Steel Frames and Sustainability with Coral HomesJune 13th, 2023
Builder and TV personality Tom Williams has been interviewing representatives of some of Australia’s most successful building companies as part of the launch of a big new advertising campaign for TRUECORE® steel. Here he chats to Michael Wilson, National Sales Manager at Coral Homes - a leading builder across Queensland and New South Wales. Award-winning Coral Homes has been operating for over 33 years and has built more than 25,000 homes for Australian families in that time.
Tom: Michael, we're going to chat all things building industry, Coral Homes and TRUECORE® steel. When offering advice to someone building a new home, Michael, what would you suggest they look for?
Michael: I think fundamentally it’s to find the right design that meets your needs from a liveability point of view. It's important to assess how you and your family are going to enjoy that home for many years and then really, it's just finding a builder that you can work with, trust and that you understand all the fixtures, fittings and pricing. The journey is really important. You need to have an understanding of how each builder's journey works and that way you can design and outline the next 6 or 12 months of your life, so that everything's organised upfront.
TRENDS AND FASHION
Even the housing industry has its own ever-changing trends and fashions. Tom was interested in how Coral Homes was keeping things fresh, year on year.
Tom: The trends and what goes on with design is changing all the time. You have to stay up with those trends, don't you?
Michael: That's right. Display homes and things like Pinterest and websites are all sources of inspiration these days. People are shopping faster and with more influence than ever before in history. So, it's not just a matter of having the trends from your local market. You have to look externally, overseas, sometimes interstate, and sometimes you have to just do good old-fashioned R&D and develop with key suppliers and trial new products to get something new and fresh to the market. And we're always open to do that. We have a design team who travel for inspiration all around the world to keep up with the latest trends - New Zealand, California and the “fashion hub“ Milan in Italy, just to name a few.
Coral Homes have had a long and successful history, these days building more and more with frames made of TRUECORE® steel. It’s something that’s really taken hold over the last few years.
Tom: Let's talk framing. How is using framing made from TRUECORE® steel helping make sure customers’ needs are being met?
Michael: People want to know that when they build a home that it's going to be built properly. Having a frame made from TRUECORE® steel really does give it that strength. It gives people certainty that over the years that they are going to live in that home, they're going to have that inner strength. To be honest with you, a large proportion of our homes are steel framed now - it's becoming a big growth in the industry that I'm seeing. I think it is because they want to have brands of real quality like Coral Homes. We offer a quality product and with a steel frame, I think people really resonate to that being the premium quality product as well.
Sustainability is a word that’s being used more and more in the building industry. So much of it is about building smarter and doing things that will lower our human impact on the environment.
Tom: Sustainability conversations are happening all around us every single day. How is sustainability impacting Coral Homes?
Michael: It's becoming a huge part of the industry moving forward and it's not something that's going away... ultimately, it's for the better. People who are building new homes in the long run are going to want to lower power bills and lower cost of living, which is the goal of most government agencies at the moment. There's a lot of legislation changes coming, which unfortunately will add a little bit of cost to new builds, but what it will do is give the consumer a better quality outcome for the many years they live in the house. Some of it is just good design as well... ventilation, accessibility and light requirements.
DOUBLE STOREY FUTURE
Changing lifestyles reflect different life moments – kids get older and move out and suddenly, the priorities of the homeowners change. They find they’re after a different sort of house. Coral Homes is seeing this time and time again.
Michael: Smaller blocks of land are something that we've seen more commonly now. Often when the kids have grown up, people don't want the big backyard and the maintenance. And they might be buying a smaller block to build a double storey as opposed to the single storey. Their yard space is still sufficient to put a pool in, but they're getting their weekends back not having to garden and cut grass. Customers' lifestyles improve by building a double storey home on a smaller piece of land and ultimately the cost works out very similar.
Tom: How does TRUECORE® steel help with those 2 storey constructions?
Michael: A frame made from TRUECORE® steel is built straight and strong... it tends to be a lot easier to work with. And when you're designing something that's so specific, it's designed with precision as opposed to traditional building methods. So, it really does allow us to offer a better product for customers.
Tom: And what about things like raked ceilings? How does using TRUECORE® steel help?
Michael: Again, a lot of it comes down to accuracy. Having something that's designed with straight walls and straight lines. A raked ceiling is so visual that if you're going to build one, you want to build it right...having a steel frame certainly helps with that.
Anyone who is involved in building a new house will probably have heard some of the myths about steel frames that pop up from time to time. Tom was keen to get Michael’s take on it.
Tom: We're going to dig deep into the myths of steel frames, Michael. It's something that kind of gets floated around. Things like... a steel frame expands and contracts too much, which makes it noisy or the plaster can crack when it's attached to the steel frame. How do you bust those myths and how do you reassure a customer that the material and the product in frames made of TRUECORE® steel is going to do a better job than other traditional materials?
Michael: Look, it's a good question. I hear the myths as well. I’ve been in the industry for a long time, and much like a lot of our customers, I live in a home built with a steel frame. And I can tell you we don't have any of the issues that I hear rumours about. The reality that we see is that probably 40% of our customers are repeat and referral clients and they’re asking that we build with steel frames. We’re always surveying our customer base and we're yet to hear any issues that are actually directly linked to steel frames. For the sheer volume of homes we build, if there were genuine issues, we would have heard about it.
Tom: Thanks so much. Michael Wilson, National Sales Manager at Coral Homes. You've been awesome today. Thank you so much for your time.