How to build for under $100,000 with these kit homes

Housing affordability remains one of the most pressing social issues of our time, with many individuals and families unable to afford a mortgage or experiencing housing stress.

The stakes for these families are high, with housing affordability being a fundamental contributor to a person’s wellbeing and an important way to reduce poverty. But what if you could build for less? The humble kit home may be the answer, with some suppliers, like Shed House Australia, designing kits that can be built for under $100,000.

As people search for affordable housing, new market trends emerge, including the movement of people from capital cities to regional areas. This trend also influences the types of homes built, with an increase in kit homes being constructed across regional and suburban areas. Jackson Yin, managing director of iBuild Building Solutions, has reported a 30-40 per cent increase in demand for kit homes compared to pre-pandemic levels  – a growth he believes is influenced by government incentives for new builds.

Yin says there are two key demographics behind the increase in demand: couples with children, typically in their thirties and building their primary residence in the country; and families looking to add a granny flat or retreat for ageing parents on an existing property.

Changing perceptions

The two-bedroom Melrose kit home by iBuild Building Solutions. Photo: Supplied

The growth shows how the long-held stigma surrounding kit homes and prefab construction has been challenged in recent years. Improvements in the quality of building materials, as well as growing public awareness of the benefits – namely, the speed of construction and lower cost per square metre – means more owner builders are choosing kits to build their dream homes.

“The perception used to be that a low-cost build meant a cheap build. But this has been gradually dispelled,” explains Yin. “High-quality builds can be done with a kit.”

Work in progress: Kit home by iBuild Building Solutions. Photo: Supplied

Anita Brand, director at Mana Kit Homes, a manufacturer based on the south-east coast of Queensland, says she still gets asked questions relating to dated perceptions of kit homes.

“People ask things like, do the homes get council approved easily, and so on,” Brand says. “I am not sure how this stigma originally came about, most likely from the word ‘kit’ with some of the earlier style homes. In reality, the homes – and, more so, steel-framed homes – can have more structural integrity than a regular new build in a sub-division.

“Councils love the steel as it is termite-proof, plus it can be a sound choice for bushfire zones. When paired with the right thermal systems, steel has good energy-efficiency values.”

Change it up

When plans change and the scope of a project expands, the budget and timeline can blow out.
The overall the cost of the kit home depends on how much you are willing to do yourself. Photo: iStock

One factor influencing the comeback of prefab homes in recent years has been the ability to customise plans. In contrast to earlier kits offered to owner builders, today’s kit homes can be changed to suit different styles, making these affordable options even more attractive.

“The beauty of our process is that we will custom-design to our client’s budgets, giving consideration to the complete project,” Brand says.

For those trying to get a foot on to the property ladder, kit homes offer an affordable path to home-ownership without getting into huge debt. But the cost depends on how much you are willing to do yourself.

“As an owner builder/project manager our clients can save up to 40 per cent of the overall cost,” Brand says. “The more the owners put into the construction the bigger the savings.

“If our clients are putting a builder in control of the construction process, then they will still make savings but not as much. It really depends upon how much each client wants to contribute to the project and what skills they bring.”

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How to build a customer avatar and market towards them

I made the mistake when I was starting out in business of not determining a target market. I thought I could cater to everyone in each type of forum ranging from kids to pensioners and as a result, I wasted a lot of money. In business finding your ideal client is paramount and we start with a customer avatar.

An avatar is a fictitious character made to
represent your ideal customer. In determining who this is, will help you focus
on and determine which media to advertise on and then market towards them.

Don’t try to create “everything for everyone”. Select a niche/ target market that plays to your strengths and build your products, services and reputation around being the number one /expert for that target market in your local area.

The most
important aspect of marketing is defining your customer avatar. Find the ideal
(or common types of) clients coming to you. Determine what their needs &
problems are and then develop the solution.

  • Think about this – what does your ideal customer really want?
  • How can your service, solve their problem(s) and needs?

Avatar questions

Who are they?

  • Male or female?
  • Age?
  • Married or single?
  • Do there have children?
  • How far do they live from your business?
  • What are their hobbies/ interests?
  • What is their job?
  • What is their income?
  • Employment status, full time /part time?
  • What are their problems?
  • What are their needs?
  • Are they time poor?
  • What social media sites do they use?

Here is an example for a gym that caters for
ladies wanting to lose weight.

My customer avatar

  • Who are they? Sally.
  • Male or Female? Female.
  • Average age: 37.
  • Married or single? Married.
  • Do they have children? Two children.
  • How far do their live from my gym? Lives an average of 5km away.
  • Hobbies/interests: walking, weight loss, fitness, wellness, social media, shopping catching up with friends for a coffee at a café.
  • Type of Job: Office worker, manager.
  • Employment status: Fulltime work. Works 9am to 5pm and travels an average of one hour to work.
  • Income approximately: $70,000.
  • Problems: lose weight keep it off, unsure what diet is best, wants to drop a dress size, and feel good about herself. Always feeling tired.
  • Needs to have fun in class and make new friends.
  • Is my client time poor? Very time poor because of family and work, takes kids to sport on weekends, dance lesson twice a week or child care pick-ups required.
  • What social media sites do they use? Facebook.
  • What is the best time to train? Because of work and family best time to train is 7 pm weekdays as this way, her partner is home from work to look after the kids for one hour and the kids are home from soccer/ dance training and day-care.

If you have been in business for over a year, I highly recommend that you survey your existing members and also survey their friends to find out what their biggest problems and need are, and use the Australian Bureau of Statistics which is very helpful.

You must be in a position to have the solution
for their problems and needs. To help, build your avatar by asking them the
avatar questions and also use free tools like survey monkey to collect
information or create a poll on Facebook.

Responding to your avatar’s needs

Now knowing all of this information about my
ideal client, I can now develop a marketing campaign to suit my ideal client.

Garry Wasson, Business Coach, Business Coaching NSW 

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PM Modi asks party leaders to educate farmers, build grassroots support for new laws

The farmers’ agitation and the forthcoming Assembly polls in five states dominated the discourse at the one-day BJP conclave of national office-bearers on Sunday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi directed the cadre to spread the word from the grassroots level up about the benefits that will accrue to farmers from the three farm laws and other good governance measures.

With the farmers’ protest showing no sign of ending soon, the BJP meeting dedicated most of its political resolution to how the farm laws will help farmers at all stages – from the production of the crop, to storage and farmers getting the right price for their crop. The party has decided to launch a 15-day campaign to reach out to farmers on the three laws and educate them about its benefits.

The campaign will also “expose the false propaganda” of the Congress-led Opposition on the issue. The conclave, the first such exercise where leaders were physically present since the Covid pandemic began in March 2020, also discussed the broad strategy for the poll-bound states of West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry. Those incharge of these states presented reports on the prospects and the challenges facing the party in the April-May elections. Other than the national office-bearers, the BJP state unit presidents, state general secretaries (organisation), and leaders appointed as incharge and co-incharge of states also attended the meeting.

Speaking at the inaugural session, Modi said BJP does not work with the sole aim of winning elections and coming to power but also with the mission of bringing all-round development of the country. He said the party should increase its political presence with this motto in mind. He enumerated various measures like the Goods and Services Tax, the farm laws and the Covid fightback which have helped the country. Modi underlined that a “positive atmosphere” for development prevails in the country and this will help the economy grow and bring in investment.

BJP passed a political resolution which laid emphasis on the farm laws, the way the Covid pandemic was handled by the Modi government and the great job done by our scientists in developing two vaccines. The resolution congratulated Modi for not only saving lives but also taking care of the poor and the migrants through PM Garib Kalyan plan, providing free ration to 80 crore people, direct benefit transfer, and reforms in the labour laws. The resolution also emphasised that the TMC dispensation in West Bengal which is “undemocratic, oppressive and practices appeasement politics” has to be thrown out in the elections. BJP vice-president Mukul Roy later presented a report on the challenges facing the party in the state and the road ahead towards achieving victory in the polls.

Earlier, in his speech, the Prime Minister had praised the work of the party in West Bengal, saying a lot has been achieved but more needs to be done to win the state. BJP also expressed confidence of retaining Assam and is hopeful of coming to power in Puducherry. In Tamil Nadu, the party is pinning its hopes on alliance partner AIADMK to improve its seat tally while in Kerala it is working on emerging as the third pole after the Congress and the Left.

Delivering the valedictory address, BJP chief JP Nadda announced that the party will launch a 15-day campaign to reach out to farmers from the block and district level up to the states on the farm laws. The BJP members will meet farmers and strengthen Farmer Produce Organisations (FPOs) aimed at supporting them. The cadre will also talk to tribal communities on efforts initiated to improve their livelihood through the Van Dhan scheme. The party cadre has also been directed to inform people about efforts being made to make India Aatmanirbhar (self-reliant).

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U.S. will work with Israel to build on regional normalization agreements: Biden national security adviser

FILE PHOTO: An Israeli flag and an American flag fly at Abu Dhabi International Airport before the arrival of Israeli and U.S. officials, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates August 31, 2020. REUTERS/Christoper Pike

January 25, 2021

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Biden administration will work closely with Israel on regional security issues and to build on the country’s regional normalization agreements, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told his Israeli counterpart, according to a statement on Sunday.

“They discussed opportunities to enhance the partnership over the coming months, including by building on the success of Israel’s normalization arrangements with UAE, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco,” according to a statement on Sullivan’s call on Saturday with Israel’s Meir Ben Shabbat.

Sullivan also extended an invitation to begin a strategic dialogue in the near term, the statement said.

(Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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Following the money. Alexey Navalny’s boldest investigation yet describes a vast network of shell companies and frontmen working to build and sustain Vladimir Putin’s supposed seaside getaway

Before Alexey Navalny flew home to Moscow and surrendered himself to Russia’s legal system, the anti-corruption activist lit the fuse on what is perhaps his biggest, boldest investigation yet. Navalny’s 14,000-word report (also a two-hour video) about Vladimir Putin’s supposed “palace” in Gelendzhik on the Black Sea coast is packed with drone footage and colorful images, including artistic visualizations of the mansion’s interior. On social networks and in the news media, the investigation immediately attracted significant attention for its detailed descriptions of the residence’s opulence and endless renovations. Navalny says outright that Putin’s apparent obsession with luxury borders on “mental illness.” But Navalny’s investigation also painstakingly chronicles the ownership and management schemes used to disguise how Russia’s long-time president allegedly came to be in possession of the country’s most valuable private home.

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FIRM to build $49m Cannington apartments

Subiaco-based FIRM Construction has secured the works to design and build a 10-storey apartment building opposite Carousel Shopping Centre.

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Build Up Tassie program offers disadvantaged teens apprenticeship skills and a future

Tired of sitting at a desk, Cianna Fitzpatrick decided to swap school shoes for steel capped boots.

Becoming an apprentice carpenter meant a steep learning curve for the 16-year-old from Clarendon Vale, in Hobart’s east.

“Carpentry … I thought it was laying carpets and doing that kind of stuff,” Cianna said.

“But once I’d actually done some work experience I figured out that it’s actually building the frames of a house, the soul of a house, as I call it.”

Cianna was one of six new apprentices to start their on-the-job training this week, as part of initiatives run through Catholic organisations in Tasmania.

The group builds social housing and houses for people on low incomes with St Joseph Affordable Homes.

Cianna Fitzpatrick and Connor Klemke will have secure employment for four years.(ABC News: Selina Ross)

Cianna said it gave her a good feeling to be helping other people move towards home ownership.

“Contributing to that just makes me feel really happy and excited that putting a roof over someone’s head will make them feel really good,” she said.

Changing mindsets and futures

The apprentices were selected through the Catholic Church’s youth employment and life skills coaching program Build Up Tassie, which helps young, disadvantaged Tasmanians.

The CEO of St Joseph Affordable Homes Ben Wilson said it was fortunate that the church’s entities could work together.

“Between those two entities we’ve merged an opportunity where we can not only provide the work-ready and work experience opportunities but we can guarantee a four year commitment of apprenticeship,” he said.

Montrose teen Connor Klemke was thrilled to have secure employment for the next four years.

“It’s made me proud and happy because I never saw myself doing this, two months ago, three months ago and now look at me,” Connor said.

During the pre-apprentice training, Connor loved the opportunity to try his hand at different trades before deciding which to pursue.

“I was set on being a concreter, that’s what I’ve always wanted to do since I was a little boy,” he said.

“But then I started plumbing and, yeah, it’s awesome.”

Connor said he had adapted well in the transition from school life to full time employment.

“You adapt to the early morning wake-ups, making lunch, being out in the day, all day on your feet and in the sun.

“I’ve sort of had to adapt to the people I’m working with who are not the same age as me, so that’s made me mature a little bit.”

Program rewards enthusiasm

Build Up Tassie coach Adrian Broomhall said part of the recruitment process was an interview to assess the applicant’s “willingness to participate”.

“That, essentially, was our main criteria, the fact that they wanted to have a go,” he said.

“And that was about the only thing we held them accountable to through the early part of the program was ‘choose to turn up and try’.”

A bearded man in fluorescent tradie clothing and glasses stands in front of a construction site.
Coach Adam Broomhall has been impressed by the apprentices’ willingness to have a go.(ABC News: Selina Ross)

He said the apprentices’ enthusiasm and work ethic had impressed him.

“We’ve been really surprised by from our most recent group through the Build Up Tassie program and the St Joseph Affordable Homes Work Readiness program,” he said.

“We ran at a 96 per cent attendance rate, which is something we’ve never come across before, so we’re really pleased.”

“[We have] three carpenters, one plumber, one painter and one bricklayer.

“So they’ll work across all different stages of the building process and gain all sorts of different skills related to their trades,” he said.

“Our goal is not just for these apprentices to go through and tick off their trade qualification at the end, we want them to become mentor and advocates for other young people that have come from similar backgrounds, whatever that may be, to [encourage them to] simply have a go.”

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Civmec to build $6.3m Kids' Bridge

Engineering company Civmec has secured the contract for the construction of the $6.3 million Kids’ Bridge connecting Perth Children’s Hospital with Kings Park.

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Coon Cheese changes name to Cheer Cheese, pledging to ‘build a culture of acceptance’

Coon Cheese has been renamed Cheer Cheese after a long campaign by activists who said it had racist connotations.

Saputo Dairy Australia, which owns the brand, confirmed it was changing the name in July last year following calls led by academic Stephen Hagan for a rebranding.

“I said that the cheese brand was offensive, I said that it demeans people of colour,” Dr Hagan told the ABC at the time.

“I said that it was unacceptable as a brand in 2020.”

As well as Dr Hagan’s long-running efforts to have the name changed, the campaign recently hit the headlines again last year when actor and comedian Josh Thomas raised a question on Twitter about the controversial brand.

Today, Saputo Dairy Australia announced the name was being changed to Cheer Cheese, with the rebranded packaging to hit supermarket shelves across the country by July.

“Treating people with respect and without discrimination is one of our basic principles, and it is imperative that we continue to uphold this in everything we do,” Saputo chief executive Lino A Saputo said.


“Our decision to change the name of Australia’s much-loved cheese reinforces this commitment to build a culture of acceptance, inclusion and respect where everyone feels a sense of belonging.”

The company’s commercial director, Cam Bruce, said the packaging would be similar to the current branding and the recipe would remain unchanged.

“Cheer Cheese will continue to be made locally in Victoria from Australian milk, supporting local dairy farmers,” he said.

He said the name was decided on after consumer research.

“Through our research, consumers endorsed this name,” Mr Bruce said.

“They told us the name connects them to how they feel when enjoying the cheese in their everyday life.

“We trust that our valued consumers, as well as those that are new to our products, will embrace the new name and what we stand for.”

Saputo Dairy last year said the cheese would be rebranded, deciding on the name following consumer research.(Supplied: Saputo Dairy Australia)

Cheese’s history page taken down

Edward William Coon patented a process used to manufacture cheese in Philadelphia, in the United States, in 1926.

Saputo Dairy’s website used to feature a page explaining the history of the cheese, but that page removed in July.

The page explained the cheese was first manufactured in Australia in November 1935 and was wrapped in “traditional red waxed cloth”.

That lead to it becoming known as “Red Coon”, the page said.

But when Dr Hagan last spoke to the ABC about his campaign, he said the name had purely racist meanings.

The cheese was previously wrapped in black and given the name “Coon” as a joke, he said.

In an article published in The First Nations Telegraph in 2014, Dr Hagan said his research showed Edward Coon was actually an uneducated Russian immigrant who worked as a factory hand and the patent was launched in his name 10 years after the cheese was already being sold.

A close up shot of Indigenous activist Stephen Hagan in a living room.
Indigenous activist and academic Stephen Hagan led the charge to have the name changed.(Supplied: Stephen Hagan)

The term “coon” emerged during the time of slavery in the US. It has a long history of being used as a racist slur against people with dark skin.

Ferris State University’s Jim Crowe Museum of Racist Memorabilia says the coon caricature is “one of the most insulting of all anti-black caricatures”.

“The name itself, an abbreviation of raccoon, is dehumanising,” sociology professor David Pilgrim explains on the museum’s website.

Saputo Dairy said it decided to rename the cheese after a “careful and diligent review to honour the brand affinity felt by our consumers while aligning with current attitudes and perspectives”.

The Australian arm of the company is the largest dairy processor in the country, with other brands including Cracker Barrel, Devondale, Mersey Valley, and Tasmanian Heritage to its name.

It is part of Saputo Incorporated, which is among the top 10 dairy processors globally.

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Hawkins keen to build Cameron partnership

Geelong star Tom Hawkins is already relishing the prospect of playing alongside boom recruit Jeremy Cameron in a new-look forward line this AFL season.

The Cats paid a hefty price at the trade table for former GWS spearhead Cameron in order to boost their flag hopes in 2021 and beyond, having finished runner-up to Richmond last year.

On paper, the 27-year-old looks set to form a formidable partnership with fellow Coleman Medal winner Hawkins.

But plenty rests on the key forwards’ ability to form a relationship on-field before the new season begins in March.

“We trained together yesterday as a forward group and we will continue to work as a whole on our patterns and synergy together,” Hawkins told reporters on Tuesday.

“We’re both very different players, he’s more agile and leaner than me but at the same time he is really powerful.

“I’d say we will both get a look deep and we’ll both get up the ground at stages.”

Geelong lost Gary Ablett and Harry Taylor to retirement after last year’s heartbreaking grand final defeat.

But the arrival of Cameron and fellow experienced recruits Isaac Smith (Hawthorn) and Shaun Higgins (North Melbourne) has sparked expectations of another genuine flag tilt this season.

And the Cats are not shying away from the hype.

“I think you have no other choice but to embrace it,” Hawkins said.

“We are well aware that the expectation of playing in a grand final, which ultimately we lost, and bringing in some experience means there will be external pressure.

“Internally we haven’t spoken about it yet but the majority of the list arrived last Wednesday and we want to win a premiership.

“That is our ultimate goal, so we will embrace the challenge that is in front of us.”

Elsewhere, former North Melbourne forward Mason Wood has started training with St Kilda in the hope of earning a career lifeline.

Clubs are still able to add players during the pre-season supplemental selection period, which ends on March 9.

There will also be a mid-season rookie draft in June.

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