You may have noticed quite a few houses going up in Kingscote lately. A recent count of ours estimated there were about 10 being built.
At first glance this seems good - good for families who finally get the home they have been dreaming about, good for the island as people are laying down roots here, good for local businesses and island economy…..
But when you look a little closer, that last statement isn't quite so true. None of those houses were being built by local builders. You may ask, does this matter? Surely some of this profit will go into the island?
Well, not really…
If people aren't using local builders, who do they use?
Occasionally, it's a builder from Adelaide or one of the many housing companies that are jostling for a piece of the market nowadays. Adelaide builders bring their own workers, and sure they may use the islands hardware stores for some of their materials, and island accommodation, but the money they make from a particular job will find its way back to the mainland. If that’s where they live, that's where they will spend, and rightly so. They are hardworking builders, just trying to support themselves and their family.
Housing companies take it a little bit further than that. They supply all of their materials, workers, subcontractors, builder and house plans. Most of the profit is going off island, with little staying here to help KI's economy.
We understand why people may use an housing company, it's relatively straight forward and can be cost effective. Their websites are quite snazzy too!
But it got us thinking….
Those 10 houses would be approximately $250,000 to $350,000 each (a conservative estimate). Times that by ten and you have $2.5 to $3.5 MILLION DOLLARS that is not being filtered through the islands builders, subcontractors and suppliers!
That's a lot of money, and we only counted the houses in Kingscote.
So how could these millions of dollars stay on the island? By using the very skilled local builders Kangaroo Island has to offer. Local builders employ local workers and use the vast array of island subcontractors (electricians, plumbers, stonemasons etc). Materials are mainly sourced from the two hardware stores, which means that MOST OF THOSE MILLIONS could be staying here and spent on the island. $$$$$ Cha-Ching! $$$$
Now this all seems very warm and fuzzy - 'just use the local trades and all will be good'! But in order to do this, people will need to get house plans drawn up from an architect, and submitted through council. This is what puts a lot of people off going local.
Architects and plans seems daunting, we know, we've been through the process ourselves. So we started wondering if there was another, easier way people could get an architecturally designed home without all fuss.
To cut a long story short, there is a way. We've found it. It's a very new concept, quite exciting and probably not something you've heard of before….
It's called Divvy Plans, and I'll go into greater detail in my next post
Have a good weekend