what we do

why custom home design vs spec homes

Over time we have had customer confused with the difference between going with a volume build (spec home) verses custom built home when comparing house build costs, there can be a significant price difference going to a custom design by nearly 50% in the extreme case, but this doesn’t mean your getting the same end product.

Firstly when you go to a Volume builder you can only select a design that they already have in there catalogue with any combination they offer for facades, these are typically priced assuming no changes to their standard model you buy what you see, also assuming a completely flat site, anything that you changed or altered outside of this standard design would incur significant price increase / extra chargers which are typically be overpriced relative to work and materials actually required to achieve this outcome or tag a huge margin on top of the cost of works.  So typically, this is when we have clients that have liked a house then after adding all their changes and alterations to the design, they have decided that with the price increase their better off coming to a custom designed / custom built home.

As the name indicates volume builders (a.k.a spec home builders) may build tens of thousands of homes a year giving bulk buy capacity to keep their material costs down, as they know how much each house costs down to the nails and screws, and often there designs have been tweaked and refined to specifically reduce their own costs.  

For example one building company where the external walls are rendered changed their standard homes to be clad in Hebel power panel instead of brick veneer this not only saved them labour time but the requirement for a slab edge for Hebel vs brick means that they only require a 70mm rebate edge vs 150mm for brick, that’s a saving of 80mm of concrete around 1 house then multiply that by thousands of homes a year is a significant cost saving to them, but no noticeable difference to the consumer. And probably sold for the same price as it preceding brick veneer homes.

Because your selecting a design out of a catalogue more than likely the house won’t be site responsive to your actually title block, a house design more than likely will have the living area at the back, and for example if your site has most of its northern sunlight to the front of the house, this is poor solar efficient design, or they may have doors from that rear living space opening up to a fence and not the actual area where you have your main garden space, or not taking into account views you may have from your site of the bay or a hill top or a nice tree line.

Construction quality can be hit or miss with volume builders, they do have quality control processes, but more often than not the quality and care for the build isn’t as high as what you would get from a custom built home, the volume built homes are locked into to a schedule and need to have stages completed by deadlines and things can get rushed, however they can be built relatively quickly.