Questions for the developers...

With our plans due to be submitted in January, we have months to do some learning, but assuming we get this approved, I have some questions rattling around in my head.

(Excuse any dumb questions... this is very new to me.)

1. I'm thinking we should pay someone to project manage this for us. A developer we know (not terribly well) said he locks his builder down tight with regards to every nut and bolt so there are no "extras" or "alterations" and then relaxes. However, he also said he pays his architect to project manage things for him.

Another seasoned developer (who develops for herself) told us if we pay a project manager, to not pay more than 3%.

We have the time to project manage ourselves, but not enough knowledge to know what we don't know, so we are happy to pay someone in exchange for some peace of mind and minimise any stress on us.

Does this sound sensible?

2. Assuming we get the DA approved, what comes next? I guess we get more detailed drawings that can be used to get very detailed, accurate quotes? I'm guessing we need every light switch, power point, window style and size, level of finish on stairs, everything... specified. We want to avoid any changes (that cost money).

Can someone explain PC Items (for dummies) and what we need to do, or what we need to know to avoid when calling for quotes?

3. Is it "normal" for us to say to the builders we ask to quote that we want to choose the tiles, flooring, vanities, kitchens? Or do we choose our vanities, tiles, toilets, sink etc and say this is what we want, so they can get their own prices on that particular product and we know we are getting our choice of spec and they then quote on absolutely everything? I guess if that is the case, they are making some profit on the tiles, on the kitchen, the fixtures and fittings? Or does it balance out because they buy cheaper, add their profit, and still it comes in about the same as we could buy ourselves?

4. Would a builder be annoyed if we decide (for example) to say "don't quote on the kitchen, just bring the services through the floor and walls and we will get quotes on the kitchen"?

I think it would be wise to get the builder to do the waterproofing and tiling of the bathrooms so if there are any leaks they cannot say "you did the bathroom, you fix it"? But what about kitchens?

I don't mind paying say $20K for a kitchen through a builder who can get it for $16K and charge us 20% on top as opposed to us paying a kitchen maker $20K for the same kitchen. I want to save where we can, but don't want to create work for us that doesn't really save us anything. (Hope that makes sense.)

My concern is that the bathroom we did ourselves cost us $21K (fairly high spec) but the quote we had from a bathroom renovation chap was $30K and the spec was very basic for that. I don't want to end up with a cheap finish.

5. Our developer friend is about to build townhouses and is thinking of using vinyl planks on this development. We want flooring that is durable, but needs to wear well as our plan is to hold these long term. I'm thinking vinyl planks might wear as well as tiles and if we do sell in the years ahead, we can replace them if necessary. Does that sound sensible? I'm guessing second storey would be yellow tongue floor and then whatever we want on top?

6. There was a recent post where someone paid a designer to do the interiors and the cost of that service was covered by the saving the designer made on the purchase of the tiles. Is this something we should look at? Wouldn't a builder want to source the tiles (or other flooring choices) and make his profit there?

7. We have one neighbour who has a large retaining wall where they have dug into the land. We will be building near this wall. What sort of insurance would cover us should there be any issues with their wall due to our footings or machinery used to do our build?

I'm sorry if some of this is very "newbie" but this is the stuff I don't understand.
I am talking to two contract builders in Perth. This is what both of them have offered:
1. I can pick all the things I want quoted on, i.e. toilet, kitchen, appliances, taps,tiles etc.
2. Builder will produce a list with all the parts and prices.
3. I will then choose what goes into the contract and source the rest myself.

One even said to watch out for the post christmas sales. He said we could save quite a bit of money sourcing appliances etc ourselves. Pretty much, neither of them care whether they source these things or whether I supply them. The only cavets are that toilet, vanity, shower, kitchen sink, stove, oven etc locations have to be agreed on the plans beforehand so that the plumbing can be roughed into the pad.

Something you will need to check with the builders is regarding the structural warranty. For example, if you do the tiles and they crack, are you going to chase the builder? The builder might put it back on you because you provided the tiles and/or had them installed. I'm still working through this aspect of the build.
Hi Wylie,

I may be able to answer some of your questions.

I have a project in St Lucia and starts in January as well.

I am a developer and builder in Canberra region and expanding into Brisbane.

I am happy to swap my development/building experience with your local knowledge.

At moment, I am in Brisbane and happy to meet and chat.


William 0401685371