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Common questions about building a custom home

Building a custom home is an exciting and highly rewarding venture, but it also comes with a lot of unknowns, particularly if you’re new to the process.

To help put your mind at ease, we’ve pulled together some answers to the questions you’re probably wondering about…

How long does it take to build a custom home?

Generally, you can expect the design and permit approval process for a custom home to take around 6 to 12 months, with construction taking between 9 and 12 months. However, this largely depends on factors such as the size, location and complexity of the build.

As a general rule, the greater the square meters, the longer you should expect it to take. Multi-storey builds will also require more time to construct. Builds that incorporate complex bespoke features or the use of unique building materials or processes are also likely to require more time to complete construction.

Challenging sites and conditions can also impact the build timeline—sloping blocks which require deeper footings, unfavourable soil conditions, restrictions accessing the site, or undesirable weather conditions are all factors that can extend the build time.

Is it difficult to get the plans approved?

Your architect should handle this process for you. They should familiarise themselves with the local planning restrictions and requirements and design the home with these in mind to ensure the approval process flows as smoothly and promptly as possible.

The time frame to get your plans approved will largely depend on individual council processes, the volume of permit applications they’re reviewing and the complexity of the plans you’re presenting. If the council receives objections from neighbours or concerned parties, they will also need to consider these.

In most cases, you can expect the council to request some changes to the design which your architect should apply in consultation with you.

How do I find a builder?

There are a couple of ways you can find a builder—you can either approach a builder or construction company directly, or you can use a tender process to help compare several different builders.

If you opt to find a builder by tender, your architect should largely manage the process for you. They would typically be responsible for preparing and distributing the documentation to a select group of builders, inviting them to submit a proposal and quote to win the job. You’ll have the final say on which builder you want to award the job to.

Alternatively, if you already have a specific builder in mind, you also have the option to approach them directly. This approach can particularly beneficial if you approach them while you’re still working through the design phase, as they may be able to provide an indication of the likely cost of construction which can help to inform your design.

This is our specialty at APC Build—we have a unique capability to accurately cost projects at a very early stage which can prove invaluable at helping to keep your design in line with your budget. Contact us to find out more.

Can I make changes to my plans after building has commenced?

Put simply—yes, but it’s not desirable. Possibly the greatest benefit of building a bespoke home is the ability to customise the home to your exact specifications and requirements, however it’s best to avoid making changes after construction has commenced unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Each time you make changes to the design, project costs will need to be reviewed and the build schedule is likely to be impacted.

To help your project stay within budget and to the schedule, it’s best to invest some extra time during the design phase to formulate the optimal design and avoid the need for changes down the track.

How involved do I need to be?

A custom home build typically requires more involvement than building an off-the-plan design. We generally find however, that most clients want to be quite involved in the project as they’re creating their dream or forever home and are heavily invested in the project.

Your input will be most needed during the initial planning phases to inform the style and design of the home and tailor it to suit your family, lifestyle and budget.

After the design has been finalised, it’s up to you to decide how involved you would like to be. The builder can largely manage the project for you, consulting you throughout the process to clarify anything when needed. You may also choose to conduct a few site visits throughout the project to see how everything is progressing.

Will the quote be a fixed price?

Yes—your builder should be able to provide a fixed price quote even for a custom build.

At APC Build, we provide an initial indicative quote based on the preliminary design to give you an idea of the cost of construction, then provide a more detailed fixed quote after the design has been finalised and the fittings and finishes have been selected.

We know that managing the budget for a bespoke home build can be stressful, which is why we pride ourselves on our transparent quotation process which ensures you’ll be able to see where every dollar is being spent.

To help you get the most for your money, we’ll also guide you through our unique value management process which ensures you’re directing your budget to the things that matter the most to you.

Something else you want to know?

Something you’re still unsure about? We’d be happy to answer any questions you have about the custom home design and build process.

Simply get in touch with us for a chat.

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