IBN Builder of the Month

May 2020 - Absolute Contractors, Koyuga Vic

Congratulations to Damian Reid & Lisa Kamstra at Absolute Contractors on winning the IBN May Builder of the Month.

Even locals in Central North Victoria react quizzically if you ask them where Koyuga is.  For the record, it sits almost exactly halfway between Echuca and Shepparton, more precisely, 6 kilometres west of Tongala.

You’d be right to assume there’s not too much construction going on in Koyuga, but Damian & his team have built their business on servicing the many regional towns lacking competitive local builders, no matter how far afield, whilst partner Lisa looks after the business back home.

In less than 2 years since Absolute Builders & Contractors became members of IBN, we’ve watched Damian and his team work on commercial and residential projects in locations such as Gisborne, Bendigo, Kyneton, Mansfield, Barooga, Yarrawonga and Tongala, where they just completed a portable housing project for visiting international workers.

Most recently, they crossed the border into the NSW town of Deniliquin for a laundry renovation, and when we visited the owner – who mainly uses the laundry to groom her show dogs , just after hand-over, she was excited to show us the custom work and unique touches Damian and his dynamic construction team had made to her home.

Damian’s speciality is doing the really hard stuff, and doing it right the first time, which we credit to his strong ethics, personal attention and sheer hard work. Through IBN’s relationship with Bondor, Damian was able to develop InsulLiving, resulting in project pipeline around the state, that includes a very difficult sloping site for a BnB - in Bonnie Doon no less!

However, the life of a travelling Builder who virtually lives on site in isolated areas, isn’t always easy for the team which is why Absolute teamed up with IBN endorsed Social Media Manager, BrassTacks, to increase reach into fore-mentioned areas.

Accessing these community audiences is important for both locals and IBN Member who, like the team at Absolute, work tirelessly to grow their knowledge of  NDIS | SDA housing, and have the skills & expertise to deliver renovations and new homes, through IBN’s Adaptable Living design range.

We recently wrote about the importance of having local Builders with NDIS knowledge, and Absolute Builders & Contractors are instrumental in filling current white spots in our coverage, so we are extremely grateful for their work in supporting regional Victoria.

April 2020 - Hezzelic Homes Pty Ltd, Moorooka Qld

Congratulations to Dwain, Kurt & the team at Hezzelic Homes on winning the IBN April Builder of the Month.


Dwain and Kurt from Hezzelic Homes were very well established Builders before joining IBN and like a lot of other Builders, were spending a lot of their time quoting on jobs that did not always come off. Knowing there was a better way and not wanting to join a franchise, they came across IBN and are now one of Queensland’s most proactive members. The main appeal of IBN to Hezzelic Homes was having the large data base of priced homes that would enable them to provide an accurate price to clients enquiring immediately, thus taking out the back and forth just to see if the client was serious or not. If there was an award for the best at following up enquiries from the home shows, they would be a close favourite and follow through with all referred works with utmost professionalism. Great communication and constructive feedback make the team at Hezzelic Homes a pleasure to deal with and we are sure that they will be doing great things in the near future. Congrats Boys well done. 

March 2020 - MicStar Homes, Gympie Qld




Mick joined IBN in late 2017 with the aim of focusing on the breaking into the new home market that was dominated by the franchise builders in Gympie. Delving in head first, Mick made a full commitment to push the Independent Builders Network model and following the IBN procedure manual to a “T” Mick committed by developing a new website, promoted himself through many newspapers and magazines built a LHA Silver Level Demonstrator (Spec) home to show clients as well as branding his vehicle and sites.

This hard work has enabled Mick to break into the previously difficult new home market and build 4 IBN standard designs to date along with custom client designs. 

Through diversifying his advertising via many mediums, Mick has ensured that his name is well known in the area and is on the “Shopping list” when clients are looking for a quality new home builder. Through being a great networker and not being afraid to ask for advice and assistance, Mick is sure to continue his growth and expand his reputation as a new home builder in Gympie.

Congratulations to Mick & the team at MicStar Homes.

February 2020 - Mat Richardson Builder, Russell Island Qld

Mat joined IBN in December 2018 and has worked hard to grow his business which has certainly paid off as he has been able to increase the amount of new homes built by more than 4 x what he was doing before being an IBN member. 

Previous to joining IBN, Mat was battling it out with the other builders on Russell Island and although having the reputation of being a quality builder providing great customer service he was struggling to win jobs over other builders. Mat has now clearly secured his spot as the largest and best builder on the Island using the IBN plans to his advantage whilst now being more competitive through the IBN supplier arrangements.

Mat had looked at joining some of the project building franchises however knew that the local residents like to use local builders and when he came across IBN it was an easy decision that certainly paid off. 

Congrats Mat on winning the builder of the month award we are happy to see you succeeding and are looking forward to what the future brings for your business. 

January 2020 - Ross Andrews Builder, Swan Hill Vic

Located in what we consider one of the most isolated towns serviced by any IBN Builder Member, Swan Hill locals Ross and his lovely wife Lea make the most with what they have and go to the market to really make things happen.

Now into his 2nd term as an IBN Member in his fourth year with us, it’s great to see how Ross has turned the corner and consolidated his business and the brand in Swan Hill as being a local and affordable alternative to the franchise builders that have historically been the go-to builders in the town.

With over 25-years’ experience and creating his building partnership in 2010, Ross has built his business through his focus on local trades and local subcontractors and has an amazing team with Allastair, Michael and Jai all contributing on-site. Dynamic wife Lea, working in administration adds to a wholesome multi-generational family business with Alivia, Mason and Ryan all chipping in and can be found on the broom or washing windows also.
Ross takes pride in his work and is fussy about his workmanship and that of his employees. He likes to be on the tools and reluctantly works in the office. He would much prefer to be hands-on in ensuring that all facets of the job are done to his high levels of expectation.

Travelling as far as his original home town Sea Lake, Manangatang and then picking up aesthetically beautiful architecturally designed homes at Lake Boga, Ross and his great young team have clocked up the miles and created some amazing homes and quality renovations for their clients who searched hard for the right builder. Building far away from home has not dulled his levels of service and delivery, Ross has worked closely with all clients to ensure they create their home, not just a house. Nothing has been too difficult and everything has always been worked out for win-win results.

To try something new, Ross decided to prepare a speculative home where a builder would take the risk in preparing and building a new home with the hope that it sells at a later stage, something that is regularly done in the country to create work. Ross soon found an ally in the local LJ Hooker Real Estate Agency, whom quickly sold the home off the plan and as we say in cricket “one becomes two” (a term for trying to get out the opening batsmen), Ross found the confidence had transpired into the local market for both real estate and in his business and ultimately what his membership with IBN delivered for the local community.

One of the benefits of his membership with IBN is having over 125-designs rapidly priced and ready to go and IBN has helped Ross and Lea develop from a small business into a competitive, easy to work with partnership for local people. He has created a range of new homes in various locations and now you can find Ross at Haven Estate in Lake Boga, completing their third beautiful home there.

Always staying loyal and local, Ross is now really looking ahead to 2021 already, such is his preparedness and control over his business and we are all sure that beyond these two years that Ross and Lea will continue to thrive and put back into the community as a strong successful Swan Hill leader in the Building Industry.

December 2019 - Ridgeline Building Group, Vic

Congratulations to Nick and Mat Distefano from Ridgeline Building Group on winning our December Builder of the month. 


More than deserving winners Nick and Mat have only been building together for a short but are capitalising on the resources that IBN provides them. 


They attend all zone meeting, professional development days and participate at all Homes Shows. Not scared to ask questions of other experienced builders within the network to better their business, these young achievers are well on their way to running a successful building business. 


Congratulations to Nick and Mat from Ridgeline Building Group.


November 2019 - Homes By CDLS, Vic

A true multi-generational family business in every sense, Homes by CDLS is a family-owned and run home provider now based in Bendigo, in central regional Victoria. 


With four members of the Cairns-Gazzola family involved in all facets of the company, they truly understand different buyers and where they’re at in life and since joining IBN have certainly proved that different generations bring so many positives to the business.


For the first home buyer wanting to understand the process and nervous about obtaining finance, through CDLS’ membership with IBN they can provide professional and personal finance assistance through IBN First Homes which has provided already dozens of low deposit housing through regional Victoria over the past three years and now have opened their very own home-buyer centre that will educate and provide housing for new home buyers through the region as well as catering for specific buyers through IBN’s unique Adaptable Living range of homes.


The Cairns-Gazzola Team involves four experienced family members ready and willing to assist their clients with the biggest decision they face in their purchasing life and care is taken, as you would expect from a tightknit business, with every client whether they be that an anxious first home buyer or the discerning fourth or fifth home buyer possibly building their last ever home.


On-site we have Carlo the registered Unlimited Domestic Builder (DB-U), who has over 25  years’ experience building homes with a proven reputation for quality architect-designed homes on the picturesque Mornington Peninsula over that time.


Assisting Carlo is Leigh, a registered A-Grade Electrician knowledgeable of the latest applications installed in the homes of the 21st century.  As a qualified solar installer, he can apply savvy power solutions needed to fight rising costs which comes in very handy for all buyers today.


Stacey oversees clients’ administrations and ensures all needs are met and has even completed an Interior Design Course and this will ensure communication is not lost between your dreams and the end result.


Debra backs up the team with considered accounting and administration management, again with over 25 years of experience and will make sure all progress through the build process is effectively and personally made an easy experience for all clients.

Congratulations to the CDLS team on being the Builder of the Month. 



October 2019 - Keith Carling, DBC Homes, QLD

Keith joined IBN around a year ago and instantly put the IBN resources to action and started looking for a display site. 

Around nine months after joining we opened the “Taylor” IBN/DBC display home in Greenbank, QLD. Keith has a personal appreciation for the benefits of the IBN “Adaptable Living” service and designed and built the first Liveable Housing Australia, gold level display home in the Independent Builders Network.
Keith is a great asset to IBN and its members as Keith has built hundreds of homes over his career and is always more than happy to share his knowledge and experience with members. 

Keith is a very worthy winner of this award as he has demonstrated how by partnering with IBN and using the resources available a builder can stand strong against the volume franchise builders while remaining 'Independent'.

Congratulations to Keith and the DBC Homes team, well deserved. 


September 2019 - Matt Kelly & Shane Gaston from Crown Building & Construction, Vic. 

Congratulations to Matt Kelly and Shane Gaston from Crown Building and Construction on winning our September Builder of the month. 


Opponents on the football field in the Ovens and Murray football league these quiet achievers, based in the North of Victoria, have worked hard together to grow their business over the last few years building strong brand awareness in the Wangaratta and surrounding regions. 


Just recently Crown Building and Construction have taken the big step to set up a new office and colour selection centre which will open later this year. After several years working from Matts home, they identified that they needed to make this move to grow their business and to create a presence as established builders in their region. 


The Crown team have built multiple IBN designs and always look to value add when it comes to designs they can offer their clients.     

Congratulations to the Crown Building & Construction team!


August 2019 - Nathan Croft & Josh Gordon, Craft Built Homes, Vic.

Congratulations to our August Builder of the Month Nathan Croft and business partner Josh Gordon of Craft Built Homes. 


Being dedicated members in the Melbourne zone and hard workers at the Melbourne Homes Shows has allowed Nathan & Josh to reap the rewards which are now coming to fruition due to their persistence and patience with designated clients.  Recent starts of a few IBN designs has been a big plus to go with the outstanding custom housing market builds.  


Both are big contributors to the professional development days always making themselves available to learn more and contribute where possible with their many years of industry knowledge. 


Undertaking the thankless task of zone secretary does not go unnoticed by everyone and gives all a 

leg up to follow up what was discussed and what needs to be acted on. 


The brand-new office setup has been a huge step forward with great branding of the shop front on the main road which has been a big win and allows potential and existing clients to see exactly what the Craft Built Homes team has to offer.   


July 2019 - Luke Shephard, BelCo Constructions, QLD.

Luke epitomises the making it happen attitude and is a dedicated, hard-working IBN member. 

With strong involvement through his local Rugby League team, Luke sponsors the Beenleigh Lions Junior’s and coaches the men’s Beenleigh Pride Senior Rugby league team. A familiar face at the professional development days, conferences and home shows, Luke networks well with his local members and shares a lot of valuable tips and tricks with his peers.

Always willing to give any opportunity a try from a display home, engaging a salesperson to work on his behalf, working with Investment Marketers to now fostering a strong relationship with a smaller developer. 

Luke recently landed a few contracts with a small developer which will see many more opportunities in this current difficult QLD market, a welcome win for all involved. 

Well done Luke & the BelCo crew you are truly deserving of this Month’s Builder of the month award. 


June 2019 - Mick Lovett, Micstar Homes, Gympie QLD.

Mick joined IBN in late 2017 with the aim of breaking into the new home market, that was at the time dominated by the franchise builders in Gympie. 

Diving in head first, Mick made a full commitment to push the Independent Builders Network model and following the IBN procedure manual to a “T”, Mick committed by developing a new website, while promoting himself through many newspapers and magazines. Mick also built a Livable Housing Australia Silver Level Demonstrator home to show clients as well as branding his vehicle and sites. 

This has enabled Mick to break into the previously difficult new home market and build 4 IBN standard designs to date along with custom client designs. 

Through diversifying his advertising across various mediums, Mick has ensured that he is well known in the area and is on the “Shopping list” when clients are looking for a new home builder. 

Through being a great networker and not being afraid to ask his IBN Managers for advice and assistance, Mick is sure to continue his own personal development and grow his reputation as a new home builder in Gympie.

Great work Mick, congratulations on being the Builder Of The Month for June 2019!


May 2019 - Rod Lane, Corowa, NSW.

When we launched our Adaptable Living Range, we had no idea of the demand that was pre-existing and how successful the overall product would be - particularly in regional areas.

One person who has been influential in the success of a range that helps out so many Australian's is Rod Lane. Rod, or 'Rocket' as we call him, is a trusted local Builder Member in Corowa which sits on the mighty Murray, just over the border from Wahgunyah (60km West of Albury Wodonga) and has a reputation for following things through in his home town.

Rod has a past in elite sport,  he used to open the bowling for the famous Carlton Cricket Club in Melbourne’s Premier League. We decided to see if Rod was interested in pursuing the Adaptable Living Range due to his sports contacts and whether there was someone who had been injured he might have been able to help.

You see, 'Rocket' Rod had a block of land near the Corowa Hospital and within close walking distance to the CBD. It was recommended to Rod to make the home suitable for a tenant that would need access to both and for a while the planning was put aside whilst he worked on other current jobs.

But it wasn’t one of his cricket colleagues that inspired Rod to have a home designed to suit the new building code, but the daughter of one of his colleagues who suffers from a rare syndrome disorder that will place her in a wheelchair before the age of 30.

Requiring a new home designed with changes that make it accessible, the girl’s family have planned ahead and this is where the new IBN Adaptable Living Range of houses came into play. Rod now has his eyes peeled and can see the need to provide this locally.

Rod told us that 'when I looked around I realised there were several friends with children who have disorders and need care sooner than they should' which proves our Members are all working in the right direction with their local needs beyond just retirees and first home buyers. 

Good work and well done to “Rocket” and good luck with the project! 


April 2019 - Evoke Building, Ballarat VIC.