custom builder versus volume home builder nsw
Getting Started / Home Building / 7 Star BASIX /12.12.23

Volume Home Builder vs Custom Home Builder: which option is right for you

It’s official, you have decided that it’s time for a new home, but now you need to choose the right type of builder to build your dream home. You have probably heard that there are two types of builders to choose from, Volume (or Project Home) Builders, that’s us here at Clarendon Homes and then there are Custom Home Builders. But how do you know which one is right for you?

It’s an important decision which depend on many factors including your budget, time and design experience.

In this article, we’ll discuss the key differences between working with a Volume Home Builder, like Clarendon Homes, or a Custom Builder. Which means you’ll have a better understanding of which type of builder will work best for building your new home.




What is the difference between a volume builder and a custom builder?

What’s a Volume (or Project Home) Builder?

Volume Home Builders (or Project Home Builders) are generally large companies that construct hundreds, if not thousands of homes each year from their own substantial range of pre-determined designs. Whilst you will need to select a design from their catalogue or range, there are usually options to personalise the floorplan and upgrade your inclusions within particular specifications to create a home that is more unique to you. Because the pre-determined designs are part of the builder's IP, you will know what the base cost of the home is upfront. This makes it very simple to understand what is or isn’t going to be able to work with your budget.

should i chose a custom home builder or clarendon home builder?

If you have little experience, designing a home from scratch can be daunting. When you work with a Volume Home Builder like Clarendon Homes, one of the main benefits is that you don’t need to worry about the initial home design process because it’s already done for you by our in-house experts. These designs are also usually on display and you are able to physically walk through a life size version of multiple designs. This can help you get a sense of layout, space, functionality and feel.

Volume Builders, like Clarendon, also have access to bulk pricing from suppliers making it a most cost-effective option for building. This can make a Volume or Project Home Builder a more affordable option and an easier way to budget for your new home. All new home builds have mandatory building and site costs, although the builder will be able to give you a reasonably accurate allowance for this.

Are you looking for land as well? At Clarendon, we also offer House and Land Packages which are a simple and affordable option if you’re a first home buyer or are looking to build in one of the new growth areas.


custom builder versus volume home builder

What is a Custom Home Builder?

Custom Home Builders are usually smaller boutique building companies. They tend to build one-of-a-kind homes that are designed specifically for each client, making your home a bespoke product. Your input is required for the entire design process, and changes can often be made along the way. 

This works well if you know exactly what you want or you have unique requirements for your home design. However, it can be overwhelming if this is your first build and you don’t have any design experience. You may also need to employ an Architect or Interior Designer. The Custom Builder may have an in-house designer or architect you can work with but this will add to the cost of your home.

Each custom home is far more labour intensive than a volume build so these Custom Builders tend to build fewer homes. This means they don’t have the buying power of a Volume Builder which makes your build more expensive.


Should you choose a Volume Home Builder or a Custom Builder?

There are four main considerations when you’re deciding between a a Volume (Project Home) Builder or a Custom Builder. To get started, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you have a specific budget for building your new home which means you need a clear estimate of price before you get started? Or, do you have a flexible budget that will allow you to manage open ended costs throughout your build?


  • Do you feel confident to work with an Architect or Designer to create your own home design and floorplan? Or would you prefer to choose from an expertly pre-designed range of home designs and flexible floor plans?


  • Do you have the time to research and source the right fixtures and fittings for your home? Do you feel confident in your colour choices? Or would you prefer to choose everything in one place with experts to guide you step-by-step?


  • Does your block have features that would impact on your build eg. steep site, difficult access, bushfire area or a busy road?


Now that you’ve answered these questions, we’ll explain the reasons why each type of builder may or may not work for you.

Happy project home builder home owners

Why a Volume Builder is the right choice for you

A Volume Home Builder, like Clarendon Homes, is a great choice if this is your first build or you don’t have design experience because you get to choose from an expertly created range of stunning pre-designed homes. Most Volume Builders also have display homes. Which means you can walk through each home to see for yourself whether it will suit your family’s lifestyle. Working with a Volume Home Builder is the perfect choice if you need to stick to a budget and you don’t have the time to source your own high-quality fixtures or fittings.

project home builder benefits over a custom builder.

How to choose the right Volume Home Builder

To get started, look for a Volume Builder with experience and a commitment to quality workmanship. Visit display home centres for inspiration and ask the Sales Consultant about pricing, inclusions and structural guarantees.

Why you should choose Clarendon Homes as your Volume Home Builder

When you build with Clarendon, you’re investing in a long history of exceptional service, design and construction. For over 45 years, Clarendon has been a trusted builder, building quality homes for everyday Australian families.

There’s quality built into every Clarendon Home you simply won’t find anywhere else.

  • We are proudly Australian Owned and Operated
  • We are built for Life, offering a lifetime structural warranty on all our homes.
  • We are consistent winners of HIA & Master Builder awards for innovative new home designs
  • We have over 70 home designs with multiple façade and interior inclusion options.


Below are 9 additional benefits youll get by building with Clarendon Homes:


1. Budgeting made simple with Clarendon’s upfront pricing, volume discounts and commitment to quality

Our commitment to quality products and workmanship means you never have to sacrifice on quality to build your dream home with us, and because we offer upfront pricing and varying inclusion levels, building with Clarendon Homes means you can get the home you want at a price you can afford.

It’s great for budgeting because we give you as many costs as possible upfront. At Clarendon, we also have long-term relationships with our suppliers which means we can get volume discounts to pass onto our clients.


2. Touch and feel your dream home at our Clarendon display centres

Our most popular designs are on display and available to walk through at one of our many display centres across NSW. This means you don’t need to imagine what your home would be like, and you can touch and feel what it’s like before you commit to building.

All you need to do is choose the home that suits your lifestyle needs. Our Sales Consultants can guide you and answer any questions you have.

custom builder versus project home builder

3. Get colour and style inspiration without hiring an Interior Designer

You can get inspiration for all of your colours, fixtures and fittings by visiting one of our many Clarendon display homes. Our displays are also furnished so you can see for yourself how spacious each room is and even get inspiration for decorating your home. This empowers you to confidently create your dream home without hiring an Interior Designer. If you see something you love, our friendly Sales Consultants can give you all the specifications you need.

4. Get expert guidance from our Clarendon Lifestyle Studio Consultants


When you build with Clarendon Homes you will have access to our specially designed Lifestyle Studio with a curated selection of high quality fixtures and fittings, all in one place. Whether you've just started looking at our home designs or display homes, or you're further along in your journey, you're welcome to browse the studio (no appointment necessary) or you can join an inclusions tour to understand more about our new home inclusions. You’ll find everything from kitchens to bathroom fittings to lighting to floor coverings to air conditioning and fireplaces. It’s all on display in the Lifestyle Studio so you can see it and touch it. Once you have signed a contract with Clarendon Homes, you will come to the Lifestyle Studio to make the final interior and exterior selections for you home. 

The selection process is done over 3 full days, and our Style Consultants will guide you step by step so you can create the perfect look for your new home. This service is included in the price of your home when building with Clarendon Homes.


5. Play with our interactive floorplans to create your perfect Clarendon Home layout


At Clarendon, our in-house design experts have already done the hard work for you to create flexible floorplans that are proven to work. This means you also have the option to add the extra rooms you need for your family’s lifestyle. For you, that could be a Butlers Pantry, Grand Alfresco, Teenagers Retreat or Home Theatre. Our comprehensive website offers you interactive floorplans for each home design so you can play around and visualise your perfect home.


6. Save money with Clarendon’s Inclusion Packs and Premium Upgrades


At Clarendon, we want to help you simplify your building process and get value for money. We offer two different home specifications, each with its own level of inclusions. Aspire is our most affordable home design range. Or, for a touch of luxury at an affordable price, our Sapphire range is for you.

Throughout the year we also offer promotional Luxury Upgrade Packs on top of our Inclusion Packs to give you extra value for money. Your Sales Consultant can answer all of your questions about inclusions and our latest Luxury Upgrade offers.


nsw Blog Custom-vs-Volume volume-builder-blog-experience

7. Enjoy the benefits of Clarendon’s 45+ years of experience

We’ve built over 30,000 homes which means you can enjoy the benefits of our experience. Every build goes through our pre-planned streamlined process so we can give you accurate estimates of your build time. During our 45+ years of building experience we have built strong relationships with our suppliers and trades which means you have access to quality materials and workmanship and expert guidance through every stage of your build.

Project home builder benefits

8. Get an accurate estimate of site costs before you sign the contract

Your Sales Consultant will do an initial assessment of the suitability of your block. Then, for a small Tender Fee, you’ll get an in-depth Site Assessment to prepare your Tender pricing. This means you have an accurate estimate of your site costs before you commit to signing the contract.

9. Your choice of building options with Clarendon Homes

You can choose the building option that best suits your lifestyle and situation when you build with Clarendon Homes. We offer House and Land Packages, Knockdown Rebuild and greenfield homes on vacant land you already own. We even build on acreage and narrow blocks. With over 70 designs we have a range of beautiful expertly created single-storey and double-storey home designs to suit most block sizes. You can even add a granny flat if you like.



Why a Custom Builder could be your best option


There are situations where a Volume Builder won’t be suitable for you. In these cases, a Custom Builder would be your best option.

The two most common reasons you would need to work with a Custom Builder instead of a Volume Builder are:

1. Your site conditions require micro-managing

2. You want a one-of-a-kind home with a high level of customisation

Let’s discuss what this means for you.


1. Difficult site conditions: your block requires micromanagement

You may need a higher level of site management than a Volume Builder can offer. For example, situations where you need set times for material deliveries or some items need to be hand delivered due to difficult access to the site. A Custom Builder can micro manage your build because they are working on fewer jobs at a time.

The most common site conditions where a Volume Builder might not be able to build on your block are:

  • Steep sites
  • School zones
  • Remote locations
  • Narrow roads
  • Heritage areas
  • Bushfire areas which are Flame Zone
  • Flood areas which require a Suspended Floor
  • Significant trees which require specialised protection measures
  • Existing structures within the build area
  • Shared driveways and access with neighbours
  • Busy main roads with parking restrictions


At Clarendon Homes, if you want to know whether your block will comply with our requirements or whether a Custom Build is best for you, speak to one of our Sales Consultants for an initial assessment.


2. High-Level of Customisation: you’re looking for a one-off home design

Although you can personalise your home with Clarendon, there are limits to how much you can change the design. That’s because we have already created the most popular design options using our team of experienced in-house designers. If you want to create a one-off home design with a high-level of customization then a Custom Builder is your best option.


What you need to know about building with a Custom Home Builder

There are differences when you work with a Custom Builder instead of a Volume Builder. These are the main things you need to be aware of:

  • You need to know more about design because you’ll be required to specify every part of the design and build including all fixtures and finishes.
  • It can be more time-consuming and expensive because you won’t have the bulk pricing discounts offered by a Volume Builder, like Clarendon Homes. You may also have to source some of your own fixtures and fittings.
  • You won’t know exactly what you’re getting. Custom builders don’t offer display homes for you to walk through. You’ll have to imagine your home based on plans or digital images, and walking through previously built homes can prove difficult as they are owned by the client and are likely to not welcome people in to touch and feel.
  • Pricing isn’t fixed and you won’t have the upfront costs before you get started, and things can change along the way
  • You may have to do your own council approvals and manage legal requirements of the build. This is an important question to ask your Custom Builder.

Do you need help deciding between a Volume Builder, like Clarendon, or a Custom Builder in NSW?

Visit a Clarendon Homes display centre near you to chat with one of experienced Sales Consultants. We’re here to help you choose the best option for you and your family so you can start building your dream home today.