Standing Out from the Crowd as a Custom Residential Builder

Standing Out from the Crowd as a Custom Residential Builder title on white background with photo of Amelia Lee and Duayne Pearce and Live Life Build Logo

See HOW custom residential builders are different from volume builders. 

And WHY it’s the driving force behind Live Life Build

Watch the video now, or read the transcript below. Be sure to also subscribe to the Live Life Build YouTube channel.


Okay, no small question here, Duayne. But imagine that you’ve got a magic wand. There’s one thing you can change about the residential construction industry, what would it be?


For me, it’s a no brainer. It’s separating the small custom family run builders from the rest of the industry. 

Volume Builder v Custom Home Builder


To be honest, I’m a bit sick and tired of how when anyone talks about the building industry or the construction industry, everything just gets thrown into one basket. So you get infrastructure work, large civil jobs, highrise, multi-res, all this work, all thrown in the one basket, and it can be quite misleading. And so my dream is to, through Live Live Build, create a platform that separates the small family run building businesses, away from all those bigger guys.


It’s really interesting. And I think it happens across the industry. 

And then what happens is that all of the media reports on how that industry is doing, or the profitability of that industry, or the challenges in that industry. And, you know, the homeowner sitting at home thinking about whether they’re going to build or renovate their home. They see this media presentation of apparently what’s going on in the industry, and don’t necessarily understand that that’s actually potentially just relating to infrastructure projects, or large, massive commercial projects and think, oh, gosh, I’m going to make decisions about my home based on that information, which can be really misleading.

And for those operating, family run building businesses, and it’s the same in the architectural industry, for building designers, all of those types of things, for engineers, those of us who are working on custom residential projects, family homes, family businesses, we can just feel really unseen in that industry and unable to help and reach homeowners with the right information about how our industry works, how it’s performing, and the rules and the regulations and the things that they need to pay attention to.

Raising the Professionalism of Residential Builders


In that situation, you can’t blame the average punter for not really understanding our industry.  When you think about it, even when we separate small residential, custom builders, clients, and a lot of times design architects, don’t know how to separate the builder from the tradie. 

All of our Associations are industry bodies. We’re actually licensed under the same people, under the same body. So why would a client look at a tradie any different to what they look at a builder? And I’m not bagging tradies out. I’m a tradie. I love tradies. But there is a substantial difference between a builder and a tradie. 

We have all the liability, the responsibility, we have all the contracts in place, we have to deal with so much more than what tradies do. I don’t want to sound like I’m crying about that. But for our industry to improve, for builders to become more professional, I truly believe that small custom residential builders need to be separated from everything else in the industry.


I think too, when you look at how homes get built in Australia, and in New Zealand, and other parts of the world, you’ll have this volume and project home side of the industry where they’re building 10s of 1000s of houses per year, in a very systemised way, which is is at a particular price point.

Then you’ll have the custom residential process, which is very different in terms of the time it takes, what’s involved, the processes that are working overall. And you’ll then have suppliers and you’ll have Government bodies and you’ll have memberships and Associations, dealing simultaneously with both sides of the industry, and not necessarily knowing how to service those parts of the industry separately. 

And so those custom residential builders get lumped in with what volume and project builders do. And we find that a lot of the time you know, you’ll be having conversations with architects and designers or with clients and homeowners about construction and those kinds of things. And their point of reference will be what they’re hearing about volume and project homes.

I say to a lot of my members that I speak with through Undercover Architect, if you are renovating, do not look at the paper of a Saturday morning and see that a project home builder is going to be able to build you a four bedroom house for the same price that you’ve just paid for your renovation because you are not comparing apples with apples. And yet the industry groups us all together and makes it very difficult for a homeowner to understand the difference.


Yeah, it’s everything. Its pricing, its rules, its regulations, its contracts. There’s just so much that I believe would create an enormous difference in our industry. It would give our clients a better outcome. It would make builders feel more recognised and more professional if we just got separated from the rest of the industry and if people actually understood who we are and what we do.

Not All Builders are Created Equal


So Live Life Build for us is really about trying to bring together all of these family run custom residential businesses that are doing renovations and new builds. 

We really want to support custom residential builders, help elevate the professionalism of the residential construction industry, and be a place where these family run businesses, where custom residential builders like you can feel seen, can feel supported, can access the help that you need and also feel that there are industry professionals speaking on your behalf about what you’re specifically dealing with on a day to day basis in how you run your business and your projects.

Inside ELEVATE we teach builders how to focus your mindset and your business on being seen as a professional and not “just” a tradie.  Check out our post on Getting Paid as a Consultant and this one “Which One Are You? Tradie or Professional?

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