Staying on top of costs and hitting our clients construction budget is of utmost importance. For most, it’s make or break.

As such, in most cases we have moved away from the traditional tender path, whereby we invite 2-3 builders to competitively price on a thorough and complete set of documents and hope that the tender price comes back on budget. As players in the custom-design market, ensuring the construction cost from the outset is becoming increasingly difficult. We don’t set construction costs, the construction industry, driven by supply and demand and ever increasing labour costs does.

A specialised residential custom-home builder can mitigate the risk of over design or over specification when involved in the project from an early stage. We believe that the collaborative approach with early contractor involvement will ensure we meet budget and a satisfactory outcome for all.

Our process is to recommend and/or interview (with our clients) to 2 to 3 builders early on in the project. We can either select builders that we’ve worked with before, who are already familiar with our documentation and detailing methods and whom have the technical ability to execute our design. Otherwise we are happy to provide recommendations for builders whom we’ve interviewed and are confident that they will be well suited for the project. When making recommendations, we also consider the personality types of each builder, and select builders that we feel both parties can have a successful working relationship with.

Be prepared to pay for a builders early involvement, as it’s their IP and experience that we’ve leveraged off to get this far. Most builders will deduct their fees from the tender figure should they win the job. If clients choose to go elsewhere then the builder is compensated for their time and expertise.

Depending on the nature of the project, we propose that builders have the opportunity to get involved at three key stages of the design and documentation process:

Feasibility/Sketch Design

As soon as we put pen to paper, ideas are flowing and we develop a concept and direction, collaborating with a builder to resolve the best approach to construction and lean on them to establish a budget.

Design Development

During this phase our builder can review the detailed design and make recommendations on construction methods and materials. By the end of this stage we will have a fully resolved concept and our builder can provide a more refined estimate taking into consideration the intricacies of the project.


Once we have compiled our extensive package of working drawings, specification and product selections, detailed interior design, structural engineering, energy rating; we will issue to the builder for formal quoting. This process is known as tendering. Based on our builders input to date there should be no surprises to the overall cost