Building for Your FutureJune 16th, 2023
If you’re thinking about building a new home, there’s a lot to get your head around. Choosing the style of home you want, finding a builder that will deliver exactly what you’re looking for, and tweaking existing designs to fit in with your family’s needs – it’s definitely not a simple and straightforward task. There are also things to consider that you don’t see – what sort of frame to use in the construction, for example. Well-known builder and TV personality Tom Williams has been talking with representatives of some of Australia’s premier building companies to shed some light on navigating the process for prospective new homeowners. In this interview, he talks with Nathan Thurston, Marketing Director of NXT Building Group.
Tom: How's the building industry changed in recent years?
Nathan: I've got to say the last few years have been quite a challenging period for all of us and it certainly evolved and changed, mainly around some of the supply issues. But you know working through them, I think that some of the innovation in home design...some of the flexibility that we're seeing coming through is really taking the way that people are living and the lifestyles they enjoy in a whole new direction.
Confidence for Tomorrow
Building a house is a big investment. It’s important to consider strength and durability – how well it’s going to age as the years pass.
Tom: Let's dive in a little bit more into those consumers and apart from those design flexibilities, what else are they looking for these days and how is NXT Building Group meeting those needs?
Nathan: I think the biggest thing that most consumers are looking for is confidence, reassurance, and certainty around the homes that they build. People are looking to ensure that they've made a smart and wise investment for their money... looking forward, that they’ve got the longevity and confidence that the home they build today will be a home that will be strong and secure into the future, and also provide them with the reassurance that should they want to sell their homes into the future, that they can do so with confidence. Knowing that we've got frames made from TRUECORE® steel gives them that peace of mind, that they can actually have that comfort knowing that they made a wise decision.
First Time Building Advice
Being a homeowner that’s building their first home can be quite a daunting prospect. Nathan was able to share some valuable tips and suggestions for those embarking on what many see as a monumental task.
Nathan: Research...I think that's the most important thing that I'd say to everyone. It's the biggest investment that they will make in their life. They shouldn't be rushed into it. It should be well considered...it should be something that when they move into a home, it responds to their needs today, but also into the future. And when you look at the Australian landscape, there's probably some elements that they really need to take into consideration... things like termites...I think that's the T word that puts fear into most people. What does that mean for my home? And what could that potentially mean from a resale point of view?
But also have a look at some of the architectural merits of a liveable space... does the home have a natural flow or are we living in closed-in boxed areas. Are we making use of the expansive natural light that can come into a home? Again, it's a very individual thing living in a home. There isn't one shoe fits all. It actually comes down to what's right for you and your family's circumstances and how you want to live in the home going into the future.
Being able to adjust existing designs to make sure a house works well for your family’s specific needs is a great feature to have.
Tom: I'm thinking of some of the other factors, which are the most important considerations for your customers. Firstly...flexibility of the layout.
Nathan: A lot of home builders, including ourselves, will always have a base plan, but people like to personalise it and have a little bit of flexibility and customise it to make it uniquely theirs. I think the benefit of steel framing is it allows us to create some innovative spaces. It allows us to prepare for the future.
We have large rooms... 2.7 metre...2.9 metre ceilings. We've got large hallways. We've got alfresco cabanas. Using steel framing compared to some of the more traditional measures has allowed us to open up open style living. And that to me, has been one of the greatest changes in the way that Australians have lived over the last 20 years.
Style and Finish
Styles come and go – at the same time, make sure you get the important things right. It’s a message that Nathan was keen to share.
Tom: What about durability of finishes, because as much as we love our world of TRUECORE® steel...at the end of the day, tiles and colours and tapware, they're all part of the big picture.
Nathan: I think that the most important thing for me around a home...it really starts with the DNA of the home. And for me, it would be the steel frames...it's the skeleton that we build everything else around. It's nice to know that you're building on really solid foundations and you've got the confidence knowing that what's behind the walls is going to stand the test of time. And then when it comes to styling your home, there's so many styles. When we look at the evolution of the last few years, Hamptons has taken Australia by storm...that coastal style living. But you've got urban styles, contemporary styles, and country classic. I think the beautiful thing is that over time, styles can change, trends can change, and you can actually update that just as you would with furniture. The thing that doesn't change is the element that you don't see, which is behind the plasterboard and knowing no matter what your taste might be over time, that it's not going to change. You've got that strength and assurance that the home will be there long into the future.
Avoid Dead Spaces
Getting the most out of every single piece of your new home is critical. Thinking about how you will use different spaces will help make the final design a success.
Tom: Everybody's always considering square metres and getting the most out of their little lot of land. How is maximising space important to customers?
Nathan: I’ve got to say, they pay for space...I think that's what they're looking for. You build homes to live in - I think that when you have dead space or unusable space, it really doesn't enhance your life or your lifestyle...it’s just an area where it ends up gathering dust. What I find with space is that everything is intrinsically linked...when you're designing your home, if you're changing something at the front of the home for a design, it's going to have a correlation with what happens at the back as well. When it comes to the use of steel and the interactions with our designers, we've got greater flexibility now in regards to having a butler's pantry that flows into a laundry that flows into hallways that actually give us that seamless flow of a home and connectivity. It's the flexibility of space and the way that the rooms are interconnected that enhances the way that people live.
Benefits of Steel Frames
Frames made from TRUECORE® steel are becoming more and more popular with both builders and homeowners. There are quite a few reasons for that.
Tom: You and I can see the benefits of building with TRUECORE® steel, but how do you think consumers see the key benefits of having a steel frame in their home?
Nathan: I usually see there's two ways. There's the emotional side, which is the aesthetic feeling and elements of it. And then there's the structural element, which is really the quality, the certainty, the reassurance. And I think what most people are looking for now is peace of mind ...not having any buyer’s remorse where they walk out the door going “Did we just make the right decision?”
The beauty for us is knowing from a product point of view that it's backed by a 50 year warranty. You know you're not going to be impacted by termites and borers. You're going to have straight and straight and true walls. You’re not going to have nail popping. That's got to give them reassurance, and they walk out, knowing that their home is going to be strong...it's going to be straight...it's going to stand up to anything that gets thrown at it. So they've got comfort, knowing they've made a really smart wise investment and then the rest is over to them to actually bring it to life.
Tom: Sustainability conversations are happening everywhere. How are sustainability considerations impacting NXT Building Group?
Nathan: I think sustainability is certainly going to be part of the vernacular now and into the future as well. And there's elements that you can immediately respond to and some elements will take time. I think that is from the industry as a whole. For us, we're very much about future proofing our homes, creating for tomorrow. We have solar built into homes and EV Chargers and so on. With future proofing, they're not having to go and retrofit that in the future...if they embrace an electric vehicle in the future, they've got that. And to me, that's a really sound and sensible way for us to prepare for tomorrow.
Tom: Nathan, thanks so much. It's been really great to get some of your insights this afternoon, and I really appreciate your time. Thank you very, very much.
Image courtesy of McDonald Jones Homes