Professional Relationships with Owner Builders
We do not often consider the relationship owner builders have with their professional advisers. That is, the consultants they work with through the course of their owner builder projects.
Just to be signing off the same hymn sheet, when we talk about professionals, we are referring to those service providers who have will generally have the qualifications and authority to sign off or certify building elements or design features.
They include engineers, architects or building designers, certifiers, surveyors, lawyers and town planners. The size, scope and complexity of your project, will normally determine the level of involvement you have with these contracted services.
Once upon a time, I would confidently say that owner builders had a very limited exposure to each of these consultants in that generally, most projects would be of traditional design using common building practices and construction techniques.
More and more though, owner builders are becoming more adventurous and confident in tackling complex projects with sometimes extreme design features that require considerable reliance on engineering design and supervision to ensure both structural integrity and compliance.
Even in the electrical space, more and more residential dwellings are including smart wiring, heating, cooling and automation features that require complex design and specialist installation.
It is these designs, features and inclusions which truly individualise a build and make a home ‘fit for purpose’, satisfying the needs of todays mobile and connected families.
I recently had the opportunity to advise a client and oversee the build of an owner built dwelling on the Gold Cost Hinterland that ended up being a 3.4 million dollar build. The water features alone were something else with waterfalls and fountains feeding a mineral salt spa. All very impressive if not indulgent. The sustainability feature though were what really made the home a work of art and a technological masterpiece.
Solar panels, inverters and battery banks are just the start of it. Couple this to soft start electric pool pumps, rainwater harvesting, heat pumps and LED lighting, this property truly attempts to minimise its impact and environmental impact.
This is just one example of how the owner builder market is maturing, with some projects meeting or exceeding the outcomes that would be expected of quality signature custom homes.
It is all well and truly within the reach and capability of owner builders who use all the resources available to them, including reliable and qualified consultants.
Happy owner building,
Rick Heaton is a Building and Construction Industry professional with formal tertiary qualifications in management and training.