How does the Custom Build experience in Australia and the USA differ from the UK?
Allan was invited as a guest on the Custom Build Homes podcast to discuss how COVID-19 has affected the Custom Build housing sector and identify the opportunities to improve people’s homes following the crisis.
Tom Connor, Hester McQueen (Custom Build Homes), Jason Orme (Homebuilding & Renovating) and Allan discussed many interesting topics that will help self-builders to build houses that support their lifestyles. We picked several interesting questions and presented them on our blog.
The following questions will be answered in upcoming blogs, published in the next few days:
- How to encourage self-builders to build the best homes for themselves?
- What are the benefits to a family of working with an architect when designing their home?
- How does the Custom Build experience in Australia and the USA differ from the UK?
- How important is thermal performance for self-builders?
You can watch the video and read the transcript below.
HOW DOES THE CUSTOM BUILD EXPERIENCE IN AUSTRALIA AND THE USA DIFFER FROM THE UK?
Jason: ‘Think what you’ll get is a market develops its competition, and I think ultimately it’s a competition that will ultimately result in what people want. Choice and competition kind of go in equal measure really in many ways. If you’re on a new house in this area, you’ve got to go and buy something off that estate down the road. Once you are free of the land supply and you get big companies selling off serviced plots, then I’m all for all the builders that we know and love. The names that you see time and time again at the Homebuilding and Renovating shows. They should all be competing with each other to build houses on their sites.
Early February, I was out in Australia, Western Australia looking at the housing model out there. And it’s just like that you literally go on to a place that looks in many senses like an unbuilt housing estate, but the plots are bigger and a bit nicer. You go to the main sales centre and near the sales centre, there’s a road and it’s just full of individual builders who build show homes. You can go in. You can meet the designers. They can tell you how much it’s gonna cost you. You can pick your plot and they’re gonna build one for you. It still takes 12 months to do, but you’ve got a choice, you’ve got control of it. It’s just absolutely ordinary out there. The more you think about it, the more you realise how bizarre is that we don’t follow that model.‘
Tom: ‘It’s been very similar in the United States. I lived out in New England for quite a while and we worked on sites where, just like you said, that instead of a show home, there was essentially a design centre where there were multiple contractors that were design and build companies. There were some architects that would only do design and then contractors would cost it and build it.
But, you know, essentially, you’re driving around a housing development with some houses that are either being created, have been created. The ones that have been created, the boundary treatments finished. So it’s a finished product. Then the overall developer has a requirement, maybe take on landscaping, until someone buys that plot. They strip it back and they start building again.
What you get at the end of it may take two or three years, but so will volume house build a site here. You’re only going to get so many people buying in one place at one time. What you get is rather than a hundred homes of four different house types, you get one hundred homes of individually designed housing. Some level of cohesion, as you would expect in materials, scale, etc. But all working for people and I think the effects of Coronavirus in places like Massachusetts, South Carolina, Perth, Sydney, Queensland, you know, it won’t be felt in the family, in the household like it’s being felt here. Probably because they’re quite willing to spend more time in the house. When I lived over there, you didn’t need to go and entertain yourself out with your house because actually, you designed leisure time into that property.‘