Our Blog

On this blog, we share our latest news and initiatives. We also share updates about the renovation and building projects we've been working on in the Illawarra.

Why you should be using recycled materials in your new home or renovation
posted on 26 August 2021 04:24 AM

In recent years there has been a distinct push towards using greener, more environmentally friendly building materials across the construction industry. Manufacturers are constantly updating their catalogues with new and improved products that last longer and have a smaller carbon footprint to produce. Something that is often overlooked by clients when they are considering what to  include in their new home or renovation is recycled materials. We're not talking a kitchen bench made from recycled plastic or a floor made from recycled rubber, but a genuine incorporation of old, vintage and often weathered materials into the project.Since 2018 the team at Concept have seen a distinct push for standout features among our clients. These days there are a few dominant interior design style choices that make up the majority of new homes and renovations, and we have found that now our clients are searching for something different, that diamond in the rough that sets their interior space apart from the rest. In order to satisfy this desire we strongly believe that using recycled materials such as bricks, timber, tiles and doors can provide a project with a level of character not always attainable through the purchase of showroom products. Recycled materials add real depth and can make even a new build feel nostalgic and welcoming. The rustic colours of recycled brick can provide an industrial vibe, or the warmer more weathered tones of recycled timber can provide an interior space with a more rugged 'cabin in the woods' aesthetic.Another great benefit is that recycled materials decrease a load on the supply chain for building materials, which is currently under a significant amount of stress due to shortages from both Australia and Asia. In some cases it may even be easier to find recycled products for a project, rather than dealing with the current wait times for both domestic and imported products. Which brings us to the next question. Where are the best places to find high quality recycled building materials in Australia?Well, I'm glad you asked. Australia is a Mecca for recycled products and has a number of great outlets and suppliers across the country. Here are our top picks:Sydney:Recycled Building Centre20 Waterview Street, Putney, NSW0407 500 054Melbourne:Urban Salvage190A Hall Street, Spotswood, VIC(03) 9391 0466Brisbane:The Demolition Yard55 Cavendish Road, Coorparoo, QLD(07) 3397 0166Perth:Vinsan Salvage25 Katanning St, Bayswater, WA 6053(08) 9279 3880If you are keen to talk to us about how we can help you incorporate recycled materials into your dream project then don't hesitate to contact us. We are always happy to discuss how we can turn your concept into a reality.- James

Mount St Thomas Final Walkthrough
posted on 06 August 2021 07:10 PM

In this video James walks you through some of the finer details of our recently completed project in Mount St Thomas. This was an epic project to complete, with a number of features that really set it apart from other properties in the area.  One of the key features of the property is a 5 metre splash-back window with overhead cupboards that sits behind the main kitchen bench and opens up to a spectacular view of Mount Kembla. The commercial grade window is made from 10mm thick toughened glass and we used a double LVL to support the weight of the roof above it.We once again used products from Velux Australia, with four skylights being installed into the ceiling of the main entertaining area to let in extra light. Two of these have retractable honeycomb blinds, which can be opened and closed with a remote control rather than an installed switch. When it comes to the interior fit out at Mount St Thomas, our clients chose the finishes, which served to highlight the white-on-white aesthetic that they were after. We used brushed stainless fittings from ABI Interiors (a first for us) and they complimented the Caeserstone bench-top and engineered oak floors very nicely. The end result is a spectacular property with a beautiful interior and exterior that stands out in its surroundings. One of our favourite projects to date.  

Bulli Miners Cottage
posted on 06 May 2021 07:20 PM

As we head into winter the days are getting shorter and the temperature drops but the Concept team have completed all their major milestones across our three current projects this month. Mount St Thomas is at lock up, with the exterior fully painted and the boys forging ahead with the fix-out stage inside. The top story addition in Balgownie has the first stage of the roof complete and all windows in, while our Miners Cottage renovation in Bulli is almost completely cladded and ready for exterior painting. The Miners Cottage is a fantastic project for us, as we are making sure to maintain the heritage feel of the existing house, especially the unique facade. We have worked closely with the clients on this job to make sure that all the materials used suit their vision for the build without sacrificing any of the heritage feel. Having the ability to blend modern materials in this way will truly make the Miners Cottage a job to be proud of.

Mount St Thomas – Week 7
posted on 31 March 2021 07:39 PM

March has been a busy month here for the boys at Concept Constructions, with three major projects now in full swing taking up the majority of our time. These projects are located in Mount St Thomas, Balgownie and Bulli and all take advantage of Concept's signature blend of adding a coastal style to an existing structure. Mount St Thomas is in week 7 of the build, with Bulli and Balgownie not far behind. The top story addition in Balgownie is of particular interest to anyone looking to add a significant amount of living space to an existing home, particularly when yard space is at a premium. In our latest video, James takes you behind the scenes on the spectacular build at Mount St Thomas. This renovation has striking raked ceilings and an enclosed rear pergola that provides shelter from the elements. We are using James Hardie V Groove cladding on the inside to give the project a slight Hamptons feel, while still retaining the great views of Mt Kembla. Stay tuned on our social channels for regular updates across all three of these projects, and don't hesitate to reach out if you are interested in building your dream home with us.  

Project Ellengowan Week 14 – Final Walkthrough
posted on 24 February 2021 09:21 PM

Project Ellengowan Week 14 – Final WalkthroughFebruary marked the end of work and client handover of Project Ellengowan in Fairy Meadow, NSW. Project Ellengowan is a coastal, Hamptons style build that took 14 weeks to complete and contains a number of special features that demonstrate the quality of work undertaken by the team at Concept Constructions.This latest project was a major renovation and extension that involved building off the back of the existing structure and installing steel to support a huge gable ceiling and window that overlooks the back deck, pool and the iconic south coast landmark of Mount Keira. This window was delivered by the team at Hanlon Windows and is a major feature of the project, spanning 8 metres over the width of the deck. Combined with the rain sensing Velux skylights, the main entertaining area embraces the coastal theme of the project. Inside there is a smorgasbord of additional features, include a beautifully engineered oak floor that runs throughout the heart of the home, a custom fitted Caesar Stone island bench with brushed brass fittings by ABI Interiors and a bench seat made from recycled Oregon, salvaged from the original pergola at the start of the job and biscuit joined into an internal feature. This is a particularly nice touch, tying the newly finished build to its original roots. Project Ellengowan was a fantastic job with a great client, the perfect combination that a project of this scale and complexity demands. It's been fantastic to work in the local area, with James having previously renovated his own family home on the same street in Fairy Meadow. 

Project Ellengowan Week 10 Update
posted on 28 December 2020 10:47 AM

Concept is ending the year on a high as we welcome the finishing trades to Project Ellengowan. We have just hit week 10 of this beautiful renovation/extension project in Fairy Meadow, New South Wales. With views of Mount Keira and within walking distance to the beach, the client for this project was after a specific coastal style  feel to the house. So far we have completed all the major structural work on the property and the finishing trades are sitting at about 50% complete going into the Christmas and New year break. We are estimating a mid January handover, which will give us a 12 week total build time. Some of the more beautiful aspects of this project include a huge off white Caesar Stone bench top, brushed brass fittings by ABI Interiors, and a large nine metre gable window with glass by Hanlon Windows. In the video below James walks you through some of the key features of the project and highlights the most eye catching aspects of the build. 

How to make the make the most of Home Builder Program
posted on 02 November 2020 10:27 PM

It's coming to that time of year when the Home Builder Program announced by the NSW Government in response to COVID-19 is reaching its due date. All contracts must be signed on any new builds or renovations by the 31st of December, with all work then commencing within 3 months of the contract date. In order to be eligible for the $25,000 rebate, you are required to meet one of the following two income caps: $125,000 per annum for an individual applicant based on your 2018-19 taxable income or later; or $200,000 per annum for a couple based on both 2018-19 taxable income or later. You have to spend over $750,000 for a new home or over $150,000 on a substantial renovation for a 25k rebate. For a full breakdown of the grant, visit the NSW Treasury website.The real question then becomes, 'How can I make the most of the $25,000?'In many cases this comes down to a personal preference on what work you plan on undertaking in the property, however there are a few value adds that are sometimes overlooked in the excitement of undertaking some serious work on a new or existing property. 1. The first of these is storage. Increasing the storage capacity of any property makes it both more liveable and also increases the re-sale value.2. Kitchen/Bathroom refurbish. Whether you are building a new house or renovating an existing property, the kitchen and bathroom can be a good place to look at spending part or all of the 25,000 rebate. This can be done by refinishing an existing bathroom, or even purchasing higher quality fittings for a new bathroom, increasing it's longevity and making an investment in the future of your property. 3. Opening up the living space. While this might sound drastic, many older properties have a great scope for the removal of a few internal walls that can dramatically open up a space and fill your home with light and space. Couple this with new windows and a complimentary outdoor area, you will be well on the way to making the most of the rebate.The Concept Constructions team have extensive experience in both new builds and renovations to existing structures, so if you are looking at signing the contract before the 31st of December, please contact us and we will help you get the ball rolling.

Why you should add a niche to your new home or renovation
posted on 01 September 2020 10:01 PM

What is a niche?A niche is a recess built into a wall in a bathroom, often inside the shower or above the bath. It is waterproof and tiled and is a great way to add storage space for essential items, such as shampoo, soaps and razors. Niches can be small enough for a few items, or can be turned into a feature that spans the entire length of the wall, depending on the needs of the client. Niche's are on trend at the moment, and it's easy to see why.Benefits of adding a nicheBy adding storage space and turning this into a feature of the bathroom, it is possible to use a niche so that it drastically de-clutters the space, allowing you to cut back on the number of fixed draws and cabinets that are required. Removing large and unsightly cabinets that protrude from a wall will improve the flow of any room, and the niche recess can also have the effect of giving the room the illusion of more space. This may be a benefit down the track if you are planning on selling the property in the future. A niche also offers a good opportunity to bring plant-life into the bathroom with open space for crawling succulents or even small candles.Turning the niche into a featureSimple design choices, such as tile patterns and colours as well as strip lighting can turn a niche from just another storage space into a main feature of the bathroom. Warm lights can bring the bathroom to life, giving it depth and breaking up the wall. It's important to note that strip lighting is for the bath only, not the shower. Let's get startedIf you are interested in installing a niche in your bathroom, or starting another project with us, contact us today.

Why Choose Concept Constructions?
posted on 31 July 2020 03:14 PM

Building your new home is a big deal. We understand!You need someone who knows what they are doing, but that also respects your opinion. You want a builder who has a fresh approach to building and someone you can talk to .  A builder on the South Coast of New South Wales who is happy to work with you to achieve the outcome you want.Concept Constructions Aus, lead by James Mildner, has been working on a lot of incredible projects around Thirroul, Berry and Wollongong. Our latest renovation project in Berry is coming along nicely, and has lots of fun features like a feature wall slider made from recycled materials and beautiful bathroom touches  that are changing the whole feel of the old home and recreating it to be one that is an incredible space to live in. We love working on interesting and unusual projects that are not run of the mill.  If you have a project such as this,  we could be the renovation builder you have been looking for. We also work with Architects and Designers closely that support us with beautiful design work for our clients. That is why we call ourselves a bespoke builder. We appreciate design and we love working on projects that involve great skill and workmanship.Do you have a building project that you have decided it's time to do - the perfect time in fact with the HomeBuilder grant being made available to eligible Australian Homeowners and first home buyers as well. Contact us today.  

Custom Builder. Personal Bespoke Service
posted on 27 May 2020 12:38 PM

Times are changing. There’s no denying it. Our lives have been completely turned upside down, inside out, and whatever other way there is to describe the uncertainty and utter helplessness we have felt over the past few months. For builders and tradespeople, life has been semi normal in our work settings to some extent, still difficult but do-able. Because the construction industry has been classified as an essential service under the Australian Covid-19 regime, work has continued on building sites. Social distancing rules have been applied both on our commercial and residential jobs. This has been a great effort of our Government to keep the economy going; it keeps people in work; it keeps supporting people through this. We expect that these past few months will give our industry a bit of a reset along with the rest of the world; But the great news is, that building the new custom designed home of your dreams can still happen, and we as your bespoke home builders are here for you to do just that.  One of the ways we see changes happening throughout Australia is the process of buying and building our homes. Let us clarify this statement. People around the South Coast of New South Wales and Wollongong region are enjoying the more one on one meetings with their builder, instead of a range of employees.  Personalised service is becoming more and more like it used to be – that good old-fashioned service with a smile. The authenticity of knowing the person who is in charge of your most valued asset. Concept Constructions is a small team of local young builders with skills learned from years on the job as apprentices, as the chippies, as the main carpentry team on big jobs for other builders, through to now being the “Builder”Building beautiful homes is what we love to do.  The Illawarra Home owners and the Design Savvy South Coast NSW New Home buyers are now looking for someone who will be working ON their job, as well as being their main contact person.  James Mildner | Concept Constructions, offers this service.From the very beginning of your Home building experience; meeting with James and working through your dreams and ideas of what you want in your new home; The planning, the Designing, the Vision for the final product, this all happens with the builder himself.  We believe that the attention to detail given because of the personalised interaction with your builder, is a major contributing factor to your satisfaction during, and at the completion of the project.   The final finishes and look of the Custom Designed  homes we build is a team effort – Home Owner and Builder. Interaction is encouraged. Together the process works.We look forward to working with you, personally.

Renovation Project in Fairy Meadow
posted on 29 April 2020 02:52 PM

As you may be aware, Concept Constructions have just completed a sweet little reno in Fairy Meadow, NSW. The home was very old but in a great location, so it was worthwhile investing the money to bring it back to life.  Some  important questions we considered when deciding whether to renovate or build a new home were; How workable is the orientation of the existing home?Is the area a new home area? Or a renovated old home area? How do values compare? Will renovating cause us to over-capitalize or not?We decided that the spot was a definite green tick, so we had the surveyors come to ensure the home was in the right spot. Then we redesigned the interior so that it was more workable and open, adjusting a few walls here and there. Here is a progress photo of the boys stripping the old bathroom.  Old fibro was replaced by James hardie VillaBoard lining. Wet sealing followed, then floor to ceiling tiling completed the look.We used James Hardie HardieGroove panelling for a feature wall in the main living area and main bedroom, which has come up a treat – see the before and after shots of the bedroom here.Adding barn doors between the two living spaces was a nice feature and great alternative to standard cavity sliders. This made it so much easier in a renovation, not to have to knock more walls down to create a cavity for doors to slide into. We had limited space off the kitchen for the door to the deck, but using custom stacker doors from Hanlon Windows, we were able to get the most opening we could without going to bifolding doors.  We added a sliding stacker window to the kitchen area too, and a ledge to allow for bar style drinks/dining.  For the windows we choose Colorbond Surfmist to stay with the Coastal Hamptons theme.The kitchen came up a treat, with the finishing touches all black, to add sophistication and style to the home.  The Bench we choose is CaesarStone Sleek Concrete, teamed with white kitchen doors, it looks great! Reece supplied the plumbing fixtures and fittings. The concrete pendant lights were sourced from Beacon Lighting.The old flooring was ripped up to reveal lovely cypress floor boards underneath, which we had sanded back and freshly polished.The exterior of the renovation was completed stripped and redone with Scyon Linea Cladding to complete the look.  

Concept Constructions - the Cladding Specialists
posted on 22 April 2020 04:53 PM

Concept Constructions uses many of the @jameshardieau products. One of their newer innovations is EasyTex.Description C/-  the James Hardie website says of this product …EasyTex™ is a pre-primed fibre cement panel embedded with a fine texture to deliver a modern render design aesthetic. Each panel features a v-groove, ship lap joint along the two vertical edges. EasyTex panel is easy to install, resistant to cracking and lime staining, and comes ready to paint.EasyTex panel is suitable for use as an external wall cladding in residential single and medium density buildings, including alterations and additions, where a uniform broadwall cladding is required. It is ideal for full wrap or composite construction designs on either timber or light gauge steel framed buildings.We must say, we love the product. It’s simple to use and easy to install, it works so well with @lineacladding which is our all time favourite external wall panelling. Not only do the James Hardie products look incredible, they also have the added benefits of being resistant to fire, termites, rot and damage from moisture. Another excellent feature of the Scyon products (James Hardies Fibre Cement wall cladding )  is the difference between a double brick home and one that has JH cladding… A double brick wall is about 280mm in width, taking a lot of the internal home space that could be available. For example, a 250m2 slab loses 11.84m2 of floor space using the double brick option.  Whilst the JH Cladding loses no wall space. Savings all round!Fibre Reinforced Cement products are a mixture of:• Cellulose fibre, from plantation-grown Radiata Pine trees• Portland Cement• Sand• WaterThe team at Concept Constructions use James Hardie products on a daily basis, from external walls such as EasyTex and Linea cladding, to internal walls – Villaboard for wet areas, and HardieGroove for feature walls;  and as we already mentioned, we are fans of the products. The photo attached shows the internal HardieGroove panelling used as a feature wall in one of our recent projects. The look we love is the Classic Aussie Hamptons style that is so popular right now.  If you are looking for a local builder who knows this product and can deliver your home, or renovation with exceptional quality,  be sure to give us a call. 

SLOPING SITES – A few things you should know – [ Part 2 ]
posted on 15 April 2020 12:01 PM

The ideal design of your new custom designed home will be dictated by the slope. For instance, if the block slopes up from the road, more often than not the best solution will be to have the garage underneath the home, and have living areas open out at ground level in the back. Conversely, if the block slopes down from the road, it might be more appropriate to build a split level house that follows the slope down, and position a rumpus room or utility room in the back.With a sloping block, soil depths are relatively shallow, so you are very likely to strike rock. To avoid any unnecessary excavation — and expense — work with the block, not against it.   This is where the use of the Spantec flooring system is crucial for a good solid foundation, with  the whole system engineered  before it reaches the site. The working drawings come detailed and easy to follow so we as the builder can ensure your home is built quickly, efficiently and well.Often when people think about building on a sloping block, they think about a home out of the ground on a timber sub-floor. This is a more expensive option, as you have to pay for brickwork and timber for this elevated option. These days, with the Spantec flooring systems it’s much easier and much more economical. As you work with our designers to create a custom plan for your home, we take into consideration your whole block. As your builder we help by  highlighting to you the  block’s potential. It’s important to consider how you will use the outdoor spaces; from where to put the clothesline and entertaining areas, to access for a caravan, trailer or even the wheelbarrow!  A home doesn’t stop at the walls, it’s actually the boundary of your block of land. Tie it all together, and make moving around on it as convenient as possible.Finally, we would encourage you to buy that sloping block when you have considered what you are going to build there. Don’t buy the block of land just because it’s cheaper, buy it for the views or the opportunity to build a creative, interesting home. For more information contact us https://www.conceptconstructions.com.au/contact

SLOPING SITES – a few things you should know. [Part 1]
posted on 08 April 2020 12:34 PM

Have you considered the option of building on a sloping site?With our Australian landscape, especially around the coastal areas such as Wollongong, and the South Coast of NSW, the more interesting blocks in a suburb or development are usually sloping. The good news is that Concept Constructions is experienced in finding solutions for sloping blocks.  It’s also interesting to note here, that the end results are often more pleasing than flat blocks.  It’s true! Sloping sites usually have a view. That’s a huge tick we suggest.  Yes, they also have their challenges, but hear us out….These days, sloping blocks are generally cheaper than flat blocks, so what you save in the purchase price can offset any additional cost of construction. Concept Constructions have available the option of using an incredible flooring system from Spantec  that helps with speed of construction on site and has great warranties for the home owner and the builder. Talk to us more about this when you contact us to build your new home.The orientation or aspect of the site is important with regards to taking advantage of solar efficiency as well as views. With a north-facing block, main living areas can face north. This allows natural sunlight to enter your home, making it more comfortable to enjoy the space as well as better for your health.  Sometimes with a South-facing blocks, the views and the orientation can be in conflict, so you may need to compromise. We can work with your ideas, and the site, ensuring that the house plans are such that maximise the attributes of your block and minimise the shortcomings.Questions to think about when looking to purchase your block;  Which way does the block slope? Does the slope rise from the road, or fall from the road? Does it slope from left to right or vice versa? (The convention is that you describe the block from the road looking in.) To read more about sloping sites and the solutions for these,  please come back next week as we continue to explore this subject. Until then, if you would like more information, please  contact us here

Concept Constructions on the job
posted on 25 February 2020 05:06 PM

Our team were super stoked to be part of this incredible duplex, working with @futureflip builders to create a unique build using different textures and finishes.  

Concept Constructions favourite cladding
posted on 18 February 2020 03:25 PM

Concept Constructions team of experienced qualified tradesmen have been working on some big projects around the Woollongong and Kiama areas on the South Coast of NSW lately.  Some are renovations of existing dwellings, changing them up to create amazing spaces for the families that own them. Some are new builds that are Custom designed to suit the clients dreams, and their budget. One of our favourite claddings is Linea Cladding - it's an incredibly versatile product that is well suited to the Australian lifestyle.  It is made from "fibre cement with the charm of timber without the longevity issues of shrinking, swelling and warping to retain its looks for longer."Aussies are in love with the Hamptons look right now, and it's a style that won't be disappearing any time soon. To quote  directly from the James Hardie website ~ "The Hamptons look makes every day feel like a holiday. Prompted relaxation and the open plan coupled with outdoor areas encourage families to connect. Using stylish, deep-shadow James Hardie weatherboards and the durability of fibre cement and trims delivers an unlimited colour choice."When it comes to this product, we know that our clients are getting the best, and most insulated cladding for their homes. With the horrendous bush fires still in our recent memory, we are also happy that this product adheres to bushfire attack level requirements to BAL29. Fire rating up to 60 minutes when used with HardieSmart™ wall systems, meaning it can withstand plenty of heat before it  succumbs to the intensity of the flames. So there's just a couple of reasons why we like the product!  We look forward to using this amazing product as we work on your home :)