Who are Plantation Homes?
If you go by the website Plantation homes is a Queensland-based business “Born and bred in the sunshine state, at Plantation Homes, we take great pride in designing and building exceptional homes which are a perfect fit to the Queensland lifestyle and where and how they want to live.” In this review, we outline Plantation Homes’ strengths and weaknesses so that you can make an informed decision before you buy.
They very much originated in the Sunshine State but have gone through a few changes over the years. They are now owned by the Henley Group which is a VIC based construction company that has built thousands of homes since its inception in the 1990s.
Henley Group is owned by Japanese forestry giant Sumitomo Group which is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
Now having such strong financial backing is certainly a positive for a QLD-based business, however, they may be more susceptible to change based on what international markets are doing.
Top 5 things we like about Plantation Homes
- ✅ Award-winning Builder. They have since 2012 every year won the HIA QLD Region professional major builder award.
- ✅Have strong financial backing. With their affiliation with Sumitomo Group, they have a significant lifeline. Sumitomo group builds over 20,000 homes globally
- ✅Display home options. With over 50 different designs across 6 sites in Brisbane, they have many display homes options.
- ✅Large range of plans to suit most families. On the main page of their website there are over 100 home designs to choose from
- ✅They have a strong connection to giving back. Plantation homes have raised $3.5M for Mater Hospital and donated over $4.6M to local hospitals and foundations. They are also strong supporters of the Child Wise program
Top 5 things we don’t like
- ⛔️Display homes are misleading– This is a major problem with many builders, Plantation homes is guilty of subscribing to this standard as well. The problem is that all their display homes are upgraded which doesn’t allow you to see what you would get at let’s say a basic spec level.
- ⛔️Delayed timelines. Based on our research and personal discussion with clients it’s clear the when it comes to time, Plantation will always put itself first rather than the customer. We’ve had a client that has waited from October 2019 to April 2020 and he is still waiting on a contract from Plantation homes. We will dig further in detail in the time frames section below
- ⛔️Everything had to be approved by the head office. Plantation homes have a central office that is responsible for all decision-making, this means that the front-end salespeople have no delegation to give you an answer. Everything must get approved by the head office. Every time you ask a question it’s 2-3 weeks before the question gets answered.
- ⛔️The tender/contract process; Once you’ve paid a deposit expect to wait between 3-5 weeks to book a tender appointment.
- ⛔️Number of spec homes; Generally, when builders are not busy but need to keep building to ensure they can validate their staffing overheads they will build spec homes(brand new homes that they fund internally and then sell as a completed brand new home). This isn’t really a problem, but Plantation homes have over 25 that are either built or under construction. This could be a warning sign.
Display village in Rochdale
This house presents really well, as mentioned earlier the display homes have all the bells and whistles. This is no exception; we loved the funky wallpaper in the toilet and the large doors. It’s a shame these things will add so much to your build cost. We also noticed the ducted air conditioner. The plantation does not offer air conditioning as part of any inclusions.
By far our favourite thing about this house was the feature wall that ran up the stairs and along the living area.
With the master bedroom on the front of the house, this will be a love-or-hate design. I personally would rather the bedrooms towards the back of the home. As with the other display homes, this has quite a few upgrades including the wallpaper.
We did like the fact that only 20mm island benchtops were used in this house to give you an indication of what to expect.
The bifold that open up to the alfresco look great but I wouldn’t expect this as part of the standard. This is consistent with the BBQ area and outdoor landscaping
We loved the coastal feel of this house, especially the cool lights (I am not sure if these would be a standard option or an upgrade, but most likely an upgrade).
The square set walls are also unique, and I would imagine they would be an additional cost.
The raked ceiling in the living and kitchen areas creates a great sense of space for a smaller home. We loved the built-in shelves for the tv and books but would expect these to be extras.
Well, this house does its name justice, with a grand entrance walking up to Bifurcated stairs, beautiful crown mouldings everywhere, and a general sense of opulence. We loved the side entrance which is unique. Their plantation shutters look great in the theatre but we can only imagine how much it would add to the cost of your build.
This home is very inviting and spacious, we really liked the wallpaper in the recesses in the ceiling. Other things that appealed to us were the Blue cabinet work and white benchtop. We didn’t like how the stove was tucked around the corner half in the butler’s pantry and half in the kitchen.
We loved the massive bathroom in the master bedroom and the free-standing tub, I would be interested to know if they were standard or all upgrades.
This house has a great open feel with the bi-fold doors which once open make the whole area feel as 1. The featured artwork at the gallery looks great but can make the house feel like a bit of a maze. I would have also liked to see a door to the butler’s pantry. The outdoor space for the master bedroom was a bit confusing
The entry for this house was a bit of love-hate, we loved the study and how it had been styled, and we loved the barn doors on the media room but the hallway felt narrow and with limited natural light, it gave an office/hospital feel. Once you get to the kitchen it all opens up with lots of natural light.
We loved the contrast of darker cabinet work and light benchtops. We did find it weird that the lower levels were all square set and the upper levels were standard 70mm cornice
With intergenerational living on the rise, this design with a self-contained guest room on the lower level could be a great solution. As you would expect from a 450m2 house there is no shortage of space. The problem is finding blocks that are at least 16m wide and 32 deep.
From a design perspective, we loved the mirror splashback but can only imagine how difficult it would be to keep them clean, we also loved the louvres but they can be difficult to screen and are certainly not standard.
This is a large contemporary home with clean lines and a colour palette. We love the glass balustrades and timber stairs. The entrance feature is a wow factor however for a large house it feels a bit mazy, especially in the master bedroom also the corridor leading into the family and dining is offset which breaks up the space.
What are the inclusions?
So, there are 2 levels of inclusions at Plantation homes, in this section, we will dissect the inclusions to give you a clear perspective of what you will get for your money.
I want to start off with the items that are not included in either of the 2 inclusions:
- Driveway (industry cost is ~$100/m2) so allow between $6,000-$10,000 depending on how much is required
- Floor covering (industry cost for basic floor covering is ~$65/m2 on a 300m2 highest house there is approx. 227m2 floor covering) overall cost of ~$14,800. Keep in mind if you are looking to have hardwood timber floors then be prepared to pay >$200/m2
- No window covering, this is certainly a section of your home you can spend a lot of money depending on what you want.
- At a base level, you will only be provided with an M Class slab
- No fly or security screens on any windows
- No Air-conditioning
Well if all the above things are not included what do you get for the advertised price?
This is directly from a quote we had access to:
Retreat 27 House Price – Including Double Garage (brick veneer), with Colorbond roof, plasterboard ceiling, concrete floor, hinged access door to the rear, and sectional door to the front. Plus connections and class “M” foundations package.
(Note: Garage doors are installed at the completion stage)
Well let’s start from the outside of the house and work our way in,
You will get a colour bond roof with face brick, a Colourbond garage door with a painted front entry door. Details that are not available are, the width of the doors, do we get any external lights?
Now let us look at the kitchen:
- 20mm creaser
- Tile splashback
- Stainless steel sink
- Soft close draws
- Undermount rangehood 600mm
- Ceramic cooktop 600mm
- Electric oven 600mm
What about the bathroom:
In the base inclusions you will have:
for a 20mm Laminate benchtop
- Frameless mirror
- Soft close toilet lid
- Chrome towel rails
What we did notice in the brochure was a small disclaimer “Laminate colour and tapware as shown will incur an additional charge” It’s interesting Plantation Homes didn’t feel confident enough to put the colours and options that are actually available in their brochure.
Let’s look at the alfresco:
The first thing we noticed was there was no provision for the floor no tiles or flooring provided so I would think it was just plain concrete.
Lastly what’s included in the finishes,
3 Coat Dulux paint
3.5R batts to the roof and 1.5R to the walls
No mention of how many PowerPoints are included
Indicative Build Process – Large Vol Builder
- Meet with Sales rep at Display home
- Discuss requirements with Sales
- Prelim Sales Quote is prepared (1 week)
- Sign Sales Quote
- Pay Deposit ($2000)
- Sales paperwork sent to Head Office
- Reviewed by Contracts Manager and file allocated to admin (1-2 weeks)
- Admin makes contact with client to book tender appointment (3-5 week wait)
Drawings and tender pricing doc prepared
- Attend tender appointment to review formal price and design sketch
- Accept tender
- Contract appointment booked (1-3 weeks)
Contract drawings and HIA contract prepared
- Attend Contract appointment
- Colour appointment
- Attend Electrical appointment
- Post Contract Variations (1-2 weeks) approx. 13 weeks so far……
- Lodge Application
- Council Approval (4 weeks) – longer if Town Planning
- Approval received (labour allocation and ordering (2 weeks)
- Prepare file for site (1-2 weeks)….another 8 weeks……..around 20 weeks and we haven’t even factored in build time……
Let us look at some reviews
Many people in the current environment make big decisions based on what the review for a company says. Well, Plantation homes are a mixed bag like most builders. The common issue they have is time.
Below is an example of someone who gave them a 4-star review but noted that the process was tedious to get from initial enquiry to contract, with any little change taking months to get clarified.
We have also personally consulted a client who went through Plantation homes and below were the key take always:
- From the initial deposit to the contract took 10 Months
- We identified an inflation of 230% on CCTV inspection of sewer pipes
- They were charging the clients $3500 for soil removal but didn’t provide the solution for screw piers
- They had 2 lots of surveys which the client had to pay for however only 1 lot was required