May 3, 2021
The Differences Between a Production Home Builder, Independent Builder, and Custom Builder
There are typically three types of single family home builders in Metro Vancouver, a production home builder, independent home builder, and custom home builder. To better understand the differences between these types of home builders, keep reading.
Production Home Builder
Production (or tract/spec) single family home builders, like us, purchase large numbers of developed lots, design a set number of “standard” floorplans, and then builds and sells these “standard plan” homes on the lots to form an attractive and cohesive-looking master-planned community. Production homes are generally more affordable and have a quicker completion date because of the following:
- Volume Purchasing Power – Ability to purchase large quantities of supplies and materials at a slightly lower cost (think bulk buying at Costco versus smaller quantities at Safeway). For example, all 60 garage doors can be purchased in one order from the start of construction. The materials used by production home builders are also often proven and more durable to help speed up construction times and minimize any potential future warranty issues.
- Economies of Scale – Building at such large volumes allow construction processes to be fine-tuned and efficiencies to increase, especially when the same library of “standard plan” homes are being constructed. For example, a carpentry framing crew can be hired for an extended period of time to frame all homes in the master-planned community versus just one or two homes of an independent or custom home builder.
However, to maintain the streamlined build time and costs, production home builders typically offer a limited number of preset personalization options and upgrades (such as those offered in our Design Centre), and do not allow for changes to the structure/floorplan of the home.
Independent Home Builder
Independent home builders operate similarly to a production single family home builder but on a much smaller scale. They buy land (individual lots or smaller serviced parcels), build the homes, and then sell the homes. If the home is sold while under construction, an independent builder may offer more flexibility and customization when it comes to making changes to the floorplan or structure of the home than with a large-volume production builder.
Custom Home Builder
Custom home builders construct one-of-a-kind homes (or renovations), designed by the purchaser’s architect/designer, on land that is typically already owned by the purchaser. With a custom home builder, the buyer is very involved and has much more say when it comes to the design and construction of the home. The design possibilities and customization options are endless, and merely limited by budget. A custom single family home is more expensive and time consuming to build than a similar-sized production home due to the lack of volume discounts and economies of scale. Pricing also widely varies depending on the materials and finishes selected by the buyer since they are not limited to a predefined menu of choices.