Building Company Reviews

Welcome to Builder Reviews

From the Original Admin person:

“I was looking for home building companies, and came across a number of builders. However what I didn’t find was a review site, with customers providing feedback on different building companies. Does such a site exist? There are plenty of sites for restaurant reviews, and I would have thought deciding which building company to go with would be much more an important decision than deciding where to go out for dinner.

Anyone want to set me in the right direction?”

And then I got the gig…

For comments skip below the ads for my magazines (well, there has to be some reward for warding off spam, paying for the hosting and moderating the comments – and if you’re building or renovating, you really should buy them because they’re invaluable).

Adding a New Post

To add a new post you need to scroll to the bottom of the page. Apologies for this – I’ve looked for a different template to use for the page that has the new comment box at the top but without luck. Please contact me if you know of one.

smilingwebApril 2015

Hi All

This is the essential tool if you’re building or renovating. Get it here –

For those who have been using the site regularly, you may have noticed that it went down at the end of March 2015. The owner of the site had lost interest, so I came to an arrangement with them to take it over as the moderator and editor.

I publish the Building Guide and Design Guide magazines and BoB (for Builders) magazine and websites.

The Building Guide is an essential tool if you’re building or renovating – this publication could save you a huge amount of money and it will definitely save you a huge amount of time. Learn more about it here…

You can contact me here if you’d like to discuss anything on the page.

And if you’re a builder, then BoB is for you. We supply these free for builders and tradespeople.

If you’re not getting them, let us know here and we’ll make sure you’re on our list to send them to…

3 Sept, 2015
Hi again

I’ve disallowed one post and edited another in an effort to keep the conversation here a positive one with posts offering advice and relating personal experiences. Please refrain from criticising other people and their comments. Anything like this won’t be allowed.

October 2018

Our latest Design Guide 2018-2 edition is out in the shops. It’s amazing and if you love architecture, you should buy one immediately. Check it out here…

This is such a stunning magazine – it’s totally worth getting your own copy… and there are packages with earlier editions of the DG and/or getting the Building Guide too…

NOTES: Please Read

October 2016

We have now been contacted by the lawyers for Landmark Homes Counties Manukau to remove posts. One was from someone who had reached an agreement with them which included confidentiality and there is one that may be from someone who is a disgruntled ex-employee. Others are still posted but there is also a response from the Head Franchisor of Landmark and the Counties Manukau Franchisee as well who seem genuinely interested in trying to sort out issues.

Ctrl-F to find specific references…

April 2017

It’s been brought to our attention through posts we can’t allow on the site due to a lawyer’s letter, of problems specifying a builder, Craig Paterson, who had been working for a franchise building company. We have removed the comments from the site as we can’t control the accuracy or inaccuracy of the information.

On investigation, Craig has had a series of residential construction companies, including the national franchise, which has gone into liquidation leaving a large number of creditors and some very unhappy customers. It is our strong recommendation that people do not use Craig as their contractor.

If you have used him and have had a problem, then we strongly recommend you can make a complaint to the Licensed Building Practitioners (LBPs) Board, of which Craig is still one, here… (or for any other builder, for that matter.

Bear in mind, if you have any Restricted Building Work happening with your project, it MUST be done or supervised by an LBP. Make sure you are protected – your builder MUST give you the mandatory Prescribed Checklist and there MUST be a contract in place for all projects over $30,000.

July 2017 update – Craig has a new company now, The Property Channel, where it seems he’s building for people again. Again – we strongly recommend against using Craig.

June 2018

We have just been contacted by another set of lawyers, acting on behalf of Jason Strange, of MASS Construction, the current Wellington/Manawatu/Wairarapa franchise for Platinum Homes. There have been several comments made that are personally defamatory and have been removed under instruction. The lawyers believed that there may be a disgruntled ex-contractor who has made comment, but there were around eight different people who have been removed and there are comments about Mr Strange from others going back to his earlier years of running the South Island Franchise for Platinum, too. Stuff has also recently identified issues, here…

We have also been told that the lawyers are also now acting for Platinum Homes nationwide, because of the large number of critical comments made here on the site over the past few years.

157 pages of them.

I do know that Platinum have replaced their insurance coverage from CBL, who are in interim receivership, with BuiltIn Insurance, whom we rate very highly (and recommend using if you’re building with anyone). This includes the Wellington franchise. Platinum now offers Homefirst Builders Guarantee, Builtin’s 10 Year Building Warranty (via Stamford and backed by certain underwriters at Lloyd’s of London) which offers deposit protection and a completion guarantee.

However, if you are considering using Platinum for your build, we strongly recommend you investigate thoroughly, ensure your contract is reviewed by your lawyer and that, perhaps, you may wish to consider alternative builders.

Finally, if you’re are looking to build or renovate, do yourself a favour and get some understanding of what you’re about to undertake. Building a house is a very expensive and highly complex project – way more than you think if you’ve never done it before.

There are great builders and suppliers out there, but there are rip-off merchants, too.

Go to the Building Guide and Design Guide websites and get some insights into what you’re about to do. Getting it right will make your life fantastic, but getting it wrong could destroy you financially, so prepare!

Adding a New Post

To add a new post you need to scroll to the bottom of the page. Apologies for this – I’ve looked for a different template to use for the page that has the new comment box at the top but without luck. Please contact me if you know of one.

Mark G

2,458 thoughts on “Building Company Reviews”

  1. One of the WORST experiences of my life…. Around October last year we signed with Baillie Construction in Palmerston North for a house and land package in Bulls. We were promised to have a start date of January 2018. We were all ready and set to go in January but Lee Baillie was not. We asked if we gave him $9000 that it would speed up the process and that money would be put towards plans. In June 2018 we had made little progress on the plans.

    We decided to end the contract around a year later because nothing had been done towards the build. Lee would not give us our full deposit back. We then had to enter a claim to the small claims tribunal just to get the matter settled. We are now Building with another company who are immensely better. I have not recommended Baillie Construction to anyone. Feel free to ask me any questions.

      1. I agree! I’ve heard way too many awful stories about this company, and have some myself! They get away with it time and time again. Problem is when they control the Business page the negative feedback doesn’t get published.

  2. Does anyone know of a good builder, preferably with design capabilities too, in the Kerikeri area, Northland? We are looking to extensively renovate and extend our house.

    1. Hi Dan
      You should have a look at the Building Guide. There are a range of builders listed there. If you can’t find anyone there, drop me a line and I’ll see if I can put you in touch with someone.
      Mark G

  3. Hi,
    We are looking to extensively renovate and extend a house in Kerikeri, Northland. We wonder if anyone has experience of using Absolute Build (Mark and Natalie Todd) also based in Kerikeri for both the design, consent paperwork and build?
    Thanks, Dan

  4. Att Homeowners who took out the Homefirst builders 10yr guarantee offered through the Certified Builders Assoc! Is there anyone out there who took out this guarantee that is not aware there is an issue with CBL (the underwriter of the guarantee) being placed into liquidation? For many of us who have a number of years left on the warranty this is about to be a problem for us come November. Many people I have spoken to (like me) who bought this policy had no formal communication either from CBANZ (now NZCB) or Builtin New Zealand. I discovered the issue due to the nature of my own job. If you have the policy and were kept in the dark and found out through other means could you let me know please?

    Due to the seriousness of this issue I’m curious to see how many of us out there have been left to find this out through word of mouth? Builtins staff are telling people that policy holders were emailed, however people I have spoken to including myself have received no such thing. If you were formally notified Id also like to hear from you. Thanks

    1. Hi Kelly, thanks for raising this issue, I appreciate that this has been a difficult period for holders of a CBL-backed Homefirst Guarantee. As soon as we became aware of the situation with CBL we contacted all 8,800 guarantee policyholders we had an email address for. Unfortunately, we did not have email addresses on file for every policyholder. All Homefirst Guarantees are currently still valid and in force, as CBL are being run by interim liquidators until a decision is made on their future (the case is due back in court in November). In the meantime, some eligible policyholders can choose to purchase a replacement warranty from our new provider. If you let me have your contact details I would be happy to look into your particular situation. You can also contact us on 0800 BUILTIN with any queries. Regards, Keryl.

      1. Keryl, don’t you think you should be offering these poor people a free solution to this mess and not another insurance policy they have to buy at their own expense? This is hardly the forum you should be on toting for business I should think.

      2. Forgive me Keryl if I seem a bit blunt here (I agree with MJ) but if you want to use this blog to scout for business fine, however, it should be noted that “BUILTIN” provided a faulty product to us policy holders, with an insurance company that couldn’t back itself!

        Why on earth should we invest and trust your organisation again? That you have the cheek to suggest we cough up even more money with your new provider when its clear “BUILTIN” couldn’t provide “Peace of Mind” with CBL?

        Keryl you stated that you had contact details for some but not all policy holders, really? No contact numbers, no physical address details? That you don’t have proper policy holder details on file? This is not very reassuring.

        Going by your 8,800 approximate figure of policy holders you “did” have contact details for, lets say at an average cost of $1200 per fee, an approximated $10 Million dollars of policy holder funds has already had the unfortunate misfortune of passing through BUILTINS hands.

        It’s distasteful of you to so quickly offer up an alternative provider as if you are washing your hands of any accountability so early in the piece when questions still need to be asked what, if any obligations/responsibilities BUILTIN and NZCB should be liable for here.

        Policy holders affected by this need to get their heads around all of this and should not be taking this issue lightly at all!

          1. In fairness to BuiltIn, they are in no way culpable for CBL’s failure, nor should they be held to account for being unaware of the state of the business. They used them in good faith and it seems to me that they’re trying to sort the mess out as best they can. They don’t seem to me to be ‘touting for business’ here, but offering a solution to people who may be worried about having their cover disappear. I can understand your anger, but suggest it be directed at the idiots who ran CBL into the ground rather than those who have likely been even more disadvantaged than you.

            1. In response to your comment Mark, from a high level perspective yes, Builtin could not be culpable for knowing this was coming, Fair point, however, Builtin makes a living through providing a product to consumers backed by a provider and just like any other product for example, a faulty hairdryer made through a manufacturer, when the unforeseen happens, if the product fails consumers get a refund or a replacement while its still under warranty.

              This product was guaranteed for 10 years. Under the Consumer Guarantees act, it states we are protected from “Contracts of Insurance” Questions will need to be raised as to whether this applies.

              My comment merely reflected the fact that Kerryl was promoting a new provider through Builtin and rather quickly in my view. It appeared self serving.

              To suggest that people pay for a new policy again when there is the possibility that the consumers guarantee act might come into play here, seems too quick on her part. People need to understand where exactly they stand in all of this. If someone has knowledge here please share?

              Depending on peoples situations whether they choose to use another provider through Builtin or not is purely up to the individual.

              A lot of policy holders will be in limbo until the announcement.

              Re your comment that Builtin is trying to assist those worried about loosing their cover, I don’t doubt that. But for those of us (Including myself Mark) who are innocent victims of abandoned builds/leaky homes/structural defects currently in the process of claims and cases pending with CBL, and if you have never had to go through something like this yourself then you couldn’t possibly understand the level of horror/anxiety we will all be feeling right now. Some of us Mark have been fighting the “fight” with CBL on going for months and years, cases pending. The horror of what one has to go through when filing a claim when it involves the maximum payout with CBL I could write a book on it. People took this policy out in good faith as well Mark, believing the guarantee could be relied on assisting us through our darkest hours! Should the outcome not be a good one, this will come as an even harder blow for those of us who have already suffered enough. This puts people in this situation at a huge disadvantaged.

              I’m pretty sure we dont fit the “eligible” list Kerryl mentioned they were assisting some people with.

              For Kerryl to imply so casually the guarantees were still valid, whilst that is still actually the case, let’s be honest, going by the amount of time it takes to be awarded any claim pay out, it’s comical for her to suggest this might still be a plausible concept right now, and that everyone with a claim lodged already might have something magical happen before the outcome. For anyone whose just discovered a major defect right now and need to lodge a claim good luck with that.

              If Builtin have plans to assist those in the most horrendous of circumstances mentioned above then by all means they might get my sympathy.

              But for them to make even more money out of this debacle while others are about to face the possibility of further despair doesn’t sit well with me I’m afraid. I guess we have to wait and see.

  5. Hi I am new to this homebuild world and am currently getting three plans costed from two companies and one bespoke builder. Getting nervous about comparing but will get there …my question is should I be upfront and say i have three considerations to them or just deal with each one individually. I don’t want to play any games between them but I have been advised once I get the pricing I should be open about what each is offering with them especially if its a close line between two. I have a diligent lawyer but just wondering about this plan decision/fixed price contract stage. any advice is gratefully received

    1. Hi Donna
      When pricing, we all know that we are generally pricing against another company so there is no need to discuss this with your builders.
      Comparing apples with apples amongst different companies offering different variations of quality is extremely difficult.
      Other things you need to watch out for is provisional costings eg one company may have $20k and another 25k in their costings and this can happen across many items.
      If you are pricing three plans, there will generally be a difference in the pricing of each of these, how many walls, stud height, gables against hips etc
      There is so much to watch out for
      Send me an email if you need any help

      1. Thanks Peter I really appreciate the advice and your time.
        BTW you were on my list as I adore all of your houses – but I also realized/thought my tastes outweighed my budget 😉 plus a sudden change of timing ruined my plans to query options beyond what I have considered.

        1. Hi Donna
          I didnt relise you were in Christchurch
          Dont get fooled by our website, we do all levels of pricing and against the housing companies we are much more competitive as we dont have any overheads and why we are doing so well.
          I would love the opoortunity to work with you on your project. We offer a fixed price contract where others dont so once you sign the master build contracts, there are no suprises through construction which you will get with others. Our quality and finish is outstanding and you will see from our feedback. We also take control of our quality as we will only use one team of subtrades so there are no variations in our quality

    2. Hi Donna, you’ve probably got your quotes sorted by now but thought I’d mention in case others here are in a similar position as you. SpecCheck is independent (not a builder). We created the service to help consumers by checking their plans, specifications and pricing before they sign a build contract. Hope this helps 🙂

      1. Sorry, I guess I am a bit too late. I have just signed in with a house and land package with a company without checking elsewhere. I am very new to the building things. Can you help me out as I am having great difficulty to understand where the value in the house. The building coming will not give me a break down of the cost.
        Any help will be greatly appreciated.

        1. Hi Pritty,

          It’s important to ensure you are comfortable with the details of the house and land package. I assume you’ve paid a initial deposit to hold the package while you make any design tweaks and/or confirm specification choices?

          SpecCheck doesn’t charge anything to look over the documentation the builder has provided you with. If you haven’t signed an unconditional build contract, this is definitely the time to talk to us. It certainly sounds like you need more information.

          Would you like to make contact through our website or email them through to us at along with your contact details and I’ll call you to discuss.

  6. Great tips. It is very informative information. I love reading this information on your post. I would definitely try to follow your tips. Thanks for sharing this information with us.

  7. I have question about fencing in a new subdivision. When we purchased we were told by our building company that the cost of fencing was shared by neighbours and for most of us, this has been our experience. However, a builder has build a speck home situated in the middle of three recent builds with fencing in place, but refuses to pay his share. Unfortunately due to council and covenants, fencing has to go up before or soon after a property is built, so there is little room to move here and the Fencing Act seems to cover fencing only between existing neighbours. There are young families involved here, so some kind and helpful advice would be appreciated.

      1. No Jane, it is in the Canterbury area. Nevertheless, I think this can happen anywhere. I think there needs to be a change in the Fencing Act as while it may be legal, in my opinion, it is morally reprehensible.

        1. I completely agree with that too. If it says half share then it should be half share. The fact is they obviously waited until everyone else had built so that they could build between the fences and pay nothing in order to make the most money on their spec home. Thats really wrong.

    1. I’m sorry too, I cant offer much help but what I can say is that what ever you do, DO NOT GO TO THE MASTER BUILDERS ASSOCIATION! They only ever have the builders best interests in mind and they will bully you into dropping it and giving up. Good luck and I’m sure there is someone on here that will be able to help you further.

      1. Mel from what I have heard about The Master Builders Association, I can understand your feelings. No this is a loophole in the law that, in my opinion, is being is being exploited. I want to be careful not to slander anyone, but it just feels bloody dishonest. I could not recommend him to anyone and the rest of the homeowners in the street do not appear to be impressed with him either. What price one’s good name?

      2. I totally agree with you Mel, Master Builders are nothing but there for the builder. We are still fighting with them after 18months and have got no where. We are talking with Fairgo to try and sort them and the bully builder out.

        1. Hi Hadenough
          I see we are in the same boat. Builder just digging their heals in as they don’t want to pay or be bothered with having to fix issues. They know they are responsible and should fix the issues. But are being difficult. I would like to join forces with you! As this sort of behaviour is unacceptable and destructive for everyone including the building industry. Master Builders are likely to be suffering with all these people who have had a bad experience starting to speak up. How can we get together?

            1. Hi Barb
              Who are you and what is your association with Master Builders? What outcome will come out of that complaint. It seems a lot out there are not standing by their warranties, guarantees, standards nor word.

          1. Hi letsdotherightthing,

            I would very much like to talk with you, I am happy for you to email me on It is about time the homeowners who have been ripped off by bully builders and master builders join together and fight them through the media and what ever other means that are available to us namely Fairgo. I look forward to you contacting me

    2. Hi Polly, From what I’ve read on-line regarding the law on this, as a general rule you can take action against a neighbour who refuses to contribute half the cost of erecting a ‘reasonable’ fence on a shared boundary. But I assume that logically timing must play some part. For example if you moved into a house, and a neighbour asked for half the cost of a fence he erected 10 years ago, because he said the previous owners of your place never paid anything, I guess you might object to paying.
      In this case it’s possible the ‘spec builder’ didn’t own the neighbouring section when you built the fence(s), but someone must have. Why did you not approach them before erecting the fence(s), and ask them to share the cost. If they had refused you could then have taken legal action.

      1. Hi Chris, firstly this is not our fence, but a neighbours. We are in a new subdivision and new homeowners are required by council to put up fencing when they build. The sections are not sold all at the same time so automatically some fences will be adjacent to unsold sections. The developer is merely selling the sections and the fences are not his concern (he has been contacted). In our case, our building company erected the houses and fences in our part of the subdivision and helped us negotiate/share the fencing costs, so no problems with us. The spec builder has waited till the fences have gone up before he bought the section. It seems to me the failure is in the Fencing Act. Another thing, it is not ten years on as our houses were all completed within the last 15 months and the subdivision is still in process.

        1. If your poor neighbors can manage without it for a while, I would personally remove as much of the fence as I reasonably could myself without damaging it or digging up the supporting posts then when the plonker in the middle comes to sell, his section will look like crap and he won’t be able to market it as fully fenced! It is their fence after all, they should be able to do what they like with it and if he questions it all they need to say is “we didn’t like it and we’re in the process of replacing it but it’s a very hard decision to make so it might take a while, but if you like it I suppose we could keep it and I’m sure we could work something out” 🙂

          1. I like the way you think. Yes that idea has been mooted. One neighbour is all in favour, another not so sure. Yet another has not taken possession and I am not sure he even knows what is going on. No one knows who he is, so apart from leaving a message with his neighbour on the opposite side, not much we can do about that. His is a big fence too, so I should think he will be livid.

            1. Even one neighbor taking down their fence is still very bad for resale value, we’ve bought a few houses for our portfolio and we always take the fences into consideration when we make an offer. Although we do put up our own fences (we are farmers so we have all the gear) we never tell the real estate agent that and we make ALOT of noise about the stress and cost of having to replace it etc etc and see if we can bring down the price a little more. Not to mention that if one of the neighbors removed their fence, potential new buyers will ask why and if they find out there is a dispute, they wont want the hassle. Think “Neighbors at War” before you’ve even unpacked! He will have to drop his asking price a fair bit to make that scenario attractive!

        2. Ah, having read this comment I hadn’t realised that the builder only bought the section after fences were erected. Unfortunately I don’t think the other owners will be able to go after him for half the cost. They erected the fences when the Developer still owned the land as as you rightly say, the Developer (in all subdivisions) never has responsibility to pay half of fencing put up if they still own the section next door. So if the builder waited deliberately to purchase until fences were up then as you say morally wrong, but legally nothing can be done. 🙁

          1. Yes Sarah I think that is likely. There had been a hold on it for quite a while, but whether it was by the same builder or another purchaser, I have no idea. If nothing else, it is a warning to others as to what can happen. I still think the Fencing Act needs to be looked at again and I am thinking of writing a letter to our local politician in this regard.

      2. Hi Everyone. Can anyone please provide me with a ballpark figure to build a double garage (6m X 6m) on a relatively flat section with a Gable Roof pitch of 37 degrees. Simple Board and Batten Cladding with a Timber Garage Door. Any suggestions/guidance greatly appreciated. Thanks

    3. Have you tried getting help from the Developer? I’m assuming the requirement for sharing fencing is in the covenants? If so then the Developer might be able to help in enforcing them. If not (but the requirement is in the covenants) then if I was you I would try my luck with the Disputes Tribunal. Get both other parties to go against that Builder – it probably won’t cost too much to lodge it and with the DT its not always just about “legalities” – it is about fairness. I would definitely try that – take along the costings and ask for half for each side. Definitely worth a try. 🙂

      1. It is not me personally Sarah, but my neighbours. I really feel for them and your suggestion is one I have already made. The developer has already been contacted and he is not liable. I have tried to read the covenants but they are unclear in this regard.

  8. Hi There,

    Does anyone recommend ZB homes or Lunix homes in te awamutu? We are looking for good builders in that region


    1. Not sure about ZB or Lunix but had friends build with sentinel homes on Cambridge rd in TA and they had a great experience.

    1. Hi there not sure how to make a new post. Just wondering if anyone has any recommendations for building in JACKS POINT queenstown or any companies to avoid? Thanks

      1. Hi Peter,

        We have a section in Hanleys Farm and talked with over 10 builders and bulk home building companies in town. I have been talking with Trident, they are nice people. Adam the owner is awesome, and Penny is very friendly and helpful as well. Unfortunately their process of paying deposit first then quote on the full working drawing is not our style, so we did not go with them. We went on with Versatile from Cromwell, about to sign contact soon. They are great to dealing with as well, honest people.

        Hope that helps.

  9. Hi There,
    Does anyone have an experience with PLATINUM HOMES paraparaumu? We are looking into the option of building a house with them on our land section in Upper Hutt.
    What is the quality of their service and homes?
    Do they stick to their schedule?
    Please give your feed back.

    1. Do not. We are building with them and we know so many others that are and it’s a nightmare. We are 18 months in and still not even half built with many more stalled. Stay away if you value your money, sanity and they will never stick to a promise

    2. Hi Muskan

      do NOT go with Platinum NZ especially the Wellington (based in Paraparaumu) franchise, owned and operated by Jason Strange. Read the previous comments about them, many have been removed, as lawyers are threatening. There has been a long history regarding Jason Strange and none of it is good. Multiple appearances on Fair Go says enough.
      Platinum NZ still allowing him to continue, we wonder why.
      We did build with Platinum, and we didn’t do enough research, so we paid the price.
      I can go on and on about the way they operate, but my advice right now, walk away and find an alternative

  10. Hello all,
    Has anyone had an experience with Platinum Homes? Please share whether it is good or bad. Should we sign up them or not?
    Actually, we are planing to build our first home on our section in Upper Hutt and we came across this company in Home and Garden exhibition.
    Or, could you please suggest us the good reputed builders in wellington who are good at making houses on sloppy sections.
    Thank you,

    1. I suggest you use the search function on this site as Platinum are one of the most complained about companies on here. They have used legal threats against the person running this site to have countless comments removed. Also look at the top of the site at the comment Mark has made about it/them.

    2. GG Builders (geordie ), or Latitude homes (Alix).

      Try Geordie his a great guy and down to earth small build team best prices and I had them all quote me on the same plans.

    3. Do your own earthworks go via Renshaw Civil limited, best service the dude is honest wont rip you off. Before you hire a building company currently building on a sloppy site.

    4. as per previous comment, STAY AWAY
      the only good thing is the product, the rest (building process, time frame, project manager etc etc) all shockingly bad. Many people have been affected by Platinum, esp the Wellington franchise. Summarised in 1 word -> INCOMPETENT

      1. Also in the same boat – signed a build contract last November and still looking at a piece of slab. Massive delays, false promises, terrible communication, rumours of rifts between them and their contractors (some not being paid so refusing to do further work). In too deep at this stage and must now wait for completion. Their build contract covers their arses for EVERYTHING.

        1. I can see a lot many victims of Platinum Homes (Wellington) but wondering why we are not taking any actions together (unity is strength) to stop them playing with our emotions. If we don’t act, it means we are helping them. Looking forward some positive initiatives and suggestions from all the victims …

              1. What is out of court settlement John – might be helpful for others to know the details and follow? What is the current status of your build project?

        2. Platinum NZ is allowing the Wellington Franchise to continue with their dodgy practice.
          Again, many comments previously about Jason Strange and his team (all the good staff have left for reasons) of incompetent people who have absolutely no idea what they are doing. All the money you put in the build gets spend on other projects, not your own build, which means contractors don’t get paid on time, so they won’t turn up to finish the job. Excuses after excuses, poor communication (only if the next payment is due, they will be on the case pronto) . All we can do is tell as many people as we can to avoid Platinum (especially the Wellington/Wairarapa branch). Jason Strange has a long history – enough said.

  11. Does anyone have experience with Jennian Cambridge? We are looking into the option of building a house with them and wondered:
    1.) What is the general service quality they offer once the contract is signed?
    2.) Do they negotiate on price or are there advertised prices set in stone?
    3.) Do they stick to their schedule?

      1. Neither Urban nor Sentinal Homes have land and home packages in our price range close to or in Hamilton. But thanks for the advice.

  12. Hello
    We are looking to build a home probably 3 bedroom house with double garage in Raumati Beach. Our section is sloppy and it requires earthwork and retaining walls. It will be a split level house, garage underneath the house. I have found that most of the builders have very specific plans which are usually for plain land. Can anyone please suggests some builders who can design a house according to the section? We are really struggling to find a good builder. We do not want anything fancy, just a simple house which fits in our budget.
    Thank you in advance

    1. Hi Mahi
      Look for a local builder. We built with a local builder in Wellington and they recommended an architect. We worked together wih our builder and architect along the process. We had a tight budget, and we wanted a single level house. The coordination among us, the builder and the architect worked really well. In the end we had to do a split level house to minimise earthworks costs. Our builder was really good with cost efficiencies and he worked closely with our architect. Don’t go to a franchise company as it’s too difficult to make off-plan changes.

      1. Hi Jc

        Thank you very much for your reply. Can you please give me the architect name and builder name you built with? It will be really helpful.

        Thank you

        1. Hi Mahi

          We built with Wellington Builders Ltd, owned by Jeff Guerin. He is a Master Builder. Their office is in Wellington CBD and they do a lot of work within Wellington so I’m not sure if they do house builds as far as Raumati. But worth contacting them. Jeff is very professional and meticulous. We are very happy with our house. It is everything we’ve wanted and more importantly, it was built within our budget. Jeff project managed the build and he has a great team. We had some very minor defects like door locks and raised vinyl tiles, but Jeff was quick to get them sorted.

          We worked with Design Network for the house plans – they’ve got a great team there. It’s important that whoever builder you choose needs to work closely with your architect as the builder needs to determine that the drawings are aligned with the construction plans, earthworks, costs etc.

          Also please note that building with a non-franchise builder is a different process from bulk builders. With franchise builders, you choose the colours and design and that’s pretty much it. In our case, we had to decide on a lot of things – paint, carpet, door locks, etc. It seems like a tedious process but it’s all worth it.

          I guess every situation is different, but in our case, we were very happy with the outcome.

              1. Hi Mark

                Yes – he is very knowledgeable. So far we’ve been very happy with the quality of work.
                I think what also worked well for us is that my husband and I both worked diligently with our builder – everything from engineering to design. I must also say being able to communicate directly with the builder (rather than a sales person) helped to address and prevent potential issues from happening before we even started building. My husband is a civil engineer and I think that was a plus as we were able to understand the engineering part of the build.

              2. Hi there. Can anyone advise on the cost between Attic Trusses and Standard Trusses. My build has a High Pitch roof and I wanted to use the attic space for storage. My building company advises me that Attic Trusses are expenses. Can anyone point me in the right direction? Thanks

                1. Hi Neville
                  The difference between attic trusses and standard trusses are that attic trusses have “beefed up” bottom beams so that they can handle load on top of them as an attic floor essentially. Also the beams going through from top to bottom have to change so that it can create an open area where as standard trusses criss cross and have no space in between for an open area to call an attic. If you stipulate there is going to be an attic area in your roof then any council will require the attic trusses be used in order for your attic to not fall through the ceiling in years to come after you’ve stored a life times worth of stuff in the attic. Its basically like building a 2 storey house, you wouldnt expect the ceiling to be standard if your going to have things on top of it. Hopefully that helps a bit?

                    1. I think it depends on the size, as in how many trusses you’ll need and how wide they are. Would definitely be in the thousands. From memory we were quoting $3000 plus for 10m2 of attic area when I was working in pricing and estimation 1 year ago

                    2. Hi Kerryn
                      Thank you for this valuable unbiased information. Just 1 last question, can you have a combination of standard trusses and attic trusses? The attic trusses to be over the area where i want to create the storage space? Thank you.

                    3. I am pretty sure you can have just attic trusses in the attic area and normal everywhere else. There will be regulations the designers will have to meet with regards to load and where the attic trusses need to go but I’m sure you don’t need them throughout the whole roof.

                    4. Yes you will have a combination of standard and attic trusses. The attic trusses will only be in the area you want the storage. The truss designer will design the layout for your builder/architect.

    2. Hi Mahi,
      We are in the same situation. We also have a sloppy site and looking for options to build a home there.
      Did you find any good builder who can suggest some good plans according to the site.
      Thank you

      1. I am currently building and on a major slop use your own earthworks guys before hiring a building company. Renshaw Civil limited the best service.

    3. 1 . Contract your own earthworks, great honest dude Anthony of Renshaw Civil limited, then hire GG builders fantastic dudes.

      They won’t muck you around or RIP you off.

  13. looking at building on the back of my large slightly sloping section for family. In Beachhaven Auckland Looking at Classical homes. Have had some positive feedback. But would value any comments or feedback that people have heard or anyone that have used them cheers

  14. I’m looking to build in Franklin (South Auckland) and am unsure of which companies to approach to provide estimates/quotes and how many as there are just so many, any suggestions??

    1. Hi Robyn
      To begin with it depends on the type/ style and quality of home you are wanting to build.
      I am with Landmark home Franklin and East Auckland and am happy to answer any questions you have if you would like to contact me. 0211988660. Regards, David Wilson

      1. Hi Robyn
        Can I refer you to the comments at the top of the page where we’ve been threatened with legal action by Landmark Counties/Manukau over comments from clients on this page.
        Mark G

  15. I am currently building my second steel SIP house through Quick Build Homes. The first I built, with help from a builder, taking some weeks off work. QBH are doing the second and I am really pleased. Cheap, well insulated, low maintenance rental houses.
    My next project will be a two-story duplex in Newlands, Wellington. While I still want to do SIP construction, it is a design and build. So, I am looking for a builder who will respect the budget (new build rental, cash flow positive) but do a good job in exchange for fair pay. Any suggestions?

  16. Hello all!
    We are looking to build in the Dunedin area. We have scoured all the local franchises and would appreciate any recommendations or warnings!

    Also, is it a far more arduous (& expensive) adventure to find our own builder, architect etc.. ?


          1. I would like to know if anyone is or has had issues with the people hiding behind the Master Builders Association guarantee. We have spent thousand of dollars in legal fees trying to get MBA see reason with our claim but to no avail, they are behind the builder all the time. If we have not signed or and agreed to an amount the builder has said is an extra but in fact it was for a stuff up the builder had made why is MBS saying they will not consider our claim while there is a account outstanding. The account was sent many months after we had made final payment and procession of our dwelling.

            1. If its an insurance issue you have with a policy through master builders then you might want to try filing a complaint through the insurance ombudsman. There is also the dispute tribunal.

              1. Hi Kelly.. The problem is they don’t class themselves as an insurance company and also being part of dispute tribunal is voluntary. I think it just a scam, I would rather opt for something backed by a proper insurance company. It is a misconception that a registered master builder is a qualification it’s rather a member association/ affiliation. Should look for Licensed Building Practitioner.



                1. Your post is very interesting reading. We have been trying for 12 months or more for Master Builders to honour our claim but their excuse is ” there is an outstanding account??? The account we received 18months after we moved in, It was the builders stuffup in the first place but because we lodged a claim to MBS the builder didn’t like it so thought he would stop our claim going ahead. “NICE MAN” NOT!!!! Do you know where we can turn to now? We have spent many thousand of dollar trying to get MBS and the builder to play ball. We don’t know where to go next!! May have to engage a Building Surveyor to complete a report but they appear to be VERY expensive. Anyone have any thoughts. We will NEVER build again.

                2. Ahhh didnt realise Master Builders wasn’t backed by an insurance company,,,,interesting, that just proves that they have an invested interest not to pay out on claims to start with!

                  There is also the fair trading act, if people think the organisation (Eg, Masterbuilders) is in breach of the act and have a strong case,,, I’d be going down this path and file a complaint to the Commerce Commission. Unfortunately even if there is a backed insurance guarantee like Certified, (Many of us bloggers on this site who have had the pleasure of lodging claims have tried to warn people of these guarantees) quite often its not worth the paper its printed on and people need to be aware of the cost you have to take on fighting the fight and the time involved (sometimes years in serious cases) and if your lucky it might be resolved or it might not.

                  Building in this country especially involving home building groups who are members of these organisations, you need to go into it with eyes wide open, your homework done and be prepared for the worst case scenario!

  17. I’m just wondering if anyone has had any experiences with a company called Quality NZ Homes based in Wellington.


  18. I wish to build a 2nd dwelling on my current section in Howick area probably around 60-90sqm. Since it will be for investment purpose, I would like to know which would be best builder to approach. On the other way should i approach an architect, get drawings and approvals done and then get the quote from different builders. Also if someone has gone through a similar process, i would love to know approx cost breakdown for surveys, architectural design, building consents and any other cost to consider before can build and what is approx build cost per sqm for a basic house set up.

    1. Hi,
      In reply to your query reading building a minor dwelling, we have done several in Howick over the last coupe of years. and are currently designing another.
      Happy to meet and discuss the process.
      Regards Tony. 0274758445

  19. Hello,

    Has anyone built with Jenian, Wood Robson or Fowler homes in Manawatu?

    Or anyone have any thoughts on these builders?

    we are looking at going with one of them



    1. Hey Mike

      We built with Fowler Homes in the end. They are awesome. Can highly recommend.Did a bit of planning with Wood Robson but found them very unaccomodating and didn’t seem to want our business! Jeanian – the salesman put me off the whole process!! Goodluck…

      1. Hi everyone,
        We are thinking of building a house in Tauranga. It’s very excited to design a house we like. I have drafted the floor plan. We are now looking at a good building company to do the job. We have been to so many show homes and just feel very hard to decide which one to go with. I have also read through all the comments in this website. It seems like each company has problem. Does anyone here have good experience with any building company in Tauranga? Is is possible to talk you and have a look at your house? Thank you very much!


    2. We are building with Jenian and repenting every single day about our decision to go with Jenian. Very disappointed with their services and work. I can go on and on about the harassment they have caused us.

      1. Hi Anonymous
        There are lots of Jennian franchises around – which one in particular. And generally best not to bag someone with an anonymous ID – you could very well be a local competitor and who would know?

    3. I am lookig at a section in Papamoa the only proplem isits owned by a building company so you have to build with them if you want the section has any body had any dealings with Mike greer homes in Tauranga please, says:


      I am looking at a section in P

      1. Hi there
        I actually havent heard anything negative about Mike Greer Homes which I guess is a good thing. I worked in the industry in Tauranga for 4 years and never heard anything bad if that helps at all?

  20. Has anyone built with either Greenhomesnz or Bainbridge. Their showhomes all very well presented and they seem to build above NZ building code. Very responsive to questions and both are looking at costings for us.
    Just wanted some feedback if anyone had any?



      1. Hi Donna, we are just waiting on some final adjustments to our costings but will probably go with Green Homes. The process does feel a little slow when waiting on information for a building quote but without knowing what any other building firms are like this could be the norm.
        We also have a costing from Bainbridge homes who do seem more organised but they are also a little lower spec than Green Homes even when they are both very similar quotes.

        1. Thanks Chris I am looking at compass also ..their finishing seem to be better to me than other similar homes and the service is great/not pushy.
          I also like Green Homes as I like many of their features/options plus the guys are very tolerant of my 101 queries but I am still yet to decide. I am early in process really but about to launch into what design. Received a longer list of standard specs from Greenhomes today so I will compare it to Compass. Good to know re potential of ‘slow” will factor that into any completion contract. Would be good to talk to past customers of Greenhomes – did you do that ?

      2. Green homes have the most untidy building sites in all of Faringdon. They seem very slow. We have Context Construction beside us who seem great. We built with GJs which was hell on earth.

          1. Hi Chris

            Sorry for the slow reply. Green Homes are on Thames Drive in Faringdon. It’s not on Google Maps yet, but if you drive down Philippa Drive towards the pine hedge they are to your left. Contex Construction are also on that street – stark contrast in site tidiness.

            Goo 🙂

  21. Hello
    I am looking into building a double garage with a 1-2 bed accommodation above on my front section in Wellington. The site is steep and will require excavation and retaining. Could you give me some recommendations of builders/building companies that could help me? I will need assistance throughout the entire process.

  22. Hi, We have had our house plans drawn up by an architect and are now looking for a builder. We will be building in Matamata. Can we please have recommendations for good builders / building companies and also any that you think we should stay clear of? Thanking you in advance.

    1. Hi Helen
      Do not go any where near Stonewood Homes, their owners are Matamata locals but their company is in bad shape. They take a very long time to complete their builds and there are alot of companies around that will not deal with them due to their poor payment history.
      I know via word of mouth that Gudsell Builders are a very good company to deal with and they have won many awards.
      Good luck with your research, hopefully this may help you.

  23. can anyone help me with finding stock designs or photos for pole houses. Particlar design Im looking for is for a downward sloping section. So that floor 1 (upper floor) is living area with single pitched roof and lower floor is bedrooms. The lower floor is steped out so that its roof becomes the basis for the decking for floor 1. This design probably has a name but i dont know it. Grateful if anyone can understand this and pass on some good examples. Im turning up nothing in my searches

  24. Hi guys,

    I’ve read quite a bit reviews of companies in different areas. I know the big franchises companies are more or less the same. Just wondering if anyone have experience with building companies in Queenstown. We’ve visited Classic builders, GJ gardener, Jennian, Signature, Trident, Mike Greer, A1 homes, and some builders. As a first home builder, we tend to go with a big company as we know nothing about the industry and finding a builder by ourselves could ended up with more trouble and more money. We’ve also heard lots of different opinion about the same company, good or bad. And cannot find any of the comments online to help us make the decision.

    We are interested in GJ, Signature and Jennian. Then I read about all the bad stories with GJ here, so they are probably out. Not sure how different their QT branch will be… They did offer an attractive price though… So anyone here in Queenstown has any recommendation?


    1. Hi gjgs in Queenstown are the largest home builder in the area I believe, just a few friends have built with them and have been happy with the experience.

    2. Don’t go near them. We built through GJ with a different franchise, head office got involved at one point. Totally uninterested in helping the customer, nor making sure the franchise is providing any semblance of service or quality.

    3. Hi Kathryn and Laura,

      Thanks for your advice. I’ve asked around as well, there are many happy and unhappy customers from GJ. I guess one of the reason is because they are the biggest building company in the region.

      We’ve decided to not go with GJ and will keep looking at other ones.

      The most important reason for giving up on GJ is my friend who is a builder apprenticeship in CHCH says GJ is building a house next to theirs, and they use 1/3 of the material as they do, it is very poorly done.
      Also there is a GJ house building next to our current rental house, I do not like builders at all, they are very rude. They do build fast though. It is done within 6 months.

      1. sorry it was a typo. It should be
        “they use around 1/3 less materials as they do” — based on a photo of a GJ house and their house. GJ house looks very empty. He said GJ house has 1.2m distance between the two horizontal frame, and their one is 600mm or 900mm (can’t remember).

      2. We built with GJ south Christchurch ,very pleased . They build fast because they are organised (properly project managed) unlike some other builders I have seen in the same subdivision as ours.
        Very happy with the finish.
        Would go again with them.

    4. Don’t go near GJ in Queenstown, from my experience you will be promised everything by the sales guys and they deliver on nothing come time to get it in writing(and I haven’t even started building yet!). They offer an attractive price but it’s because they scrimp on quality. Generally poor to no communication once the sales rep got his commission.

      1. Thank you Shaun. We sort of feel the same when we dealing with them. So they are out from our list.

        And my friend who build with Jennian had the same problem. Jennian’s sales guys is very charming and efficient. However, once they paid the deposit, they were at the bottom of the list and things moving very slow after that.

        We are dealing with a company in Cromwell called Versatile now. I had a mate used to work with them and said they are great. We’ve only be talking for couple of weeks and they are nice and honest people.

        I will update the process as we goes on

  25. Hi
    Looking at doing a cheap and cheerful 3 bed just outside Christchurch.
    What’s the word on this Quickbuild Homes outfit?
    Good / Bad..anything to watch out for?

    1. They have already done at least 8 in Christchurch. Best value for money. But fully booked for building until July next year. Kitsets still available back end of this year. far easier & quicker & more complete than any other kit sets. And I know they’re working on an affordable solution for TC2. Well under $950/sqm complete +gst.

    2. Hi Richard, happy to share my experiences (0274746239), as I am midflight in my second 72msq house in Wellington through Quick Build Homes. Not without issues, but they were resolved fairly , hence I am going with them again. Proving easier (i.e. less hassle) to have them build rather than the first, where I bought the kit, took leave and worked alongside the builder. However, I enjoyed the experience and learned a whole lot.
      Tenants very happy in the first house, despite being from a much warmer climate than Wellington offers. I don’t expect any issues renting the second, despite the walls looking and feeling a little odd.

  26. Hi everybody!

    My partner and I are wanting to build out in Rolleston (Falcon’s Landing or Branthwaite) and would like to know who would you recommend for a build? (nothing fancy: 3 bed, 2 bath, double garage).

    We’ve been to a couple of companies and their showhomes, with a few never following up with us (we even followed up with them after they have said “We’ll send you some information” and still nothing)…

    Any help would be greatly appreciated 🙂

      1. We had a bad experience with Signature Homes 20 years ago when they built a house for us in Whitford. Ended up in mediation and some money was awarded to us. However we still live with the defects the shoddy work to date.

        1. Hi Sam. We built with signature.we’re still fighting to get them to right wrongs. It’s so dragged out. You’d think it was our fault. It’s not how we imagined our first build would be .

      2. Hi Kathryn, yes I did have a look and chat to Signature Homes, they followed up wonderfully, however they weren’t quite the right fit for us 🙂

    1. Try Quinn Homes. Though we did not build them, I met Peter Quinn and he seems a man of integrity and is very particular about finishings.

    2. I’d recommend staying away from Platinum Homes, much of the comments here have been removed but refer the note above by site admin.

      1. Hi Andrew I noticed an earlier message about Anna burns-Francis looking into Platinum Homes and Jason Strange. Has that gone anywhere?

        1. Hi Colin/Andrew
          Platinum sent me a letter threatening a suit for defamation unless comments were removed, hence the note at the top. As I mentioned, there have been a lot of comments regarding Platinum Homes and our recommendation is to consider alternatives.

          1. Hi Colin and Andrew,
            What a shame that the investigation by ABF into Platinum and Jason Strange will not go anywhere. Unfortunately too may clients are worried that they won’t get their homes finished if they speak out.

          2. Doesn’t it speak volumes about the franchise with such debarcles with legal threats. Definitely makes one think about using any franchised company out there that instead of helping assist in the process with resolving issues alongside the regional operator tthey continue to compound the problem and provokingly threaten legal action to stop obvious disgruntlement from the general public. Speaks volumes.

          3. I see that more comments have been removed recently.
            What is wrong with this world, cant we give an honest opinion on how poor Platinum NZ has handled the shambles around Jason Strange.
            Once again, as a customer you are just at the hands of the incompetent people, and they are getting away with it, and we cant do anything / or say anything about it.
            I will keep posting regarding Platinum NZ and the Wellington/Wairarapa section, people stay away, they are not worth the stress and money.

        2. Hi Colin, from what I understand they are on hold till they get 2 or 3 people to go on TV. Seven Sharp also did a story on Platinum a few months ago. With respect to Platinums legal threats, defamation is based on untrue statements, not clients actual experiences. Nothing illegal about telling the truth luckily.

          1. Whare is the law, can anyone stop these goons and take severe action against this company?

            Is there anyone in this group who could help or guide to take legal action jointly. We are not living in jungle and this must be stopped.

    3. Hey Sez – Builders I would recommend to build in Rolly are: Paul McStay Homes, Greenland Homes (Sean Zhao), Que Homes (Justin McDonald) or Peter Ray Homes. All of these builders are honest and accurate with their pricing. Have personally built five properties with Greenland and will be building a new family home with him in near future. Have built two homes with Peter Ray (last one built 7 years ago and was great quality at the time, haven’t seen their latest homes but am picking they are still good). Couple of friends built with Paul McStay and a couple with Que and all very pleased with the result and price. From comments on here sound like Peter Quinn is also a good bloke to talk to. Good luck with your build.

      1. Hey Sarah, thanks for the big list, that is very helpful! Would you believe that those builders are good for First Home Builders, like ourselves?

        By any chance have you heard much about Today Homes? I’ve seen a couple of comments on here that are quite good and we’ve had some good feedback through friends too.

        Thanks again!

        1. Yes I think they are all good for first timers. Go have a look at some show homes. Greenland have one I think at Prestons Park, I imagine Peter Ray do too. I know that Peter Ray have three different “standards”, the basic, middle and higher pricing – they usually have show homes of each type and they have a list inside of exactly what is included and any extras they have in those show homes (and the prices associated) so they are very transparent. Greenland only have one small show home but their price is very good for the standard they provide. Not sure if Paul McStay has a show home but I’m sure they can show you through a home they have under construction (if you call them I think Brendan is the one to speak to). 🙂

  27. Hi, I am looking to build on a section I have purchased in Beach Haven, Auckland. I am considering Maddren or Landmark North Shore. Does anyone have any experience working with these companies in recent times?

    I have previously build with Signature Homes North Shore and they were terrible. Hoping for a much better experience second time around so would really appreciate any thoughts here.


    1. HI Chris, we have recently completed a reasonably large build (345sqm) in Riverhead with Landmark North Shore. I can say they have been fantastic, right from the first meet thru to handover. Don’t get me wrong we had issues through the build as you would with any build but nothing was a problem for them. Issues were dealt with quickly and there were no delays (except weather related). We continue to have a great relationship with them and are now proud to be in the running for house of the year. I would highly recommend the North Shore team! We will definitely use them again. Cheers

        1. Thanks Robert. That sounds really positive. Did you use Landmark for the full process including design or just the construction?

          1. Yes, we used them right from design. We had a good idea of what we wanted and needed but they helped with refining our ideas and suggested better options in some cases. You are more than welcome to visit and have a look and chat more if you like.

      1. Well you must be one of a very few people who are happy with Landmark homes/Bild North Auckland Ltd.
        They have some flashy showhomes and slick sales people that tell you what you want to hear.
        Once you pay your deposit which is usually 10% that is basically their profit there isn’t much urgency
        in building the house,they are aware of the rules and how to manipulate them to their advantage.
        They have some unhappy customers in the Omaha and Matakana areas.
        Don’t forget it is not Landmark homes that is building your home it is a franchisee that may not be as reputable as the Franchisor.
        Landmark Homes have had a few noteable colapses in recent times and do their best to threaten legal action against you should you speak out.
        Would you risk it ?You can do much better.

        1. Sounds like the exact same experience I had with Signature Homes North Shore. Treated us like royalty until we signed the contract. They were over the moon when we put pen to paper but after that they were like completely different people and didn’t want to know us. I have decided to manage the whole process myself for my next build that I am just kicking off. I don’t think I will ever use a group home build company again. It’s just to hard to get back on track once things start going peer shaped.

          1. Funny you should say that Chris as the sales and design team are ex Signature!
            Obviousl taught them a few new ricks.

  28. Hi All.. Thanks for sharing your experiences. We are thinking of building and started my research. Looks like people bad experiences with many “proclaimed and award-winning” builders.

    We are looking to build in South Auckland. How is Jennian, David Reid, Sentinel, Jalcon, Stonewood, DW, Generation Homes, Mike Greer, Signature? based on above reviews GJ Garder, Golden, and Platinum are out.

    Has anyone heard of Ashcroft Homes and Finesse Residential?

    Would welcome any recommendations.


    1. Hi there. I have recently signed with Jennian Homes to build my house in South Auckland. I have communicated with many of the other builders that you have listed. I found Jennian Homes to be most accommodating and helpful. The sales consultant, Sarah Jane, is a very hard working lady with a can-do attitude. The owner and director of the company, Emma, seems to be a lady with integrity. Be wise and cautious when you make your choice who builds your home.

        1. Hi. Completed concept designs and in the process of doing drawings for Council Submission. I have a limited budget and was very specific about building within this budget without compromising the quality and integrity of the build. Jennian Homes was the only company that could work with me to achieve this. I hope it all goes well for you, but reading through all the comments people have placed on their experiences with big Building Companies, is shocking. I am grateful to this website for all the honest feedback and experiences people have shared. The whole contract is so heavily in favor of the Building companies and this website provides us with the platform to share our experiences and helps with making informed decisions.

      1. I completely agree with the comment about Sarah Jane!! She is wonderful! She goes above and beyond for her clients, was really pleased in my interactions with her.

    2. Hi Sanketh, if you can and your bank or money will allow, it may also be very prudent to include the costings for getting your own plans drawn up by an architect and then putting them out to tender to builders, not necessarily a building company but you can try them too. I know it looks a lot more attractive, better value for money and less stress to go with a big building company with existing plans etc but the one thing I learned from this website very early on is that the majority of complaints on here are targeted at the building companies, how they mismanage their tradies, quality of workmanship, budget and variation blow outs and heavy sales tactics that a lot on here quote as bullying behaviour. Whoever you decide to use, make sure you have a good lawyer to really pick apart your contract, DO NOT hand over any money for work that hasn’t been done to your satisfaction or for the agreed price, and never be afraid to walk away even if you’ve spent 12 weeks in negotiations because once the merry go round starts, and you are committed heart, soul and wallet you have very little negotiating power left and if you haven’t got the very basics sorted properly first, you’re pretty much at their mercy. Spending time and money during researching will always save you time and money later. Good luck, let us all know how you get on!

      1. Thanks Mtelanie. I like the idea, only concern is if I will have project manage the build. Would you know how much an architect would charge? Thanks Sanketh

        1. Hi Sanketh. I would definitely recommend looking into a design company whether it be an architect or draughtsman and builder option. I want a specific look for my home and felt none of the housing companies could or were able to achieve this so am probably going with a qualified architect though not registered and his fee is $70 per hour. Probably will be about 200 hours of work. I’m sure the prices vary. Builders will offer fix priced quotes and will project manage the build themselves. My budget is modest yet by choosing an architect I will hopefully have a home with some wow factor.

            1. Sanketh, yes he is a LBP and has insurances etc, i think it just means by not registering (and meeting registration requirements and probably paying fees) you cannot call yourself an architect and I suppose charge like an “architect”. Basically just need to look at all options not just assume that a building company is the best and only option. You might be surprised with what can be achieved by going with a designer of some form and independent builder.

        2. Sanketh – I would recommend not using an architect – use an architectural technician (Architetural Designer) for your plans – an architect will charge a lot more (usually a percentage of the build cost) whereas an AT will usually charge between 3-5K for fully consented plans. By tendering out your build you wouldn’t have to project manage yourself necessarily – usually the builder you engage would do this for you – they usually have a PM or if a solo builder they usually PM themselves. If you go to (Architectural Designers New Zealand) you can look up a Designer in your area. 🙂

          1. Thabks Sarah. Any recommendations from your exp? I could use them as a starting point. Thanks Sanketh

            1. Hi Sanketh. I would get your own Project Manager who is qualified and totally independent of the building company you choose. Someone you can trust.

    3. Hi All

      We went to South Auckland home show yesterday and talked to a few builders. I thought our experience could help some. Below is our impressions, could be wrong

      GJ Garder Manukau – The guy didn’t seem to be very helpful. They could not give us any details on what we could expect from them for a budget on 300-350K. One thing that we liked was warranty backed by Lloyds Bank. Most builders only offer Master Builder Warranty, which is not very extensive. The guy was stuck at 1 Million plus number for a house in AKL.

      DW Homes – They seem to have a quite a few designs. But what worried me was she saying insurance companies would only payout claim if the work was a registered master builder? I thought it was an LBP. Felt like a false claim? Maybe someone can validate this.

      Navigation Homes – The sales consultant from Pukekohe was interesting, apparently, the franchise owner is a builder himself and is involved in the day to day operations.

      Latitude Homes Manukau – These guys were interesting. Unlike other places, they were actual owners and LBPs. They had some good plans and also provide price expectations. In terms of pricing, seemed to be the lower end of the scale and could pay extra for upgrades.

      Landmark Manukau – We actually met the franchisee owner. He is an engineer and worked in a number of corporate jobs before starting the franchise couple years ago. He seemed to be a very genuine person. He justed a good ballpark number to work building costs will be 2500/ sqm for a good house that will last.

      Z500 – Architectural designer company. They had some very good designs. Currently based on Christchurch but looking at opening offices in Auckland. He said we can have basic architecturally designed and consented plans for 8-10K. And still be able to build with 2500 per sqm cost. He seemed to support prefab and using other non-traditional building materials like he suggested formace – structurally insulated panels. Also, they had some box modular designs for house.

      Capital Homes – Got to meet the franchise owner. He seemed a bit interesting. Never heard of them before. He said GJ Gardner builds are rubbish for the price. He has some good plans for under 400K but I guess the devil is in details.

      Would be keen to listen to others experiences.


    4. If you decide to go with Jalcon, your experience may not be pleasant, it may more expensive than you think it should have been, and you may find it very difficult to get answers to questions or straight solutions to problems. You could also find the contractor always saying things like, I have no record of that conversation so it didn’t happen. So uhh, maybe you might want to find someone different to that.

  29. Going through the process of trying to find a reputable building company for a build out on South Head Road (Helensville way). Concrete build preferred at this stage, but we are certainly open to alternatives. Looking for a set-price build who can deliver as per agreed-upon date. Does anyone have any recommendations based on relatively recent experience. Will contact companies such as Compass, Landmark, GJ Gardner, Generation Homes, Maddren… Any issue with these? Any further suggestions? Any help gratefully received, and thanks in advance.

    1. HI Tony

      I am researching and have several constraints so taking a while to narrow down on builder choice – with one suddenly having hiked build cost on a change. Anyhow, from my meetings with a few I have found Maddren responsive and not baiting you with low quotes first as many do I am told. I found their quality better than many others. They don’t do large projects. I have not gone with them (yet) because of budget constraints but may talk to them again.

      Hope that helps. There is a lot of opinion here on the others. Good luck.


    2. Not sure about concrete builds, but The House Company build in this area. We are 80% through our build with them (this is our 4th new build) and the only builder / build company I would ever recommend. The quality is superb, the communication excellent and they have made the whole build process an enjoyable experience.

        1. Hi Martin

          Seems you are happy with The House Company. Can you give an idea of how expensive they are?


          1. Hey Sanjay, that are at the higher end of build companies but for the experience of building 4 homes you get what you pay for. This is the only build company I have worked with that has stuck to the contract price. The only variations we have had, have been due to changes we have made during the build (example was changing a window to a door and an upgrade to kitchen worktops).

  30. Hi

    We are looking to build house with platinum Wellington, but after seen the reviews very doubted to proceed with them. anyone still having issues with them? if so please recommend a good builder in Wellington.

    1. Hyden, there are a number of people still having problems with them, even some still down in CHCH that are still feeling the effects of the failed operation there. Check the Stuff news from a month or so ago as a start point.

    2. Hi Hyden

      do NOT build with Platinum homes Wellington, MassConstruction – run by Jason Strange –
      significant history of poor management, nothing is done in the interest of the client !
      I can highly recommend GJ Gardner.

  31. Hi Peter Quinn

    I paid about 4k to a building company so far to do drawings that just will not work as their quote has just jumped 37%. I am looking for another builder. Do you build in Auckland? If yes, we would like to have a chat with you. If not, can you recommend anyone good?

    Many thanks

      1. Hey Mark

        Are the builders listed here selected by some criteria or are they paid advertisements?


  32. TV ONE News are reporting on a cladding system that is failing in homes around the country. The product is the KT3 cladding, ex-China, imported and distributed by Global Fibre8.

    We strongly advise you to investigate and probably try any number of alternatives…

    1. Hi mark. We are one of the home owners that had to demo the House. Please don’t go near globalfibre8

  33. Hi everyone

    I am wanting to continue to assist homeowners throughout NZ

    Everytime I click in REPLY it never takes me to the conversation .

    Can anyone help me with this so I dont have to scroll through two years o comments


    Peter Quinn
    Quinn Homes

    1. Hi Peter
      When you click on ‘reply’ it takes you to the comment box and you reply to the question/comment you’ve selected. I’ve inherited the site and haven’t really had time to change its design. One day soon…

      1. By the way, Peter, you can contribute to the upkeep of this page by having your building business advertise on the Building Guide, if you really want to help out.

    2. Hi Peter

      I have been frustrated by this too. I have since discovered if I click at the top where the person commented (commented is highlighted in blue) it will take you to the thread. Hope this helps.

    3. Hi Peter,

      Do you build in Wellington/Kapiti. If not, can you please recommend a good builder?

      Thank you

  34. Hi

    Any advice on concrete builds? I find very few doing them. Garry Shuttleworth is one – his companies: Compass Homes, Admire Homes, Monocast Limited. Any experience with Garry or with concrete homes would be highly appreciated. I am seriously looking at it. Many thanks.


    1. Garry Shuttleworth seems to have a standing in the building industry/ association. Anyone with any experience with his setup please advise. Or with concrete. Many thanks

    1. Hi All
      Has anyone built with any of the Design Builders (XX) Ltd franchise? They say ‘A home built around you’ and have all these Master Builder awards. Thanks

  35. Hi

    Can anyone give me reviews about Carl Van der meet builder (CD van Der meer builder)?
    Looking to build in Raumati

    Thank you

  36. Hi. I am seeking information about two companies that I’m considering for a build at Waihi Beach so they will be the Tauranga franchises. Firstly Signature Homes – their Tauranga branch claims to have wonderful customer service – has anyone built with them? And also Venture Developments. They have a show home in Tauranga and I like some of their plans – anyone worked with them?

    1. Hi. Needed some information on Cladding. I am in the process of finalizing the cladding for my build in a semi-rural location. I have been quoted on traditional Board and Batten by my build company. I am not comfortable using Board and Batten from a maintenance point of view. I have made inquiries about Weathertex weather groove cladding. Has anyone used this product in their build? What are the advantages and disadvantages of this product? How does this product compare from a cost point of view to traditional Board and Batten? Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated. The feedback provided by people on this site is great and it helps me make informed decisions. This is my first time building. Want to get it right. Thank you

      1. Hi Neville
        Have a read through this. If you’re looking for a truly low maintenance cladding, Nu Wall aluminium cladding is superb and has been used extensively as a replacement for failed cladding for leaky homes. You have options here, including brick, too, and there are new types of fibre-cement tiles that are amazingly strong, robust and low-maintenance, too.

        Just a note on the maintenance thing, however… check your product’s maintenance notes. If you don’t maintain as instructed it will likely void your product warranty if you have problems.

        Good luck!

        1. Hi Mike. thank you for that. The problem is I cannot use any aluminum or fiber cement cladding. If i use brick, it has to be plastered over. This is an expensive option. The only cladding that is allowed is board and batten and linea weatherboard. Because the build is within a complex, they have a strict guideline with having uniformity and consistency. I don’t like board and batten, hence the reason for me trying to find an alternative product that looks similar to Board and Batten but is less to maintain in the future.

    2. We used Signature for our house in Papamoa. The whole process from Sales right through to the handover was exceptional. The price was competitive and all inclusive, no surprise costs. The quality of the finishes was top notch.I would highly recommend them.

    3. Sorry to intrude on this comment I cannot seem to find where to comment separately but we’re on the verge of signing up with Generation homes but our broker recommended ZB homes- which one is better? Thank you

  37. Hi,
    I recently built home through, GJ Gardner, South Auckland and have found scratches marks on my slider window. I raised the issue with franchisee and head office but they are saying these scratches are not visible from 2m. I can see them beyond 2m. Very bad company to work with. There were a lot of maintenance issues and also leak in the bathrooms. Will advise everybody not to use them ever. Liars!! Junk Builders!Does anybody know how to escalate it to MBIE?

    1. Hi Naresh
      You can make a complaint to the LBP board via this link here – and it will also give you an overview of your rights as a consumer.

      But before make the complaint, however, I’d suggest you investigate other things first. GJ Gardner generally have a good reputation. Also, complaining to HO is not usually of any use, as your contract is with the franchise.

      If there are issues with the build, the GJ Gardner franchise is required by law to fix them all in the first 12 months with no questions asked (obviously damage done doesn’t count – this is for defects). The scratch marks are on the glass or frame? Either way, they would have used an external supplier for that and I would have thought they would have just passed the issue on to get fixed. It shouldn’t matter that the scratches aren’t visible from 2m or not, and in saying that, they’ve confirmed there’s an issue. This should be fixed to your satisfaction.

      The bathroom leak is a major issue and should be fixed urgently.

      You can check with your lawyer.
      You can check with Master Builders (I think they’re a member)
      You can go to the Building Disputes Tribunal

      Good luck

      1. Hi Naresh,

        I agree 100% with Mark. However, the south auckland branch is not registered with master builders but are with NZ certified builders so you can raise it and complain it through them. We are having some issues with them currently and their responses are really poor but i feel they say that first to shut you up and see if that works. Dont fall for it. Like Mark said, raise it with your lawyer, the NZ certified builders and i also think there could be something under the consumers guarantees act. It is a painful process dealing with them I know but hang it there. Make sure to have everything in writing. If you are not happy follow it up with them in email. Don’t take their words for it. If they say they will do something then follow it up with email. Honestly it helps when issues arise. Goodluck

        1. Hi Cara. I saw your comment about the Consumer Guarantee. We contacted Consumer about an issue we had and were told that the act does not cover new builds. Goodness knows why, but there you have it.

        2. Hi
          We are having problems with our builders too. Is there no protection for the owner of a new house build. We have all these codes, acts and standards and we still don’t get it fixed. Have been ignored, fobbed off, told it is someone else’s problem, they deny there is a problem. Spend a lot of money and you get poor results. Have insurances, warrantees and guarantees and they don’t seem to mean anything. At our wits end!

            1. Hi John
              You name it. What hasn’t gone wrong. Our main concern is defect aluminium joinery and bricks (in every way). And if it doesn’t get fixed there is likely to be damage caused by it. And don’t know what else is wrong that we can’t see. What can you do?

              1. Hi,

                We have brick issues as well. Initially we had our franchise tell us that it was the best they have seen (honestly it was rubbish from every level). We made them aware that we were going to get an independent consultant to come have a look. Unfortunately we had to pay out of our pocket for the mess these builders/franchisees create. Once the report was done (it was done by someone well known in the industry) they agreed to do some work to rectify it (we are yet to see the result). However, they initially argued that no one had complained about the brickwork (our house is being built around 15 odd other new houses and all the brickwork is just as bad) and when we asked them to let us speak to at least of the homeowners they refused it. They clearly know the work is not upto standard hence didnt want us to start up something with all the homeowners around that neighbourhood. I assume these poor homeowners either have no idea about what options they have or are just fed up with dealing with the builders.

                If i were you, spend about $1.5-$2k getting an independent report done. Its not much compared to what it will cost to redo the brickwork yourself at a later stage.

                Have you lodged a complain with NZCB? Did you give it in writing to the franchise that you were not happy? have you paid all your money for the build or are you holding some? Talk to your lawyer. Fortunately our’s is a turnkey option so we haven’t paid any amount yet.

            2. Hi John. Like everyone else we have experienced trouble with our brickwork. I do not want to name the franchise as I really think they have tried to do their best, but contractors have let them down. Our problem is different coloured mortar and scratches on our windows. There are spots of mortar on some of the windows and it appears someone has attempted to clean them and thus scratched the glass.

              1. Hi Pollu, I understand you may have some sympathy for your builder, if it appears they have tried to do something to help. But frankly, you should not have so much sympathy that you let them off the hook.
                Because it is a fundamental principle of building contracts (which should all contain a clause to this effect) that the sub-contractors are working for the builder, not for you, and the builder is entirely responsible for any defects in the subbies’ work. If he chose a poor subbie (maybe because he was cheap) that should not be your problem.
                For this reason it is generally wise to avoid giving any kind of instruction, or making any agreement, directly with the builder’s subbies. It should all go through the builder, and at least confirmed in writing.
                So in your case, if the builder agrees (as he seems to do) that the subbie’s work is defective, then he should instruct him to remedy it, or bear the cost of the builder putting it right.
                As has been mentioned on this blog before, mortar can be ground out to a sufficient depth and replaced. Tedious, but not difficult.
                Damaged window panes can be removed and replaced.
                And if your builder does not sort this out, then go ahead and name and shame them. That’s what this blog is all about.

                1. Yes Chris, your point is valid. So far our franchise has been fixing things that are wrong, or have made inroads to do so. Because they have been so good, we wish to meet them half way and allow the time they suggested for the mortar to merge to one colour before we request them to point it. I feel that is being fair. It also meets the disputes requirement of the contract.

                2. Hi Chris
                  Since a certain builder chose the tradies and is responsible for their work why don’t they fix it. Why would they not show up to even find out where the defect is located and just send the tradie around, so then you have to show them where it is. That would not be instruction.
                  These builders that have done wrong need to pay in one way or another! Why should the customer compromise.
                  Bottom line, building companies and tradies have standards and codes. They need to abide by them. It will be better for themselves to follow these, do they not know that. Do they want to risk their own reputation and getting future work by doing sub standard work.

                  1. Hi Concerned, I assume you’re responding to my post to Pollu on 2/5/18. You raise some good points and questions. And I’m as puzzled as you as to why your builder (or any other) would want to risk their reputation, and getting future work, by doing sub standard work. Presumably because there’s enough business around, and people who don’t know about them, that they can get away with that kind of performance. If not, never mind, it seems that in the building environment here they can just get away with closing down, and re-opening under another name.
                    But to get back to the original point about a builder’s responsibility for the work of sub-contractors. Of course if you, the builder and his subbies are all reasonable people, with enough trust on all sides, and a subbie has just made a few honest mistakes, it may do no harm for the client to talk directly to the subbie. I would still immediately follow up in writing to the builder confirming exactly what was discussed and agreed with the subbie.
                    However, as I’ve said before on this blog, once a Contract starts to go badly wrong, and if the builder is dishonest or useless, it never ends well. But still it may help to get some remedial action or compensation if you have a well written Contract, and follow the right steps.
                    So in the case you mention if I were you I would:
                    1. Check to make sure your Contract has a clause making it clear that the builder is entirely responsible for the work of sub-contractors, as though it were his own work.
                    2. If that’s correct, then write to the builder quoting this clause, and requesting that he send a representative to all meetings with sub-contractors to discuss defective work.
                    3. If he refuses, or does not answer, then write again saying that if he fails to send anyone then you will take this as his authority for you to point out to the sub-contractor what remedial work you consider is required. But make it clear to the sub-contractor he should get his instructions to carry out the work from the builder, and he should talk to the builder about any cost involved.
                    4. Write again requesting the builder to instruct the sub-contractor to carry out the work, and confirm that he will be responsible for the cost of any such work.
                    The danger you’re trying to avoid is that the builder suggests that you have instructed the sub-contractor to carry out an unnecessary change to the work (ie a Variation), rather than remedial work, and so you should be responsible for the extra cost.
                    Of course, all of this tends to go more smoothly if you still have enough retention money to cover the cost of the remedial work, if the builder doesn’t do it! Good luck.

          1. Well this is the place to name them,how else will people know which company is
            ok to deal with.
            It is very frustrating as they know that you can do very little,they are banking on you not knowing your rights,let them know in writing that they are forcing you to take it
            to the disputes tribunal by their lack of action.Its a very simple procedure,I doubt you would loose.
            In most cases they will reconsider their position.
            Failing that name the “shamed” on this forum

            1. Hi Sam. Yea its just so stressful. I am surprised i haven’t had a stroke!. The people who are supposed to protect us from this sort of stuff happening didnt. I have been let down by too many.

        1. Hi Naresh,

          They will push back much as they can as it will cost them to rectify. However, Have you contacted NZCB yet? Call up their number tomorrow and tell them your issue. I had a lady from their who i contacted and told her about our issue but asked her to just raise it as a potential issue and not contact the franchise until i went back to her (we were trying to resolve it ourself first). They will contact the Franchise for you regarding the issue. If i were you i would try calling up everyone to resolve the matter. For us that has helped so far. They know they are not just dealing with a family who they can easily shut off. We also made our lawyer aware of our issue and unfortunately had to spend out of our pocket to get an independent review done. However, that has really helped as they went from saying that was the best to agreeing to rectify it to some extent. I think it is equally important to remain calm. In our case i lost all the cool i had but fortunately i have a husband who deals with situations like this in a more calm manner.

  38. Hi All

    We are thinking of building with Mike Greer in Ashburton. Anything we should be worried about? Has anyone had any bad experience? Thanks

  39. Hi all, has anyone designed and built with Leonard Construction and Design before? How did you fair? They are a husband and wife team and we are thinking of building with them. G

  40. We are currently planning to build in Awatea Park, Wigram area, and considering Generation Homes (offering high price with no PC Sums at all), Signature Homes (offering moderate price with just a couple of PC Sums), and Today Homes (offering lowest price with lots of PC Sums).

    Anybody here who have built with Today Homes but have ended up paying extra than their allocations?

    1. Hi Vishal, I’m not sure whether the number of PC sums is the only basis on which you’re choosing a builder. I would hope not. Especially if you think that zero PC sums means it’s in effect a fixed price Contract. Because that would depend on other clauses in the Contract, and it’s very difficult to find a building Contract which is absolutely fixed price.
      But regarding whether these PC sums are a good thing, that depends on what the builder is actually including in his spec. To give you a simple example, if the PC sum is for kitchen appliances, it may be better to have a generous PC Sum in the contract that you know will buy you top of the range appliances, rather than no PC Sum, but the builder has only allowed in his spec for low grade appliances. That’s OK if you don’t mind low grade stuff, but if you later want to upgrade it then it becomes a Variation to the Contract. And that may attract other costs, apart from just the difference in price of the appliance.
      The answer is that you must do your homework, and check exactly what the Contract includes in the overall price, and exactly what it would cost to get what you want. So you can surely look at the PC Sums in Today Homes contract, and ask yourself whether they are enough to get what you want. Typically these are things like kitchen cabinets and appliances, tiles, carpet, bathroom fixtures etc. You should then know whether you’re going to have to pay extra.
      By the way, do not confuse PC (Prime Cost) Sums (which are generally for things you know you will need, but may want to choose an exact type or model later), and Provisional Sums, Rates or Quantities for things that the builder may genuinely find it difficult to assess out until he gets on Site, or which you may never in fact need. For example amounts of excavation required for the foundations, which may vary depending on the soil quality.

    2. Hi
      My name is Peter from Quinn Homes. Pc sums can be dangerous if you are on a fixed budget.
      With Quinn Homes, we. eliminate all. provisions costings before construction commences.
      If. you are. interested in pricing, please see our website My contact details are. in the contact section. We have have several. Homes. under. construction in Prebbleton should you want to. meet. up.
      Thanks Peter

      1. I understand what Peter is getting at here, and of course ideally every cost would be completely fixed (with absolutely no provision for increases due to inflation or changes in the builder’s costs) before you sign the Contract. And then the client would not make a single change (Variation) during the Contract. So the final cost would be exactly the same as the original cost in the Contract. In your dreams! With bespoke houses that would be difficult, if not impossible, to achieve. I would happy to hear of examples.
        But my main reason for writing is to say that as a builder Peter should not get confused between PC (Prime Cost) sums, and Provisional Sums (or could be Provisional Rates or Quantities). As I’ve said before, the former is a sum put in for things like kitchen appliances, carpets, tiles etc which allow a sum of money for the client to choose the type they want, when the item is required. So they just pay the difference (or get a rebate) if the cost of the item is more, or less, than the PC Sum. Nothing wrong with this, as long as the client is realistic about what they can get for that sum.
        A Provisional item is different. It is for an amount of money, or a quantity or rate, put in for something which neither the builder nor client can accurately assess at the time the Contract is signed. A typical example of this is in foundation work. The Contract may be based on the assumption that the soil on the site is all of a reasonable standard, which allows a standard type of foundation. But any builder or client with any sense will put in a Provisional Sum (or better still a Provisional Quantity with a fixed rate ($/m3) for excavating and disposing of ‘unsuitable material’, which only comes to light when excavation starts, and replacing it with crushed stone or some other suitable material. Typically that might be 10% of the anticipated excavation. Of course if you get unlucky and it’s a lot more then the build cost goes up. If it’s less the build cost goes down. The main point is that the decision on this should be made by the Engineer. So it’s out of the hands of both builder and client.

    1. Hi Jay! We lived in the UK and UPVC is really common over there and it has been for ages, it’s cheaper, quicker to manufacture and install and it has great heat retention too and we loved ours so when we moved back to NZ eight years ago we made it our top priority to get it installed in our new house.

      Well, that was one of the biggest mistakes we have ever made! The stuff was exactly the same as the stuff we had in the UK but what people who import it or manufacture it here don’t realise (or they do realise but they hope you might not) is that the direct sunlight down here is ten times as strong as in the UK and it turns the plastic yellow or spotty (if your choice is a light color) or fades it dramatically and then spotty (if your choice is a bright/dark color) and then the plastic gets brittle and breaks.

      Our UPVC joinery started yellowing after 4 years and then breaking off in pieces the year after that, we took our supplier to court and won only half our money back (I would love to tell you their name but we are not allowed). At the time the cost of the UPVC was only 5K cheaper than a quote of aluminium Altherm Joinery, but we got the Altherm Joinery to replace the UPVC anyway and by then the cost of the Aluminium Joinery had gone up so when we did the sums, we actually lost $45K in the end.

      That was a eight years ago though so they may have adapted the plastic for the harsh NZ sun by now? What I would do is ask them if they have any houses that have their product in them that are over ten years old, and then ask if you can go and have a look and talk to the owners. I would also double check too that the plastic composition and manufacturing process is exactly the same as the joinery that’s in the house they are referring you to. We were trying to argue that our UPVC was not fit for purpose, but the suppliers blamed the manufacturer and accused them of “changing the UPVC production recipe without their knowledge” which can happen, so we were only awarded half our money back because we got 5 years worth out of the product before it failed and the supplier could prove that it wasn’t really their fault.

      I do know of one other person who got UPVC and it started to spot and discolour after two years but it never became brittle, so when they took their supplier to court they lost because they couldn’t prove that the windows were not doing what they were designed for and the Judge deemed them fit for purpose, even though they looked terrible. They did try to touch up the joinery with various paints & resins in the end but it looked tacky and cheap and I felt really sorry for them I will forward them this chat link and see if they’ll talk to you too.

      UPVC is not a favourite in Australia either, and that’s also because the sun is too strong, but like I said before, they may have adapted the plastic to our conditions and some independent testing may even be available but time is the true test of UPVC I think. We love our Aluminium Joinery, and like our builder loves to remind us, there is a reason we have used Aluminium for so long and that’s because it works.

      Good Luck and I hope our experience helps, it makes what we went through worth it if it can 🙂

    2. Hi Jay – agree with MB. UPVC is awesome but the stuff here isn’t made for NZ conditions unfortunately. We also have a friend who has run into this issue and his joinery is starting to discolour after just a year. Go with aluminium – make sure you go with one of the better companies eg Altherm as there are different qualities of window build here in NZ. If it were me I would go with thermally broken windows and also the argon gas fill. Helps with heat loss. Also if you can afford it, get tinted windows – the sun is a killer. My husband built our house just before we met and it has standard glass and the carpet and bedspreads have terrible sun fade – drives me mad! Also look into the Low-E glass which I have heard very good things about. 🙂

    3. Hi MB and Sarah
      WOW – this is valuable information. Thank you very much!!! We are contemplating whether to use aluminium or uPVC mainly because I’ve read from somewhere that the aluminium framing would still form some condensation in cold temperature even if you’ve got double glazing. I’ve read that uPVC does an excellent job with condensation. However, if durability will be an issue then that’s no good.
      We are definitely going for Low-E. I guess if we see any small amounts of condensation, then we’ll just use a dehumidifier.

      Again thank you both – this is really helpful. We have been thinking about this for a very long time and we will go with our initial preference, which is to go with Altherm Aluminium.

      1. Hi Jay – yes you are correct about the condensation on aluminium. If you go for the thermally broken ones they have a rubber seal thingy (that’s the technical term 😉 ) between the layers which helps to stop that. It’s not perfect by any means but it helps – I will definitely be getting them on next house (didn’t have them here when we built current place). IF there’s any one piece of kit I could advise anyone building a house to have its a ducted heat pump system. We have one and its the best thing we ever did. It also really helps to circulate air round and we don’t have much condensation on our windows during the winter – we only get it at the bottoms where the air doesn’t get to because of the curtains. Anyway just a suggestion but worth looking into it if you can afford (if you are planning in staying in house long term then a great investment). Good luck with your build 🙂

        1. Thanks Sarah! Our budget is a bit limited. We’ve considered ducted heatpump but we can’t afford it at this stage. Will ask our builder about those rubber seals. Thanks heaps 🙂

          1. Hi Jay,
            The thermally broken and double glazing wont eliminate the formation of condensation – it simply helps to limit the development. It is a big misnomer that ducted air conditioning (heatpumps) will solve the problem too unless it is a system like the Mitsubishi Losnay system (Click here: or the Daikin HRV system: (Click Here:
            that introduce fresh air from the outside, recovers the heat energy from the stale inside air as it is vented to the outside. The important thing, and something that most people do not realise is that in order to have healthy air and to significantly reduce or eliminate condensation the air in every room needs to be “changed” regularly and this can only be achieved by installing a ventilation system with or without heat pumps.
            There are heat recovery ventilation systems available which would be a good interim measure but without the expense of the heatpump. But later you can use the previously installed ducting for the ducted heatpump when you can afford it. Remember to plan ahead for where you would have to install the condenser units outside your home and it is worthwhile pre-wiring and pre-plumbing during your build phase to avoid the expense of removing cladding and cutting holes everywhere in the future when you decide to install the ducted heatpump.
            There are a number of Heat Recovery Ventilation systems available and there are some amazing products new to the NZ market that have been in Europe for decades that are worth investigating. I’ll give you some links below to assist you in reviewing the options but I love the FANTECH system that recovers heat from the earth!! Another favourite of mine to help keep the cost down, especially if it is difficult to run large ducts to any particular room, is the de-centralised ventilation fans which incorporate a heat recovery mechanism. These are also very useful for renovation of older homes where running 300mm ducts might e impossible without incurring huge expense.
            Please note that I do not have any commercial affiliation to any of the products to which I have provided you links for – I have garnered this knowledge by helping thousands of HOBANZ members look at their alternatives and also in researching the options for my own renovation.






            Good luck with your build!

            1. Hi John

              Many thanks for taking the time to provide this useful information. Lots to think about. We will certainly re-evaluate our options. It is interesting to find out that thermally broken and double glazing will not completely eliminate the formation of condensation. Thanks very much for the links you provided. 🙂

        2. Hi Sarah, separator in thermal break joinery is polyamide between internal and external Ali. Depending upon build location thermal break might be an overkill. Condensation bleeding is down to internal vs external environmental conditions and ventilation/causations of such should be looked into, not dehumidifiers as a solution. Double glazed with Low E is the best solution and maybe look at LowE film placement on glass face to target heat retention/loss. The supplier should be able to talk thru options for supply to meet any budget constraints.

      2. I meant to add that a large number of our members have had issues with the quality of the low-e glass produced in NZ. Scuffing from the ceramic rollers when the glass panes roll out of the machine have caused the glass to present white stripes in certain light conditions and because it also leaves a minute indentation in the glass it also cause distortion when looking through the glass.
        What they will also not tell you is that when the Low-e glass is doing its job it shifts the dew point to the outer face of the exterior glass pane and therefore on certain days, particularly in Autum and Winter, you will find that you can’t see out the windows until the ambient outside temperature increases and the condensation evaporates. This came as a surprise and a real disappointment to many members who had magnificent views out of the windows that they could not enjoy in the morning unless they went outside and squeeged the condensation off!!
        John Gray
        President of HOBANZ

        1. Hi John.
          Thanks for your reply. That’s a really useful insight – we will take that on board. Were the complaints mostly in regions where there is snow and extremely low temperatures? We’re based in Wellington and I wonder if the dew point/exterior condensation issue is mainly due to extremely low temperatures? Thanks.

          1. Hi Jay,
            No it has happened all over the country, even Wellington and in warmer climbs in the North. The local climate will simply have an effect on the frequency with which the condensation forms on the outside of the windows to the extent that you can’t see outside or that it seriously limits visibility.

            1. Thanks John. We will have a rethink. I wonder if Thermal Heart for aluminium would be a better option then? Has anyone had any experience using Thermal Heart?

              1. Hi Jay,
                Thermal Heart is just a fancy marketing name for a thermal break between the exterior and interior aluminium components of the window or door joinery. There is no doubt that any joinery that has a thermal break around the entire perimeter of the window or door is more energy efficient in so far a limiting the heat transfer. Several manufacturers have included thermal breaks in the joinery so the options remain wide open in that regard. It is interesting that some experts say that they most efficient thermal break (barrier) is timber framed windows given the natural insulation properties of timber!
                Whilst on the subject of thermal breaks and insulation – please make sure that your foundation slab is properly insulated and especially around the outside to prevent heat transfer down and out through the sides of the slab.
                John Gray

              2. Hi Jay – I meant to say that whilst I have made comments about some of the draw-backs of low-e glass I should say that it is really beneficial in terms of thermal efficiency. It is just that we have seen some serious quality issues arising from production problems and of course the unexpected high degree of condensation forming on the outside of the windows. The condensation is, ironically, an indication of the low-e glass actually doing it’s job to keep heat in.
                So please don’t dismiss the idea of low-e glass, rather be aware in advance of the potential for quality issues in the glass panes which you would demand replacements for and of course that any lovely views out of your home in the morning over any vista you might have may be impaired by the presence of condensation of the outside. You just have to weigh up the pro’s and con’s by being fully informed.
                John Gray

    1. I’ve had some friends who built with Epic and had a horrible experience! The boss (Rodney I think) didn’t want to sort things out for them after final payment and there are still things unfinished. Apparently they lost one of their top guys who went to Sentinel(?) Homes down there and things turned to custard. Beware.

  41. Has anyone had any experience of Genius Homes in Timrau? They build onsite and deliver in the South Island. I’m looking for a resonably priced option for a build in Glenorchy, and the local building costs have gone crazy.

    1. Hi Adrienne,

      I contacted Genius Homes as well, they provide prefab house with much lower price. Unfortunately their design does not meet our requirement so we cannot go with them. Which company did you choose at the end? We are going to build in Queenstown and it is so hard to find someone reliable and not too greedy.

      P.S: My friend who works as a QS told me the prefab house can have some guarantee issue. It is hard to say whose responsibility it is, the manufactory or the builders who set it up.

  42. I have been looking at the flat pack houses from EasyBuild in Masterton. I haven’t a clue how feasible this would be to have one shipped up to the Coromandel. But I am wondering what is a ballpark figure to hire someone to put the house together once it is delivered?

  43. Hi everyone,

    Has anyone had issues with their bricklaying. We are in the process of building a house with one of the so called ‘top builders’ in NZ and the quality of bricklaying is nothing but very poor. When we approached the operations manager we were told it is good standard from their opinion and that is in accordance with standards. It is not, the mortar (the joining in between bricks) is supposed to be 10mm +/-3 according to the standard. When we measured some they are in the 16-20mm range. What are our options here? we are far from being happy with the quality of bricklaying and apparently it was done by someone with 15years experience.

    Has anyone had similar issues and how did you deal with it? which 3rd parties did you involve and what was the resolution?


    1. Hi there
      I would suggest talking to Master Builders and asking for advice from them. I vaguely remember an issue where someone who was not happy with their brick finish and Master Builders were called in to provide an opinion as well in order for it to be resolved. I would also be asking for the brick layers credentials to confirm they are a registered bricklayer and also talk to your council to find out what the inspector saw when they inspected it.

      1. Hi Kerryn,

        Thank you for that. We dont have masterbuild guarantee but we have the 10 year Halo NZ Certified Builders guarantee. So i have reached out to them and have obtained independent brick consultant to review it. The report does agree that the workmaship is very poor. We are trying to resolve this with the builder and hopefully it can be resolved without having to go any further.

      2. The role of the building inspector is solely centered on ensuring that your home is built to the building code and any council specifics, not really the quality of the workmanship

        this is your quality bible

        the manufacturers specifications are also important,when trying to get a builder to remedial any defective work , as is clear written communication of any issues generalising wont help 🙂

        perhaps BRANZ or Standards nz should be made to make all codes and practices available free of charge so that people can get the in formation , after all they are a government department , put pressure on your mp

        don’t forget that you can also make a formal complaint to the LBP registration board

    2. We have had issues in this regard. We have written documentation that we are unhappy with our brickwork. Ours is a variation in the mortar.colour. An acid wash was done, but this has not been very successful. We have been told it will fade over time, but this is unlikely in our opinion. Nevertheless we intend to give the company 12 months from the date of bricking, to see if this happens. We feel this is only fair.

      I think you can contact BRANZ for help, but failing that, my husband has made some enquiries and may be able to steer you in the right direction. I think I know which franchise it is and in which region. I think I can even name your bricklayers. Hang in there. You are not alone. Whatever you do though,, get written documentation of your complaint. Even if it is just an email to the franchise holder along the lines of, “Further to our conversation on the (date0, we are still concerned with the quality of the brickwork …. Your contract will guarantee the quality of workmanship and it may be worth contacting your lawyer to appraise him of the situation.

      All the best.

      1. Hi Pollu,

        It is a really stressful situation to be in and I am beyond frustrated with the franchise for not responding to us yet. We have everything documented as we learnt from the very first day that we needed to have everything in writing in case a situation like this arose. We also had a clause in the contract specifically added to ensure that we were happy with the work before we took possession of the house. The independent report was done by a reputable brick consultant in the industry so hopefully that will help. We are going to give them about a week to respond to us. If not, can we contact you our your husband on this to see if there are any other option for us? Its also frustrating that we have to spend out of our pocket to prove these poor workmanship.

        1. Hi Cara,

          I would be glad to help you any way I can, as long as it does not include putting personal contact details on the site as I feel it is not a safe thing to do. I truly understand your stress. We have had a number of issues with our build and thus I have had many a sleepless night. However my husband has managed to stay calm and endeavoured to stay on good terms with the franchise holder. This has resulted in one really big issue being fixed at no cost to us. It is for that reason we are prepared to wait 12 months to see if the mortar fades to the same colour. Guess you could say we are meeting him half way.

          Your issue however is whether the bricks are the correct spacing, is that right? If it is a structural problem, then building inspector should have picked it up. That being the case, it may be worth talking to your local council. Unfortunately inspectors are not too interested in aesthetics, hence our mortar problem is of no concern to them.

          I am so glad you have documented everything. I really think that is the key. The fact that you had that extra clause added was a really good idea. I wish we had done something like that. At the moment we are in the process of moving into our new home and with all that going on, I forgot to speak to my about this. I will get back to you as soon as I can with more information.


          1. Hi Polly,

            Thank you and yes i totally understand about not providing personal information on this site.

            Our problem is also aesthetics. Not a structural problem. The work is done so poorly in terms of the workmanship and that’s exactly what our report says. Also, in my case my husband is trying to be very calm in dealing with the franchise. We have had so many stressful nights over this as I can see the franchise trying to do everything to not redo the work to our expectation.

            It must be great to moving into your new house now. I hope all goes well with you.

            1. Hi Cara,

              I spoke to my husband, would you believe about 3am this morning. He was suffering from cramp, and as he woke me, I thought it as good a time as any to ask who he contacted about our bricks. It was the Brick and Blocklayers Federation of New Zealand. I believe there is only one guy that does the assessments in the South Island, I don’t know about north of Cook Straight.

              Yes we are eager to get into our new home. As I said there are still issues. However, as we have our documentation and the franchise holder has made an effort to put things right, we are prepared to wait 12 months after the bricks were laid to see if the colour merges.

              Hey, do keep me posted as to how you get on. As they say ‘knowledge is power” and all that jazz. If I have anything else helpful to share with you,I will certainly leave a message.


              1. Hi Pollu,

                Sorry i was meant to respond to your reply and forgot until today i saw so many similar issues/comments come through. Thank you for talking to your husband about it. We have had some positive over the last week. The franchise went from saying ‘that was the best’ to meeting halfway only because we got an independent report done. Well they are offering to do a bagged finish as opposed to flush finish. We agreed (on the basis they showed a few homes they did this finish on) for them to do that on one wall and show before doing the whole house (this is yet to happen). I will update once it is done. It is really sad and frustrating to see so many comments here about bad workmanship, i wonder if it is the same franchise. I was honestly considering contacting the neighbours (keep in mind all the houses are just being built so no one is physically living there) however, we told ourself we will just get our issue resolved as we dont want the builders doing more damage to the house that we wont see but will come to light years later. It is just really frustrating so many poor home owners’ hard earned money put to building their DREAM homes and these builders ruining with poor workmanship.

                1. It all frustrates me too Cara. I actually think we need to be covered by some independent body and it should not cost the home owner so much to get a fair deal. I mean who wants to pay top dollar for a second rate product. I have to say the franchise responsible for our build has tried to do the right thing by us, but boy have some of their contractors let them down. My husband and I cannot understand why they still use them. Cheap they may be, but the business they will be losing via word of mouth I think would be considerable. I really hope you are well on you way to getting your issues settled.

                2. Hi Pollu. Sounds like this is common. We asked for test areas too. As to date test area not completed. Absolutely gutted our DREAM home is not the high quality promised.

              2. What area are you building in ? We are having major problems with our brick work to, colour of mortar pòr workmanship etc.

                1. Hi Hadenough
                  We are in the North Island. Sorry I can’t say anymore than that at the moment. Where are you?

        2. OMG – There are others there having the same issues. We thought we done the right thing and had everything documented but they just deny there is a problem. I have found out just recently some Franchises just fold the company and reopen as another branch. How can we get resolution????

      2. Hi Pollu
        Help! We have issues with our brick too. But we are finding the builders influence people in their favour. Anyone who can see or is honest will tell you the brick and workmanship is not good. Don’t know what to do… Thanks

        1. Hi Concerned. Take photos and gather all documentation, then see your lawyer. He/she is the best one to advise you. You may like to contact The Bricklayers Federation of New Zealand. They have people who will assess the brickwork. Like you I am beginning to see that this is a widespread problem and something must be done about it. I am afraid at present I cannot be much more help. I know of someone who has withheld payment and they have had some success, however be aware that some contracts have a penalty clause for doing this. Good luck.

          1. Thanks Pollu. But some of these franchise just fold one company and start another. Leaving the the poor owner out of pocket. Or a house with defects that they cant afford to fix.
            I am shocked to hear of so many people having problems with builders. I have learnt alot and it is highly likely i will never build again because of this bad experience.
            If anyone tells you colour matched mortar fades over time its bs. It will wont fade on south side of house. A year later and ours hasnt.

            1. I hear what you are saying Concerned. Has this group set up a new company yet? Another thing, were they a limited liability company? You need to check the company’s register and find out who the principals are. If not you can sue them. We did this some years ago when we got house levellers in and they did a shoddy job. We found out we could sue the principal. You may find if they have done this too often or the principal is an undischarged bankrupt, then they cannot form an Ltd. I hope this is some help to you. My husband is answering a lot of your questions via me, so you are welcome to keep in touch. He has a lot more knowledge than me.

              1. HI Pollu. Looks like they do buy the dates of the company start dates. So would mean they could transfer everyone’s job over to the next. Yikes! Yes, there was liability insurance but was told that that ends a short time after move in. They are a Ltd company. And I see there is one that has been around a lot longer than the rest. Looks like a new franchise starts around 5-6 years. 🙁

                1. Oh my goodness Concerned. Usually the insurance lasts 12 months. I really think you need to get your lawyer involved in this one. Is this one of the big franchises or a smaller one? Look will get back to you later. I am going to get my husband to look over what you have written. He has a better idea than me. He will answer you comment soon.

                  1. Oh! If its 12 months after handover i might be lucky. Only problem is getting them to lodge a claim. They still denying there a problem.. grrr. Its not fair people pay a lot of their hard earned dollars and are getting ripped off.

                    1. Oh! If its 12 months after handover i might be lucky. Only problem is getting them to lodge a claim. They still denying there a problem.. grrr. Its not fair people pay a lot of their hard earned dollars and are getting ripped off.

                    2. Hi Concerned, yes it is 12 months after handover. Just check your contract. Incidentally, are you in the Christchurch area? If so we may be able to arrange a meeting face to face. I prefer not to put my details on line, but if you are in the area, maybe we can help each other.

                  2. Hi Concerned, Polly’ s husband Ian here. Most larger building companies and franchise operators offer a free building insurance cover during the build and for a reasonable time after completion. Halo is one insurer and Master Builders are two, but I can’t recall the names of others. As I understand it, this is more of a warranty that the build will be up to standard as per the NZ Building Code. It usually does NOT cover cosmetic imperfections such as mis-matched mortar. However, the brickies are expected to perform their tasks “in a workmanlike manner”. There is no guarantee that if you were to take them to Court that the court would find in your favour, given that you would need to find a competent bricky with many year experience to stand up in court and say that the work had not been performed competently, “in a workmanlike manner”. This problem seems be be generic in NZ as there has been no or minimal apprenticeship training in the bricklaying industry for a number of years. It may be worthwhile contacting BCITO, the Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation, to see if they can put you onto a bricklaying tutor or inspector for advice. The NZ Brick and Blocklaying Federation may also be able to give you the name or names of people who, for a fee, will inspect and report on the workmanship. There is no guarantee in that process that the report will be in your favour, so it’s “caveat emptor”, let the buyer beware. Sorry, but I believe there are many off us “new builds” who are up the same creek. Best of luck, and keep pushing.

                    1. Hi Ian. Free because they work together and not in favour of the customer. Mis matched mortar is because they didn’t do a proper job the first time. Colour matched mortar that was to be bagged so it doesn’t show a difference. Its stand out obvious. Its not just cosmetic.. Something has to be done about all the shoddy work going on. Why cant all all the good guys stand up together. As these cowboys are giving the brick and building industry a bad name. Not only stressing out new build home owners. I just hope it improves

                    2. possibly the phrase ‘workman like manner’ has been changed to competence and skill ,
                      but different colored morter would definetly come within the gutde lines set out by minestry of buisness and addopted by mb and cb,,,,

                      its your main contractors issue make him fix it , document it , identifie the standard and then give him reasonable time to remedial the issue 90 days what ever ,

        2. Hi,

          I suggest you get an independent brick consultant to come and review it and do a report on it. Yes, you have to spend out of your pocket but it will help you alot. It did in our case. And you could potentially try and claim it back from the franchise (not saying they will pay but still can give it a try). Contact the Master builders or NZCB (depending on what guarantee your contract has) and let them know. But as a starting point, did you let your builder know in writing that you are not happy with the brickwork? Do you have reference pictures of what your house was meant to look like when you initially signed the contract?

      3. Pollu we were told exactly the same thing the mortar will dry over time. Well we are still waiting some 18months later no change. Would you tell me what type of brick you are ? We would love to know.

        1. By Monier and the colour I think was Electrum. We had our check recently and the franchise inspector acknowledged that it was unlikely the colour would fade. We will however wait till the 12 month point and then assess the situation. The contract says that things should be done in a workman like manner and everything is in writing, so will have to see what happens then.

        2. Hi Hadenough
          Ask an honest experience brick layer. It won’t change over time. We have variations of mortor colour on East and South walls. It has not changed to match the rest. They did laying at different times and also patch jobs. These didn’t change in colour nor match. They also did another large patch job at a different time and yet that area matches the rest! Figure that one out…

          1. That is exactly what has happened to us. The bricklaying was done at different times and weather conditions. We did engage a independent report and it has given a damming report.

    3. We are currently experiencing issues with our bricklaying on our new build too. We have issues with the mortar colour, it was supposed to be colour matched to the brick, and unfortunately he must have been colour blind, as well as very poor workmanship with some of our mortar joints ranging between 5mm and 26mm in places, certainly not within standard. Also we specified a rolled finish, in places we got a raked finish, a flush finish and a finger dented finish – which on a good day looks like a poor attempt at a rolled finish.We have bricks with very large chips and only some of the bricks have been checked around the soffit joins. Our building company have been very good in trying to resolve the issues, however the bricklayer seems to be trying his luck and has started to redo the mortar in the correct colour ( finally getting it right after a couple of attempts)and trying to do a rolled finish but is ignoring the other issues. He is supposed to be grinding out the original mortar to a certain depth, and we suspect he has not done this as there is no evidence of grinding dust, and just added mortar over the top. We are afraid that over time this mortar will crack and fall out! We also have cut bricks that have not been cut straight or to the right size and the overall result looks terrible. We have been very patient and given all parties involved the opportunity to rectify the issues however this has held up our completion date as it has been going on for over a month now. We have also had advice from our lawyer. I have’t lost any sleep over this as yet but I am starting to get frustrated with the whole thing and I understand what you must be going through Cara. Hopefully our ongoing troubles will be resolved in the next week or two, but I am not holding my breath.

      1. Hi JJ. Talking to my husband, he says you are right. If the mortar has not been ground out to the correct depth, he believes the new mortar is likely to crack and fall out. In his words, “It is like an veneer.”

    4. HI Cara
      We have had heaps of issues with the workmanship and quality of bricks. Got the run around by everyone. It doesn’t meet standards nor are we happy with it. I would be interested to know if anyone has been successful in getting their bricks sorted too. Thanks

    5. Hi Cara, we are having the same issues as you with the brick work. I suggest you contact the Bricklayers Federation for an assessment on the quality of the work carried out. We were advised by the brick company who supplied the bricks to contact the NZ Bricklayers Federation, and omg what a damming report they did. We are trying to get MBA to do the right thing and honour their guarantee but oh no they will fight you all the way. We are now in a real war with the builder,NBA and our lawyer. You need to keep fighting don’t let these arrogant companies get away with what is their responsibility. Good luck

      1. Hi there,

        Just an update on our issue, so the builders came back with some alternatives. So our contract says flushed finish but they asked us if we would be happy with bagged finish. We were taking a bit of risk by confirming to them that they could go ahead with the bagged finish (of course only after viewing some of their bagged finished brick work). We were also weighing up the cost and benefit of going with this or further putting our fight and possibly including our lawyer. That was definitely going to cost both the parties more time and money. We didnt want that so we took the risk and confirmed for our builder to go ahead with the bagged finish. I must say i am really happy with it. Looking at all the other houses around us ours look way better. I feel so bad for these neighbors who maybe have been shut down by the builder saying that was the best quality and blah blah. We didnt buy that, and went onto getting an independent brick consultant and the final result we were happy.

        1. Hi Cara.
          Is it going to last with that finish or just fall out over time? If the workmanship was reported very poor by the brick expert, I would have expected a different resolution.
          Our brick is a major feature of our house and there is poor workmanship and other issues. The building company tried to tell me it is just cosmetic. Well, I had other experts look at it and it’s not. Absolutely gutted. And don’t know what we can do.

          1. Hi Concerned/Cara
            Bagged finish over brick is excellent. We had this on our previous home- a 1940s ex-state duplex and the finish was still rock hard and durable. Personally, I love this look and intend using it again. Well done for an excellent compromise.

            1. Hi Mark
              Unfortunately this bagged finish will not go with the brick, design and look of our house.

  44. Hello,
    We are looking to build for the first time rurally in Tauranga and just wanted to get an idea of your experiences you’ve had with the local building company’s.
    I have met with Calley Homes and meeting with signature next week. I have had a number of emails from Stonewood but they seem more focused on keeping the price down not our personal input.
    I won’t go near GJ’s or Jennian homes and David Reid said anything lower than $600k build is not worth their while.
    I have just read the comments that Golden Homes have surprise costings which is not ideal so I think I’ll give them a miss too.
    I have spoken with Classic builders but haven’t met with them yet.

    Any other building company’s you know of that would be worth me getting in touch with would be great. Also any thing to consider for rural builds would be greatly appreciated too.

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Ashley, I’m sorry I don’t know any builders in Tauranga, but one thing I would just recommend if you are building rurally is to make sure that any contract includes all the costs for putting in your services. When we built rurally the builder only included a PC sum that was woefully inadequate (was the one they used for normal urban sections!!) and we ended up with an extra bill for about $5,000 for the trenching and cable laying to the site from the boundary. It can be a lot more than this depending on how far you have to go, so just make sure they have allowed for this. Same with any water connection. Make sure you check that all PC sums are realistic as this is where hidden costs lie. Some companies look like a good price but its because they have unrealistic PC sums in the contract. Good luck with your build.

    2. Hi Ashley, I totally agree with Sarah’s comments. But I would add that you should also push the builder to keep the number of PC items to a minimum. For example in the case of the service connections mentioned, a PC sum in a general spec you see when you first visit the builder is not unreasonable. But should not be necessary once they know the actual site details. At that stage they should include the actual price in the final contract that you sign. If they don’t want to do that they are being lazy, and hoping you’ll cover them for their mistakes.
      The actual meaning of PC is Prime Cost, and is intended for use only for things that you the client have some choice about. For example kitchen fittings and appliances, or tiles and carpets. Not for essential engineering parts of the house that don’t involve any choice on your part.
      There are also what are called Provisional Sums, Rates or Quantities for things like the amount of excavation in the foundations. You may have no control over these, but also the builder may be unable to calculate the exact amount until the engineer sees what the soil condition is like. I suggest that if possible you always go for fixed rates on provisional quantities, rather than just a provisional sum of money.

    3. Hi Ashley
      I would recommend going to Generation Homes as they have fixed price guarantees which are usually very helpful. I would NOT recommend Stonewood Homes as their client relationship is very poor. I have heard of some people who have built homes with them and never once met with their project manager. They are also very poor at fixing maintenance issues after handover as well.
      There ‘must be a reason why Classic Builders have the majority share in Taurnaga, I guess they do a good job too? I don’t know much about them sorry.

    4. Hi Ashley,

      I have personal experience with Stonewood Tauranga and I can’t stress enough to stay well away from them. They have beautiful show homes and excellent sales staff but when it came to the actual build EVERYTHING took longer and cost more than it should have. Kevin (the Director) restructured the company and we lost our project manager (Who we actually only met once anyway) and from there we pretty much had to project manage it ourselves because he wasn’t doing it. From word of mouth we found out that a lot of reputable contractors won’t do work for them, and the end result was a house which was not finished to the high quality it should have been as he employed monkeys. We were shafted time and time again and so ended up paying and moving into our home which wasn’t completed as we would have liked but we had a toddler and baby on the way so after 14 months since our initial deposit was paid, we weren’t willing to wait any longer for him to get more monkey contractors in to fix the stuff ups. There have been a number of small things they should have fixed post move but they haven’t done that either and communication basically ended as soon as we moved in despite trying to get them back. There is paint on the outside facade of our house, overspray for Africa and things that were just not done properly. PLEASE take my advice and write them off as a company to build with unless you would like to age prematurely!

      1. Funnily enough, now they have a 20 year old being the Project Manager. Hired to be a “Junior” but Kevin has thrown him under the bus and given him all the jobs to look after. I agree with you and write them off completely.

  45. Hi there, maybe I am in the wrong website, but can someone please recommend us a good builder for a large extension of the existing property in Birkenhead/Auckland? We are struggling to find a good robust builder in Auckland (they all seems to be in Chch :)). Thanks in advance, Elle

        1. We are based in Warkworth but we cover most of the Akl area and up to Waipu.
          If you struggle to find a local crew, please feel free to give me a call.
          Happy to help.


  46. Be wary of ‘Jack Suo’ from ‘Skywings Construction Limited”. He totally ripped us off on a building project. He lied many times, did poor quality of work, was really expensive, aggressive, rude and cannot be trusted. He’s a Auckland based builder. Do business with him at your own peril.

  47. RE: master builder template building contracts. You must 100% see a lawyer about these. Your builder will have you over a barrel on these terms. they are a nightmare. the terms need significant re-balancing. if your lawyer pies you off and says they look pretty standard and not much can be changed, then get a better lawyer. if you think the MBS organisation is there to keep builders honest and that their terms are fair to consumers, think again.

    everything is geared towards the builder. if they say they can’t make any changes then run a mile. listen to your lawyer. don’t take the risk. what can go wrong will go wrong and the money invested in legal advice and re-drafting will be well worth it. as an organisation, the registered master builders are there to protect builders and to gather money for back-of-the-cereal-packet “guarantees” that have more holes than grandmas crochet blanket, all of which your builder and the organisation will drive a truck through to roll over the top of you.

  48. RE: Master Build Guarantees, highly over-rated in my opinion. Better to invest in some decent construction insurance and get something for your money. Once you get into the fineprint of the master builder guarantee and if you ever try to claim on it, they will shaft you seven ways til sunday. one of these guarantees is probably handy and better than nothing when you’re buying a completed new-build all ready to move into and fully CCC’ed etc., but it will not help you if you are the principal (i.e. you’re paying a builder to build a place for you.) For minor little issues MB might play ball, but if you get a major issue or anything slightly nonstandard they will run a mile and hide behind every possible loophole in their guarantee. The guarantee is next to impossible to comply with so you end up voiding it before you get anywhere with them.

    I’ve seen registered master builders get up to all sorts of shonkiness, poor build quality, poor remediation, go into liquidation etc. and even after you complain to the master builder group they don’t seem to care and let the builder stay on as a “master builder” under their new, phoenix trading entity after the old one has gone belly up. it’s a money-gathering and marketing exercise and nothing more. better than nothing but you’re better off with something that isn’t stacked against you like a good construction insurance policy – at least insurers are regulated!

    1. Hi Roger: Can you elaborate on the insurance a bit please? Would Buildright/Buildsafe be a decent construction insurance? Many thanks

    2. unfortunately we have learnt this too late. In our new build home and discovering they are giving us the run around try and get this fixed 🙁

  49. Take care with anyone associated with Eva Xu (also known as Yun Xu). Formerly of Good Opportunity Development Limited (now in liquidation) and Good Opportunity Development Auckland Limited recently renamed to Perfect Housing Limited. On top of a previous entity named Good Opportunity Development Limited that was renamed to United Projects Limited. She has record of sloppy work that you can’t her to fix, late-paying or underpaying or failing to pay her subbies and seems to have gone down the path of phoenix companies to try to dodge her creditors judging by all these disappearing entities with the same names. She operates in the North Auckland/Albany area mainly I believe.

  50. Hi we are looking at using Stonewood homes to build a 2 story in Bay of Plenty..any recommendations??

    1. Hi Prey (hope your name is not an indication of what you will be to a builder),
      No experience of using Stonewood for an actual build (we dropped them before it got that far), and of course different SW franchises may perform differently. But first warning is examine their build contract carefully before doing anything else. I have some experience of building contracts, and the one they showed us (a few years ago) was not just very biased in their favour, but almost unintelligible. Frankly I don’t think they knew what it meant themselves. But were totally unwilling to discuss any changes. Don’t worry, ‘she’ll be right’, that never comes up, so we never need that clause! So delete it then. Oh no, can’t do that. Boss won’t like it.
      A later experience with another SW franchise gave me the impression they’re all smooth talk, but don’t follow up on promises.

    2. Not that it necessarily makes any difference to the way a particular franchisee operates, and I don’t know how they are building homes, but for some people it might be worth knowing that Stonewood is ultimately owned by the Chow brothers, who came from and made their money in the prostitution industry originally as brothel-keepers.

      Maybe they are straight up, salt of the earth dudes, but it does make one wonder a bit. Personally I would prefer someone with a bit of pedigree and ideally a family reputation and legacy to protect rather than an investment vehicle for parlaying the profits of prostitution when it comes to building my family home, but that’s just me

    3. Completely agree with all the answers below on this one. Wouldn’t touch Stonewood with a barge pole. The project Manager avoids meeting the clients during the build and also ignores anyone with maintenance issues after hand over. They do PC sums which can really bite you in the behind as well if they haven’t done their homework properly. I have even heard of builds taking over a year to complete!

  51. We are thinking of using Stonewood homes to build a 2 story in Bay of Plenty. Any recommendations??

  52. Hi
    I live in the South Auckland area and am going to extend my house front and back. Would appreciate if someone has done similar extensions and would have any builder recommendations. I was very impressed with the SO Renovate company until I read the reviews on this site. Does anyone know of a reputable company out there that can help me from start (plan) to finish (build) or is it better to have different people working on my project. Thanks

    1. Hi there,
      SO Renovate changed ownership in November 2017. With the new owners they did a complete revamp of staff and contractors. I know the new GM and from what I can see it’s a very different company (in a good way) than what was being commented on here.

      1. That is good to hear. We felt sorry for the new owners when we had heard that it had changed hands. The previous owner and senior management had a lot to answer for.

  53. We are looking for suitable people interested in two adjoining large sites with a house on each in the Mt Albert area. The sites are around 1600 square metres each and both right of way.

  54. I just wanted to throw a good review into the mix – we just finished building with A1 (Kumeu) and they have been awesome. We were really nervous having read all the terrible reviews on this site and spent a long time looking at lots of different companies. Dan and his team stood out as you speak to actual builders at the show home (rather than slick sales people) who have the practical knowledge to help you undertstand the pros and cons of your design and the build process (we ended up modifying one of their designs). They finished ahead of schedule and on budget. They were great communicators and have quickly sorted out any of the minor issues we had once we moved in. They were very flexible and reasonable and didn’t charge like wounded bulls for variations. I totally recommend giving them a look.

    1. Hello, we were having a few problems with our builder about the same stuff that many of you all seem to have been through and my faith in the building industry was pretty much non-existent but one of our builders men went out on his own and we are using him to finish all the builds on our rentals and our own home, and he’s absolutely fantastic!

      He was there first hand watching us trying to deal with his dick head boss and now he’s struck out on his own he’s doing everything the complete opposite and I told him to read this blog for more ideas on what not to do and we couldn’t be happier with him.

      So, if you’re looking for a builder in the Hamilton-Waikato area his name is Mitchell Williams. He’s fully licensed, meticulous with his work and he listens to his clients (more than we can say about our previous builder) and after reading this blog he’s got his lawyer putting together a contract that’s actually fair for both parties, not the crap they peddle on the Master Builders website! If you want to talk more, my email is mmjenkins I’ll happily sing more of his praises because it feels great to throw a good builder into the mix after dealing with idiots and scam artists for so long.

  55. Hello I am looking at building in Christchurch and have been looking at Homes by Maxim and Greenland Homes. Does anyone have any feedback on Homes by Maxim? I noticed there already is some positive feedback for Greenland Homes.

    1. Hey Glen, I don’t know anything much about Maxim but I have built several properties with Greenland and cannot recommend Sean highly enough. He’s a man of integrity which is hard to come by these days. 🙂

    2. Hi. We built our home with Paul McStay. The process was smooth. Prices didn’t change and we got exactly what we wanted. Brendon was great to deal with. One of the best things we found was that we were speaking directly to the architect and any changes were done almost immediately. Even the first day I met them and showed them a floor plan I had drawn up, they got back to me that same day with their plans done. That was what made me go with them and haven’t regretted it.We found that dealing with any of the larger companies, you had to talk to a salesman who would pass it on to architects. The process was very long and more often than not the plans would come back completely wrong. A lot was lost in translation. I also believe that the value for money is much better. A higher spec and larger home for the same price. Cheers Adrian

      1. Yep agree with this comment. Paul McStay is great too. Know his son and also know a couple of people who have built with him and been very pleased. A man of integrity.

    1. We built with them 2 years ago.
      Would we CHOOSE them again? Probably not if we had options (but they own so much of where we wanted they were basically it..) The build quality is good, the finish – especially the paint job is pretty average – we had to complain afew times to get minor things fixed but they DID sort it – in the end. Their customer service isn’t amazing – felt we were being SUCH a pain if we had a question and if we had any issues they made it such a hassle. (Neighbours on both sides also RP and felt the same).
      BUT overall the house is solid, the retaining etc is above what was needed and the price we paid was less than if we’d got the land/built seperately.

      Msg me if you have any questions 🙂

      1. Hi Michelle
        Thanks for your response. We’ve always wanted a Russell Properties home but the price is too steep. They don’t offer build only services – just land and build packages i think?
        Is the house warm? What sort of heating is included in the package?

    1. We are wanting to build in Kaukapakapa but having trouble finding a builder and a draftsman who thinks outside the square as we have unusual building site. Have approached franchises and they just want to build square rooms and do not seem to have much innovation. Does anyone have any recommendations re bulder and draftsman?

      1. Hi Yvonne, we used LTD architects in Silverdale and The House Company for our current build for the exact reasons you are describing. It was about how to get the best out of the site and a home that worked for our family. Looking good so far.

      2. Hi Yvonne
        Funny that your text popped up right now. I am myself looking for a builder to build some houses on my site.Just a development
        I am a German Engineer and gained chartered engineering status 2 Years ago.
        I am an experienced designer and back in Germany I was well known for thinking outside the box. I have had my own construction company from 1987-2007 and have build about 80 houses 15 to my own design, all in Germany.
        My approach to customers always was
        1.Talk to them see how they live,ask and feel what they want
        2. Look at the site,orientation,sun, garden,etc
        3.. pre check any council requirements
        4 If I like the circumstances(People with ideas, challenging site,etc) I.Make a preliminary design.Down to earth a design you will like.
        5 present design and chat and change.If that takes to long we won’t fit together. Don’t like it ? no payment necessary.
        If you like it the journey starts
        6 Final design and council consent application. discuss costs now.
        7 You might have to find a builder of your own.Yeah well might be I can help here as well ,just looked on google maps it,s actually not to far away

        If that catches your interest feel free to contact me

      3. Hello,
        We are builders on the shore and do projects out your way. I Live in KKK and Id love to have a phone call with you ro see if we can help you. Please give me an email to discuss

    2. Hi, we are looking to build with Golden homes. We see they have a build price of $328k. how much extra do you think it would cost approx to get CCC for services, water tanks etc on a flat site?

      1. Be EXTREMELY careful with Golden Home. Make sure you get in writing that they will advise you of EVERY SINGLE variation and the EXACT cost of each. I had to take them to court because they added another $16K to my cost without even telling me. Make sure you look through all the comments on here about Golden Homes Christchurch (Peak Construction) before making your decision. I can recommend some really good and honest builders in Chch if you are interested (ones I have used, not that I am “involved” with or anything!). 🙂

        1. Wow. Déjà vu. We had exactly the same problem with Golden Homes in Wellington(Gillies Construction). They billed us for an $18,000 variation that they hadn’t told us about and tried to stop us getting into our house unless we paid. Thanks to our lawyer and a few genuine threats to go to fair go we got to n but not before all our carpet offcuts we were going to use for mats disappeared. Their prices are cheap because I have been told (and saw first hand) they use the cheapest fittings around and lines about to run out. Also didn’t allow enough lights in the rooms in original price obviously to make it look like a good deal. Like the saying goes you get what you pay for.

          1. We built with Golden Homes in Rodney and they were a nightmare. Franchisee went bankrupt after building our house so no maintenance or follow up and problem after problem during build. Measured kitchen incorrectly, so did not get kitchen I wanted, measured bathroom incorrectly so had to change windows and on and on and on. Do your homework.

        2. Hi Sarah. You wouldn’t know any good and honest bricklayers in Christchurch would you? We are unimpressed by the brickwork on our newly built home. It appears the bricklayers have used two different coloured mortars and all our builder’s, GJ Gardner, can suggest is an acid wash. The colour difference is so great, we doubt this will make any difference..

              1. Hi there. I am in the process of signing a fixed price contract with a building company. We have one contentious issue and that is the choice for the cladding. They have quoted me on Board and Batten. Is this a good product? Is this very low maintenance? I am very keen on the Linea Oblique. Can anyone please advise what the difference is in terms of price between both these products?

                1. Hi Neville
                  Carter holt Harvey are being threatened with a class action suit over their Shadowclad product. This is the typical product for the board and batten look. It is somewhat cheaper that Linea per m2.
                  There is another product called Plyclad by IBS that may be suitable for the B&B option.
                  Do some research and have an open conversation with your designer about it. Don’t sign until you are completely satisfied.


          1. Not really Bevan. They were building a house next to one we were building once in Wrigram Skies and it looked pretty good but other than that don’t really know much about them. The house was located at 52 Valiant Street, Wigram so you could always go door knocking to ask how the buyers have found it??

  56. Hello!

    We are building this year in Christchurch, have spent a good amount of time wandering showhomes and talking to builders.
    The ones which we are leaning towards are generally David Reid (VERY expensive), Mike Greer, Peter Ray and Maxim Homes…..does anybody have any particular experiences or recommendations for any of those mentioned?

    1. Hi Stevo, I can personally recommend Peter Ray Homes. They are extremely good quality and very transparent when it comes to costs. We have built two houses with them and have been very pleased. Mike Greer are pretty good, the team there are great but they are one of the more expensive I think per square metre – if you do go with them I’d recommend going fo the traditional build rather than one of the Concision houses (have heard some people with problems). Two companies that I would also recommend (not sure if you have looked at these or not) are Paul McStay and Greenland Homes (Sean Zhao). Have personally built several properties through Sean at Greenland and he gives excellent value for money and is very trustworthy. He has won Golds recently at the Master Build Awards. Good luck with your build 🙂

      1. Thanks Sarah! that’s very useful. It’s interesting you mention Greenland Homes and Sean as I have worked on a project professionally with Sean recently but hadn’t actually considered him! Cheers

    2. Compare the addendum of each for a real comparison. It’s likely David Reid appears more expensive as the allowances for kitchens, tiling, flooring etc. are higher. This means you get to select a better quality and more expensive product. I’ve heard terrible stories of the cheaper building companies leaving things out of the contract all together (like carpet) just to get the cost down to win the job. It then gets added as an extra cost later. Basically all of these franchise building companies can build the same thing for the same price, as their supplier material and labour costs are generally pretty similar. But look at the details and what you get for that price. Tiled floors cost more than Lino – for example. You really do get what you pay for. Good Luck.

      1. I agree with everything Nixon says here. I’d just like to add that although the up front costs for builders may be similar (or even look very attractive) when they’re trying to get you to sign on the dotted line, the crunch time comes when you realise that things have either been totally omitted from the spec, the standard is way below what you actually want, or the sums of money allowed are just not enough to get you what you want. At that stage you’re already well on the hook, as the house is half finished. So you have to either pay what the builder asks, or go without. (In connection with that, keep in mind that even with a ‘fixed price’ contract, it’s likely that the price for stuff that just has a money allowance in the contract will be the cost at the time you need it in the house, not when you sign the contract. So allow for 12 months inflation.)
        The solution is very hard and tedious, but necessary. You must examine the spec in detail, decide as far as possible exactly what you want, and make sure it’s covered in the spec, or include real prices for what you want. If the builder is not willing to help you through that process then find one that is. You will almost always get a better deal if it’s hammered out before you sign the contract.

  57. Hi there – I am looking for recommendations on reputable building companies in the Rodney area for a Matakana new build. Would ideally like a company who does all-inclusive for fixed fee and we choose the plans that suit us. i.e. Navigation homes. Anyone had any good experiences with any of these types of building companies in the Rodney area? Thanks!

    1. Hi, try Maddren Homes. Good rep and solid comments about them on here. They are also about he only building Company that encourage you to talk to people they have built for.

    2. I can recommend The House Company. We are currently building with them and its going really well. This is the 3 new build we have done and the first build company we would recommend.

    1. Linda you have most likely seen by now that they have gone in to liquidation and formed two new companys……..RRB Homes Ltd and Seabreeze Homes Ltd. Run a mile as fast as you can so as they don’t steal your money like they have done to myself and several others.

      1. Hi Ruby, thanks for your response. Unfortunately, my husband and I have also fallen victim to Greg Rogers’ company. How can they set up two new companies and yet owe people money?
        Atrocious! RRB Homes and Seabreeze Homes should be boycotted!

  58. Hi,
    We are looking for a good relible company to build a second dwelling (3bdrm house) on our site in North Shore Auckland.
    Hopefully we will get a building consent soon.

    1. Hi, If you would like to give Gareth a phone from Manly Construction. We are a reliable building company that specializes in new builds, renovations and alterations on the Hibiscus Coast and North Shore. Most of our work comes from recommendations from previous clients who we are happy for you to be put in contact with. Ph 027 212 4484

    2. Hello,
      We could help you with providing you a cost estimate for you proposed dwelling. We are a 10 year old company based on the north shore and have teams in Rodney. I live in Kaukapakapa and could meet with you as soon as youre ready.
      Dont hesitate to call me on 0210762068

  59. HI there
    Is it quite common to have some defects in a new house? What are some of the common defects? We’ve found some paint peeling off (very tiny), some loose seams in vinyl flooring and also water leaking our of the shower box.

    1. Hi CJ
      Yes – defects are very common, and paint is *the* most common. Water leaking out of your shower box is the greatest concern, so get on to that urgently. Builders have a 12 month period from completion of the build to fix defects, no questions asked, but it looks like the problems you have will be from sub-contractors, and they can be slack coming back, so make sure you chase them hard.

  60. Hi, we are looking to build in the kapiti / levin area. We have read through the comments and picked up some good hints and tips. But does any one have some recommendations of reputable builders in our area? We are looking at engaging with A1 homes.

  61. Hi,
    Looking for advice or opinion of clauses 83-87 of the Registered Master Builders Association Residential Building Contract. These clauses relate to providing the builder with a memorandum of mortgage over the land should we fail to pay any money to the builder.
    Our solicitor is adamant that the clauses should be removed, the builder (large franchised builder in the Wairarapa) is insisting that we keep them. Any opinion on the risks we accept if we keep them? Many thanks in advance.

    1. This is a very dangerous draconian clause, trust your lawyer here. We had something similar in ours and removed it after it was explained to us what could happen and boy did we have problems with our builder, thank god we listened!. With this in your contract you are giving all power and control to your builder, its not to say that he would abuse this, but he could if things got nasty. See if you get away with putting a mortgage clause on him?

      If something happens during your build for example damage to site or house caused through negligence via the builder or his contractors which might not be covered by insurance and started a dispute where you withheld money for work already completed, the first thing that would happen is the whole project goes on hold. And they will drag this out!

      The building act will have you pay out any monies owed to the builder for work completed regardless of the situation as you would need to go to court to deal with the dispute issue if it cannot be resolved with the builder. This is where the clause becomes a problem. If you withheld money then the builder could cancel the contract (using the act) and claim the mortgage even though he was the cause of the dispute!!!!!!!!!.

      Once you have paid up monies owed and unless you are prepared financially for the “unexpected” and the months of legal battles etc then he would have no right to use this clause and would be an idiot to do so,, but if he’s dodgy and knew you didn’t have the money to fight he could abuse it, turning a bad situation into an even worse one for you. Also, what happens if he goes under while you are going through the dispute process and hes used the clause and taken a mortgage out on you? What happens here?

      There are alot of things that can go wrong in a build dont think it wouldnt happen to you its common place these days, and the home owner is the least protected!

      Master Builders certainly wont be there for you that is shocking that that clause is in there! Find a builder with a good reputation who doesnt have to many builds on the go at the same time as they dont need to rely on clauses like this if they are good guys! Remember you are paying for expensive legal advice for a reason! Be warned re the home building groups, read this blog in depth!

      1. Hi Kevin
        Have a read of our page here – We recommend against using the Master Builder contract and recommend the Building Disputes Tribunal contract instead. There’s a link to their contract here –

        Has your builder given you the Prescribed Checklist? They must as it’s mandatory. If they have not, will not and aren’t prepared to use a different contract, you may wish to review your arrangement with them.

      2. Hi
        Does this clause still apply after hand over and all moneys are paid to the builder? What happens when you have a dispute during the 12 month defect period and they wont fix defects or damage that was noted on handover sheet.

    1. Hi Jack
      It’s very difficult to give a price for any house, even kitsets, without knowing the specifications – bedrooms/size/etc. Also, there just aren’t that many kitset homes sold in NZ.

  62. Hi, has anyone had experience (good or bad) with Classic Builders Tauranga? Looking to build with them on one of their new subdivisions at the Lakes. So far the comments on them here are all positive…

  63. Hi,

    Has anyone build with Golden homes in Stanmore Bay Auckland? Are they good? We’re seriously considering them but the price is a bit expensive.

      1. We used Golden Construction (not Golden Homes) to build in Riverhead. We were very happy with them and would happily use them again. They have a show home in Huapai and millwater I think, and I believe they do build in Stanmore Bay.

    1. These are steel framed homes only. Once the build is complete to renovate or alter is a nightmare as u can’t cut frames easily and is very costly. Steel frames are noisy and crack loudly so see if you can contact some existing steel framed home owners first. Don’t be sold by the timber doesnt last or is inferior technique as Golden only offer steel and not timber. This means to install the roof is extra cost due to steel fixings required. Also they normally bring their pricing down by offering large garage space that do not require same as internal finishing. Ensure any contract you sign has the correct number of electrical fixings per room that would be required in a normal house build as group house builders short change on these and they are expensive variations to have to pay for. Just another ploy they use to reduce price upfont and then charge like wounded bulls for. Golden have a good name on the Shore and they have been in business a long time and are secure. Another franchised company that you are paying franchised fees to a head office and that’s why they are more expensive. If you want to spend time building the right way, get a known builder who has excellent references who project manages the build themselves and is controlling quality and the timeliness of the build. Best question to ask is how big is their team and how do they conduct a house build. Do they complete one project prior to the next? If they are small don’t use them. If they are committed to finishing multiple projects don’t use them.

      1. I think you have very little knowledge on steel frame homes. My one it 14 years old. Has no cracks anywhere (We live in the Wellington region) and does not make any more noise that the timber house we use to live in. We also did some alterations and an extension 3 years ago with no problems.
        If you want a good sound home go with steel framing

        1. Not a good response to belittle people. Lets keep this seemly LT. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and mine is being in the construction industry for a long time so I speak from experience and have no association with any building company whatsoever and know of both timber and steel construction methods and outcomes. Good to hear your home is of good quality. Lets keep the derogatory comments out of this forum. The wonderful intention of this forum is to keep open minds about all coys and their offers to market, not to go down the track of belittling.

    2. buld with sentinel homes.Im currently building with them, theyre on schedule and give me weekly reports with photos on progress. They also priced up very reasonable and economical. Highly recommend.

        1. yes their show home is excellent, they strive on quality and customer satisfaction. Im halfway through my build and from the start they have been so helpful. Ive been able to contact them with every silly little question I had and they always responded asap.
          I had a terrible experience with bella vista homes , i pulled out before money was spent there, sentinel homes knew of my scare with bella vista so they made everything as smooth and possible . When it came to signing the contract, they happily met me and my lawyers needs with no hassle as well. Really good natured people running the company!

      1. Sentinel Homes secure and are great guys to deal with. You can be certain they will finish a good quality build and the owner is outstanding and his team great creds.

        1. hi danae im dealing with Isaac Dean the manager from the Bay ofPlenty region as im building in Tauranga. All Regions have their own manager and ive heard all are excellent. which region are you considering?

  64. Are there any other comments or experiences building with GJ? We are looking at purchasing a house & land package or land to build in the Marlborough area and would appreciate as much feedback as possible. Thanks everyone!

    1. Another franchise company. Do your homework as just because they are under a franchise group each company is run separately and their head offices do not take any liability for any franchisee going broke. I know of someone involved in a GJG branch failure where HO asked contractors/suppliers to finish off a number of builds at their own cost, eliminating any exposure to GJG’s. Each franchisee is different and builds their own way and are different in their communications. Some are good to deal with but do your homework and seriously look at an independent builder that comes with great references and even better referees as they will be so much cheaper than a franchise. Don’t be pulled into this, because we are big we get cheaper prices. You are paying a minimum of 2-4% franchise fees straight back to HO and then you will pay to support the huge infrastructure of site supervisors, estimators, sales people, admin and of course management. Also if you do go this way, ask if their site supervisor is a qualified LBP. These guys are running jobs and are not qualified builders and SUPERVISE your build. For a little bit of homework you can easily acquire a great builder. If you don’t want to do your homework, go with a franchise and pay the extra and don’t complain with the outcome. Good luck.

      1. Thank you for the advise, very much appreciated. Extreme amount of building happening in Marlborough a.t.m especially in Blenheim with 5 new subdivisions…all at once! Greed does have a way of biting one in the bum! All advise is taken on board and appreciated.

    2. Do your homework with the individual franchisee and ask for some addresses you can go and look at that they built. Then go door knocking to see what the previous clients think. Reviews on websites are mostly fake. Also if you have some time and want to do your due diligence get a referral from a local builder and ask for referees and do the same.

      Franchisees such as GJ are not cheaper as you are paying for franchise fees -2/4% which is added into your build price and then you are paying for the massive infrastructure, including site supervisors that run the build but are not licenced building practitioners or even a builder. The people building are mostly contactors working for these franchisees. Don’t be fooled by their sales people advising they get better rates on product making them cheaper, as that is misleading by the time they put a double digit markup on you’re already paying more than the local guy you could build with successfully. The biggest problem you have between local independent builders and franchisees is the communication. Local builders were historically bad at communication and not sales oriented but most are getting better and will allow you to have more input into the build than a franchised coy would. Also to note, the good builders are not working for franchised coys but are out there doing their own thing and doing it well. The franchised coys pay their builders low rates so one should question the quality of the franchised build first and foremost. Our neighbour just built with a franchise – 42 week build time for a 200m2 simple brick clad house!!! Our neighbour (independent builder) just completed a 400m2 house (upmarket spec) in 20 weeks. Choose wisely

      1. Hi,

        If you are after a quality home give Delmira Homes a look. They are a design and build company who are prepared to be a bit more creative with home design. They appear more expensive upfront, but include all costs to reach a turnkey key solution. Make sure you compare apples with apples. They build quality houses and have integrity.

        1. Our GJ experience in Wellington is not very good. Very slow and non responsive and finally got over it and now looking for another Builder. We also welcome suggestions for a good Builder in Wellington.

          1. Ditto with Wgtn GJ’s
            Very slow to respond, didn’t make changes to preliminary plans as requested & didn’t evaluate section properly to advise on earthworks
            Gave up & went elsewhere

            1. Same with us, very slow responses. Contract was non negotiable and completely in favour of builder, very unhappy with how things were done. We gave up and would not recommend to go with them.

    1. Try Andrew Leslie at Progressive Homes (depends what your budget is)
      Also try Hayden Rau at Sentinel Homes as he has been in the industry a while. New company but the guy knows what he is doing.

          1. I don’t know about Jennian or Sentinel, but I have had a really bad run with Signature Homes franchise at Botany.

            1. We are building with Jennian homes right now – Beachlands. Looks like quality builders to me. Quite reasonable with communication. We spent good 6 months discussing plans, specifications and contract to make sure we get what we want. Owner of franchise is nice lady who seems to keep her promises.

  65. For anyone looking to build in the Wellington region – avoid Navigation Homes. After being given the run-around for the past 12 months, we’ve been quoted a price significantly over our agreed budget and are having to walk away from the deposit we paid for our scheme plans to start over. We can’t comment on the quality of their builds, but based on our dealings with the team in Aotea to date and the increasingly condescending and unprofessional emails we received from them, we’re relieved we didn’t end up signing a building contract.

    A learning from our experience – unless modifying an existing plan, do not get talked into using your building company’s architect. It seems like a great deal paying $3k for a custom design but in reality, you get what you pay for in terms of quality and expertise. And at the end of the day, regardless of how involved you have been in designing the house or what your agreed budget is, the building provider then owns the plans so can charge you whatever they like for the build.

    In hindsight, we should have used an independent architect or draughtsman to draw up our concept plans and then approached building companies to take it from there. We realise there have been successful cases through the Disputes Tribunal where companies have failed to provide scheme plans that can be built within the agreed budget, but it’s not worth the stress of dealing with Navigation Homes any longer and we can’t get the past 12 months back. If someone else can learn from our experience, then it hasn’t been a complete waste.

    1. Hi Rachel, You make some good points.
      We’ve just recently moved into a new build, and the house is nice in many ways. But the whole process has been a very stressful disaster. Especially if you choose the wrong builder, as we did. Actually good build quality, but went into liquidation, leaving us and subbies in a very difficult position.
      I’ve been in the construction industry (civil) my whole life, on the client (government) side, so I know all jobs have their problems. But when it’s your own money and life being affected, things look very different.
      Some people obviously have a good experience building, but my impression they’re the exception rather than the rule. The building industry in NZ is frankly a disaster. I could write a book about it.
      But just to give some advice about your point regarding copyright of drawings. People often don’t realise that before you pay or sign anything it’s all up for negotiation.
      So just tell them that if you’re paying for drawings then you want to ‘share’ the copyright. Perhaps you can agree only for your own use. If they don’t like it then tell them to get lost.

        1. Hi CJ, As I mentioned they went into liquidation, so not really relevant to anyone else now.
          So I’m not trying to keep it a secret, but do you mind if I ask first why you want to know?

      1. Chris is correct. Currently the NZ building industry is a disaster and unfortunately there is no quick fix. There are still builders out there building leaky homes, still architects designing leaky homes and still suppliers of compressed fibre cement product (biggest name on the market) promoting products they have no idea will or will not fail early in the piece. An architect told me that he can do what he likes as its councils fault and not his, because they rubber stamp the drawings. Their are people out there specifying wind zones for the wrong sites and its you the unknowing home owner that end up with the issues, no-one else. Its the suppliers who are promoting these products with architects for large back handers, sweeteners (call them what you like) and then when court cases appear, these individuals are never to be seen. See court case currently – Herald today –
        Two James Hardie companies, James Hardie New Zealand and Studorp, lost their application to toss out a leaky buildings class action case in the Supreme Court.
        The High Court is set to hear a representative action brought by leaky building owners against James Hardie alleging that leaks in their homes are attributable to inherent defects in cladding systems manufactured by James Hardie.
        They also claim that James Hardie made misleading statements about the cladding systems in the technical literature.
        James Hardie went to New Zealand’s top court after the Court of Appeal upheld a ruling allowing the suit to proceed, arguing among other things that the Appeal Court erred in finding that the respondents had the “same interest” in the subject matter of the proceeding as the class members it is proposed they represent.

        And this company is a huge supplier to our NZ Construction industry. Our industry is a major mess and all that is happening is a joke and there is no way any government is going to solve our ongoing issues. The only way we have to go forward is for architects to design responsibly and take out insurance for any build that are involved in. This is what they do overseas and it works but my only issue is that architects consistently charge like wounded bulls and alot are severely lacking in their plan skillsets leaving the builder to work out what is required as detail is missing. No detail, no responsibility!!!! Back on the builder again. Only then architects will build as they take responsibility for the design and the build and only reputable builders will be utilised. The unfortunate state of our industry is that builders out there are choosing to not be LBP licenced (most don’t do complete building works in this area and only new home builds) as an LBP they take full responsibility should product like the aboves fail as historically these coys fed the builders to the wolves as the problem (and some were with installation but majority weren’t). The only solution is to not utilise any such product in our market. This statement is an old ploy to mislead and they pull all failing product off market including all reference to such failures: From Herald -They also claim that James Hardie made misleading statements about the cladding systems in the technical literature.

        The NZ Construction industry is a joke and all unsuspecting parties need to ensure they use expert builders, not hammerhands, not unqualified teams, not builders who just stand new home frames and don’t know how to fully build a new abode. Such a web of deceit across all trades in the construction industry. Seriously disappointing to all of us who are in this for the longterm good.

    2. Please Please Please do your due diligence on Navigation Homes prior to sign up in whatever area you are wanting to build. The master franchise owner has and continues to have a chequered past with his franchisees, came out of another Group Home Builder coy (court battle ensued after he misappropriated their plans – fact) . The majority of these guys unfortunately were stung by the master franchisee as it appears he only wants to sell franchises and is not interested in doing his due diligence on actual business acumen or credibility. This says a lot about how he operates his business and I believe he does not do due diligence to his network which unfortunately then affects good people wanting to build a forever home. A family member runs the South Auckland office. I am sick and tired of Jo Public getting caught with these guys and then losing money. Use a reputable builder peeps and lose those who use marketing ploys to drag you in, promise the earth and never deliver, tainting your opinion of our construction industry. For peeps sake do your homework first and foremost.

      1. This is a most interesting find as we are also caught up with the master franchise owner and experiencing challenges. I would be most interested in past dealings with him and his company.

    3. Also never build with Danny Cancian and any Bella Vista Homes company he has. He screwed people over big time in Tauranga, and by the looks of it, his next move is to Wellington, unless the liquidation of Bella Vista has (hopefully) stopped this from happening to more victims in other areas.

      1. Unsure if true but have heard with Bella Vista going into liquidation due to worksafe issues. Bullshit. This guy has been shakey for some time as we in the industry have heard not paying his accounts and when we get a request to price from someone like this like we did recently we know they are have payment issues. This site should be a great medium for folks out there sourcing a businesses financial health position and hopefully keep the public safe from this scenario. My thoughts with those parties affected by this business failure. Note to those building – easy as to ask suppliers in the construction industry who they supply and which ones always pay their accounts on time and most of them know who are good and whose not. This way you know straight away who is in good health. Also they are the suppliers who will refer you to good companies although the only misnomer here is that they will probably always select their favourites. Sometimes not a bad thing.

        Excerpt from Herald – 81 requests for information just with a building consent app. That’s unheard of.

        BDO’s report revealed that a single building consent application by Bella Vista generated 81 requests for information by building consent processing staff.

        BDO’s report revealed that a single building consent application by Bella Vista generated 81 requests for information by building consent processing staff.
        ”There is no doubt that TCC building department have learnings from their dealings with Bella Vista over the past 12 months.”

        Comment was sought yesterday from Bella Vista Homes director Danny Cancian of Pyes Pa. He did not respond by deadline to messages, including a request forwarded through his accountant.

        1. Update for the general public. Danny Cancian is endeavouring to start up a new housing company – oh so soon – and all the unsuspecting parties out there who don’t know. 101 Homes and Sierra or Sienna Homes. BEWARE. Apparently he has family fronting the new startups – BOP and Wellington way maybe. Lets stop him before he gets his hands on any other honest persons money. Disgusting he goes broke one week and initiates new startups the next. He was a bankrupt in Wellington so I heard through the grapevine.

          1. Displaying 51 – 71 of 71 results.
            « Previous
            1 – 2 – 3
            CANCIAN, Danny John
            SHOWERBUDDY LIMITED (1533396) (Removed) – Ceased Director
            CANCIAN, Danny John
            CANTECH LIMITED (1467530) (Removed) – Director
            CANCIAN, Danny John
            OHANA HOMES LIMITED (4959260) (Removed) – Ceased Director
            CANCIAN, Danny John
            ROOF LIFT LIMITED (6253753) – Ceased Director
            CANCIAN, Danny John
            101 PROPERTY INVESTMENTS LIMITED (6309612) – Ceased Director
            CANCIAN, Danny John
            CANCONSTRUCT LIMITED (4219858) – Director & Shareholder
            CANCIAN, Danny John
            LAKES ENGINEERING LIMITED (6209687) – Ceased Director
            CANCIAN, Danny John
            LE CASA DEVELOPMENTS LIMITED (6232249) – Ceased Director
            CANCIAN, Danny John
            LE CASA DEVELOPMENTS LIMITED (6232249) – Ceased Director
            CANCIAN, Danny John
            BELLA VISTA HOMES NEW ZEALAND LIMITED (6010390) – Ceased Director
            CANCIAN, Danny John
            BRACING SOLUTIONS LIMITED (6133527) – Ceased Director
            CANCIAN, Danny John
            STRONG BUILD NZ LIMITED (4216018) – Ceased Director
            CANCIAN, Danny John
            STRONG BUILD PRODUCTS LIMITED (4308578) – Ceased Director
            CANCIAN, Danny John
            ACCESS HOMES LIMITED (4215838) (Removed) – Director
            CANCIAN, Danny John
            GROUND EFFECTS LIMITED (6219262) – Ceased Director
            CANCIAN, Danny John
            QUAKETECH LIMITED (6211367) – Ceased Director
            CANCIAN, Danny John
            PROPERTY BID LIMITED (6219227) – Ceased Director
            CANCIAN, Danny John
            LAKES HOMES LIMITED (6228425) – Ceased Director
            CANCIAN, Danny John
            BELLA VISTA HOMES LIMITED (5379301) (In Liquidation) – Director & Shareholder
            CANCIAN, Danny John
            RENT MY HOUSE LIMITED (6107871) – Ceased Director
            CANCIAN, Danny John
            RENT MY HOUSE LIMITED (6107871) – Ceased Director
            « Previous
            1 – 2 – 3

            1. Danny Cancian is behind the new housing company Lakes Homes in Tauranga. AVOID AT ALL COSTS. He has people fronting the company for him but you will see his name as ‘presenter’ on all the legal documents, so definitely involved!

  66. Jennian Homes Wellington – I would not recommend dealing with this company. We found them rude, unhelpful and a pain to deal with. They kept forcing us to pay a 5K deposit and sign a consent form before even discussing the house. They wanted to charge us full price for a house that was advertised as ‘negotiable’ and then put ridiculous mark up’s on minor changes we wanted. We tried discussing and negotiating a price even with their horrible service and they all of a sudden said its ‘not negotiable’ and told us to go elsewhere. My husband and I are young and I felt like they were trying to take advantage of that. I don’t recommend them at all! Disappointed to say the least, I would have expected more from a company of this status.

    1. I think you will find as the market regresses, firms like this will start to change their attitude with customers, as they have had a boom period for quite some time now and have been maxed out and turning customers away. Enquiries from customers have wained and they are starting to pull their heads out and tout for biz again, which is good for jo public. Note though that build costs are increasing for all products incorporated and cheap is no longer. Land is expensive still and needs to readjust to bring house pricing down (contrary to what politicians tell you). It will not happen by endeavouring to cheapen the actual build price of the house, only the land.

    2. We approached Jennian in 2016 and some other building companies. I think Jennian is more high end, and sells standard plans, rather than catering to customised /tailor fit requirements. The guy we spoke to said our budget was too small for a single level house, 170 sq m. and said we wouldn’t fit 4 beds in a 170 sqm. he was very dismissive and didn’t show any interest. it’s all about business at the end of the day, and I can’t blame them. looking for a builder is a challenge, but the build stage is way more challenging. We started building in March and the house is now due to finish 20th December. Every stage was a challenge because of the delays. The workmanship is good though. We engaged with a builder and an architect early on so we knew the cost implications of our decisions. The cost of our build is higher than our budget but we got most of what we wanted. And also we were able to upgrade insulation, doors, windows, etc and the overall price is still much much better than the big companies. It’s just the delays that we had to deal with because the tradies are all busy working for other bulk builders like Russell Properties, plus we had a lot of rains this year.

    3. Agree. We built with Jennian Wellington and did find them rude and disrespectful. We felt we were bullied. We were also pushed to sign on the dotted line without much time given to review their contract or designs. In the end we had to pay for changes which we could have included in contract and designs, if we had enough time. We did expect more professional care and attitude from a brand like Jennian homes but it was not the case with Wellington franchise. If we had a choice we would have gone with other builder.

  67. We have just finished building with Maddren homes in the Taupaki area. We could not recommend them highly enough! Seriously, go and meet them tomorrow if you are thinking of building in Auckland. You will not be disappointed. We found the entire process ran smoothly, we were kept well informed and consulted every step of the way. Everyone on staff who we met on Rodgers team from Nicolle our first point of contact, the office staff, architect, consultants, builders, tradies and our awesome site supervisor Shaun have been professional, friendly and available to help as needed. We felt that we became part of the Maddren ‘family’ during the build, it was personal and everything we could have hoped for.

    From the moment that we walked into the Maddren show home in Kumeu we were impressed by the workmanship and high quality finishing and our own home has lived up to this initial perception. The high quality of our build is everything we expected and the whole process ran to time and budget. We love our new home. If you are looking for an innovative and experienced firm to build your new home we suggest you phone Maddren. Thanks team for building us our perfect family home!

  68. We are looking at some land in the Coromandel. In order to make it work we need to do this as economically as possible. 2 things:
    Has anyone used A1 homes in the Coromandel?
    How are they if I want to make changes from the plans – up front before building commences?

  69. We currently have entered the design stage with Signature Homes CHCH and theyve gone out and purchased a bit of land for that plan – we havent signed a thing yet. We have now come across Online Design and Build who seem to offer plans better suited to our needs but if we jump ship now we will forfeit the design fee with Signature (not too concerned about that) but will have to find a way to secure another piece of land. Has anyone had any experience with Online Design and Build and them offering turn key packages? (i.e. we jump into the design stage and they help us find the land, and secure the land for our plan within our budget) … any + or – experiences with Signature and/or Online Design and Build CHCH

    1. Apparently SO Renovate Ltd sold the business (not the company). SO Renovate (2017) Ltd that has new owners was set up on 19th October 2017. We hope the new company will do a better job but have concerns for the disgruntled customers of the original SO Renovate Ltd – will they be hung out to dry??

      1. I finished off a renovation that Selah had started and the clients kicked them off site. Ive heard there were a few unhappy clients even back then.

      1. Hi John,
        We are currently having a reno done by So and we are exeriencing some issues – is there any way we can understand more from your experience? Many thanks!

        1. Hi, we are considering a renovation with SO. I would be interested in knowing more about the challenges you are experiencing.


  70. Hi. We are building our house in Wellington. The frames got wet during the rainy season. Waiting for it to dry and bring the moisture level to 17% before they put the preline. is there a quick way to get it dry? thanks

    1. interesting to read. I have some problems with searchinggood building companies in Auckland, but now found a solution. My coworkers recommend me to contact with Max Contracts This building company will build my new café near sea. I hope all will be fine.

      1. Hi Samuel, good look with your project, hope it runs smoothly.

        We are hoping to find a reliable builder in the Christchurch, Rangiora area, if any one can recommend?

    2. Hi Catherine.

      My name is Chris I have a small building company based in CHCH I am a licenced builder and also a member of the Master Builders Association. We specialise in new house builds and renovations/extensions no matter how big or small. We currently have two large scale renovations in progress one the design was done by the clients designer the other we helped with design through to consenting stage.
      If you would like to discuss my company further and discuss what you are looking to do please don’t hesitate to call or email my details are below.

      Chris Magrath
      021 129 2449

  71. Hi All,

    Just wanted make aware to not to use a Licensed Building Practitioner Jason Dragicevich from Dragicevich Contractors Limited from Pukekohe. He is a cheat and very unreliable person to deal with to $4000 and never finished a minor renovation. A big liar, always find excuses to escape the situation. The best one was “I DONT HAVE LADDER TO REPAIR THE FASCIA” even though it was 2.5 mtrs high. Avoid him…..

  72. Just wondering if anyone has experienced anything similar to the following…..We have just finished building and now find that our builder, without consulting us, arranged for an “affected person” sign off to overcome a council consent objection to the neighboring section – the objection was raised by the council because the neighbors plans adversely affected our section. Is this common in the industry?

    To explain a bit more, our building company had 4 or 5 adjacent sections, and we signed up for one of them with a house and build contract. The neighbouring section (same builder) has a retaining wall/fence well over 2 meters high about 30 meters in length very close to our boundary. We have just discovered that the council initially did not consent to the neighbors plans because the retaining wall/fence was too close to our boundary and adversely affected our section. On the day that the council raised the objection to our neighbours plans, we settled on our section and took title. However on that same day our building company filed with the council a waiver (supposedly signed by the then owner of our section) and the council subsequently approved the neighbours plans. Is this scenario common in the industry?

    1. Hi.
      You may find that ‘legally’ the builder has got himself covered if he was the owner of the sections at the time of the objection.
      Morally the builder should have shown you what was being built next door, but once again ‘legally’ if you didnt ask… buyer beware.
      If you bought off the plans &/or the title was transferred into your name before the Building consent was applied for, then you have a case.

  73. Hi there,

    Possibly not the right site for such a question, but – due to a recent experience with a driveway company in Christchurch, I’m looking for sites to warn others about this company. Doesn’t seem to be any…? Odd. If anyone has come across such a site, be great to hear about it.


  74. Can someone please provide some feedback for Homebuild Homes, Baillie Construction‎ and Origin Homes in Palmerston North please. We have chosen to go with a local business. What’s important to me is – affordability, quality, sustainability, flexibility in design, and communication! This is our very first build and want to steer clear of sharks.

    1. Home build were signed up to build and project manage our son’s house. It soon became obvious the builder was incompetent and Homebuild were asked to several site meetings to discuss the very poor workmanship. My son was fobbed off. Eventually he stopped the build by locking the gate to the property. A quantity surveyor was employed by my son to determine how bad the build was; his report was that it was ‘a push over and rebuild’. After almost 8 months of being ignored the situation was finally taken to mediation and a confidential settlement was reached. However it is obvious my son does not have enough money to pull the build apart and rebuild to an acceptable standard.

    2. If you are seriously considering Baillie Construction, find people they have built for and talk to them directly. Don’t take the directors word for it, he is not a builder. Get everything in writing. Their site reads very well and seem to have good ideas but very difficult to make it happen in reality.

  75. We consider ourselves very lucky to have selected Maddren Homes to build our home from the myriad of building companies to choose from and recommend this fantastic team to all. The differentiators we saw initially in Maddren Homes when compared to others was a locally owned business with a tight-knit team and focus on programming their selected high quality subcontractors to deliver fantastic homes. Those perceptions became a reality as our build was a quick easy, stress free process that left our neighbours astounded as we moved in 4 weeks ago while they are all many months from doing the same. Many thanks to our site supervisor, Jamie for non-stop communication and also Rodger for swapping beer recipes on the way. Also to the team in the background Andy, Jacqui, Terena, Nicolle and the rest.
    Richard and Mel.

  76. Does anyone know roughly how long it should take to build a house that is around 350 sqm? We are being told it will be 9 months from start of construction which seems incredibly long. I cant quite ascertain if it is actually going to take that long, or if they are just beng cautious in their estimation. This is on the back of multiple avoidable delays with the consent process hence the frustration.

    1. Glen they should easily be able to build a house in 9 months but there are many variables,it can take 6 months to get building consent,then weather delays they factor into it.
      If they give you a date that is reasonably achieveable and they don’t finish by that date they leave themselves open to a damages claim against them under recent law changes.
      Unfortunately they will tell you anything to get you to sign on the dotted line then come up with every feeble excuse they can to delay it.
      There are a great many builds that are taking up to 2 years from start to finish.
      Most of the reason is taking on too much work.
      Hope that answers your question.

      1. Thanks for this. We have already got building consent but they are saying 9 months just for build. I suppose we don’t really have many options at this stage – we will just have to wait and see.

      2. Hi there, quite keen to understand where I can learn more about the options for “damage claims” if the work is not completed on time. Is there some materials that you could direct me to please?

        1. Hi Geetha, I’m not a lawyer, but I spent my whole career writing and overseeing construction contracts. So I can tell you first that you could write a book (and people have) on dealing with delays in building contracts. So if you can’t afford a lawyer who knows about building contracts (not all do), try looking in the nearest library.
          But to keep it brief:
          I assume you are already part way into the build, so I assume you must have some kind of contract. The first thing obviously is to read what that says about finish date and delays in plain English. My understanding is that if the contract is over $30K, and was signed after Jan 2015, then by law it must give an expected completion date, and how to deal with any delays.
          Ideally that method would state an amount the builder has to pay you in Liquidated Damages (ie a fair assessment of your actual loss, not a penalty) for each day of delay. After allowing for all reasonable time extensions, due to things like bad weather, and other stuff outside the builders control, or extra time for variations you have requested. This of course is where arguments can arise. In my view the builder just being busy on other jobs is not a valid reason, but if he can’t get subbies in because they’re too busy, or he’s inefficient and doesn’t order materials on time, so they come late, you tell me. But at the end of the day those kinds of delays don’t justify taking 18 months on a 9 month job.
          If you have none of the above, then look for words like working ‘with due diligence’. Then start keeping accurate records (with photos) of when the weather is fine but he’s not working. That may not get you any monetary damages, but might at least help if you want to take legal action and terminate the contract.

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  78. Hi, Sorry for posting on here. Its very hard to get clear answers from people on this.
    If I ask my builder for proof of actual cost of variations, is he to supply subcontractor invoices etc? My builder is trying to claim a variation and with no proof of actual cost is trying to charge me an extra $20k. I have asked for a clear break downs etc, but he does not supply. We are now at the disputes tribunal over this and still have no proof of the variation. He has supplied a letter from his contractor which states original price was x, new variation costs 20k. But no proof via invoices. Is this allowed? Thanks so much for helping 🙂

    1. Hi Charles. It doesn’t sound like you’re being unreasonable. Did he tell you up front what the cost would be or did he go ahead and do the variation and then bill you?

      1. Hi Mark, We didn’t even authorise the variation. The builder just did it as he said he needed to lower floor level on build as the driveway would have been too steep. We did not discuss any price, nor did he tell us it would cost more. We have no idea what we have paid for as the progression payments he asked for were all very large (around the 80k mark), with no detail on them other than progression payment.
        He billed us for this 18k. At the end of the build we had a number of issues and disputed a bill as we felt we had paid too much already. There are jobs not finished also.
        The builder has now changed the price on this variation (and the name of it to “extra work required for building consent”). The price is now 15% more than previous as we made a complaint about some of his work. He says he is allowed to do this as per the contract.

        We are at a total loss about this and a raft of other issues. Do extra work have to written? Or can just be verbal as that is what he is saying happened (which is didn’t)

      1. Hi Sam & Charles, I’m not a lawyer, but I’ve spent many years managing construction projects, so I know from bitter experience that contractors (ie builders) often see different interpretations in contracts, although the meaning may look obvious to you.
        So regarding this one, firstly it seems to me it relates only to variations which arise from Council approval or consent in order to get the building consent. It says nothing about other variations.
        Secondly, although it says the contractor must state the effect on the price, it does not say he has to justify that with any specific documentation (eg invoices or quotes). It just says you have the right to cancel the contract if you don’t like the figure.
        Of course in this case you may have a bit of leverage, since it seems the contractor has gone outside the terms of these requirements, by proceeding before the variation was agreed. Hopefully that was pointed out in writing, the moment you could reasonably have become aware of it. Because if you knew, but failed to notify him, he could perhaps assume you did not disagree.
        Lastly, I think these new regs may have only started in early 2015, so perhaps your contract would need to have been signed after that.

        1. thanks so much for the feedback. I guess no matter what the contract says, you can not contract out of the building act? So these variations/extra work would need to be in writing? the contract was signed in 2016.

          With the lowering of the floor height we knew of it as the builder said he was lowering the height. No consultation. No variation signed agreeing to this. We had to sign a minor variation form for council as the builder said he needed it for inspector.

          We did not know the new floor height would change the price. The builder did not mention any change in price.

          This among other changes he made without consultation. Which now have changed the price of the build.

          We are very frustrated and not sure how to defend ourselves at the disputes tribunal.

          1. The implied terms in the act cover this under building consents clause 1.3.


            If any approval or consent is issued subject to any conditions that will require a variation to the building work, the building contractor must advise the client, by notice, no later than 10 working days after the date the consent is issued, of—

            the building work that will be required to achieve the variation; and

            the effect (ie, the increase or decrease), if any, on the quoted or estimated price for the building work; and

            the effect, if any, on the due date or the estimated due date for completion of the building work.


            If the terms of the variation are not agreed within 10 working days of notice being given under clause 1.3, either party may, by notice, cancel the contract.


            Notices under this clause must be in writing, despite anything to the contrary in the contract.
            Plainly put you the builder must notify you in the proper manner if you are to have any additional cost as it varies the contract terms.
            Its very clear what the procedure is ,if they don’t abide by it then you would be justified in not paying for it as the “professional” you are using should have been aware of it at the least and in
            turn should have made you aware of it,passing the buck onto you won’t work.
            It would probably fair to say you would not have signed the contract if you had known this could happen.
            Please check your contract to see if there is a dispute procedure in it.
            Sounds like he is taking advantage of you.
            I wouldn’t worry about the tribunal process as they are used to these sorts of things in a very simple and factual way,heresay is not a good defence ,so long as you have anything in writing to support yourself.Its a very inexpensive way to deal with these sorts of problems.
            Hope it works out for you.

      2. Thank you so much for this Sam. Does this apply to changes which are classed as “extra work”? Builder told me and the courts that a variation is a change that a home owner wants changed which needs to be in writing. But work classed as “extra work required for building consent” does not need to be in writing. Thanks heaps again!!

        1. Sam thank you so much! you have basically sorted my defense :). Would just like to clarify one more question if you can help. That document you referred to states the builder must provide code of compliance before it submits final payment etc. However, my contract states its the owners responsibility to gain code of compliance. Does the document you refer to over rule this aspect in the contract? Thanks so much again! We are yet to be issued COC as builder will not supply any producer statements etc.

          1. Schedule 3 clause 2 of the building remedies as follows,2 Code compliance certificates

            The building contractor undertakes to obtain all code compliance certificates.


            The building contractor must provide the code compliance certificates to the client before the building contractor submits its final payment claim under the contract.
            Its fairly straight forward if he did the work he should obtain the code of compliance,I don’t believe you can contract out of that anymore.
            This whole section covers it: .
            If he breaches this it opens the door for you to obtain damages for any losses you have incurred due to this such as rent and interest etc,to obtain this you would have to take a civil claim against him.
            Put a complaint in to the master builder or whoever he is affiliated with.
            This legislation was introduced to take away some of the “surprises” in a contract that people unwittingly sign.
            Its clearly deceptive on his part.
            That’s my grasp as I see it.

  79. I would like to take a moment to express our gratitude of a job well done to Maddren Homes Ltd.

    They set the bar pretty high for us and if we were ever to build again Maddren would be the one we use. We can’t express enough how delighted we are that their experience and commitment to deliver brought our build in on budget and not only that but ahead of schedule. I highly commend them for the trades people they use and the team they have in their company, they made for us what can be a stressful journey genuinely exciting and enjoyable.

    I’d also like to take the opportunity to express to you and to especially thank Jake Griffith our site manager who’s communication, organisational skills, ability to be professional yet friendly and genuine desire to deliver the product I wanted, how I wanted it and to a quality of the highest standard really impressed me and gave me a lot of confidence throughout the build. He really is an asset to Maddren and I would happily have him managing a build for me again.

    A big thank you too Kate, Hannah, Jucqui, Terena, Tony, Rodger and everyone who keeps the cogs moving in the back ground for the excellent job you do.

    Michael and Anna, Auckland

  80. Hi, we are new about to build our first home with Key2. Has anyone used them before and what has their experience with them been? the quality of the products (i.e. woods and etc) used by their builders?


    1. Hi … As others have said.. with this blog displayed on your screen, press CTRL + F then enter KEY2 in the pop up Window .. there are 17 occurrences of their name at present…

  81. Hi, Sorry very random question. We employed a builder to do a new build in East Auckland. We got a few quotes/estimations before we started. We decided to go with Builder A based on his initial consultation and he included in his price a few items that were not on the plans. This was to fence the property at the end.
    The builder was very eager to start and started the job without a contract in place. We kept asking for the contract etc. It was about 3 weeks till we got it. We signed it quickly as we trusted the builder etc and wanted to make sure we were covered by insurance etc. He did not give us time to get the contract checked by our lawyer.
    Anyways the contract states the scope of works as “per drawings and specifications”. As the fencing of the property is not on the plans the builder is now refusing to do this. We all agreed this was to be included before the job started and it was on his original estimate etc. But he is now saying the estimate and contract are not related.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated?? Please

    1. Hi Charles,check out the following site for remedies
      The fair trading act covers this as you are liable for what you tell people,easiest and cheapest
      way would be to take it to the builders tribunal and represent yourself,take any evidence or
      witnessesyou have to support your case.
      The above site should give you an idea of what to do.
      It depends on what is in your contract as how you remedy disputes with your contractor.
      Give it a go and good luck.

      1. Hi Sam, thanks so much for the reply. Is that link for building works that have no contract? Or does that link supersede what’s in the contract. We have a contract in place now, but the contract start date and sign date are after the actual building work start date. Ie. We signed contract March, but works started early Feb. Alot of work had already taken place between these times.

        1. Hi Steve,so essentially you have a dispute over what the Builder told you he was going to do and what is in the contract.
          If your contract outlines dispute resolution procedures then you are required to go to mediation
          under its terms,if not you can go to the tribunal as they are there to resolve disputes so as not to involve the cost of litigation.
          This is more the fair trading act we are talking about as it is a verbal contract ,which is just as binding as a written contract,sounds like he has enticed you to sign the contract with an appetizer.
          You must put it in writing to him and give him the opportunity to reply.
          If he doesn’t reply then take it to the builders tribunal.
          In most cases when they serve the tribunal papers to him they reconsider their position.
          Unfortunately Kiwis take everyone as being honest but some people will take advantage of that.
          You do have rights and he isn’t leaving you any option.
          Hope it works out for you.

  82. Building a new house has the potential to be the most stressful thing you can ever do. It was our first time and we weren’t sure about how it will go. However, we’re really pleased to have chosen Maddren Homes as they made the whole process enjoyable and fun. The team at Maddren is quite prompt, honest and upfront with their communication. There were no nasty surprises and because we were happy with the quality of products they supplied, we didn’t feel the need to upgrade or change them which saved us time and money. Our Site Supervisor Jake was professional, kept us well-informed throughout the process and made sure that all questions were answered in a timely manner. He managed the build really well and that literally took out all the stress from the process. Things were on schedule throughout and the house was handed over to us well before the estimated completion date.
    It’s a well-knit team at Maddren Homes and that reflects in their quality of workmanship. The house is just great and we’re loving every moment in it. We’d happily recommend Maddren Homes to anyone looking to build.

    1. Hi Mayank and Shivani: This is good news – among the ruins! Would it be ok for us to have a chat with you? Please let me know.

    2. Can anyone recommend a good house company to build with in whangarei.I have bought a section in “Totara parklands”.Thanks

      1. Hi Shannon. We have just started a build with Classic Builders and to date can not fault them. Definitely suggest you at least put them on your short list. We checked pretty much all the “group” builders plus a couple of independents before we decided.

        1. Thanks for that Colin.We have heard classic builders are really good to deal with.Have you got any information or dealt with Barrett Homes in Whangarei me and my wife were interested in them as well.
          Thanks again.

          1. Sorry Shannon. We didn’t try Barrett Homes so have no idea where they fit. For us we had a section and needed a plan to suit. Plus we had a budget limit to stay within. We gave our requirements to a fair few builders and in the end it was Classic and Jennian who both worked hard to make it work but in the end the Classic home gave us a better living layout and we think best value for our dollar. Our build is just starting so we haven’t got the final result yet but we have seen quite a few of their builds and everything looks pretty good. Good luck with whatever you decide

            1. Thanks Colin for your feedback much appreciated. A lot of good things to think about.
              All the best with your new home, We can’t wait til we start that process as well.

    3. Hi we have just paid our deposit on a section in East Auckland, title due Dec, looking to build early next year. First time building and are not sure which residential home company to go with. Do Maddten built East Auckland or any other recommendations please?

      1. Hi Chris, I’m a Show Home Consultant for DW Homes and would be happy to have a chat to you about your build. My contact phone number is 021 515006.

        1. Thanks so much Mark, it is my first time on here and am just navigating my way around so thanks for the link. I have also bought the Builders Guide.

  83. It’s so sad to know that many plumbers do ill-practices. However, it largely depends upon the customers who should they choose. They need to better search the plumbers of gas fitters they are hiring, and try reviewing them on different portals, like one can post about them in here or Quora.
    Hamilton Gasfitter

  84. Hi 10% is pretty normal re consents/engineers/ landscaping if needed that the builder has to pay for upfront however paying in advance for the whole build you are asking for trouble. I would be weary of this builder he could have cash flow problems plus its an open ticket to rip you off!. No matter who you end up building with you should have a building construction lawyer go over any contract for you $900 – $1500 as you cant afford to enter into this blind. Look for finance companies like New build finance that take care of the progress payment side of things so builder doesnt get paid in advance, work assessed before payment etc if you prefer that option,

  85. We are going to build our house in Auckland North Shore. The builder we are dealing with has asked us to pay 10% on signing the contract. He would only apply for the resourse concent and building concent after he recieves the 10% deposit. Is it a norm? It seems very risky. Can you please share your experience if you were asked to pay upfront or not?

    Other condition is he would want money before starting each milestone. I thought builders ask for payment after they finish the milstones, and not before?

    Any help would be appricaited.


    1. Hi

      Peter Quinn from Quinn Homes in Christchurch.

      In this day and age many homeowners have lost significant funds due to builders taking large deposits when these fund are not required by the builder and who generally pays most costs 20th of the month following purchase and then for the company you go bankrupt..

      Some cost like permits and resource consents do require to be paid once processed by council so the request for a deposit at signing of the contract is appropriate. If the builder has organised the draughting of plans, soil tests etc he will have costs to pay.

      We protect our clients by asking for a 5% deposit when the contracts are signed and no more payments until the subsequent stage of construction has been completed. I should point out that in our case there is nothing to protect our clients from, however it gives peace of mind.

      if you take a look at our website you will see it is the first thing we highlight so you should do sifnificant due diligence or re negotiate the payment terms

    2. Hi Yasmeen,much depends on your pain threshold for risk.
      There has to be some “good faith” between the parties,can you afford to lose 10% of the build price?
      What ability do you have to get your money back if they went under.
      The initial costs are fairly minimal in the overall scheme of things 5% would be max,
      you must not pay any money before the milestones,the fact that they are wanting this would put up warning flags,in my experience once you pay them before they do the work you end up waiting longer.
      Use the rule banks do,on completion of the work milestones and to your satisfaction they get paid.
      With builders being in short supply at present they can dictate the terms pretty much,but as you may have read on this site in recent days there is reason to be cautious.
      The safest way is to put your money in an escrow account where someone else pays them on your instructions that the work has been done satisfactorily,which means they can’t use your money to fund other debts.
      The down side is they probably won’t agree to it.
      Make sure you have a guaranteed start date and reasonable finish date,with penalties if they can’t complete in time.
      Your time would be well spent checking out the builders previous work and if possible talk to the owners to see if they were satisfied.
      Good luck.

      1. Hi Yasmin,

        You need to be careful when paying the deposit because from the bad experience I had with the certified builder that I engaged took 8% of deposit from me ($60000) when signing of the contract. They refused to refund the money though the work done was only at the concept plan stage when they found out that the house could not be built at the planned site. They forfeited the whole sum and claimed that they have done work to that amount when nothing was done because there was no agreement at the concept plan stage. Now they have gone under voluntary liquidation and I am left with the lost. Don’t trust anyone with your hard earn money. This cheaters should rot in hell .

    3. 10% on signing is more than i would expect a builder to ask for. On the builds we have completed (3 in the past 7 years) the most we have paid on signing is around 5% of the build price. Is the contract a Master Build contract? If so then they will cover up to 5% of the contract price or $20,000 including GST, whichever is the lesser (or up to $40,000 if you go with the premium guarantee) should the builder go under. However, this is only if the builder actually completed the paperwork and pays Master Build for this service.

    4. This is not normal practice except for “flyby night” operators. I would not agree to this as it gives all controls to the builder and is dangerous as you are open to him just walking if not properly done. Avoid that builder.

  86. We have just been contacted by the lawyers for Build 7.

    Due to the attached threat (link here: a number of posts regarding Build 7, Build Plus, B 7 Construction and AKL Construction, and their assorted Directors, Dean LIster, Alan Butcher and Craig Paterson, have been removed from the site as the publisher does not control the accuracy or inaccuracy of the information.

    However attached is the link to the liquidators report which includes a significant number of unpaid creditors:

    It is our strong recommendation that people do not use Build 7 as their contractor. If you have used them and have a problem, then you can make a complaint about licensed building practitioners (LBPs), of which Craig is one, can be made here:

    1. I hired Gavin Laird (GML Builders, Langana builders) and Peter Stewart (Peter Stewart Ltd) to build my new house. They said they would be working together, hiring Peter Stewarts builders.
      However from the onset I had only Gavin and an inexperienced apprentice. Gavin then built the steelwork in the wrong places and badly, the framing severely out of plumb and not level, the cladding so badly I had to get another building company to rip it all down and re-do it from scratch!
      I am out of pocket badly as I had to fire him and find a new builder to fix all the bad workmanship. Please don’t hire these people as you will get very bad workmanship. If I had not fired them my house would have been an even bigger disaster, they are seriously cowboys!
      Next I hired Craig Paterson, of Buildplus to fix my house and finish it. He was a friend and I thought I could trust him as I was so stung by liars and A-holes already. Craig came on our build and started the job without a contract, until I said he won’t get paid til the contract is sorted.
      Over time I came to understand that Craig never actually scoped the job, time managed his builders, or cared about the budget. His method was to just go charge up and it costs what ever. His builder Greg Paterson was capable as a builder. Even when we stopped Craig about the costs he never offered to have a budget or scope everything properly. The amount of work that still needs doing is substantial!
      Buildplus has gone into Liquidation owing a lot of money to creditors, however
      If you hire Craig in the future you will also need to hire your own Quantity Surveyor, a project manager, an estimator, someone to watch the budget. Oh you will need to get all the contractor’s to bill you directly so they will get paid…
      We are still trying to figure out what Craig is actually good at.

    2. Not content with Build 7 (AKL Construction Ltd) and Build Plus Ltd going into liquidation I see that Craig Paterson has now re-surfaced with one of his previous companies the PROPERTY CHANNEL LIMITED.
      He has a new 2017 website
      I’m sure that this posting should be OK as the information is publicly available.
      I do agree with Mark’s comments that any complaints re Craig Paterson be forwarded to the Licensed Building Practitioners (LBPs)

      1. To all those that have been affected by the lawyers letter to Mark. I received a similar letter or threat from the same lawyer last week. I forwarded the letter to the liquidator because as far as I have knowledge of the law, when a company goes into liquidation, all of the affairs of the company shifts to the liquidator. The liquidator got in touch with the lawyer and myself confirming that Enterprise Law ( the sender of the letter) has not been authorised to act for AKL Construction (previously known as B7 Construction Ltd) . Therefore the authority stated in the letter is void.
        Further Build 7 is not a company and therefore it does not have any directors. It’s just a trademark/logo. So, the characters mentioned to be directors of Build 7 is a musconception.
        I just thought I let everyone know the status of the ‘threatening letter’ sent by Enterprise Law.

    1. Thomas from A I Bates was excellent for our survey. It was going back a couple of years, and it was very simple, just to check site boundary.

  87. Hey John,
    Resene Integra is a very good product, its probably up the top of the aerated concrete products. There isn’t a problem with a plaster finish – although you will have to get it re-painted probably every 10-15 years or so to keep it looking good. The whole leaky building thing was mainly to do with direct fixing of claddings – with Integra we usually use a 20mm cavity and it is very strict now with using the correct flashings etc under E2 of the Building Code. Councils are very hot on it. I would happily use Rockcote on my own house (I’m an Architectural Technician). If you do like weatherboards then I would suggest linea over timber (as long as its fitted properly and sealed properly) there is a good guarantee period on it. Hope your build goes well 🙂

  88. Hello everyone

    An acquaintance who is finishing a build in Auckland said he finally decided to go with the one builder who returned his initial call and was ready to communicate. I had found that an unsatisfactory yardstick. But, now, I am increasingly convinced he was right.

    1. Hi Everyone,

      I am about to build our new home and was wondering which cladding is best? My current design is for a home with mixed aerated concrete (Resene Integra) and weatherboard cladding. I wonder if the aerated concrete would have a negative connotation if I sell in the future as this will have a plaster coating? Is AAC widely accepted in NZ especially the Resene Integra brand? Is it better to stick to timber weather boards?

      Thank you and appreciate your feedback.



  89. Hi Gerry, could you please let me know where you saw that because I need that evidence to give it to my accountant. I am going to lodge a police report against these people in a couple of days. Thanks for your help.

  90. Saw your Builders Guide site – v good and lots of info..Including the Mortgage People. Will call them to see what they can do better than a bank.
    Tell me, the builders that pop out on searching with a location on Builders Guide site are just a compiled list or are they the accredited ones?


      1. Hi Sanjay
        Sorry – just saw this. Thanks for the kind words re our site. We set it up to provide people like you with good, useful and independent advice, so always nice to get good feedback.

        Re the builders listed on our site, they pay to be there and there’s a mix of Certified, Master and independent builders. We don’t endorse any – you have to do your homework.

        One key thing a lot of people miss is that builders now have to give their client a ‘Prescribed Checklist’ which is a list of items about which there must be clear understanding – the nature of the job, a contract if over $30k (we recommend one anyway), disclosures around complaints, financial backgrounds and insurance coverage, and more. It is scandalous that this checklist, which is mandatory, appears to only be used by less than half the builders out there.

        1. Thanks Mark.
          Looking at cases, scandalous is right. Yes, saw all the requirements and recent Act changes. What I am wondering is how all that helps the customer if builders can get away with it. Is implementation/ monitoring lax… and from whom, the Council? any other authority? Difficult for the owner to complain until something has gone quite wrong – a bit like complaining against a dentist or doctor as you can’t do that while you are still in their care.

          Homefirst guarantees seem quite reasonably priced. Could anyone please share their experience with them or any other insurance for build? Mortgage People – any experience?

          Many thanks

  91. Has anyone built with The House Company recently? Im interested in understanding how the process went, how well they managed the project, did they stick to the original budget and time frame, was the quality and finish as expected, any feedback on their people etc? Thanks.

    1. Hi Martin – I’ve not built with them yet but am in the process of doing so now – just started. So far, what I can see is okay and better than any of the other builders I’ve dealt with in lots of ways. Their people are always very friendly, competent and unlike some quick turnaround with plan changes and alterations at concept stage along with costings. They seem fair – and both my bank and the lawyer were impressed with their final contract and its inclusions and layout.


      1. Thanks Marilyn. Are you doing a design build with them? If so they have indicated to me they use the standard master build contract, is this what you have been work on with them? Interested to hear how you get on once your plans are agree and priced. We have just started on concept plans with them and they are being very responsive and open.

        1. Hi Martin

          Yes I’m doing a design build – I’m not familiar with the whole building process but they’ve been excellent so far. They helped work the plans both to allow me to obtain what I could out of my “dreams” for the limited budget I had. I have changed a few things since then as Variations but I’m more than happy with their pricing so far.

          Plans are almost out of council stage now and I’m working with their QS Supervisor who I can highly recommend and their Designer who is excellent also.

          Hopefully you are on your way now and are happy also.

          1. Hi Marilyn, How are things going with the the build? We have just signed with The House Company and are working through getting the engineering drawings done and hope to start breaking ground in October.

            1. Just seen this – mustn’t have had it ticked to email on update. Its November now and my house is whilst not finished, well on the way. I can say I’m very happy with both the build quality, their suppliers (so electrical, plumbing, gas etc.,) though I used my own kitchen people – interior painting being done and all top quality so far. Project Manager is excellent too along with their QS people. I just want it to move faster but I guess thats normal – probably they’re working on yours too right now…..

  92. I don’t think you’d ever get them to change the agreement in this way! They will never take increased costs on the chin or actually have a “fixed price” – I believe the only fixed price you will ever get is if you buy a house and land package on a standard agreement for sale and purchase and then literally don’t change ANYTHING! I have never known anyone on a build contract to ever pay the price they were first quoted! If anyone has then they have been very very lucky – its not the norm. I have in the past run contracts past lawyers who have tried to amend clauses, only to be told by the builder “no, like it or lump it” – especially in a busy market, they don’t have to please the customer in this way. Its no good for the consumer, but that’s the way it is unfortunately.

    1. Thanks also been my experience with all the builders we have used in the past. They say “we offer a fixed priced contract” and out comes the Master Build agreement with all the clauses under the sun to allow them to increase the price. If im paying for a builders experience and knowledge i expect them to know what things will cost and manage these costs with their suppliers.

  93. Has anyone been successful in getting a builder (using a standard Master Build contract) to include a sunset clause or remove any of the clauses that mean a “fixed price” isnt a fixed price (i.e. increases due to unforeseen ground conditions requiring additional excavations, changes to the plans and specifications required due to obtain Local Authority (Council) consent or increase in the costs of materials and labour following signing of the building contract)? It seems there is very little you can do as a customer to minimise the risk of going over budget when the builder has the ability to shift cost on to you.

    1. Why should the risk of cost increases fall solely on the builder?

      For things within the builder’s control, I agree that the builder should wear any costs. For things outside of their control, SOMEONE has to pay, why is it the builder?

      If you do get a contract that covers such things, you’ll simply find that they’ve built-in those potential prices into the contract, so you’re guaranteeing that you’ll pay the higher costs regardless; if the higher costs don’t eventuate, then the builder will have gotten extra profit for free and you’ll have spent more money than you needed to.

      1. Your right Lanthanide, and the flip side to that is why should it fall solely on the purchaser? My point is they sell the idea of a fixed price contract when in fact there is no such thing. Also if i am paying for the knowledge and experience then why should the risk of increases due to them not knowing what is required to gain building consent or that materials specified increase be born by me? If i order a new car and they dont have it in the colour i want, i can wait for months to get this, the dealer doesnt charge me more if the price of steel goes up during this time.

        1. The price of steel going up won’t affect the price of the car because:
          1. The car is (most likely) made by a large manufacturer, who has economies of scale on their side – they’ll have deals with suppliers for x amount of steel at $price, so the market price on any given day should not impact on the prices of cars made over the next quarterly period.
          2. Similarly a lot of things go into making cars, and they would have big margins on the order of 30-50% (I’m guessing). Thus even if the price of some components goes up, they can take the loss of profit on the chin, sell it to you at the agreed price and put the prices up for subsequent customers to make up the price difference.
          3. There’s a good chance your car already exists somewhere in the world in a warehouse, and you’re waiting x months to get it shipped to NZ, rather than it being made to order.

          Those items do not apply to local builders. If roofing iron goes up in price, are you expecting the builder to take a hit on their profit? They aren’t major multinational companies, and they don’t have supply contracts sorted for years in advance. Do you expect the builder to charge their next customer a higher price? How is that fair to the next customer? Would you like to be paying extra to cover the builder’s previous job?

          Now larger companies like Mike Greer Homes DO have economies of scale on their side. And that is how they CAN sell “house and land packages” at specific price points, as others have said in this thread. But generally builders in NZ simply don’t have the capitalisation to do that.

          “Also if i am paying for the knowledge and experience then why should the risk of increases due to them not knowing what is required to gain building consent”

          Buyer beware. Just like you shouldn’t buy a plaster-clad house built in 1996 without doing due diligence to check if it’s leaky, you should do due diligence to check if your builder is actually experienced.

          ” or that materials specified increase be born by me?”

          It doesn’t matter how much knowledge or experience your builder has, if prices of roofing iron goes up by 40% overnight, what are you supposed to do?

          So you’re comparing apples (cars) and oranges (houses) and then having a whinge. Not achieving much.

            1. No, I’m someone who is currently having a house built by a reputable builder who is standing by the terms of the contract – they have recently discovered a small mistake that was made in constructing the foundation, and they’ve now come up with an alternative engineering design that they are paying for out of their own pockets – because it was their mistake.

              I’m also someone who has a realistic view of how the world works for 1-off construction projects undertaken by small companies, as opposed to mass-produced commodities such as cars.