Masters of their field | Newcastle Herald

The home designed by Torren Bell and built by Jon Clark at The Vintage Golf Estate in Pokolbin.

Pokolbin builder Jon Clark considers himself lucky, very lucky.

He lives and works in the heart of the Hunter Valley wine region and, despite the many challenges of the construction industry, is busier than ever.

And to top it all off, he’s a finalist in the 2022 HIA-CSR Hunter Housing and Kitchen & Bathroom Awards – the first time he’s entered an award in nearly 30 years as a builder.

His entry is a Torren Bell Design home in the $801,000 to $1 million Custom Built Home category.

The clients are Glenn and Katrina Kendall. “They knew what they wanted,” Jon said. “The house is tailor-made to their needs and they are very happy with the result. I thank them for entrusting us with the construction for them.”

Jon started as a sole proprietor in Singleton in 1994. He moved to Pokolbin 13 years ago, building his own home on the Vintage Golf Estate, his Greg Norman-designed 18-hole championship golf course.

“It’s a very niche market. I’m lucky to work and live in such a beautiful estate to begin with, surrounded by vineyards.

“I work with a great designer, Torren Bell, who also designed my own house,” Jon said.

“I am also lucky to be surrounded by wonderful collaborators (a team of three craftsmen), my long-standing relationships with subcontractors, and with my clients, who trust me enough to build for them.

“I don’t like to cheat and change with trades, I like to bond. This is reflected in the end result, with houses that we are very proud of.”

Jon says these are tough times for the construction industry.

“We’re still busy, but this is the busiest for a long time. We survived the pandemic, but it’s tough in construction, with shortages in trades, delays in supply, rising costs of materials – and of course the weather.

“I think anyone who comes to the awards night is doing exceptionally well. For the little ones, surviving everything during and since the pandemic is a credit to everyone involved.

Jon has worked with Torren Bell for 15 years. “Torren started out as a carpenter, which is rare for a designer to be a trade. He knows the practical side of building.”

Jon is also grateful to his trades team. “I couldn’t live without it,” he said. In addition to building new homes, they carry out renovations and extensions.

So far, Jon has built nine homes on The Vintage estate and his clients have become friends. The houses on the estate overlook the fairways, the park or the countryside. The Vintage estate features a $5 million clubhouse, a fitness center, 12 Grand Mercure apartments and a Chateaux Elan hotel.