“How much per square are your homes?” is a question we get asked often. Inevitably the questioner is making price comparisons with project homes. Such comparisons, however, fail the ‘comparing apples with oranges’ test.
Understanding the Differences
To understand our individual design and build service, it is important to know the difference between what we do and what most home builders do.
Most builders, of a sufficient scale to display model homes, are ‘volume’ or ‘project’ builders. They display homes that you can order, unchanged, for construction on your land or, often, as a house and land package on an estate marketed by that builder.
We serve a different market. We are not volume builders or marketers of project homes. Every home we design and build is individually designed for an individual client—and for a specific site. Our two present display homes illustrate this point. Each is designed to make the very best of the opportunities inherent in the land. At 157 Bulleen Road the contours of the sloping site provide for a double garage and work room under the raised main bedroom suite and substantial home office of a large family home. At 9 Belmore Road the extreme constraints of a very compact triangular site have been turned to advantage by the creation of a home designed for empty nesters, where low outdoor maintenance and large, bright interior spaces are priorities.
The Advantages of Scale
Australians are very well served by our dynamic project builder industry, which markets products that represent very good value for money, especially for first home buyers, and for people who have common denominator needs on standard, flat, suburban blocks. This value comes from scale. A design built, say, fifty times, has a negligible design cost. Ditto for estimating. Ditto for purchasing. Each home is, in effect, a unit of production, repeated many times.
The Disadvantages of Scale
People who have been down the volume route generally find that, to protect the cost benefits of scale, even quite modest design changes are either not permitted, or charged at disproportionate rates.
With standard plans you see a lot of houses that look like yours. That could be because they are exactly like yours. And of course a standard design, by definition, is not actually designed for your site. It may fit your site, and the path of the sun across your site, to perfection, but that is a matter of luck, not design. Then again, it may not fit your site at all. How many standard designs would have fitted at 9 Belmore Road? We know of none.
The Freedom of Individual Design
There’s a phrase that highlights the difference between our way of working and that of project builders. In initial briefing meetings, client questions often begin with “Can we…?” The answer, in our case, is almost always “Yes”. “Can we have higher ceilings?” Yes. “Can we have doorways widened for wheelchair access?” Yes. “Can we have a raised roof over the living areas?” Yes. “Can we have a separate food preparation area off the kitchen?” Yes. You are the client. You get to ask.
Obviously, these questions have budget implications but our distinct business model caters for this. We are able to do so with a high degree of accuracy because our design team, Brian Stacey and Bruce Marshall, functions as a design studio embedded within a building company, which means they are not guessing at figures—they have a very strong knowledge of construction methodology and costs. They’ll be able to tell you whether your needs can likely be met within your nominated budget. Depending on your site and your requirements it may be that $440,000 is sufficient, or that $800,000 is not enough.
Back to Apples & Oranges
Individual design is a different business paradigm. It has a quite different set of cost inputs. It has a quite different level of personal service. At Fasham the individual attention does not end with design. It continues right through to hand over, and beyond. During construction every client is assigned a dedicated Project Manager to handle their job.
Is individual design a correspondingly rewarding owner experience? Visit the Testimonials section of this website to hear some honest inisights from some of our clients.