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,
Thanks for that Rick,
For me the owner builder option has definitely partly got to do with the lack of builders available at the moment during the building boom in Newcastle.
Agree with the above
I totally agree with the above comments. The internet does offer a wealth of knowledge. A library at your finger tip. I have consulted and been supported by numerous experienced people who have shared their knowledge and encouraged me with my Owner Builder project, even the local council. Mutual respect goes a long way. Yes a lot of research and homework has to be done, but well worth the effort.So rewarding to be part of a creative team, you and the contractors. And you get to live in it, or use it, enjoy the outcome.,
My husband has developed quite a number of projects and builds over the years. Since doing this course I have appreciated being on a higher level of understanding when he talks about his work.
Due to my builder falling through on my first build, I had to get my project to CDC by myself, which meant a steep learning curve work direct with architects, draftspeople, engineers and council representatives etc. Having done all that it seemed to make sense to try to owner build my extension, and as it's only under the house and relatively simple frames and cladding, I am even doing the plans myself in MS Paint based on the existing plans. Seems to be going ok so far - but in terms of comms engineers have been the hardesr to deal with. They seem to talk a different language!
A very interesting read and insight again, Rick. Yes, good building design and layout are very important issues to consider and incorporate in any building design today. Building design and layout is still ultimately a personal thing though or whether you are restricted by a budget or not, etc. A lot of environmentally conscious layout designs require time and effort to develop.
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Rick Heaton is a Building and Construction Industry professional with formal tertiary qualifications in management and training.