Building your dream home is a monumental endeavour, one filled with anticipation and excitement. Yet, within the journey of home construction lies a pivotal phase that often shapes the very essence of your vision – the colour selection process.

In this article, we embark on a journey to comprehend the importance of home colour selections and explore the complexities of selecting the optimal level of inclusions for your new residence. For the sake of simplicity, we will categorize all builder's inclusion offerings into three tiers: bronze, silver, and gold. Each tier signifies a progression in both inclusions and cost allowances.

From bronze to silver to gold, we will explore the choices that define the quality, functionality, and aesthetics of your dream home. Welcome to the world of home specification selections, where informed decisions bring your vision to life.

One of the most critical phases is the specification selection process when embarking on the journey of building your dream home. This phase isn't just about choosing the aesthetics; it's about laying the foundation for your home's quality, functionality, and cost-effectiveness.

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What Are Builder's Standard Inclusion Lists?

Builders, in their quest to offer variety and meet diverse needs, provide standard inclusion lists categorized into different specification levels. These levels, often named bronze, silver, and gold, represent varying degrees of inclusions and relative costs.

Your choices during the specification selection process have a profound impact on your new home. They dictate the quality of materials, the energy efficiency of your home, and, importantly, your budget. Making informed choices at this stage is key to ensuring your dream home aligns with your vision.

Types of Specification Levels

The bronze specification level typically includes the essentials needed to build a functional home. It covers the basics without many frills, making it a cost-effective choice for those on a tight budget.

Moving up to the silver specification level, you'll find a broader range of inclusions, offering improved aesthetics, durability, and energy efficiency. It strikes a balance between affordability and quality.

At the gold specification level, you'll have higher cost allowances and the largest range of inclusions to select from. This level includes the previous specification inclusions along with additional ranges you can choose from.

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Owner Supplied Items

If you discover that there's nothing within the standard supply options that aligns with your preferences, an alternative approach is to remove the item from the contract, receive a credit, and then secure your own material supply. While this choice is entirely viable, there are a few key considerations to bear in mind.

Firstly, it's important to note that some builders may only credit you the supply cost allowance for the item. It's advisable to clarify this figure with your builder when they present it to you. The cost allowance, as outlined in your contract, encompasses the builders' margin. Therefore, the credited cost should encompass both the cost allowance and the original margin included in the house price. If the builder credits you solely for the "supply cost," they essentially retain the margin applied to the supply of this element, even though it's now deducted from the contract.

Another significant aspect to contemplate when supplying materials to your site as the owner is insurance. Anything that the builder orders and provides is covered under their all-risk/construction insurance. Conversely, anything you supply is not covered unless you secure your specific insurance policy to safeguard the cost of the supplied item. This may not initially appear concerning, but theft is unfortunately prevalent on construction sites, and often the supply cost exceeds the insurance premium for the claim. Consequently, you could end up paying twice for the goods supplied.

Short supply of owner-supplied materials

Suppose you've chosen to provide your own wet area and main floor tiles, removing them from the builder's contract. One crucial consideration is ensuring an adequate supply of tiles. The ceramic tiler assigned to handle your wet area tiling has a predefined schedule on your site before moving on to the next project. In case of tile shortages, both the tiler and the builder may incur re-establishment costs as the allocated time allowance extends beyond the standard period.

NCC Compliant products

When you supply materials, you have a responsibility to ensure they comply with the NCC and standards. You may be asked to provide certificates of conformity, appraisals, or product technical information demonstrating the material is up to code and is safe to use. In the context of main floor tiles, there are many "discount" tile suppliers.

The reason many of these tiles are discounted is that they are seconds. Seconds are tiles that may not be flat (are cupped, warped, twisted) or dimensionally stable. I strongly recommend against using seconds in a new home, and especially for main floor tiles because it becomes impossible for your tiler to line up tile corners, long lines of tiles may appear wavy and not straight, the floor surfaces may look "wavy," and there is also a risk that the tiles may easily crack or break from normal use.

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The Selection Process

Before construction begins, homeowners participate in a pre-construction meeting with the builder. This meeting is an important step in the process, where you'll make your specification selections. Being well-prepared for this meeting is essential, as your choices will influence the entire project.

During the pre-construction meeting, you'll need to make selections in various categories. These may include roofing materials, types of bricks, window styles, and much more. Each category presents you with opportunities to customize your home.

Builders often work with preferred suppliers for certain items, ensuring quality and reliability. However, you'll still have options within the specification level you've chosen. It's essential to explore these options to match your preferences.

Your builder will help you set budget limits based on your chosen specification level. These limits ensure you stay within your budget while making selections. Understanding and adhering to these limits is vital to managing project costs.

Every selection you make during this phase affects the overall cost of your home. Choosing premium materials or upgrades can lead to additional expenses while opting for standard selections helps control costs. It's important to strike the right balance between personal preferences and budget constraints.

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Understanding Costs and Credits

If your selections exceed the specification limits set by your builder, you may incur additional charges. It's essential to be aware of these potential costs when making choices during the selection process.

On the flip side, selecting lower-priced items can result in credits. These credits can offset some of the additional costs, but weighing the benefits against your preferences is essential.

Builders may charge administrative fees for changes made to selections. Even if you choose lower-priced items, these fees can affect the overall cost. Understanding the fee structure is crucial to managing your budget effectively.

To ensure you make informed decisions, consider working closely with your builder and understanding the financial implications of your selections. Balancing your preferences with cost considerations is key to a successful project.

Finalising the Contract

Once you've made your specification selections, the builder will adjust the contract documentation accordingly. It's essential to review this contract carefully to ensure it accurately reflects the choices you've made. Any discrepancies should be addressed promptly.

Accuracy in the contract is paramount. It serves as the legal document that binds both you and the builder to the agreed-upon specifications and costs. Carefully verifying the contract ensures that your vision aligns with what's on paper.


In summary, the specification selection process is pivotal in building your dream home. Your choices at this stage impact your home's quality, functionality, and cost.

We've emphasised the importance of making informed decisions that balance your preferences and budget constraints. Collaborating closely with your builder and understanding the financial implications of your selections are essential steps.

Ultimately, thoughtful and informed choices lead to the realisation of your dream home. By carefully navigating the specification selection process, you'll create a space that reflects your vision and meets your expectations.


Q1. What is the significance of specification selections in home construction?

A1. Specification selections are important in determining your new home's quality, functionality, and cost. These choices impact everything from the materials used to the overall aesthetics.

Q2. What are builder's standard inclusion lists, and why are they important?

A2. Builder's standard inclusion lists categorise specification levels, such as bronze, silver, and gold. These lists detail what is included in each level and help homeowners make choices that align with their preferences and budget.

Q3. How do my selections during the specification process affect my home's quality?

A3. Your selections influence the quality of materials and features in your home. Opting for higher specification levels generally results in better quality and durability.

Q4. What should I expect during the colour selection meeting?

A4. The colour selection meeting is where homeowners make specification selections. You can expect to discuss various categories like roofing, bricks, windows, tapware, door profiles and handles, paint & finish colours and more, making choices that personalise your home.

Q5. How do builders determine budget limits for specification selections?

A5. Builders set budget limits based on the specification level you've chosen. These limits help you stay within your budget while making selections that meet your preferences.

Q6. What happens if my selections exceed the budget limits?

A6. Exceeding budget limits can result in additional charges by way of variations to your contract. It's essential to be aware of potential extra costs when making choices and understand that builders add a margin (covering administrative costs) on top of the extra cost for your choices outside of the standard allowances.

Q7. Is it possible to receive credits for choosing lower-priced items?

A7. Certainly, selecting less expensive items can lead to credits that offset costs. However, consider these credits in relation to your preferences and budget. Also, factor in the builder's administrative costs when calculating the overall credit for the deleted component.

Q8. Are there administrative fees associated with changes to selections and what does this involve?

A8. Yes, builders may impose administrative fees for modifications to your selections. Even if you opt for lower-priced items, these fees can impact your overall expenses.

The administrative process for issuing a selection-based variation is relatively straightforward. It involves an administrative person identifying the selection change, a cost estimator determining the pricing for the variation, and the administrative personnel preparing the necessary paperwork. This paperwork includes producing four (4) copies: one for the building file, one for the finance file, and two hard copies either mailed to the client or sent for digital signing. The client receives one copy for signing and returning to the builder, and the other copy for their records. Each variation requires, on average, approximately 1 to 1.5 hours of labour, especially for simple variations like colour selections, along with associated printing and postage costs. More intricate alterations, such as structural changes that impact multiple elements, will obviously incur higher administrative costs.

Q9. How can I ensure the contract accurately reflects my specification selections?

A9. To ensure precision, carefully scrutinise the contract. Promptly address any disparities with your builder to align the contract with your preferences. Builders consistently refer to the contract documentation in case of on-site issues. Do not solely depend on discussions you've had with sales consultants. It's vital that your contract documentation precisely mirrors your desires.

Take the time to thoroughly review the contract and identify any discrepancies before affixing your signature. Additionally, it's advisable to communicate any issues with your builder in writing via email rather than relying solely on verbal exchanges. Always bear in mind that what you can substantiate holds the most weight, so maintaining a documented record is the most accurate reflection of past interactions.

Q10. What is the ultimate goal of thoughtful specification selections?

A10. The ultimate goal is to achieve your dream home. Thoughtful and informed choices, balancing preferences and costs, lead to a space that reflects your vision and meets your expectations.