Why Should I Choose Ross Squire Homes Over Other Framed Home Builders, Or Component Home Suppliers?
Building a home is one of the biggest investments you are likely to make. Therefore, it is extremely important for you to make the right choice, when it comes to the people you trust to invest with. We can’t speak for our competitors, but here are some important aspects you should consider, when you compare us with our competitors.
- We have been in this business under the same owners since 1981. That knowledge and experience is invaluable to us, but supplied free of charge to you.
- We were the pioneers of the Kit Home Industry in WA and have been the biggest Kit Home supplier in WA since the day we started.
- We are a family owned business with 4 members of the Squire Family working in the business.
- We have absolutely no debt. We own everything in the business, from our factory to our vehicles to display homes. In other words, we are a financially secure business for you to deal with. This is very important if you intend to be an Owner Builder, because all Kit Home Suppliers that we are aware of will insist that you pay in advance for the kit, before it is delivered to you. Some, (not us) ask for 50% deposit up front, before they do anything. If they go bankrupt, you have lost your money.
- We have an excellent reputation for quality and performance. We will only take on the amount of work we know we can comfortably handle with the staff and trades we have now. Plus, we will be totally honest and up front about how long your house will take to build, or supply. It is easy for a sales person to stretch the truth and tell you that your house will take “x” months to build, because “x” months is what you, the customer, wants to hear. We wont do that, because we don’t want the inevitable argument and customer dissatisfaction when the house is not finished in “x” months.
- We learnt decades ago, that consistent quality sells. We have quality control systems in place at every step of our processes, from how our sales team deals with a customer and presents a quotation, through to the close supervision of the trades building our homes. We are very proud of our reputation for quality service and products.
- Our surveys show that over 60% of our new customers come from referrals by our old customers. We have customers that have built several times with us over many years. One customer has built 7 houses with us over 20 years. We have built several homes for families, including different generations as they grow up. These are facts that are virtually unheard of in the building industry. Something else we are very proud of.
What Areas Do You Build In?
We build our homes from Perth, to Geraldton in the north, Esperance in the east and most country areas in between, including the South West.
We supply component homes throughout Australia and export overseas. However, anywhere in Western Australia is our main market.
Do Your Prices Allow For Building In The Country?
Yes. Our Fully Built and Built to Lockup prices include building up to 100km from the Perth GPO. If your site is over 100km, we will quote you a fixed price for any additional costs involved.
Is Transport To My Site Included In Your Component Homes Prices?
Yes. Our Component Home prices include free delivery to your site up to 200km from the Perth GPO. If your site is over 200km, we will quote you a fixed price for delivery.
Can We Make Changes To Your Standard Designs?
Yes. In fact, we very seldom sell a standard house. Almost every client makes changes, from simple things such as adding verandahs, garages and carports, through to completely remodelling the interior room layout. Common sense usually dictates how far we will go with some changes. For instance, if you are building the house yourself as an owner builder, we will endeavour to keep the design and structure easy to build, using components that can be readily handled and used by owner builders. But, if we are building the home for you, or, you are using experienced sub-contractors, we can make radical changes, knowing that people with the skills to build a more complicated structure are involved
We Are Thinking About Building The Home As An Owner Builder. How Difficult Are Your Homes To Build?
Most of our homes are specifically designed to make them practical and easy for Owner Builders to build. We recommend using experienced sub-contractors, unless you have a trade, or competent handyperson background and feel comfortable doing some of the work yourself. Many of our clients have built their homes from the ground up, excluding electrical and plumbing, which must be done by registered trades. We supply you with a comprehensive and very detailed Construction Manual and detailed plans, which are specifically drawn for your house. Plus, we give you a Construction DVD, which takes you through each construction phase, step by step. We also have several staff members who are experts at building our homes and their advice is only a phone call away.
As An Owner Builder, What Sort Of Back-up Can I Expect To Get If Something Goes Wrong With My Component Home?
We are by far, the biggest Kit Home Supplier in WA and have been so since we started business in 1981. Our reputation for quality and service is the envy of our competitors and we intend to keep it that way. Our policy is simple. If we make a mistake, we fix it, no questions asked.
Are There Any Restrictions To Becoming An Owner Builder And What Is The Process To Get An Owner Builders License?
We suggest you visit Building Commission of WA website www.commerce.wa.gov.au/building-commission which has comprehensive information for Owner Builders. It also has application forms etc, that can be downloaded.
Can You Recommend Sub-contract Trades For Us To Use As Owner Builders?
We have tradespeople in various areas, who have built our homes in the past, or have been used successfully by our Owner Builder clients. We are happy to pass on the contact details to you.
Do You Charge A Fee For Making Changes To Your Standard Designs?
No. There is no fee for making changes to our homes. But obviously the cost of materials and labour involved in the change will decrease, or increase the house price accordingly.
Can We Make Changes To Your Standard Specifications And Inclusions?
Yes. Our standard specification is there purely as a starting point for us to provide you with a price of a home, including quality products, fixtures and fittings which, from our experience, are generally sought after by many of our clients. Obviously there are countless different products that you can include in your new home, and provided it is practical for us to include a product, we are happy to make changes.
Will You Build, Or Supply A Component Home To Our Custom Design?
Yes, but we will not infringe another builder’s copyright, or quote on a design that we think is inappropriate for our building system and the materials we use. Show us your sketch, or plans and we will tell you if the design is suitable for us to build
Will You Design A House For Me?
Yes, provided you have reasonably firm ideas on what you want, along with a budget to match your ideas. Plus, your ideas will need to suit our systems and the materials we use. If we are designing a home from scratch, there will be a small design fee, which will be credited to you if you proceed with the home.
Some Other Builders Are Using Steel Roof Trusses, But You Are Using Timber Trusses. Why Is This?
We also use steel roof trusses if the client requests steel. We have our own in-house steel wall frame and truss manufacturing plant, but we still use timber trusses as our standard specification, for four good reasons.
- Most steel trusses are manufactured from light gauge steel and are quite flimsy until they are securely fixed into the roof structure. The flimsy nature of steel trusses makes them awkward to work with, difficult to transport and they are easily damaged in transport and on site. Timber trusses are far more robust, easier to erect & work with and difficult to damage. This is particularly important for owner builders who may not have experience with building steel roof frames, because, working with steel trusses can be unforgiving if a mistake is made. (We point out though, that both, steel and timber trusses, result in very strong and safe roofs, when properly engineered and erected).
- Steel trusses, particularly with large roof spans, expand and contract considerably in hot climates. This movement, although it is not visible and will not damage your house, causes the roof trusses to make cracking and clicking noises as the roof space heats up and cools down. The noise can be quite loud and is very annoying to some people.
- There is a cost saving using timber roof trusses, both in the cost of the trusses and the labour to erect the roof frame. Timber truss manufacture is highly automated and very efficient, as opposed to steel truss manufacture, which is labour intensive and quite slow. The labour cost to erect a steel truss roof is more than a timber truss roof, which can be considerable on a complicated roof design. The fact is, steel trusses are more difficult and labour intensive to erect than timber trusses. Some builders offset the additional cost of the steel trusses by claiming that the house is termite proof and consequently there is no requirement to chemically termite treat under the house slab. We do not recommend deleting the chemical termite treatment under any circumstance.
- Steel is an excellent thermal conductor, and steel trusses can act as a thermal bridge between the heat hitting the roof and the house ceiling. In other words, steel trusses can transfer heat from the roof sheeting, down through the truss braces and chords into the house, via the ceiling. To combat this heat intrusion through the steel trusses, installing a thermal break is a good idea, usually by means of Anticon Insulation fitted directly under the roof sheeting. This will add around $3,000 to an average size roof, therefore is something that a builder who only sells and uses steel trusses may not tell you about. On the other hand, timber is not a good thermal conductor, which means the heat transfer through the timber truss to the ceiling is minimal, because the timber acts as the thermal break between the heat hitting the roof sheeting and the ceiling. A simple test to demonstrate this, is to place a piece of steel and a piece of timber next to each other in direct sunlight on a hot day, cover them with a piece of roof sheeting, with the roof sheeting touching both, as they would in a roof space. After 30 minutes, put your hand on each. You will find that the steel is considerably hotter than the timber.
Are Your Houses Termite Proof?
Yes and No. Unfortunately, no house is termite proof, regardless of what the builder may claim. As a standard inclusion, we make the structural components of our houses termite resistant by using steel, or treated pine wall frames and anti-termite treated timber roof trusses and roof frame members, or by using optional steel roof trusses. But, this does not make the whole of the house termite proof. Unfortunately, it is common practice for some builders to claim that their houses are “ termite proof,” thus leading the home owner into a false sense of security.
The structural elements of a house, such as the concrete floor, brickwork, wall frames and roof frame can be made termite proof, but if termites gain access to a house, they can do considerable and expensive damage to many items, such as timber floors, kitchen cabinets, furniture, books, ceiling & wall linings, contents of storage cupboards, skirtings, door frames, doors, staircases etc. etc.
The only answer to combating termites is, DO NOT LET THEM GET INTO YOUR HOUSE. It is very important for any builder to properly chemically treat under floor slabs and around the external perimeter of the house. The owner must then make sure that it is regularly inspected by a professional pest controller and retreated when necessary.
There are physical barrier systems available for concrete slab floors, which are installed under the external walls of the house and around slab penetrations, such as where drain pipes penetrate through the slab. We do not recommend using these systems, unless it is not possible to use a chemical barrier, or they are used in conjunction with a chemical barrier. The physical barrier systems rely on the termite trails having to bridge over or around the barrier, making the termite trails visible during inspection of the barrier. The down side of these systems is that the barrier can be damaged during construction, in places that are impossible to see. It is also easy to unintentionally damage, or cover the barrier, when paving or gardening around the edge of the house. Very dangerous and quite common practices for home owners are, to brick pave, or concrete pave over the barrier, to stack fire wood against the house, to build up garden soil against the house, to lean timber against the house, all of which provide a bridge for termites to enter the house.
Where our homes are built above ground level on stump floors, it is not possible to use a chemical termite barrier, as we would under a concrete slab. We generally choose to use steel, or CCA treated pine pole stumps, which are termite resistant. It is then quite easy for a professional pest controller to regularly inspect the stumps for termite trails leading up the outside of the stumps. Termites cannot live in sunlight, so when they have to bridge a barrier, such as a steel or treated timber stump, to gain access to a house, they build a tunnel made from soil or sand over the outside of the stump. These tunnels are visible on the outside of the stump and are easily recognised by a trained pest controller, or a home owner who knows what to look for.
European House Borers Are A Problem Where I Am Building. How Do You Combat Them?
The treated timber used in our roof trusses and ancillary roof timbers is chemically treated to resist attack by European House Borers, which are a recent pest problem, found in some of the Perth Hills areas and some outer suburbs of Perth. They are a flying beetle, which is suspected to have been introduced in timber imported to Perth from infected areas in Europe. They live in, and eat untreated timber. The authorities in Perth are currently running an eradication campaign against the borer. Your local Council will tell you if your land is in an effected area, or visit www.ehb.wa.gov.au for more information.
Do You Build Pole Homes On Elevated Stump Floors?
Yes. We regularly build, or supply component homes with steel and/or timber floors and decks. Due to the additional cost of stumped floors, as compared to a concrete slab on ground floor, pole homes are usually built on steep blocks, where site works costs for a concrete slab become prohibitive. Pole homes also become economical in remote areas where ready mix concrete is expensive, or difficult to obtain. Other clients have chosen stump floors, just because they want that “pole home look”. If you want a quote for a stumped floor on one of our designs, you will need to provide us with a contour survey of you building site. We need this to give you an accurate costing on stump sizes and lengths, scaffolding requirements etc
How Strong Are Your Houses?
All our homes are structurally designed by a Certified Structural Engineer and the structural details are signed off by an Engineer. The structural design is specifically designed for your block and takes into account such things as soil type, wind speed, local terrain, earthquake regions and cyclonic regions. This Engineers Certification is included in our standard prices.
Framed houses are the vastly preferred type of construction in West Australia’s cyclone regions and earthquake zones. The reason being, is because they are very strong and can be readily designed to take the harshest of conditions.
Can We Get Finance For Your Homes And What Are The Payment Terms For One Of Your Homes?
This falls into 2 categories.
- If we are building your home, finance requirements are no different to any other builder. All normal home lenders will finance our homes, provided you qualify under the lenders normal requirements for a home loan. There is an initial $3,500 deposit, which cover our costs for plans, documentation, engineering and Building License fees. Then, progress payments are made at various stages of construction. Each payment will be stipulated in the Building Contract.
- If you are building your home as an Owner Builder. Most lenders will require you to provide much more equity and security before they will lend to Owner Builders. This has nothing to do with the type of home you are building. It is usually because the lenders are nervous about Owner Builders in general. There is an initial deposit of $3,000, which covers our costs for plans, documentation and engineering. After you have received your plans and are happy to proceed, there is booking deposit of approximately 25% and then the remainder of the lockup stage payment is due just prior to delivery of the lockup components. The finishing stage payment is due prior to delivery of the finishing stage components. Each payment will be stipulated on a Component Home Purchase Agreement. For your peace of mind, you are welcome to inspect the components in our yard before delivery and before you make the payment for each stage.
Everyone’s financial circumstances are different, so it is difficult to give a general answer to suit all circumstances, but your Ross Squire Homes Consultant can give you a good estimation of whether you are likely to qualify for finance, either as an Owner Builder, or, if we are building your home. We can also recommend an independent Finance Broker, who will guide you through the finance application and approval process, and help you find the best lender to suit your particular needs.
We want Ross Squire Homes to build our home for us, but we want to do some of the work ourselves to save money. What can we do ourselves, and how much can we expect to save?
There are quite a few major items where you can save considerable money by arranging sub-contractors yourself, or actually doing the work yourself. It is important to note, that you personally cannot work on the house during the period, from when we start work on site, to when we hand over the house at Practical Completion. This is due to Workers Compensation and Public Liability Insurance requirements. However, the things you can do to save money are:
- Site Works.
- Retaining Walls.
- Install Septic Tanks and Leach Drains, if applicable.
- Painting and Decorating.
Many builders will not allow you to do any, or most of the above items yourself. This is purely because they will be missing out on the profit margin on this work. We actively encourage our clients to arrange all the above items themselves, thus saving the builder’s profit margin. Where possible, we will even help you to arrange things like the site works, retaining walls and septic systems, by organising quotes and recommending qualified contractors. Usually, it’s as simple as a few site meetings with subbies, some phone calls to arrange times to be on site etc, and paying the bills to the subbies.
Site works is one area where you can make considerable savings. Many other builders will tell you that they will not build your house, unless they do the site works, because they are responsible for the structural integrity of the site works. It is a fact that we, as the builder, are responsible for the site works, regardless of who does the site works. But, provided you use a reputable site works contractor and follow the engineer’s instructions & details we provide to you, and provide us with a structural engineer’s certification and compaction certificate, we are happy for you to do the site works and save thousands of dollars. The vast majority of our clients arrange their own site works, and it is not difficult to do.
As an indication of the saving you can make, just on site works alone, most builders will charge anything from 25% margin, on top of the site works costs. For example, where the site works costs are say, $30,000, you could save the builders margin of at least $7,500.00 and sometimes considerably more. The savings on many of the above items will also start at around 25% on top of the cost of the materials and labour.
Other builders may also tell you that they have better buying power than you on the site works costs. We have found this is not the case. Most site works contractors will give you the same price they quote to us.
What Are The Advantages Of Getting Ross Squire Homes To Build My Home To Lockup Stage?
- Peace of mind that the structural elements of your home have been built by a Registered Builder.
- You get our 180 day maintenance period on the work we do.
- You get our 6 year structural guarantee on the work we do.
- You get our Home Owners Indemnity Insurance on the work we do.
- Some clients don’t feel comfortable doing the structural work themselves, but are happy to do the finishing items themselves.
We Want To Buy The Finishing Items For Our Home Instead Of Using Your Standard Items. Can We Do This?
If you are buying a “Finishing Pack” component home as an Owner Builder, you are welcome to delete any of the finishing items where personal choice is involved. This includes items such as tap ware, plumbing fixtures & fittings, cabinets, appliances and hot water systems.
If we are building your home, we limit the finishing items you can supply, to stove, hotplate and solar HWS (if applicable). The reason we limit these items, is to avoid logistical nightmares during construction, and to avoid slowing the construction programme. Experience has taught us, that Owners often give us information on the product they are supplying and then deliver something completely different, or, they don’t supply a product on time and construction is halted until they provide the product.
Are Your Houses Well Insulated?
Because our homes are built in the coldest and the hottest parts of West Australia, we include insulation for both climate extremes. The external walls of all our Fully Built and Finishing Pack homes come standard with reflective foil insulation, a minimum R0.2 "thermal break" between the external cladding and the steel wall frame, plus minimum R2.5 batts to the external wall frame cavity. The ceilings are insulated with minimum R3.5 batts and a 50mm glasswool building blanket under the main roof areas. This insulation package meets or exceeds the minimum energy efficiency requirements under the Building Code of Australia, for the vast majority of homes built in West Australia.
How Much Money Can We Expect To Save If We Buy A Component Home From You And Build Our Home As An Owner Builder?
The savings will vary considerably, based on how much work you do yourself.
For example, if you do most of the building work yourself, using your own labour, excluding the concrete floor, plumbing and electrics, you can expect to save around 25-35%.
If you build the home as a project manager and just do some of the work yourself, such as painting and paving, and sub-contract out all the other trades, you can expect to save around 15-20%.
The above savings are based on the percentage saved off the price of an equivalent home, fully built by Ross Squire Homes. EG. If our Fully Built price is say, $200,000, a 30% saving would be $60,000.
We encourage all our potential Owner Builder customers to discuss their capabilities as an Owner Builder with our Consultants. They can give you an indication of the savings you can make, based on the work you intend to do yourself, as well as an estimate of other costs involved.
Can I Add Sound Insulation To The Internal Walls Of My Home?
Most rooms in a house don’t need to have added sound insulation, but where a design includes a bathroom or toilet next to a living room for example, adding sound control batts to the wall, will reduce transmitted noise through the walls. We have clients who work shifts and require a bedroom to be an extra quiet room, in which case we also add solid core doors and thick, laminated glass to the window in that room.
We Would Like Timber Decks To Our Verandahs And Alfresco Areas, Instead Of Using Concrete Or Brick Paving. Can We Do This If Our House Has A Concrete Slab On Ground Floor?
Yes, with the popularity of timber decks in recent years, this is a common change. We need to know where you want the decks, so we can thicken the concrete footing in that area. Then it is a simple matter of digging the sand away from the face of the footing, allowing enough depth for the deck bearers and joists to be installed. If your site has a slope, the slope can be utilized to build the deck on elevated stumps, which can give the appearance of the whole house being on stumps.