Pat Waddell Custom Building around Bermagui on the far South Coast of NSW.
Good projects for good people in good places.

QUESTIONS PEOPLE ASK PAT

How and when did Pat Waddell custom building begin?

I always wanted to be a builder, as a kid I used to work with my dad building farm building and stockyards as well as doing the earthworks like site levelling and dam and road building. We would go into the bush and select the right trees to do the job, then we would cut it down trim it to size to fit in either the yards or the building we were doing, all built with round timber. I realise now that even  back then we were doing custom building. After leaving school I went to Sydney to get a carpentry apprenticeship, but even back in 1981 the use of prefab timber frames and trusses was becoming popular and I soon realised that I wasn’t going to learn much as an apprentice other than standing frames and trusses, and I felt that I already had most of those skills from all the building I did with my dad. So I decided to learn a trade that I knew nothing about and so I did a bricklaying apprenticeship. I was lucky enough to get an apprenticeship with a bricklayer that had also just got his builders licence and whom quality work was important and so got the opportunity to see what it takes to be the “builder”. One of the first things I noticed was my bosses reliance on different tradesmen first turning up on time and then doing the job to the standard required. Having seen this problem I knew I didn’t want to these same thing happening to me. Once my apprenticeship finished I decided that I needed to learn most of the trades myself, that way I could control timing and workmanship on my jobs. At the same time I started doing conservation and restoration on historic buildings and in doing so got to see some amazing craftsmanship on buildings as old as 1837. The quality of this work really inspired me to continually try to lift the standard of the work I was doing. I learnt so much from those tradesmen that I never met. The down side to this was that with just one person it was very slow, so I decided that I needed to start training the right people to work with me. In 1999 after being offered larger and larger jobs I got my own builders licence and I’ve been building a team of like minded people and working on increasing our skill set ever since. 

What does Custom Building mean to you?

To me it means bespoke, made specially for that client, not simply an off the shelf, mass produced design. A bespoke building is a creative expression of the clients personality, something unique, a work of art. For me, being involved in this process and seeing a work of art emerge seamlessly from the ground is priceless.

What makes your team unique?

To start with it’s definitely the quality of our people. There are currently 11 of us in the team and 3 of them have been with me from the very beginning. They all love the challenge that comes from being encouraged to grow by challenging Architecture, the diverse nature of what we do and a tight group of  perfectionist workmates.

On a more practical note the team is unique because we do almost all the trades ‘in-house’. Except for Electrical and Plumbing where we rely on experienced tradesmen that have been working for us for over fifteen years. We have our own earthmoving equipment and so can make sure our excavations are exactly as they should be. We do our own formwork and steel fixing and concrete pouring, meaning that again, the finished concrete is as it should be. This goes on through the rest of the build giving me the builder, confidence that things are being done right. Basically, the more control we have over the build, the more promises we can make and keep.

We also offer a property maintenance service to existing clients – we not only maintain the home and structures we can take care of the entire property as well.

 

Do you provide any other building services?

Yes we do. Even though Custom Built Homes make up the majority of our work, I specifically called the business Pat Waddell Custom Building because we build a lot more than homes. We’ve built Farm Sheds, Stock Yards, Art Studios, Garden Green Houses and Glass Houses, Paddock Dams, Roads and Stone walls for landscaping, we’ve even made some bespoke furniture to go in the buildings we’ve built. The team really enjoys the diversity.

Do you offer home maintenance on the projects you build?

Yes we do. A number of clients have asked us to put together a maintenance schedule for the projects we’ve done for them, to me it just makes sense that the people that built the house should know how best to maintain the house. 

Do you provide an accurate quote?

Because we specialise in custom building we rely heavily on an Architect working in conjunction with a Quantity Surveyor during the design stage to ensure the plans not only follow the client brief, but are accurate and technically achievable within the construction budget.

I always suggest to my clients that they use a Quantity Surveyor to price the project independent of me or any other builder. That way there is a third party expert engaged by the client to provide a reliable and accurate quote.

As general information we’ve included  an overview of some of the costs that may be involved in your project in the general info tab generally these costs will be included in the Quantity Surveyors assessment but it’s worth looking through them for some usefull info.

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What is a Quantity Surveyor and where do I find one?

A Quantity Surveyor is a professional  that looks at every single element of your project and costs it at a realistic price if it was built to a quality standard.
They should be used in conjunction with the Architect to ensure that the building being drawn is within the budget. The project price is almost always more expensive than the architect and builder think it will be – in fact I’ve lost couple of projects once the quantity surveyor has done the pricing, but I see that as a success. What better time for my client to find out that the project is too expensive than before you start. Unfortunately most people find this out once building has started and then have very few options left.

Quantity Surveyors are easy enough to find in an online search, however they are like every other profession, there’s good and bad.

I would always try to get references. Again this is an area where I stick with my tried and tested people, the QS I use – I’ve know for over 15 years.

Do you offer a complete Project Management Service?

Yes we do. Since we’ve lived and worked in the Tilba Bermagui area for 30 years we know most of the contacts needed to get pretty much anything done. The benefit of using us as the PM is that we can streamline the process, for instance if you are getting a driveway put in by us we can do the earthworks necessary, be it trenching for power, installation of the sewer system or preparation of the house site, all in one hit. We also have a good understanding of fire risk as well, an area of increasing importance in the wake of the 2020 fire season, and can advise on a range of options. 

Do you do Heritage work?

Heritage work takes a special kind of attention to detail and a thorough understanding of the historical significance of the building being cared for. It’s something that I love. I was lucky enough to spend a number of years working on historic houses, appreciating the quality of the workmanship and uncovering hidden ways of doing things and so learning from the craftsmen that I will never meet. At this time I took the opportunity to do a short university course in the conservation and restoration of traditional buildings. Course material that I still use to this day.

Meet the Pat Waddell Team

A few kind words…

“It has been such a pleasure working with Pat on several complex architectural projects on the far South Coast of NSW over the last 10 years. Our collaborations have included two major alterations and additions projects – both a heritage home and a circa 1960’s beach house, a new secondary dwelling we refer to as the Haxstead Garden House, and a bucolic yoga pavilion. All required meticulous building skills and were completed with exceptional results. Pat’s honesty, capabilities and integrity runs deep through his whole team and I have nothing but good things to say about our collaborations. I look forward to working with Pat again”.

Richard Peters
Principal, Tobias Partners Architects Sydney

We recently purchased a share in a spectacular coastal farm on the far south coast, overlooking Tilba Lake and the ocean to the east and Gulaga Mountain to the west.
There was no compromise between coast and country as we had both!
I had the privilege as Owner and Architect to design a modern farmhouse style pavilion building to take advantage of this location.
We selected Pat Waddell and his team due to both his personal characteristics and the quality of the work he showed us.
I believe working with people you feel comfortable with is just as important as the work they produce.
We were so comfortable with Pat and his team and the work they produced was of a standard that exceeded my very high expectations as both designer and occupier.
The building has a high degree of detail and
I often just sit inside and admire the craftsmanship that PWCB produced.

Well done Pat, Ry and the team, hope we can work together again.

Peter Shorten
Director HS Architects, Sydney

I’ve known and worked with Pat for over 30 years. In this time he has worked on new builds, extensive renovations, maintenance and property management. Everything he does is done to the highest standard. More recently he has been building a team who think and work like him. He has also selected a network of skilled tradespeople, the best in our area, who support his team and work the same way.

Importantly, Pat and his team are a pleasure to work with, always willing and enthusiastic, people you can trust. I have no hesitation in recommending him as an outstanding individual who comes with a great team.

Michael Darling – Long term client.