One of the most confusing items in the residential construction industry is the term “Standard Inclusions“.  The term standard inclusions implies one of two things:

  1. somewhat similar level of inclusions across every builder OR
  2. it would mean the exact same inclusions

Unfortunately, no two builders are the same and no two builders have the same inclusions nor build in the same way.  It just does not work that way.

So why even use the term “Standard Inclusions” in the first place?  How would you compare builders based on “standard inclusions”?   How can you make decisions on which builder to pick if every standard is not “standard”?

This is a very frustrating, if not a stressful, home building journey to undertake.  I mean, how do you make the right decision if you don’t even have a uniform starting point or a baseline?

It would work really well if we have a “standard” level of inclusions that every builder must have.  That way, at least we will know our benchmark line.  Unfortunately this is not the case and you are generally left with one of the following options:

  1. go with the flow – that is, compare builders based on their based inclusions which is an ever-changing goal post OR
  2. compile your very own “standard minimum inclusions” and use that as your benchmark line

Guide

Here is a general and non-comprehensive guide that may help:

  1. accept the fact that you cannot compare builders with 100% accuracy
  2. accept the fact that there is no such thing as standard – it comes down to “what the builder includes and does not include”
    • it’s like telling every car manufacturer that they have to have sunroof on all of their cars.  This is unreasonable.
  3. what are the very minimum level of inclusions that you would expect to have in your home:
    • for example:  does your home have to have doors as part of your standard inclusions?  You will be surprised that one of the biggest builders in Australia does not have doors in their standard inclusions.
  4. what are the upgrades that you would like to have
    • this can be part of their upgrade packages or not – as long as they accommodate your requirements
  5. read ProductReview.com.au, google and social media reviews
    •  please remember that there is a lot of keyboard warriors out there that complain about everything and everyone
    • I would suggest that you look for patterns rather than one bad comment where the builder has 50 other good comments
  6. there is no wrong or right

What Should be Standard?

Inclusions that some builders don’t include that I think should be standard (this is just my personal opinion and please note that this is not an exhaustive list):

  • Heavy duty sarking
  • Water proofing the WHOLE wet area and not just the shower recess area
  • 300mm floor joist system (for double storey homes)
  • concrete slab (part of the main home) to porch and alfresco
  • double power points, phone points and TV points
  • eaves and gutters (believe it or not, this is not standard for some builders)
  • overhead cupboards and cutlery drawers
  • brickwork on top of double garage doors
  • door handles, doors and windows 🙂
  • fixed site costs
  • product warranties
  • builder’s warranty
  • 90mm frames – internal and external
  • microwave and dishwasher provisions
  • NBN
  • fixed authority costs
  • shelving to linen (4 min) and robes (1 min)
  • smoke detectors
  • appliances – cooktop, oven and rangehood
  • ducted air (can be part of the upgrade / promotional packages)

It’s important to note that I have a much longer list of what a builder should have in his / her inclusions.  I have only included the above list as a starting point for your very own list ;).

What does not have to be standard?

Inclusions that do not have to be part of the standard inclusions (again just my personal opinion and it’s not an exhaustive list):

  • wall hung vanities
  • stone to vanities
  • certain brands for appliances
  • fencing
  • turf
  • alarm
  • ducted vacuum
  • glass balustrades to stairs
  • light fittings
  • niches
  • balconies

A Note

Please remember that everyone has their own standard.  If I was to select a builder and they did not have the above minimum requirements; that would be a red flag for me.

I would use my own standard inclusions as a filter to decide if the builder is genuinely not a great fit for me OR a builder that just simply does not have what I want but is capable of doing what I want.

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