Building Company Reviews

patersonlp-side_web

Maungakawa House, designed by Andrew Paterson, from our Nov 2016 Design Guide. Photo Simon Devitt.

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).

smilingwebApril 2015

Hi All

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.

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

 

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…


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, llelet 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.


16 Nov, 2015

Hi Again – we have just launched our new look Building Guide website and it’s fantastic. It sets out the processes of building, the regulations and product choices, how to prepare a brief for your designer, how to choose a builder and a lot more.

It really is the essential guide to building a home – check it out now and safe yourself a lot of time, hassle and money – the Building Guide here…. or buy your own copy to access on site or wherever, here – just $6.95…


April, 2016DesignGuide_Issue5_CoverDev_web

Our new edition of the Design Guide is out. The new edition is beautiful and has amazing case studies. It’s about new suburban house types and so if you’re building in Auckland with the new Unitary Plan it’s a great place to start!

You can buy it here for just $9.95… Get Yours Here Now...

 

 


Nov 2017-1dgcvr-med2016

We’ve just released our new Design Guide 2017-1 edition. 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…

 

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Fall House, Big Sur, from our Nov 2016 Design Guide, available now…

 

NOTE: 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. Cntrl-F to find specific references…

1,631 Responses to “Building Company Reviews”

  • Maria Walsh

    Thanks Maddrens

    Well we did it! Building a home is not something to take on lightly and we did our homework and looked at numerous showhomes, magazines and spoke to a lot of trades people. Now there is a saying that “you only get what you pay for”. I believe this to be the case with Maddrens. Yes there are companies out there that promise they can do it cheaper and there is a reason for that “Quality”. The quality of our finished home is exceptional every little detail is perfect and anything we needed to change along the way was never an issue. They bent over backwards to make the process as stress free as possible and I can honestly say I enjoyed the whole experience.

    There wasn’t a moment in time when I didn’t know what was happening we were well informed about every step. I have never seen such a team of people who are as house proud as the new owners. Not only did they come up with ideas to make things better along the way but they did it off their own backs and came to us with their suggestions even if it took hours of their time to find solutions.

    I would like to thank the whole team at Maddrens and especially big thanks to our building supervisor Sean and also to Rodger and Hannah on an amazing experience that I will remember for as long as I live. Hopefully our home will go on to give other families great pleasure years down the track.

    What they have created for us is a masterpiece our vision has now become a reality and my husband and I can’t thank them enough. But the best thing of all is I feel like they treat their clients like family. If I ever build again there is only one company that I would use and that’s Maddrens. Thanks again so much, Maria and Richard

  • mark

    bad experiance signature homes new plymouth
    we stipulated we wanted to use an experienced concrete layer to place slab for polished salt and pepper finish.signature guaranteed there placer and come time to polish we have uneven floor to polish resulting in having to do full grind to salvage floor,now have uneven finish with vibration trails and foot marks.signature are trying to cover up saying we signed variation for full grind.
    we also find there insurance company ril is part of signature homes so we see them as acting for signature not for the consumer.
    garage floor was and still is dirty from contractors,signature do not want to remedy clean floor stains.
    contract stated pink batt insulation all internal walls excluding garage, we assumed all walls would be insulated lucky we caught this on time.however signature made us pay extra for insulation.over all build was very poorly project managed and quality control was minimal with,no attention to detail.
    guarantees not backed up.bullying stand over tactics used to minimise and not take responsibility for remedial work.

  • Fred

    Hi there, anyone would have any suggestion for a building company re:new built in Raglan ? Any feedback / recommendation re:Sentinel Homes – K Built (seen a lot of their builts in Raglan) – Signature Homes ? Many thanks for your assistance and help. cheers, Fred

  • Jasbir

    Hi , I would like to share my bad experience I had with Dean Lister from Build 7 NZ associated with Craig Paterson of B7 Construction Limited. I was convinced that I could build a house on a site I wanted and scratch plans were drawn by their architect . Relying on that I paid deposit of $60000 and signed contract and the same plans were included in the contract as part of the contract. After that I was told that I can’t build on the site because the site is too narrow due to the legal boundary being closer. I expected the architect to know what he was doing when plans were drawn. Now they are refunding my $60000 when it was just at the initial stage of the paper work. This people are totally incompetent , irresponsible and worst than cowboy builders.

    • Gerry

      Make sure that you receive your $60k soon. These individuals are seriously in debt owing $100’s thousands to contractors and suppliers. Dean Lister is a former bankrupt and now takes on the role as an operations manager. He doesn’t do too much other than spend clients monies. Numerous problems with their work with disappointed homeowners with projects left unfinished and to a poor standard, dont get fooled by the glossy website and bull s..t sales patter . Craig Paterson from B7 Construction Limited is no better an incompetent builder with zero project managing skills. These two are really dumb and dumber. Avoid Build 7 and these clowns at all costs

  • Rebecca

    Thanks Alex. We looked at golden homes but weren’t a fan of the steel framing as it would make any alterations very difficult in future. We are going with Peter Ray and have so far found the process very smooth.

  • Sally

    Hey Alex – just watch out with Golden Homes with any variations – make sure they show you ALL and ANY changes to price and get you to sign. If I were you I would get email confirmation from salesperson/manager that they will do this. I had a very bad experience with them where they whacked an extra $16K on the final bill for extra works that they hadn’t told me about or got authorised. That said – finished product is good – they have good tradies. Good luck with your build.

  • Kevin Nicholson

    Hi

    I am looking at using zb builders in Tauranga has anybody got any feed back on this company.

    Kevin

  • Sally

    Hey Steve – sorry to hear you are having this trouble – I know exactly where you are coming from as had the same trouble myself once. However just to put my two cents worth in, you have to be clear what is a variation – these are just where you actually change something or if something HAS to change in the build which adds extra cost then yes you do have to sign off, but any changes in costs of materials or labour aren’t variations and don’t have to be signed off and usually the RMB contract allows them to charge extra for that. If it was indeed variations that they didn’t get you to sign/agree then yes you can argue that. Good luck. 🙂

  • Heads up on a builder purporting to be a Licensed Building Practitioner. Blair Cole of Akoranga Constrcution, Albany, has just been convicted http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11792571.

    Always check your LBP is registered: http://lbp.ewr.govt.nz/publicregister/search.aspx

  • Kelly

    Further to this if you are holding back money you need to understand the building act. You may need to prepare a payment schedule when there is a dispute this is to help protect yourself your lawyer can advise here.

    A payment schedule is a response to a payment claim by the Respondent.
    It must be (as per the Act):
    Be in writing
    Be addressed to the Claimant.
    Identify the payment claim to which it relates
    State the scheduled amount that the Respondent proposes to pay (even if that amount is $NIL)
    Provide detailed reasons for withholding payment if the amount proposed to be paid is less than the claimed amount.
    The payment schedule should be served:
    Within the time required by the relevant construction contract or
    Within 10 business days after the payment claim is served
    Whichever time expires earlier
    Please note, that the due date for the payment and the due date for the payment schedule may not be the same, depending on what is specified within the relevant construction contract.

    • Steve

      Hi, I was hoping if someone could tell me how section 16 of the registered master builder contract works. The cost fluctuations part. Can a builder use this clause for justification of project blow out? For example, if the builder had been quoted 9k to get the electrical work done but was charged 11k. Does that mean the Ower is liable for the extra 2k? Thanks in advance 🙂

      • Chris

        Hi Steve, Can you clarify which Edition and Clause of the RMB Contract you’re referring to. Because in the 2015 Ed (which I think is the latest) Cost Fluctuations is Clause 64. What do you mean by Section 16?

        • Steve

          Hi chris, it’s on page 10 bullet point 16 on the rbc1 2016 additions and alterations. It’s also on bullet point 5 page 10 of the rbc1 2016 new build contract. Our build was over a 3 month period and builder trying to use this clause to justify 20k increase in price.

          • Chris

            Hi Steve, Sorry to pursue this, but the latest version of the Registered Master Builder’s contract I can find is 2015. And if the one you’re referring to is RMB then your 2016 version must be very different to the 2015 version.
            But anyway, based on the Cost Fluctuations clause (Clause 64) of the 2015 version my personal view on whether an increase of $2K on an original figure of $9K for electrical work could depend on a several things:
            -Was the $9K an actual quote based on a detailed scheme layout, or just a provisional sum, with the intention that the scheme details be decided later?
            -If the latter, did you ask for things that pushed the price up?
            -If the former, how far in advance of actually doing the work were the scheme and quote prepared? Although the construction only took 3 months, maybe the quote was a lot earlier. I think most of these quotes are only valid for about 30 days.
            -These days I think $9K would only get a very basic electrical system for a fairly small house. So if you finally got something satisfactory for $11K maybe that’s not too bad.

          • Steve

            Thanks for the reply. If it matters the construction started the day we signed the contract. The builder should have put a contingency in place for slight increases in his prices?
            He did not provide any provisional or prime sum costs even though we kept asking and asking. I know we shouldn’t have used him. We didn’t add anything extra to the electrical work.

            The whole project has gone over by about 30k with a couple of variations which we didn’t know about or agree to some of them. Do all variations have to be signed that yes we would like to proceed?

  • Sarah

    Has anyone had any experience using Point to Point Holdings or Maddison Homes?

  • Wayne

    Hi – has anyone had any experience of Genius Homes based out of Washdyke, Timaru. I’m in the process of getting a quote from them

  • Rebecca

    Hi, we are looking for a turnkey option home in Christchurch using Peter Ray homes. How have others found that company? Is it reliable and deliver to standard? What other companies would be recommended for fixed price turnkey in the marshlands area?

    • Paul

      I would try Jennian Homes North. They are great to deal with and good honest builders

    • Alex

      Hi Rebecca
      My partner and I are building with golden homes in chch. They offer 0% deposit pay on completion for land and house which is what we went with. Building consent was issued 2weeks ago and they were on site literally the next day They have just completed the framing- our house is going up way quicker than any other on the st.

      We did tons of research and the only other comparable company was mike geer they were around 70k more for similar houses and basically told us politely we couldn’t afford it (being a young couple).

      When we looked at the packages advertised there was not a lot we liked but we made an appointment any way and they found us a section and suggested plans that would work. After meeting us at 8pm 3 times for 2 hrs each time we decided to go with them.

      We dealt with Ethan smith at golden homes and found him really good/patient.

      Alex

  • Richard

    Hi all,

    I am looking at removing my current house (Cockle Bay) to design and build a new double story house. Our section is narrow and on a small slope so it restricts what plans we can use.

    Does anyone have any recent good or bad experience with Jalcon Homes or GJ Gardner in East Auckland? Or can anyone kindly recommend an established company they have used?

    Any guidance would be appreciated.

    Thanks

    Richard

    • Nicole O'Neill

      Hi Richard

      I’m a Sales Consultant for DW Homes Ltd. We have a standard range of double storey plans available (with base prices) on our website, http://www.dwhomes.co.nz/our-plans/two-storey/ and can also offer a custom design service. Would be happy to talk to you about your project – 021 515006

      Kind regards,
      Nicole

    • Tony Songhurst

      Hi Richard,
      I am a local builder, LBP in carpentry and site 1,have capacity and keen to talk
      It sounds like you need a specific design, I have undertaken numerous design builds in my past ,happy to show you what can be achieved..
      Regards Tony
      0274758445

  • Janis

    Hi Chris
    Thank you for your answers. We are rebuilding with a TC3 Ribraft foundation consisting of a bottom slab and a jack slab on the top. Our original build was only 3 months old at the time of the 2010 earthquake and after the 2011 earthquake became up to 100mm out of level. We fought for 4 years to become a rebuild which we have organised ourselves with a building company. This is our reason for checking for what is considered normal for new construction and we also intend to put a zip level through the house when the rebuild is a little further on (windows and doors have just gone in at present).
    We went for TC3 ribraft so we would be able to relevel the foundation if necessary if there was a problem with further earthquakes.

    • Chris

      Hi Janis, Thanks for the reply, but a pity you didn’t explain any of this in your original post.
      Clearly in your case it’s not just a matter of discovering that your builder has constructed a house which is ‘out of level’, and wanting to know to what extent that is acceptable.
      If by ‘out of level’ someone meant that the whole house had been constructed to a different level to that shown on the Council approved plans by 100mm then that might create slight problems with height to boundary or drainage issues etc, but quite possibly not make the house structurally unsound or unusable.
      On the other hand if you mean a floor slab that is out of level by 100mm from one side to the other then I guess that not only would it be quite noticeable, but clearly would mean all sorts of tolerances on slab finish and framing etc would be exceeded.
      Also a house being ‘out of level’ due to a builders incompetence is a whole different ball game to a house being out of level due to an earthquake. By which I mean in the first case it’s a question of whether you can ask the builder to remedy defects at his own expense, and in the second case it may be just looking at whether the resulting house is structurally sound and habitable.
      But from your reply I suspect you already know most of this, so I’m not exactly clear why you asked the original question.

  • Nathan

    hi there,
    currently building with Ideal Homes in Auckland.Has anyone built with this company? And have you had communication issues with them?
    Also, if you get a quote for x amount and it ends up more, should they notify you? I got a quote for an amount which was more than the site builder or forman said it would be? New to building and this is only a minor dwelling. But finding communication hard and strained at times, and prices have not been accurate.
    Thanks

  • Yasmeen

    We are going to look at the show homes of Compass Homes and Maddren Homes this weekend (in North Auckland). Does anyone have any experience with these companies? Are they good or bad?
    Thanks

    • Richard

      Hi Yasmeen
      Yes we can recommend Maddren. They are true to their word and great people to work with.

    • Kate Lawrence

      Hi Yasmeen

      I will be in our Millwater Show home on Sunday 11-4 if you would like to come and have a chat about what you are wanting, i can help with concepts for your site and provide a reliable estimate.

      I can also provide you with a list of clients for you to call if you want further confidence

      Kind Regards

      Kate Lawrence

      kate@maddrenhomes.co.nz

      0273091556

    • Tim

      My wife and I built with Maddren last year, moved in on the 22nd December.
      I cannot speak too highly of them, we were dealing with some extremely brutal health issues and Maddren made the whole process work for us and it was actually a nice distraction to what we were dealing with otherwise.

  • Yasmeen

    Hi, We are looking for a good builder to build our brand new house in North Shore Auckland. We have visited many show homes and talked to their salesmen, but we are not fully satisfied with ony of them yet.

    All the major companies like Signature, Landmark are very expensive. We have now narrowed it down to two companies – Key2 and one of the Chinese builders (they have been building houses from last 10 years and we liked the house they recently built), but we are still not 100% convinced with any of these.

    We want someone who can finish our house within the set budget and price, and with good qulaity. We don’t want any in-between surprises. Can someone please recommend us a good builder/company from their experience?

    Many thanks

    • Tony Songhurst

      Hi Yasmeen,
      I am a Licensed builder with 35 years NZ experience and have availability in the new year.
      I have a recled to to but it has been held up in the consent process.
      Happy to supply fixed quote and provide references.
      tonysonghurst1@gmail.com

    • LDO

      Hi Yasmeen,

      We are building our house with Golden Construct in Millwater and we’re happy with the progress. Golden Construct is one of the Key2’s builder. Our Building consent was approved mid December and now is in foundation stage. Happy to discuss if you want to know more.

  • Chris

    Does anyone have any experience with a builder named Point To Point Construction (CEO Steve Foley) who are based in Whangaparoa?

    • Jackie

      Hi Chris – just wondering if you found anything out about this Company?
      I am looking at using them for a project but just wanted to find out anything about them good or bad also.

      • Chris

        Hi Jackie, You’re the only person who has responded to my post. I was asking because, at the time, the liquidators were proposing to sell them the company I was building with, which had just gone into liquidation. Apparently that sale failed, so I was no longer interested in them.
        But I spoke to them, and they seemed reasonable guys, who said all the right things. But then all builders do during initial meetings, or none of them would get any jobs. I got the impression a lot of their work came from picking up jobs from other companies who had gone under (like in my case), but maybe nothing wrong with that.
        Feedback from others who’d done more investigation indicated some possible issues (you could try Googling names). But that was just hearsay, and most builders have some unhappy clients. I suspect sometimes the ones who don’t really understand how building contracts work. Sorry I can’t help more.

      • Kula

        Hi Jackie,

        Are you still looking for a team of builders. If so email ManlyConstruction@gmail.com. We are a local company on the Hibiscus Coast who specialise in residential work 🙂

      • Chris

        Hi Jackie, I’ve recently heard that Point To Point Construction have gone into liquidation. This residential building game in NZ is a nightmare. If the Government wants more people to build it’s time they stepped in with more regulation to safeguard Owners.

  • Russell

    The only thing I can say is that the builder that built our home was a well respected local Beachlands boy , he has to date now built two homes for Landmark out here the first one being ours so not the same guy that was used on your job. Maybe here lies the difference in customer satisfaction. I was not part of a propaganda campain , we were very pleased with what we got and still are, can’t say the same for the landscape guy but he was not throu landmark , hired by me , most useless twat ever had the mispleasure of dealing with. Was your home the one built down on first ave ? Atlanta plan ?.
    Cheers
    Russell

  • Mike

    Matt must have turned over a new leaf as this was not the case when he was the GM at GJ Rodney Orewa. We have been battling with them for 3 years since our house was constructed in 2013. Good luck.

  • Shannon

    I’m also willing to share my build experience with anybody thinking of using GJ Rodney East. We have just finished a build with them and when I say finished they have our money we have the keys not that it’s actually finished yet. Email me smgodfrey@gmail.com if anyone wants to discuss further. The good the bad and the ugly!

  • Graham Hunter

    Hi, I’m a pensioner and recently got a guy to build me a raised garden to make it easier on my back. This contact was made through Goodnest agency. Well this job has turned into a real lemon, I was told the timber was H4 but there is no markings on the ends, the capping around the top is only SG8.
    He charged me over 2k which I’m refusing to pay, so he reduced the labour by $300 but I’m still refusing to pay due to the timber not being treated, what do you guys think my next move should be.The business is called ‘Betta Properties’

    • Hi Graham
      Goodnest look like they take a commission, so you could go back to them in the first instance. You should also get a second price to ensure what you’ve been charged is fair.

      At the end of the day, you have received a raised garden and even though the materials are not to the standard you expected (was there any discussion up front about this?), you have got something which has a value. I would suggest a fair compromise would be to pay the cost of the materials – ask to see receipts, and pay the tradie for his time.

      • Graham Hunter

        Thanks Mark, I have been in touch with Goodnest yesterday, they seem to want to get this sorted. My main concern now is that I stipulated that the structure had to be tanilised timber, he has stated in writing it is H4 yet the end grain where it has not been trimmed has no markings stating the grade of treatment. The offcuts that were left behind had a very strong smell of pine where if it had been treated this would not be as strong and there would be a different colour to he timber. Not sure if one can put any pics on this site, but I do have a couple to show if that is possible.

        • Hi Graham
          I’m not sure you can tell H4 by how it smells! Good to know Goodnest coming to the party.

          • Graham Hunter

            Goodnest has now removed this cowboy from their listings and gave me as a goodwill gesture $100 NZ as a non expiry credit. I have not heard anymore from the builder and I hope I don’t. He was invited in writing to come and remove this mess from my property, but it seems he has chosen to ignore me.

  • Greg

    Try ZB Homes- great company in the Waikato

  • Mike

    I wouldn’t be so quick to write GJ off. Matt Lelean and his team were fabulous. Sure every project has it’s moments but we were able to sort these easily. We really appreciated the after sales support . 8 months down a couple of small paint touch ups , no problem. Controller on water pump failed resulting in weekend call out rates etc, again no problem with paying for it. Love the house don’t believe any other firm could have done it better.

  • Chris

    Hi Liam, Concrete is funny stuff. Add ‘extra’ or more water in the original mix than it was designed for and the ultimate strength will be reduced. But wetting or even flooding it with water after it has been placed and started to set is called ‘curing’ it, and is required in most concrete specs, as it increases ultimate strength and resistance to cracking. So may depend on when the rain started, and how heavy it was.
    Not sure what you mean by ‘soft’. Of course if you mean after 5 days you can still stick your finger in it that sounds like a significant problem. That can be checked by drilling a core or two (maybe somewhere to be covered later) and compression testing it in a lab. To see whether it’s equivalent cube strength at 28 days meets the strength in the design (usually 20 or 30MPa). If it’s OK then maybe it’s just a surface thing, and if you’re grinding it off anyway not a major problem. If it’s slightly under an engineer may say it’s still adequate for the situation. But maybe you can negotiate a rebate from the builder, or maybe not if he’s been good in other areas. If it’s so low it’s not adequate to do the job, then I guess it has to come out, unless you can come up with some kind of alternative design like putting another slab over the top. To my mind if you test and it passes you pay, and if it fails the builder pays for testing. But that may depend on what your contract says.

  • Rob

    You need to immediately obtain an engineers report along with special strength test analysis of the poured floor.. BEFOR work continues. . and to tell the builder in writing of your concerns to mitigate loss..

  • RJ

    Don’t build with Platinum. The director can not be trusted. There South Island branch recently has become insolvent. Look at the last reviews on them on here from Home owners who have built with them. It has caused a lot of stress to owners and contractors. A lot of people are out of pocket from them

    • Liam

      Hi all,

      Anyone have any experience with rain damaged concrete floors?

      Builder poured it last Monday and it rained consistently for 24 hours.. Looked terrible.Once it stopped they got onto it with kelly floats and added cement to the surface. Looks ok but to me seems very soft even now. I feel it’s going to be sub standard and not a good surface.. Superficial fix.

      Problem is most of the living areas are exposed and polished ( I’m planning to do this). Do I have a case for getting them to rectify it or am I stuck with a potentially inferior floor?

      • Martin

        Hi Liam, we had a similar experience with our foundation when it was poured and due to the weather it wasn’t power floated enough making it soft and not suitable for grinding / polishing. The builder never told us that the contractor said we should reconsider our polished concrete finish and went ahead with job. The end result was a porous floor with aggregate that kept coming lose and making holes when it was ground. Took 2 different contractors and $14k to get an acceptable finish (although there are still issues we will have to live with these). I recommend getting an expert in. Let them test it and see if its suitable. If its not, save yourself the grief and do a wood overlay or something different.

    • I know him

      The guy is still trading in Paraparaumu lives in a flash apartment on the water front drives a black mecedes and still splashes his money around town to be the big man

    • Terry

      I can only agree with this post. Being one of Platinum’s Christchurch clients, after 4 years still waiting for maintenance to be completed. I have given up.

      • In the Industry

        Hi all with reference to Platinum South Island.
        Please call their Head Office to lodge your concerns (they are based in Tauranga) and they should follow up with getting these issues fixed as does hurt the brand name.

  • Chris

    Hi Martin, A ‘standard’ form of contract (whether RMB or some other) is generally just that, so it’s not a question of ‘may’ have a clause that says the price is fixed. Either it does or it doesn’t. Unless it’s a sort of ‘pick and mix’ type of form, with alternative wordings that you or the builder can agree to use.
    But I don’t think the RMB form is like that. And in the 2011 version (not sure if there’s a later one that’s different) Clause 54 ‘Cost Fluctuations’ means it’s actually the very opposite of a fixed price contract.
    So unless you or your solicitor have put in a Special Condition to overrule or amend that clause then my understanding is you will not have a fixed price contract. Whatever the builder tells you, like ‘don’t worry mate, we never really use that clause’, at the end of the day you’re just relying on his good nature.
    Of course none of this relates to provisional items, which by their very nature are intended to go up or down according to the actual cost of the work, and variations which you ask for after the contract is signed.

  • Chris

    Hi Aaron, By saying you’d be interested to see a breakdown of payment schedules from builders other than the one you’re dealing with do you mean you want other people to find these, and post them on line here (hardly practical), or publish them somewhere? That’s really asking other people to do it for you.
    Actually if you want these schedules you could first try looking at some of the standard forms of contract, such as the Registered Master Builders (RMB) form, which breaks payment down into about 15 – 20 stages, each between 2 and 10% of the total contract price, plus a number of other items for extras not part of the actual house. That’s reasonably fair, but as I’ve discussed with my builder I think that both you and the builder can agree to adjust these a bit (increase the number of stages, or the % in each) to more accurately reflect the actual way things will be done on Site. For example he packaged some items where one was done early in the build, and another done much later. So I could have withheld all the payment until the latest one was completed. But I agreed to pay part of the stage earlier.
    I think in the RMB contract it’s just payment of a stage on substantial completion. I guess your builder has had problems with that in the past, so he has chosen to make it more favourable to him. But doesn’t sound too unreasonable to me.

  • Aaron

    Hi – I’d be interested in seeing a breakdown of some different building companies payment schedules (% at each stage) for comparison, plus knowing if ‘substantial completion’ (defined by our prospective builder as materials on site and 75% installed) is a standard trigger for a payment to be invoiced.

    Thanks

  • Chris

    Hi Daniel, If there’s something in your building contract that gives you the understanding that it’s ‘fixed price’ then it would be my assumption that it’s not a completely standard RMB Residential Building Contract. Because I have a copy of the 2011 form of that contract, and it would appear to me that Clause 54 allows the builder to charge you for fluctuations in the cost of pretty much everything (subbies, materials and services), apart from possibly the cost of his own direct employees.
    I’d suggest you read everything in your contract carefully, and if other clauses contradict this, or it’s not clear to you, then consult a contract lawyer.

  • Daniel

    Hi, Looking for advise. Am currently using a registered builder. We have a fixed price contract of x amount. The builder has gone over his fixed price contract about 10% and he is making us pay for this. There have been no unforeseen expenses.

    We have already given him 5% of the 10% he is asking for. Do we have to pay the amount above the fixed price contract? and can we claim back the 5% we have paid him?
    The contract is a regular master builder contract.
    Thanks 🙂

    • Martin

      As per the other comment from Chis, a standard Master Build contract which most builders use may specify a fixed cost for the work, however, it also includes clauses that allow the builder to pass on any increase in materials etc during the build. Also if there were any items in the contract that were provisional sums then these are need to be finalised and could increase the contract price. Have you made any changes since signing the contract, i.e. moving walls, changing windows etc?

      • Daniel

        Nope no changes to the works. We are also unhappy with some of the work that has been done. Ie the finish is bad. He has tried to fix, and has said that the current state it is in now is the best it will get. We are not happy with it as the concrete floor has chips init through out. This was a newly poured concrete floor in garage. Builder is yet to pass another bill onto us and we do not know the amount yet. Can I with hold payment until concrete floor is at a satisfactory level? Thanks for any advise given

        • Hi Daniel
          New regulations have a 12 month ‘fix-no-questions-asked’ stipulation but builders not coming back to repair defects is the number one problem identified by BRANZ with customer satisfaction with builders. You can make a complaint to the LBP Board or approach either http://www.hobanz.org.nz or http://www.buildingdisputestribunal.co.nz if you still have no satisfaction.

          • Janis Wignall

            Hi Mark
            Was not sure how to place a post on this site, so thought I would try this way to get in contact.

            We are having our house rebuilt on the same site at present and would like to know how much a newly constructed house is allowed to be out of level please?

            We have checked MBIE but we unable to find an answer on this.

            Janis

          • Chris

            This is a response to Janis Wignall’s question, about how much a new house can be out of level, as I can’t find the ‘reply’ point on her post.
            Hi Janis, Not sure exactly which part of the house you think is ‘out of level’. Presumably the floor slab. For this you need to know the ‘tolerance’ on floor slabs.
            I would have assumed this to be in NZS3604 somewhere, and if you search through you may find it. However certainly there are tolerances for Timber Framing (Table 2.1) and Masonry Veneer (Table 11.5), which would be quite hard to achieve if the floor slab is too far from the position shown on the plans.
            MBIE document on Building Performance refers to their Guidance to Tolerances, which in turn refers to NZS3109:1997 (Concrete Construction). I can’t actually open this on line, but from info elsewhere I suspect the tolerance on the surface of concrete slabs is +/- 10mm from the position shown on the plans. Hope this helps.
            Also, in the event of a dispute (eg arbitration) I assume the arbitrator as a last resort (ie nothing in writing) would fall back on what he/she considers is generally accepted in the industry as being a ‘reasonable’ tolerance. What amount of error do you have in your case?

  • Chris

    Hi SJ, If you’re involved with one of the ‘good’, honest’ branches of one of these franchises that’s being criticized on this blog, and suffering as a result of bad practices by other branches, then I have a lot of sympathy for you.
    I’ve said in earlier posts that when talking about a franchise builder people should always be careful to specify the branch they are talking about, as not all are the same.
    Of course they should make their comments as fair and reasonable as possible, and also try to avoid what’s called the ‘halo’ effect in reporting performance. I mean to not let one or two defects blind you to all the good aspects. Tell the whole story, good and bad.
    But at the same time remember that franchise builders presumably hope to benefit from trust generated by name recognition and national advertising. So of course you also suffer if the brand gets a bad name for some reason. You can’t have the upside without the downside. You need to put pressure on your franchise owner to get the bad boys in your group to up their performance.
    If you or they can’t do that then get out of the franchise and use another name.

  • Chris

    Hi Mark, I’ve added a number of comments to this blog at various times, so you know I think it’s a useful resource.
    But one major problem is that there is now a huge number of posts, and they are not in chronological order.
    For example, I clicked on ‘reply’ to your post today about someone else’s reply to someone etc etc, but as I’m writing this the first two posts I can see above are dated March 18th & 19th.
    So I have no idea where to find your post, or any of the others referred to, without spending 10mins scrolling through all the hundreds of posts.
    Maybe my ignorance of how the blog works, So I’d be grateful if you could tell me whether it’s possible to set all posts in date order. If not then I suggest it should be.

    • Hi Chris
      It’s certainly something I’m aware of and to be honest, I’m not too sure about how to go about transferring to a better format. I’ve built several websites over the years but never really dealt with one like this. On top of that, I kind of picked up the baton when the previous admin dropped out and I’m reluctant to put too much money into this when I don’t have much to spare. I’ll have a chat with the web designer who did my http://www.buildingguide.co.nz site and see if he can come up with some ideas… Stand by (I don’t always work fast but I do get there eventually…).

    • Alex

      Totally agree, perhaps you have a separate stream for different building companies. E.G 1 for GJ, 1 for stone wood etc so people thinking about building with a particular company can look at all the reviews about them. Or some way to do a search on the blog. i think this is one of the only review places on the net for NZ now that buildreview.co.nz has vanished.

      • For any web page (including this one) ctrl-F gets the search box up, put in GJ to get, for example, 206 references (at time of writing), then use the arrows to find each one…and read them! Sure hope there’s fewer to read for Signature!

  • Rob

    Simple…file proceedings yourself in the District Court seeking to have the business closed down (non legal language)…that constrains them as to what they can do in a wider canvas…you may find they will pay rather than engage the costs of a defence..(if they actually have one.) Filing costs are nominal any you can write up and file yourself.. its not that hard.

    • I think this may be in answer to RJ, below, which is in answer to RB below, which is in answer to Pohuehughie’s oringinal post – scroll down for the thread…

  • Francis

    I’m looking to build a 3-4 bedroom home in Omokoroa just north of Tauranga. Has anyone got experience with GJGardner, SandCastle, or Classic Builders in that area or region? Is a House and Land package generally as cost effective as buying section then choosing builder?
    Any advice appreciated.

    • Greg

      I am building with ZB Homes and its great. Go and see them in Lakes Boulevard before u make a decision.

  • Glen

    Hi
    We are presently trying to decide between Maddren Homes and Compass Homes. Can anyone advice on this – our primary concern is with regard to cost and timeframes. Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.

    • Richard

      Hi Glen
      I have dealt with Maddren Homes and would happily recommend them. If you have concerns ask them for a list of customers and go and talk to them.

    • Emma

      Hi Glen, where abouts are you looking to build? Happy to have a chat if you are building in the Auckland (& greater Auckland) region somewhere 021 515 574.

    • AP

      Which branch of Compass Homes are you thinking of using? We are currently building with Compass homes, Pokeno branch. Whilst the sales team promise you the world, they have taken on so much work, their timeframes are totally blown out compared to what we were told when we signed the contract. For example – we signed the contract on 22nd March 2016… it is now 1st Jan 2017 and the house is still not estimated to be handed over until 23rd Feb. We were initially told it would be an 18 week build 🙁 On the plus side, the costs in their estimates have all been pretty close so far (bar extra concrete we decided to pour).

  • Kelly

    No one should feel afraid to comment on this website if you have the facts and evidence to back it all up. http://www.defamationupdate.co.nz is a helpful insight to defamation.

    This is a review site of peoples experiences some good some bad and anyone abusing the site takes it upon themselves the risk of defamation.

    Knowledge is power and this is a community of people sharing information and helping others within an extremely difficult and complex industry full of pitfalls and risks that the average layman unfortunately falls victim to in this country time and time again. If this site is rattling cages GOOD!

  • Rob

    Don’t let these companies lawyers frighten ANYONE….the defence to allegations of slander or defamation is either honest belief or truth….and given some of the experiences recorded on this site.. either defence is entirely appropriate…let them sue is my advice.. and let the judge decide…just think of the bad press surrounding those companies that will result. The REAL outcome should be an improvement in their conduct.. not litigation.!

    • Chris

      Hi Rob, I completely agree. There seems to be someone calling themselves SJ who thinks some of those commenting on this Site are exaggerating or being untruthful. But my impression is that most of them are not out to ‘get’ their builder. They are just telling the truth about what happened to them. And some of those tales seem to be horrific ones of lives being almost ruined.
      I admit that, based on the evidence on this Site, there are probably a lot of people who understand so little about building and building contracts that they should never get involved in a build without expert independent advice. But having said that, any builder with an ounce of sense would soon realise that. The good honest ones would still steer their client in the right direction on likely final costs etc. The bad ones would rub their hands together, and start counting the profit.

      • SJ

        Now Rob and all else concerned, I feel that some
        People post reviews without thinking nor knowing the facts.
        Nation wide building companies have different licensees in different areas.
        There for what I’m saying is if one has had a issue it has nothing to do with the rest of
        that NZ wide company, staff and family’s and clients all ready in the process.
        Someone post on a site with bad comments about one DOES NOT mean the rest are the same
        or that it has anything to do with the rest.
        I work for a company that has nothing to do with the negative posts about another branch and these posts have cost me builds, thousands in commissions etc. Disrupts clients builds in process. I have a family and so do other in the same boat as me, with the company I work for or other companies. The same applies. All I’m saying is of course comment, but think about the impact your comments with make.

        • Colin

          I can understand your concern. As a prospective client I look at the comments and have based a couple of decisions on them as to who I do/do not want to talk to. Suggest that if you are part of a group getting bad reviews then surely you can use the power of the group to force the renegade(s) into line either directly or through the master franchise. If you can’t then you have a problem.

        • Hi SJ
          It’s good to hear from one of the companies criticised and sharing some of the negative implications for comments. It’s a shame your colleagues’ poor quality work impacts on you and it would seem that’s a matter for the master franchise to address.

          I think there is often a case of letting things go in the building industry unless there’s an issue that’s slapping you in the face, and since the master franchises often don’t directly deal with clients they can be one step removed – this is not ideal. You should take these comments on this page to the master franchise because if there are franchises regularly appearing here and their work is impacting on you, it’s likely they’re impacting on other franchises too.

  • Annette

    Hi there, we’ve bought a section in Gulf Harbour and are looking for recommendations for good builders in the area. We visited the GJ show home today, but after reading the comments here, I really dont think we’ll be considering them. Any advice would be much appreciated, we’ve never done this before and want avoid unnecessary rookie mistakes 🙂

    • Emma

      Hi Annette, we would love to help you with your build project if you are still on the hunt for a builder, give me a call 021 515 574
      Thanks,
      Emma

    • Gareth

      Hi Annette,

      Not sure if you are sorted for a building company, if you are still looking then send us an email to ManlyConstruction@gmail.com We have done a few builds out at Gulf Harbour in the last 6 months and are a well established building company on the Hibiscus Coast. 🙂

  • irene Kingsford

    Erin. some advice for your meeting. Go to the meeting. advise the company you will attend by email. Advise your lawyer prior to the meeting about what your concerns are. Take photographs with you of the roof. Make a written list of your concerns and keep two copies. (one for your lawyer. At the meeting make sure you do not sign anything. Do not pay anymore monies until the work is completed. Advise the council and building inspection department. Your job will be under your local council.. Did you employ this contractor privately or is he an employee of the building company? The building company is responsible for all their tradesmen and sub contractors. He sounds like a cowboy. If this is building company do not let them intimidate or bully you. You have to give them a reasonable amount of time to correct the work. Timeline this at your meeting and if it is not done within that timeline make a complaint immediately to the disputes tribunal. Good luck

  • Erin

    Just wondering if anyone has any experience dealing with disputes about a payment claim/payment schedule with their building company? Our story in brief:
    – I found out that the roofer our building company was due to subcontract our roof work to had a reputation for poor workmanship (I recently started working for another building company that used to use this roofer and no longer use him due to poor workmanship that the roofer refused to fix)
    – The roofing started a week later than we had been advised by our building company (no reason for the delay was given to us by our building company, and there was only 1 day of bad weather during that week) and has taken 4 weeks to date – all the sheets are up but the flashings and valleys are not finished yet. There is also a significant amount of remedial work to be undertaken – we have found 8 significantly dented roofing panels, one hole of about 15mm in length in one section and 13 roofing nails that have missed purllins and are showing through the inside of the roof.
    – Our building company sent us a payment claim for the roof (we paid 50% of the roof payment prior to the roofing work starting, as per our contract), worth $19k, due within 5 working days (as per our contract) which was Friday 27 Oct. We went up to our section to check over the roofing progress on Wednesday and found the flashings and valleys still unfinished and no remedial work has been done. We sent a payment schedule to our building company on Thursday, stating we were paying 50% of the payment claim and outlining our reasons for not paying the full amount (work yet to be undertaken on the roof, as well as substantial remedial work outstanding).
    – We received an email from the building company on Friday, requesting an “urgent meeting” as non-payment of the full amount of the payment claim is “unacceptable”. We requested a meeting on site, so we could show them the reasons we are not happy to pay the full amount – as we don’t think anyone from the building company has been up to our site all week. The reply from the building company was that it was not a construction meeting but a meeting to discuss our “contractual obligations” so the meeting would be in their office. The tone of their emails has been rude and arrogant, and we’re quite sure that we’re acting in accordance with the Constructions Contract Act by giving them a payment schedule with reasons.
    – We’re not willing to pay the remaining amount until we have been advised how the remedial works will be undertaken and when. The 13 nails that have missed purlins need to be fixed, as well as the flashing fixed down properly, the dented panels and hole fixed and the valleys trimmed up cleanly (2 have been trimmed so far and are very uneven on both sides of the valley, and the row of nails either side of the valley are very crooked).
    Just wondering if anyone has experienced anything similar, as we are wondering what we’re walking into with this meeting next week.

    • In the Industry

      Erin,
      Ensure you put all in writing and if they are a Registered Master Builder make a complaint to them as they do need to follow up. This is not to say they will do anything but as a RMB company that I would assume they may be, it is setting precedent for them to resolve the issues. DO NOT PAY the monies at all until resolution. Hoping by now that you have furthered the build and they have come to the party. This type of builder and shite communication is a slight on our industry and one that I deplore to the max. If they have not done so, name and shame. You have a contract and as long as you are within your terms of contract, full completion of the stages are required for payment (unless you have some independent part of the contract to complete) then they can demand payment forthwith. If you are loaning from a bank they will need to ensure completion of the stages anyway to release funding.

  • Good thing that you set this up. Many will love to visit this site to get advise in building their homes. Thanks for moderating this site and sharing your thoughts. For more info on steel building construction, visit us at: http://www.steelcobuildings.com/

  • Glen

    Hi – We are looking at building in Auckland Central and were looking for recommendations for a good building company/project manager. We are Kiwis presently living in Australia so we need someone very competent in Auckland managing the project. I have received a quote of $2800-3500 per sq m from the House Company and upwards of $3200 from Property Partners. The quotes seem a bit steep – is this the current market value in Auckland now? Does anyone have any good building companies or project managers they can recommend? Thanks.

  • LEE

    Hi,
    I am looking at building a house *My first home with Generation or Venture or DW Homes in Pukekohe area.
    Does anyone has experience with these builders? can anybody recommend the builder?

    Thank you!

  • Kate

    Thank you very much Pohuehughie!

  • Colin Griffin

    We are looking to build in Whangarei – either our plan if we can get it to budget or someone elses if we can’t. Who should we go to? Who should we avoid?

    Mark, is it possible to put a search query in by district? While all comments are interesting, I am primarily interested in my local area. Other than that little quibble an excellent site

    • James

      Hold down ctrl and F then type Whangarei. Or search for the different companies you have looked at so far.

  • Mandy

    Many thanks Mark.

  • Kate

    Hi, we are looking our first house in Wellington. The main companies here for what we are looking for seem to be GJ Gardner, Lockwood and Platinum. Any recommendations of people who have built with any of the local franchises? Thank you 🙂

    • Pohuehughie

      Hi there. We built with Platinum (Mass Construction) in the South Island and had an absolute nightmare with them. The franchisee for Wellington is the same guy who held the franchises for the South Island. Platinum homes have withdrawn the franchise from this company for the S Island and have left behind a number of dissatisfied customers and sub-contractors, which surely speaks volumes. I don’t want to say too much except BEWARE. Speak to people who have built with Platinum in Wellington area before you commit to anything!!!

      • CHCH

        I am one of those left with a disgrace of a house built by Mass Construction / Platinum Homes. Avoid Platinum Homes and Mass Construction at all costs.

        • RB

          We are building a house with Mass construction/ Platinum Homes. If you need stress choose them. I have lost my sleep and health because of them. They never keep there promises. they do not guide you at all during the process. They reply to you at there own will and comfort. I am so frustrated with them I wonder if we could take some action against them. we have invested our life time savings into the house. I feel the builders have such a monopoly in NZ. I repent my decision of going with them every day. The journey of building our first home has been so painful. A few of staff members specially the administrator are rude and intimidating. The CEO never interferes. I am now looking for options to make a fromal complaint against the company. Please suggest

          • RJ

            I am a contractor that is out of pocket with this company. I am keen for any legal advice on how to get my money back from them. They have closed their South Island branch but their north island branch is “going from strength to strength” according to the Wairarapa office. How come they can’t use their north island branch to pay all of those out of pocket?

    • Bryan

      Hi Kate,
      Look for my comments about Jennian – You will need to see all of them as the build progressed, but we are nearly finished and happy with the outcome so far.
      Cheers
      Bryan

    • Emma

      Have you considered Primesite? http://www.primesitehomes.co.nz ? I recently saw a recommendation for them and they are Wellington based.

    • Vicky

      Hi, do you guys here have any experience with Abode Homes in Wellington?

  • Sally

    How do we know you are “Mandy” and not someone wanting Mandy’s comments removed? No name appears with this comment and it looks suspiciously like a previous comment by someone else recently………

  • `

    Could you please remove my posts under Mandy due to legal reasons. Thank you

    • Sally

      How do we know you are “Mandy” and not someone wanting Mandy’s comments removed? No name appears with this comment and it looks suspiciously like a previous comment by someone else recently………

    • Mandy

      Apologies Sally (?) forgot to fill in the name part but I’m sure Mark (or the admin on this blog) will know that it was from me anyway.

    • Roger T

      Unusual to have people complaining about a building company and their difficulties and legal threats withdrawing their posts due to legal reasons!

  • irene Kingsford

    We won.. I will never build with Platinum Homes ever again.. They had to pay me cash and repair what was in the maintenance list They were very nasty and used bully means to stop me taking them to court. They showed up for court and I would never have received the outcome I did without going to the disputes court. Regards Irene

    • CHCH

      Good on you, I am heading in that direction with them right now. Well done on your win!

    • RB

      Hello we are going through the same. Can you please suggest how to approach this. We are building with them but it has come to a point where I can not take any further stress. We have made 3step payments. The last one was for roof. If I had to take them to dispute court what do I need to do. Thanks

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  • Chris

    Two things I’d like to make people aware of:
    1. We’re just coming to the end of a build, and it is evident that ‘Practical Completion’ and handover will come before the Code Compliance Certificate will be issued by the Council. I believe this is a fairly common situation.
    I did ensure that our building contract made the builder, rather than us as the Owner, responsible for obtaining the CCC. But I now realise that the Building Consent was issued in our name, so as far as the Council is concerned we are still legally responsible for applying for and obtaining the CCC, even if the builder does it on our behalf. In retrospect I wonder if we should have used the contract to ensure that the builder (or maybe his architect) acted as our ‘agent’ in both applying for BC & RC, and obtaining the CCC. Anyone have any comments?
    2. Once you reach Practical Completion, and handover, I believe the builder’s Contractor’s All Risks and Public Liability insurance will no longer cover your house. So you need your own house insurance. But it seems ‘normal’ insurance companies like AMI (who we used before) will not give you cover until the CCC is issued. Has anyone found a way round this?

  • Laurie

    We are looking at building in Ashhurst, Manawatu and wondered if anyone had any advice on picking a building company in this area? Who are great and who not to touch (and why). We have built before (with whose name will remain anonymous) and didn’t have a great experience. Also, has anyone had any experience with Homebuild Homes? TIA

    • Chris

      Hi Laurie, Seems a little unfair that you’ve asked other people to give negative as well as positive comments on builders, but you’re not willing to say who you built with before, who was not very good, and why!
      The whole point of this blog is to contribute information as well as to obtain it.

      • Laurie

        Ours was more of a personal clash with ‘friends’ who had started a company and we were their second build in, so i don’t think it is fair to publicly slander them for what happened when they were very new. However, if there is someone looking at building in my area and wants to contact me privately i’m happy to talk lauzanne15@hotmail.com. I have already been contacted by them once when i put a comment online that didn’t even name them, but they knew it was about them – and i’m not going to go down that road again. I’m sorry if you don’t agree but that is how it is.

        • Chris

          Hi Laurie, OK, I understand, and you’re forgiven.
          But you did say ‘started a company’, not just helping you out as friends. So I hope that these people are not still in business as builders, and practising on other people’s houses.
          Because ‘Oh, sorry, we don’t have much experience of doing this.’ isn’t good enough when you’re playing around with other people’s life savings.
          Luckily heart surgeons aren’t allowed to use the same excuse!

    • Me2016

      Hi Laurie,

      Yes I have and it wasn’t a good one. One of the most stressful times in my life.

      They are the most un-proactive, unprofessional company I have personally dealt with, it felt like we were project managing, prompting and managing everything.

  • James

    We are thinking of building with versatile in Balclutha. Any reviews or comments on this company..?

  • Russell

    Hi Dave
    We have no issues with what we got, your wellcome to have a look if you wish, my contact phone is 0272040056
    Cheers

  • Mike

    Sounds like GJ. Pay your monies and they conviently forget you and take a long time to fix things.
    Sentinel are buidling in Colonial drive Millwater.

  • Daniel Burdett

    What ever you do, do not use Sentinel Homes.
    We have experianced nothing but delays, poor workmanship & disappointment. Our build was 6 months over on the build time & worse than that a great many faulty building works were found once moved in. Poor plumbing, poor electrics, top soil about 2cm deep, laminate flooring came up.
    The worse part though is that they take forever to repair their shoddy work & no matter who you complain to it makes no difference. For example I am still waiting for a leaking toilet to be fixed after first informing them over a month ago. They are also no longer responding to requests from us to find out what is happening.
    What ever you do. DO NOT USE SENTINEL HOMES

  • Shikha

    Hi Guys,

    I want to build a house in Wellington.
    Some one please suggest the good Builder for design and build. I want to know the feedback of Gj Gardener Wellington,Urban Homes Wellington or primesite Wellington or any other good Builder recommended for design and build in Wellington Region

  • Aaron

    Anyone got any feedback on Bainbridge homes in Canterbury?

  • Ilhaam

    Hi,

    Has anyone used or have experience working with Jalcon Homes in Auckland? Any feedback on this company would be appreciated

  • Mike

    Highmark have built 2 houses in Old Mill Road and are currently building along Colonial Drive and I think they have a couple of sections on Wainui Road near Manuel Drive.

  • Hi all
    Apologies for the spam that keeps appearing. Trying to get it dealt with. I will keep manually clearing every couple of days.
    cheers

  • DS

    We’re looking at building in Millwater with Mike Greer, any feedback or advice gratefully received. We need to go with a H&L package rather than design and build. Was interested in The House Company as i’ve heard good things however they’re out of our price range – we’re looking at entry level for the area. Thanks!

    • Mike

      Hi DS,
      MG are currently building in Colonial Drive. They have a few sections on the go.
      Wouldn’t buy their Town houses which are behind the Millwater shops as appear to be not value for money and are small for the price they are offered for.

      • DS

        Hi Mike, thanks for your feedback. Agree the townhouses don’t look like great value. We’re looking at a 3-4brm on Ormonde Dr or a couple of others around that area.

  • Mal

    By paperwork, I suppose you mean going unconditional on the building contract? We signed the contract mid May, so it took almost 3 months before we got the resource consent from the council. But I think that was because the council needed a few clarifications over and above the usual consent details.
    Thanks.

  • T

    Anyone ever built with Builtsmart? based in Huntly they make homes in their factory and deliver these to the land site? Transportable homes. Thanks

  • Mal

    Hi Leo, Valerie,
    We are building with Golden Construction in Riverhead. The building process has just started last week, so it is pretty early to give feedback on the construction process and the quality. But so far they have been good to work with.
    Where are you both building?

    • Leo

      Hi Mal,

      Thanks for that, we are building in Millwater. How long did it takes from the documentation up to the start of construction?

  • morris

    could be wordpress web site as has been hit in the past with spam

    • Yes – we moved to a new host and the spam filter doesn’t seem to be working as well. Trying to keep on top of things. Apologies all.

  • Jes R-B

    HI, thinking of building in Christchurch. Any one have any information positive or negative about Strategic Homes. Thanks

  • jim

    Please tell me about house and land package around Huapai or Kumeu, if u have around 850k

    • Simon Wilson

      Hi Jim, we have some available. Please call me on 0276462233. Simon Wilson (Signature Homes)

  • Valerie

    Hi,

    Has anyone heard of Golden Construction (not the same as Golden Homes). Any feedback, reviews, major issues?

    thank you

    • Leo

      Hi Valerie,

      I’m currently in documentation stage for consent with Golden Construction, as of now so far so good. Where do you plan to build your new house?

  • morris

    Thanks steve and Brent
    No haven’t signed as yet as had some concerns from a independent party
    So will make more enquiries

  • Steve

    Hi does anyone know what is going on with the buildreview.co.nz website? it has been down now for several weeks for “maintenance”.

    • Hi Steve
      Not sure – we’re not connected with them, although I did try when they were first setting up to work with them.

    • Russell T

      I would say they are trying to cleanse their site of all the negative feed back about platinum homes or Mass construction, as they have gone tits up leaving home owners and contractors out of pocket and with unfinished homes.
      Another company that’s taken taken and taken for the benefit of the owner Jason Strange. Rips all and sundry off then walks off to his life of luxury in Wellington.
      So Mass construction South Island has been trading insolvent.
      Platinum homes the master franchise are not much better …. Pretty much just walked away
      Keep away from any of these franchises or the franchisor
      Hope this helps
      Regards
      Russell

    • SJ

      Site shut down due to being sued. Which could quite possibly happen to this one as well.

      • I think you’ll find that we can’t be sued as we’re just a vehicle for comments. So long as what is said is truthful and doesn’t target specific people I think we’re okay. And should they choose to try to sue us, then we’ll make more publicity about it which will highlight the issues for them on a much bigger scale – I’m sure that’s not what they would want.

  • Chris

    Can advise on how good compass homes are on the quality and pricing?
    I was also looking at A1 and GJ to build on lifestyle land. Thanks lots!

    • Compass Homes are very good. Build in concrete so can be a little more expensive in some cases, but the construction is very good and the benefits of concrete mean lower ongoing costs.

    • Emma

      Hi Chris, where abouts are you looking to build? If you’re still undecided, please don’t hesitate to give me a call to discuss what you are wanting to do.
      Emma
      DW Homes
      021 515 574

  • phil

    Hi I am about to build with Cavalier homes in Riverhead on the north shore. Does anyone have any feedback on this company?
    Thanks Phil

    • Emma

      Hi Phil, If you’re still undecided, please don’t hesitate to give me a call to discuss what you are wanting to do.
      Emma
      DW Homes
      021 515 574

  • HobPointOwner

    Given Maddren just won 4 golds in the House of the year award last night I’d build with them.
    Unfortunately we built with GJ Gardner West Auckland and it was such a bad experience. They are great at doing the big sell job however the follow up is shocking. We found Tony Houston very difficult to deal with – this franchise is not interested in service. Also there is no support with the GJ Gardner head office.

    • morris

      Has anyone had a house built by Sentinel on North Shore , or Auckland area recently
      Was it on time and within budget
      And of good standards ?
      Any major hassles

      • brent

        Still waiting on ours to be finished, would not recommend this company not organised and seem to have issue with every trade. Slab, issue, frames, issue, painter, issue brickie, issue roofer still issue. Build quality is ok if you keep your eye on them. It will likely be 52 weeks from start of build this was with us coming with a complete set of plans and council consent. The General manager Stuart doesn’t care as long as your signature is on the contract. also be careful they don’t sell you a package from investor homes and then up sell you on all the variations, This is is another company run by Stuart. They are over committed and under resourced. I hope this reaches you before you sign, stay AWAY.

      • Adam

        I just finished building house with Sentinel and I do agree with Brent with all he said! Nothing but nightmare.

        • Nimfa

          Hello Adam and Brent,
          Who are you dealing with at Sentinel and which area? I like their house plan and they are on our shortlist of builder as recommended to us. And so far they are very responsive compared to other builders we also approached. Would you mind giving me your email add so i can PM you?
          This will really help us choose.

      • Emma

        Hi Morris,
        If you haven’t already chosen a builder I’d love to have a chat with you. We build all over Auckland and are not franchised. Give me a call anytime for a chat.
        Emma – DW Homes
        021 515 574

    • Shiv

      I’d be interested to hear more about your experience as we are considering their land and home package at Hobsonville Point?

    • Kate Lawrence

      Tony and Terena are passionate about there homes and staff, they welcome anyone to ask to speak to any clients who have built with them, They superseded expectations, have firm processes and customer service doesn’t falter from the first client meeting through to the hand over

      • Chris

        Hi Kate,
        Saying that Tony is very ‘passionate’ about his staff sounds a bit creepy to me. Judging by this blog, unfortunately it seems a lot of his other ‘clients’ don’t have the same view.
        PS I think you mean ‘their homes’ and ‘exceeded expectations’.

    • steve

      We have had the same issue with gj west .we just got lie after lie

    • Tim

      Hi, we are currently in a contract with GJWest and would like to know of your experience with them. We are in the planning stages but have already noticed some warning signs and limited customer service. Would appreciate any feedback, thanks Tim.

      • Emma

        Hi Tim, have you signed the building contract as of yet or just paid a small deposit to do concept drawings?

  • Tania good

    Hi Everyone
    i am looking at building a new home in mosgiel Dunedin, i am looking at any feed back on GJ Gardner, Stonewood? or if there is a building company highly recommended. this is my first experience of building a home
    Mayn Thanks

    • Hi Mayn
      Make sure you get a copy of the Building Guide – it’s free from your local council.

    • Lisa Mous

      I would recommend Compass Homes. We have built with them and Gary Shutterworth was such a great help. Fixed price and no extra costs, moved in on time, and that was the best thing. We are lookng for land know and will build with them again.

      Cheers Lisa Mous

    • Lisa Mous

      I would recommend Compass Homes. We have built with them and Gary Shutterworth was such a great help. Fixed price and no extra costs, moved in on time, and that was the best thing. We are lookng for land now and will build with them again.

      Cheers Lisa Mous

    • Steve

      Hi Tania
      We built with Jennian homes in Dunedin and found them to be great to deal with and our dream home is everything that we could want, it was built on time and to budget so i can highly recommend them.
      We did a bit of homework and asked around town and there was several building companies that we were told to stay well clear of.
      Good luck on your build !!!

  • Che

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for your comments, it’s not a structural wall, but I changed my mind not to do that purely because I don’t want to ruin builders schedule and get it delayed.

    My worry is I have only 5.2m* 3.8m area for both my family and dining, we have separate lounge 3m*3.5m where we are planning to keep the TV

  • Che

    Hi

    We are building a house in Wellington. Our frames are completed and also roof frames are onboard. Can I remove a short wall inside the house now? Does that cost a lot and take more time?

    Thanks

    • Chris

      Forgive me for saying it, Che, but that’s like asking how long is a piece of string. As to ‘can’ generally in building work all things can be done with enough time and money. But as to how much and how long depends on thing like whether it’s a simple partition wall, a structural wall (supporting the roof) or a bracing wall (to stop the place falling over), and then of course how kind and generous the builder is, and whether the work delays his original programme. But generally any kind of change is a reason (or excuse) to charge more money and take more time. Whether you’re in a position to dispute those depends on your building expertise. But depending on the contract wording the builder may be able to refuse to do it unless you pay what he asks.

      • A builder

        Chris, charging for a legitimate variation and taking longer to complete the project is not an “excuse”! If you make a change to a design then the builder should (common sense and good business practice) reasonably charge and increase the construction duration. People need to understand that shit ain’t free and if you don’t change anything it shouldn’t cost amy more or take any longer. Your comment is like a mechanic doing an oil change and then you asking the mechanic to replace the gearbox for free.

        • Chris

          Hi ‘A Builder’, Sorry to have upset you, mate. I’m sure you’re very good at building work, but perhaps not so good at reading what people have written. You’ll note I put ‘or excuse’ in a bracket, because I totally agree with you that most variations will be a legitimate reason for an increase in price and a time extension. I’m a civil engineer, and I’ve spent my whole career supervising major projects, so I understand very well how building contracts work. But at the same time it’s very easy to think of variations which save the builder both time and money. The honest ones will admit that. The less honest ones will still try to pull the wool over their client’s eyes, and think of a reason to charge more. If you take time to study the entries on this blog, you will read of many cases where it appears some builders (but not you I’m sure) are taking advantage of clients inexperienced in building work. And even cases where clients don’t change anything, but still find themselves being asked to pay more, or the project running over time. From his original question I assumed that ‘Che’ has very little experience of building contracts, so I was trying to respond to his request for advice.

  • Candice

    Hi Sarah! No, we didn’t because a friend reviewed the contract and the payment terms is not very ideal. Our friend suggested that the terms is very one sided and pretty much just in favour of the builder and could be risky if the builder didn’t complete the project half way. He suggested 10% deposit and 90% balance to be paid upon completion is a better option. Hope this helps!

  • Bryan

    We are hoping 3 months to complete the build and then onto the landscaping.
    Slab has just gone in and is looking good. The slab team were very professional and very pleasant as well.
    We’ll know more in a few days once the framing arrives

    • Manish

      Fantastic!. If you dont mind me asking are you building in Aotea ?. We are in Aotea. On the “drive”.

    • Peter

      Remember – a fast build is rarely a good build! 35 Years experience in building

  • Andrew

    Thanks for your thoughts, some comments :-
    – Electrical Faults – The complete steel frame is earthed in several places. So any shorts to live will immediately blow the fuse/Circuit breaker, and thus end any risk…
    – Sally – I agree, the total lack of a “drying out phase” is a major plus. A friend just had 3 rooms in their 6 month old house, re-jibbed, re-sealed and re-wallpapered… because of drying out damage.

  • Andrew

    AXXIS Steel Framed House
    Anyone built a Steel framed house using AXXIS Steel around Whangarei ?
    Who was the builder, and any comments on the results?

    • Lanthanide

      I personally would not use AXXIS, unless it was reasonably cheaper than alternative systems.

      I’m not a builder, nor have I built any houses before. The marketing for AXXIS talks about it being “dimensionaly accurate” – but so is the wooden timber used to build houses. Similarly they say it is tested for earthquake loading – timber houses as shown by Christchurch stand up well under earthquakes.

      But the main reason I would use steel framing (of any kind), is that steel is a very good conductor of heat, whereas timber is not. So heat in your rooms will be more easily conducted away from them and outside your house. It’s entirely possible to design around this problem, but that requires a specific design for the steel framing.

      Also, and this is a minor concern, if a live wire comes in contact with the steel framing, the whole structure becomes electrically live and can endanger your life if you come in contact with it – say, by nailing in a picture hook and hitting the steel framing, and having the electricity conduct through the nail and hammer into you. Yes, this, is incredibly unlikely and you’re very unlucky, but if a live wire comes in contact with wooden framing, it’s not going to electrocute you (although I guess it could catch fire and burn the house down – but that’s probably possible with the steel framing, too).

      I am however a lay person, so talk to experts and make up your own mind.

      • Trev

        Steel framing is used in many commercial structural partitioning around the world it new to NZ
        how ever white rust can become a problem especially with high humidity and rust where the screws penetrate the steel to hold the jib. Its a extremely slow process but real.

    • Sally

      Hi Andrew, now I haven’t built with steel around Whangarei so I wasn’t going to comment but I have to because, with respect, I completely disagree with the other reply to your message. I am trained as an architectural technican and I have also had four houses built, one of them with a steel frame. The steel framed house is great. It is not just about it being “dimensionally accurate” it is also about it not being damp. When timber framed houses are lined they nearly always have some dampness left in the frame and so when it dries out over the next few months you often get nails “popping” out of the GIB and also cracks where the GIB meets (particularly at ceiling junctions). This does not happen with steel. My steel-framed house has had not one nail pop and has no cracks in the paintwork. Timber framing is also not as dimensionally accurate as you would think. When all the frames are put up, builders often have to plane down frames to make sure all the walls are straight before it is lined.

      My steel-framed house is no hotter in summer than a timber framed house. I agree somewhat about the steel being more of a conductor in fires but once you think about the batts in the walls etc it probably wouldn’t be much different with timber once a fire took hold.

      I would think it extremely unlikely that you would hang a picture and get electrocuted! For a start with steel you would mainly hang pictures just through the GIB with anchor hooks and the way they put the cables through are through specially cut holes through the middle of the dwang (also called nogs) so you would have to drill in a pretty long way to get anywhere near the cables.

      My house was built by Golden Homes and whilst I would not recommend them as a company at all, the actual building I am very pleased with and would have no hesitation in building in steel again. 🙂

      • Lanthanide

        My point about heat conduction is nothing to do with ‘fires’, or summer heat for that matter.

        It’s in winter, when the heat in your rooms will conduct through the wall linings, into the steel frames and out through ‘bones’ of the house, in a way that simply does not happen with timber. Like I said, you can design around this, but standard methods of timber construction applied to steel frames won’t account for this heat leaking factor.

        • Sally

          Actually no it doesn’t. If you do some research on steel frames they actually use timber thermal breaks outside the frame to stop this happening. You are always going to have some leakage out of your house – in fact the windows are the worst for the leakage and you also get it through the slab (unless you have used one of the new thermally broken slabs – which are good also).

          • Lanthanide

            When you say “timber thermal breaks outside the frame”, you mean around the outside of the house?

            So in winter, if you are doing the typical NZ thing of heating only the room you are occupying, then heat is still going to conduct through the wall linings, into the steel framing and throughout the rest of your house, eg into your hallways and any other rooms you’re not actually occupying. This will heat your house overall, but it still means any particular room you’re trying to heat, will be harder to heat than if you used timber framing.

            Also, I live in Christchurch and have daily driven past a row of about 10 steel framed houses as they were built. I never saw them put timber thermal breaks in.

        • Sally

          In regards to inside your house, no it doesn’t spread from room to room. You have GIB lining the walls. GIB is also a break between the timber and the steel. I know for a fact from my steel framed house that you can’t feel any heat from the hallway from the lounge which has a wood burner in it. Also the “NZ way” of heating one room only is ridiculous in itself, but that’s a whole other story. In relation to the houses you saw, it depends what cladding they were using. If you are using a cavity system (which most do these days) then the timber battens on the outside are already a thermal break.

          • Ethan

            Hi Lanthanide and Sally,

            Steel framed homes are thermally broken by using a barrier between the cladding and the framing system, such as James Hardie HomeRAB. There is actually more insulation within the framing, as it’s hollow, and the batts sit inside that.

            Just thought I would clear that up.

      • Mike

        Hi Sally,

        I’m thinking of building with Golden Homes in Northland and I noticed you couldn’t recommend them at all but were happy with the house. Any chance you could tell me more about the issues you faced?

        Many thanks!

      • Shelley

        We built with golden homes- built a large expensive house! communication appalling. Poor workmanship and when maintence finally completed over a year later (to there standard not ours) we were treated like we were a whinging big inconvenience. No care for what was promised and sold.

  • Houston

    Hi there,
    I’m looking for a builder in Lincoln Te Whariki, a new residential area in Lincoln. I new in Christchurch, can anybody recommend any good builder to me?
    Thanks,
    Houston

    • Sally

      Hi Houston, I would recommend Peter Ray Homes, Paul McStay Builders and Que Homes. All good quality and fair pricing. Regards Sally

      • EA

        Hi Houston, we are just about finished our house build with Peter Ray Homes in Preston Downs. Top notch builders and tradies (all excellent and very approachable) and we are very happy with the quality of work and the fittings on the house. Unfortunately the project management by Peter Ray Homes was inadequate throughout and downright appalling at times. We are on our 4th project manager (they just keep leaving) – each one did not pick up gaps or things left undone by the previous one and then placed us under extreme time pressure to make decisions on the spot to rectify this very late in the build. I have had to spend the equivalent of a part time job doing our own project management and communicating with the tradies as otherwise we would have had a shambles. It has been more stressful than it should have been. If I were to build again having been through this, I would appoint an independent project manager to oversee the whole project – the extra cost would have been well worth the peace of mind.

        • stevo

          Hi We are nearing the end of our build with Peter Ray homes in Rolleston.The builders were great and the tradies to deal with but I agree the management of the project appalling. Started with one person they left, then the GM fumbled his way in then passed to the Customer Service Manager, she left suddenly we are dealing with a Project Manager. No communication along the way as to the changes just happen to find out when you ring to talk to someone and you get the ” they are on leave at the moment” from reception. Some specs were changed by the GM and we didnt notice when we did the final sign up and now are in discussion about changing some fittings as not what we discussed with the original person. It seems once signed and money paid they dont want to know. Then they try to blame us for it. Has been very stressful for us.Fortunately time is not a pressure on us as we have another home to live in. I would never build with Peter Ray again and certainly will not recommend them to anyone. Workmanship seems good but the Management is a shambles. Agree with above employ your own project manager with them

    • Leo

      Hi Houston,
      Sorry to reply in your thread… does anyone know how to create a new post or a new account here?

      Leo

      • Hi Leo
        If you scroll to the bottom of the page there is a comment block there – that starts a new comment.
        cheers
        Mark G

  • Alina

    Hey, Can you guys please suggest 5 good builders to approach in West Auckland?

    • Martin

      Hi Alina, I cant provide you with a recommendation but can tell you to stay clear from Raymond (Ray) Lorenzen. He uses a number of different building company names.

    • Richard

      Hi Alina, can recommend Maddren Homes out West. Stay well away from Tony Huston and GJ Gardner.

      • Jack

        Hi Richard,

        What have your issues with GJ West AKL been?

        • Richard

          Many and varied, but definitely not what GJ Gardner advertise. Design was week and unhelpful, their management was nonexistent and don’t even get me started on their attention to detail.

    • Marilyn

      I can recommend Maddren Homes over GJ Gardener – I’m actually building or going to be building up North a way but I’ve spent a lot of time around a lot of different companies now and settled on only 2 that I would build with. The reason I’m going with Maddren are communication, great liaison between sales/design/consultant and myself, good solid design information and plans and the obvious use of great and tested quality construction materials. I’m an analytical freak and they’ve put up with my queries / questions / details etc., GJ’s I found great at the very beginning and then pushy after a while and intent on their own design rather than what I wanted. Other good quality builder I found was The House Company.

    • Hi Alina

      It really depends on what style home you are looking for. I am a mortgage broker in Hobsonville and we finance a lot of builds for clients plus have just recently finished our own, so have worked with a number of the building companies.

      We personally built with Jalcon Homes and they were excellent. The contract included everything and the build went smoothly and we were very happy with the result. The house we build was entered into the House of The Year and won a silver.

      If you search the internet or this forum there are people that have had problems with almost every building company and I’m sure there are reasons, but I can only go on what I know and have experienced. Some companies have had delays recently with issues like concrete shortages and tradespeople being hard to tie down, but most are now quoting a little longer for the builds to avoid setting unrealistic expectations.

      I could recommend the following;
      Jalcon Homes – have built with ourselves and have a number of clients who have built with them too.
      Platinum Homes – good contracts and have had good feedback from clients building with them.
      Sentinel Homes – the contracts are very good and include everything and have had some very good feedback on the workmanship.
      Compass Homes – they build in concrete and are very good.A little more expensive than some but have good contracts and tend to be faster than most due to construction methods.

      There are others that we have worked with too that are good and some not so good.
      You are welcome to contact me directly if you wish to discuss a specific company.

  • Sally

    Sorry I’m confused by your question, I was replying to the person whose house has been painted. It’s not my house.

  • Sally

    When you say condensation do you mean in the bathroom or throughout the house? No it is not normal for the GIB to act like that if it has been properly sealed when it was painted. You should ask the builder to look at it. If you mean in the bathroom then I would suggest they have used the wrong type of paint – again builder should have a look. If it is their subbies who have not sealed/painted properly then they should go back to them and get them to sort. Good luck 🙂

    • philip

      HI Sally

      Do you know who painted it ?. We are having problems with a painter in Christchurch who has used the wrong paint in the bathrooms trying to take short cuts.

  • chris

    Hi Guys,

    We are looking to build in Levin on a lifestyle block thinking of using http://www.latitudehomes.co.nz/ they have been the best priced but still looking @ A1 allso has anyone used Lattiude Homes to build ?

    Also which is the easiest Bank to deal with ? we have been told BNZ is good any advise much appreciated:)

    Chris

    • Edward Senior

      Hi Chris,
      Thermawise Homes is based in Levin and would be happy to discuss your build with you. We build use SIP (Structural Insulated Panel) construction which normally works out very affordable compared with traditional framed builds, due mainly to the faster build time (less labour cost). It also will provide a far better level of insulation than a standard build. Check out http://www.thermawise.co.nz for more info.
      Regards,
      Ed

  • Debznz

    Hi
    I re build here in Christchurch, I have been in my house now for a year, I have had some small problems which are now being fixed by the building company that I used. How ever I have a huge problem with condensation, and I find that the gib used is very porous is this normal in a new home? you only have to bump it.

  • Sarah

    Looking to build in Ohope Beach, Whakatane. Any recommendations on builders or ones to avoid? Cheers

    • Greg

      Sarah, good company is ZB Homes in Tauranga

      • Owen Cox

        Hi Sarah,
        Not sure about a good company in Tauranga, but if a co called Consultancy Plus Construction Ltd, manager Ron Clarke, project manager David Hinds is still around, stay well clear. At one stage they were trading under the name RKK Construction ltd and were a franchise of David Reid homes. We had a home built by them in 2013/2014 and it was a nightmare. If I was building again, I would look for a local builder, may not have the buying power of a bigger co, but, does not have the overheads of the franchise co’s, no franchise fees, project manager, sales people etc. .Another site to view is http://www.buildreviews.co.nz.
        Good luck, if I can help in any other way, just ask.
        Owen.

        • dan

          thanks for sharing owen. greg, did u have a good experience with ZB Homes? I have been looking for a whakatane builder for a 2-storey in whakatane since most tauranga builders wont travel far but most local builders are fully booked till next year. Any recommendation or otherwise, even if i have to wait long?

      • Elena

        Hi Greg
        Have you built with ZB Homes?

  • Bob

    Hi All,

    My wife and I are looking to build our first home. Currently looking at GJ Gardner Wellington and QualityNZHomes. It would be awesome if anyone can share some comments or experiences on these builders.

    Cheers,
    Bob

    • Bryan

      Hi Bob,
      My Partner and I are building with Jennian Homes in Wellington. Whilst we have had a few disagreements and minor issues as we progressed, everything has been resolved satisfactorily and agreeably.
      My only suggestion is that if you are wanting to build something that is not a standard build, then make sure that whichever company you build with can do a Bespoke build… Jennian claim to, but we ended up needing to monitor it very closely to make sure that they got it right.
      In regards to Jennian, they are really busy at the moment with multiple builds on the go, but if you use one of their standard designs and don’t change too much inside, then you should get a good outcome.
      Oh and if you find my other comments, you will see that I don’t work for Jennian, just like to be completely honest and fair.. well as much as I can anyway.

      Good luck and send me a reply if you’d like to contact me directly to talk about our build. I won’t post my email here as it identifies me and my build is not yet finished….

      Bryan

  • Kelly

    This goes for the Certified Builders Guarantee too, if your looking at that. I would never build using them or their insurance again its not worth the paper its printed on, I felt totally betrayed. Happy to take your money and thats about it!They were useless in our case of a serious problematic builder and extremely unprofessional to have to deal with. If its major issues and the claims are high then you will also have to get lawyers involved to deal with them and their insurer another wall to go through! I would suggest an independent insurer outside of these organisations as it does appear to be a tight network

  • Candice

    Hi, anyone got feedback with Ashcroft Homes builder in Huapai?
    Also, which is better loan method 10% deposit then 90% upon completion date OR land mortgage and construction loan fornightly during the building process? Also, any feedback with Master Builders insurance versus HomeFirst builders insurance? Thank you!

    • Martin

      Hi Candice, cant help with feedback on Ashcroft Homes. With the loan it depends on how you want to manage the build and what your bank will allow. I took the option to mortgage the land and pay for the build through our capital. This meant i didnt have to wait for the bank to provide stage payments and also removed the additional costs associated with bank valuations. As far as Master Builders, i would never sign one of their contracts again as they provide very little protection for the customer. Almost all clauses are written to benefit and protect the builder. The guarantee also seems to be a bit of smoke and mirrors. I havent managed to get them to help yet in the build quality issues i have. Infact when i complained and asked them to help, they contacted the builder to tell him i had made a complaint and closed my complaint without informing me.

    • Sarah

      Hi Candice

      Did you end up proceeding with Ashcroft we are looking into them now and not too sure if we should.

  • Vicky

    Hi!has anybody had any experience with Wildwood homes in Christchurch? Thanks in advance

  • RR

    south canterbury

  • Mike

    Happy to discuss 0279114711. Call anytime

  • Natasha Hiku

    Hi there everyone

    My name is Natasha. Partner and I are currently looking into buying a new home.
    We are currently looking at the lifestyle blocks in Pokeno.
    However after reading these comments I am officially scared, confused and dumb founded as to the building companies we should consider as a few of these companies are contracted to the build of this new subdivision.
    We have a meeting with the bank today and I will express my concerns but I’m really doubting this process now

    • Helen Porter

      Hi Natasha do not be put off building your house I am sure there is lots of great builds out there i have found on the site it is often different from branch to branch.While our build was a night mare we would build again with another builder. There are the exciting things involved in building choosing your kitchen and the paint etc So if its a build you want go for it and be aware there is some cowboys out there

    • Cam

      Hi Natasha ,

      We live in around Franklin also and are currently building after researching vigorously.
      So far we are very happy with the timeframe, communication and transparency of processes.

      From our experience , I would say that the best outcome is to deal directly with the builder to communicate what you want- in our instance the builder is also the Project Manager.
      This make for more streamlined communication and hopefully no mistakes.

      Bear in mind that larger companies also have longer turnarounds and thus may sit on your initial deposit for longer.
      Hope this helps.

  • Martin

    After months of fighting with the builder to fix a significant number of defects with our new home, I found out today the company has been put into liquidation. My only recommendation is to avoiding Raymond Walter Lorenzen, trading under any building company name in the Auckland Region, he is dishonest, negligent in his supervision of his subcontractors and incompetent in his ability to manage residential build projects.

    • RR

      We’re in a similar boat. House is just over 2 years old and we’re still chasing up defects to be fixed and refixed, and refixed for the 3rd time. I want to name the company but defamation comes to mind, so wont go there.

      • Martin

        Hi RR. I dont think it really matters. The law and contracts all support the builders and you are left with having spent your hard earned money on a home that “just doesnt feel right now”. Interestingly while i am trying to fix all of the issues the builder has left me with, I hear he is in Fiji on holiday.

        • Chris

          Hi Martin, Just thought I would mention that in January 2015 the Building Regulations were amended to try to ensure that building contracts are a bit fairer to the client (or at least help the client to negotiate a fairer contract). Obviously you can Google details, but an extract of things now required are:
          Prescribed minimum price
          Prescribed disclosure information and prescribed checklist
          Prescribed content for residential building contracts for prescribed minimum price or more
          Prescribed clauses deemed to be included in oral residential building contracts for prescribed minimum price or more
          Prescribed clauses deemed to be included in incomplete written residential building contracts for prescribed minimum price or more
          Prescribed information and documentation to be supplied on completion of building work
          It’s worthwhile to study this, especially the ‘deemed to be included’ clauses, which I assume would apply to any contract over $30K signed after Jan 2015.

      • Martin

        Hope you work it all out. Which region are you in?

  • where to add new business?

  • Helen Porter

    Hi i have found by experience the supervisor is the main person in the build in our case it was the supervisor who arranged the contractors it was a night mare a painter who told me himself he had diminished sight and painted while the floor sanders were in.A plumber who did not read the specs and didn’t put the waste master. The builders had a row with the company and walked away leaving the supervisor to put up the range hood put in the waste master and finish the shower sadly we still have the chip in the bath and the wrong fittings. The company although agreeing with us it needs to all be rectified it has never happened. So make sure your supervisor is up to the job and the company is one who cares about their brand

  • Sally

    Totally agree. $3,500 – $5,000 is absolutely ludicrous – sounds like they are trying to price themselves out of the job if you ask me! Even with landscaping it shouldn’t be anything like that (assuming you aren’t talking lifestyle block landscaping of course!!). 🙂

  • catherine withers

    Hi . has anyone in Christchurch had a home built by orange. I found the initial consultation very encouraging but am new to building. What I liked was that they were happy to custom a design to our site and understood what I was wanting. Any feedback would be appreciated. Thanks in advance 🙂

  • Professional

    Do not choose Stonewood. Friends had their home in Whakatane sit for close to a year and still having issues getting it completed. Huge hassles with them all over the region from slow poor quality builds to no communication and lies.

  • MB

    Hi … we are looking at putting a house on a rural block in Kaiwaka. Has anyone used Advance Build, up Northland way? They do transportable homes – built in a factory or some such and trucked to the site.

  • Tom

    Hello I had my first round of discussions with various builders out there and am planning to use Jennian Homes Auckland North & West. Any feedback or advice would be really appreciated.
    Cheers
    Tom

  • RR

    Is there a possibility this site could have a search box to search the companies already posted? There are so many responses to troll thru and takes forever

  • It can be really hard finding a reputable online marketing company at the
    moment, just going to do it in-house I think
    Had to add you to my reading bookmarks, keep up the interesting posts!

  • Karyn

    Have you tried “The house company” they built ours and we love it. http://www.thehouseco.co.nz/ They have also been very helpful with the after build too.

    • Cyrus

      Forgot to ask Karyn. How much was the average build $ m2? Are you able to share? Thanks

    • Marilyn

      Hi
      Am just beginning the build process with them so this is great to know – especially for after build as that seems to be the problem with a lot of builders.

  • Cyrus

    Hey anyone use Signature Homes Kumeu, Auckland for their build? How was the experience and support? Went to GJ Gardner and it seems they very one dimensional and talking to them it comes across as very doubtful to pull of a design thats not from their catalog but a design that we sat and spent time to do with them. Heading for a meeting with the Signature Homes guys but thought of checking with someone who may have suggestions to how their experience was and any price indication for their per sqm? Thanking in advance.

    • Karyn

      Sorry I thought I replied to your comment but it may have gone through as a post. But I suggested you also talk to “The house company”.?

      • Karyn

        We also had a house built to our ideas. That’s maybe why I like it so much 🙂 It’s not from anyone’s plans.

        • Cyrus

          Thanks Karyn, will try finding them. Yeah totally agree.. nothing like having your own design and take on how you want to live. We visited Signature today and we they sound better than GJ guys but still when it came to understanding their price indication they went over the top and suggested between $3500 – $5000/m2. At that rate I would rather go with any private builder.. and no this was us being minimalistic with design and things we wanted to be used were not even discussed. So not sure if its us thinking its expensive or the builders just ready to rip us off. Shopping continues..

          • Simon Wilson

            Hi Cyrus,

            My name is Simon Wilson and I work at Signature Homes West as a new Home Consultant. I have read your feedback with regards to pricing and I was surprised and very disappointed by it. The numbers you have stated (between $3500 – $5000/m2) seem incredibly high and are inaccurate – unless you are building a very, very high specification home. I am sorry if you were given this information and I would love the opportunity to clarify what the true costs are.

            I’m sorry you were misinformed. I’m not sure who you spoke to and how or why you ended up with this information. It serves us no purpose giving ridiculously high pricing out (98% of those looking to build do not have that kind of budget so it’s self defeating).

            It would be useful for me to understand how this misinformation has come about and I would also like to clarify the true costs you seek, so please feel free to call me on – 09 4129010 or email simonwilson@signature.co.nz

    • Richard

      Definitely don’t use GJ Gardner. We just built with them and they definitely have no idea when it comes to design and build. If you are in Kumeu try Maddren Homes, they have a good rep and build in the area.

      • Cyrus

        Thanks for that Richard. I shall check it out.. our visit to Signature was better than GJ when it came down to understanding the design and build knowledge but when it came to pricing they went over board and were so vague and quoted $3500-$5000 without even discussing the quality etc.. they did mention how it can be less for an average house would be around that. For us its hard to believe as a volume builder rates compared to an architectural builder should be cheaper. But hey we could be wrong.. will definitely checkout Madden Homes.

        • Mornay

          If you pay more than $2,000 – $2,500 per sq mtr, for a standard build on a reasonably flat section, you are being ripped off. I am in the process of starting a build and I have done a lot of homework. I’ve have decided to go with GJ Gardner (for reasons of my own) and have not had any problems with them changing and altering designs to meet my requirements. The figure I stated came from a number of private builders, builder clients and building companies. This cost includes site work and a driveway on a relatively flat section, but no landscaping, fencing etc. Obviously there is a lot of other factors involved, like the slope of the section, earth works required, drainage and stormwater, building materials, etc, so choose wisely.

          • Jack

            Hi Mornay,

            What was the rough cost of your build with GJ? Which franchise were you with? Was it on your own section?

        • Nicolle Hook

          Hi there!

          I’m at the show home today at Maddren Homes until 4pm (248 Main Road, Kumeu) if you still haven’t chosen your builder 🙂 We are design and build so welcome any plans or ideas you have.

          Nicolle

    • Candice

      Hi, which builder did you end up using to build your house in Kumeu? I am also contemplating which builder to choose that is within our budget too. Thank you!

      • Cyrus

        Haven’t decided yet Candice. After meeting Signature even though they quoted high and some of the things the design person was mentioning a little off we drove out to Signature out in Hamilton just out of curiosity to see how they dealt with the same queries we had and to understand the build costs etc as the Kumue franchise came across as they ready to rip us off and had reasons pre prepared to make it look legit. So after our visit last weekend to the Signature guys in Hamilton we found the Kumeu guys are indeed bullshitting about the costs and also the quality for the $ figure. It put us off for sure. We even ended up asking the Hamilton franchise if they could build in Auckland but sadly they don’t. We are are still hunting.. someone here suggested Madden Homes, will check them out too. So far GJ and Signature Kumeu are not convincing and coming across very unreliable. Please do let us know if you come across someone decent.

        • Candice

          Thanks for the tips! I shall avoid GJ and Signature. Have you tried Universal? I have 2 friends who used them at Long Bay and Huapai. It seems like their experiences were good. I would like to buy their house and land packages but they are out of our budget. Also, the friend in Long Bay said that what universal quoted is what they paid for without variations or other hidden charges. Her only complaint was the after sales service took longer than she expected.

          • Marilyn

            Have you tried Maddren Homes at all???? I’m talking with them currently and they seem to be okay however a little expensive………

        • HobPointOwner

          Just finished building with GJ NorthWest (owned by same people as North Shore; Tony Houston) and it was a very drawn out costly process. We have built before (with Nautica Homes – who were amazing). Comparing the experiences this was an absolute shocker! If you build with GJ thinking you can always call the Head Office for support think again. They are not interested in helping.
          I won’t say to much on this forum as we are considering further action however what I would say is – if you are thinking of building with this GJ franchise then get a good lawyer to push back on clauses in the contract before signing. Also be prepared for your move in date to be changed several times and for you to NOT be communicated with or fobbed off on a regular basis.

        • blossom

          Cyrus, may I suggest you make a formal complaint to the Owner/Director of the Signature Homes Franchise in Albany – I know him, his wife and family personally and know he would not like to hear this is going on. You may find he may very well give you an accurate figure for what you are wanting to build.

          And Kumeu is over priced.

        • Jodie

          I wish I had gone with my gut and built with Madden homes, currently with Mike greer

          • Chrisgram

            I can understand that. We made the same mistake and even 3 years later still regret it.

          • DS

            Hi Jodie, where did you build with Mike Greer? We’re considering building with them in Millwater and would be very interested in your feedback.

    • Almost finished

      Hi there …the price per sqm thing really does not come into it….
      Get your own plans drawn up then present them to the different companies for a costing…remember to find out how much they have allowed for kitchen, carpet and tiles etc…some lower price per sqm companies can also mean low budget kitchen etc…by having your own plans you do not got locked into the deposit with the company…if you get them to draw your plans and then price it and you don’t like the price ….you have to walk away without your deposit and without the plans that you have spent many hours on.
      You need to know what their PC sums are and ask to see the quotes from which they come up with these figures….PC sum blow outs at the end can cause you a lot of stress when you have budgeted for one amount and then owe them 50K more ….tell them you want all of your decisions that are made after you meet with color consultant electrical and kitchen not to include their 180.00 odd variation fee….ask for their best site supervisor and building team…the wrong supervisor can set you back weeks with late deliveries and unorganized subbies…Remember your building company has screwed down the price rate to the subsidies so they will go in and do just the bare minimum to get the job done…any errors that come up the housing company will be looking who to on charge the extra cost to…if that is not a subbie then it could be you…
      check everything out…get kitchen and electrical quotes first before signing contract with them…get your contract looked at by a lawyer they are usually geared totally to the building company.
      Anyway I could go on and on..

    • Kim Barnett

      Strongly advise against building with Signature Homes. They call their guarantees the best in the business but they stand for nothing. Friends are living a nightmare in a leaky Signature Home in Albany which the company refuses to fix. Also suggest you do an online search for details of franchisees who’ve been ruined by Gavin Hunt and Signature Homes.

  • Adam

    Any feedback on Sentinel homes?

    • Carly

      Hey Adam, whilst we haven’t built with them I have had a lot of discussions with them via email and I must say I am very very impressed with them. Put it this way. They had a plan I liked, I told them what we wanted and they gave me a rough price that night which even stated what door handles would be used. I have done the same with A1 homes, and, well I haven’t heard back from them since March! And even then she kept dilly dallying around. So we’ve completely given up on A1 homes as their communication was utter crap.

  • Anne

    Hi, feel free to leave your email address and or phone number and I will contact you.
    Cheers

  • SAE

    Hi all,

    Any feedback on Landmark Homes Wanaka area sincerely appreciated.

  • Anne

    Yes! Hope you got everything resolved 🙂

  • Adrian

    Hi, We are looking to build in Prestons Park Christchurch. So Far we have narrowed it down to 5. Horncastle, Orange, Peter Ray, GJ Gardner and online design and build. Any reviews on these companies good or bad would be appreciated. Orange homes look good as we can do some of the work ourselves and have heard good things about Peter Ray so far.
    Cheers

    • KJ

      Have you had any reviews on GJ Gardner North Canterbury?? Or Horncastle??

    • Sally

      Hey there. Don’t have any experience with Horncastle or GJ Gardner (although there are some reviews further up this chain I think on GJ Gardner). Two friends built with Orange – one was pleased (private build) other was not (insurance rebuild). Think that the finish on both was good though. Have built twice with Peter Ray. Absolutely fabulous. Really nice people and one of the few companies that actually tell you about any extras up front and bend over backwards to sort out anything. Can thoroughly recommend them. Also have a look at Paul McStay – also very good. Good luck! 🙂

      • Adrian

        Hi Sally. Thanks for the info. We are down to 4 now. Gj Gardner is out as the consultant didn’t know what she was talking about, so didn’t get a good impression there. Others have been good with positive feedback and helpful. Plan ideas have been quick to be drawn up, so will be getting prices over next week and then make our decision. Consultant for Peter Ray has been very good and knowledgeable so is probably our front runner at this stage.
        Cheers
        Adrian

        • John

          Hi Adrian,

          We’re also in the same position. Have been impressed with Peter Ray’s team and the process looks good too. We’re down to Peter Ray, Today Homes and Horncastle with a possibility of Compass Homes and Online Design and Build. Today Homes and Peter Ray certainly seem to be good price wise, as well as having a good finish on their show homes. TH want you to pay to get it drawn up and priced though, while PR will do the whole pricing stage for free. Horncastle have been great to talk to, but we haven’t had the responses we’d expect when trying to find out how to get some pricing.
          Maxim looks good, but we don’t have the budget to work with them.
          Have heard good things about Paul McStay as well, but as we haven’t seen a show home, it’s harder to judge what they’d be like.
          Cheers
          John

          • Adrian

            Hi John
            Thanks for your info. Keep posting here with your progress as I will. Linda at Online design and build has been very good and prompt and you get the feeling she is dedicated to you plan. It is nice that they are the owners and so you you know who you will be dealing with through the whole process. James at Orange has also been good but a little less prompt, however the ideas and plans he has drawn up have been good. Lastly Erin at Peter Ray homes is very good and is making a plan and pricing at the moment, she is knowledgeable and easy to work with. As I said before the GJ Gardner consultant doesn’t have the knowledge and seems annoyed when we have come up with changes and ideas for what will be our home. Mike Greer were initially good, however when the initial design was a bit expensive, we asked for some changes to reduce costs but haven’t heard back from them in 2 weeks+ ( I think we may be too small a fish).
            Cheers
            Adrian

          • Rebecca

            Hi Adrian and John
            We are looking at building with Peter Ray in Preston Park. We have been impressed so far with their showhomes and some positive reviews but recently some comments about the project management side of it are concerning. Did you end up using them? And if so, how did they perform?

  • Catherine

    Hi All,

    We are now looking at Compass Homes House and Land package at Pokeno. Anyone who has experience with them Compass Homes Franklin (Auckland), good and bad?

    • Andrew

      Excellent. The build came in under budget and we were informed really well at all stages. Would definitely have another stress free build with them again.

  • Jan

    Hi. Has anyone had recent experience with Wilson Built Homes out at Lincoln? Just had a good recommendation.
    Also, would anyone have any thoughts about building companies using a different criteria for insurance rebuild quotes rather than just to a private paying customer?

  • Gary Buisson

    Attic Installations Ltd are cowboy builders and i would not recommend them:
    1. They turned up with wooden stairs after I had ordered steel stairs.
    2. I compromised and agreed that they could install the wooden stairs to save them another trip.
    3. They tried to rip me off with the price difference.
    4. They then did a very unsatisfactory job and wanted to charge me extra to fix the installation to ensure a tradesman like standard!!
    5. I can supply photos to anyone who doesn’t believe me.

  • Glen

    We are in the process of building with Stonewood in Rodney. Chaos! The left and right hand are doing different things. They are sending us variations to contract with huge additional costs with a complete disregard for our finances or any form of consultation before making changes. Their policy is not to give cost breakdown for these variations but instead you are expected to sign off thousands of dollars with a one line explanation in a language that someone not in the trade will struggle to understand. We are pushing back but believe me it is not making for a pleasant customer experience. I have heard that this is the same of any building company out there….it probably is…but would it not be nice to be with a company who does not make you feel fleeced every day? PS…at the time of writing this we dont even have the slab down so it is a long road ahead!

    • Anne

      GJ West Auckland, Tony Houston is exactly the same. Nightmare! I feel your pain. The left hand definitely doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. They work in silo’s and the only time they contact you is when payment is due. Have to say the workmanship is pretty average. Would never use these guys again. There is no customer experience – well not a pleasant one anyhow! Can’t wait for the market to change when they actually have to offer service to win business. Good luck with you build. Get a good lawyer.

      • Peter

        Hi Anne, that is disappointing to hear. I hope the remainder of your building experiences improves and hopefully meets your expectations.
        I’m considering entering a contract with the same GJ franchise currently. Would you be happy for me to contact you by email to discuss your experiences as well as things to watch out for?
        Kind regards,
        Peter

      • Upsetgjcustomer

        Hi I’m having a few issues with g j Gardner. The ccc is about to be issued and final payment is due however they committed to fix some issues prior to the ccc being issued. I contacted head office but they pointed me back to their franchise that I had contracted with.

        Is there anyway of stopping the final payment until they fix the outstanding issues?

        • Anne

          They will bully you into paying and promise to fix everything. Invest in a building disputes lawyer now, may cost you a couple of thousands but its the only way to hold money back and get action.
          The sales process is slick, head office offer absolutely no assistance and GJ North Shore owned by Tony Houston say don’t worry we will fix it and you get fobbed off.

          • Upsetgjcustomer

            Did you know that Tony owns the North Shore and West Auckland franchise? You were right about head office.

    • Actual Builder

      Hi there.
      Stick to it. It is very common these companies (weve built with Stonewood) to do this. The variation MUST be substantiated and justified. Do NOT pay for any variation that is NOT at your direction. It shows that they have made a mistake in pricing and is their risk, not yours.
      You are legally entitled to hold back money if you need to. Don’t be bullied. You have backing in the form of the Building Act.
      We had a very protracted process and are still awaiting CCC some 3 months later. We have held our final payment until we get the piece of paper in our hands. All variations they tried to submit we asked for detailed breakdowns .

      • Upsetgjcustomer

        Thanks I wonder if there is anyway that I can check that they only have taken the builders margin of 20% on the rest of the variations. But I really need to know how to put a hold on the CCC so they can’t get paid till I’m happy. I’ll ring the council tomorrow.

  • Kylie

    Hi, am trying to do some homework on the two franchise we are choosing for our central otago budget build. Has anyone dealt with either Jennian homes or platinum homes for this area and how did they find the experencies? Thanks

    • Pam

      All up jennian finally completed a good job. Only major problem we had was they never turned up every day to do the job. Make sure you give them a due date of completion if possible. Auckland build. We are about to build another home but not rushing to jennian but going by the comments here on this site where are the genuine good guy builders. We have no idea who to choose???

  • Kylie

    Hi, we are building in central otago area, we have narrowed it down to platinum homes or Jennian. There a some comments that don’t recommend Platinum but not much on the Southland Jennian franchise, anyone had good or bad experencies with these two? Thanks

    • Disgust with Platinum Homes

      My advice is to keep away from Platinum Homes. (MASS Construction) the noose is tighten with this company rotten service and bullying culture. I’m surprised the media hasn’t done a story on these guys.

  • Tracey

    anyone have any comments on landmark whangarei???

  • Marie

    We are currently looking at Golden Homes, Rodney, for our new build on a lifestyle block. Has anyone any experience with them? Mainly interested to know if they more or less stick to the build time and if there is much waiting time for sub contractors. Also, project management – good or bad?

    • SallyN

      Hi Marie, I did build on a lifestyle block with Golden Homes Rodney in about 2001, but I suspect it was a different owner/building company then. If it was in Chch I’d say don’t touch them with a bargepole but Rodney might be different (it was more about the people than the actual build you see). Some observations about Golden Homes though that you may want to take note of. When building on a lifestyle block you will find their PC sums in relation to electricity connections woefully inadequate. I have found all building companies only seem to include pC sums that would be for connections on a suburban section. We built in Kumeu and ended up paying about $3000 extra for the extra trenching and cable laying it required from the electrical point. The other thing with Golden Homes is that their “building guarantee” is not an independent one like Master Builders. It is provided by a company owned by the people who own the head franchise and doesn’t cover for a lot of the things a Master Builders would cover (e.g. bad workmanship/materials and loss of some moneys) it only really covers structure. On the good side I would thoroughly recommend the building with the Zog steel. The small house I had built with them has had none of the usual popping of nails, cracking of paint etc etc that you get with wooden frame. Just make sure you keep an eye on any build as it takes place as mistakes are pretty much always made and its good to nip it in the bud early. Hope some of these comments help – but hopefully someone else has built more recently with Rodney GH and can give more of an insight. 🙂

    • Richard

      Hi Marie,
      Please contact me. ricksone66@gmail.com

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  • Nadia

    Hi all. Well, I after reading many of the comments here, I am now VERY confused about choosing a building company!

    We are in the process of purchasing a section of land in the Christchurch area. We would love to have an architect designed house, but worry about the cost. We are now thinking of going with one of the “Signature” type companies offering a fixed price, but with the option of making some changes (obviously with additional costs for that). We will be building in a windy area and worry that an “off the shelf” design may not suit our site.

    Reading through these comments, I was crossing off the “baddies” from my list and have now ruled out everyone I was considering! I’m not sure if anyone can recommend a “design to build” company or an architect that will not cost a fortune, or do we just accept that we pay a fortune for an architect design and then try to find a reasonable builder?

    Thank you.

    • David

      Hi Nadia, what part of Christchurch are you looking at building? I’m about to start the process of building in Church Bay (Diamond Harbour) which is also very windy.

      We are avoiding the larger building companies and going with a smaller company (Strategic Homes) who actually use Paul McStay Homes for the build. From everything I have read I would recommend considering some of the reputable smaller companies, and they can still offer a fixed price.

      • Nadia

        Hi David.

        We are looking to buy a section in Loburn at the top of a hill with little protection, so don’t want wind to make our lives a misery. I think we may have to consider your suggestion. Thanks.

        • Chris

          Hi Nadia, and others who wrote about windy sites. Just a brief comment on this. If you’re talking about windy in the sense of being somewhere (eg hill or clifftop) where you can expect occasional very strong winds, bear in mind your architect/engineer will need to design for this in terms of possibly special window flashings and stronger framing (ie extra cost). But if you’re talking about life frequently being made a misery by wind, then you need to design the whole layout to try to put areas for outside use on the sheltered side of the house. Unfortunately that can mean they don’t face the views. All things to think about before buying the section.

    • Sally

      Hi Nadia – I would agree with David and recommend using a smaller builder. I can also recommend Paul McStay – they are a trustworthy builder several friends have built with him and very pleased. Can also recommend Greenland Homes – we have built five places with them now – he uses a very good designer called Jeff Mason who can do all kinds of designs and has some great ideas. The other builder I would recommend who is actually a bigger one is Peter Ray – we have built with them before and they are very trustworthy on price – they always tell you if something will cost more and their show homes are up front with pricing too rather than you thinking you are getting something you are not. So hopefully that will give you something to think on. Good luck. 🙂

      • Nadia

        Thanks Sally. I have looked at a few of them already, so will have another look. I appreciate the advice!

    • Tracey

      well I have perused website, and found that feedback good and bad, is helpful. I have also picked up on a number of ideas re contracts, and that thing called addendum. so have never built before so sifting through info has been a little labour intensive however have found informative. one of my observations from this site is a lot of comments made upon building companies – does not always state which franchise, people are having difficulties with… I find it such a shame that one franchisee owner can have such a negative impact on the whole franchise… at this stage, we are looking at landmark in whangarei does anybody have any comments good or bad. which would give some insight thanks…

      • Phillipa

        The guys at Landmark Whangarei asked if I would discuss my experience with them in reply to your comment. I moved in to my home in February 2015 and found the building experience with Landmark to be very positive overall. There were a few minor ups and downs but the staff were great to deal with and once the build got underway the house went up very fast and with few dramas. I love my home and would definitely recommend using Landmark Whangarei. I’m also happy to discuss the experience with you personally if you would prefer. Just ask Clint at Landmark for my details.

        • robynne

          We are considering Landmark Whangarei. Was the build on time. Is there good insurance to cmlete the build. Did you get any nasty surprises with costs during build or was it fixed price. Thankyou.

    • Chris

      I am thinking of getting GJ or A1 to build my place in rural Dunedin. Is it a good choice l? Any other recommendations? Thanks lots!

    • Kelly

      Hi Nadia, Did you end up finding a builder in North Canterbury? I would be interested to hear who you chose as there are a number of smaller builders around (and personally I’m not that keen on the larger building companies, too many horror stories and too little control over who you get as your contractor). Thanks, Kelly

  • Peter

    Hi there,

    Thinking of building a home with GJ gardner north shore franchise vs. signature homes (North Shore) currently. Its a big decision so we want to be careful. Lots of comments about GJ on this thread, but none specifically on the North Shore franchise. Can anyone comment on their building experiences with them?

    Also, heard GJ north shore franchise (Team Build NZ) is currently up for sale .. can anyone shed light on the implications of this if starting a build with them?

    Appreciate your help

    • Anne

      Hi there,

      Our building experience with GJ North Shore was dreadful. Several delayed move in dates, attention to detail is poor. They are all nice as pie and promise the world when a payment is due. In between these dates communication is poor. We are very under whelmed. Be prepared to project manage your own house and I felt that costs were not that transparent. They share with you what they want to.

      • Elena

        Hi Anne, i am about to sign with GJ North Shore – and i am keen to ask you a few questions around your comments regarding costs not being transparent and their attention to detail. Do you have an email i can contact you on directly? Thanks!

        • Thierry

          Hi Anne,

          We did not build with GJ Gardner because of the lack of details in their quotation and later on in their contract proposal. When asked for more details or specifications, they had refused to do so and we decided to drop them.

          Most of surprises and cost increases will arise as a result of poor definition of materials and services in the contract you are about to sign. To avoid surprises you should, before signing any contract, define every specification in the contract (e.g flooring manufacturer and reference number, tile manufacturer and reference number, wall paper reference, tap brand and model etc.) in addition some budget items (e.g.) foundations, driveway etc. ) should be assessed to make sure that there will not be any substantial increase (keep in mind that if the budget included in the offer as “allocation” is below real cost they will keep the surplus money for themselves but not if it is the other way around).

          Last, plan a good 10% of the build cost as a reserve as there will always be unexpected changes in specifications, some of them will be requested by you.

          • Anne

            As you point out their contract proposals etc work in their favour and the detail isn’t always available. We asked on several occasions before and after signing and they say what you want to hear. We had built before (different company) and had a great experience in every way. In hindsight we should never have built with GJ North Shore/West franchise which is owned by Tony Houston however we thought that being a big company they would be professional, that there was the backing of the head office etc etc.
            Yes we had a 10% reserve as we knew we wanted to upgrade things – little did we know we would end up spending some of that on lawyers fees.
            We are in our house now, on going issues however we are thankful that we are almost at the end of the process and we know that we will never ever build with GJ Gardner again.

        • Anne

          Hi Elena,

          If you leave a phone number I can call you. Or an email address. Cheers.

  • Sarah

    We are currently building with Generation Homes in Hamilton. Although initially I found the planning stages a little rushed for my liking, so far everything else has gone pretty smooth. Our foundations have just been poured and I’m interested to hear from others if there are things I should be keeping an eye on.

    • steve

      Hi Sarah,
      Watch everything. Generations only consideration is to complete the build in 14 weeks, regardless of what they hand you over at the end, then come back and finish the house properly under the guise of maintenance. Your with Hamilton, we were with Waipa so hopefully your build goes well, but we moved into our “dream” home and then spent the next 12 months having nearly every tradie back to fix up poor work which Generation missed (because they never looked) and we had to point out to them, and I mean two to three tradies a day at times. The maintenance in our case basically consisted of us finding a fault, reporting it to Generation whose only involvement from there was to pass on our contact details to the tradie involved. I see recently they have removed the review capability from their facebook page too , I wonder why. Anyway proceed with great caution, and like I said hopefully they have picked up their game or the Hamilton lot are better than Waipa.

      • Anon

        Thanks for this feedback. We are looking at who to use to build in Te Awamutu and will stay far away from Generation homes thanks to this feedback =)

        Have you heard anything about Davies homes?

        • steve

          Hi Anon
          Have heard of them but not seen their work. If i were building again i would probably go with RPS, classic or if i had a bit more cash Vida, who have a show home on Cambridge Park.

          • Anon

            Hi Steve,

            Yes we have also been looking at rps homes, they are very reasonably priced. And A1 homes.

            Davies Homes does a lot of the St Kilda builds I believe.

            So many choices!

  • RR

    New here, is there anyone who could advise on what to do now please? i have a new house build which is 2 years old and still has no ccc. There has been a ‘notice to fix’ in place for the past couple months.

    It took this company 1½ years to rectify things we werent happy with. Now, we feel worse off(damaged aluminium, paint on carpet, blotchy gib(even tho its already been level 5’d). We do not feel we should pay the final retainer held back (a minimal 5k). Where do we stand now please?

    • Chris

      Hi RR, I’m sure there are others reading this blog who can offer a more expert opinion, but in my view you need a lawyer who knows something about building contracts to look at yours. Because I suspect that what you can now do may depend on exactly what that says, together with any correspondence between you and the builder, and records such as site diaries, and photos you may have taken. In fact I’d be a bit surprised if you didn’t respond to me, by saying you have had a lawyer working on it for many months. It would be very difficult to say what else you should do now, or whether you can withhold payment etc, without seeing all of the above documents.

      • RR

        Hi Chris, thanks for replying. At present there is no lawyer involved as finances are tied up at the moment. We have taken thousands of pics, and have a diary of events that have been happening. We are just sick and tired of the past 2 years and want to be left alone-not wait for people to keep coming and assess things

    • SallyN

      Hey RR, its a miserable place to be, I totally get you. If you can’t afford a lawyer then a good idea would be to try the citizens advice bureau to see if they can give you some help and point you in the right direction. Is the builder a Master Builder? Do you have a guarantee in place? Because that would be the next step if so. Good luck.

      • RR

        HI Sally, no not a master builder and we have the usual build guarantees in place. I’ve thought of going thru the disputes tribunal tho.

  • David

    Has anyone in Christchurch had any experience dealing with Strategic Homes?

  • Christine

    Is anyone building with GJ Gardners Christchurch South at the moment? Just wondering how you are finding them. What is their communication like? Is there any delays in the build process. What is the workmanship like?

    Thank you

  • Ian Durbin

    Quick comment, please don’t call my number regarding homes that you should or should not build in Nelson. Someone I know well is repeating things made in confidence. This will stop. Ian Durbin. This is the end of the matter!

  • David

    I’m waiting on repairs for an existing house in Christchurch before I start my build (in Diamond Harbour).

    This seems like as good a place to get advice on this as anywhere, but I’m interested in a two storey house with a living area upstairs along with a master bedroom, and then 3 bedrooms/kitchen/living area downstairs. I pretty much can’t find any existing plans online for 2 storey houses that have a living area upstairs unless the kitchen is up there too. Am I going to be stuck with a custom plan to get this, and is there a good reason this arrangement isn’t common?

    • Sally

      Hi David – try Landmark. A friend is building with them up at Westmorland and she told me she had specifically chosen because they do a lot of 2 storey and she wanted a living area upstairs. She said they had plans she didn’t have to change much 🙂

    • Joane

      In Nelson we have a company called The Orange Group / BQD, hearing quite a lot of negative feedback about them. Their sales tactics involve criticising other home builders methods of building and offering fixed priced contracts that turn out not to be as fixed as you may think!? They keep prices low by quoting very low coverage of kitchens / bathrooms etc. If you are building with them, please make sure you have images of everything you want and have them sign it / your specs may not match what you are expecting otherwise. Seriously, this is a company you should avoid from what I have heard. Milestone, and Jennian are company’s here in Nelson that have a good reputation, and stick with their fixed contracts. Their allowance for kitchens etc are higher so less chance of a variance. Good luck with your ventures. Joane ;o)

  • Have had a look at many of these comments and my comments as follows.

    I am considering a new or major refurbishment and I have time to do considerable investigation. Some observations.
    Most people do not read the contract before signing or if they do skim over it and any queries whitewashed by the sales team.
    You cannot tar the franchisees of a particular franchise with the same brush. One might be useless in one area and good in another.
    I believe its too much effort for a franchisee to change their standard contract, most likely supplied by the franchisor and perhaps a few extra mods/additions by the local franchisee.
    While investigating a new build during 2015, Platinum Homes in New Plymouth would not change their standard contract. The contract is waited in the franchisees favour. The one post on GJ Gardener confirms my statement. Would be useful to hear from any one else on this aspect.
    Contractors in general, not just builders rub their hands if you make specification changes during the contract. They make money out of this.
    PC sums. You can do your own homework on this from a cost perspective. PC sums usually for kitchens, tap ware, bathrooms and lighting.
    If you don’t have time to do any legwork then be prepared to pay extra on PC sums as what you select is likely to exceed the sum allowed by design.
    One advantage with one of the bigger franchises is the possibility of them having tied up material supplier to get volume discounts not available to the small one man builder. This has to be weighed up against possible better service and lower overheads of the small builder.
    Having lived in SA most of my life and in NZ for the last 18 years I’ve come to the conclusion that builders are opportunists and will take as many shortcuts as possible and more if given half the chance.
    This is probably a world wide phenomena as well. As an Engineer I am glad that since the leaky homes debacle and Chch earthquake that the building standards have been tightened up and Licensed Building Practitioners are required to do building work. There are some people who call this red tape. I welcome it even if it adds $10 to $20k to the cost of a house.

    • Amanda

      Hi, We are about to start building in Glendowie and are trying to decide whether to go with an individual builder (who we trust) or a building company for simplicity (and maybe cost). What do people recommend, also has any one had experience with the company BUILD7 in south auckland. many thanks

      • Di

        Hi Amanda – we are in Kohi and are in the same dilemma. We are thinking of using Jalcon but have some concerns over unique design etc. I would be interested in knowing what you have decided? Cheers

        • Mandy

          Hi Di, my advise is stick with who you trust. If you go with these housing companies you’ll only end up paying more in the long run, oh and there is no such thing as simplicity when building. They are after all only sales people, not the actual builder, and the discounts they may get because they buy in bulk, are exactly that, low disc quality. If you already have a relationship with a good builder and an a reputable architect, then stick with them. You only need to count how many “againsts” on this blog alone. What this blog doesn’t tell you, is how many go through legal action!!

      • Rachel

        Hi Amanda, have you tried Cranston Homes? I learned about them from this site and visited their show homes. They even gave us a house tour and show us some amazing houses they designed and built in Orewa, Red Beach, Northshore and Auckland areas. Man, we are so glad we checked out this site for advice. Our house is not finished yet but we are very happy so far!!

    • Rick

      Talk about a hypocrite Nigel. “Builders are opportunists and take ….shortcuts…” have you forgotten who was at fault in the CTV building in CHCH, try telling the families of the ones who lost their lives in that building that the ENGINEER did it right! As a builder your comments are offensive. We are not ALL opportunists. We are tasked with converting pretty 1 dimensional pictures on a bit of paper into 3 dimensional 1:1 scale structure, usually a clients most expensive asset.
      The work is physical and mental, if we could get even close to your charge out rate it woud be a great day.

  • Megan

    Hi all,
    We are currently looking to build in Redbeach, Rodney. We have read quite a few negative comments about various building companies like GJ Gardener. can anyone recommend a good design and build company that you’ve used and had good experience with?
    Thanks!

    • Mike Powell

      1 week out from completing a reasonably large build with GJ Rodney, I can provide a further update here. Our build has been a roller coaster, we have had highs, we have had lows but I think with the best level of planning this is an inevitability. We have had our moments, but with constant vigilance, some necessary rework and calling things out, the result looks good.

      One thing you won’t see with GJ is a delay in getting started, they are quick to get the ball rolling. That said one of the things I would recommend is being a lot tougher with the contract negotiation, specifically LD’s for delay, and a more equitable final payment and warranty period. Their contract is very much their contract and they need to wake up here.

      In any project building or otherwise you have the delta to manage between sales and planning phase and then the actual delivery. GJ’s selling machine is pretty slick, possibly too slick and you will feel a bump when the post sale experience kicks in. Spend the time and be as specific as possible in the spec, it minimizes cost surprises later and also reduces ambiguity between you said and they said. Read it , study the plans and if you think there is something wrong or a deviation, call it out . Have an independent advisor confirm your concerns. Just don’t assume that everything that is happening is right.

      If you don’t have confidence in their PM , demand they swap them out. You can’t set and forget a building project , you need to be involved. At the same time you need a PM that is approachable, takes responsibility, can manage pressure that comes with pulling a multithreaded delivery together and is on top of everything. The same applies to sub contractors proposed for the build. Where possible find out who they are, meet them and form your own impression.

      Happy for you to come and take a look at the result. You can even see the state the property is left in at handover. Email me mjpowell@mac.com I know how big a choice of builder can be. You need to take the time , look around and talk to people who have been through the process with your likely shortlist suppliers. Show homes, brochures and media advertising do not provide a balanced view.

      The big question would I use GJ again? With the learnings from this build, they would be on my shortlist for sure but with some definite modifications to the whole approach.

      • Lauren

        Your build sounds like how our build went with GJs Rodney – The sales man was excellent and very approachable. Then the build started off really fast (with some weather delays which were out of our control but what you’d expect building in Winter). They managed to complete almost everything and get us in before Christmas with the promise that they’d fix the remainder and sort out CCC after everyone was back at work – we believed them, paid all the outstanding money and now are still waiting for them to come back and complete work that was in the contract… They’ve been replying to our emails and stuff so I hope they’ll be back soon to complete everything but it’s a very frustrating position to be in… BUT we love our house, the finish is excellent and more than we hoped for. The design we picked suited us perfectly after a few modifications and everyone there is more than willing to help you. We would definitely build with GJs again but we would make sure the house is just the way we want it with everything completed before paying the last of the money and moving in

      • Marilyn

        Hi
        Thanks for your post here which is most informative. I’m thinking of building with GJ Rodney – sales machine is slick for sure and they’ve so far outdone anyone else for approach, helpfulness etc., however I’m only in early stages. Also considering working with The House Company who so far I’ve heard good things about. My first build project so any suggestions I’d welcome with appreciation.

    • Irene Kingsford

      Ian Do not use Platinum Homes Rodney as some friends of ours have had a terrible experience with the management and we lost all faith when we built in Karaka with them and would never recommend them at all

      • Richard

        That hear say Irene. Could you be more specific?

        • irene Kingsford

          It is not hear say Ian. It is first hand experience. We contracted Platinum to build our home and once the deposit was made we became irrelevant to their team. We were treated disrespectfully. with arrogance as if we didn’t know anything about building houses. My husband has been building for 50plus years and is now 68 years old. Due to ill health and little return on bank interest we got Platinum to build a home on a section that we not sell to us but could employ them to build after we bought it. The delays, the costing of variations for upgrades were on a average of 35% markup. The franchise owner and his son run the show and we had to take them to court for remedies to be made. I hope thus helps you decide never to build with Platinum Homes

    • Rachel

      Megan you should really give Cranston Homes a call, they are very active in Orewa / Red Beach area. I have just replied to Amenda before I saw your question. We had a design drawn up by a draftsman we are familiar with and got a number of builders to price. Cranston Homes was the only one who went an extra mile – their pointed out a few thing that hugely improved the design and maximised the sun. We were so thrilled. Our house is on the shore. Shoot us a PM we are happy to show you the amazing work they have done for us.

      • Jellybean

        Hello Rachel I was wondering how your house build with Cranston is going/ went. We are having some hassles with them as his cash flow seems to be very slow. did you have that hassle?

    • Becky Duncan

      Hi Megan, we are a local design and build company and can provide local contact details from previous clients for referrals. We are based in Whangaparaoa.
      Website still under construction 🙂 but don’t hesitate to give us a call moving forward.
      Cheers,
      Becky@duncanbuildingservices.co.nz

      • Mike

        We built with GJ in Rodney.. Any building company that guarantees no surprises is smoking crack. The nature of the process will see unforeseens even with best planning. We are overall very satisfied . Happy to share the experience and what we learnt and would do differently next time.

  • JJ

    Hi,

    I’m planning to build a house in Christchurch. I saw couple of builders including stonewood & trident homes. My maximum budget is 500K for everything. I’m looking for a house around 240m2 size. Could you please suggest some good builders for me to approach.

    Looking forward. Cheers

    • Hi JJ – you could always try our Building Guide website to find a builder. Go here for Canterbury builders – cheers
      Mark

      http://www.buildingguide.co.nz/builders/canterbury/

    • Sally

      Hi JJ, when you say $500K “for everything” do you mean build/landscaping or do you mean including the section in there? If just for the build then great but if you are including a section then that would be very tight, even if you are buying in Rolly or somewhere. However, in the meantime some great builders with good ethics are Peter Ray Homes (have built twice with them), Greenland Homes (excellent pricing for the spec) and Paul McStay Builders. 🙂

      • JJ

        Thank you so much for your suggestions. I’m trying to include section and home only. I saw some sections in Rolleston under 180K. So my actual budget for building house is around 320K only.

        • dw

          I’m looking at building this year and from everything I’ve read $2000 per m2 seems like a realistic budget you should be looking at. If you’re looking at 240m2 you’re likely going to need to up your budget substantially or decrease your house size (maybe 200m2 is achievable at that price?).

          • Sally

            Yep, totally agree with dw. Was just about to type the same thing. 🙂

          • Hi DW/Sally
            That $2000 m2 is a pretty basic, standard house. If you want an architect involved then you’re looking at starting at $2500-3000 and going up. The size doesn’t generally affect the $m2 price but obviously will to the overall cost of the build. There’s more information here…http://www.buildingguide.co.nz/planning/building-costs/

          • Sally

            Exactly Mark, couldn’t agree more. Its getting pretty ridiculous for pricing down here lately. Have been doing a few house developments lately and we pay about $1800 ourselves (that’s for a fairly high spec – tiled showers, smart kitchen etc) but that’s developer prices, not “consumer” prices. Its way higher if you go to a housing company. Some are particularly expensive. JJ – There are some housing companies that build off-site now and seem a bit cheaper (saw one on a TV show recently) but it looks like they are mostly in the North Island and not sure if they “ship” them down here. Worth googling though??. 🙂

          • Skilled builder

            I disagree. $2k a m2 is actually pretty high spec. Your basic GJs is approx. $1400 a m2. At 150m2 house that’s $205k.
            Which is what we paid a couple of years ago. Rates haven’t gone up much and I think it this house is now $1450 a m2 but you get a lot more built into the price.
            $2k is a Stone wood or A1 at a higher spec or high spec GJ.

          • JJ

            Planning to go and see couple of show homes this weekend and meet more builders to see the possibilities.. Will update you the outcome soon. Thank you so much for your suggestions.

          • James

            Hello JJ – One option to reduce the cash outlay is to do some of the work yourself. Especially valid if you are not pressed for time. There are specialist jobs that require meeting standards, but a lot of finishing work can be done yourself with some simple tools.
            there are a few websites to get these off too – intex.co.nz, buildonline.nz to name some

          • James is correct – you can elect to do some finishing work yourself, like painting. I wouldn’t recommend plastering unless you know what you’re doing as a high level of finish can be difficult to achieve. Just remember that there’s a time commitment here and exterior painting of timber weatherboards is needed for CCC.

            Of course, you can buy the tools James refers to at most building merchants, too.

          • JJ

            Any experience with the company online design & build?

    • Skilled builder

      Avoid Stonewood like the plaque. Good sales teams, appear to build nice homes but the actual end result and painful process are not worth it.
      Just look at the Hamilton and Marlborough branches going under and SW Chch aren’t doing a thing to help those poor people complete.
      I would recommend GJs, Classic and Signature however.

      • Dilemma

        Hi, just a point about Stonewoods – maybe an interaction with them should been viewed through rose coloured glasses. Asking them wether they have enough money to pay their subbies to finish the job would be a good placd to start! Then the house buyer wouldnt be disappointed & the subbies would be able yo pay their staff.

        • Skilled builder

          Fairly naïve response. Just asking them to be honest wont work. They lied on their disclosure statement to us. So why would they be honest about paying their subs.
          Eyes wide open. Run the contract past a lawyer, school yourself on the minimum information to be provided in the contract. I’m in the business and still got caught out.
          If the information that is supposed to be provided was correct, we wouldn’t have gone with them. But you don’t know until you know and now we know. This will form the basis of our court case against them.

    • Kat

      Hello. We’ve built with Generation Homes last year. No hassle at all. Our agent is really wonderful. She’s with us the entire journey and still checks up on us if we have any issues or concern. I am more than happy to share our experience with you regarding Generation Homes.

      • Sarah

        Hi which branch of Generation Homes did you build with? We are currently building with Generation Homes in Hamilton and although there have been some teething issues overall we are happy so far.

        • Kat

          Hi Sarah! We built with Generation Homes Christchurch. It’s been four months since we moved in and our impression with Generation Homes has not changed. They have the 90-day build guarantee to repair defects and all. We can barely find issues with the workmanship.

    • Mike Powell

      Looked at Stonewood here in Auckland. Suffice to say, did not proceed.

    • Rst

      Stay clear of Platinum Canterbury

      worst mistatke i have made
      They are Trouble and not worth the effort
      Try anyone else but stay clear of this company
      we are going through legal steps

      • Bitten

        I agree whole heartedly. They are rubbish. The CEO is full of it, talks the talk, but dosent walk the walk. They will take for ever to do anything, promise you the world – and deliver nothing short of pathetic. The CEO is driven by greed, with no thought to the multitude of staff he has gone through and he definately does not regard his clients as his business. Dont even walk in the door of Canterbury, Southland, Wellington, Manawhatu or Wairarapa, which are all owned by the same person and based on the Kapiti Coast. All the licenses are run remotely from there so the support is nothing, they virtually have no competent sales persons left or supervisors to manager your project. You will always be asked ahead of contract to pay each progress payment – but I hope you have time to wait if you are asking for a credit or variation request, absolutley no rush in this department. If you dont believe the numerous blog sites and very poor reviews this man/company has reveived – ask for some references from them, they won’t be able to give you any positive feedback from past clients.
        Good luck with any building project that anyone is undertaking – just walk right past Platinum Homes and this man.

        • Irene Kingsford

          Also keep away from Platinum Homes Karaka (Auckland) and Pukekohe. There are comments on this blog about the way they have treated clients. The same franchise owner owns both branches .and I had to take him to court to get some action. I would not recommend Platinum Homes to anyone at all

        • I know first hand

          This is so true treats staff like they are dirt he has little man but thinks he has a big head I know what he has done to clients and staff and he should not be able to employ staff ,Total rude and puts them down ,does the big spill about going to pay you ex amount for the houses you sell and then doesn’t pay you shame on you ,one day this will come back to you when your not looking

    • jacksonp

      Don’t go near Stonewood Homes in Christchurch. I went there and have rued that decision for the last 3 years. The quality of workmanship is appalling, the customer service non existent, the build time took twice as long as my previous build leaving me out of pocket many $$$$’s. Fixing the problems with the build will take years and if not fixed during Stonewood’s warranty period will have to get done under the Master Build Guarantee . I see they are restructuring and have brought in some heavy hitters but that will not change anything. They got greedy, took on too much work, employed below par sub contractors and instead of protecting a reputation with good customer service and a quality product ended up alienating a lot of people and lost a lot of potential clients.

      • Skilled Builder

        Same as us. Do not engage with Stonewood Tauranga. Similar story poor poor poor quality from a sub that ended up walking after stuffing up framing to the degree its now not fixable. Stonewoods QA is non existent and although coming to an agreement with their GM the branch owner has reneged on that deal which leaves us in the position of them thinking they will get all of their final payment and walk away scot free. Unfortunately, they have struck the wrong people to battle.

  • Manny

    Hi,
    We are planning to build our first home in Wellington. We are thinking of GJ gardner or A1.
    Does anyone have any experience with either of them ?
    Also please suggest your recommended builder and why.

    Thanks heaps 🙂

    • And Hi Manny
      Here are our Wellington builders for you to check out…
      http://www.buildingguide.co.nz/builders/wellington-1/
      cheers
      Mark

    • Michelle

      Hi,

      We are in the same situation as you, looking for some (any!) feedback on Wellington builders, especially GJ Gardner, A1 or Estilo…. Russell Homes too.
      Not sure if its a good thing I can’t find anything about pretty much any in Wellington?

    • Mike Powell

      Manny, coming to the end of s lengthy build with GJ’s, sadly the delivery experience has fallen well short of the sales pitch. Would be happy to provided you some pointers throughout the lifecyle, from moderating the sales pitch, pushing back on the contract (it is onerous and unfairly favours GJ with little willingness to budge), PM quality , Design validity, Communication. We have identified a number of learnings. Reality you are dealing with s large company focussed on closing the deals, not so interested in partnering with their customer during delivery. Don’t for moment be taken in by the ” we make it easy, end to end” pitch. You need to be all over the detail. Our experience with GJ Gardiner in recent has taken us from being raving fans to extremely disillusioned. Feel free to email me and I will share more

      • allan

        HI, We wondered which area of Wellington your franchise was based. We are wanting to buildout the kaputt Coast and GJGardner has been recommended but we have also heard of people in the Wellington area having problems. We are not sure how many franchisees act in the area.

      • cj

        Hi there,

        MIke, what issues did you have with GJ? And who was your salesperson?

  • Rav

    Currently building with Generation Home Chch (just started) things are going smoothly at the moment. Is there anything I have to keep eye on during this building process.
    Comments are highly appreciated
    Thanks

    • steve

      Built with them in Cambridge so not a direct comparison but I would say watch anything and everything. Their 14 week build ‘claim’ means excess pressures on their contractors to rush a job to meet a target often at the expense of quality. Visit the site as often as you can and get straight onto them if there’s the smallest thing your not happy with. They chucked ours together and we’ve taken a year of fix ups to get the house to where it should have been when we moved in certainly way beyond anything you could have deemed “maintenance”. Target driven company rather than quality driven. Like I said that’s Cambridge not Chch so hope your build goes better than ours.

    • steve

      Built with them in Cambridge so not a direct comparison, but I would recommend daily site visits if you can and keep an eye on everything they do, they are a time driven rather than quality driven company and will do what ever it takes to achieve their 14 week build time often at the expense of doing a proper job. We have taken a year of call backs and reworks to get our Generation home even close to where it should have been when we moved in. Like I said not Chch so hope they are better than the Cambridge lot and your hope your build goes well.

  • Hi all
    apologies for those who posted over the New Year break – I’ve been away around the East Cape and had limited access to the internet. All comments are up now.
    cheers and happy new year (and happy house building).

    Don’f forget to check out our new site design – http://www.buildingguide.co.nz. It’s fantastic (if we do say so ourselves) and for design insipiration – http://www.designguide.co.nz – there’s some absolutely stellar content in there around house design.

  • Hi,
    Any suggestion for building in Hamilton, Waikato area? I’ve booked for an appointment with Urban Homes (Hamilton-base builder) but doesn’t seem to have any reviews on them when you look up on the net. Also wants to be in the loop on who to work with for my first home.

    • Thierry

      Hi Faith,

      we have just taken possession of our house from Platinum in Cambridge. The level of finish was beyond our expectations and they did a marvelous job. More important was the quality of communication btween us that allowed a quality build. let me know if you want more details or a phone call.
      regarea Thierry

    • Lesley

      Did you get any advice? I am also looking to build in the Waikato, Tamahere actually. I was wondering if you are going with Urban Homes as I was thinking of using them also? The guy I met with didn’t seem too interested, left the meeting for a while to chat with some other people, was supposed to get back to me three days ago and I still haven’t heard from him. I think this is because my budget is under $300k for the build.

      • Frank

        I don’t know about urban homes in Hamilton, but in Wellington, I would not recommend Urban Homes / Competitive Homes at all. Our experience was; one where they did not meet promises, time frames and sometimes just flat out lying.

  • Ann

    Hello, I am going to post something might be irrelevant to the topic and I am very sorry about this. Can anyone please recommend a company or builder who does good/certified builders report in Christchurch? I am in the process of searching/buying a house and I know absolutely nothing about houses … Thanks very much in advance!

  • MP

    We are looking to build in West Auckland. We are considering Signature, GJ Gardner or Generation based out of Rodney. Has anyone had any experiences recently with any of these that they can share?
    Mark, thank you starting this blog and also Building Guide. Seems like Godsent for people like me who don’t know where to start and who to contact.

    • TS

      Hi MP,

      We are currently building with GJ Gardner Rodney West and I wouldn’t build with them again. The communication has been awful and their project managers seem overworked. We have caught a large number of things that they have done wrong or missed. We have a disagreement currently about the measurements of the kitchen deviating from the signed plan. The good thing is that there has been no price increases (so far).

      If I have one piece of advice it is to ensure the contract has the right protection for you in it and when I build again I will have a communication schedule included as part of the agreement. That way I can ensure I know what is happening and can catch any issues before they become too big.

      • Mike Powell

        Totally agree , coming to the end of a large build with GJ. Having experienced what we have to date , I would not use them again. Totally agree re the comment from TS on contracting. Their contract is onerous, one sided and they refuse to move on any point. I raised this concern and was basically told we are big, we are the best, you have nothing to worry about. The reality, yes you do. Project Management is sloppy, communication is a challenge and all up a pretty dismal customer experience

      • MP

        Thank you TS.

    • Mike Powell

      Finishing a large build with GJ, Be very careful. Not out to bag them but happy to share our experience and the things you need to be aware of with GJ in Rodney. In short a slick sales engine but sloppy delivery.

      • Shannon

        Hi Mike we are in the process of building with GJ Rodney any advice would be appreciated 🙂 smgodfrey@gmail.com

        • Lauren

          I would suggest to not pay all money over and move in before you are 100% happy with everything – they managed to get our house ready just before Christmas with a few minor things which needed touching up but now almost 2 months after moving in we are still waiting for someone to come back and fix those things – we have no leverage, they have all their money so have no need to come back, we still don’t have Code of Compliance and it doesn’t really seem like they care or are going to do anything about it

      • Pramod

        Hi Mike, please could you give me your contact details if you its ok. We are looking to build our first home and our primary choice is GJ. Currently the land we have shortlisted is in Makarau further north from Kaukapakapa. A basic design in a rural land. Or please email me on pramodravi86@gmail.com
        Thank you in advance!
        Pramod

      • Tim

        Hi Mike, currently building with GJ and would like to hear your experience please housebuildexperience@gmail.com

  • Claire

    Hi, Can anybody give me feedback on their experiences of building with Signature Homes Northland as we are considering building with them? I have not found any feedback apart from their site.

    • Lauren

      My friends are building with Signature Homes in Rodney and they’ve had a whole heap of problems – majorly under estimating the PC sums and ending up with a massive bill – they screwed up 3 key feature points in the house and the big boss doesn’t care or want to try and find a solution

      • Graeme

        Major under estimating of a PC sum is a major problem for the Company and a small one for you. If the item is listed as PC Sum in the schedule then the final cost must mot exceed that amount by more than 10%. Contract law.

        • Chris

          Hi Graeme, I’d be interested to know where you got that figure of 10%, because based on the meaning of PC (Prime Cost) Sum I do not see how it can be correct. It is usually taken to mean an allowance for materials to be supplied by the contractor, but on which the principal (owner) has yet to make a final decision. The actual price is to be substituted for the allowance in due course. So for example, they might put in a PC Sum of $1K for an oven, but if you decide you want an oven that costs $2K, then you have to pay the $2K. So the onus is on you to look at the PC Sums before you sign the contract, to make sure they accurately reflect what you might later choose.
          Do not confuse PC Sum with Provisional Items, Sums or Quantities. These are for things like earthworks, foundations and drainage, where only estimates of quantities or sizes etc can be made during design, as the final figures might depend on things like soil conditions, or in some cases what the Council might require in the final design. In this type of case you’re much more in the contractor’s or engineer’s hands to make realistic estimates of what might come up. But of course in general the builder will tend to want to err on the low side, because if he’s too conservative it may actually put you off giving him the job. So most engineering/building contracts would include a contingency sum (allowance for the ‘unexpected’, and that’s not you choosing a more expensive oven!) of at least 10% of the total contract price.

  • Mike

    Hello everyone

    We are looking to build our new home in Hamilton
    Does anyone have any experience with landmark homes or burns construction in Hamilton?
    Burns construction based in Hamilton http://www.burnsconstruction.co.nz/

    Cheers!
    Mike

  • Stu

    Having built a couple of homes in Nelson and knowing a number of people who have also built I wanted to share my knowledge. We chose Milestone Homes as we liked their approach with the showhome being standard and we knew exactly what we were getting. This isn’t common and friends have been caught out by misleading reps / companies. We dealt with Adam who we had a great connection with and was very helpful. They were upfront with time frames and had the house finished within 17 weeks from wo to go.
    Orange were quick to put everyone down but have a reputation for poor quality and going over budget. Friends built with Signature and had a lot of extra’s through the process and as I’ve read on here there are a lot of unhappy GJ Gardner customers. Jennian have a strong reputation for quality & service and haven’t heard any negative comments.
    Hope this helps potential builders.

  • Mandy

    Bloggers, why waste our time making comments on this type of blog!! GUYS WHO ARE WE? Mere homemakers, some first home builders and ignorant at building!! What good does it do to make less than favourable comments on a blog site like this – don’t bother!!! We need the government to sort these dishonest group building companies out.

    Yes whatever it is that your company does, no matter how you do it, you make a promise to each and every customer that darkens your virtual door. You enter into a contract, even if the terms aren’t explicitly stated. The consumer pays you something, and you promise to provide a product or a service. There are pledges of quality and quickness. Customer service involves living up to your word on these matters, but it really gets to shine when something goes wrong – correct?

    Here’s the thing. Mistakes are opportunities — golden ones. Here’s why. Studies show that a satisfied customer will tell 2-3 people about his experience with your company. A dissatisfied consumer will share their lament with 8-10 people and some will push that number to twenty and those twenty people will tell 100 people and so on. Is this bog site going to that many unassuming new home building families?

    But here’s the opportunity. An unhappy customer will become a loyal consumer if you fix his complaint and do it quickly. Eighty percent (80%) of these folks will come back to you if you’ve treated them fairly. That percentage rises to the upper 90s if you respond immediately. Every day you have the chance to transform your mistakes into returning customers — the kind who will tell other people good things about you. Imagine that.

    It is not so much the trades & suppliers who work for these group housing companies, (who, by the way are screwed down for the cheapest rate and then have to wait a month in Sundays to get paid), it is the actual group housing franchisees, who are making a killing in more ways than one, abusing us along the way.

    What is happening to the 1128 comments on this site, are the housing companies even bought to task about some of the horrendous dishonest behaviour and shoddy customer service when something goes wrong? We say get together and petition the government. We have taken this to our MP and lawyer, maybe you should do the same, and then maybe we can get some traction on this site. Otherwise post this site to your FB page and make an even bigger fuss.

    • Hi Mandy
      Great comments and well done for taking it higher. There are a number of us working in this area, trying to educate consumers and hold building professionals and the Govt to task for poor work. Notables are the Home Owners and Buyers Association – http://www.hobanz.org.nz, and my own Building Guide – http://www.buildingguide.co.nz.

      It’s not easy, especially when there is resistance within the industry itself because they don’t WANT to be held accountable.

      This blog site is useful in that it can warn people about specific operations that are particularly poor, so it’s more than just an opportunity to whinge. Hopefully people who are building will also look to educate themselves by using the Building Guide and hopefully prevent many of these issues from cropping up in the first place.

      I’m always up for a chat, too. 09 360 8885 x2 or email me at mark @ aim-high.co.nz (gaps so the spammers can’t get me).

      • Mandy

        Thanks for your quick response Mark. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not discouraging the use of your blog, but it needs to go a great deal higher and URGENTLY!!! Totally agree with your comment re warning people and the industry not wanting to be made accountable, (that’s obvious), however your site just isn’t warning enough people, as the whole debacle continues to be a nightmare and the housing companies are getting away with it because of the need for cheap housing. Perhaps you need to broadcast it more widely somehow or advertise it on Fair Go or the likes. Just an idea.

        • No worries – always good to have someone to share frustration with. I am currently trying to engage with MBIE who administer the Licensed Building Practitioner scheme as some research I have recently done indicates poor consumer awareness of new regulations and appalling administration by LBPs around certain new mandatory requirements. Going to the Minister (Nick Smith) is the next step and then the media if necessary, but that’s unlikely to get real change going – it’s more likely to a brief sensation and then the problem will disappear again. If someone else was willing to do that, however…

          As I mentioned, feel free to call/email me to discuss. I will also forward your comments on to the senior person at MBIE I’m dealing with.
          cheers
          MG

    • Chris

      Hi Mandy, I’m responding to you because Mark seems to read most of these posts. I don’t disagree with what you’re saying, except perhaps to point out that this blog is of course one of the ways that those happy or unhappy customers can express their opinion, and if necessary warn others of problems. There is also another site where they can put up reviews on specific builders. These should reach a far wider audience than just telling your friends.
      Having said that, I remain amazed at how many people seem to come on this blog asking for an opinion on a particular builder, when a quick look through would tell them not to go near him. Seems once people have set their heart on using a builder they don’t want to hear negative opinions. But I guess that applies to lots of things.
      One other point, regarding the Government doing something. Based on some horrendous issues, like the ‘leaky homes’ problems, I don’t have a high opinion of the NZ government’s ability to resolve this kind of thing. But to be fair they did amend the Building Regulations in January to make building contracts much more favourable to home builders. Mark might help us all by outlining briefly what those changes were. Since I doubt that many (any?) actual building works have started under those new regulations it will be interesting to see what effect they have in keeping rogue builders under control.

  • Jane

    Hi there, is it possible for new home owners to move into a completed house prior to Code of Compliance being issued? Our new home will sit finished & empty for approx. 1 month prior to Code of Compliance so we’d love to move in ahead of schedule. Is this the norm? Guess I’m just wondering whether we’ll be covered by our insurance company etc and whether we’d hinder the Code of Compliance process?

    • Sally

      Yes you can. Depends usually on your bank and your insurance company but we have found that most will now accept the final inspection certificate and will give you the final payment and insurance (we are with ANZ and they have accepted the final inspection) and we have insured in the past with Vero but I think most will accept now. You would usually have to sign a waiver for the building company. Enjoy your new home! 🙂

      • Skilled builder

        Concurr re insurance and bank. Another option is get the builder to issue a Safe and Sound through the council. This is basically a cert of public use and gives legal entitlement to occupy. This would be acceptable under insurance.

    • Quantity Surveyor

      You can, but… Code of Compliance is the Council’s reassurance that the building complies with the Building Code. It requires statements from relevant trades and their registration numbers etc. for accountability purposes. Technically you’re not supposed to move in as it could be deemed unfit for habitation until Code of Compliance is issued. If your builder has used a relevant sub-trade that isn’t licensed then CoC may be refused (i.e. unlicensed electrician or blocklayer). That said, if you’re confident it will pass, then your local council is hardly going to issue an eviction notice within a month and most will usually let is pass.

      It has become fairly common practice for building companies to hand over the keys on receipt of final payment rather than Code of Compliance.

  • Maryka

    Hi,
    Has anyone build with either GJ/Horncastle recently in Rolleston CHCH, about to signed a contract with one of them, trying to decide with one is it going to be… Any pros or cons will be helpfull

  • paul wilson

    Hi, this is a great web site, I would like to post comment on 3 different house building companies that we have had building our new homes over the last 6 years. how do I post comments?

  • Skilled builder

    So…building with Stonewood Tauranga. I am a builder and project manager with no time to build my own home. Do i regret that decision now! 6 months before getting on site. A shift 3 times of end dates and still missing time frames. Very very poor quality build. Frames that werent aligned correctly and pinned down. Im talking anywhere from 9mm to 45mm due to not string lining bottom plates. I still have walls out 20mm and a bulkhead out 40mm. Holes in the roofing underlay. Frames not nailed off. Cladding not on but batts installed. Missing blocking for valley boards. They missed pre piping the gas! Ive had half the gutter on for a month with no sign of the rest. Changing plans without notice or confirmation or acceptance. No communication (until invoicing time then we get calls once a day). Poor poor poor company to deal with. A very unhappy process for my poor wife to have her dream home treated in such a way. We are still in the process and it will almost be 12 months by the time they finish. Ive taken some trades off them and managed them myself with no problems so they havent even had to manage the entire build and still cannot get it right. Kevin Norris….you run a very bad company trading in shoddy workmanship and i have had enough.Time to speak out and warn others off your company.

  • Bobigglez

    Anyone have any comments on Wildwood/grove homes in Christchurch? Thanks!

    • Helen

      Hi i can tell you we built with Keith Hay 3 years ago and are still living the memory

      • Annette

        Helen .. are you still reliving the nightmare of Keith Hay Homes. We moved into our Keith Hay Homes last October .. It would be fair to say they virtually threw the keys at us. I fought them every inch of the way on issues ..we would of been considered hard customers and while I was in their Drury showroom I overheard one of their sales representatives talking to another about a contract and whether the customers would be hard to deal with .. so I suspect they word there contracts as to the personality of the customer if you get my drift.
        We moved in without a CCC because we had stuff to finish ourselves.. The inspection went through with out an issue but there were three pieces of paper Keith Hay had to come up with to get CCC. We are still waiting after 10 weeks for them to come up with them… getting close to our 60 days. We had paid our final settlement date and now they are asking us for more money.. ??? interesting as it was all signed as final settlement. Grrr I personally think the buck stops at the top.. They are mean’t to be a Christian organisation with good values.. haven’t seen any of that.

    • Helen

      Hi we had a dreadful experience with Keith Hay Builders. I would go with a private builder next time

  • Michelle

    We are looking to build in Kerikeri – can anyone recommend a good house build company? Or warn us of who to avoid?! We’re after a 4-5 bed home for a family with possible self contained unit / second dwelling on site also. We like Box Homes but not sure if anyone has dealt with them in Kerikeri (or elsewhere in NZ)? We also like Platinum, but the reviews on this site have put us off in a big way!

  • Moon

    Has anyone had experience with Platinum Homes Hamilton/Thames/Whitianga

  • Hi again
    Just an update to let you know our new Building Guide website has gone live today and it’s fantastic. Jump in and have a look – http://www.buildingguide.co.nz..

    cheers all.
    Mark

    • SallyN

      Very nice Mark! As a new graduate of Architectural Technology I am really impressed with your site and its information for those who don’t know about building a new home. I really like the Design Guide website too. Lots of nice ideas to incorporate into a new home 🙂

  • ryansal80

    Any one in Christchurch have an opinion about Contract Homes ( used to be called Canterbury Homes) and Trident Homes? Please help….

  • Bobigglez

    Hi! We are planning on building in Christchurch, on a sloping section in Lyttleton, any recommendations? Thanks!

    • Lyn

      Hi. We are currently building with Collective Construction and it is working well. I know they have built in Cass Bay. Their website is collectivenz.co.nz. Phone 379 7846. They are a new company but so far (we are up to the lining stage of a two storey house) we have nothing to complain about. They are all very approachable and seem to be focused on making sure we get exactly what we want. Glenn and Daniel are the Directors.

  • Sandhu

    I am new to city & looking for new house build.
    In Wellington Region, is it possible to build a house for $400k including section?

    • Hi Sandhu
      It is. It all depends on how big a house you want to build, whether you use a group home builder and a standard plan with little or no changes, who are generally cheaper than a bespoke design and build project, and your choice of materials. At a rough price of $2000 per m2, that will get you a 100 m2 house if the section costs you $200,000, however, that price has to include all the fitouts, compliance costs (Building Consent, Resource consent (if required), etc., and design costs, engineering, drainage, and so forth. Smaller houses cost less to build, fewer materials and less engineering requirements. There are companies who offer house and land packages, too, but realise that if you want to build cheap, you end up getting what you pay for. Check out http://www.buildingguide.co.nz for some critical information around building. Our new site launches in a week or so, too.

      • David

        A question around the $2000/m2 price that is often quoted. If I am looking at a 200m2 house including an attached double garage, say that garage is 40m2, should I still be expecting to pay $2000 x 200, or $2000 x 160 for the house, and a lower price per m2 for the garage?

        • That’s a good question. The problem is each house is so different. The $2000m2 is a very rough guide – it will depend on whether you use concrete slab or timber floors, what claddings you use, the kitchen/bathroom fitout, lights and everything else. While the garage may well cost less than the main house, you’re then looking at the level of fitout in the garage – insulated doors, garage carpet, laundry/workshop fit out. A bare uninsulated garage with exposed framing and manual pull up garage door doesn’t really cut it anymore so you may well be surprised at the cost per m2 of your garage!

          • Skilled builder

            $2k a square is a hell of a price for a house. I would expect level 5 stopped walls, grade 3-4 carpets and top quality hardware and tall stud. To answer your query about the $2k into the garage…yes it purtains. The reason is the square metre is a fairly accurate way to work out the average cost against the build. $1400-1600 per square will get you a very nice house these days. $2k should be top of the line but its not just the house. $2k should get you the best experience with your builder money can buy. And i say should loosely.

          • Great to see comment from a builder in here but I do think Skilled Builder is on the light side of the costing exercise. In large part it depends on your build approach – you’ll be very lucky to get an architecturally designed house for anything like the price they mention above, but if you go with a low-cost builder like Keith Hay or A1 then it’s possible. But, as they say, you get what you pay for.

          • Barbara Grant

            We paid close to $2,700 per sq m for our home and we sure didn’t get what we paid for. Still having major issues 3 years after building, and the people responsible for this and who charged us a 15% management fee, have just one a Master Build Award. Honestly, something should be done about these builders who take people’s money, negatively affect their lives and take no responsibility. And as for the Master Build Association – appalling.

          • Skilled builder

            For a group home $2000 a sqm is plenty. Even architectural that indicative cost is getting up there. I would expect $2000-2200. Remembering, the work in a house is down to the finishing, BUT, the taps and shower boxes and toilets are much in a muchness that a group home builder will install. In fact, more than likely the exact same, its the buying power of a group home builder that makes them cheaper for those products.
            Now remember, group homes are about speed, money in money out. You will find the typical margin on a group home build to be approx 20% of the build value. Your $400k dream home makes them $80k gross profit. Obviously remove franchise fees, overheads, salaries etc. 20% is huge compared to the market whereby you might find a typical builder will charge 10% but the point is, that builder wont have the buying power on the finishing items so the 10% left over from the margin is quickly eroded into the end cost items. Especially if you like the $300 tap vs the $100 tap for example.
            At the end of the day, the more research you can find on the builders building the home rather than the franchise itself the better. Get the bank to back you on the contract and help protect you and above all else, read the fine print.
            Quite often they put the contract in front of you and dont show you the project addendum. The addendum supersedes the contract. Get your lawyer to re-do the specifics of both and add in goals like milestone dates with financial implications for not hitting them. Liquidated damages are a good one to add for a completion date. Point of experience from two group home builds, dont take the contract at face value, once your in, your in. It is so so hard to get out.
            Once your in the build push for weekly site meetings and weekly updates, hold them to the time frames and basically be a pain in the arse. Hold payments if things are not complete and / or get independent evaluations of progress (hence the bank backing you). Be a bully as they will bully you first. Happy to advise people free of charge if your local in Tauranga and have questions re quality (I can site visits to aid you) or problems with contracts etc.

          • annette

            Wow ..love those comments. You are right about being a bully first.. We have just moved into a Keith Hay Home. The builder they contracted was awesome but he was pretty much beholden to their building schedule .We just had to keep at them and at them.. they delayed and delayed and delayed and delayed … took us 16 months from start to finish to get into our house which was a 115 sqm basic house . The price per sqm was well over the 2000 and that was before we paid for the balustrade and septics. The interior is pretty cheap to be fair but that is keith hay. Good on you for your comments.. keeping at them and being a pain in the arse is the best way to go.#

          • National Builder

            20% margin – You’re Dreaming…

          • Quantity Surveyor

            Here is some further clarification regarding m2 pricing. As Mark said, $2,000 is a rough guide only. The industry standard figures fluctuate quite a bit for each major city but the QV Costbuilder and Robinson rates (industry standard rates based on statistics and inc GST) are as follows: “House 100-250m2 with Concrete Slab, kitchen, bathroom, WC, ensuite, Coloursteel Roof, Medium quality fittings, Linea Weatherboard; Auckland $2,041-2,271; Wellington & Waikato $1,926-2,156; Christchurch $2,099-2,329; Dunedin $1,869-2,099; Palmerston North $1,984-2,214. Quantifying and Estimating. Generally speaking, the smaller the house the higher the m2 rate as economy of scale comes into play. There are certain fixed costs in every build you cannot avoid and these get “diluted” or spread out in larger builds. If you half those figures you get a rough idea for a kitset which still includes kitchen, plumbing fittings and supply & install of roof, spouting and floor coverings. Should also point out that margin calculations are <10% and our turn around is about 40 houses per year.

  • David

    Hi, does anybody have any experience building in Diamond Harbour area? Currently researching build options, after reading through here I contacted Peter Ray Homes but they do not build out there, I have also contacted Today Homes and Signature Homes who confirmed they will build, but have read mixed reviews on this page for both.

    Thanks

    • Dally

      We built with Today Homes in 2013 and are very happy with our built. You can contact me on 0274966210 if you would like further comment.

    • Lyn

      We are currently building in St Albans with Collective Construction and they have been excellent to work with. Their main focus seems to be building us exactly want we want which we have heard is not always the case with group home builders. I am pretty sure they would build in Diamond Harbour and would highly recommend you contact them. http://www.collectivenz.co.nz phone 379 7846

  • Stanley

    Hi,

    has anyone worked with Homestead Concrete Homes, I’m planning having a house built and would prefer to use concrete, if anyone on the forum has already contracted them and worked with them your feedback would be most helpful. btw, the build would be in Wellington

  • Jonathan Quigley

    Its incredible to see all the un happy folks out there that have fallen victim to the “Big boy” franchises. Unfortunately the larger you get the less customer focused the company becomes as the owners of the companies have to delegate more and more.

    I run a small project management business where transparency is the key, all invoices are provided direct to the client so they can see exactly what costs have been incurred and I run off a cost plus 10% basis not 20% + like others.

    Check out Precision Built on trade me and face book if you want the very best house at the very best price that has the entire project over seen by the owner of the company

  • Jenny

    Hi I am thinking of building with Platinum Homes in Levin however I have learnt that the owner of that company also owns other areas in the lower north island and south island and that he does not have a good reputation. Does anyone have any experiences with Jason Strange?

    • Liz

      Hi Jenny, we built with Platinum Kapiti/Levin and it was not a good experience. I wouldn’t recommend them.

    • Vanessa

      Hi Jenny, same guy owns Christchurch franchise of Platinum Homes and we had a horrendous experience with them. I know of others in Christchurch who’ve had the same. Wouldn’t touch them with a barge pole if I was you. I’ve posted on here several times so I won’t go into great detail suffice to say I wouldn’t want anyone else to go through it.

    • Rst

      Keep away from this guy hes bad news

      • Irene Kingsford

        I am sure Jason Strange was up in the North Island and he does have a very bad reputation. Do not go near any Platinum franchise. I would never deal with them again after building a home in Kaeaka Auckland. I had to take them to the disputes tribunall to gain satisfaction with regards to their shonky dealings. and I won after 12months of communication with them to no avail

    • CHCH

      Stay away from Platinum Homes, it will be the worst financial and mental well being decision of your life if you build with them.

  • MichelleL

    Looking for a builder in Wellington, need to know who to avoid and who comes highly recommended? Any advice is so helpful!

  • MichelleL

    We are in the beginnings of finding a builder in Wellington, all these reviews are terrifying!
    So I understand it all depends on the actual franchise for places like GJ/Stonewood etc so I’d be so thankful for any recommendations/warnings for basically any builders in Wgtn area….

  • Junior

    IN NEED OF HELP

    long story short im 24yrs and mum and i are looking at subdividing.
    builing new at the back for us and fams. renovate current house and rent it out.
    I was hoping to get some help/suggestions of good, fast reliable companys ?
    Im looking to build in the manukau area, south auckland.
    any help will be much apreciated
    quite like platinum homes plans

    thanks

    • Leanne

      Check out Fowler Homes. My friend built with them in Karaka & is very happy with her home.
      I am looking to build next year in Pokeno & will definitely give them a go.

  • Hi all,

    I work for McRaeway Homes 2015 Ltd. Technically a new company since February this year, we have over 50 years of history backing us. We’re 100% a new team and have positive feedback on all the projects we’ve completed to date. While we cannot operate in Christchurch itself, we have numerous builds happening throughout the South Island. We’ve made it our policy to work with our clients and make the process as transparent as possible. Our ‘quotes’ are in fact a schedule of works and nothing proceeds until our clients are satisfied with what they’re getting. We also have an active follow-up and remedial policy. Full House Builds come with a Master Builder’s Guarantee.

    Just putting it out there. You don’t have to put up with poor communication and sub-standard finishes.

    • John

      Just a word of advice, before signing any specs, ensure you have seen images of all things you are receiving. This even includes the mixers, sinks etc that you believe you are getting. Many wonderful and friendly building company reps know exactly what to say to get you to sign on the dotted line but can downgrade the specs. We had this happen to us with Orange Group here in Nelson. Check carpets are what they say they will be and anything to be changed on your plan to be changed as you sit down with them and sign for that and ask for a copy or they may just say you didn’t ask for it and the owner will take the reps side. These fixed price contracts often involve downgrades to anything you might see. Saves legal action and frustration later down the track. Good Luck on your build. One of the best companies on the market that I am aware of is Jennian and Milestone. Most of the others I have heard horror stories from. John

    • Just a heads-up to anyone looking to build in the Christchurch region. McRaeway Homes in Christchurch are no longer operating under the McRaeway name as this has been revoked. I understand they are continuing as ChCh Home Builders. I would also point out that we at McRaeways have no association with ChCh Home Builders and are pleased to be the sole users of the McRaeway Homes name. Their contact details have been removed from our website.

  • Renate

    Anyone have a good recommendation for building in Kerikeri

  • Liz

    Hi. Has anyone had experience building with Signature Homes in Christchurch recently? I am considering to build a house in Wigram or Prestons. Thanks.

    • Art

      Don’t go with them I have heard terrible things about there lack of quality and unfinished work

    • Kat

      Hello Liz! I would certainly recommend Generation Homes. Our build started first week of July and we’ll be moving in to our house on Oct 23, a week earlier than the target move in date. Our agent, Project Manager and Sub contractors are easy to deal with. If you want to know more about our experience with GH, just let me know.

      • steve

        I’d suggest you read all the reviews on GH before you go anywhere near them. I wouldn’t recommend them to build a letterbox.

  • Charlie

    Hello,
    We are looking to build in New Plymouth. Can anyone recommend or has experience with a reliable builder or company that we can go through? As well as this if you know of any builders or companies we should avoid please advise.
    Thanks so much!!

    • Rebecca p

      Hi
      Just wondering who you ended up going with? We’re looking at building in NP too so it would be great if you could pass on any information you found out.
      Thanks

  • Sarah

    Hi everyone,

    Has anyone had any good/bad experiences with Signature, Jennian or Stonewood homes in Nelson? Just trying to finalise our building company decision.

    Cheers

    • John

      Hi, I am a window cleaner in Nelson and hear all the good and bad experiences in Nelson. The best to my knowledge is Jenian homes. Orange group, Signature, Endeavour, and Stonewood please avoid. G J Gardner is the worst of the lot. Don’t get too dissuaded on price. Most of these companies state a fixed price offer but you will find the specs you sign for may be downgraded, follow up service is pretty poor also. When signing the specs make sure you know what everything looks like. You don’t want any nasty surprises. Milestone, the sister company is a cheaper version to its sister company Jenian. Adam is a good man I believe. Inhaus is good. And don’t leave out Versatile homes. Good group of people keen to please. Don’t listen to the sales talk of Orange and Signature many people have been very dissatisfied. Peter Ray Homes, pretty good a lady called Kathy works there and is on the ball. Hope this helps. Cheers John

      • Frances & Tom

        Hi we have just bought a section in Nelson & looking for a building company. Our top choices were Orange,Gj & Signature but also an afterthought Jennian. However readings comments here ( & heard today not Orange or Gj from a tiler friend) it seems Jennian are one of the better. Is there a small reputable local builder or any other company (? Peter Ray) to approach. Any other help / info would be appreciated.

  • Sajed Valappil

    Hi, would like to know if anyone had any experience building with “NZ Homebuilders” in Auckland, we are planning to build with this company, any comments would be much appreciated

  • Anna

    Hi there,
    Can anyone recommend decent and reliable building company in Auckland?? Many thanks

  • icemint

    Is there anyone knows can we move into our new house before we are receiving the code of compliance? AMI agree to insure us and we do not have a problem with the lending.

    • Nessy

      We’ve been living in our house for five months now and we are still waiting for our code of compliance. Hopefully it’s on it’s way as council consent was given almost four weeks ago. We are fully insured so my understanding is it’s fine.

    • Might be an idea to check with the local council as well, surprised the Insurance co would agree.
      Also building co will probably require payment within days of moving in. We did this and it created problems. Under our contract, moving in constituted the beginning of the maintanence period, even thought there were outstanding items requiring finishing which took 3 months to complete, hence no maintainence period. Get the building co to approve your move in writing before you move in.
      Hope this is help full.

    • Sarah

      Hey, yes you can move in. Usually you will have to sign some kind of disclaimer agreement with the builder and of course they will want paying in full. From personal experience, most banks and insurers these days are happy to lend/insure just on the final inspection certificate from the Council rather than the CCC. As for the maintenance period, that is something you might want to check if it will be affected. If you signed your contract for the build after 1 January 2015 then you are actually covered by the new law under the Building Amendment Act which gives you a full 12 months maintenance period (this doesn’t apply though if your contract was signed before that or if work was done before that). Hope you enjoy your new home! 🙂

  • Thanks BWT
    You should jump over to http://www.buildingguide.co.nz and have a read.
    cheers
    Mark

  • It’s nearly impossible to find knowledgeable people
    in this particular subject, however, you sound like you know what you’re talking
    about! Thanks

  • Harold Nicholson

    We are about to go to contract with G J Gardner Rodney (West Auckland) Franchise.
    we have been seriously impressed with the support and professional advice so far. Very responsive to our communications, fully listen to our requirements, looking forward to the build.

  • Overthehill

    Hi, re the comment about builders getting fed up with clients seeing fixed price and then not doing proper research/not understanding bespoke designs…Some of us are reluctant new home builders, having lost our original homes in the Christchurch earthquakes. I knew absolutely nothing about building. Why should I? My occupation and background do not require it. Yet, over four years on, I am dealing with the complexities of an architectural rebuild. I think it would have been great if the building companies I dealt with had looked out of their own bubbles and realised that in this case, their clients’ ignorance is not something to be disdained and exploited. It is just normal, and so just realise that things need to be explained really well. For example, I never knew what a Variation was, never knew there was the margin I had to pay for anything after contract was signed. I did ask the BC, now is there anything I should know about extra costs, and they said no, assuming I suppose I knew about Variations and GDT. Hence i blithely signed the building contract 3 years ago, and now face forking out nearly $100,000 in variations, including margin fee and GST. Stuff like carpets and better wooden flooring, and upgraded bathroom fittings (the contract ones were underspecced, i later learned) I would have organised to be in the contract had I known…..

  • tony

    Anyone there have feedback about GJ Gardner Homes Whangerei?

    • Steve

      Hi there, We intended to build with them until we started the process but didn’t sign the contract as the sales person is the only point of contact you are allowed to speak to.She knew nothing about building. They took 3k to get a quote and told us that it would be for conceptual drawing and if we didn’t go with then that the balance would be refunded. Try getting any back!!! Very disappointing and anyone intending to build with GJs Whangarei, Beware. The devil is in the detail. Went with A1 homes.Totally different experience. You can speak to anyone in the company and these people ARE real builders.

      • Mike Powell

        That seems odd. Just finished a build with GJ. We had a very good sales person, knew her stuff, some useful suggestions and a great sounding board. The contract signing saw the sales person back out and the slab PM take over. At this point estimations of total build plan are provided, but it is a completion date , not a sharing of the plan. A mistake push them for this.

        Secondly make sure you gave independent advice around drainage and rain water collection design. We had a near miss here.

        Once the slab is down, there will be a change in PM to the build completion. Insist on weekly meetings , insist on the ability to inspect before accepting stage payment claims. If it doesn’t look right, sound right don’t be frightened to ask questions.

        We are pleased with the finished result. They are an honest supplier but you owe it to yourself to manage progress closely.

  • Sajed

    Hi, would like to know if anyone had any experience building with “NZ Homebuilders” in Auckland, we are planning to build with this company, any comments would be much appreciated

  • Liam Coyle

    Just a word from a Tradesman, I have worked with nearly all of the group builders as a sub contractor and yes, on occasion seen some terrible work.
    BUT;
    Generally most of the group builders do try hard and turn out a good product, with the best bang for your buck, do your homework and see what your square metre rate comes out at….
    Go to one of there work in progress sites and see the finishing detail and ask about the timeframes.
    If you have good prompt correspondance and transparency with the builders representative you
    should not have any problems as these guys do actually value there business and do not want it to go down the pan.
    Just to give you the heads up I built with Platinum Homes under 2 different franchises, Once in Puhoi with the Orewa crowd and now up in Kerikeri with the Northland/Whangarei franchise.
    I still live in my Kerikeri house and 5yrs on we are still very happy with it.
    I would build with them again tomorrow…

  • I’ve actually made an inquiry with Custom Homes so your input has been really useful.

  • Lanthanide

    Has anyone had any experience with eHaus anywhere in the country?

  • Amanda

    Hi has anyone had any experience with Trenz homes in Canterbury ?

  • Jemma

    Hi, Just wondering if anyone has any experience in dealing with Classic Builders (Queenstown)

  • Jodie

    Has anyone got any advice regarding builders in the Queenstown area? Anyone had any good experiences?
    My husband and I have a block of land there and are hoping to start building our first house towards the end of the year. We like plans from Stonewood and Platinum, but after what I’ve read on here about Platinum I don’t want to use them. Not sure what the franchise in this part of the country is like though.

  • Daryl

    Has anyone had experience with Trident Homes Chch? Can’t really find much in the way of comment or review…

  • KInjal Wadhwania

    Hi everyone.

    I am not sure it is right platform to ask question about building up home in dunedin otago. We have approached G.J. garden. If some one can suggest us like what we need to look mainly when get estmated cost from company. This will be our first home so wanted to know what basics we should look for before the construction like drainage connection & all. . can anyone guide me for this ?

  • Carolyn

    We are looking at using Platinum Homes in Whitianga, but are concerned with all the comments regarding other Platinum franchises has anyone used the Whitianga group

  • Charlie

    Hello,

    We are wanting to build in New Plymouth. Can anyone recommend or has experienced a reliable, honest builder or company to go through?

    Thanks so much!!

    • Selim Kabir

      Hi Charlie. A few years back I used an independent builder – John O’Connor for an extensive and exhaustive renovation of my house. I found him knowledgable, reliable and rather economical. His work is to a very good standard and I have found him quite ready to come back and do minor repairs free of charge even if at the end they were found not to be due to the renovation. But be careful with the original contract as any change (including minor ones) becomes a Variation with the all the cost involved. Try to get everything in the contract and quote up front.
      Selim

      • Selim Kabir

        Hi Charlie
        Got the name of the builder wrong – It was John McConnell of Axiom Construction who did the renovation for me and who I am willing to act as a reference
        Selim

  • torekun

    Hi Homebuilders
    Just a general enquiry… would anybody be interested in seeing a website where you (as potential clients) can supply all of your details (i.e. base home spec, wishlist, budget etc.) and wait for building companies to contact you?!
    This way you get to vet building company offers as they come in rather than having to do the running around. A bit like a TradeMe for the building companies.
    Let me know if this is something you’d be keen on… any and all feedback appreciated.

    Cheers
    Torekun

    • Chris

      Hi Torekun, It sounds like a nice idea, and assuming you would set it up, thanks for the offer. But based on my experience (and I think many others, to judge from comments on this blog) the problem is not finding a builder who says he can build to whatever spec/wishlist you want, and initially even do it within your budget (unless your budget is just totally unrealistic).
      The problems come later down the track, when after spending money on concept plans, you start to get into the details, and it starts to become apparent that they can’t do what you want within your budget. Or when you spot things in their contract you don’t like, but they refuse to change it. Although that will be greatly helped by the new Building Regs introduced in Jan 2015 (I’m surprised the screams haven’t already started from builders on that).
      Or even worse, you pay the deposit, and then later find they produce shoddy work, or you realise that things you wanted are not in fact included in the spec for your house.
      So much fun and games!

  • Torekun

    Can anyone recommend a reliable/good builder in Christchurch? Have land in Aidanfield and want to start ASAP. Was considering Platinum and GJ Gardner but have been put off by a lot of the reviews here. Any advice for a fresher?

    • Sally

      Hi – I would recommend Peter Ray Homes firstly and also Greenland Homes. Have built twice with Peter Ray and they were very good. No fake pricing and nice people. They have great project managers and I also have other friends who built with them and had very good experiences. If anything ever goes wrong they bend over backwards to help the client, unlike others I could mention. Also Greenland Homes – Sean is chinese and most of his clients are chinese but he is very good and knows exactly what he is doing and is like a walking spreadsheet of pricing and products! He has built a few in Aidanfield and I think is currently doing a two storey there so if you have a walk around and look for his boards you can see what he’s built. We are building with him at the moment in Prestons. 🙂

      • torekun

        Thanks Sally, appreciate the reply. I was actually considering PR Homes as they had a design we were interested in and had heard positive reviews about. But after contacting them I found it quite laborious to get a reply or any proactive action from them… so eventually just gave up. It didn’t help that when I visited their showroom in Wigram, the saleswoman with whom my wife and I were in discussion with immediately fobbed us off when someone else came in, and didn’t bother engaging us again even after that person had left.
        We were looking at Platinum initially but were put off by them after they failed to disclose some costs. I then sent out a blanket email to many building companies and have had the best follow up from GJ who have been obliging and considerate… just hope the same goes for the build as we are leaning toward them.
        May have a look at Greenland before we sign anything.
        Thanks

        • Maryka

          Hi Torekun,

          Who did you end up going with? We about to signed with GJ. If you went with them any last minute warnings?

        • Maryka

          Hi
          Did anyone has recently build with GJ/Horncastle in Rollestone, CHCH? About to signed a contract with one of them trying to decide which one to go for.

  • Vanessa

    Hi, has anyone had any experience with Landmark homes Queenstown? May look at using them to build in Cronwell.

    • Justine McCall

      Hi Vanessa,

      I am the New Home Consultant for Landmark Homes Queenstown I have asked a couple of clients to give you some feedback but not sure if this has been done. I thought I would email you as I can give you a couple of clients numbers so you can talk directly with them and see how they enjoyed working with our team.

      Many Thanks
      Justine McCall

    • Barbara Grant

      Hi,

      I have no experience with Landmark Homes, but I would say that with any company, you should speak to as many clients as possible, not just the ones they want you to meet! Seeing as many of their houses as you can will also help.

  • NewbieHomes

    Anybody has experience building house with Navigation Homes? especially Tauranga… seems like run by a nice chap albeit looks newbie.

    • Sam

      Hi, did you ever build with navigation homes, wondered what the experience was like?

  • Kerri

    It worked out at around $1950 per sqm I think.

  • Kate

    We are thinking of building with Trident Homes in Chch…does anyone have any info on these guys?

  • Kevin

    Hi

    I am in the process of organising a house build in bethlehem Tauranga with dj Gardner, has any body had any
    House builds with this company feed back would be greatly appreciated.

    Kevin

    • Hi Kevin,
      sorry, not with this company, but steer well clear of a company trading as Consultancy Plus Construction Ltd, they were trading as R K K Construction, they were trading in the Tauranga area. a disaster of an outfit. Have a look at the site http://www.buildreviws.co.nz
      Please be very careful about the contract details, have them perused by a lawyer.
      Good luck, Owen.

  • Samar William

    Hi there. Thought to give you an update to our nightmare with Platinum Homes.
    After long negotiations between lawyers, we managed to move to our new home on 21st March. Hand over was originally scheduled for 17th March. They couldn’t do it…postponed to 18th….That was supposed to be the walk through and hand over…both same day!!
    As we had no option as sold our home, we agreed to. Had walk through while many contractors were working around, so will leave it to your imagination how frustrating it was. Heaps of work to be completed.
    Jason Strange, MASS Construction CEO would not accept us moving without FULL FINAL payment while we don’t have Code of Compliance for the house. Bank was hitting their head against the wall frustrated from his ridiculous unreasonable stubborn request. It is well known if there is no code of compliance, the bank holds back $10k. Apparently, it is well known rule in the building industry. Anyway, after long negotiations, Mr Strange agreed to $5k.

    All variations were paid in full and full contract amount. Despite, we have no electrical certificate as yet, nor gas certificate. Code of Compliance failed three times….electrical variation for extra charges were for around $10k. Half of the list not there….not only that but electricity all over the place!! Entrance door lights switch control in the garage (other side of the house)
    Gas fire been charged around $7500. not framed….
    Feature wall paper damaged by contractors still to be replaced….
    Guest toilet, tried to hang the toilet roll on it….fail off
    Dishwasher falling out when opening….
    Insinkerator installed with no switch button..can’t used.
    Painting and wall paper to be fixed

    All these have been paid in full….the list goes on.Nearly over two months and nothing has been done. Contacted everyone in Platinum….nothing. All we received is will attend to it as soon as we can!!!

    They have arranged for the house to be insured….but when not having gas or electrical certificates which insurance company will cover!!!

    Not to be trusted at all. It is not the workers there. Huge issues with MANAGEMENT….Shouldn’t be in business.

    We sincerely do not want to see anyone in our situation. If you want to know more please don’t hesitate to contact me please. 021 231 0242

    • Platinum Karaka /Pukekohe demanded from us the full payment of variations even to know we had not signed for one and had to pay in full on handover day or we would see our home locked up and we could not move in. There is no negotiation with them and they are demanding about money even to know it is in dispute. The problem with the electrical extras are that we asked for an electrical plan in the beginning and we were told No. We would go for a walk thru with the electrician when the home was half built. We then found that what they allowed in the costings was well insufficient for any home.Our electrical variation was so expensive just to have normal amounts of lights and switches in our home. They are not up front with many products put in the houses, but all I can say is steer clear of them. If you want to talk contact me on iandrkingsford@gmail.com.

  • John

    If you are purchasing a NEW house, suggest you INSIST on minimum Cat5 conduit being fitted into all rooms, central point being easy access to router, maybe garage. Look at Chorus website for recommendations. Otherwise retrofitting is a big job.
    Builders are numb nuts on stuff like this
    Called BRANZ they were surprised by my call, no idea, still nothing on their website

    • Chris

      Hi John, Thanks for the advice, but what’s the big difference/advantage with this type of conduit, and any idea of the rough extra cost for typical 4 bed house?

      • Martin

        I think you mean CAT5e cable not conduit. However, you will find CAT5e to be the old standard and if you are building for yourself and looking to stay in the place for a while you should use CAT6e to future proof. I do agree that you should cable back to a central point for audio and video distribution also.

  • Suggest you have a look at http://www.buildreviews.co.nz
    May not be on the list, but it will give you an insight into some of the problems people have faced, and also, who not t use. Look very carefully at the contract before you sign, get a lgal opinion, we did not to our disadvantage.
    Good luck.
    Owen.

  • Jane

    Hi everyone, I’m just wondering if anyone has feedback about Classic Builders (Cambridge franchise) and Cambridge Homes? Thanks

    • steve

      We’ve seen a few of classic builders houses going up around us and they look well built, a few of our neighbours built with them and haven’t heard any negatives and one of those is a retired builder so probably has a better eye for detail. The guy who runs classic in Cambridge seems to keep a watchful eye on his contractors and we’ve seen him regularly checking their work as the build progresses. If I was building again I’d certainly consider them.

  • Andi B

    We are total newbies to the building business and are looking to build a new home on the North Shore in Auckland.
    We are considering Signature Homes, Kumeu. Has anyone had any experience, good or bad with Signature Homes?
    And who would you recommend that we consider?

    • Do not know much about signature homes, just please please do not go with Platinum Homes Rodney. If any one is thinking about building south do not go with Platinum Homes Karaka/ Pukekohe either. Bad experiences that have still not been sorted and some friends of ours built with Rodney and the stress nearly distroyed their marriage. Be careful

    • Richard

      Recommend you talk to Maddren Homes if your looking at building anywhere on the Shore or Kumeu.

    • Katie I

      Hi Andi,

      We used Landmark Homes Albsny and they were great! Just moved in 10 weeks ago on time and on budget. Ask for Steve!

      • Simon

        Hi all, one thing to remember on this site is that various people or companies would love the opportunity to ‘blow their own horn’. Be careful. Some of the comments on these types of sites may be from people or companies trying to steer work in their direction. Landmark Homes have employed people from the now liquidated Lasque Construction, which was basically Signature Homes [ North Shore ] wearing a different hat. This company was put out of their misery. Be careful.

        • Katie I

          Hi Simon, I don’t actually work for any building company and I’m not trying to ‘blow my own horn’. If you would like to make sure, you are welcome to give me a call to find out more information. I am giving my recommendation based on my experience with Landmark homes who were fantastic and they did not ask me to comment either. I just think good work should be recognised and this site doesn’t need to be all negative comments. I can’t say the same about any others and I meet with 3 companies including Signature Albany. You could also mention that other companies might be on here to put down their competition…
          0212422888

          • Hi Katie

            I’ve just stumbled upon this blog and spent the good part of 2hrs reading through. I am astonished at the number of negative comments in this blog. If a prospective new home client got here, they’d be scared stiff to build a new home!

            Note this is a general comment, and I’m sure the the many negative comments are quite valid/appropriate etc etc.

            We def need more positive comments and the other site mentioned above http://buildreview.co.nz/ will hopefully get some good traction as well.

            Not all builders are nasty. Construction is a tough game. It has been left to its own accord for many many years and cleanup time is nigh. It won’t happen overnight…but it will happen ~ Rachel Hunter 🙂

            Top points to Mark, Chris and some others putting some solid responses through. Luvin it.

    • Simon

      Thinking of building with Signature Homes, Kumeu or North Shore? Maybe best to ask Steve Garvey at Landmark Homes, North Shore, what he thinks……if you ever get a reply…..Steve was with Signature Homes, together with others who were shown the door…..

      • Katie I

        You might want to check your information.. No top sales person gets shown the door. Weeks after we signed the contract and were going through show homes I heard that he was a top sales person, been doing it for years and very good. This was coming from his competition too not from him or Landmark!

        • Mandy

          Yes this is exactly what this is all about sales, sales and more sales, no integrity, no customer service, not taking care of a person/family’s biggest investment and certainly NOT building to any top standard/care.

          • Paul

            I find it disappointing that someone shares a positive experience they had trying to help others who may be thinking of going down the path of building their own home, only to be shot down. Not all building companies are evil and out to rip off every customer they come across. Don’t let negativity put you off finding that building company that will build your dream home. Just do your research and speak to lots of people. I feel sorry for Simon and others here. They have obviously had bad experiences which lead to a depressingly cynical outlook in life. Cheer up buttercup!

  • Phil

    We were unfortunate enough to engage with a private building Company called Homebuild NZ. Peter May is the owner and manager. All you need to know is that I would never engage him again, i never had a truthful word from him and by the time the whole saga was over. We had no home, 18 months had gone by and were $30K out of pocket. Dont trust a word he says.

  • Marlyn Young

    I was buying a house and land package from Golden Homes in Warkworth. I was talked out of the package and into building it as a ‘normal’ build as it was to be better for me and better for them. Great for them, disaster for me.
    I signed the agreement in March 2014 and it was estimated I would have my new home by October 2014. What a joke. Title didn’t come through till January and I am still waiting for resource consent. (noone will tell me why) There is obviously a big problem up there which noone is admiting too. They have happily taken my deposits for the build and I have had to pay for the section in full.
    Currently I am paying out a lot of money for rent which I should not have to be doing.
    The stress is affecting my health.
    Is anyone else having the same problem in their woodcocks subdivision?

    • Kelly

      Hi Marlyn

      Have you inquired with the council? If not, make an appointment to see the consent officer, they will have details on file as to whats going on. Depending on what your council is like you mite be able to access their computers available to the public at their office and search your property file by typing in your address (sometimes LOT number) and you will find a wealth of information here as to the goings on.

      If not you may have to request things as some files cant be opened so they have to pull them from the office for you.

    • jack milham

      we have the same but have found that resouce consent held up build.your house should be underway now or maybe nearly ready we new at the outset that no building would happen until developer had finished subdivision and titles were issued and then if any changes to the plan for the site was changed delays were going to happen, we built with golden 4 years ago and are really happy with them but you do need to understand how the new reg’s have changed things, our new house at lot 226 has just started and i would expect it to take about 14 weeks to complete. i trust them and am sure that you will get a great house,just sorry you have had to wait so long,
      regards jack

  • Sorry, missed the name of the site, http://www.buildreview.co.nz
    This is easy to follow, lists building co’s in order.

  • This is the best site I have found.

      • Chris

        Hi Mark, Many thanks for drawing our attention to those new Building Regulations. Very favourable to anyone planning to build. But I took a quick look, and although they came into effect on Jan 1st this year, I couldn’t find anything one way or the other on whether they are retrospective. Do you think we can assume they now apply to all current contracts, irrespective of whether the contract was signed, or the work started, before Jan 1st?

  • Irene Kingsford

    We have built with Platinum Homes Karaka Pukekohe auckland. We would never recommend building with PLATINUM HOMES> They are all over you until you pay your deposit and then it is all downhill. Moved into our home and the 60 Day maintenance has been a battle. Could not get a meeting. to discuss issues as David Watt the franchise owner refused to meet with us. He was hoping we would just go away. .At last we have movement because I went to the CEO myself. Many issues thru out the build caused so much stress and we would please say to steer clear of Platinum Homes We have spoken to other people who have built with Platinum Homes Karaka/ Pukekohe and they have all had sad stories to tell.

    • Vanessa Prentice

      I’m sorry to hear that Irene, we had our rebuild here in Christchurch done by Platinum Homes. Same story, we’ve been in our house for 6 weeks on Friday and it’s still not finished and we have had no inspection for council consent yet. These people have made our lives miserable for 12 months now , which is how long it’s taken them to build our home. They are completely incompetent and I wouldn’t recommend them to my worst enemy. We are not the only ones here in Christchurch to have a sad story to tell where Platinum Homes is concerned. Advice to anyone building DO NOT BUILD WITH PLATINUM HOMES

      • Thierry

        Did anyone build with Platinum in Hamilton?

      • Irene Kingsford

        My only advise to people is NOT TO BUILD WITH PLATINUM HOMES KARAKA/ PUKEKOHE

      • Chris

        Hi Vanessa & Irene, I think it would good if you (and anyone else with negative or positive comments on a builder) put their comments on the site recently recommended by Mark, http://www.buildreview.co.nz/. This blog we’re on now is very useful as a way to put out enquiries on a builder, but it requires a lot of trawling through to actually dig out information on a specific builder. Whereas with the site mentioned above you can actually look at all the comments on one builder listed under the builders name.
        But by the way Mark, in case you have any influence on how that site is set up, it would be even better if the builders were listed not just under name (eg Platinum Homes in this case) but also under each city/area in which their franchises operate. Because I’m sure that the same franchise in different areas mat have different standards of operation.

        • Hi Chris
          I don’t actually have anything to do with that site. I did reach out earlier to see if they’d like some help but they never came back to me. I’m still working out the framing of this site, too, to see if we can make it easier to follow the assorted threads. Stand by…

          • Hi Chris

            I’m the creator of http://buildreview.co.nz and I agree there is a need for breaking down franchises so it’s clearer who the good ones are versus the bad. I’m working on this split out and hope to have something in place soon.

            Mark, I sent you a mail when you reached out but heard nothing back, if you want to get in touch please send a mail to info@buildreview.co.nz any feedback or advice appreciated.

        • Barbara Grant

          Hi,

          Yes it would be a good idea to have a franchise area for the building companies. I would dearly love to leave a review on the build review website, but before the people who built our house would do what they should and fix things, we had to sign a legal document stating we would not comment on them. So wrong, but after two years of fighting we were exhausted and took their paltry offer of getting some things fixed. Some things will never be right and we paid a huge amount of money for our home. There has to be a way where this stops happening to people.

          • AdaFrankBox

            Wow builders getting clients to swear to silence before they will fix things that they got wrong. That sounds like black mail doesn’t it? But I understand your frustration and concession to signing it, it is a long hard battle to get what you paid for.
            Interested to know your thoughts on this Mark, surely a very worrying sign for the industry. It seems like an acknowledgement of fault from the builder, but conveniently swept under the rug so no one will ever know.

          • Hi AdaFrankBox
            Yes – I would question the legality of that action. The new regulations that came out January 1 state that builders MUST come back and fix defects for the first 12 months no questions asked. I would strongly suggest checking with your lawyer as to whether they are able to do that, and there is nothing to say you cannot make a complaint to the Licensed Building Practitioners Review Board.

          • Barbara Grant

            Master Build Services also gave us a small payout, took away our Master Build Guarantee and said we couldn’t say anything. They way we were treated by them and the building company was so wrong and affected my health and marriage. We paid close to one million dollars for all the grief and some things in our house will never be right, but they just carry on regardless.

          • Irene Kingsford

            WE HAVE BEEN SENT A DEED OF SETTLEMENT FROM PLATINUM HOMES KARAKA saying that they will fix an issue ( 1 out of 3)( but with the condition that we don’t mention on any media format/ personal format or by any possible correspondence that there was ever a issue with their remedying any problem with our new build.Also that we will not hold any contractor or staff member or management responsible with no warranty on work to be done. We did not sign, Please do not build we these people what they say and deliver are two different things.

  • Hussain

    Hi am looking at building in New Plymouth with Jennian Homes – Taranaki franchise. Has anyone built with these company before. Please mail me with any suggestions/recommendations. My email is tahernz@yahoo.com

    • Chris

      Hi Hussain, Hope you get some useful responses to your enquiry. But since the whole purpose of this blog is to spread information on builders to lots of people I hope people will reply via the blog, rather than directly to you by email, at least initially.

  • D Adams

    Has anyone had any experience with Haven Homes in pukekohe?

  • Julie

    Hi
    Anyone built with Today Homes in Christchurch recently. We are new to the area and looking to build in Darfield and struggling to find a builder. We haven’t heard anything good or bad about them – seem ok but am aware that things are not always what they seem 🙂

    Thanks

    • Dally

      Hi Julie,

      We built with Today Homes in 2013 and were thoroughly impressed. Would be happy for you to call on 2601781 or 0274966210 and you are more than welcome to come and have a look if you like.

  • Thierry

    in 2010 TVNZ asked questions to major building companies in NZ to understand what liability they had if one of their franchisee failed to deliver. It is rather interesting to read the responses, follow the link below and go to the bottom of the page where is says “Check out the survey of franchise home building companies”, click on the right hand side of this phrase to download the document.

    Copy this link in your browser: http://tvnz.co.nz/fair-go/home-sweet-franchise-3736893
    .

  • Jaqual

    Does any one have the experience that the build is found not built to plans and spec. after signing off practical completion? Is the practice in building sector that builders build what they feel comfortable or cheaper? Can I claim back the loss in this case?

    • Hi Jaqual
      If your builders haven’t built to spec you have some serious grounds for complaint. You can complain to the LBP board as a starting point. The council should have been checking to ensure the build was according to plan. If they haven’t done their job, then you can sue them. Builders must build according to the plans and specifications. Hopefully you have a contract with them and hopefully you withheld final payment. I would recommend getting a lawyer or contacting the Home Owners and Buyers Association – http://www.hobanz.org.

      good luck.

  • Theresa

    Has anyone built with Jennian Homes in the Wellington region that can advise me how they have found them?

    • Bryan

      Hi there, We are trying to build with them now.
      They seem to have good quality and know what they are doing, BUT make sure that you lock down everything you want into the design, from types and quantities of plugs to taps, flooring… everything and then get them to quote. Once you sign the contract, any change will really cost you. Don’t use their Mastercraft kitchen guy, we are using Bastian in Petone instead as their design was much better and better priced.
      Team at Jennian are keen and happy to work with you on any changes additions etc though so that is a good thing.
      I will keep updating as we progress

      • Manish Sawadkar

        hows your build going on Bryan. We are building as well.

        • Bryan

          Well so far not so good.
          Problems with council trying to get a resource consent, finally got a resolution that we are not happy with, but assurances from Jennian that it will all turn out OK.
          Next thing, don’t have your pre-construction meeting until you are 100% happy with all your choices as that is really your last chance to make changes without causing major problems.
          Be aware that any change you want to make, irrespective of whether there is a difference in cost, will attract a cost increase.
          Check that everything that was agreed verbally is also included in writing or it didn’t happen.
          Make sure that you keep a good eye on the build as it progresses as they may miss that something isn’t in the right place until too late.
          Most importantly, make sure that you have a very large bottle of whiskey or other strong liquor on hand at all times to stop you from exploding.
          Oh and if you can use only their people for everything and then just accept the outcome, then that will be easier.

          • Manish

            Thanks Bryan,
            Hope things turn out well for you. We just had our first meeting with Master craft kitchen designer today. He will come back with quotes and cad designs, lets see. Hopefully it is not too over the set budget. I have heard stories of all the fun that comes with building from my friend he is in the same boat but with other builders. So far I have found Jennian team helpful. I think we got all the details documented in the spec.I understand Kitchen and electrical design details are more flexible. Given your stage of development how long do you think Jennian would take to finish the house for you to move in ?
            And I think i will get some Baijiu if i am about to explode.

          • Bryan

            So just to add to the ongoing.
            Build is progressing well so far with a few annoying holdups. Firstly the joinery was delayed due to powder coating being delayed, then when it arrived, they hadn’t installed the security stays that we had ordered and paid for.
            Next the front door finally turned up, but I think they thought he house was being built for leprechauns as the door handle and the dead bolt were set way too low. My partner is much shorter than me and even she had to bend down to reach the handles. Not sure how this could be considered acceptable. We will need to wait and see if they are going to continue to duck and dive or actually resolve the problem. More delays.
            The other issue you need to check is that the contract you will need to sign is very onerous on you and limited to no comeback on the building company. When you go back to the contract to find out your rights, you find that you don’t have any. Your only option is to take them to court and hope to get a sympathetic judge.

          • Chris

            Hi Bryan, I think I may have mentioned this before on this blog, but it’s probably worth saying again. Many people who go into these house builds seem (in my opinion) to put the cart before the horse.
            So they get virtually to the stage of signing the contract, having wasted a lot of time, and paid out several thousand for concept designs etc, before even looking at the building contract.
            I would suggest that very early on in the process, before paying out any money, you should ask to see the contract form the builder uses. Best show it to a solicitor with expertise in building contracts (which most claim to have, but in fact don’t), but if not at least read it, and ask yourself if it looks fair to you as the client. I mean does it make you responsible for things you cannot reasonably be responsible for, such as mistakes by the builder, his architect, engineer or subbies. Does it contain such basics as a completion date. Does it say how variation costs are valued. etc etc. Also, take a look at the revised provisions on building contracts in the building regs, which came in in Jan 2015. Some things protecting the client are now mandatory.
            Of course we all know that once you get into serious dispute on a contract things have already gone badly wrong. And the contract is a desperate attempt to get out with minimum damage.
            But long before that, the attitude of the builder on whether he’s prepared to make reasonable (to you) changes to the contract, will tell you a lot about how things are going to go further down the track.
            If he resists all changes I’d suggest you run a mile.

          • Bryan

            Well I figured time for the next update.
            Build is fully enclosed now. All outstanding issues are either resolved or waiting on replacement parts.
            Very excited to be nearing completion.
            So as you may be aware from some of my previous comments, we have had a few hiccups, but to date Jennian have resolved them all satisfactorily.
            So to answer your question, would we use them again? Most likely, especially now we understand them and how they work.

  • Sinead

    Hi there,
    We are looking at GJ Gardner Chch South (JNF Construction), has anyone built with them? We are at the signing of the contract phase (Have a lawyer involved) and what our sales consultant says and what is actually in the contract is different… should we be going to the manager there instead? As you can tell first time builder

    • Owen

      I have no experience with this company, just make really sure your lawyer checks the fine print.
      Look for clauses with the “right” to place a mortgage on your property, this gives the company in the event of a dispute to do this to force payment in the event of a dispute. The David Reid Homes contract has this clause, much to our disadvantage. Cost us several thousand dollars to get an unsatisfactory resolution, but the costs out way the disputed amounts. Seems to be a common practice by some of these franchises. Suggest you try and find a small local builder willing to allow you input, you deal with as much of the contractors direct. Overall, we do not feel you save money by using these franchises, too many people “clipping the ticket”. Good luck.

    • Torekun

      Hi, we are also thinking of building with GJ Gardner (in Aidanfield). Would be keen to hear if you went with them and if not, why? Also first time builders.

      • K

        Hello. May I suggest Generation Homes? We were ex-clients of Williams & Co. and had to find another builder. We met Lindy of Generation Homes and she’s fantastic. So far, everything’s great. We are just waiting for our construction schedule to be released next week.

        • torekun

          Cheers. Must admit I hadn’t considered Generation. Leaning toward GJ at the moment because they have been quite obliging and considerate… but just unsure whether the same will apply to the build after reading some of these comments. Haven’t signed anything yet some see what Generation has to offer.
          Thanks and all the best!

  • Kerri Jennings

    Online Design & Build have been amazing through the planning process with us. We are about to start building with them and we’re just waiting for Council consent. Linda and Pete have been absolutely fantastic to deal with and have gone above and beyond.

    • Thierry

      Hi Kerri,

      On the web their houses plans look rather nice. Can you indicate what price per m2 you achieved for your house?

      • Kerri

        Hi Thierry,

        So sorry I didn’t get a notification of your reply and just saw it now! With our plans with Online Design and Build we didn’t actually use one of their plans but we told them what we liked and they went away and designed a house for us to fit in exactly the budget we had. They were awesome and just told us which areas we could save money on and which we could have exactly as we wanted. It was a bespoke plan tailored to what we wanted from pictures we had shown them.

  • Hi All,

    If you are looking for reliable, honest and friendly builders in the Auckland region contact Craft Construction.

    Craft has worked on a number of homes though out the city, with great customer satisfaction. We have a young an energetic team that consistently delivers project on time. The team is communicative and will take you through the whole process from start to finish.

    Email: info@craft-construction.co.nz

  • Mike and Ann

    This is the feedback I gave Generation Homes after our build in Te Kauwhata through the winter last year… 6 months on we are loving being in this wonderfu l’village’ of friendly, helpful people.
    My husband , Mike, and I have just taken possession of our new home in Te Kauwhata, built by Generation Hamilton on a section we had previously bought.
    Shortly after the land purchase we were despairing of ever being able to build on it, as we had discovered the Living Zone 21A regulations of Te Kauwhata with more onerous building regulations and boundary restrictions than we had previously been aware of.

    We heard about Generation on a blog of home builders and I fired off an enquiry on your website one Friday night….and had a reply from Alana half an hour later!!
    That was the start of her wonderful efficiency, helpfulness and problem-solving skills.
    A week later she met us at short notice in her own personal time at the show home in Dixon Road, and from then we were hooked.

    I would also add that the staff at the Pataumahoe show home were also immensely helpful, even though they knew we wouldn’t be building in their area.

    A custom plan was produced by Alana and the architect within a few days of us indicating the plan we liked, but which was too big with rooms in the ‘wrong’ place. It was at a price within our budget with so many extras included that we were just about speechless!

    We found this amazing after worrying that our ‘dream home’ would never actually exist on our little piece of land.

    We were so impressed by the company’s openness about prices (shown on the variations list) as we had some money to spend on a wish list of extras, but needed to weigh them up against each other. Believe me, we couldn’t get that information easily before.

    We were living an hour away from the build , but Alana was in prompt, constant contact when we had lists of questions and requests.
    She was always patient, professional and friendly and we have therefore been recommending Generation as a building company to all our friends, family, the Sky man, the Chorus man, our new neighbours and everyone we meet in TK.

    Our new neighbours commented during the build how tidy the contractors were, and how impressed they were with the safety standards. And everyone (including us) was amazed at the build being on time…in the winter!

    We cannot speak highly enough of Alana and Dave the Construction Manager and can hardly believe that we are now enjoying our lovely new home.

    • steve

      You certainly have been lucky there Mike and Ann. Built with Generation Homes myself (not the Hamilton team) and its been horrendous. House riddled from head to toe with faults and slap dash, poor workmanship they certainly managed to take the ‘dream’ out of our home. Wouldn’t trust them to assemble a shed, and would recommend anyone thinking of using them to run away as fast as you can.

      • James

        Steve, where abouts did you build?

        • steve

          Cambridge

          • Jane

            Hi Steve, we’re ready to build in Cambridge and have narrowed down possible companies to build with as Classic Homes, Platinum and Generation….it seems we’re in for one scary ride based on some of the feedback I’ve found today. With Generation have they admitted to the faults that you’ve highlighted and have they agreed to remedy?

          • steve

            Hi Jane,
            Of the three you name, I would definitely build with Classic, their project manager is on the ball and keeps tight control of his contractor teams. Generation have attempted to get the faults with our build corrected, more often than not made them worse and corrected again, I certainly wouldn’t say they admitted anything and they at no time have ever felt the need to apologise or compensate. Their problem is their 14 week build time, it is their be all and end all and in our case at the expense of care and quality. 7 months down the line we’re still getting faults fixed and I mean ones we found at day one. They haven’t abandoned us by any means, but the “dream” part of our house has certainly been removed, I don’t want to list the faults we have had to get fixed (which Generations quality control missed) but lets just say that it shouldn’t have been handed over to a customer, you wouldn’t buy a new Ferrari with dents in the doors so to speak. We looked at an awesome home on lilac avenue in Cambridge near the high school built by RPS, it is very up spec to their standard build and the show home isn’t built where I would want it, but is certainly worth a look, great design and the quality I was hoping for, a lovely home.
            Enjoy your build and I hope it goes well for you, keep a watchful eye, and stand your ground on issues your not happy with, your never being too fussy. good luck

  • ron crosby

    Hi Has anyone built with versatile homes,looking at a 3 bedroom house.My garage did well in the earthquakes.

  • Matt

    Hi guys

    Can anyone recommend a builder in the Wellington region?

    We are thinking of using the Wellington/Kapiti GJ Gardner franchise (Wells Construction Ltd)… does anyone have any experience dealing with them? I haven’t been able to find out much about the quality of their work (either positive or negative).

    Cheers

    • Che

      we are looking to building with them as well Wellington/Kapiti GJ Gardner franchise (Wells Construction Ltd)..but couldnt find any reviews for them.

      • Harold Nicholson

        Hi there,
        we are actually using the G J Gardner franchise in Rodney to build our house and they have been fantastic (we are in our 14th house so done a bit of this).
        We live in Wellington so dealt with the local Kapiti franchise but just to deal with them for information re their homes. We found them most professional and helpful (despite we were not building with them). We certainly would have been happy to if we were building here.
        The whole GJ philosophy is customer service and they listen to what you want but are also not afraid to give the occasional necessary reality checks, highligh recommended