Brian Best – IdeasWood Founder, answers all your questions about IdeasWood and kit homes. For any more questions you might have, you can reach us through our contact us page.
Can IdeasWood buildings be cyclone wind rated? Yes, our buildings can be cyclone rated. This requires site specific engineering to suit and are subject to site assessment. Please contact us to find out more.
Do you require a DA (Development Approval) for constructional land? Sometimes. DAs are not necessarily required if it’s a vacant block of land and you’re just building because that’s an ‘as of right’. However, if we’re building it as a granny flat, that would trigger a DA requirement through the councils – that’s a little bit of an extra process, but it’s not too big. Usually, they ‘re (the councils) quite accepting of that.
The person responsible for lodging a DA (Development Approval). It can be our distributor if they doing a whole project. If you are owner building it (built by the owner/owner’s personal construction team), then that would be your responsibility, via a local building designer or draughtsmen who would assist with plans and put that all together.
If you’re looking for a turnkey solution, then the IdeasWood distributor is responsible as they are taking the whole process on for you, so the Distributor will do the Development Approvals, Building Approvals and then obviously full construction.
The IdeasWood building process has three options
1. You can buy a kit, which is delivered complete with some engineering and relevant certifications, then you can go and put it into council, get your own Developmental Approvals (DAs) and build it. That’s the easy one.
2. The next step is going into Lock Up Stage, to which IdeasWood comes along and we actually do all the building application process for you. We then provide construction, floors, build it up, hand you a set of keys ready for you to do the final fit out. That’s a really good option for a lot of our customers, if they have family, friends who are tradees who want to help out or provide some services.
3. The final stage is Turnkey, which is obviously everything complete, painted, floor coverings down, bathrooms, kitchens, whatever you want. Our Distributors might be able to provide landscaping and driveways, if you so desire. So that’s the full turnkey to complete! You just walk in, put your furniture in, live in it.
Electrical and plumbing normally isn’t supplied as part of a kit of lock up solution. However as part of manufacture, we can assist to facilitate this as part of the kit manufacture – core holes can be drilled in to make it easier. We need to do this at design stage to make sure that electricians and plumbers can easily run their cables and pipes through the building. Because it’s solid timber, we can drill core holes through the actual framework, and that’s why plans need to be followed exactly to make sure the holes all line up.
As far as kitchens go, we’ve got a local supplier. We do have a range of kitchens, European designed kitchens that we can create and have shipped with the building if so desired. Again it needs to be part of the kit ordering process.
At IdeasWood, we supply and stock a range of buildings in Australia. They’re nominated on our website. Additionally, there are bespoke and various custom models available, and because they’re specially ordered, they will require a much longer lead time than a standard “off-the-shelf” model that we have in Australia.
Timeframes on our bespoke designs, usually we allow four-six weeks manufacturing, and then approximately three months on water from oversees to Australia from Europe, and then obviously delivered locally so somewhere around 16-20 weeks.
Our stock lines will be stocked in depots within the major ports of Australia. If it’s available on our website, then we can supply that usually within a few weeks.
Construction time for IdeasWood from order to completion, even if we’re bringing a custom unit from Europe is still probably only six months. This may be less as our growing distributor network will mean that we will be able to supply locally to nearly any point in Australia in the near future.
The foundations for our buildings are wide and varied, and most of it comes down literally to the site we’re working with. If it’s a fairly flat-levelled site, some people will opt for a concrete slab. We have timber floor systems, steel floor systems, raised steel floor systems. It doesn’t matter how steep the block is, we can put it up on posts, put verandas on, stairs, handrails, there’s no issues there. It very much comes down to being site specific as to the needs of the customer.
Termites are a problem in some parts of Australia. We (IdeasWood) recognize this but there are many, many buildings in Australia already built of timber, and lot of it was pine. The pine commonly used is Australia different to the timber used by IdeasWood. The timber we use is slow grown Nordic Spruce. There are a lot of standard building code requirements around timber buildings, including a clear view of any access points, so if it’s a concrete slab, the slab has to be 300mm out of the ground so that you can see tracks going up, termite mesh needs to go around pipes going through penetrations, if it’s on a steel floor system, you can see termites making lines up the post. Regular maintenance. inspections and pest control, should keep your building safe.
If we’re (IdeasWood) are doing the build to lock up stage or beyond, we would usually have the building approvals in place, foundation’s done, floor ready to go, so that we can drop the building straight on top, and fix it down. If it’s a kit only, obviously the owner needs to sort out their foundations, whether it be slab or floor frame. We can offer advice if needed.
At IdeasWood, we provide a number of guarantees. We guarantee of the quality of the building, when our kits come out, there are spare materials, including boards provided with the building. This is in the unlikely case that something does get damaged in transit, the building can be completed using these spare boards. Our timbers are kiln dried, so they’re designed to be transported across the world. As well as spare boards provided with the kits, we have spare windows available at various depots around Australia in case a window is damaged. Regarding quality guarantees, we’re offering warranties that can match up with the normal industry standards of building. For example, as our team are registered builders, the Queensland Builder’s Guarantee with it’s a minimum of seven years of builder’s insurance is applicable, other states vary of course.
As far as warranties and guarantees go, IdeasWood is a kit supplier company.. We supply to a distributor network, those distributors provide building services locally. Obviously that comes down to workload, availability, those sorts of things, but we only select the best quality people. We have standards that we need them to meet, and we’ll be expecting those standards to be met.
IdeasWood is a company, supplying kits to a distributor network. Our distributors do a lot of the field work. We supply the kits in a timely manner to our distributors whether from stock, or from a bespoke design.
As far as guarantees from IdeasWood, we supply in a timely manner. From stock, it’s usually only a few weeks. If it’s coming from overseas, it will be up to 20 week lead time for supply of custom models. We have tracking, to follow products. We’re happy to provide that tracking to our customers when time comes.
IdeasWood only uses natural timber. Nordic Spruce is a tight grain timber with very small knots. It’s a fast growing, sustainable timber. Prior to coming to Australia, the timber is kiln dried to exacting specifications. Our kits are natural timber finish, not stained, lacquered or painted. They are ready to finish by our customers in their preference of finish and we recommend that this be completed very soon after construction to preserve the timber in the harsh Australian climate. Some people put a fire paint, if they’re in a fire prone region. We can colour bond clad the outside. We also have a layering system where we can have the main boards, then insulation, and then another board on the outside to finish the building off, which will provide additional installation if required.
Sustainability of timber, and the Nordic Spruce is absolutely amazing. The trees can regrow very quickly and the timber that we use is only sustainably sourced from legitimate sources. It’s on a regrowth program, the amount of timber available is just astronomical. It gives us a really good reliable supply, even with conflicts around the world, and because of our established supply chains, these events don’t seem to affect us.
A bespoke design means a custom design. Bespoke is a European word. I love it because it means that we get to be creative. I have a software program on my computer, I can custom design any building, whether it be your own design or making your changes to one of our current designs. I can do that quite easily, order it and price it within a day or so. It’s a very easy process. Obviously, the bespoke design requires longer lead time but you get exactly what you want.
Price differentials between a standard and bespoke design isn’t considerable to get exactly what you want. There is a small fee applied to the design, because it’s no longer a standard plan that our manufacturing computer system can run. We need to do a custom plan, custom design, so there is an extra fee for that process. There isn’t a specific percentage, but I’m happy to provide a quote for a standard and a bespoke design and let you, the customer make up your mind.
When we do a bespoke design, it doesn’t hold up the development or building process, we get plans fairly quickly. It’s just an additional step in the process, to get those plans design drawn and elevations, window positioning, and so on correct. Once that’s done, we can get the plans signed off by the engineer, ready for building approvals.
There are a number of reasons why you would choose IdeasWood over anyone else. Becuase, I’m a builder, I know the building industry. I have been in it for 30+ years, doing kit buildings, steel buildings and domestic housing. So you’ve get the value of my knowledge and experience. We have a distributor network who cover Australia wide, who can implement and do the build process for you if that is what you want. We have a huge range of buildings on our website, totaling over 300 different standard models. This is in addition to any custom designs. This sheer volume puts us in a unique position in the marketplace.
Some additional unique selling positions for IdeasWood, is our speed of delivery: As we have stock in Australia, if you choose one of these models, we can load it to transport and depending on your location deliver a kit within weeks,. With a bespoke design is only a maximum 20-week wait time, which puts us as highly competitive. Pricing point and the fact that we have speed to build also puts us well ahead of most standard, everyday building designs and manufacturing processes.
IdeasWood have teamed up with another company to provide finance for us. We have really competitive rates available over various terms. The Application form is available on our website. It’s a really simple process.
Customers come to us wanting a home office, granny flat, or other building. There is a process that we guide them through to provide the right information, to make sure that they understand what is possible financially and within building regulations. We want our customers to have a good experience and get a good outcome. That comes from 30+ years of building experience, I know where all those pitfalls are and navigate that minefield of building approvals etc. That’s why we try to look after our customers as best as we can.
IdeasWood’s Payment Terms are 10% deposit for standard buildings, balance payable upon building approvals. Our bespoke designs are 30% deposit, and balance payable upon building approvals.
The costings for a standard kit home start with a Building Approval process, there’s a fee there and this is governed by where you are building. There’s a kit component and then there’s a construction, and a final build component of that, whether that be to lock up, or to turnkey.
So when we talk about the kit home market, it’s actually comprised of a number of elements. The kit home market starts off at that little cabin in the backyard that might be used as a home office or a she shed, or all these new words that they’re using these days. The bigger ones (kit homes) have one or two bedrooms, as in a fully finished granny flat, where you might put out all the accommodation or might put the teenagers out in the back to give them more space. Then you have the traditional kit home is sought of 3-6 bedrooms, much bigger home. So we cater for that market, specialising in that middle part of the market.
The problem that we have in Australia, is our material costs are rapidly rising, the availability of the product itself is diminishing. My kit homes and my kit buildings are an untapped resource, prices are steady, they have risen in small amounts, comparatively. Compared to the real market and real house building costs, our costs are negligible. The other advantage is that the kit comes complete, ceiling down. Our customers don’t have to source their windows and doors from another supplier. However they do need to decide on their roof and sub-floor /footings and this is an additional cost.
One of the niches that we’ve identified is our ageing population, our baby boomers, I am one of them. Lots of them have larger homes; that they don’t need, the maintenance or upkeep. So, there’s a niche market we’ve discovered of building granny flats in the backyard on bigger, old traditional blocks (1800sqm) where they can build a very comfortable 1-2 bedroom granny flat suited to their needs. That’s all that they need, and either strata title and sell off the front house or they can move family into the front home, or their children and their families to help care for them. There are endless options available to people.
Another market that we’ve identified as being the home based business. A lot of Australians are being forced to work from home, but they’ve found that working in the bedroom in the house isn’t always the greatest solution for noise, children, family, also privacy. Working from home can be a really beneficial. We have solutions, with, and without toilets. There are truly great designated work spaces, that can increase productivity and help customers create a good home/work balance.
Our buildings, soundproofing and insulation factors are unbelievable. We have double-glazed windows that are standard on most of our buildings. We have solid timber walls, these offer thermal and acoustic properties that most building designs don’t allow. Then insulation, they’re great for home office or quiet place, either way.
One other properties of the solid timber double-glazed buildings is the fact that we have very energy efficient materials. The double-glazing, the solid timber walls, allow thermal and acoustic properties – in fact great insulation factors. That means it’s cool in summer and warm in winter. You don’t necessarily need to have air-conditioning. The tilt and turn windows allow for you to have some breeze or no breeze. So, energy efficiency wise, it’s very hard to beat these buildings.
At IdeasWood, what we want to achieve is to be a one-stop shop. We start with either custom or standard design if suitable, we supply construction, building approvals, financing and these are packaged that makes it’s for people to get what they want, when they want it, and how they want it.
So a couple of features of being a kit building company is we have the speed, we build and supply quickly. As our kits come with full plans and instructions, construction can be easy and quick.
Being a kit building company, buildings are designed and built to very strict specifications, which brings in the Quality factor: quality materials and quality designs. This makes the building easier to build. Then flows through to construction methods. IdeasWood buildings are easy to put up and if you follow the plans and instructions, everything goes together as they should.
Repeat customers are huge for us. I have repeat customers on eight, nine, ten buildings with us already. I have customers, on even their first, second or third building but they just keep coming back. I actually have a customer right now that I built a building for 34 years ago, who phoned me and said “Hey Brian, you’re still here, and still doing sheds, we need a carport, we’ve been waiting for the opposition to get back to us. It’s been six months and we haven’t even got a quote from then”. I produced his plan and a quote the same day, they ordered the next day after they rang me and asked “Brian, when can you order it, when can we have it?”.
Well, building approval and development approvals as long as it’s compliant, should be a very quick process. I’ve actually started the process of negotiations with certifiers in all states, so that they know our product, and our range and they’re getting a good heads up on what we are, and who we are, so that when the local builder wants to attain a building approval, he/she just goes to the certifier we’re working with.
Building approvals can be as quick as a couple of weeks. It can be longer, depending on the site, and local rules and regulations and what compliances need to be made. We check all that out. Our local distributors will know their local rules and council. I cannot see any reason why any building process should take too long.
When people talk about price, we talk being price competitive. We are very price competitive. Our advantages are: We’ve removed the middle man, streamlined the processes, we have all sorts of systems in place to make the whole building process easy, quick and affordable. With less overheads, it keeps costs down. Apart from being cost competitive, our quality, and our speed to market, puts us head and shoulders above everyone else.
In the early days, when I first started in the shed kit market, we were very limited. We had a standard building that had two doors, a PA door and a window, and you couldn’t change where they were positioned. These days, we custom design every building to have anything a customer wants. It’s irrelevant where, what or how, as long as it fits, engineering wise, we can put it there. The IdeasWood cabins, granny flats and homes are the same deal. Whereas, in the early days of kit production, you were limited by a design, you had a set plan and accepted those as the way it was done. We now can offer customisation to suit any design, any need, any creativity.