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Project home vs custom build


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#26 SeaPrincess

Posted 29 February 2020 - 12:45 PM

View PostCallMeFeral, on 29 February 2020 - 12:01 PM, said:

Ah, probably a difference in terminology. The OP mentioned a project home 'list price' of $236k. I'm assuming that's what's in the price books that they issue which is the base price for the house. Once a quote is done (with site costs and so on) it's usually a fair whack more than that.
I could be wrong, perhaps that's a quote price, but from the amount of it I suspect it's just the base price.

Our starting price (and my parents’) included allowances for site works, planning approvals, etc, which normally are sufficient to cover a street-fronting block. We have friends who built on a rear block who had to pay extra for site costs.

#27 Bugster

Posted 29 February 2020 - 01:15 PM

We built a small 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom, double garage house in 2009. Project build, all floor coverings and blinds included we paid $230k.We paid extra for additional paint colours and addition power points/lights. Build took about 6/7 months.

#28 My4beautifulboys

Posted 29 February 2020 - 02:47 PM

The price we’ve received $500k for a custom build, 4 bed 2 bath, office two living areas. All solar passive outdoor living areas. I think in total it’s almost 300 sq mt. Which I think is very expensive. For those that have gone with the project build, or custom. Just curious to know what you think your cost per sq metre is for the finished project? I should imagine that would be quite variable, depending on which state, location etc.

#29 SeaPrincess

Posted 29 February 2020 - 02:57 PM

Mum and Dad’s started at just over $1000/sqm. I’m not sure what their variations have added, but I wouldn’t think they’d have pushed it up as high as $1600/sqm, which is what yours works out to.

Edited by SeaPrincess, 29 February 2020 - 02:58 PM.


#30 ~LemonMyrtle~

Posted 29 February 2020 - 03:00 PM

View PostCallMeFeral, on 29 February 2020 - 12:01 PM, said:



Ah, probably a difference in terminology. The OP mentioned a project home 'list price' of $236k. I'm assuming that's what's in the price books that they issue which is the base price for the house. Once a quote is done (with site costs and so on) it's usually a fair whack more than that.
I could be wrong, perhaps that's a quote price, but from the amount of it I suspect it's just the base price.

Ah yeah, ours was advertised as house and land, and even though the land was a separate contract (and it’s own price) the house price included basic site costs and driveway too.

So maybe the OP could look at prices advertised at “house and land” for a comparison, then take off the land price,  as that price would include a basic site cost.

#31 **Xena**

Posted 06 March 2020 - 12:40 PM

Personally I'd prefer custom. I find most project homes very samey with pretty low quality materials and fixtures and builder grade finishes. Lots of really uninspiring McMansions especially. I don't know anyone who has had a great build with a project builder and no one has paid the minimum price. Most of them have had to pay heaps for upgrades and then had to fight at the end to get a lot of things fixed because they were done badly.

#32 CallMeFeral

Posted 06 March 2020 - 02:05 PM

View PostMy4beautifulboys, on 29 February 2020 - 02:47 PM, said:

The price we’ve received $500k for a custom build, 4 bed 2 bath, office two living areas. All solar passive outdoor living areas. I think in total it’s almost 300 sq mt. Which I think is very expensive. For those that have gone with the project build, or custom. Just curious to know what you think your cost per sq metre is for the finished project? I should imagine that would be quite variable, depending on which state, location etc.

I'll have to have a look at hours to figure out sqmt price, but number of bathrooms and suchlike also varies it a lot.

$500k to me (Sydney) seems about market value, maybe even a bit low. We didn't get many quotes under $600k all in.

View Post**Xena**, on 06 March 2020 - 12:40 PM, said:

Personally I'd prefer custom. I find most project homes very samey with pretty low quality materials and fixtures and builder grade finishes. Lots of really uninspiring McMansions especially. I don't know anyone who has had a great build with a project builder and no one has paid the minimum price. Most of them have had to pay heaps for upgrades and then had to fight at the end to get a lot of things fixed because they were done badly.

I know of a few people who were very happy with their build from a project builder, and quality of materials and fixtures depends which grade you choose (which obviously comes at a price). The ones who paid a premium have good quality.
But yes to the upgrades and the fighting - the one we are particularly familiar with spent a LOT of time inspecting the build as they went and pulling the builder up on every single thing that wasn't done as specified. Also did a crazy amount of planning pre-contract to make sure every single thing was specified. They are really happy with the result though, and it's lovely.

I would say however that most of this applied for custom too.

#33 froglett

Posted 06 March 2020 - 02:28 PM

Sounds cheap OP! We’re going through this process now. Have block of land, just about to put in DA to council.

Plans are by a building designer. Our house is 140sqm (3 bed/2 bath), 2 storey plus 2 car garage.

Our quotes are starting at $500k (we’ve had one for $900k!). We’re going to try and get it under $500k, but this means my time/effort getting quotes/sourcing fixtures and finishes etc so we don’t pay builders mark up. Square metre rate is about $3000 p/sqm, around $1500 for garage.

This is Sydney north.

#34 CallMeFeral

Posted 06 March 2020 - 02:50 PM

Oh in case it's helpful, a friend of ours (custom builder but small - i.e. it's just him) said for a rough estimate one could budget $2k per sqm downstairs and $1.8k upstairs. That's without solar and various things.

#35 Chic'N'Stu

Posted 06 March 2020 - 05:20 PM

View PostCallMeFeral, on 29 February 2020 - 09:43 AM, said:

There are also now some 'project builder' arms that do custom designs but (supposedly) leverage off the main company economies and relationships but allow a high level of customisation. We are currently in the beginning stages of the process with one of these. They are supposed to be cheaper than full custom but still offer a lot of flexibility (and are certainly in the ballpark of one of the high end non-custom ones as we also got a tender from them). There are also budget project build places which when you are comparing between, you can feel the lesser quality, but if you weren't going from one to the other it might not be that evident.

We ended up doing this for our custom design, and the economies of scale worked out really well. Paid $3000 for an architect to develop a custom design for our sloping block, and she works with an experienced builder to ensure that the design makes sense from a practical, cost effective perspective rather than going for theoretically flashy and eye-wateringly expensive to actually build. We had a couple of builders quote on the design with about a $40k difference in price, so the project builders could definitely bring some efficiencies with their greater numbers.

Build took 6 months and we're super happy with it! I'd be happy to go through the process again, but after moving in and out in quick succession and having to sort through 13 years of stuff, bugger doing it again anytime soon.

#36 My4beautifulboys

Posted 09 March 2020 - 10:45 PM

Thank you for the comparisons. Our architect also thinks it’s very reasonably priced at $1600 per sq metre for a custom build. And using all good quality fixtures/fittings. Based on his experience he thought it would be 2500 to $3000 at sq metre.
For those that have built project builders, at the base price advertised  i have also heard that it can be way off the mark for finished price. And like you mentioned you’d have to be careful that the quality of workmanship isn’t compromised, costing you more in the end.

#37 My4beautifulboys

Posted 18 March 2020 - 05:23 PM

Thanks, just regarding this current global situation. Do you think now is a wise time to be contemplating building a home, or not? Is this going to effect products, supplies, labour etc?  I feel quite worried right now, and struggling with committing.

#38 SeaPrincess

Posted 19 March 2020 - 12:42 AM

My parents’ build is progressing, and other building around us seems to still be happening. But this is all continuing, rather than new builds. I don’t think it’s a crazy question to ask, but I imagine the builders will still want work.

#39 kimasa

Posted 19 March 2020 - 06:29 AM

DH says his work hasn't been effected, it's the same as usual for this time of year, and his part in the process is at the beginning, pre-build.

#40 YodaTheWrinkledOne

Posted 23 March 2020 - 12:39 AM

We built 3 years ago, non-project home. 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, large garage, single storey. It's not a super fancy build, we tried to stick with standard fittings, etc where possible. But my husband is a structural engineer, our land is highly reactive clay, so we didn't skimp on the foundations or the structural aspects that are hard to change once the building is finished. Easy enough to renovate a kitchen later to make it look more aesthetically appealing, not as easy to lift the ceiling, for example.

House is about 340sqm (including patio & garage), cost to build was $610K in total (included everything). Ceilings are 2.7m throughout (with 5.4 metre peaked ceiling in the kitchen/family room), we have gone heavy with roof/ceiling/wall insulation throughout the house (we are lucky to use the ducted air con only a handful of times over summer). The house has been designed for the site orientation with respect to sun/shade/thermal/ventilation issues, so the internal temp is reasonably stable all year round with windows/doors closed. And we wanted the house to be mobility-friendly for when we need zimmer frames in older age, so it has a wider hallway, wider doors, etc. Our house took precisely 12 months to build from start to move-in date, and that included a 7 week rain delay that held up the foundation pour plus a window delivery mix-up that delayed lock-up by nearly 4 weeks.

Was it more expensive than a project build? Yes, no doubt

But it's better built than a project build too. It took us a while to find a builder who gave us a price we could live with. The first quote we got was for $980K and we had a fit at that cost, that put us off for a good 6-9 months!

Generally speaking a project build is likely to set you back $1200-$1600 per square metre. A custom build will set you back $1800+ per square metre (and more likely be closer to at least $2000/sqm).

The higher the spec, the fancier the build, the more costly it will be.

A good architect/engineer should be able to identify where you can save money by modifying plans to be less bespoke in terms of the structure. For example, original plans had custom-size doors (architect/designer did that, DH took it out, LOL!). DH changed it to standard doors throughout, but they are the widest & tallest standard doors you can get as standard (2.4m tall, 870mm wide), which is not what a project builder would give you. Yep, it was a little bit extra per door (I think $35/door extra = $490 more), but that's the sort of thing that can be hard to change after the house is built and it's the sort of modification that is easily accommodated in a custom build, not so much a project build (you start changing the structure of a project build and it can really add up).

#41 YodaTheWrinkledOne

Posted 23 March 2020 - 12:45 AM

View PostMy4beautifulboys, on 09 March 2020 - 10:45 PM, said:

Thank you for the comparisons. Our architect also thinks it’s very reasonably priced at $1600 per sq metre for a custom build. And using all good quality fixtures/fittings. Based on his experience he thought it would be 2500 to $3000 at sq metre.
For those that have built project builders, at the base price advertised  i have also heard that it can be way off the mark for finished price. And like you mentioned you’d have to be careful that the quality of workmanship isn’t compromised, costing you more in the end.
I think that's a great price for a custom build, but I agree it seems a little low. Look carefully at what it gives you - what's included, what isn't. What the specs are for (eg. in terms of painting, is it one undercoat and two coats of paint, or one undercoat and 3 coats of paint? What kind of plasterboard? Architraves/skirting board style/detail? Light switches/fittings? How thick are the internal walls - 70mm or 90mm? Are the external wall insulated? What about roof/ceiling insulation? what is the pc amount for tiling/carpets/bathroom/kitchen selections and is that reasonable? Does it include all concreting, include driveway and paths around the house?)

#42 Bethlehem Babe

Posted 23 March 2020 - 07:33 AM

Yes!!
Having been involved in a few builds now, I’d budget more for essentials- things that aren’t cosmetic- Extra underlay and higher quality carpet might be the only exceptions. Many other fittings can be replaced at a later date - so things like taps and the like.

Insulation, electrical, septic systems, water tanks etc I’d not skimp on.


We’ve built a project home. Basically they gave you a choice of two colour schemes. Then add on- dishwasher etc.

#43 Bethlehem Babe

Posted 23 March 2020 - 07:37 AM

Sorry -403 error then double posts.

Edited by Bethlehem Babe, 23 March 2020 - 07:38 AM.





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