Thinking of building a home or renovating and not sure what construction method to choose?
Wondering which construction method is the cheapest?
The number one question we get asked here at Distinct Renovations is:
How much will I save if I build timber frame vs double brick construction?
The answer to everyone’s question is: it depends on what you are building.
If you are building a brand-new home on a very level block with no features and basic specification it may be best to go through a volume builder. They will more than likely come in cheaper given their buying power.
If you are building a home on a sloped block, timber frame construction will be the better option as you can build a timber joist floor and build it on the slope with little site works involved. Take a drive out to the Perth hills and you will see what I mean. We also recently completed a timber frame granny flat extension using this method of timber joist floor to a home in Greenwood which had a front sloping block.
When you are considering an out of the ordinary home with several features such as skillion roofs with high light windows, built in cabinetry, bench seats and/or a detailed front façade, then timber frame construction will be cheaper. This is due to timber being a much more flexible construction material to build with which also makes the build run a lot quicker too.
Bricks are much harder to work with than timber they take up a lot more space which prevents the ability to design intricate homes and extensions. Bricks are a heavy-duty material to build with hence their preference over timber, in some cases. However, timber, being a light weight form of construction, you can work with just about any design desired. A recent job we completed in North Fremantle clearly reflects the ability to work with such complex design details. See pictures below.
If you are after a well-designed home that caters for solar passive design, pretty facades and feature packed specs, Distinct Renovations should beat volume builders on price all day, every day so long as you compare apples with apples.
Furthermore, when discussing a home extension timber will in most cases be cheaper due to the ease and speed of building on, and/or, up, but again it will depend on the design.
In the eastern states of Australia timber frame construction will in 99% of cases be cheaper than double brick due to the cost of materials and labour over east. However over west thanks to Midland Bricks 1970’s marketing campaign around termites and the durability of brick, Western Australians have fallen in love with bricks! Especially around the sandy Perth Metro areas. This in turn has reduced the cost of materials and labour based on supply and demand metrics.
Furthermore, bricks, in Western Australia are even cheaper given the current economic slump we have had here in Perth, which has also led to a drop-in labour cost. Given the above, the volume builders can keep their costs down and build you a low cost, low spec and simple double brick, Perth style home on the cheap when compared with like for like homes in timber frame construction.
Further to this carpentry in Perth can be quite expensive as there is a lower demand compared with the eastern states. There are less carpenters in Perth that can build you a quality full timber frame home as most carpenters in Perth are either roof carpenters or fix out carpenters. Making it ever more important to choose your tradies right when dealing with timber frame construction.
Considering all the above points and to answer the age-old question of which method of construction is cheaper in Western Australia it is safe to say that in most cases timber frame construction will be cheaper if the build involves more complex design details and specifications. However one thing you can be sure of is that the timing of the build will be significantly quicker, given the flexibility of timber when building timber frame construction.
But don’t take my word for it, if you have plans and or you are thinking of designing your home extension or new custom-built home contact us now and ask us how we can help you.
We know how to make your home stand out from the crowd, check out our recent works, we don’t like to follow what the volume builders do, we make sure your individuality and style is reflected in all our work. So that you get to live in your dream new home or renovation as soon as possible.
Are you in the initial stages of building and trying to figure out who you will build with?
Perfect, you are reading the right blog, we are here to help make the decision a little easier.
The number one question asked when people start to look for a builder is always around whether you should build with the big guys or build with the smaller builders.
Building a home or renovating and extending is a big decision and involves a significant amount of money, therefore you want to make sure that you build your project with the builder that is right for you.
At Distinct Renovations we define what it is to be a true small builder here in Perth, Western Australia. We have written this post to explain to you the benefits you will achieve if building with a smaller building company.
Read on to get an insight into the top benefits.
These are in no particular order as each person will value the attributes differently depending on their needs and wants from a builder.
Small builders have a more personal touch
When you deal with a small builder you will generally only communicate with one or two people the whole way through the build. This is a much better approach than dealing with a sales rep, several administrators, a pre-start consultant, 1 or 2 site supervisors and if you’re lucky the actual builder.
This set up causes a lot of mis communications along the way, not one staff member genuinely has your interests at heart. As they each have their own motivations to get to the next stage of the building procedure and pass the job on. The only guy that seems to have your best interest is the sales rep, when in actual fact he is just chasing his final commission he receives once you build your home.
At Distinct Renovations you deal with Dean the builder and his wife Jane, me! We truly reflect what it means to be a small builder. At any stage of the project you can talk with either of us and we can help to answer any of your questions worries or concerns.
Dealing with a small builder enables that personal touch that you will find hard to get at a bigger building company. Due to their sheer size, that personal touch is lost in the hierarchy of the company structure.
Small builders build a custom home
Most large builders will have home designs that they prefer you to build and do not step out of this norm. This allows them to keep their costs down and benefits them from a process point of view. A small builder will work with you to build your custom home designed the way you want it. Or you may approach a small builder to build something you already have build plans for.
As mentioned above, you are spending a lot of money on this project so it is important that you build what you want, and not a cookie cutter floor plan and elevation design that is in the best interest of the bigger builder.
With a smaller builder you rarely get any cost surprises later with variations to the contract, as you design what you want from the beginning. So, the price is what it is, from the start, with a smaller builder.
Also, worth noting, not only do you not get to choose your floor plan and design but furthermore when you do get a choice of selections for fixtures and fittings the range is small and in some cases no choice is allowed for. For example you may only have one toilet option or two door handle options. Leaving no room for personal touch. The volume builders work with a very select number of suppliers which they screw down on price and leave you the customer with minimal options to personalise your home.
Timing with Distinct Renovations is always quicker than a volume builder
I cannot speak for other smaller custom builders but here at Distinct Renovations, we will always beat a bigger build on timing. As our key point of difference over most builders here in Perth is that we remain small for a reason. We want to ensure we get your job done exactly how you want it, with rock solid attention to detail. But also, in the timeliest of ways to ensure you can move in, or back in, in the case of a renovation or extension.
Distinct Renovations recently completed two, 3-bedroom, two-bathroom custom timber frame homes in Craigie. Each one was built from slab down to practical completion in under 12 weeks!
The way in which we do this is that we only have a very select number of jobs on at a time to ensure we hold true to our name, and value, of being a true small builder.
Your job is always our priority and you will never get pushed to the back of the que.
Attention to detail can be better with Small builders
isIn most cases you will find that the attention to detail and quality of a build tends to be better with small builders. This of course is not always the case, however from my experience seeing the work of volume builder vs the quality we produce, and most other small builders produce, I am comfortable to support this argument.
The reason behind this in most cases, is, that the tradies on site at the volume builder’s jobs are getting hammered down on price by the sheer volume of work that the bigger builders provide them with, which therefore puts this tradie under pressure to work quicker and pay less attention to the quality and more attention to getting the job done quickly. The tradies get a rate per lineal meter or per square meter or per install, which in most cases is below fair market price and therefore they need to work quicker to get what is considered a decent rate per hour for them to operate as a sub-contractor. I know this from firsthand experience as we have done sub-contracting work in the past for volume builders. The pressure they put you under is immense and not worth the pay they provide.
All our sub-contractors get paid well and therefor respect us a builder and do a good job. We select which trades we work with and don’t rate our trades on price, but on quality of work.
Price Price Price who is the cheapest?
When it comes to comparing a big builder with a small builder on price it is an ongoing debate, that will never end!
If you want a bulk standard, low specification-built house on a standard sized flat block with no features, no painting and no flooring- a volume builder will win in most cases.
But when you compare apples with apples and get a nice design that both include the same fixtures and fittings the cost to build will be very similar. The reason for this is the bigger builders get much cheaper costs on a select range of materials and tradies they use repeatedly. On the other hand the small builders win on overheads, as they operate out of small offices or even a home office and have a select number of staff to pay.
Bigger builders have bigger costs to pay for bigger fancy offices and plenty of staff to fit out those offices.
So, let them tell you as you walk through their petty display homes that they will beat us smaller guys on price, but rest assure when you compare apples with apples you will get a similar price.
I think it is clear who I favour, from a biased point of view of course!
I do however, hope this has given you insight as to some of the reasons why you should consider a small builder for your next project.
Don't let the bigger builders scare you into thinking the smaller guys will go under mid-way through your job. If you are concerned about this risk just ask to see the company’s financial statements! That will clear it up very quickly.
If you like the idea of building your next project through a small builder that really has your best interest at heart contact us now and find out how we can get the ball rolling on your build.
Timber Frame Construction and Solar Passive Design
Do you want to build your home in under 14 weeks?
This home in Craigie was a custom built, rear subdivided home built in 12 weeks!
The rear house was built using solar passive design principles and timber frame construction to ensure we respected the environment and enabled our clients to save costs both now and in to the future.
The cost savings came from the timing it took to build the home, materials and labour expense, and further more our clients will have long lasting savings due to the energy efficiency of the home, a timber frame home uses less energy to heat and cool when compared to standard double brick homes built here in Perth, Western Australia.
We were able to build this home in 12 weeks from slab down to practical completion. Distinct Renovations are able to keep build times to a minimum due to the work load we take on and further more timber framed homes can be built much quicker than standard double brick homes.
The home itself is a 3 bedroom and two bathroom home with a 2 car garage and is situated on a 308 m2 block to the rear of the original home.
The real highlight of this home is the open plan living space which includes a 4.2 meter high ceiling raking upward towards highlight windows.
Natural light is captured from all angles in this space which brightens up the room to make a some what small open plan living area into a welcoming place.
For such a small floor plan this home really does encompass a lot in terms of features.
The entry way is great for families with a custom built bench seat with underneath storage, a double car garage with laundry/kitchen access making bringing the shopping in a breeze.
The garage and entry are situated to one side of the house while the bedrooms and bathrooms off to the other, the open plan living space separates the two.
Leaving the kitchen, living space to the right you walk into a small hallway which leads to a comfortable sized linen press/study nook area on the right and a bathroom to the left. At the end of the hallway is an activity room or extra living space. Off each side of the activity room is a bed room. This area creates a great kids zone separated from the main living area.
The master bedroom has an entrance off the study nook with mirrored built in robes allowing for plenty of storage space and a great place to get ready. Off to the left of the master is an ensuite consisting of double vanities, toilet and shower.
The house was built with great functionality in mind but also budget which gives the home owners comfort, ease of living and affordable energy bills, for a lower cost than most builds of a similar look and feel.
Distinct Renovations love constructing timber frame homes as it not only benefits the environment further more it benefits our clients pocket long term and allows for flexibility in design and quick build times.
If you want to know more contact us now and find out how we can help you build your dream timber frame home.
Sustainable and energy efficient
Continuing on from my last blog this is part two of the benefits of building with timber frame construction. The next benefit discussed will be very important going forward with the impacts of environment and cost of energy being a hot topic of most political agendas of late furthermore this issue is not going away. Homes need to become more energy efficient and cost affect to heat and cool. Therefore old ways of building homes in Perth are becoming less popular and light weight construction with low embodied energy is and will be better for the environment going forward.
Timber is the closest to nature of all building materials, there is very little work needed to get timber from its natural state as a tree to timber for ready use in construction. Therefore, it has one of the lowest embodied energies of all building materials. Especially when compared with brick and concrete. Manufacturing bricks or making concrete takes a lot more energy to covert from its natural state to an end product. Therefore emitting more pollution into our environment than the manufacturing process of timber.
Timber is great for sustainability as it stores carbon in its built and natural form, this carbon would otherwise be released into the environment as greenhouse gases. Further to this most countries that mill timber have codes to follow to ensure they are planting as much as they are cutting down and in some cases, more, therefore creating a better environment for us all to live in. Also, most timber is sold close to where it is milled therefore helping the local economies too.
Timber frame construction allows for a lot more space to place insulation than a double brick home which makes it easier to insulate, if you wish to put in the same insulation bats as a timber frame home you will sacrifice more floor space when building double brick. Also, timber itself can regulate temperatures quite quickly to ensure you use less energy on heating and cooling your home. I can vouch for this myself as I have lived in both timber frame and double brick homes, timber frames home really do heat up and cool down quite quickly, reliving the occupant from hot summer days or cool winter nights.
A double brick home has more thermal mass than a timber frame home, thermal mass is the ability to hold on to the elements i.e hot or cold temperatures. Which is great if you live in a cool climate as it retains heat from the sunshine for much longer, but do you really want to retain the heat longer into the night on a 40-degree day in Perth? Or would you prefer to cool the place down quickly and therefore more energy efficiently in a timber frame home?
Timber is overall the better choice for the environment and by deciding to build with this type of construction you are helping the environment around you, as well as your hip pocket.
If you want to know more about how timber frame could benefit you when building your home or next renovation or extension contact us at Distinct Renovations to find out how.
This is part one of a series of blogs explaining the benefits of building your new home or home extension using timber frame construction.
In the Perth Metro area of Western Australia, it is public knowledge that most people prefer to build their homes using double brick construction. I have written a blog comparing the two types of constructions here.
There are benefits to building with double brick and I don’t discount those benefits, however due to the negativity around building timber frame in Perth I am writing this series of blogs to enlighten people on each of the aspects of timber frame construction which I believe will benefit the owner who chooses to build with this type of construction.
The benefit discussed in this blog is based around the timing of building timber frame homes this benefit can further lead to overall build cost reductions.
Timber framed homes and extensions can be built much quicker than a double brick home. Complete house frames can be manufactured off site as pre-fabricated walls and roof truss and erected in a day or two on site. This alone saves significantly on labour time, as the trusses and wall frames can be made up off site while the building approval is going through council. This leads to a reduced cost of labour which can in some cases reduce the overall cost of the build.
When the stud wall is built on site by carpenters it is still much quicker than double brick as trades are not laying single bricks, brick by brick, and therefore no matter whether using pre-fabricated frames or building on site walls and roofs, timber frame construction is significantly quicker to build than double brick.
Brick internal walls must be plastered and white set and left for at least 2-3 weeks as a minimum before painting. In some cases, builders will advise on waiting months before painting the internal plastered walls due to potential cracks. Time is reduced significantly when constructing your home using timber frame as the internal walls are lined with Gyprock (plaster board) which is then flushed and painted within days.
Once the slab is poured on a double brick home you must wait close to one month before you can start laying bricks as the slab needs to cure, this is due to the sheer weight of all the bricks. Timber framing is a light weight construction method and therefore you can build on the slab the very next day if you wish. Which again results in time savings.
All the above time savings reduce the holding costs while you build. If you are building an investment property you can reduce the holding costs by on average $10,000+. In the case of a rental it means tenants in the property much quicker or with a on sell development, settlement on each property much quicker. That alone is enough to persuade most developers to build using timber frame construction.
Distinct Renovations have recently completed a custom 3x2 timber frame home in Craigie which was built in 12 weeks as part of a build and retain subdivision and the owner’s tenants moved in right after the painter took his last brush stroke!
If you are not wishing to build an investment property -even better! As you can move into your new home or renovation much quicker than the standard 6-12 months build time of most builders here in Perth. Distinct Renovations recently completed an extension in Mount Hawthorn and the owners were back living in their home within 2 months of demo day!
If you want to build a brand new custom home but don't want to wait years to move in or want a home extension but don’t like the idea of renting for 6 months before moving back in to your home, contact Distinct Renovations now to find out how we can help.