There’s no doubt that building in regional WA is unlike the approach taken in the Perth metro area. It is not simply a cookie cutter approach of picking up what works in the city and driving it down the freeway to build regionally.
It is critical that you receive accurate advice from the start to ensure you are fully aware of all costs and the process. This will save you the potential for unwanted surprises and ultimately, disappointment.
The main consideration relates to your block. In the country, block selection is critical. What might look like a good parcel of land might not be, especially when you take into account factors that can really blow out costs like sloping ground, low laying blocks and lack of accessible services.
In the country you really are at the mercy of what is available.
We also find too that in regional areas the soil is much more reactive than its city counterparts. Generally, Perth blocks are sandy and flat which makes for a relatively easy and stable build. In regional areas however, soil types can vary widely and it is common to have a lot of clay or gravel or peat. This leads to increased ground movement which requires additional engineering which comes at a cost.
Designs for the blocks also need to be treated as unique because they need to take into account factors like lifestyle and the area.
If you want to maximise views you need to look for a design that accommodates that. Conversely if you want large verandahs and glass with raked ceilings and exposed beams for a country feel then look for a builder that can offer that design. Keep your vision true and look for a building partner that can guide you through the process and make the best use of your budget.
Another important consideration is to look at the Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) ratings. This is standard practice Statewide as it helps protect your home from the threat of bushfires and the rating can vary depending on where your block is. These costs can be substantial if you are building in a regional area.
One way to circumvent extra costs is to partner with a South West builder that can build your home at Perth prices.
It sounds simple, but do your research and you’ll be surprised to see that many regional builders have a mark up above and beyond the standard loading fee. As a general rule, building in regional areas attracts a loading fee which is to cover the costs of materials and trades that can be transported from Perth. Generally all regional builders will include that in their contract.
However, some home builders based in the South West are offering to build regionally at Perth prices which shows total transparency in their contract pricing and approach. If budget is your primary driver then choosing a builder with transparency is the smart choice.
Article first published in The Sunday Times HOME magazine on January 15, 2017.