Kev Morris Builder is an award-winning building company that creates stunning architectural, custom-built, and new family homes across the Toowoomba and Darling Downs region. Their team has been together more than 20 years, and has the proven expertise and experience to guide clients through the whole design and building process. The leader of that team – Kev Morris himself – deals with clients personally every step of the way, from planning through to completion. He takes responsibility for all aspects of construction, and ensures delivery on-time and on-budget.
“We do it once, and we do it right,” Kev says. “That’s our motto, but it’s not just our motto – it’s our commitment to our customers.”
Historically, Kev Morris Builder’s services have included new homes, renovations and extensions, and light commercial buildings. Recently, however, they have increased their focus on providing homes designed for “adaptable living”– as in, homes designed for changing needs of the occupants, friends, and family.
“Our aim is to build homes to meet the needs of young families with kids, people with sporting or traumatic injuries, assist the ageing community and to cater for people or families with disabilities,” Kev explains.
Kev Morris Builder’s adaptable living homes follow the Liveable Housing Australia guidelines, and their standards are further bolstered by the National Disability Insurance (NDIS) market of housing. Their homes are designed with comfort, safety, and ease of access as core features. Also, they are designed so key living spaces can be more easily and cost-effectively adapted to meet the changing needs and abilities of the occupants.
“The goal is to build homes that meet the ever-changing needs of the occupants across their lifetime,” Kev says. “They are tomorrow’s homes, today.”
Recently, Kev and his company were industry recognised for their growing focus on adaptable living. At the 2019 Master Builders Queensland Awards for the Downs & Western Region, Kev Morris Builder won the category for ‘Display Home $251,000 to $350,000.
The award-winning display is called ‘The Sarah,’ and is located in the Avenues of Highfields. It features four bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a huge living area. Most importantly, it meets the ‘silver level’ of the Liveable Housing Australia standards.
“We value that a lot,” Kev says of the recognition the home received. “We’ve done a lot of homes, we’ve seen a lot of homes, and we’re very particular about what we submit for awards. We don’t just submit for the sake of submitting.”
“We truly thought this home was different to all the others,” he continues. “We thought it was a stand-out home, and potentially a market-leader. We put a lot of effort into it. We’re glad that the Master Builders judges recognised that. We’re glad that the industry sees this could be the home of the future.” The Sarah is particularly special, Kev explains, because it shows clients that “you can live in your home longer if you do these simple things at the start.”
Some of those simple things include: no-step, no trip thresholds; wider doors and hallways; and accessible bathrooms and showers; and a host of other accessibility features.
“Nobody’s done a display home like this,” Kev says. “The ideas are out there, but nobody’s actually gone and incorporated them into a display like this until now.”
Kev’s passion for adaptable living goes back many years. His daughter, Sarah, had a disability – so he knew how difficult it could be to access homes, and to manoeuvre wheelchairs through corridors and doorways. When he was introduced to the adaptable living concept, he believed he had discovered something he had been after for years.
“I could see the potential right away,” he says. “And it’s close to my home because of my daughter. So I designed this home, named it after my daughter, and put my heart into it.”
The response, he goes on to say, has been “wonderful.” The region they built in has a lot of retirees, and when aged people who have come through the display, they consistently pass on the message that they don’t want prestige double-storey homes on acreage blocks. They want to downsize to a three or four bedroom home on a smaller block, but they still want quality. They want something like The Sarah.
“They come in and they see it’s just a comfortable home to live in,” Kev says. “It’s roomy, it’s well thought out, and it’s easy to access. And they see if something happens to them, if they end up in a wheelchair, they can still live in this home. It’s a home for the rest of their life.”
Kev Morris personally began his career in the building industry in 1977. He started as an apprentice with a local builder, went on to work as a subcontractor for over 14 years, and earned experience on a wide variety of projects. Armed with those decades of experience, as well as a glowing reputation in Toowoomba and Darling Downs, he officially formed Kev Morris Builder in 2014.
From the start, the company attracted a variety of work from Kev’s past contacts:
“It didn’t matter what the project was,” he recalls. “Because of my reputation, everybody knew I could handle it.”
Kev wanted to grow the business and expand his client base. That’s why, a few years into the company’s life, he decided to join the Independent Builders Network (IBN), national network of professional local builders. This gave them access to IBN’s portfolio of over 100 unique house designs, a growing number of which are for adaptable living. Kev responded to those in particular. He built The Sarah with the goal of tapping into that new market.
Today, Kev Morris Builder still does a range of projects, in a variety of sizes and sectors. Their growing focus, however, is adaptable living. Kev believes that clients in that sector still choose him because of his experience and renown locally:
“They know they’re not dealing with some fly-by-nighter,” he says. “Even people new to the area can see from our website, and from our displays, that we have experience here in the town, and we deliver quality.”
Clients also choose Kev Morris Builder because of the service they provide – which Kev believes any past customer will attest to.
“Communication is a big thing for us,” Kev says. “I think any past client will tell you that. If someone has built a home with us, they’ll tell you about how we talked all the way through the project, how we kept in touch and kept them up to date and well informed about what’s going on.”
“We give that same level of service to each and every client,” he adds. “We don’t treat anybody like just another number. We recognise that we’re building their home, and they’re spending a large amount of money, maybe the most money they’ll ever spend in their lives. We believe that money should buy them a great product, but it should also buy them great service.”
To ensure that Kev Morris Builder continues to provide that great service well into the future, even as they grow, the company have started working with a third party who will be contacting clients after the completion of their project. They will ask questions about their experience, what they liked about the process, and what they thought Kev and his team could do better.
“We can always improve,” Kev says. “All of us. Whether it’s the sales guys, whether it’s me, whether it’s the guys on site – we can always be improving. And now we have systems in play to make sure we’re doing that.”
When it comes to improving, Kev also wants to keep building better and even more accessible houses. As mentioned before, The Sarah meets the ‘silver level’ of the Liveable Housing Australia standards. In the near future, Kev wants to build a display that achieves ‘gold.’
“That’s geared more towards people with greater disabilities,” he explains. “I’d like to show people that that’s available as well. I also want to show people the variety that’s possible. The homes don’t have to be the same. They can be bigger and more complicated, but still have that accessibility throughout.”For more on Kev Morris Builder and their services, values, and past projects – and to get in touch with Kev and his team – visit https://kevmorrisbuilder.com.au/