Since 2006, Sarac Homes has invested constant effort in making sure that each project produces not only a home, but a sanctuary. Founded by Hasan Sarac through his passion for quality, energy efficient architecture and design, the company has always strived to provide residents of Melbourne and the surrounding area with custom, inspired sustainable homes. More recently, his fiancée Julie Theoharidis has also joined the team, bringing with her a thorough interior design platform that ensures the total package within the realm of true custom design and built home is achieved.
“My vision was to bring my appreciation for energy efficiency, design and architecture to build exceptional custom homes with a focus on quality sustainable construction techniques,” he says. “Julie and I teamed up and formed a business where we offer a holistic, collaborative approach to provide our clients with a seamless, memorable journey and the home they truly want. In 2015 – as we moved away from building houses to custom design and build luxurious homes – we rebranded the look of Sarac Homes to reflect that same image of luxury and sophistication and in 2016, we opened our office doors. Prior to that, our humble beginnings were working from a home office, which worked really well; but, we obviously wanted to expand the business, and establish a space where we can share our passion and ideas with our clients as we design their home so we opened the doors to office studio this year. This has also given the space to bring our talented team in house under the one roof.”
In their entirety, Sarac Homes is a custom design and build company, however Hasan also exercises his commitment to his craft by providing consultation services for clients, builders, and tradespeople; his active involvement with the Housing Industry Association allows him to make strong connections, and provide his expertise throughout various facets of architecture, design and construction. He also provides mentor coaching for students and graduates who may need guidance, extra support or seasoned field experience.
“We’ll take our clients right through from the initial meeting, discussing ideas and goals, design, documentation, collaborating with our trades and suppliers and everything else that is involved in building a new home, even landscaping and furnishings,” he says. “That’s our main focus. I love teaching building. I can go on and on about using the right techniques, building the right way, and having the right ethics and approach; respecting the neighbours, the way that the construction site should be treated, the way clients should be treated, the way trades should be treated, the right practices that should be adopted. I’ve moulded the entire business around those beliefs. I often provide a lot of colleagues with advice; they turn to me with challenges and scenarios, knowing that I love exploring and finding solutions.”
Some builders may see sustainable building as a key challenge for certain projects; however, Sarac Homes have accepted it as a staple within their planning process. Hasan developed his passion for energy efficient architecture through one of his favourite professors while studying at University, and has worked hard to maintain and demonstrate it through various project mediums. “Sometimes, trying to find the most energy efficient product could be very costly or impractical,” he says. “The results or the long-term benefit isn’t actually seen. It’s not just on the products that we use and meeting the Six Star requirement; it’s about having a home that is clean, and healthy to live in. Having said that, it’s about how energy flows into the home naturally, by passive design, solar gain, and how the space naturally heats, cools, and augments itself.
Before we start to design a home, it’s a must that we first look at how the site is oriented, what the neighbouring properties are doing, the site levels, what sort of views can we capture, what the travel of the sun is going to be throughout the day and even the seasons. We feel that if we can create a home that is more in tune with its surrounding environment, the long-term benefits will far out way the initial cost. The home will maintain a more natural comfortable climate, and the occupants themselves will feel more positive in living and entertaining there. A positive mind leads to more positive things – operating the home better, using the light and space better, using the lay out of the home better – in total, creating a more positive lifestyle.”
Catering to a client’s wants and needs is a necessary requirement for any project. Sarac Homes makes it their mission to ensure that clients understand what is possible for their project, ensuring quality and satisfaction of service at a price that works for them. Each stage of the project is verified to make sure that it reflects their tastes, and site visits are encouraged to establish a stronger connection with those in charge of making their dreams a reality. “Building a home is a very big and complex process, and there’s a lot of ways that we can build a home,” says Hasan. “I will build a home a particular way, while another builder will build in their different way. I may have access to different materials or different suppliers, but what is it that the client actually wants? The ultimate goal is to give the client the home that they want; the home that they actually need, and the home that most importantly inspires them and they are proud to call home.
To achieve the goal of total client satisfaction, it can only be possible by being very thorough and particular about our process. We will sit with our clients and right from the beginning spend a lot of time getting to know who they are, what they like, what they love, their reason for building this home – basically we want to get into their world and find out what inspires them. From there, we will establish conceptual designs and begin collaborating with our talented team of consultants, trades and suppliers to understand how the entire home, fixtures, finishes and finer detail will all come together. More importantly, giving our clients a real expectation on what their home is going to cost to build. Within this process, our clients become better educated and establish a real sense of appreciation that they are building the right home with the right builder. Before we turn soil on site, our clients know what they’re getting, and they know how we’re going to deliver it. Prior to signing the contract, we ensure our clients are confident that what they’re signing is what they want.”
People that are appreciative and understanding of the services the company provides are the best to work with, and Sarac Homes is always proud to put their name on successful finished products of like-minded clients. “Our overall vision and mission is to build awesome homes, homes that have purpose; homes that inspire our clients. We get satisfaction when seen the excitement of our clients as they see first-hand how the construction of their home is coming to life. We want to work with clients that have the same values as we do. Building a home can be a very emotional and very challenging experience, so why wouldn’t you want to do it right? Why wouldn’t you want to be designing and building something that’s inspiring?”
Building a home also helps build a variety of relationships surrounding its structure. Hasan, Julie and their team remain mindful that each project affects more than just the clients for whom it is being built. Suppliers, tradespeople, and even neighbours help contribute to a smooth operation, and this fact is constantly considered throughout each step of the process. “If I go out to site at 6 o’ clock in the morning to meet a trade, and I don’t have a relationship with that person, it just doesn’t make sense for me to go to site,” he says. “I started off very young in the building game, and back when I started off, there was a lot more mature trades in the industry. I sort of looked up to them as mentors that I could learn from. I didn’t go to site and dictate what was going to be done and how it was going to be done – I listened and learned their craft; that established a relationship with my trades – for me, it is all about relationships. Relationships are the most powerful tool out there; they build trust, reliability, transparency, commitment to quality and there is no challenge we cannot overcome with good relationships.
It’s not all about work, work, work. I get real satisfaction when I come to site with coffee for the guys and, first, sitting around and having a chat about how the weekend was, what’s happening in my team’s world, and drawing from each other’s passions; it’s the same with our suppliers. They know that, through the communication that we have, I share everything. I’m open, raw, and honest with all my trades, suppliers, and clients. For me, it just feels better that way. I don’t have to hide anything. I like to take it one step further and establish a relationship with the neighbours surrounding the site we are building on. Neighbours essentially become my eyes and ears when we’re not around on-site. They get to know who we are, and who our trades are. They become a part of the journey. Building a home can be a noisy disruptive process and we understand this can and will cause inconvenience to the surrounding neighbours. Keeping the neighbours informed, gains their respect, establishes an appreciation of the construction process and also builds yet another good relationship in my life’s journey.”
Lack of education, lack of passion and a lack of good ethics have become the main issues within the building industry, according to Hasan. If this persists, it could have an adverse effect on the prosperity of Australia as a whole. Having been mentored by some of the older generation, Hasan has really got a sense of the passion they had for their trade and has noticed that it is not as prevalent in the younger generation. Ultimately, he believes that evoking passion and motivation at the beginning of the training would help carry the industry as it moves into the hands of this younger generation. “The building industry is basically the backbone to Australia’s economy, and I want to make sure it is sustainable and it works really well,” he says. “There’s a main focus on occupational health and safety, consumer protection and making it harder for a builder to get a license – all of which I respect and encourage – but, I think education that focuses on the craft of the trade is fundamental.”
“The old generation may have not had access to the vast safety measures available today, but their work ethics and diligence in delivering their craft, ensured they operated in a safe manner. A lot of apprenticeships were completed beside that generation, so this good workmanship and good ethics were directly passed on. Now days, there’s too many unregulated organisations that are offering a so-called apprenticeship or building courses, but they’re not educating these young future trades in the right way. There is a big push in terms of a business approach, but workmanship and attitude is as equally important. If the industry can’t deliver quality homes – in fact, if builders can’t actually even build homes to last more than a few years – what’s the point? As the industry picks up again, starts to expand, or as things get a lot tougher out there, it’s a lack of education that is going to get the industry stuck and in trouble.”
Going forward, Sarac Homes will continue to work hard to be a name synonymous with quality homes that last, viewing the expansion of their office as an opportunity to grow their following and brand. “To stay true to our values and delivery on our promise, we understand that there is only a set number of projects we can take on at any given time; We’re about quality not quantity. It enables us to keep our philosophy in check, and keep those relationships in check,” says Hasan. “My passion and strengths are being a people person, being on top of project schedules, trades, suppliers and detail. I have a lot of hats to wear in a day, but that’s what I really enjoy. Setting up a talented, like-minded team here in the office is going to be the key to our growth and success, because it will give me more time to spend on the finer detail.”
Hasan believes that each project must be taken seriously in order to guarantee its long-term sustainability. “If you’re going to make the biggest investment of your life, take the process seriously. Building the right home involves more than having some basic plans and finding the cheapest builder. That’s the wrong attitude to have, especially when you are possibly about to make the biggest investment of your life. My advice is; do your research and find the right people that specialise in the style of home you want to create, are passionate, understand collaboration and most importantly, people that align with you and your beliefs. People with passion don’t settle for ‘she’ll be right’, they’re going to give it their all, and get it done right. At the end of the day, building a home is an investment in your future and your lifestyle.”