It's our first ever episode of our brand spanking new, podcast Building with BuildHer and we couldn't be more excited. For those that aren't familiar with us, let's give you a little bit of a rundown.
BuildHer Collective was created by us, Rebeka and Kribashini to empower women with the right tools to build the home of their dreams. We believe that with the right advice and support, building and renovating can be super fun. We've created a community to help you through the process and get you feeling inspired by what you're able to achieve. You've got this!
In our first episode, we're hopping into our super fancy studio (Rebeka's bed) and introducing ourselves to you. We reminisce on a few of the many and varied projects we've worked on throughout the years. Some as small as a couple of thousand dollars, all the way through to multi-million dollar projects, but what we've discovered is that no matter the budget, the processes and principals are basically the same.
Come along for the journey with us as we chat all things building, interview industry leaders, innovators, developers and laugh as much as possible.
If you have a topic or question you'd like us to cover, contact us here.
SOME TOPICS THAT WE COVER:
How BuildHer was born.
A rundown as to who we are and how we got in this industry.
How we've developed a community that empowers women to build and design their homes.
We have several Facebook Groups at BuildHer Collective.
MEMBER ONLY FACEBOOK GROUPS
BHC DevelopHers Circle and BuildHer Collective Members Only - these are closed groups for women who are doing our Build Like a BuildHer course or who have joined our DevelopHers Inner Circle.
FREE FACEBOOK GROUP - Join Us!
Anyone is more than welcome to join our Women who Design, Decorate, Renovate & Build group. You will note that it's a closed group but ask to join and if you're into building and renovating, this is such an amazing and supportive FREE community, so come on and join in the building goodness!
Kribashini: Our podcast, where we believe that building is fun.
Rebeka: Super fun.
Kribashini: So much fun.
Rebeka: BuildHer Collective was created to help women with building and renovating and we believe that with the right tools, everyone can build. For us, it's all about encouraging women to take back control of the building process and really achieve their dreams.
Kribashini: We are women in the building industry and as developers, builders and project managers, it's our passion to share everything we know with other women doing the same and that's why we've created this podcast for you.
Rebeka: So if you love all things building.
Kribashini: You're into design.
Rebeka: Keen on the numbers.
Kribashini: About to renovate.
Rebeka: Thinking and dreaming of that forever home and what it would look like.
Kribashini: Or even developing for profit.
Rebeka: Then you found your family.
Kribashini: Subscribe to our podcast and follow our journey over at buildhercollective.com.au.
Rebeka: I'm Rebeka
Kribashini: I'm Kribashini.
Rebeka: And we're from BuildHer Collective and we just wanted to take a moment to say thank you so much for listening to our very first podcast.
Kribashini: So exciting.
Rebeka: We wanted to do a podcast because there are so many amazing people that we meet and there are so many amazing things going on in building which we are really passionate about and love and we wanted to share that with you.
Kribashini: Rebeka, is a podcast fiend I would have to say. You probably listen to, I don't know.
Rebeka: I'm an avid consumer.
Kribashini: I'm a one-at-a-time podcast girl, but I think you're probably listening to like, I don't know, 20 podcasts at the same time.
Rebeka: Yes. I like a little bit of this and a little bit of that. [laughs]
Kribashini: It's also a great way for us to get out there and talk about the situations that people find themselves in building and also share some really valuable insights and stories along the way that can really help you avoid mistakes that might be ahead of you if you are in the renovating and building game.
Rebeka: Now, as you see, it's our first podcast. We just wanted to take a moment to say, firstly, thank you but please forgive us. [laughs] We actually came to my house to do this podcast and we're currently sitting in our bedroom, on a bed and hiding from all the building noise, rubble, and dust which is happening out around us. I think there's-
Kribashini: There's an onslaught of tradespeople outside.
Rebeka: And somehow, I arranged them but didn't expect them.
Kribashini: When we got here, she did exclaim, "Why are there so many people here?"
Rebeka: Well you know, sometimes they don't turn up on the right days. I'm sure that we understand that. [laughter] Sometimes, I didn't imagine that they would be as loud as they're actually being right now.
Kribashini: You know what? A good site is a busy site and it does mean progress at the end of the day, so it's exciting.
Rebeka: It does. I think we've explained what the series is about. It's about all things building.
Kribashini: It's about situations, it's about design, it's about buildability, it's about problems, it's about successes. We go into it all really.
Rebeka: Also, we need your participation so if you want us to interview someone, if you're finding something really interesting, please write into us. We have firstname.lastname@example.org. Let us know what you want to hear about. We are open to covering anything that has to do with building and you know what, we've seen a lot.
What is BuildHer Collective, Kribashini?
Kribashini: You may not have heard of us, you may have heard of us, you may be an actual BuildHer whose tuned in to listen to us. [laughs] If so, you'll be used to our ridiculous rants sometimes. BuildHer Collective really is our business that we started together probably a little under two years ago and it is a fantastic place for women to come together and people come together and share their building experiences. Grab a whole lot of knowledge about the building and renovating processes in terms of design, construction, planning, get a whole lot of checklists and templates along the way and really be guided through the process.
Rebeka: It's so funny. Often, we're spending half a million dollars or the most amount of money that we're ever going to spend in our life and because it's not work and we're not obliged to run it professionally, we run it in this haphazard way and then things don't work out and we get kerfuddled by that.
Kribashini: Yes and we also don't know what we don't know. We can sometimes go into it with rose-colored glasses and think it's a little bit simpler than it is. Sometimes it is going to be simple, but sometimes, there are going to be some situations that you might need a little bit of extra help to pull together.
Rebeka: It depends if you're an optimist or a pessimist.
Kribashini: That's right.
Rebeka: The way you look at the world will also affect the way you cover things and affect the trades and it's all very relationship-driven.
BuildHer Collective was really born over some wine.
Maybe too much wine.
Kribashini: Seafood linguini and way too many layers of clothing.
Rebeka: We were traveling in Italy over winter which is freezing cold together with my family.
Kribashini: A tribe of children.
Rebeka: Yes, going so smoothly. [laughter] We didn't need to drink at all.
We were talking about all the different problems that people were having on the building sites and really intelligent people.
I'm Rebeka and I'm a registered builder and Kribashini is a commercial project manager and together we had people we knew, but also friends of friends that would continually have issues.
Kribashini: The types of issues that they were having, some of them minor and really avoidable and some of them were bigger issues that stem from a sequence of, I guess, things happening in the past that had led them to this area. We realize that actually if they just knew the process and they just knew where they could go for a little bit of extra help, that it wouldn't be so hard.
Rebeka: How to take some small steps and sequence things in the right way to avoid those problems and, I guess, that's where we came up with BuildHer Collective and an online course which can really guide you through the beginning to the end.
Kribashini: It was this idea that "Wouldn't it be amazing if we could have a community of people who are helping each other, who are all going through it together and who are all supporting each other?" That's really something that we were super excited about.
Rebeka: Something which we've created. We've got some free groups which you are more than welcome to join in the links underneath. Some of these groups are fantastic for getting more information and getting answers to problems and getting that power of people.
Kribashini: That's right.
Rebeka: Doing it together and all interested and all wanting to get t right because there's a lot of emotion in building our own homes.
Kribashini: Sometimes, we just need a sounding board and I think the one thing that has really blown me away is just how supportive they are of each other and how genuinely interested they are in each other builds. We realized that building and renovating can sometimes be a little bit lonely. That one person who's just going up to the counter and be like, "Oh, so-"
Rebeka: "Is this the right thing?" [laughs]
Kribashini: "Is that your best price?" It feels a bit scary. We don't know what to say and so by being a part of a collective of women who are doing it, it's really giving you negotiation power as well.
Rebeka: Yes and that's why BuildHer was born.
Rebeka: A little bit about us, we thought, would be helpful to give people perspective on why we are where we are and what we're doing and how we move forward.
I started in commercial construction, so I did a couple of years of architecture, did a degree in construction management, worked as a quantity surveyor. The quantity surveyor's all your numbers. Super helpful [laughs] to know your numbers.
Kribashini: So helpful.
Rebeka: Understanding how you do a takeoff and how a building is put together without actually having to manage it. I think that was one of the key learnings of that.
Kribashini: Being a QS as well, you're actually building that building in your mind as you're building the cost up so it's a fantastic foundation of knowledge and experience and you've done so much in the industry.
Rebeka: Yes and then our commercial project manager so from the client's side, worked on in our office complexes and in city high-rises. Then where we met is a-- I left a job to work as a general manager of a commercial building company and we worked together delivering schools and housing packages and-
Rebeka: -deal with the high-rises.
Kribashini: -halls, high-rise, yes.
Rebeka: I think we even built a tennis court for some reason. Tennis and basketball court.
Kribashini: We did.
Rebeka: Fence, really big fence.
Rebeka: Playgrounds, yes. [laughs] We did some really random things.
Kribashini: Maybe we should actually sit down and list out all the projects we've done.
Rebeka: Yes. That'd be interesting.
Kribashini: Actually, do you remember? I think you pouched me.
Rebeka: I did pouch you. I pouched you because Kribashini was actually working for another team in the organization.
Kribashini: She stole me.
Rebeka: She was really good at what she did and I was like, "Thank you. I need her." Instead of asking whether she wanted to work for me. I went over it because we had two parallel companies and I went over and I spoke to her boss and I said, "Actually, I'd like her."
I need another resource in my team. She's been underutilized and so I think that's when you moved in to project management.
Kribashini: Yes, that was my first jump actually from being a CA or a contract admin into being a project manager. Everybody wants to take that next step or that next jump and it was really scary at the time. I remember seeing down and going like, "I'm not so sure I can do this." You were just like, "No, you'll be fine." Actually, sometimes you just need someone to have a little bit of confidence in you and say, "Yes, actually you'll just be fine."
Rebeka: Yes, it's knowing the process isn't it?
Rebeka: As long as you know the process and you have some-- Some people need the confidence and other people need to know the process. [laughs] It just depends on how you come at things.
Kribashini: Yes and at that time, in my mid-20s, I guess I always thought, "No, I really had to work my way through the motions". I really had to do the jobs because that's what you get told in the building industry when you're working up through it formally. That you need to do the hard yards, you need to do the slog and the different jobs. That is true to a certain degree, but it's an interesting one. Having a career in commercial project management and then jumping into doing some residential projects myself, you can totally see the difference in the two areas.
I guess, what I've come up is, I've worked as an estimator. I've been on the commercial construction's side, I've been on the client's side. I've worked probably longer for the client's side than I have on the construction's side and it's been a really rewarding experience. What it means is that I've had that time to really learn how to manage teams, how to bring projects together, how to represent a client, how to be the client as well. I've done a range of projects there, from open public spaces, offices, town halls, toilet blocks, I've done some fantastic toilet blocks.
Community centers and lastly a performing arts building.
Rebeka: Your projects range from quite small really to $80 million-plus?
Kribashini: Yes, and the smallest project I reckon I've done would be like a $2000 light replacement project.
Rebeka: Isn't that insane that you can use the same people and it's the same process and I think this is a topic for another day. Commercial project management and commercial building is very different domestic building?
Rebeka: If you can apply some of those commercial processes in domestic you get a much better outcome.
The thing is domestic building seems to be a lot more gung-ho, it's a lot less regulated, I left the commercial building sector when my lovely boss at the time suggested that I get a househusband because I was not able to see my kids or I needed someone at home to look after the kids because I needed to be at work and that wasn't-
Kribashini: Bringing home the bacon baby.
Rebeka: -it just wasn't what I wanted for my life. We started doing domestic construction, started off doing projects for people, I was always building and renovating, I have to say I have done that since my early 20s it's just been a passion but started actually doing it seriously as a job. Big step.
Kribashini: Well, it's a big step because you're putting everything on the line when you do it for yourself.
Rebeka: You are and the first ones you don't have-- I'm yet to find the point where you've got a lot of money but you don't have a lot of money to play with and every step takes a long time because you've got to kind of fund it and work your way through. We've been through that, we've been through the five years of kind of taking away these and putting these together because that's what we could afford at the time. I think that's actually a good and healthy process to go through because it gives you a good respect for money and to understand how it can feel on the other end when you just want your house done but you don't maybe have the budget to get where you are so you've got to stage it and you've got to do some work now and some work later.
Kribashini: At a recent workshop that we were doing together I was actually reminiscing on it and I was basically saying to the workshop, "Well, I'm very lucky because I've had the ability to be able to learn the processes and make mistakes along the way but I haven't had to necessarily pay for that out of my own pocket. I've had to find the money you know in the budgets to overcome you know issues that might have arisen." Now after having that career for the last 15 years I'm kind of in the same boat as where you were about 10 years ago where we just kind of doing our house in a small manner, we're doing it in stages, we're doing it as the budget permits and as time permits and it's a really interesting way to go about it.
Rebeka: You get that experience and I guess the thing is when we're doing our own homes and it's the first time we're doing and maybe it's the only home we're able to do then we don't want to do too much learning along the way. It's much better to learn in a more systematic process where we can kind of get that information up front and know the process, know what to look out for and know what the common things that people fall up with so we don't go, "Oh, we've got that problem."
I mean I know we were talking to one of the DevelopHers, so we've got a couple of different programs for BuildHer. We've got the Build Like A BuildHer program which teaches you how to build so that's focused on your main home and then our DevelopHers inner circle, and the DevelopHers inner circle is really for people who want to make a profit out of renovating. We've got some people in there who have like 9, 10 projects on the go with $4 or $5 million dollar projects and we've got other people in there that are looking to do their first home and they've got the bug.
We were talking to one of these people that had I think nine projects on the go and she was talking about the fact that yep that had happened to her and she'd learned when that happened. She'd learnt in that way as well where she'd had these problems come up and they'd cost her money and cause that learning. I guess we're hoping to solve some of that problem so you don't learn along the way.
Kribashini: That's exactly our philosophy I guess, isn't it? We want you to be empowered to know what it is you need to know before it becomes an issue and to take our experiences and our learning that we've had along our way, and not make those mistakes that are easily avoidable and not to have the pain. You don't want to be that person who goes, "Yeah I'm renovating", with the grimace face.
Rebeka: Oh no, you know what, that's one of the biggest things and I know this is kind of like a bit woo-woo.
I really feel like your house can feel and understand the way you come at it. I think if you're renovating with love and you come at it this is one of our philosophies, it's really what are you doing by renovating your home? You're creating a space where you can raise your family, where you can entertain your friends and you have the gift and that word's really clear. You have the gift of being able to do that and make that space perfect for you so whatever your budget is as long as you're really focused on the outcome and how people will live and enjoy that space then that's an amazing experience it's not like "Oh my God, I have to renovate." if you feel like that go buy something that's someone else has built.
Kribashini: Far too often we've found that women have been not quite involved in the building process as they could have been and therefore not really have been able to have the influence into the design and into the way that the family home needs to function or the development needs to function and at the end of the day these homes is whether it's for development or whether it's for ourselves, it's going to be a home for someone, and so it has to function as a home. Really, it's about how do you get your values right and how do your values translate into your design and then how do you pull it all together so that you actually get the product at the end of the day that you wanted and that you visualized?
Rebeka: That's exciting, and then if you're coming at it from that really super exciting way and you're building that dream home and you're going to live in this house for 10, 15 years and you've got these immense like kind of feeling of satisfaction at the end it.
Kribashini: I mean, you will pass it every day it's like, "I did that."
Rebeka: Yes, that's amazing. That's what we experience when we build and we would really love you to be able to experience that too.
Kribashini: It's so amazing, we speak to so many builders and so many women who have come from totally different career paths. We've got nurses, midwives, accountants, teachers and what they always say to us what we always hear from them is that how much they've enjoyed the creativity that brings with building and renovating and coming up with those solutions and picking some finishes and looking at the overall color scheme they love it.
Rebeka: They really do, and naturally I think us women we're really well-placed to do this. One of the reasons we focus on women is so it's a safe environment for women to be able to grow and share and do all these things but also we're naturally project managers. If you can get three kids dressed, fed, teeth-brushed, hair-brushed in the car and on time to school you are going to rock the building process.
Rebeka: So true, the building process is about logistics and coordination.
Kribashini: You just need the right information and then it's easy.
Rebeka: I think that's a little bit about us and a good little taster.
Kribashini: Yes, we would love if you join us for our podcast series, we've got so many amazing interviews lined up, we've got some great information stored up and topics that we're going to start sharing with all of you out there.
Rebeka: Stay tuned until next time.
Thanks for listening to Building with BuildHer. We'd love you to spread the word.
Kribashini: For show notes links and downloads and other awesome resources and freebies head to buildhercollective.com. Don't forget that's BuildHer with an H-E-R,
Rebeka: And if you enjoyed this episode it would mean so much to both of us if you could take a minute or two to leave a review and don't forget to subscribe so you can listen next time as we talk all things building and women making their mark in the building industry.