They say a man should aspire to have a tailored suit by the age of 40 and with life imitating fashion, many families look to tailoring their own home design by the time they buy their third or fourth home.
In the world of tailors and the famous Saville Row, preparing an article of clothing specifically for someone’s body shape is called bespoke tailoring. The Oxford English Dictionary explains the word coming from a verb to bespeak, and way back in the 16th century described it as "to speak for, to arrange for, engage beforehand: to ‘order’ (goods)”.
However nowadays unfortunately the word bespoke gets bandied about like the word “quality” when it comes to building, and I’ve seen first-hand many project builders try to get in to the market but due to their procedures of being able to deliver cost-efficient ‘cookie cutter’ type housing, time and time again they struggle to deliver a home that fits to the girth of the owner’s needs.
I remember working at one such project builder trying to position ourselves in the market for custom builds and changing the culture of the office explaining what bespoke meant and even sending an email explaining the terminology to all staff in order to prepare them for the types of homes and of course clients we would be dealing with in the near future.
Sadly, the nature of volume builders eventually prevailed and trying to grasp with customising a home around our valued customer became too hard and soon they were concentrating on delivering the stock standard basic homes as was their expertise.
And it’s not only builders jumping on the bespoke bandwagon with contractors such as electricians now introducing their service as bespoke rather than custom and any search for bespoke which would traditionally be resulted in tailors will now give you furniture stores, career guidance, ceramic tiles and even motor vehicles so why should it be so hard to get a builder to tailor a design to your own needs in 2017 whilst retaining some sort of affordability?
In short, volume builders achieve their margins through plenty of volume as their name suggests and if designs get tweaked this has a domino effect on the administration system and hence due to their size results in a massive overload with jobs not being able to start within a mid-timeframe. On more than one occasion I had to visit many clients whose prices we could not hold due to the length of time it took to prepare contracts; over nine months in some cases.
So what’s the answer to those who want an affordable custom builder if the volume builders struggle to deliver? Pretty simple, you look for a local builder that has a strong system in place to both retain quality control by supervising on site and can deal with a draftsman direct as well as having access to buying power in order to obtain building materials at a good price.
At the end of the day, the cheapest builder is going to be the “dad and son” business working out the back of their car as they won’t have the high running costs of the big volume builders, I call this the eBay versus Myer philosophy.
Imagine that you wanted to purchase a new pair of Levi jeans and you knew your size and had a choice to either go to the big Myer store at the local shopping centre or buy online through eBay. Which would be cheaper?
Of course, you said the web-based merchant which moved nearly $US9b in merchandise last year but why when Myer would obviously have so much buying power akin to the volume builders so why doesn’t that make them cheaper than a “mum and dad” seller working out of the back of their home selling on eBay?
You've probably already answered this yourself but obviously the high overheads needed to run Myer; advertising, the shops and massive floor space, lots of staff on and off the floor as well and you’re starting to get the picture.
Volume builders are no different with some pretty good buying power they have lots of overheads to contend with including lots of display homes which are very expensive to maintain, again lots of floor space filled with hundreds of staff, plenty of advertising and let’s not forget several of the top builders own naming rights on national sporting stadiums and then they’re paying commissions to the people that you deal with all down the line for your build and you’re wondering whether the final price is actually reasonable or not?
The solution is to find a builder who has a proven history of happy clients whom they have built for but has access to purchasing power whilst retaining a low overhead of running their business.
By introducing smaller, local family businesses to the stable of Independent Builders Network suppliers brings the best of both worlds to our Member's clients; quality control with the customer dealing directly with the builder supervising trades on site, national buying power providing cheaper materials to the builder and a professional town planning and architectural service through our exclusive relationship with Sketch Building Design who can effectively draft specific designs that are true to the client’s needs and wishes.
Accurate and clear pricing with none of that project builder “do you want windows with that” price-point strategy and you have an affordable bespoke home designed for you and your family.
IBN Your Home Your Builder
Written by Tim Renwick, Sales and Marketing Manager, Independent Builders Network