The difference between a custom and a volume builder

You’ve made the huge decision to build your own home and are now faced with the seemingly impossible task of choosing a builder.  How do you decide who to entrust with possibly the biggest financial investment of your life, and what are the main things to look out for?

To help you with your decision, we’ve taken a look at the major differences between a custom builder (like us) versus a volume builder, and the questions you need to be ready to ask.


Volume builders generally build large numbers of homes based on pre-determined, standardised designs (hence the name ‘volume’!).  This enables them to churn out hundreds of houses per year in a production line style, which can be cheaper to build because the builder has better negotiating power and can benefit from bulk pricing from suppliers.

However, if you want to introduce any changes to those standard designs, upgrade fixtures or fittings, the additional costs soon stack up and you may be better off considering a custom builder instead.  That display home that you fell in love with may not be the standard design and price.

You may also find that the advertised price doesn’t include all of your site costs, especially if you have a block that will require some extra attention, like a sloping or rocky site for example.

Volume builders are often much larger companies with a different organisational structure, which means you will probably find yourself dealing with a salesperson rather than the builder themselves as is more common with a custom builder.

So, if your key aim is to get as much house for your budget as possible, even if it means compromising on your original vision and choosing a standard design, with a more hands off approach during the building process, then a volume build may well be the way to go for you.


With a custom home builder, you’re creating a unique home and you’ll get personalised service from the outset.  Custom builders are generally smaller, more boutique sized companies and often you’ll be dealing directly with the owner or registered builder.

Working with a custom builder to design your home, you’ll work together at every stage to get the best outcome.  Not only will the builder be able to work with the designer to translate your vision into reality, they’ll be able to advise on ways to save money by making minor adjustments to design or buildings methods.  Custom builders also often have interior designers on their team who will be able to help with some of the more difficult decisions you’ll need to make early in the process regarding fixtures, fittings and finishes throughout your new home.

From the detailed quoting stage right through to final sign off, you’ll be kept abreast of all updates, be able to provide feedback on the design and construction process at every opportunity and understand the total budgeted costs from day one.  During the build itself, you can expect a very high level of communication, so you know what’s happening at every stage.

If you have a particularly tricky site, then a custom builder is likely to be your only option as a standard volume design simply won’t work.  This gives you the opportunity to create a unique one-of-a-kind home that will be the envy of the neighbourhood.  And with all custom build homes, you can expect a high quality end product, from a builder who is keen to make sure their clients are completely satisfied at the end of the project.

If, like us, you’re sold on the advantages of a custom builder, contact us today to discuss how we can build your dream home together.