Building with a Volume Builder

Once upon a time we had a wonderful BuildHer, Shaya (this is a true story)!

Sheya had a lovely but sad and tired home that she was looking to renovate and refurbish to suit her growing families needs. Sheya thought that renovating her existing home would be the best and most cost-effective process for her and the way she ‘should’ tackle improving her home, however when exploring the best way to get the home of her dreams it became clear that using a volume builder was actually the only way that Sheya could get the home of her dreams for her budget.

Sheya evaluated all her options at the time and arrived at the conclusion that to achieve the size home that she required, with the level of finishes, that would function for her family and on her budget, she would need to work with a volume builder. So Sheya met with a range of volume builders and in the end, selected Carlisle Homes to complete her build.

All images supplied by Carlisle Homes

When we spoke about the process after she had completed her build Sheya mentioned that she originally felt like using a volume build to do her home would not be ‘the BuildHer Way’ or would mean that she was locked into fixtures, finishes and a un-variable floorplan.

For Sheya, being able to use a volume builder like Carlisle Homes meant that she could vary the floorplan slightly to suit their families unique needs. They could understand the scope and costs from the outset, and the overall process and delivery method meant that the  build would not overrun her life while it was happening. It was a lot less labour intensive.

Following on from Sheya’s experience we met with Carlisle Homes on their Home Files podcast which is entirely dedicated to the knock down rebuild process.  At BuildHer we strongly subscribe to the ideal that there is no one size fits all model, there is a reason why you would use each type of design and build method from volume builder to bespoke architects and builders.

Building a new home is a huge undertaking, emotionally, financially and in time. Understanding the best fit in terms of delivery of your new home is so important from the outset, and this includes considering all the options so you can make the appropriate and right decision for you and your circumstances. 

The following is an overview of volume building and the advantages and we will discuss these topics:

  • What is a volume builder
  • The overall process with a volume builder – design through to construction
  • The advantages of working with a volume builder
  • Key questions you should ask before working with a volume builder

What is a volume builder?

A volume builder or project home builder as it can sometimes be referred to, are usually established building companies who build hundreds of homes per year. They usually offer clients a range of pre-designed homes and thousands of design choices that can then be adjusted depending on client requirements. Carlisle Homes builds new homes from $350k to $1million across Melbourne metro and Geelong, and offer hundreds of floorplan designs and choices for their customers.

When we spoke to Carlisle Homes, they identified some of the advantages to using volume home builder is that they can maximise efficiencies during the entire build process with materials, trades and by standardising home designs.

Our homes have been tried and tested before being constructed for our customers, through our drafting, engineering and display process. Over our 20 years of operation, we have established the most efficient way to build your home – from our sales and admin processes, to our leading technology solutions.

The process of building with a volume builder

One of the main advantages of working with a volume builder is that as they are capable of building hundreds of homes per year due to proven systems and processes that they have in place! Whilst all builders in this category will have their own unique process that they follow to build your home, below is an example of the type of process you might expect from Carlisle Homes:

  • New Home Selection

At this stage you will look at your site options and select the home design that best works for you, a quote will be prepared, and you will finalise façade selections, floorplan changes or upgrades and lock in some specific requirements.

  • Colour Selection

The most exciting stage for many homeowners. No longer are you reduced to a limited few options here either. We were excited to hear that Carlisle has a brand new showroom that’s home to over 3,500 products, with full size bathrooms, kitchens and laundries on display to help customers with their choices.

  • Tender and Contract finalisation

This will generally be after all the site conditions like the soil tests and engineering have been accounted for and after this point no changes can be made.

  • Site preparation and permits

There will be a lead time between signing the contract and preparing for on-site work to allow for permits and ordering of materials.

  • Construction

At this point we are in the fun stage of building and it will be so exciting to see your new home come together with all those materials, fixtures and finishes!

  • Handover and Defects

Once the work has been completed you will have a handover– at this point you will also create a list of defects to be completed and understand your warranty. It is important to understand the process here before you build and sign up with any builder – as the after care is very important.

Some key questions that you should ask before selecting your volume builder

  • Is the builder you are considering a reputable, registered builder?

You will want to have a look at the quality of work that this builder has completed and speak to some of their clients or do some research into their reputation. Some volume builders will have amazing display homes that you can visit to understand how a home might look and feel when completed.

Always understand what the base model is and what are optional extras that you can include as part of your home – some examples of this might be upgrades to ceiling height, floor coverings, the inclusion of window furnishings, benchtop types or squareset ceilings v’s cove cornices. 

  • How much control and flexibility will you have in your home design?

One of the limitations of working with a volume builder has typically been their inability to vary from the design – this has led to considerable issues with the home and site orientation in some cases, so this is an area you will want to have a clear understanding on what you can and cannot alter and vary.

Speaking to Carlisle Homes on this topic, it was refreshing to see that they have homes designed as a starting point that account for site orientations – such as home flip options, and the relocation or extension of various parts of the home. There was a great understanding that whilst the homeowners building with them were selecting pre-designed homes, these are just the starting points and it is expected that the floorplan is reviewed alongside options , fixtures and finishes.

We understand the enormity of the decision to build with us and is why we aim to exceed your expectations at every opportunity. From the way we guide, support, and inspire you through an entirely transparent build process, to the way we ensure your home is everything you’ve dreamed of when we hand over the keys. It has never been our goal to be the biggest, but we are committed to being the best. Our aim is for you to move into your new home truly believing that life’s better because you built with us.

  • Are the plans on offer suitable for the land you wish to build on?

Not all sites are created equal – some blocks will not be suitable for an off the plan build.  Some  examples of this might be; a home with a sloping block, a property that is in an area without services or that is remote, titles that have issues with size and alignment, or homes that need to retain the façade. Volume built homes are not suitable for renovation projects, only knockdown and rebuilds, or brand new builds.

If you are considering this pathway for your home build before you begin you need to understand your site’s parameters and if volume built homes are an option in your area.

  • What is your budget, and what do you expect to get for your money?

There are many ranges of builders, and the project home space is no different. You will need to ascertain your budget and then work out what builder and size of build will fit within this budget. Be mindful of the inclusions at this point also, as you need to budget for the build in its entirety.

  • What is the process and service with the builder you choose?

What does the process look like with this builder, through the design, selection, quoting, site preparation, handover and defect phases. Who will be your point of contact at each of these times and how often will you be in communication? Are you allowed on site to do inspections and when can this take place? What is the process for dispute resolution, how would you resolve any issues? What are the general and realistic timeframes that you should allow for and does this fit into your expectations.

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