National Builder of the Year Awards 2017


Each year it is always a great surprise to see who wins our National Builder of the Year award. This year however it comes as no surprise to those who follow the Independent Builders Network media pages that we are awarding Chris and Anna Owen the National Builder of the Year award 2017.

Owen Built Homes is a former National Builder of the Year winner with IBN, and since joining the cooperative over five years ago Chris and Anna have enjoyed national awards with us every year of their membership and have definitely not rested on their laurels.

Of course, success is not borne out of solo endeavors and the Owen's have an amazing array of talent surrounding them in their beautiful city of Warrnambool in Victoria’s coastal south west, the nursery for southern right whales. 

Supporting Chris and Anna in the office are the wonderful team of Melissa Rudman, Julie Stephens, Sue Baulch and estimator Aaron Shiells. 

Ensuring the quality control out on site are Brett Sharp, Brent Chisolm and Sam Coleman who is currently filling a supervisory role in the commercial side of things.

In keeping with IBN Members’ trend of mentoring and nurturing of apprentices, Joe Owen-McNeil took out the South West Trades Award in 2016 and shows just how well the Owen's develop their people who are always in attendance at all IBN professional development days.

This team has contributed to Owen Built Homes being IBN’s elite Builder over the past five years, and not only has Chris been able to deliver a huge amount of wonderful new homes to many first home buyers but they have also renovated and enhanced the local Mill project which in itself has been nothing short of a remarkable development.

Also keeping in with IBN mantra of community support we also enjoy the exciting sponsorship of motor sports through Owen Built which is strongly followed in the region and ensures the Owen Built Homes and IBN Brands are well represented in the field.



This year we move away from display homes in qualifying for this award and have gone out into the field to peruse standard homes that have been constructed by local IBN Members and we found some amazingly beautiful new homes that have showcased the aesthetically pleasing and sexy Scyon products to the best of their styling.

With some stiff competition from areas such as Western Victoria, Melbourne and even Townsville, the Highton Warralily home built by Rob Hofbauer in picturesque, Bright, in the Victorian alpine region, no doubt thoroughly deserved this award for showcasing how much Scyon can enhance the attractiveness of standard IBN homes!

We widely talk about how Rob has challenged IBN designing with his need for split level housing and our Alpine Range of homes, a range specifically drawn for sloping land and uniquely featuring drying rooms, and Hofbuild has been at the forefront of the delivery with their very own sloping land estate overlooking Bright and ongoing sloping land in the local Alpine region.

Hofbuild has continued their excellence of beautiful split level construction and any visit to Bright will no doubt be rewarded on so many levels including a chance to view Rob’s fantastic homes.



When you talk about marketing you can be talking about so many things; product, promotion, personality, passion, professionalism, performance, prospecting, perseverance, processes, promptness, plans that work, point of difference, proof, profile, practice what you preach and, of course, posts – as in social media. And you have our favourite Queenslander, Mitch Butler.

Mitch is currently ready to open his second IBN display home in the beautiful Sunshine Coast region in Queensland and has worked with IBN Head Office to assist in developing several new designs that have been so well received they are selling very well in regional Victoria, such is his insight in to what clients need and what works well with the narrower blocks that Developers tend to deliver.

In 2016 Mitch embarked on the ‘Beard 150’ fundraiser in order to volunteer his looks and personal comfort to raise money and awareness for skin cancer on behalf of the Queensland Cancer Council as well as promoting our very own national conference held at Pelican Waters that year. 

This was typical Mitch who has done so much to assist fellow IBN Members and practising the ‘network’ that is in our name and there are many other builders who can thank Mitch for where they are today.

We also love to see Mitch never foregoing work-life-balance and he spends his spare time taking family and friends on exciting fishing trips and this personifies the IBN ethos of why we are here.

And to explain what his brand personality is, just think that the perfect brand can attach to one of the following attributes: sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication or ruggedness. ‘Our’ Mitch has proven beyond doubt that why can’t you be all five.



‘Hoges’ is a very measured and astute Builder and Businessman. In the first year of his now five years tenure as IBN Member is Horsham he repeatedly told our Head Office he was still preparing for his “IBN’s” as he called it, to be ready to take off.

Whilst Hoges had big plans, he was very discrete as to what he was capable of and as still waters run deep, kept all of our urgency at arm’s length until he was ready to go and boy, go he did!

Over the past several years Dean has delivered his own estate right in the heart of Horsham which he has very cleverly used as a key promotion on social media and pushing affordable low-deposit housing for both first home buyers and empty nesters. During this time he has been very prolific promoting IBN and leveraging his own franchise to co-promote at the highly visited Wimmera Machinery Field Days in early Autumn.

Not taking a breather over the past year alone Hoges hosted his own First Home Buyer information evening in town, presented again at the Wimmera Field Days as well as utilising the strength of the IBN which is the network where Dean’s clients had visited fellow IBN Members’ client’s homes to get a feel for the IBN designs and whether they worked or not, looks like they did!

Hoges has worked so well with the clients at last report they were going to open their own home to the public as a “pop up” display home, happy handover indeed.



Just like his AFL Team, the number don’t lie and both Richmond and Kane Twomey have had a massive year on the field culminating in Twomey Building winning our National Design Award which recognises the most IBN homes built by anyone IBN Member.

To be perfectly frank it was Twomey Homes then daylight with Kane easily accounting for the field through his successful Display Home programming showcasing the Sandhurst and the Campaspe which both represent quality and a ‘what you see is what you get’ type sales pitch to prospective buyers.

Heath Moloney joined the Twomey stable earlier this year and has continued the successful sales pitch on behalf of Kane and his amazing team. 

Since joining IBN over 7-years ago, you could count one hand how many homes Twomey Building were delivering in a year to now being one of the largest builders in Ballarat doing in excess of 30-homes a year, a wonderful success story if ever you’ve heard one.



When it comes to established IBN Members to present professional photographs for us to display in the highly distributed Melbourne Home Design + Living Magazine it showed something we were lacking on the marketing side with very few builders taking the time to organise professional photography of the great homes they built for their clients so it was refreshing to see this new Member, Greg Paull, with a ready-made library of some very sexy dwellings that he had built in recent times.

Not only was Greg keen to promote how good he was at doing things, he jumped on board with support for the Melbourne Home Show and by the second and third efforts he was having his business partners and staff coming in to assist with procuring enquiries as well as enjoying the on-site training that goes with working with head office staff and fellow members. Add to this Greg’s enthusiasm for what comes with being an IBN Member and all of a sudden he’s our best advertisement to prospective Members as to why they should look at joining IBN.

So popular is Greg and the way he goes about it is that now he is being invited to join zones on either side of Melbourne with two metro zones wanting him to be in their group so they can pick up from the positivity and genuine joy he gets from helping out and wanting to build his great business. 

Greg is pushing the envelope now with consistent drone photography of his builds through the process as well as pushing for trade sharing with fellow members so the metro builders can enjoy a consistency of a fair priced and quality-driven subcontractors working out on site.



From the IBN head office, this was probably the easiest award to nominate as we all can count on Laura to be that person who will follow up meetings, update us all as to what’s going on in Mildura and assist us with chasing up the busy builders when needed. This all comes whilst Laura does her day job ensuring JD Construction keep up their level of excellence and launching the amazing new display office near the Mildura CBD earlier this year.

It has been a pretty amazing year with JD Construction and that hasn’t stopped Laura taking time out to help us out whenever we ask, and whilst we may have some concerns on her home life as we understand Laura also keeps busy helping out with the local football netball club as well.

Truly our very own Wonder Woman, Laura obviously has that can-do attitude that we are all very grateful for and goes a long way to helping both the IBN Head Office and fellow Members get done what they need to get done.



We’ve seen over the years there is a great Yin and Yang in many of a successful building business with partners bringing different levels of expertise and strengths into a joint direction then that business will flourish. Enter the IBN Sunraysia Zone which combines three different types of builders who have different histories and places in their company development and all of a sudden we pretty much have the perfect zone.

We often describe the three members as thus: JD Construction – already established large builder and consolidating their place; Mayne Homes – sole operator comfortable to live his own work / life balance and stay on the tools keeping quality control paramount with his hands on touch; and Ultimate Building Solutions – the up and comer who has put in to place an amazing array of talent with a sexy display office ready to grow within their means.

Put all of these different business aspects together and a very honest and open relationship between the three builders - all involved with different local sporting clubs by the way – and you can see the IBN networking at its best. 

To top it off Wayne Mayne has built a fantastic IBN display home which is jointly shared between the three members and each work in with the other to ensure it’s open every weekend even with all of the builders having weekend commitments personally which means the give and take has been wonderful to watch.



If ever there was the go-to Builder in IBN it would have to be Adam Tolli. From helping out at every Home Show since he joined, following up personally each and every enquiry he is given, learning and constructing the InsulLiving product, moving home to fit in with IBN zone constraints early on to supporting our 2016 Cancer Council initiative “Beard 150” and you get the picture as to why Adam has been awarded our 2017 National Initiative Award.

Travelling over 90-minutes each way to make his zone meetings we are also very lucky to have the easy-going Adam personality supporting the West Melbourne/Geelong zone and when you see the quality of work he does and hear the feedback from always happy clients, he must be working his backside off and you’d never know when he always has a smile for everyone.

It’s great to know when we get enquiries at head office that when we give them to Adam, Kathleen our CRM Manager, knows she never needs to follow up the clients as they’re in more than capable hands. 

As his name suggests, professionalism and you can add service is the mantra that Adam works too.



Each year Kevin Renwick the IBN Chairman presents two awards to members he has handpicked who demonstrate the best all round effort in being an IBN member. From leadership to networking or supplier usage to head office dealings the Chairman's Award is a great honour and one member's strive to achieve.