Building a New House: Selection Or Pre-start Meeeting

by Chris Lang on June 14, 2013

New home selection booklets

Don’t think that once you have chosen your new house its all plain sailing. Basically all you have done is chosen a floor plan and a facade.

A really important task is selecting the details that transform the standard new house plans into your home. Some builders do this before you sign the contract and call it a Selection or Gallery Meeting. Other Builders do it after signing the contract and call it the Pre-start Meeting. If you are having an architect designed house it may be called Detail Design.

Its important that you get all the details of what you want sorted out at this stage. Builders usually charge an administration fee of between $200 and $500 for any variations once these details have been agreed.
Generally they expect you to make choices on a wide range of options in a single day including:

  • Bricks, Mortar and Render
  • Windows
  • Kitchen Units and Benchtops
  • Fitted Appliances
  • Heating and Cooling
  • Bathroom and other Plumbing Fittings
  • Wall Tiles and Splashbacks
  • Power Sockets and Light Locations
  • External and Internal Doors
  • Floor Coverings
  • Wardrobes

Although the builders ‘consultants’ are normally very helpful they will also want to up-sell you upgrades to bump up the overall cost. You need to be aware that the display home you initially visited probably had $70,000 – $100,000 worth of upgrades. That’s probably a lot more than you budgeted for so you have to do some research and choose carefully.

Before the meeting spend some time thinking about what upgrades you must have and what would be nice to have. Also get plenty of brochures so you can appreciate how much more than the standard provision that “Wow factor” can cost.


Brian Ashworth

Brian is a Civil Engineer with over 40 years experience in the construction industry. He, and his wife, have had three new houses built. The first in England and the other two in Australia. One of the Australian houses was designed by Brian as a Passive Solar House and the other, a project home, orientated and extensively modified to make the best use of the sun. He has been running the Anewhouse blog for two and a half years.

This post is based on Brian’s latest book ‘A New House Guide to Pre-Start or Selection Meetings’. This extensive guide aims to prepare new builders for all the decisions on details that will turn a house into a home. The guide available as an E-book for $4 and can be purchased on his website.

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