We all make ‘custom vs volume’ decisions every day. When we purchase clothes, food, accommodation, haircuts or travel we all consider convenience and price over amenity and a tailored solution.

Firstly, a broad definition of the two formats -

Volume Builders are large companies that perform large amounts of building work. Sometimes hundreds, sometimes thousands of projects every year.

Volume builders often promote their service based on price. They commonly offer a fixed range of ‘display home’ models that consumers select from. Limited variation is permitted to the advertised plans.

Wanting their cake and eat it too, many volume builders advertise themselves as providing both a custom and volume service. Which can cause confusion for many. There is no ‘official’ number of annual projects that defines a volume builder. Remember, it’s the service, not the price, that separates a volume from a custom builder.

Custom Builders provide a ‘boutique’ service and build anywhere between a handful to 50 or 100 projects each year.

Custom builders are able to deliver a fully-flexible service to accommodate the unique needs of their clients. And as a result they’re more expensive than volume builders.

What’s Best ?

Neither. One building process is not necessarily better than the other, both accommodate existing needs in a diverse marketplace.

What the consumer must do is be clear on what your priorities are, and what the ‘guiding influences’ are on your project. The most common ‘guiding influences’ are budget, design, timing, sustainability and amenity.

While the obvious advantage of engaging a volume builder is price, be aware that you’re sacrificing flexibility for financial savings.

Display homes often feature ‘optional extras’ that aren’t included in the base price. Buyers usually choose from a set range of fixtures and finishes, and as stated earlier, there are limitations on modifications. Volume builders may also offer ‘house and land packages’. For those who don’t already own a block of land, this makes the process quick and easy.

But if you have a strong commitment to a unique design, the best way forward is to utilize the skills of a talented designer and custom builder. More on this topic can be found at Architect, Designer & Draftsperson

Final Comment

Priority number one, regardless of who’s appointed to undertake your build, is to get along with your builder. It could feel like the longest year or two of your life if you’re brawling with the builder.

As the homeowner, your job is to acknowledge this reality and aim to work productively with the builder toward sensible, cost-effective solutions. For our list of tips regarding the all-important relationship with the builder click HERE.

Best of luck!





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