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Builders are Sick of Being the Bad Guys

I work closely with many builders, most of whom say they’ve had another challenging and draining year. The most stressful part identified across the board is breaking the devastating news to homeowners that their new home build or major reno will likely cost hundreds of thousands more than anticipated. It’s a shocking position to be in.

Budgeting for a custom home build or major reno has always been tricky because so many variables are at play. Including but not limited to;

  • Fall of the land and soil conditions
  • The complexity of the design
  • Level of specification, and
  • Structural stability of the existing condition

In years gone by, industry professionals could rely on their experience and previous project pricing to align the design with the budget as much as practically possible. Of course, given the individual nature of custom homes and renovations, it’s impossible to guarantee a project’s price, but we could generally get it within cooee. And if it did happen to come in over budget (which it nearly always did), the gap could be bridged with well-considered specification changes to get the project off the ground.


But fast forward to 2022, and it’s a different picture. The distance between the client’s anticipated budget and actual pricing is likely more similar to a gaping chasm than a bridgable gap. Any gap between the budget and project pricing will have increased exponentially due to the steep rise in construction costs and the time that has passed since the project’s design commenced.


Unfortunately, no specification change can bring a project back to acceptability when the gap becomes a chasm. The owners’ course of action at this point is much direr and resembles either;

  • Abandoning the project
  • Going back to the drawings board to reduce and modify the design proposal significantly
  • Increasing the mortgage by hundreds of thousands more than anticipated to keep the project on track. (And only if the bank will lend it)

It’s a terrible situation all-round for the homeowner, designer and builder. But at this point, we can only manage what IS.

But what IF;

  • The homeowners‘ had project kicked off their project supported with Home Build Mentoring. Together we developed your brief aligned with your budget and then forecasted the increase rate for the project’s likely commencement.
  • The designer had parameters for size and budget that aligned with their professional experience. The provided rock-solid brief meant the designer could knowingly develop the design closely aligned with the homeowners’ intentions.
  • The builder/s priced the project, and we discovered the project pricing is within cooee of the anticipated budget. With some well-considered specification changes, that price can be brought into acceptable realms. And the builder is most grateful for not having to be the bad guy but instead has a fantastic project to build.

Boom! It can and does happen with proper planning.