is the house built to a high standard? 

How do you answer these questions before your home is built?

Display homes are a great place to start, giving you a tangible, real-world idea of what you can expect the final result to look like. Remember, that display homes may have many bells and whistles, so it is essential to understand what the upgrades are. 

When you walk through the display with your consultant, ask them to point out what the upgrades are within the home. 

Don’t be afraid to ask what the cost of the home is as it is displayed. 

Then try to concentrate more on the layout and flow.

The best quality check you can do is to visit a customer of the builder – ask your consultant if they may have a couple of previous clients who are willing to show off their new homes!


While you’re looking at their home, what does this previous customer have to say about the builder? With first-hand experience of both the process and the result, their advice can be invaluable.

Thanks to the internet, you no longer have to hunt down old customers in person either – simply Google a builder’s name, and it will likely come up on several review or comparison sites.

When getting a sense of a builder’s reputation, it’s important to remember that people are far more likely to be vocal about a bad experience than a good one. 

For this reason, you should try to hear from as many people as possible. 

Be ready to disregard any who blame the builder for things that were out of their control.

The Quote

Historically, many buyers have had a far simpler system for selecting their builder: look at the big numbers at the bottom of the quotes, and choose the company with the lowest. But using such a system will rarely see you making the best possible choice. Firstly, price isn’t everything (as this list shows), and secondly, what that price covers can vary.

What are the inclusions? Ensuring that your quotes all cover similar things, or that you get prices on the extras that aren’t included, is vital if you are to get a firm idea of how much your home will cost to build, and how different builders compare. And is the quote fixed, or might it change in certain circumstances? 

Do all that you can to compare like-for-like quotes, as this will make your decision so much clearer.

Turnaround time

While turnaround time is far from the be-all and end-all, this is an essential consideration if you have limited time. Some buyers can’t afford to continue to pay endless rent while they wait for their dream home to be constructed.

When comparing turnaround times, consider the following:

  • Volume builder time frames: Most volume builders will offer quite solid time frames for their different homes, e.g., this many weeks for a single storey home, that many for a double-story, etc.
  • Start dates: Some builders – usually the best – will have a backlog of work, and will only be able to start so many jobs per month. Check how far down the line your chosen builder will be ready to begin construction.
  • Title dates: Has your council granted a land title? If you’ve bought in a new community, you could still be waiting for a title, which will impact the start date of construction.


The construction of your dream home demands healthy levels of collaboration and communication. If you struggle to make yourself understood, or worse, if you feel as though your builder isn’t bothering to listen, you’re far less likely to get the result you were looking for.

The early levels of customer service and communication will give an indication of how attentive and transparent the builder will be throughout the process, so pay attention to their levels of consideration before you commit. When it comes to communication, there’s a lot to be said for gut feel – if something doesn’t feel right, that usually means something isn’t right.

The biggest single purchase of your life deserves a healthy amount of consideration. By bringing some order to the process and comparing your options carefully, you can be confident that your choice will be a good one.

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