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Modifying Kit Home Plans

Common questions about Kit Home Plans are:

“What if I have my own plan?”

“Can I modify a plan from the Kit Home Company?”

A Kit Home is usually packaged using a standard plan which is owned by the Kit Home Supply Company. Some Kit Home Suppliers only sell their standard Kit Home Packages and lack the flexibility or resources to modify or design a plan to suit your needs.

UBuild Homes is one of the Kit Home Suppliers that can create a customised Kit Home around your own plan. In fact this request is becoming more and more common. Let’s say you see a design from the product list that requires modifications in order to suit your own individual needs. This can be done, and why we recommend you choose a Kit Home Supplier who has the flexibility to tailor-make your Kit Home to suit you.

Following Building Systems

It still amazes me the number of times people commence a project totally unaware of what to do, when to do it, and in some cases, totally oblivious to the process.

It would be like me pulling a motor apart using just a shifting spanner and hammer.

For a start… I wouldn’t even know where to start! I wouldn’t know what tools to use, and more importantly, I wouldn’t know how to get the thing back together again! This is why we have people called ‘mechanics’. Of course it’s possible for me to one day successfully pull apart a motor and re-assemble it again so that it is in a workable order. But first I’d need to learn how by doing a course or by having a qualified person guide me.

The same goes for building a home. You need to learn how to do it successfully and get advice from someone who is not only qualified, but willing to help. There is also another important component to a successful Owner Builder Project: you being open to following the advice of that qualified helper.

In the early days of UBuild Homes we had a client who had a set of hand drawn plans for his building project. He had sent them to council and several months later still had no response. In a bout of frustration he came to UBuild Homes for help.

Once we identified his issues we understood why council was taking so long. This fellow had been challenging to deal with, and was totally clueless as to what to do, when to act, and so on. We also discovered he did not have his finance for the building project in order, and had alienated his banker. Because of all of these issues he decided to get UBuild Homes involved to clean up his mess. To be honest, if we had known what we know now, we would never have taken him onboard. And then despite our recommendations Mr X refused to have a professional plan drawn because his ‘builder mate’ had drawn up his project’s plans.

Once Mr X got started, issues continued to arise and problems kept popping up due to many reasons, including:

  1. The poor quality plans were causing suppliers issues – in particular the frames and truss company which caused cost blow outs in the thousands of $$$.
  2. Mr X would not use the steps, work orders, etc. of the UBuild system, and instead engaged trades verbally. When the variations due to his communication poured in, they again cost thousands of $$$.
  3. Construction slowed up due to rumours of site difficulties.
  4. Construction was halted by the bank because Mr X could not access any further funds.
  5. Mr X could not pay trades and more rumours circulated around town for trades not to touch this job as the money had run out.
  6. The Real Estate Agents then have had difficulty finding a buyer for this unfinished project.

The moral of this story is: if you don’t know how a motor works or you don’t know how to manage a building project, don’t! Learn how to, get advice from those who know, and most importantly – follow it!

Building Quotes and Services

When Owner Building it is so desperately important that you are certain of what services you need. And the word ‘need’ is not to be used loosely…

The amount of times Owner Builders have paid for services that simply aren’t necessary is tragic. Please, before you approach any service providers, check with us at UBuild Homes. You may discover you don’t even need the service, or that we can get you superior results at a lower cost. That’s why we’re here – to help your Owner Builder experience to be successful and economical.

Another important component to Owner Building is getting accurate quotes for every piece of work or service. Please do this BEFORE you sign any contract or begin a project.  We know of Owner Builders who have instructed professional firms such as drafting, structural engineers, surveyors, Geotechnical engineers and so on to proceed with works without ever so much as an idea of what the costs will be. The job is completed in some cases with lengthy time frames, and when the invoice arrives the Owner Builder’s jaw hits the floor. 

Every little step of the way must be quoted in advance and again get advice on what you require to complete your project.

Recently an Owner Builder came to us for help after he had paid over $2,000 for his plans and a further $3,000 for engineering. The tragedy was that the plans were of a low quality – in particular for what he paid! UBuild Homes could have supplied him with better quality plans for a fraction of the price… and the engineering – he did not even require that service. He could have saved almost $5,000 in just two service areas of Owner Building had he come to us first for advice.

When frames and trusses are being quoted most Owner Builders will not know that most frames and truss plant will not include any structural steel beams in the quote. If this happens the Owner Builder may not even realize these beams are required to erect the house – and your Carpenter will leave the job because these beams are not on-site… simply because nobody advised the Owner Builder that the beams needed to be ordered seperately. In some cases structural steel beams have to be fabricated and this can take some weeks. If this is the case, your Carpenters won’t be prepared to just hang around on your site during that time – they’ll leave and you may not be able to secure their services again for some time.

And you also need to know ‘where to spend’ on services and where you don’t need to.

We have recently refused to do business with a potential client because she did not want to spend money on an accurate set of plans. She had no idea how vital these were. Her own plans were very confusing and Trades will use inaccurate or confusing plans to blame for mistakes during construction, and double charge you to rectify the mistake.