What makes a great new build? A builder shares tips

A high-end architectural new build, Scarborough, by Tass Construction Group, is a two-storey family home in the sought-after NSW seaside town of the same name. It recently won the 2023 NSW Housing Industry Association’s (HIA) ‘Custom New Build $1.2m to $1.5m award. So today, we’re taking a look at what makes it so special.

Delivering a home perched atop a coastal cliff and opening to expansive ocean views, required overcoming plenty of challenges including turning structural requirements and access issues into design features. Ben Tass, co-founder of Tass Construction Group, explains: “From the initial concrete works to the final interior finishes, every aspect of this build demanded meticulous attention to detail, with a focus on incorporating the client’s vision into the design.”

The project required careful planning and preparation, including how to structure the building, the position of structural steel, and how plumbing and electrical services would be incorporated into the framework for functionality and aesthetic appeal.

“The block’s position required heavy bracing to meet strict N5 wind ratings and our team of expert designers and engineers utilised innovative strategies to ensure that the house could withstand the harshest weather conditions,” said Tass, who notes one large double-brick wall filled with concrete was constructed to provide the correct load bearing for the project.

Located just south of the picturesque Sea Cliff Bridge, material delivery to the site on a busy road led to one of the project’s first design features to assist with off-street parking: a turntable driveway.

“A home of this calibre requires a remarkable first impression, and in this instance, it begins with the turntable driveway,” said Ben. “The exterior design further attracts attention with its Silvertop Ash cladding from Victoria, enhanced by polished and unpolished concrete.”

Entering the three-bedroom home through the impressive statement iron door, the interior embraces 180-degree ocean views, while spectacular features add eye-catching points of interest throughout the home.

A metal walkway connecting the upstairs main bedroom to the hallway adds ceiling height and an industrial edge to the coastal vibe, a suspended fireplace is a talking point in the open plan living space, while brushed copper hardware contrasts with monochromatic tiling and adds some zing to the bathrooms and laundry. Outside, the property features a spacious courtyard complete with a pond and a balcony to take in the views.

Suspended fireplace
Brushed copper hardware

Furthermore, in an effort to connect the residence with its surroundings and acknowledge the area’s rich history, Tass selected bricks identical to those used in the old Scarborough Post Office. This not only adds a touch of nostalgia and charm but also preserves the aesthetic integrity of the surrounding community.

Here, Ben shares his advice for homeowners to help them work better with their builder and achieve the best home.

1. Define your style and the vision for your home. Having a set vision from the start is key for a successful build. Avoid saying yes to suggestions that don’t fit by using a moodboard with clippings of images of the style you seek. This can help illustrate ideas to designers and builders so they can understand your vision.

2. Ensure any view of a stunning outdoor visual such as trees, beach, lake, or hills, can be enjoyed from as many different points in the home as possible.

3. Combine materials for attention-grabbing exteriors and interiors. Homeowners should specify design styles and any particular materials they want to use with their designer or builder, so consistency of look can be ensured.

4. Ensure colours and materials either contrast or complement. Be bold.

5. Corners and cut-outs present opportunities for surprising spaces.

6. Communication with your designer and builder is key! Builders play an important role in making successful adjustments to plans, so ensuring clear dialogue with your builders is beneficial once a design has been approved.

Tass Construction Group is a multi-award-winning boutique design and construct firm specialising in custom new builds and high-end renovations in Sydney. The Tass brothers and their team offer an in-house design service. They are a design-focused firm, taking on only a handful of projects each year within the luxury residential sector, winning awards for projects across both major renovations and custom new builds.


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