Project Builder v Bespoke Builder

Have a development site that is a little oddly shaped - and have hunted around all the major project builders with not a lot of luck.
most of their designs are just too long (mine is more of a squat block) - leaving little to no garden....

The one builder that says they can alter a design to fit (the Alpha) wants x amount of dollars more to move walls.. and the sales consultant is very hard to deal with - leaves me hanging for days and doesnt really listen (so if this is the standard of service at this early stage in the game - i can only imagine what the build would be like!) - and she keeps throwing new ideas at me that doesnt meet my brief...(the new design sent is a combined 4th bed/study, a random bar area and a laundry area accessed though a scullery - what? is this Downton Abbey? who has a scullery nowadays?)

So over the last week i have put my ideas down in excel - and forwarded it back to this sales consultant to see what she could do with it - this was Sunday - still no response

So yesterday i arranged a meeting with a bespoke builder
took my ideas up to the meeting and within 5 minutes of the consultation starting - the designer/builder whammied me by trying to get me to sign a "preliminary agreement" for $1100 - which i was not pre-warned about... he also would not discuss price.... he asked me my budget which i explained was $300k to include subdivision costs, new driverway, carport, landscaping etc for existing house and turnkey for this new one and he said they could probably work to my budget....oh .. and there was a little bit of a language barrier (think he was Greek)

So i suppose my question is - which do i chose?

the project builder who wants to charge me for every little change to a plan that im not even that keen on - but assumingly they can give me a price

or the bespoke builder who will work to my doodle - but wants $1100 upfront in order to give me a price guide (which may be too expensive)



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Get what you want drafted, then post the job on the Building association website for Perth for tender.
See what quotes you can get...
the word 'probably' when negotiating price is a bit worrying!

they are after an estimating fee- not unreasonable when someone is shopping plans around - can be a full 2 days work to estimate a one-off design with possibly no result at the end.

the reality is, I would speak to a designer / draftie and have something drawn up for this lot that is efficient and does what you want - your design is a great design but perimeter wise, is a bit excessive.

I always recommend Kevin Bishop at Assetbuild for one-offs - a few forumites have used Kevin (myself included) with great success - fast, efficient, no fuss and top quality.

What area is this?
Not completely unreasonable for the $1100 to be fair. I price up a lot of jobs on contract when our estimators are overwhelmed and can confirm it can take me between 2 - 8 days (depending on size and what is included).

As for bad salespeople leading to bad building, it isn't really the case. The supervisor will have the penultimate control over how good your experience is during the building process.

That said the salesperson should be more hungry for your custom, so that is a poor performance on their part.
Roughly I would be expecting to pay $1500 per sqm for either design. Your design looks bigger than the Impressions one.

If you want a design that is custom to your block (is that all that the development is?!?) then you need to go to either a custom builder and many will charge around $1-1500 to do up a concept and estimate price.

Your block is not overly oddly shaped though and I would expect that quite a few standard builders could plonk one of their designs on it as Impressions did.

A budget of $300k is reasonable and I would expect you should be able to get some options.

I'd take it to HBA Brokers (ask for Richard) who can design a more appropriate 4 x 2 that is suited to the block and then tender out the design to get you the best price.
or the bespoke builder who will work to my doodle - but wants $1100 upfront in order to give me a price guide (which may be too expensive)


I don't think $1100 is unfair. The doodle has to be turned into at least preliminary drawings and that would cost about that if you used a draftsman.

My suggestion would be along the lines of what others have suggested. get a draftsman in. He/she should be able to give a rough guide at the preliminary stage, Then when you are happy you can move to full working drawings and find your builder. My guess is you will be looking at $4k by the time you get to working drawings, but then you own the drawings, not some builder. And you'll pay for it anyway.
Go to a drafty with your ideas and get what you want drawn up. Cost will be 500-1500. Then tender out to builders you like the work of and go from there. They can alter the working drawings to manage the price to fit into your budget.
thanks for the feedback guys
the bespoke builder came back to me with a concept drawing taken from my sketch - is looking pretty good - and is more than the impressions mob did.
im going to follow your suggestions - draft and tender
i cannot speak from personal experience but i really have heard a lot more negative than positive things about impressions, even if you do end up going with a large volume project builder make sure you look around.
the only reason i even initially wnt with impressions was because i went up to the clarkson display village - went into celebrations / smart homes for living and impressions homes and impressions was the only one that seemed willing to take the time to talk to me....
then after realised that they were the building company that my broker recommended months earlier.

agreed though - looking on the internet - they dont have a great rep.
I would take internet reviews on almost all things with a grain of salt.

People only ever review things if they have something negative to say. The rest get on with enjoying their purchases and experiences.

Word of mouth is the best review with building (and yes, I have heard some pretty poor stories on a LOT of project builders of late).

I just heard a very glowing review for Ross North though...