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Episode 1: Why Getting Clear on Your Priorities is So Important

– [Narrator] Welcome to What Builders Don’t Tell Their Clients. With your host, Joe Miner, listening to the show. You’ll learn how to avoid the unnecessary pain and avoidable costs that commonly occur in the building and renovating process. Joel will also inspire you with his knowledge, experience and ideas on how to make your home a place to suit your lifestyle the years to come. 

– And co-host in prime, Andrew Quadrio we’re back for another episode of What Builders Don’t Tell Their Clients. So Andrew, welcome back. – Welcome back. Yes. Thanks for listening guys. I’m back again, which is really good. A co-host title this week, that’s amazing. 

– The what title sorry?

 – The co-host title this week. 

– Oh yes, co-host I really need to do another intro. Slide your name in there or something. – yeah yeah yeah, true. 

– I feel like there’s something missing 

– That’s it. 

– So this week we’re having an interesting conversation last week about, sorry, not last week, last night on the phone. And coming up with a conversation of you are trying to deal with a particular client or prospect that was looking at building and getting a quote and going to see a designer first. And there was an interesting topic bring up. So I’ll let you tell the story because it felt better than I will. 

– Yeah, I spoke to a guy earlier in the week that had, was looking for me to give him a quote on his, was doing an extension first floor addition and ground floor extension of their house. And he had, he got on a phone originally instead of, you know, I need you to give me a quote number. Hey, well, where are you at with this, where you’re at with your process and that sort of stuff. ‘ I have spoken to an architect and I’ve done one design, but we didn’t quite like that. And we wanted to go in a different direction, so the architect did say, well, I’m not doing anything more until you work out what you want and just come back to me when you do. And when he said that, I was like well, that’s not very helpful at all to you. So something like that 

– Leave you in the dark

 – Just leave you in the dark

 – Then come back and see me after I’ll take your money 

– Yeah exactly. Yeah, then I’ll continue to take your money. Yeah, nice guy. So, and then he said, Oh, you know, and that’s a bit of a pain in the ass and that sort of stuff. I’m like, well, yeah, that’s sounds like it. So, and I sorta, 

– Why do you think that happens? 

– Well, I think, I think it boils down to, he said to me that they got the concept back from the first concept back from the architect, and then they had another train of thought and what we’re going with a difficult word. They were thinking about going with a completely different design and an in a different direction. And I think that comes down to clarity for what I was sort of getting from picking up from this guy is that they weren’t because they came out with two ideas. They weren’t quite clear on what was important to them. And that is that’s what we’ve sort of got onto talking to last night. It sort of goes back to our, like the series we’ve, We’ve just completed with it, with the, the six steps planning that’s right yeah Go back and have a look at it. If you’ve, if you’re, if you haven’t heard it already we’ll put the link in the description below will where you really need to get clear, especially as the client but there’s also, if you’re a builder builders will listen to this podcast as well. If you’re a builder you really need to understand what your prospect is after and what their fears and frustrations wants for aspirations are for the project itself. And you need to completely understand. And the most important thing that I found in recent times, you’ve found it as well. I’m sure that you need to you need to get confirmation from the prospect or the client that they feel that you may understand their problems and their issues, and what’s important to them and what they need, what they want, what they dream of and what their purpose is for the whole project. Because if you don’t if that’s not clear, then you’re just going to go run around and ever decreasing circles. And you’re just going to waste money and waste time, which is more money. And nobody’s going to be happy with the situation whatsoever. 

– Yeah, it was, it was interesting to mention to, you said, so when you said you had two sort of ideas or plans or whatever is after, and he said can you give me a price? – Yeah, that’s right. So he had to, he had one concept plan and then he had another one that had hand drawn over the over the first concept plan and said, I just need to, I want a quote on this. So I know which one is is going to be best, best value for money. And then we can go back to the architect and go with that option. And I was like well, I can’t quote, you can’t quote anything. That’s not something that’s not finished. Like it’s like playing football without a ball. How are we going to do that? Like if a builder doesn’t have all the pieces of information lined up, so all the most importantly is plans and they need to be but I need to be completely ready to go to da, but they need to be 90% there. They don’t have to have it. 

– Those for you don’t know what DA is council approval basically auto, similar da as well. Yeah. 

– Yeah. I developed a Della development application. – Yeah. Yeah. So they don’t they don’t need to be at the level where they’re going to go to a certifying authority of some description. So I’m not sure about in Queensland but here in here in new South Wales, you can do either. I develop an application that goes to council or a compliance certificate. So that means that that can be issued by a private certifying authority that they can certify that it meets a certain planning, restricts gain some stuff. So the idea of that scheme there it’s scaled right back. Now they’re trying to, the councils are trying to get rid of it to be perfectly honest. But the purpose of the whole scheme here in new South Wales was to try and reduce the time that all the amount of the amount of applications or developing applications that council was dealing with because it was taking forever and people were getting ridiculously frustrated. So they stood they introduced a new set of planning guidelines where if you meet all, if your block was this type of block, and it didn’t have any of these conditions on it, and your development met all these conditions which is a huge document that you’ve got to you’ve got to meet. But if it didn’t, if it met all those conditions then you could take your plants to a private certifying authority. And they could certify that it meets that planning code. So that’s what I mean, that’s what I mean by that. Sorry, long winded, but that’s what I mean. So the plans don’t need to be to that. They don’t need to be a hundred percent finished but then it’d be 90% so that, so you need to have all your information on it. So there’s the dimensions. Then it needs to have a section or needs to have elevations and it needs to have it doesn’t necessarily need to have a selections like exterior colors and that sort of stuff. But it helps obviously the more the more, the more information the better, but it doesn’t have to be a hundred percent sort of 85, 90% is what I sort of can work from. And then we can sort of, we don’t sort of make assumptions but we can say, all right, do you want this in this place? Like what you know, you want to go with a California tall roof or you’re gonna go with render or your face brick or, you know, if you’re gonna face brick and what type and that sort of stuff, we can make some interpretations.

 – Yeah. So it’s essentially needing the bones and I to say this to a lot of people too, cause you know, you do get the odd client like you just said, we’ll go to the designer first. And this happens probably 10 out of 10 times. I go and see the designer actually it’s a lie nine out of 10 because I had one the other day that actually was they met the budget. They went and sent the designer first, brought me into it sorta at that preliminary stage, which is generally a lot of designers will say, Hey, preliminary set of plans. So your first basic set of plans that the designer will give you we’ll say, Hey, you know, go get some pricing off. A builder still is really hard to give an accurate pricing but you can definitely get a gauge indication of, of where you’re sitting at, you know, potentially within 20 to 30% of your budget. And it’s hard to also like depending on your engineering and like the injury said with all them other forms and more detail and the more info the better upside, depending on your soil class all these there’s so many factors that get involved. So that first initial preliminary can be within 20 to 30%. You know, it’s something that they’ve done before and the builder’s quite confident then you know, that’s up to them on, on how they will tell you and give you information on where something that sometimes they get a bit technical. It can just want variously because every job’s different to another. 

– Yeah, that’s right. So as I was saying, we, we, to, to give that accurate price and to give the hard dollar figure that someone can be confident in saying in taking to other bank or sign on the dotted line with us, we really need, so the big the big pieces of the puzzle for us are architects drawings, engineer’s drawings. I usually have a chat with the, with the product certifier whether it’s going to go develop applications combined built that certificate. I always chat with my program’s private certifier about things. So I can find out which way it’s going to go and also find any conditions that I need to meet that might come up in the construction phase and stuff. Yeah. And then I, then if I did a lot of jobs, – we do or a bushfire prone area. So we get a Bush, Bush fire report and a lot we do cause we were in a bit of a rural area here out West, have a wet onsite waste water management system. So we have to get a report done for that too. 

– You have six big septic tanks 

– Sorry, We know what sort of septic tank or ambient aerated water Silverbird system we’re going to use so we can price it accurately. Cause like you know, they range from, well the sprinkler systems range from, you know, a purple hose on the ground with two with two steel sprinklers on it that costs 25 bucks to 7,000 Alon underground reticulation systems. So now if there’s not, you know, I’ve done done, done both in separate council, separate council areas funnily enough, but I’ve done both and same, same size or similar size house I’m at the same minute bathrooms. Yeah, It was just a council. That was what – Yeah, And that’s the other thing too making sure that council requirements are met. Cause you do every now and again, get the application, that’ll go through and say Hey, this needs to be done now. Or this has to be done. And you know, most, very rarely does it happen but you do get the odd one that does, you know there’s a special, specific requirement they require. Or we have troubles with some sheds especially when I’m pushing close to boundaries. I don’t know. It’s the same for houses and stuff that if we get too close to a boundary might have got a bit of a slope block. You can’t make the shed too hard to be able to cut the view from the person behind or make it or obstructing a view of view of someone else. So, but yeah. Going back to that story of you with all maintenance the game of rugby will planning plan a game without a ball basically. 

– A game without a ball. Yeah exactly, So I was like, well 

– Do you need like what he goes I want to know which direction to go in. I said okay. So what’s most important to you about that direction? He’s like, well it’s cost. Okay, Well, why don’t you send me what you’ve got and I’ll see what, see how detailed it is and see how detailed I can make my estimate for you. And then I’ll give you a call back to her and then we’ll have a bit more of a chat from there. And then he sent me about an hour later. He sent me what he had, but you know, he sent me one plan. He sent me or sent me to plans sorry. He sent me an existing plan to what was there. And then he sent me one concept and then I rang him back and said, where’s the second concept. He goes, I know I haven’t got a second concept. I said, you just told me it a second concept. And he’s like, don’t worry about it. I’ll just give you just give me a ballpark on this one said, all right well I’ll bring you back anyway. So we’re going to chat to, I’m going to see him later next week to chat about what he’s getting really clear on what he’s up to So I’m going to go through the six steps to planning with him and get, really get an understanding of what he’s after and get him clear on what on it as well. So we can see if we can’t deliver. 

– Yeah. And I think that’s where a lot of costs comes from people too, that they’re just like I talked to people, you know, they’re just, they don’t know. Like I had a set of clients come through the day and they, you know, they said to me, look, he said, we have no idea where where to go, what to do and where to start. Like we know what we, we know we want to renovate and do this, this and this, but it’s just like, do it. You guys Xanadu. And I need to go to the bank. Do we need to like, do we need to say builder? Like there’s so many things that go on and then I think you start showing people all the stuff you need to be able to get into there just go to art, sort of throw their hands up in the air. So I think, yeah, I think it’s important too, to make sure if people are going through that process of renovating or building new they have someone that sorta holds their hand through that process and say, this is the directions and the steps we need to take to be able to to guide you and inform you to make the decision. Like, you know, not tell you what to do but more or less just this is, this is the steps to take. This is the direction you need to head. If it’s something you want to do then you know, we need to do this, this and this. 

– Yeah, yeah. A hundred percent. Yeah. Someone that’s going to help you through the whole process is what you just said. Hold your hand, walk you through the process get all the ducks lined up for you. Get all the documentation that you need is certainly what you should be looking for in in the first person. So the first person you go and see it. Doesn’t doesn’t want to do that with you then you need to find so if that’s, if that’s the builder does it doesn’t matter who it is. A building designer. We would have wanted that. When did she ever want it happens to be what the bank is the first person you go and see, he doesn’t doesn’t do that with you think, go and see first. And they don’t, they don’t want to hold your hand. Just like now come back to me. When you, when you got an idea of what you’re after or 

– It’s really what that’s saying is I don’t really care about you just when you’re when you’re here, when you’re ready just come back and I’ll, you know, we’ll just do business 

– Then we’ll do it. Yeah. Cause that’s, that’s where a lot of the too busy or I don’t care or you know, too much bone too much on my plate right now. So yeah, come back. And that, that to me, that would scream red flag straight away. Like it’s not gonna, it’s not gonna end well with that person. So yeah. I would encourage people to find someone that’s going to hold their hand through it. Cause it’s a difficult process. I mean, we do it every day. So not to mention that 

– It’s not very big, large investment too. 

– Yeah. It’s true. And it needs to be right. Like if it’s wrong, it can cost you tens of thousands.

 – People that are spending these kinds of dollars off either life savings or say you know, their last sort of yeah, yeah, yeah. You know, it’s not like it’s a, Oh it’s 50 bucks. 

– No, not a hundred bucks. 

– You just said before with people pushing, you know what at the bill or the designer pushing away and tell them to come back when they’re ready. I don’t know. I’ve talked to a fair few clients about this. And other times they just say, Oh, they said, you know we went to gag, galaxy, see the builder to get a price. And he said I’ll come back to me once you’ve seen the designer. And that’s probably, I hear that quite a lot. It’s quite common that the builder just wants to quote it and price it and do the job and just send them off to get the designer. And like I said, nine out of 10 times they’ll come back and then they’ve got a set of plans. It’s budget that doesn’t even meet the Plains because the designer drew what they want and it’s not their fault. The designer drew that. And they’re not, they’re not estimaters or anything like that either really the builder’s job is that I think personally the part of the responsibility is being able to make sure that it’s a builder’s responsibility to engage with the clients there, to be able to talk to the designer and architect to help keep that project on budget. 

– The builder should be able to gauge what the level of design that the client is after as well, depending on how, you know, there’s a whole whole range of factors that sort of go into, go through my head when I’m, when I’m talking to someone or how much design, how much design are these people going to need you going to need? They just a draftsman just because I just want to put two rooms on the back of the house. I want to put a rumpus room and I’ve added in one bedroom and then that’s it. And then just need a draftsman or, you know, are they wanting to they want to do a pretty extensive landscaping and want to put four, four kitchens and six bathrooms and seven bedrooms and a shared, and six car garage, gym and a home theater, and they rattle off all these things and you go, well, hang on a minute. These people are not going to get a draft. And they’re going to be more than a draftsman. Sorry, that sort of, I sort of gauge as as we’re going through the initial meeting, how we’re going did, so the level of design they’re going to need and what level they’re going to need to be happy with it and want to continue on and be confident in the, in the design. So that’s how I sort of sit. I sort of sit the, sit that ball in motion 

– But understanding too. Yeah. 

– And it, and the almost what train of thought. 

– No, that’s the, I guess that comes back to an understanding of the client anyway. So it’s it’s working out, you know, like you said, what they’re after or what they, what they’re particularly wanting you know, I find and being cost effective. So what’s important to them. So whether it be you know, some people’s, some people, some people will come and say, you know, money’s not really an issue. This is what we want 

– For sure 

– What this is, If they’re, if they’re after that high end sorta finish, and this is what they’re after then we need to get something a bit better than just the average God. And do that. You know probably at 90% of my are on that of, you know, they just they’re not after a super high cost or not a high cost but a really really nice build or renovation they’re more or less after the room or extension to be able to put on the back and just have the room to be able to live comfortably. So, and I guess everyone’s sort of priority gals come back down to their budget. Most of them conversations that have around them are, you know, the budget. Money’s always, money’s always a problem. 

– Yeah. It’s always fun. 

– So it doesn’t, it doesn’t grow on trees. 

– Yeah, that’s right. It’s very rare. You get the client that well, there’s it people have got it growing on trees and that sort of stuff. They’re very, very few and far between that’s for sure. Very well that’s one of the points you made before was it’s the builder’s responsibility to keep that keep the designing check if you will like that. And just in relation to that, or just a story on, Oh, I had a, a prospect that came to see us or we went to see last year and she had, they had this couple of boat of a family, bought a house and they want to renovate it. And they wanted it very similar to the house next door. Cause they actually wanted to what last next door. But they had to buy this one instead. And they, instead of engaging us to engage an architect to do it for them, the desire she had a bit of a relationship with another draftsman. So I got him in to do it. And they had a pretty healthy budget that was about half a million bucks. And so when the draftsmen eventually finished the plans it was months and months a month later sort of thing we just kept sort of you know, kept checking in with her and that sort of stuff. And I should have some changes next week or, you know, I want to change some things. So she’ll come back next week blah, blah, blah, when eventually got their plans. And I had a look at them and went and talked with a gentleman about it and what was important to them on the plans and that sort of stuff. I sort of give a ballpark of like 1.5 million. Like she she went white, he looked like I’d smacked him in the face. And I thought, well guys, just like, you know I just rattled off all the things at four bathrooms at a huge kitchen and a Butler’s kitchen and a pool. And they wanted to do landscaping in a garage at the front and then it would escalate underneath the house and all this sort of stuff. And I was like Oh, this is like, you put an extra floor on top of it. 

– It’s the classical nine out of 10. Yeah, it does. Yeah. 

– Yeah. And, and, and yeah, that’s yeah. Was I just say nine out of 10 times, it doesn’t meet doesn’t meet their expectations. And that’s one thing we, we try and that’s why we’re sort of doing these chats and that sort of stuff trying educate and educate and, and and manage people’s expectations when it comes to what they’re after. They’re really directly, as I said before, like in the earlier you really need to get clear on what you’re after and what’s important. And once you’ve got a list of what’s What you’re after then prioritize that list. 

– Yeah definitely. ‘Cause I think it’s good to have that dream and be able to dream of what you want. But I think what is important fall into the black hole of is, is throwing the dream in first, right into the plane without just having a little bit of at the same time. Like they, a lot of people don’t understand how much things cost either. So, but throwing that whole dream straight into it at the first hit, which is you know, some people would like to see what it costs but you know, you end up reaping the just taking the rug out from underneath them. And then that’s the dream just go on and crush where I think at least if it’s prioritized and then you can start putting the dream this stuff in later on. now I think that’s where it starts to, to really take shape on working out what you can afford also. 

– And when people see that, that the design first takes in, when they get clear on their, on the importance of things and the priority of what thereafter they, and they can see that their needs are met first in the design. And there’s a couple of ones and maybe some factors of a dream in the design, then they are more, they get more enjoyment out of it and they get more excited about it about the project itself. 

– Yeah, ’cause they’re working towards something, I guess, rather than taking things away. Yeah, that’s right. Yeah. Yeah exactly. You’re right. Very interesting, interesting topic. So if anyone is looking for any more info you know where to find us links a bit though, our websites and links will be down below in the description. If you have any more questions we’ll most likely be back for another episode next week and we’ll see you all next week. I’m Joel from Refined Space Constructions 

– And I’m Andrew from Quadrio Building Services. We’ll see you next time. 

– See you later. See. But this week set aside 

– [Narrator] of what field is, don’t tell their clients brought to you by refined space constructions. Don’t forget to join us next week for another episode. Thank you for listening.

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