Who Is McGregor Building?

The Story Behind The Company

Who Is Behind McGregor Building?

Born & bred in Ballarat, Hamish is a local builder who understands and loves Ballarat and her homes.

Hamish loves nothing more than seeing the excited look on his client’s faces as they see their homes restored to their former glory.

Hearing about the family gatherings they enjoy having on their new deck all year round, or receiving a great email telling him how their teenagers are now spending more quality time at home, sharing stories around their new island bench, since their kitchen renovation reclaimed it as the heart of the home brings him huge satisfaction.

Hamish’s Story

Pete Jones, another well-known local builder, was working on a renovation to Mum & Dad’s beach house at the end of 1990. He offered me a try out to see what I thought, and I began an apprenticeship within a couple of months. Working in the bar and bowling alley at Sovereign Hill had pretty much worn out its welcome by then and I jumped at the chance.

With Pete, I did lots of high-end work around Lake Wendouree, which really threw me in at the deep end. I helped create some majestic homes, always using top quality materials and working with a complete focus to a high level of attention to detail that is an integral part of McGregor Building today. I worked with Pete until 2000, when I decided it was time to try building on my own.

Renovating The 1920’s and 30’s Homes

My first love in building style is what’s call the Inter-war period of home construction of the 1920s & 1930s, including the Californian Bungalow style of construction. I have now renovated and lived in three of these myself. There are many of them in Ballarat, which makes my work so enjoyable.

My First Home In Ripon Street South

I bought my first house in Ripon St South, in an advanced state of disrepair, for $82,000 in 1999 with a view to renovating it and sold it for $192,000 in 2005 after living in it while making it beautiful.

My poor neighbours hated me for the hard rock loud music I played as I worked! Thankfully both my music tastes and my building skills have matured and evolved since then.

Working Around Buninyong And Lake Gardens

In 2001, a mate’s boss needed a hand and I stayed working with him for five years. During that time, we did a lot of work in and around Lake Gardens, where I developed a fondness for that area, and Buninyong. I’d always been attracted to the Buninyong area as my grandparents had retired there. It’s like a lovely little separate community.

2006 – London Calling

London called in mid-2006 and I spent four months there, immediately amazed by the architecture and appreciating the different styles of construction on show.

I already knew that Ballarat’s housing was very English-flavoured, and my time in the old country only served to enhance my knowledge and understanding of our fair city’s gold rush buildings and beginnings.

So much more history than Australia and so many incredible buildings to see & visit. To think that Westminster Abbey is over 1000 yrs old!! I was very lucky to be staying in Kensington which is a stunning part of London.

I was inspired with ideas for future projects. I’ve always loved colour & have used the colourful doors from London in my own home. I took the opportunity to walk around lots of construction sites, chatting to workers, and was quite surprised that they were still using imperial measurement.

2007 Gaining My Master Builders Association License

2007 saw me living in Melbourne while I completed the four month long Registered Building Course with the Master Builders Association.

After that I built my cousin’s beach house in Lorne, my first complete home. At the end of 2007 I was back building in Melbourne for 18 months where I did a lot of commercial work.

I also completed a fair bit of work at the prestigious Yves Apartments on St Kilda Road where many famous and wealthy people have stunning apartments.

We are registered, licensed builders and a member of the Victorian Building Authority

2009 Return To My Home Town, Ballarat

In 2009 I moved back to Ballarat and bought my current home in Lake Wendouree. Ballarat people know that the Lake Wendouree area is well known as a high-end and mostly picturesque area of the city.

Many of you will also have heard the advice to buy the worst house in the best street if you can.

Well, this “renovator’s delight” was worse than the worst! It had been left empty for quite a while, become a home for possums and was in quite appalling condition!!

I have since replastered, rewired and replumbed it, recladding it in weatherboards. The kitchen and living areas are now merged and opened up to a wonderfully expansive open space with skylights and lots of windows, complete with a new kitchen.

Combining three tiny rooms into one to create a spacious and functional combination bathroom and laundry is a feature.

The house has been extended by a full room’s width down one side adding an ensuite to the master bedroom, a butler’s pantry to the kitchen, an office space and a 4th bedroom.

Finishing off the indoors renovation, we added a deck out the back of the sun-drenched living area, accessed through eight metres of fully opening sliding glass doors. A deck is such a vital feature of our modern living these days and no home should be without one.

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Ballarat's #1 Home Builder

Past And Present Extension And Renovation Projects

The last 10 years have included a full renovation of a farming cottage in Naracoorte, South Australia and flipping a house in Hotham Street, Lake Wendouree. One of the bigger extension and renovation projects I completed was on a once beautiful but rather rundown red brick Victorian home on Seymour Street in Soldiers Hill with a budget of about $120,000.

In April 2016 I began one of my biggest and most satisfying projects. A beautiful but very sad Victorian era home in Hotham Street was a friend’s investment property, and it needed the full McGregor Building treatment!

This one I stripped bare to the wall frames and floorboards.  I restumped the house myself, digging every one of the stump holes by hand and bucketing in the concrete! It was a hell of a job, but I had a fabulous sense of satisfaction when I’d completed it.

Then I reclad it entirely with new weatherboards and replastered every single wall inside it. It was rewired, replumbed and then repainted to the client’s choice of colours based on another house they owned and already loved.

It ended up having a 55m2 extension on the back of it comprising a combined kitchen-dining-living area, replacing a partially demolished section. Inside the existing footprint of the building, we rearranged some space to add a WIR, ensuite, and separate bathroom.

Whilst in the process of the Hotham Street flip, I completed a beautiful bathroom renovation in Webster Street, Ballarat Central over a couple of weeks. This project included tessellated floor tiles, pressed aluminium walls, a graded shower base, standalone bath & the all-important chandelier!

Subway tiles were installed to the shower walls and a shower niche added along with a big square shower head & handheld style one attached to the wall. For Ballarat homes, heated towel rails are a must, and they were not forgotten.

Seymour St, Before Reno's

Seymour St, After Reno's

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The Original Kitchen

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Freshly Renovated!

The Original Bathroom

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Light And Bright

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The Original Bedroom

The New Bedrooom

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Back Patio

Large Paved Patio Area

Errard St North

In Errard St Nth, Ballarat Central, lives an Art Deco red brick home lucky enough to have the proud McGregor Building stamp on it. It had previously been a doctor’s or ophthalmologist’s rooms and gained a whopping 70m2 modern extension comprising kitchen, dining and living areas.

The steel framed extension was architecturally designed by a Melbourne firm and contains $15,000 of steel, which had to be measured to the millimetre, double glazed windows and has 4m ceilings throughout.

A stunning and unusual feature of this extension is the curved steel framed rear deck. The brand-new state-of-the-art kitchen has stone benchtops and there are bright and airy skylights throughout the home.

The floorplan of the existing part of the home was reconfigured for better utilisation of the space, creating a WIR and ensuite. This home was also rewired and replumbed.

I enjoyed recycling and repurposing thousands of bricks from the walls of an original 1900s legal practice in Ballarat, turning them into a boundary wall of a home extension for a member of that legal family, lending an historic and ancestral air to the project.

I have been known to build a “deck in a day” and fully renovated several beach houses in the Lorne and Anglesea areas.

Current Projects

In 2021-22, I am completing another large-scale project, extending a home office by more than 65m2 across two levels, for two very different uses. The lower level will triple the floor space of a well-established accounting practice while the upper level will enlarge the family’s living space and add the all-important outdoor deck area.

I’m well acquainted with the heritage overlays and restrictions which many Ballarat and surrounding areas homes are subject to and am capable of working within their regulations to create the best possible outcomes for you as the property owner.

Our team of talented service providers are qualified, informed and skilled in knowing all the ins and outs, bells and whistles, forms and paperwork that might be required for your project and we can’t wait to be of service to you at your place.