So you finally saved enough for your finance deposit and are ready to build your first home. Congratulations! Now comes the hard part - finding a place that's built well but still affordable.

Good luck with that.

These days, home builders seem to be in a race to the bottom, competing to churn out flashy houses as quickly and cheaply as possible. Forget about quality materials or craftsmanship; it's all about optimizing turnover. The result? New homes start falling apart as soon as you move in (and certainly require renovation before seven years of ownership).

But don't worry, those warranty claims you were promised will indeed get addressed...eventually. If this sounds familiar, you're not alone. Residential construction in this country has lost its way, and first-home buyers like you are paying the price.

The Rise and Fall of Volume Builders and Rapid Construction

The rise of volume builders and rapid construction methods has fundamentally changed the residential construction industry in Australia. Project home builders are under intense pressure to maximize profits by building as many properties as quickly and cheaply as possible. They've become focused on flashy designs, low costs and speed over quality to gain a competitive advantage.

Volume builders employ cookie-cutter designs and inferior materials to construct homes rapidly. They use cheaper alternatives wherever possible, cutting corners to reduce costs. The priority is getting new properties to market quickly, not craftsmanship or high-quality finishes. Build times are optimized for efficiency, not quality control or quality assurance.

The unrealistic expectations volume builders set with promotional offers and misleading marketing materials often come back to haunt first-time homebuyers. Inferior artistry and materials mean higher long-term costs for repairs and maintenance. New homeowners end up disappointed and disillusioned when their "dream home" turns out to be poorly constructed (leaking showers, anyone?).

Millions of dollars are spent on display homes that most of the customers walking through will be awestruck by but unable to afford most of the fit and finish. Deceptive practices like this are done deliberately to frame a consumer's perception about that builder so they can be recalled as a favourable memory when compared to its under-spending competitors.

Communication is poor, and homebuyers' concerns and complaints are often brushed aside. Volume builders avoid accountability, refusing responsibility for shoddy artistry or defective materials. They bank on new homeowners being too busy or overwhelmed during the build process to notice cut corners or call them out on broken promises.

The current model of residential construction in Australia is fundamentally flawed. A "race to the bottom" culture that prioritizes profits over people is producing inferior homes and ultimately failing consumers. For the residential construction industry to build a sustainable future, a renewed focus on quality, ethics and transparency is urgently needed. Homebuyers deserve better.

man holding telephone screaming
Photo by Icons8 Team / Unsplash

Builders have Poor Communication and use antiquated Systems Of Work.

Communication is vital in any relationship; the one between a home builder and a client is no exception. Unfortunately, the rapid pace of residential construction in Australia has led to antiquated systems of communication that create frustration for all parties involved.

Builders often rely on outdated tools like Excel spreadsheets to manage projects rather than construction software designed specifically for the task. This makes identifying issues early on, tracking subcontractors' progress, and spotting potential delays or problems difficult. When a problem comes to light, it's often too late to address it effectively.

Rather than taking the time to understand client needs and priorities from the outset, builders push customers through a one-size-fits-all process. They fail to provide the transparency and clarity first-time home buyers need to feel confident in such a significant undertaking. Questions go unanswered as builders rush to start the next project.

Focusing on speed and volume means that many builders fail to train and educate staff and subcontractors properly. Work is often done slapdash by those without a strong understanding of best practices. This results in poor-quality construction and preventable mistakes that diminish the final product.

Builders need to slow down and focus on communication to improve the situation. They should implement construction management software, create standardized processes for client interaction, and invest in continuous training programs. By taking the time to understand client needs, ask questions, and address concerns, builders can avoid problems before the ground is even broken.

With open communication, proper management tools, and an educated, conscientious workforce focused on quality over quantity, home builders and buyers alike will find the construction process far less stressful and frustrating. The result will be homes that stand the test of time and clients who become brand advocates. In the competitive world of residential construction, what could be more valuable?

green plant beside white desk
Photo by Johnson Wang / Unsplash

Training & Education & Demanding Quality

The residential construction industry in Australia has suffered from a lack of proper training and education. Many builders fail to keep their tradespeople up to date with the latest skills, techniques and safety standards. Work is often done hastily without proper supervision to ensure it meets Australian Standards. Home buyers are left with shoddy artistry and homes that deteriorate quickly.

Lack of Proper Training and Education

Trades and construction supervisors are the backbone of the construction industry. Yet many builders do not invest in ongoing education and skills development for them. They are not updated with the latest building codes, safety standards and construction techniques.

Without continuous learning, tradespeople cannot perform at their best, and quality suffers. Mistakes get made, details get missed, and work doesn't meet industry standards. Homeowners pay the price with costly repairs down the road.

Demanding Quality: What Home Buyers Should Require

As home buyers in today's market, you can demand better from builders. Don't settle for construction that cuts corners to reduce costs and increase profits. Look for a builder that:

  • Invests in continuous education and training for their staff and subcontractors.
  • Has skilled and experienced internal labour.
  • Strictly follows Australian Standards for design, materials and construction techniques.
  • Provides oversight and quality auditing at every stage of construction.
  • Uses high-quality, long-lasting materials, not just flashy surfaces.
  • Offers a solid structural warranty and a history of quality artistry.
  • Can demonstrate third-party (unrelated party) audited quality procedures.
  • Puts craftsmanship, safety, and homeowner satisfaction first – not just speed and cost.

By choosing a reputable builder who values quality over profits, you'll get a well-made home built to last and avoid costly repairs down the road. Don't settle for anything less.


So there you have it, the sobering reality of how the residential construction industry has fallen into a race to the bottom. Quality, craftsmanship, and best practices have taken a backseat to speed, cost-cutting, and chasing the almighty dollar. Buyer, beware, that flashy new home may look good now, but who knows how it will hold up in 10 or 20 years.

Do your research, ask hard questions, and get references from past clients. Don't get swept up in the hype of scoring a deal that's too good to be true. Your home is likely the most significant investment you'll ever make, so take your time and choose a builder focused on quality over quantity. You and your wallet will be glad you did. The industry won't change until home buyers demand better. Be that change.