Building Trends in Australia

The Australian building industry is undergoing a few key trends that will shape construction in the years ahead.

The rise in pre-fab construction

Pre-fabricated construction allows builders to reduce costs and the risk of adverse weather, which can ruin attempts to build on site. Controlled offsite construction also allows for a more accurate build.

New Materials

New materials such as adapted sheet metal allow builders to lower costs and offer a higher quality finish.

Off-site production allows these materials to be combined in more complex ways to reduce costs.

The death of large IT zones

As businesses move their IT functions to ‘the cloud’ less space will be needed in-office for data centres. Recent research from IT analysts, Gartner Inc estimated that half of all businesses will move the cloud by 2017.

Energy efficiency

The National Construction Code outlines energy efficiency guidelines that seek to create greener buildings. Builders and designers will pay increasing attention to lay out, orientation, natural lighting, insulation and heating systems in order to improve energy efficiency and meet the requirements of the code.

Despite the move towards greener building, Australia is starting to lag behind the rest of the world. Recent research from World Green Building Trends found that in markets like the US, UK, Germany and Poland, more than 60 percent of projects are certified as green construction. In Australia, that figure is well below the global average of 24%. The leaders in the field are from the developing world including Brazil, China, Saudia Arabia, Mexico, Colombia, South Africa and Chile.

Architect or custom builder – who should you speak with first?

For a successful building project, you need to use draw on expert design and construction.

Traditionally, architects were stereotyped as design experts with their head in the clouds when it comes to material and labour costs. Builders meanwhile, were seen as workhorses without the artistry to produce to produce something truly unique.

This is a limited view of both professions and not a reflection of building in 2016.

By working with an experienced custom builder, you are dealing with an expert who will produce a unique building that matches your needs and budget. A draftsperson working in their team provides design expertise and where an even higher level of artistry is needed for the property, they work with a trusted architectural partner. As an experienced builder, they understand the costs and practicalities of bringing your plans to life and so represent an excellent starting point for your building project.

Your builder’s job is to oversee the project and bring together building, architectural and interior design expertise.

If you’re seeking to win an architectural or design award, it makes sense to centre your construction process around an architect. If you’re seeking to create a property that is customized to the needs of your business and looks great, start your conversation with a custom builder.

Whoever you choose to work with though, it’s important to ask the right questions to ensure you get the best possible service. Be clear on what it is you’re trying to create and ask your prospective builder or architect to justify how they can deliver it. What are the credentials of their team in building, architecture and interior design and how are they right for your project?

Become a savvy customer

Before hiring a builder, make sure you ask them the following questions. They can be the difference between a job well done and a financial disaster.

  1. Do you have a license?

First and foremost you need to ensure you’re working with a licensed builder to ensure the quality of their work.

Ask your builder for their license number and search for them (by name or license number) at the following link if you’re in Queensland:

Other states have their own services where you can do this.

  1. Are you insured?

Verify that your builder has up to date Home Indemnity insurance. This will protect you in case they become insolvent, abandon the job or fall ill and become unable to complete it.

  1. How long is the property maintenance period?

Find out how long the builder will be available to maintain the property and address any issues. This should be for anywhere between 6 and 18 months.

  1. Who will be supervising construction?

The onsite supervisor is responsible for ensuring quality work is done each day. Find out about their credentials and performance history so that you know your project is in good hands.

  1. Can we see your recent work and talk to some referees?

Despite all the background checks you do, the proof is in the pudding. Have a look at the type of work your prospective builder has done and speak to the people who’ve dealt with them before. Find out what they did well and not so well so you’re better prepared for your relationship with them.

  1. Who are your contractors?

Contractors such as plumbers, electricians and tilers are crucial for the safety of your property and its finish and aesthetic appeal. Find out who they are and their track record to ensure the job will be done well.

Asking the above questions will ensure you choose the right builder and let them know that you are rightfully demanding about quality.