Craig Rooney – Regional Manager, Porter Davis
What attracted you to the industry (and when)?
I had a 27-year career in the corporate and consulting worlds. Seven years ago I discovered the residential construction industry and found it to be a fundamentally different culture, less political and less hierarchical. As a result, we get on with the rewarding parts of our job. And there is nothing better than handing the keys of a new home to one of our customers.
What do you love most about the industry?
It is potentially relevant to everyone. New homes become the basis of people’s lives – whether it’s the excitement of a couple’s first home, the place a family grows up, or the special place people choose for their retirement.
What do you consider your proudest moment?
Nurturing the development of so many talented people and watching their careers evolve is the element I get the greatest enjoyment and satisfaction from.
Building a home emotionally and financially is massive. We understand this and respect, protect and nurture this journey. We get it right the vast majority of the time, but I regret the few that aren’t perfect. We always get it right in the end, but errors or misunderstandings can cause undue stress.
I grew up when the Great Australian Dream was to own a home with plenty of space around it. I understand the practicalities, but don’t find boundary-to-boundary developments aesthetically pleasing.
In my short time I have seen people from many backgrounds blending into an industry of passionate people who are also technically very capable. The industry will evolve to a new level with the blending of this talent.
If you had the power, how would you improve the process of building?
Building is a 6-12 month journey from deposit to handover, then the delay in land development and title in some areas can add a year or two to the client’s journey. It would be great to reduce the time between land deposit and title. Secondly, develop the ability to visualise the new home with a tool. Most clients struggle to translate drawings in their mind or imagine the changes they want from the display home. This can lead to “surprises” when their home gets under way.
What’s the biggest misconception people have of building?
That it will be quick and easy! The end result is a sparkling, never-lived-in-before home in your chosen location. But there is a journey between falling in love with a plan and moving in. Buying land, selecting the house, working through designs, making product and colour selections (while sticking to budget), optimising siting, associated site costs, reading the contract, waiting for the builder to obtain approvals, waiting for the land to title and sorting out the loan – it isn’t easy.
If building tomorrow, what would you most like incorporated in your home?
A raked ceiling down the living side of the house, extended into the outdoor living area. I would have the kitchen on the external wall with a large island bench, a servery out to the al fresco, an appliance tower and a butler’s pantry with a large appliance bench. This connects indoor living with outdoor. I’d also like a well-appointed theatre room with a high-resolution screen and surround sound, and basic home automation for selected lights and entry door to be set on timers or controlled via my iPhone.
What tips would you give for future-proofing a home?
Select classic or resort colour themes as they have a neutral palette. The personalisation can be captured in furniture, accessories and decorative pieces that can be easily updated. Generously allocate power points. And give as much consideration to your likely needs over the next 5-10 years as your immediate needs. The home will be yours for many years.
What should prospective buyers look for when choosing a builder?
It is enormously important to select a builder that not only has great designs, but one that provides certainty and recognises it is a bold decision to build a new home and stands to respect, protect and nurture the client vision. Those contemplating building could benefit from builders that offer a range of housing solutions, buyer information guides, buyer information sessions and interior design specialists as all of these will help set expectations, make the journey enjoyable and end up with the best possible home.
What do you think building a home will be like in 2030?
I imagine future homes will have a progressively increased focus on energy efficiency and include the evolution of more lightweight, energy-efficient cladding solutions as alternatives to brickwork. Construction could then become modular, with the use of prefabricated sections. I envisage a greater integration of indoor and outdoor living and potential emergence of multipurpose rooms. I would expect a significant increase in the use of technology with app-controlled wireless devices around the home