Custom Home Builder Guide
Deciding to design and build a brand new custom home is a major life decision. You can invest years into researching what your perfect home will look like, or perhaps you might walk into a display home and find that's the perfect design for you and your family.
Whatever you decide you always have a choice, a choice to decide how much you want to invest in your new home project, that is how much time and money you are willing to put into creating you and your family, your forever home.
If you are thinking about a custom build there are a number of factors to consider. As custom home builders in Sydney, specialising in knockdown rebuilds with a key focus of building new homes throughout the North Shore, Northern Beaches, Sutherland Shire and Epping areas, we have had years of experience designing and building custom homes.
To make your new home building journey easier, we would like to share our insight and expertise with you. This way you can save time and money in probably one of the biggest investments, you will make.
- What is a custom home builder?
- What are custom homes?
- Why build a custom home?
- What are the costs to build a custom home?
- What are the essential things to consider when building a custom home?
- What's the difference between creating a custom home design with an architect and finding a builder OR creating plans with a custom home builder?
- What are the important stages when building a custom home?
- Does it take longer to build a custom home compared to a project home?
- What are the main differences between a project home and a custom built home?
- What is the design process for a custom built home?
- What if I have a difficult block of land?
- Find out what it means to build a custom home with Hall & Hart
- Do I own my plans?
- Can Hall & Hart build my plans?
H0232 Hills District, Sydney
What is a custom home builder?
Custom home builders specialise in the design and construction of unique, personalised residences for their clients.
Each home begins with a design brief where the client meets with the architectural design team and discuss their home in detail.
These meetings prove invaluable as experienced new home designers know what questions to ask and how to direct the conversation so every possible design feature and enhancement to the home design has been unconvered.
Once that meeting is completed, it's time for the drawing board where design sketches evolve into a finished home design complete with floor plans and elevations.
During the design the architectural designer will often liaise with the construction team to ensure the home keeps within the clients budget. This is a huge benefit Hall and Hart has over many competitors who may not have the ability to check pricing during the design phase.
Once the design sketch is completed it is then presented to the client for feedback. This collaborative process ensures that any modifications can be made before finalising the design and moving into the constuction phase.
Once construction is ready to begin, clients then meet with the interior design team to ensure all fixtures, fittings and colours are chosen.
The construction starts on site and the anticipation of the final home begins to become reality.
Once complete, the client accepts the keys and move into their beautiful new custom designed residence and it's another proud moment for the Hall and Hart team.
What are custom homes?
A custom-built home is a unique, personalised, beautiful home that has been customised to your family’s ideal lifestyle. Your new home is created for you, in the exact location you want to live.
A custom-built home uses an architecturally designed, “one off” plan to construct a home which meets the needs of families and ticks their luxury wish list.
Living in a custom home is the ultimate in comfort. While leveraging the expertise of professionals, you still have full ownership of the direction the design takes.
It’s a great way to maximise the land you own or are buying. If you’re planning to build and haven’t bought the land yet, it’s wise to get a builder’s advice beforehand, so you can understand the constraints of the block and won’t be disappointed down the track when you can’t execute parts of your vision due to block constraints. It's worth looking into the option of working with a luxury custom home builder who will take care of both the design and construction.
Why build a custom home?
The meaning of ‘luxury’ changes with each generation. Whatever the fashion, true luxury is having everything you need to live your ideal life. When it comes to a home, that means tailoring the design to suit you and your family – your work, hobbies, hopes and dreams.
Investing time and money in a custom home will pay dividends with decades of happiness and comfort for you and your family.
Building your own home is also a great opportunity to prepare for the future. For example, you can factor in energy-saving measures and home automation from the outset. You’ll also have the luxury and differentiator of a home that is just for you - a fully unique floor plan and elevation that no one else in the world has. By using the right custom builder, you can also stay within budget.
What are the costs to build a custom home?
One of the things to consider when building a custom home is the ultimate cost to build will vary greatly depending on what you want to achieve, plus the materials you choose.
Many variable factors will impact your final costs.
- The design and complexity of construction based on the design
- The quality of materials
- Delivery costs to the site
- The location and quality of soil/amount of rock
- Some blocks will need more extensive site works and earthmoving
- The position of services
- Stormwater controls
- Site access for construction materials
If you’re undertaking a Knockdown Rebuild (KDR), you’ll need to factor in demolition costs. If you choose this route, Hall & Hart can recommend affordable and reliable demolition experts.
Of course, it also depends on the size of the house you’re planning to build. Construction costs are often measured in the cost per square metre. Cost will be dependent on your site conditions, materials used in your build, demolition and internal fixtures and fittings. Generally, on a standard level block the average cost/sqm can start from $2,500 for a custom-built home.
Your chosen path to building will also impact costs. The traditional method of engaging with an architect to design the house, then finding a builder to try and execute it, can end up coming with an exorbitant price tag.
At Hall & Hart, we provide clients with a holistic architectural experience, which allows you to tweak the design to your family’s lifestyle without the significant costs that come with a custom build from scratch.
Hall & Hart unique design process allows you to work alongside our internal design team and architects, to produce your dream home. Bring your own ideas or be inspired by talented experts who are highly trained in bringing visions to life.
0350-Hills District, Sydney
What are the essential things to consider when building a custom home?
The major pain point for home builders is staying within budget. Custom builds are so famous for running over budget, conventional wisdom holds that you should allow at least 20% for excess, unplanned expenditure and variables that have not been considered before construction has commenced.
The Hall & Hart Process has been created by us to circumvent this problem. Our pay as you go model means you’re not locked into anything until:
- AFTER you have signed off on your internal and external selections
- AFTER your plans have been approved by the authority (Council or CDC) and
- AFTER we issue your Home Owners Warranty and Construction Certificate. It is then we require a 5% Contract Signing Fee.
The Hall & Hart Process ensures there won’t be any nasty surprises or blowouts down the track, as can happen all too often with custom builds. One of the main differences is that as Hall & Hart is a larger scale custom home builder. As a result, we have completed more custom homes than the average custom home builder. This gives us greater insight into issues that can arise and building services for our clients so we prepare for them upfront that rather than try to deal with them when they occur.
Working directly with an architect and then sourcing the right custom home builder can be an extremely long and trying process. Time frames can vary greatly due to a number of factors including approval process (Council or CDC), site conditions & client decisions.
For initial budgeting, we recommend allowing the home to be vacant for 12 months. Our build times are around 12 months however factoring in demolition, a pool, finding a suitable property to live in or vacating a tenant as well as moving back in can all take time.
Constraints of your land.
Part of the luxury of building your own home is choosing the perfect location! If you’re already in the ideal location but now need the perfect home, a Knockdown Rebuild could be the way to go. It’s then essential that your design and floor plans are tailored to your block of land.
It's also worth considering if a single storey residence or a double storey residence is best. Occassionally sloping blocks may lead to a split level home design to take advantage of the natural contours of your block. Double storey homes are very popular to maximise most blocks and most Hall and Hart homes these days are double storey.
We’ve heard horror stories of miscommunication between architects and builders leading to major (and expensive) hurdles once construction has started. You need to ensure that the design will fit the space and comply with council regulations.
Quality of materials.
A quality home is constructed of quality materials. When choosing a builder, it’s important to check what inclusions they offer. You may find that you’re significantly out of pocket down the track if you must ‘scale up’ to get the materials you want.
Hall & Hart are dedicated to building a you home. That means we offer a diverse range of luxury inclusions that are far superior in quality, style and sophistication, without any hidden costs. To achieve your perfect aesthetic, you’ll consult with interior designers and choose premium products at our Design Studio.
Choosing the right home builder.
Do your research! You need a reputable home builder with the right experience, capability and reputation to bring your glorious vision to life. Hall & Hart is one of the most respected custom builders and knockdown rebuild specialists in Sydney, as shown by our 5-star rating on the trusted aggregate review site productreview.com.au.
What’s the difference between designing a custom home with an architect and finding a builder OR a Design & Build with Hall and Hart?
Choosing to Design & Build with Hall and Hart
- Hall and Hart will inspect your block of land and our Architectural design team consults with you to create a unique design that maximises every part of your block.
- The Hall & Hart Process means you know exactly what you are going to pay and you wont have any unexpected costs that you hadn't budgeted for.
- Improved and stress free experience. You will be surprised to find that engaging Hall and Hart gives you a complete architectural experience and cuts out all of the middle men.
- Hall and Hart provide a holistic view to your build and there is no need to source three separate companies; an architect, interior designer and then builder to complete your project.
Choosing an architect
- You will need to find the right architect to design your home then find the right builder to build it. It's a two step process which can add more time to an already lengthy process.
- Communication between architect and builder. You may find your architect has designed your dream home however you cannot find a builder who can build it or it may end up higher than your anticipated budget.
There must be clear, open lines of communication between your architect and builder to ensure the design will fit your block and budget. You will find there are builders who have built a trusted and solid relationship with an architect and they both work together in bringing your vision to life. Doing your research to find this winning combination will result in your build being within budget and on time. Hall and Hart has in-house Architectural designers and offer these building services to all of our clients. Our in-house Architectural designers work hand-in-hand with our construction department to avoid any future issues.
What are the important stages when building a custom home?
Building can feel like a huge undertaking, which is why it is easier to break it down. Here are the 10 key phases you’ll move through:
- Decide on your location
- Envision your dream home and research the aesthetic and materials you’d like
- Confirm your desired budget
- Find an architect & builder, or a custom builder
- Meet with the design team to begin the custom design process
- Communicate any changes to your architect/designer
- Finalise your plans
- Work with your builder through pre-construction and council approvals, selection of inclusions and finishes
- Construction phase
- Move into your dream home!
Does it take longer to build a custom home compared to a project home?
If you take the traditional path of finding an architect, designing your house and then finding a home builder then yes, it can take much longer than building a project home. There’s often a lot of back and forth with an architect that can push the timeline out. You may find that a custom builder who works directly with an architect will work within the builders timelines, moving you through the process alot quicker.
How does a custom-built home differ from a project home?
A conventional project home is based on a pre-designed plan with limited customisation. These are often referred to as cookie-cutter homes as many homes are exactly the same as each other.
A custom home is designed by you in conjunction with a design team and is personalised to your tastes. This results in a beautiful home that can be enjoyed by generations to come.
Some project home builders will offer you the world in design flexibility and customisation however you need to decide what design flexibility means to you. You can move a wall or add a bedroom to any standard plan but can you flip the design, move the stairs and increase the height of the windows?
Hall & Hart pride themselves on the fact that no two homes that we have built are alike.
0287 Castle Cove, Sydney
What is the design process for a custom-built home?
- Decide what custom means to you. Would you prefer to make some small changes to a house design you have fallen in love with, or perhaps you love a particular design but you have a complex block and there are some major design changes you would like to make, or you want the freedom to create your own?
- Get to know your team. You are going to be in this relationship for a long time so you need to decide early if you have found the right team for your project
- Open, transparent communication - you need to let your builder/designer know what's important to you in your home and decide if they can deliver this
- Let the designing begin! There will be an initial phase where you discuss what you want and your team will present you with your first set of plans. It's important to find out how many rounds of revisions you have to get your design just how you want it.
- Once your plans are finalised they will be submitted to the relevant authority for approval. This approval process can take a few weeks or months with some councils, however some custom builders can offer you pre-lodgement approval which will move you through this process quicker
The process of designing your dream home with an experienced custom builder like Hall & Hart can be a delight. We pride ourselves on our open communication at every stage of the process. You’ll work with a skilled design team across every stage of the process. We know how local councils work, what it takes to move the project quickly, and we use the best trades in the business.
What if I have a ‘difficult’ block of land?
Certain blocks can be more difficult for building, that’s for sure. Your dream location may not be the easiest! Here are some of our solutions when faced with client's blocks who weren't so straight forward.
- A sloping block will require the design to be customised and allow for block fall
- A corner block offers you double the street frontage with greater design flexibility
- A narrow block shouldn't mean you have to compromise on space
- A coastal location means you will need to build with marine grade materials and take careful consideration to views, flood levels, scenic protection rules and aspect
What does it mean to build a custom home with Hall & Hart?
A unique custom design process which will deliver you an architectural experience.
Design your forever home together with architect and custom builder. Take full advantage of this rare industry relationship combining, Architects that understand how to design homes in line with your builder's approach. You can also personally walk through our display homes that have been designed by the same architects. Our holistic architectural approach means we can build a home around you without the astronomical costs that come with a custom build from scratch
Save time. We can move you through the custom build process quickly with personalised processes based on the experience of our team and learnings from previous jobs, resulting in fewer decisions that you will need to make.
Save money. Our process means you will know exactly what you are paying for before you sign your contract
We will get to know your block so we can create a design that releases the full potential of your land. Our knowledge of council requirements and the laws of construction in difficult areas means we know how to navigate through any hurdles which may hold you back
Quality of inclusions- no need to scale up unless you really want to. We can leverage our close industry relationships with high end luxury suppliers to deliver you products from that suited to a truly custom home
100% satisfaction that you made the right decision. Hear from our clients, they will tell you why they chose to build with us. We choose to build a 100 homes a year because we like to work with like minded families who appreciate open communication, great designs and good, honest building
You will have a dedicated custom build team. Meet our directors, town planners, architects, interior designers
It means we will build your forever home
Do I own my plans?
Typically it costs us between $80-$120K to progress a job to site depending on level of customisation and complexity of the site and construction project. This includes all compliance, architectural & interior design, planning & approvals, drafting services and full construction drawings, estimating, quoting and procurement. Generally a release of our plans can be provided with a reimbursement of our costs + margin depending on how far through the process you proceeded, with a deduction of any fees that have already been paid.
Can Hall & Hart build my plans?
For a fee Hall & Hart will review your project and provide a detailed proposal of costs to get your job to site, as well as an indicative estimate for the cost of construction. Please note we are limited to our suppliers, and any materials or interior design will need to be revised to our standards or selections.
Find out what it means to design and construct with Hall & Hart.
Let us take you on a journey of discovery behind the scenes of our people, our products and peel back the walls to unveil the fundamental components of what it means to build with Hall & Hart. It’s often the things you don’t see that you will feel the most in your brand-new home.
Welcome to Hall & Hart, where your peace of mind is our priority. Our mission is to provide you with an exceptional homebuilding experience that is tailored to your needs. Here's why you can trust us to bring your vision to life.