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difficulty choosing builder

Discussion in 'Development' started by SaberX, 29th Jun, 2015.

  1. SaberX

    SaberX Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    29th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    197
    Location:
    WA
    Hi all,

    Trying to bed down a builder pre- EOFY for a decent deal. I've limited it down to two for now which seem ok - SmartHomes for Living (BGC related - Ventura group) and Celebration Homes (ABN group).

    The issue is I'm in two minds over various issues that I needed some input:

    1) It's an investment property
    2) There's a significant (IMHO) price difference between the two builds. Circa $206k for SH, circa $223k for CH. I've adjusted the CH quote for where additions aren't reflected in SH, as well as the notional cost of upgrading to single course bricks with SH (given CH comes with single not double course externally).

    I have until tonight/tomorrow morning to revert to CH if i wanta deal sweetener pre-EOFY (i.e. say 2.5-5k off) if i want a chance of securing that sweetener.. hence I wanted some opinions asap.

    I am just at a loss at the price difference and choosing a builder. While display hopping one thing I noted was advice that all builders can build for the same price, the same quality. Therefore any differences in prices could always be explained by a lack of inclusion or product quality/brand? Supposedly... On the other hand I have been warned that some builders run higher magins or just plain capitalise on their name and offer nothing much additional spec wise. Given the SH build and CH are identical living space wise (maxing out my block coverage 100%), the price difference is a hard sticky point as I'll be running an investment, so I'd want the cheapest bang for buck I can get. But with this I still want decent quality as far as no frills, gets the job done, reasonably lasting as an investment , thereby maximising $ for outlay.

    Some spout stories or hearsay that BGC is 'cheap' or 'imported', quality is inferior etc to builders who use more expensive products: think caroma, midland bricks instead of brikmakers etc. Is that true, and that you really get what you pay for? The CH person hits hard on these points relative to the trusted ABN group name. I'll agree that many Perth estates have CH builds popping up like the plague so perhaps they do build efficiently? Or perhaps it's just sheep blindly following the market brand name? Whereas SH /BGC group I hear the odd horror stories where people have gone with Ventura etc and been burnt by slow, incumberent service.

    Visited and happy with the SH prestart workshop, everything looked functional. Real estate agents have mentioned to me tenants neither care or notice about brand. A boutique house builder I met with also mentioned that it didn't matter what brick you used - brikmaker or midland, the quality must still conform: it's still a brick. You won't notice the difference between CSR vs BGC company plasterboard ceiling products or other aspects. I just want to strip out margin and brand name and get quality and functional use for an affordable price as an investment property. Another somersoft member was of opinion that the vertical integration of suppliers meant bgc effectively offers better pricing whilst covering overheads, as opposed to the likes of celebrations. So while houses may make little profit, the sales go to their owned building products business which make a profit. Thereby arguing the lower price isn't reflective of omitted or inferior products but their leaner supply cost chain?

    So what do I do? Will the $16k diff be reflective on shoddier workmanship and internal building structure quality, who they employ to build your house, or in their products? Do you really get what you pay for - or is this just a scare tactic by more expensive builders to sway you their way?

    Comparing price quotes, everything from soakwells to footpath protection fees, to upgrades for vanities seems marignally more pricier with Celebrations. I assume most other additions/upgrades are too?

    I do generally like the CH floor design better. Could probably ask to modify these into the SH design if I need to??

    Would love the two cents of anyone who has built or renovated with either company, used BGC products in renovations or their builds, or just could add some opinion as to which way I should swing?

    Also been told by CH I could do the crossover ($2,750 CH vs $2,200SH) and soakwells ($4350 CH vs $4,000 SH) myself after handover and save money. Is this true? One boutique builder I spoke to believes I should still do soakwells with the builders as they take care of this at the beginning of the build - planning and installation wise. Connection wise too. And this requires a lot of digging/planning, and issues relating to digging equipment access, compromising compaction and location etc. are a risk. Thoughts?

    As the recosting was done in person I'm wary these were taken out to make the quote more attractive...

    Grateful for any opinions/responses asap.

    Cheers,
    S
     
    Last edited: 30th Jun, 2015
  2. Brady

    Brady Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Adelaide, SA
    I recently tendered out a development of my own across 11 different builders. The variance was $240k, huge difference when you're talking 3 properties totalling 631.5sqm of building. Every builder stated that difference will be specs, but I was very detailed with this. As much as possible make sure you're comparing apples with apples, work out exactly what product you want and find out what it costs each builder to do that. Some builders will have a preferred method so going outside the preferred could cost more.

    In the end I haven't gone with the cheapest builder but one that ticked a lot of boxes along the way.

    BTW didn't read the whole post, way too long :)
     
  3. Louis XIII

    Louis XIII Active Member

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    Location:
    Sydney
    Hi Brady, can I ask, how do you go about tendering out to all those builders, do you mind explaining the process in a little more detail?
     
  4. SaberX

    SaberX Well-Known Member

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    WA
    Point taken - shortformed where i can :)

    Yes, I've tried to state inclusions and get all the hidden siteworks and other costs included where I can to try and 'level' the playing field. The only things I can't compare apples to apples with is 1) Products quality - without a great familiarity with building products I can't accurately price caroma and other higher end (at least sold on that basis/image) of say Celebration Homes, versus say BGC products offered under Smart Homes - the likes of Tony Alder etc.

    The second is I can't compare factually what the potential delay will be in one builder over the other, you hear stories, but you never really know which one (if any) is going to be the 'delayed for 8 months' builder, which ofc influences decisions.

    That said, why did you go the middle builder if you provided the same specs through to all builders in the tender? What made you pick the non-cheapest builder?
     
  5. HD_ACE

    HD_ACE Game-Changer Premium Member

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    Perth
    Unless you get your plans drafted yourself and tender the same plan to all builders, you aren't comparing apples with apples which is probably 90% of where the price difference is. You should also attach a spec sheet with the plans for Everything Else so that prices are comparable.

    The spec sheet should include things like brands, appliances and sizes, cupboards and handles, paint brand and No of coates, ceiling heights, basins, tapwares, tile sizes and types, carpet types, bench tops, no of power points/lights etc. Ill post up a sample.

    For what its worth I recently used one from a bcg group, 4 supervisors later and 2 months over contract its all done and dusted. Quality and workmanship was up there.It seems no two experiences with the same builder are the same due to different supervisors, tradies etc.
     
  6. HD_ACE

    HD_ACE Game-Changer Premium Member

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    Spec sheet attached to give you an idea of items and what can be mixed and matched..

    Cheers
     

    Attached Files:

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  7. Louis XIII

    Louis XIII Active Member

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    Location:
    Sydney
    Thanks for sharing HD_ACE

    Just goes to show how much work needs to go into the planning of the build, just to get a accurate quote.
     
  8. Brady

    Brady Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Adelaide, SA
    Service - how they responded to questions, how quick they were to respond, level of detail provided.
    Brand name - cheapest builder was very small
    Price - difference between builder I selected and lowest was $13k I was happy to pay this premium
     
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  9. LifesGood

    LifesGood Home Building & Development Consultant Business Member

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    26th Jun, 2015
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    Location:
    Perth WA
    Hi @SaberX how did you go with this? I'd love to hear about the builder you ended up choosing and why.

    I'm in the industry so if you have any queries, just yell out!