Home' Clutha Leader : October 25th 2012 Contents 10
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The New Home Guide
Building your dream home
So you've decided to build a
new home. Before you dive in
boots and all, there are a
number of steps that need to
Firstly it is important to organise your finances in
advance to work out what you can realistically afford.
There is little point getting excited about an
impending building project if you have no idea how
far your finances will stretch. Draw up a realistic
budget of your present household expenses to see
whether building a new home is in fact feasible.
Purchasing a section
Buying the right section is an essential part of the
building process and as such there are a number of
important things that need to be considered.
Is the section close to all necessary amenities, such as
schools, shops, hospitals and public transport? Does
it have a view, plenty of sun, privacy and good
drainage or is it prone to flooding, windy, and miles
away from civilisation?
Find out from your local council what services, such
as water, sewage, power, phone and gas are
connected to the site.
What are the neighbours like and are their properties
well kept? Are there overhanging trees that could
cause a nuisance? Could there be a noise problem
from them or their pets?
Get a feel for the area, listening for traffic, animals or
You also need to request a LIM report, which is held
by your local council and outlines all information
pertaining to your section regarding rates, land
features, environmental issues, restrictions on land or
building use, resource consents issued, potential
contaminations, details about septic tanks, hazard-
ous substances and storm water or sewerage drains.
Choose and brief the designer
Before deciding on a designer for your building
project, it is necessary to conduct some research in
order to find out which type will suit you best.
Speak to a few before making your choice and liaise
with them periodically once work on the design of
your home has commenced. Get involved by
gathering ideas for materials, fixtures and fittings and
discuss them with your designer.
Finding a builder
Tthe next step in the building process is likely to be
finding a builder.
Hiring the right builder is crucial to the whole
building experience. People who have been involved
in building a house typically report that the key
factor in making it a happy experience is finding a
good builder and subcontractors. The most common
things that soured their building experience were
poor workmanship, contractors not turning up, no
communication, complaints overlooked, problems
left unresolved, messages ignored and delays.
However, in contrast, people who had positive
experiences reported that the builders they had
hired were highly skilled, honest, knowledgeable,
patient and sympathetic to their goals and budget.
Take a drive around the township and if you see a
house you like, ask the owners who built it and if
possible talk to them about any problems they had
with construction and what their relationship with
the builder was like.
Ask for recommendations from friends and work
colleagues, your bank or mortgage broker, the real
estate agent and others involved in the housing
industry. Word-of-mouth is a powerful tool and if a
builder has a good or bad reputation it soon gets
Other avenues are websites, the Yellow Pages and
trade organisations, such as Certified Builders
Association of New Zealand or Registered Master
If you have chosen a group housing company these
companies normally take care of the entire building
process, so unless you are unhappy with who they
have chosen you have no need to worry about
selecting the builder or subcontractors.
In a number of cases these companies may insist
their approved builders are utilised to ensure the
finished product meets with their quality standards,
therefore protecting the company's reputation.
Many companies also offer project management,
guidance and advice. Make full use of the resources
available to you and be sure to avoid companies that
don't offer this type of support.
Organise the contracts
Get a written contract from your builder, including
details of their guarantee, insurance, payment
schedules, and other importance issues.
Apply for building and resource consents, these can
take a while so the sooner you get them organised
The construction process
This can take anywhere from 12 weeks to 12 months
or more, so don't be disappointed if your estimated
completion date is left blowing in the wind.
During this time your job is to monitor progress,
make progress payments, approve variations to
structure or materials and have council carry out
It is recommended that you have active involvement
With the completion of your new home comes final
inspections from the council to ensure a code of
compliance certificate can be issued.
At this time any necessary remedial work is carried
out and final payment is made.
Now that you have moved into your new home it is
time to consider whether you will organise the
landscaping yourself or employ a professional to help
with its design and implementation.
It is important to note that a well-designed garden
can provide both a useful outdoor living space and a
perfect setting for you to take pleasure in. If it has
been designed well it can not only be easy care but
add value to your home when the decision is made
How long will the building process take?
You will be given an estimate of how long it will take
to build the house and start and finish dates should
be outlined in your contract. These dates are likely to
be flexible because delays are often outside the
builder's control. These delays may be caused
through delays in other houses the builder is working
on affecting how soon the builder can start, whether
the subcontractors are available when needed and
weather can also be a huge factor.
Hold-ups with materials, which are often in short
supply in times of heavy building activity are also
You need to take a reasonable approach to the
delays outside of anyone's control, such as the
Although, when the delays start to get unreasonable
you might want to look at your options.
Before work begins make sure building consent for
the project has been issued.
Ensure you have understood all documentation
with specific regard to design changes as further
alterations during construction are likely to be costly.
Speak to a lawyer before signing the contract.
Make sure the building site is cleared and ready for
the builder to commence work and also ensure they
have unhindered access to the site.
Discuss any concerns with your builder
immediately, ensuring delays are kept to a minimum.
Materials must be chosen carefully, along with
appliances and any other fixtures or fittings. It is also
important if you are responsible for the purchase of
such that they are bought prior to the builder
Once building work is under way, there are a
number of things to keep an eye on, such as how
the project should take, who will keep the records,
and are building materials being stored
Remember that you should apply for a code
compliance certificate once the building work is
Additional information sourced from consumerbuil-
Take a drive around the township and if you see a house
you like, ask the owners who built it and if possible talk
to them about any problems they had with construction
and what their relationship with the builder was like.
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