Custom design or off the plan—which build is best for you?

Contemplating whether a custom designed or off the plan home is the better option for you? If you’ve been going back and forth and can’t decide which option is best going to meet your design, functionality, budget and time requirements, here are a few things to consider that may make the decision a little easier.

The custom route

For most people, building the ‘dream home’ is a once in a lifetime experience where they wouldn’t be happy settling for anything less than perfect—this is where a custom design and build is going to be the best option. When you choose the custom route, the sky’s the limit.

You really do have the ability to customise every element of the home to perfectly suit your family, lifestyle and design inclinations. You have complete control to design the optimum floorplan, select the materials you use, incorporate any eco-technology or add any custom design features. If you have very specific ideas about what you want to achieve or want to create a one-of-a-kind home, a custom build is likely going to be the best option for you.

However, a luxury custom home usually won’t come cheap. If you’re going to go down the path of custom design to create your ultimate dream home, it’s unlikely that you’re going to be satisfied settling for mid-range fixtures, fittings, finishes and features. If you’ve got your heart set on a premium high-end build where there’s no room for compromise, it’s safe to say it will come with a higher price tag.

It’s also important to consider whether you’re bound by time restrictions. While your custom builder should be able to give you an estimate of the build time, it’s likely it will take longer than an off the plan home where there’s also less potential for time-blowouts.

Building off the plan

A key benefit to opting for an off the plan home is that you can ‘try before you buy’. Most project builders provide display homes where you can experience first-hand what your finished home will be like. You can get a good understanding of the scale and proportions of the home and the type of finishes you can expect, giving you a better idea of how well the home is going to suit your needs.

Because off the plan homes also use materials sourced from reputable suppliers and use a set of ‘tried and tested’ building processes, they are relatively simple and straightforward to build. This will usually mean it’s easier to estimate the total build time and there’s less potential for any cost blowouts. Because builders can also negotiate volume discounts on the materials used in project homes, they’ll typically also come with a lower price tag than a custom build.

The downside of choosing an off the plan design is that there’s less scope for customisation and you may only be offered a limited range of finishes and options to choose from. If you’ve found a home design that is almost exactly what you’re looking for, it shouldn’t be too difficult or too costly to accommodate some minor changes to the original design. However, if you have very specific requirements or find that you’re wanting to significantly change several elements of the original design, it may be easier to start from scratch by creating your own custom design.

The choice is yours with Glenvill

At Glenvill, we are the experts in building luxury homes in Melbourne.

We have the know-how to help you design your perfect custom home design that ticks every single box, or we also provide a range of beautifully designed off the plan homes which have been developed to satisfy the tastes of even the most discerning customers.

With our experienced team of designers, construction managers and builders under the one roof, we can help you create your ideal custom home or customise one of our existing home designs to suit your every requirement. Simply contact us or drop in to our Cremorne Design Centre to let us show you how.

Set the foundation

The first step toward maintaining a comfortable temperature in your home throughout the winter months, is to set a foundation that will ensure your home can passively retain heat.

Drafts are often the main offenders that contribute to heat loss in the home, so start off by checking all your windows are adequately sealed and your front and back doors are fitted with draft stoppers. Chimneys are also a common source of drafts, so it’s worth investing in a fireplace cover that allows you to close the opening when it’s not in use.

Windows can also cause significant heat loss in the home, so it’s a smart move to opt for double glazed windows finished with quality thermal window coverings which will reduce the amount of heat that’s able to escape.

Your floor coverings also affect the internal temperature of your home. While tiles, polished concrete and floorboards will help your home stay cool during the summer months, they can fast become your worst enemy during winter. Underfloor heating can be a great way to warm up cold floors, or simply opt for carpet or rugs that are more effective in retaining heat and will offer a soft, warm finish.

The type of insulation you use will also significantly impact the thermal performance of your home. Insulation products are each assigned an ‘R-value’ which measures their resistance to heat flow (the higher the R-value, the better the thermal performance), so it’s a smart move to opt for insulation with a high R-value where possible.

Traditional heating options

Once you’ve set the foundation, you can consider your preferred heating options.

Ducted or central heating systems are a popular choice, as you can specify your preferred temperature and quickly warm the entire home. Most systems will also allow you to set individually controlled zones, so you can heat specific rooms or areas of the home as needed. Most modern systems can also be integrated with a cooling system for year-round use.

Reverse cycle or split-system air conditioning units are another popular option because they offer both heating and cooling functions, are relatively easy and affordable to install and can even help purify the air in your home.

Then there’s also the option of a traditional fireplace. Whether it’s a built-in open fireplace or freestanding wood burner, nothing beats the beauty and authenticity of a fireplace. While they are a more labour-intensive option and may not be suitable for everyday use, they can be an ideal addition to your home heating solution, providing both warmth and ambience.

If you love the romance of a fireplace but want a more eco-friendly option, you may be considering an ethanol fireplace. While they offer the aesthetics and ambience of a traditional fireplace without the need for a chimney or flue, it’s important to note that they’re not designed to be a primary source of heat.

Eco-heating options

If you want to adopt an environmentally friendly approach to heating your home, there are also a range of eco-heating options on the market.

Solar air heating can be an effective solution that uses solar panels to collect energy from the sun, to deliver fresh, warm air into your home. They provide an effective way to regulate the temperature of your home throughout both the cooler and warmer months, but you may need to combine it with other heating/cooling systems during more extreme weather conditions.

Hydronic heating systems are another eco-friendly option. They work by heating water and pumping it through sealed pipes to radiators placed throughout the home, which can then be individually adjusted to the preferred temperate for each room. Hydronic heating can also be a good option if you’re looking for a dust and allergen-free heating solution.

Geothermal systems are also growing in popularity because of their eco-efficiency and ability to regulate the internal temperature of the home year-round. Geothermal systems work by drilling large holes below the grounds surface and inserting Ground Heat Exchangers (GHE’s), which harness the constant moderate temperature of the earth to heat or cool water which is used regulate the temperature of your home. Because of the amount of excavation that’s required to install them, Geothermal systems are generally more suitable for new home builds.

Glenvill is Melbourne’s premier luxury custom home builder. Find out more here, or contact us to discuss your custom home project.