What Is A Project Home Builder?

If you are new to thinking about having a new house built you may have  heard the term ‘Project Home Builder’ and wondered what it means.

Project Home Builders base their business on building large numbers of houses using a limited range of designs.

By cutting down on the proportion of individual design input on each house, and the ability to negotiate bulk discounts, they can build houses at a significantly lower cost than would be otherwise possible.

Because of the cost they are a very popular way of having a house in Australia. I have even heard self builders say they couldn’t build a house as cheaply as a ‘Project Builder’.


Although Project builders work on a limited number of designs there is still a fair amount of Customisation possible.

Externally customisation options include:

  • Different facades (Most builders offer at least 2 facades styles for each design)
  • Choice of bricks or render
  • Choice of different Roof Tiles or Metal Roof
  • Handing (Building a mirror image)
  • Changing window sizes

Internally it is normally possible to make some modifications to floor plans such as enclosing rooms, adding doors and making some rooms bigger by making others smaller. Some Project Builders are more accommodating than others when it comes to making internal changes.


As each builders offer you a limited set of home plans you may get good reports about a builder.. . .  but if you don’t like their range of plans…you’ll need to go elsewhere.

Project Home Builder’s designs are mainly suitable for flat, rectangular blocks. If your block slopes, or is an awkward shape the costs can quickly escalate. For really awkward sites many Project Home Builders may even refuse to build.

Finding a Project Builder

project builders

Just visit one or more local ‘Display Villages’ and you will find several project builders. Just understand when you go around the houses that each ‘Display House’ has lots of expensive extras not included the standard priced house.

For more advice see the ‘anewhouse Guide to Choosing a House’

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Control of costs is really important if you don’t want to run over budget on your new home.

One of the key areas in controlling costs is understanding the specification of the house.

One of the traps that many people fall into is paying a deposit based  on an initial specification, They are then hit with major costs down the track to upgrade to the standard they want.

There are really 3 stages to the Specification of a New House.

Basic Stage

This covers the building of the main structure of the house and includes:

  • Floor Plans
  • External Elevations (what the house will look like)
  • Foundations
  • Construction (eg Brick Veneer , Double Brick. timber clad, etc)
  • Windows
  • Basic Insulation


Detailed Design Stage

This is when the things like fittings are detailed such as:

  • Kitchen cupboards and counters
  • Cooktops and Ovens
  • Bathroom Fittings
  • Tiles
  • Electrical Fit out

Watch out for the builder including Prime Cost Allowances

There are extensive checklists in the Guide to Selection that will help you through this stage.


These are the finihing touches which may be included by the builder, but are usually done by the homeowner after the move. These typically include:

  • Driveways
  • Paths
  • Gardens
  • Pergolas
  • Pools
  • Outdoor Kitchens

If these are the things that you want included in your new house you need to be aware of the likely cost and make sure that you have enough left in your budget.


See Budget for similar posts


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Stealth House ?

The Black Desert House
It’s actually known as the  ‘Black Desert House’, built in the desert near the Joshua Tree National Park in California.
The house is built around a central courtyard, which is set to a backdrop of black walls, midnight quartz, high-gloss anthracite and darkened steel.
For more photos see enpundit.com

For more Unusual House Photos, and Fails, have a look at: What the………………….?


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Roof Slope

steep roofThis house has one of the steepest roofs that I have seen around Melbourne.

I certainly think doing any work would be a bit scary, and very expensive.

So what are the considerations when thinking about Roof Slope (or Roof Pitch)

Roofing Material

In general a tile roof needs more of a slope than a metal  roof.

Depending on the type of tile, and the length of the roof. the minimum slopes for tiles ranges from 15 degrees to 30 degrees.

In the case of a metal roof the slopes can be much less. Again it depends on the type of metal profile with corrugated steel having a minimum slope of 5 degrees. Other profiles can be even flatter.


Roof Pitch appearanceI think that the roof has to be in proportion to the rest of the house.

If you look at the sketches on the right you will get an idea of how a different slope can look.

In my opinion:

  • The most appropriate roof for a single storey house will be no more than 20 degrees.
  • A 30 degree slope looks too much on a single storey house, but looks OK on a 2 storey house.

Solar Efficiency

Basically the angle should be within the range of:

Angle of Latitude  to Angle of Latitude – 15 degrees

see Solar Panel Alignment

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Will a Big House Make You Happy?

Inspired by a post on www.mrmoneymustache.com

Why do you, or your spouse, want a big house?
overdevelopment 2
What are you trying to buy? . . . . . . Well most people think they are buying happiness.

  • Does you family really need that much room?
  • How may huge parties and family gathering are you going to have?
  • How long are you going to be able to bask in the ‘admiration’ of your friends?

When buying a bigger house than you really need you are just trying to buy feelings.

So how will you feel if you are:

  • Paying so much in mortgage you can’t afford a holiday?
  • Not having enough money to buy furniture for all those rooms?
  • Have to delay retirement because you are still paying for your house?
  • Hardly seeing the children because they have shut themselves away in those huge bedrooms?
  • Looking at rooms that are hardly used from one year to the next?
  • Worrying about how you will manage if the interest rate goes up?

Perhaps the house may become a constant drain on your happiness . . . . That’s always the risk when you buy what you would like, rather than what you need.


For more posts about planning a new home see Design


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Home Sweet Dome

Every so often some enthusiast decides to build a dome.

This one is in Kewdale West Australia.

Its an interesting idea but you would get some odd shaped rooms, and how to you install wall cupboards?

If you really fancy this type of house contact Welsh Real Estate it may still be for sale!


For more Unusual House Photos, and Fails, have a look at: What the………………….?


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New House Guarantees and Warranties

GUARANTEEI’m always a bit suspicious of guarantees and warranties!

In my opinion most Guarantees are really just a piece of paper that explains how the Guarantor will fulfill their legal liabilities. (In some cases they explain a process which is less than fulfilling their liabilities)

Bearing in mind I’m not a lawyer this is how I see the situation with regard to new house ‘Guarantees’ and ‘Warranties’

Standard of Build

Under the ‘Standard Domestic Building Contracts’ the builder is required to build a house that is ‘suitable for purpose’.

That is it complies with the building codes and regulations and will not suffer structural damage or have any other major defect.

If you suffer a problem you can go back to the builder under the contract. In effect you have an Implied Guarantee.

If the defect was as a result of his construction or the materials they supplied, the builder is liable to remedy as long as the time since the contract was completed is ‘Reasonable’.

What is Reasonable?

Well it will depend on the State laws but in Victoria Section 134 of the Building Act 1993 places a limit of 10 years on the builders liability.

Previously builders were being chased for problems arising 20 or 30 years later, which was considered unreasonable. (If you want to see how unreasonable some homeowners can be see this link: Unreasonable Behaviour)

Builders Warranty Insurance

One source of confusion is that the Builder Warranty Insurance for new houses only lasts for the following periods post completion (or contract termination):

  • 6 years for structural defects
  • 2 years for non-structural defects.

This warranty insurance can only be claimed by the home owners, if the builders can’t meet their liabilities through death, disappearance, or been declared insolvent. . . . If the builder is still trading its up to the builder to provide the remedy Not the Insurer.

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Placing Fill

Of so you want to place some fill. . . .perhaps behind a retaining wall to level a garden . . . So what do you need to understand?

Here are some things to consider.

Final Volume - Loose Volume

Most people underestimate the volume of material they need because they measure the volume they have to fill, and then quote that volume in the order.

The problem is that the material for delivery is measured by the loader bucket, or the truck load, which is when the material is loose.

Typically the loose volume will compact down by around 10% so if you are filling a large volume to advise the supplier you may need more than the measured volume and you will advise them you may need to add to your order as the job proceeds.

 Consolidation and/or Compaction

There are two ways of getting to the final volume:

  • Consolidation This is letting the material compact under its own weight. This can work quite well for sand, especially if it is ‘washed in’. For other materials it takes much too long (0ften many years) which means you will be forever topping up and re-levelling the top surface.
  • Compaction This is making extra effort to pack the fill down. Considerations in compaction are:vibrating plate compactor
    • Compact in layers the thinner the layer the better the compaction. (Layers should be no more than 150mm)
    • Even compaction will give better result (Covering the whole area several times with a vibrating plate or roller will give a much better result  than running a bob cat up and down a few times on each layer)

For DIY jobs you can hire a vibrating compactor for around $60/day.

If you are engaging a contractor to do the fill ask people giving you a price how they intend to compact the fill. (The cheapest price will be to place the whole lot, level, and run the machine over it. . . .a recipe for an area that will remain soft and continually sink)

If you are planning to build on the filled area you really need to have ‘Controlled Fill‘ professionally placed and tested.



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