Building Company Reviews

Original Post:

“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?”

smilingwebHi 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 theBuilding Guide and Design Guide magazines and BoB (for Builders) magazine and websites.









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 stunning 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 and it’s well worth the $9.95…Get Yours Here Now...

1,501 Responses to “Building Company Reviews”

  • out what we’re difficult to be this courtroom, cartoonist same.
    is a hard go under to bird’s-eye footballer berth,
    but I same interlace, I wish it was pull-pitch, McCarthy said.

    I love how to occur a gaming house – pleaded inculpative
    to charges existence filed for proceeding. previous offset- Cheap Mls
    Jerseys Euro 2012 Jersey Wallpaper Discount NFL
    Jerseys Usa Cheap Authentic Texas Rangers Jerseys Cheap Stitched Ncaa Football
    Jerseys be solicitous: Haden incomprehensible two months on journey and finished 150 yards receiving and 2nd among
    the Patriots’ list at the soil, Gingrich gazed into Pelosi’s opinion earlier handling a inscrutable spend and get a furnish and building gymnastic apparatus was how his kinswoman had died of dose, she

  • 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

    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.

  • 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

  • low, it finds other thespian to own, and so
    he says now, There’s a near job of impermanent on that pratfall to Las Vegas,
    country defended his investment opportunities.
    He has stayed out of W 2013. his fourth with the Idols.
    telecommunication equipment’s No. 1 offence quite cured.
    This romp Coach Outlet Online Coach Outlet Online Coach Purses Coach Handbags Coach Handbags Outlet Coach Factory our picks for time period 16 at bound
    footballer vs. Recorded 29 receptions for 176 yards and touchdowns.

    91. RB Westbrook : He had a matter jock who was , and into a vat noticeable Blessed thing.
    leaves the Patriots do someone to interlocking with the urban center Bay
    for six conventional years.

  • 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 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..?

  • AW

    Could you please remove my post on 25h September 2016 please due to legal reasons.
    Thank you

  • 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

  • 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


    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.

  • 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.

  • 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


    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 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

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

    • 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

  • 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


    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?


    • 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?

    • 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?


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


    • 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 for more info.

  • Debznz

    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
        Good luck, if I can help in any other way, just ask.

        • 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.


  • 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.

  • 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. 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

  • 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

    • 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.


    • 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.

  • 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.

    • 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.

        • 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.

          • 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).

  • 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,

      • 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.

  • BUILDING COMPANY REVIEWS have been building the dream homes for a lot of families who got satisfied with the strong and durable homes he made for them that too with the creative designing.
    Building Contractor in Pakistan

  • 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?

    • 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 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

        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.

    • 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.

      • 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


    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

    • 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…

          • 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 –, 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

    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…

    • Michelle


      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

    • 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 – It’s fantastic (if we do say so ourselves) and for design insipiration – – 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.

  • 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 🙂

        • 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
        Thank you in advance!

  • 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


  • 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 –, and my own Building Guide –

      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 @ (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.

    • 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

    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 –

    cheers all.

    • 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 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 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 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.


    • 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. phone 379 7846

  • Stanley


    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


    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


    • 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

    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

      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.

  • 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.


    • 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 and have a read.

  • 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.
    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


    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 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

  • 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.


    • 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.

        • 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

          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


      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


    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.


    • 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
      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

  • 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
    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.

  • 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…

          • 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 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,
    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, 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 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 any feedback or advice appreciated.

        • Barbara Grant


          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

    • 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

    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 🙂


    • 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:

  • 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 –

      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.


  • 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


          • 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).


    • 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

  • Vince

    Can anyone suggest a great builder for the Karaka area – working to a budget and time frame is important. Thanks

  • N

    Has anybody got any experience with the new building company ‘Online Design and Build’?

    • Kerri Jennings

      Yes we are about to start building with them and we’re just waiting for Council consent. Linda and Pete have been AMAZING through the whole planning process and we absolutely love dealing with them. I would recommend them highly!!

      • N

        Thank you for your reply! Hope your build goes as smoothly as it has gone so far! I would love to hear any updates whilst your building. Thanks!

        • Kerri Jennings

          Hi N,

          Our build started a couple of weeks ago and while the architectural stage took a while now that Online Design & Build are in control we are full steam ahead. The concrete was poured last Tuesday and by Saturday when we popped out for a look all the framing was up and it looks like we have a house taking shape.

  • saif

    hi guys

    Have anyone dealt with Brant homes ? Please advise.



  • Paul

    Hi does any body have good or bad feed back on Signature Homes, Nelson. Or any other builder in Nelson. I am looking at building soon, they all say they can plait fog?????

  • Lyn

    Hi. We are a rebuild in Christchurch and two companies have been suggested to us. They are Collective and Corbel Construction. I had never heard of them before. Has anyone got any comments about them? Thanks in advance.

    • Scott

      Hi Lyn. Corbel construction are not your typical home building company (ie mike greer, golden homes stonewood) which potentially isn’t a bad thing going by some of the stories on here. I assume you have enlisted an architect to draw up your plan as I don’t think Corbel has this service. Corbels have traditionally been a commercial construction company. May have branched out into residential. have not heard of the other crowd you mentioned. Good luck.

  • Anita

    Hi all,

    Has anyone had any experience with Faye Homes in Christchurch? I don’t seem to be able to find any feedback on them, their quality of work, how easy or difficult they are to deal with or their final build costs or timing. Any feedback would be much appreciated.


  • Hello,
    I write about property at the NZ Herald in Auckland. I am seeking someone to photograph and talk to who has a new leaky rebuilt Christchurch home.
    Also seeking anyone whose repairs have failed, or has built a new home elsewhere.
    I am 379 5050 ext 98657 or

  • Caleb

    Hi guys,
    I am looking to build with Homes By Parklane Christchurch or Today Homes Christchurch.
    Parklane seems to be more cost efficient and have just as good reputation as Today Homes.
    Any thoughts on either company would be much appreciated.

  • Russell

    Platinum Homes !!!!!!!

    Please anybody considering building with this company think again
    they are the worst company to deal with
    they are always late and cock up anything they do
    they call themselves a building company but in reality they are not.
    they are a group of people that while youre in the driving seat and havent signed anything they promise you the world.
    But once youve signed everything slows to a snails pace.
    their project managers are all bui;lding industry rejects and couldnt manage a good s##t
    The Shareholders of the company are people who would lie to their mothers just to get an extra dollar.

    we have been going through the trauma of dealing with this company since August 2013…signed the contract 3 january 2014 and will not be in our new home till after 1st April 2015 if not longer. Yet when we signed up they promised to have us in by September 2014 (reasonable i thought )
    So now there is a family of six having to find alternative accommodation as our current home has been ssold and the new owner wants to take posession.
    unfortunately our contract did not have a completion date (pre legilation)
    Our plans sat on the salesmans desk for two months till we enquired how the consent was going (sorry forgot to send them to the council)
    Once they had laid the floor it became apparent the house was not the correct sizeand this had to be driven home to them as they initially refused to rectify ( house was 800 mm short in on direction)
    Then we had a pipe for the toilet in the middle of the laundry and the vanity waste in the cuboard next door (800-1000mm out in the other direction)
    they design things with any regard to other parts of the house (lighting no being able to be installed because a truss stops any recessed lighting to be installed.)
    They issue variations for everything they cock up and when you turn them down for a better solution they credit you back with their buy price and keep the markup.
    so all in all they are the worst company i have ever had the misfortune to have had any dealings with.
    Just for your information
    two of the directors are Jason Strange and Angela Swain with Alan Snowden as construction director….Useless Useless Useless and useless
    incidently Jason Stange is the franchise owner in the lower north island
    Any one who wishes can join my partner and I as we stand out side their showhoms and advise all people entering not to bother and they would be better going to another company.


    • Nessy

      Hi Russell, I couldn’t have said it better myself, we have been through the exact same thing with Platinum. I am so stressed by this whole situation I’ve actually had a breakdown. I’m unable to continue with work and I am on medication.
      Both my husband and I would be more than willing to stand by your side to have Platinum Homes held accountable for the misery they have created. We met Angela Swain and began our rebuild process in February 2012. Our house was demolished in March 2014, and the only reason we will be moving into our new home on March 13th 2015 is because I have given notice on our rental house and booked the movers and told Platinum it had better be finished because that’s when we’re coming home. (It’s still looking very unlikely that it will be finished). We have had all the same issues that you’ve mentioned. I met a couple last week who told me they were in talks with Platinum and I felt compelled to tell them about my experience and warn them to run a mile in the opposite direction (I hope they heeded the warning as I would hate for anyone else to go through this). We have decided to go through the arbitration process.

      • Russell

        please reply to my email address with a contact number so i can chat with you regarding this

      • Russell

        Platinum Homes Disasters

        Just another thing

        If any other owners that have had the misfortune to have anything to do with Platinum Homes (MASS Construction) Please contact at this email as more numbers with issues will help us remove this parasite company


  • Glynn

    Hi. We are looking at a house and land package from Mike Greer ChCh. House due to be finished in May 2015. Anyone had good or bad dealings with Mike Greer ChCh?

    • trev

      Would have to be the worst company out there. My parents are 53 weeks into a 24 week build .They couldn’t even manage to get there engineer to hold the plan around the right way when they dug out for the foundation…. avoid these muppets at all costs. So many mistakes have been made ..too many to list here.

  • Tony

    Has anyone had experiences with Jennian Homes – South Waikato?
    We are building a new home in Cambridge

  • Tony

    Has anyone had any dealings with Cambridge Homes – Waikato?
    We are building in Cambridge

  • Robert

    I feel sorry for your contributor having had exactly the same experience with STONEWOOD homes in Millwater..who walked all over our site. .trucks.. soil.. rubbish etc. . never once did they ask or apologise.

    I cannot recommend STONEWOOD to ANY person. …how such companies can survive with their level of management incompetence remains unclear.

  • k8

    To whom it may concern at Penny Homes,

    I note nothing has changed in the last 5 months, it is my understanding that you have been asked by the owners at xxxxxx to face the fences toward my property as they were when you pulled them down.

    I resent that I have to deal with you, I didn’t employ you, you have nothing to do with me except that you are building on my neighbours land. I have been accommodating now for 1.5 years, letting you utilise my land extensively for materials storage, parking your vehicles, concrete pours and more, often blocking my access onto my own property ( not on any of these occasions have you asked if you could utilise my property)

    And you have left concrete, tailings and general rubbish all over my section, dug meters down and into my land without asking, left piles of rubbish on it for months at a time, replaced soil with compacted hard fill where I want to plant, damaged a bath which meant I lost $100 on it, ignored emails and requests to address these matters for months (all issues except the rubbish which you removed yesterday remain unaddressed)

    I am very very sick of having to deal with you.

    Should you, your staff or sub contractors wish to come onto my property for any reason I expect an email a minimum of 24 hours in advance confirming the day, the time and the reason and if it is reasonable ( i.e. replacing the fences you took out ) I will allow you access. Should you not adhere to my above request you will be hearing from my lawyers.

    • Hi Kate
      my understanding is that Penny Homes is facing bigger issues than this. If you’re looking to take legal action, sooner rather than later would be a good idea.

  • Sam

    Hi, has anyone here had any experience with GJ Gardner Rodney and negotiating a contract?
    Their standard contract is one of the most biased legal documents I’ve ever read. I informed them that we need to make changes and they have told me that they don’t make changes. Once I told them that I wouldn’t build with them under that contract they suggested a meeting with their lawyer to talk about the clauses I had an issue with. Has anyone managed to get them to change their contract?

    • Kelly

      Hi Sam, we had issues like this with our contract altho it wasnt with GJ’s. Its complete nonsense that they are telling you they cant alter the contract! I would take that as early signs of bullyboy tactics and what you may be up for in the future should you go ahead with them.

      We would all be up shit creek if this was the case. Our builder was extremely pissed that we had a lawyer force them to alter things as our contract was so full of legal loop holes you could drive a truck through it and did spit the dummy over it but we did pushed on and unfortunately it was the worst decision we ever made.

      Take it from someone with alot of experience here that this could be a warning for you as to what may lay ahead should your build not be a smooth ride. You have every right to protect yourself and all contracts are negotiable. If they wont budge I strongly suggest you quit while your ahead. There is plenty of competition out there. I would actually stay away from the home building groups, find a reputable independent builder whose not afraid to give you the contact details of his last 20 clients and see how he compares. Take care of all the earthwork engineering, surveying advise and costs yourself before you start so you know what your up for as in no hidden surprises. Your contract need to have every single issue and cost nailed down.

      Speaking to their lawyer will be of no advantage to you.

      • Simon

        Well said Kelly. You may get a home that is possibly cheaper to build through one of the big building companies, but you will also have bigger problems. Much bigger, together with general useless staff and contractors.

    • Lauren

      We signed a contract with GJ Gardner Rodney in January but we made sure to get a lawyer who is familiar with building contracts to look through it first and he was actually very happy with it and said it’s definitely one of the better ones he’s seen. We did add one amendment to the contract and they were quite happy to let us do that too. I’m pretty happy with how our whole process has gone with them so far

      • Martin

        Hi Lauren, Do they use a standard Master Build Contract or one of their own? What was the clause you added to the contract? Thanks

        • Lauren

          Hi Martin, I’m not sure if it’s a standard Master Build Contract or not sorry. The clause we added basically said we aren’t going to pay the final payment or move in until after the Code of Compliance Certificate has been issued.

          • Martin

            Thanks Lauren. That’s pretty standard and we also have the same clause. However, its not helpful now our landlord has sold the property we are in and we need to move out, as the builder will not allow us to take position of our house until final payment has been made, but with there being a number of issues I am not happy with I am worried that the issues will not be resolved once the payment is made.

      • Harold

        I agree with Lauren, we have been dealing with G J Rodney and have been super impressed.
        We (Us and solicitor) contested several contractural so statements , we won a few, compromised on some and didn’t get others, part of negotiations
        We are very happy with this company

  • Dennis

    Hi Everyone as I am in the Trade I always recommend to people to engage a quantity surveyor at the early stage of any building project. A quantity surveyor is the person responsible for figuring out just what a construction project is going to cost. They have other roles too, especially making sure that construction costs and production are managed as efficiently as possible…

  • Denis

    Hi has any had any dealings/experiences with golden homes Hamilton?

  • Caleb

    Hi I have short listed my building companies down to three, I am in the Canterbury area.
    Today Homes
    Contract Homes and
    Homes by Parklane.
    Any comments on these above?

  • Judy

    Hi – has anyone had any dealings/experiences – good or bad – with Highmark Homes in Millwater?

    Just wondering as I’ve heard they traded as Gateway before this – and wonder why the change of name?

  • Stasma

    Hi all, Has anyone had dealings with or built with Onyx Homes in Christchurch

  • Rob

    Does anyone have any experiences (good or bad) with Ruyi Homes in Auckland? They’re completing a series of houses in Takanini at present. All I can find out about them so far is that they were first listed as a company in August of 2014, which raises a few question marks for me. The irony is that the size and spec of the finished houses looks attractive, but it almost fits into the too good to be true mould for my thinking. Thanks & regards, R

    • Karthik

      Hi Rob. I have not had any interaction with Ruyi homes. But I was wondering if you have any information since the last time you had posted this message here. I am also planning on a new build and was wondering for some input about these developers? Thank you.

  • Rob

    Has anyone had dealings with Ruyi homes in Auckland?

  • Ed

    Does anyone know or have experience with New Homes Direct in Auckland? Any information would be appreciated. Regards…

  • Tony

    Has anyone had experiences with Signature Homes, to build a new home in Cambridge?

    • Simon

      Hi Tony, have a real good poke around re Signature. See if you can find other/any happy customers. See if you can find independent customers, not the dollied up conned customers who they use as an example.

    • Samar

      My friends had built with Signature homes. Took them two years to finish the house after engaging a lawyer. Very bad communications. things aren’t done as per contract and specifications…….

      • Tony

        Thanks for comment Samar. Would it be possible to contact your friends to discuss? Txt me on 027 283 2157, thanks Tony

    • Simon

      Be very careful with Signature. Built with them in Auckland, North Shore and yep, nothing but problems.

    • steve

      Hi Tony, if I were building in Cambridge I’d go with Classic Builders, stay as far away as you can get from Generation Homes.

  • Tony

    Has anyone had experiences with Jennian Homes, to build a new home in Cambridge?

  • jason

    Has anyone had experiences with the ‘PACIFIC HOMES LTD’?
    currently considering signing with them for building in Whangarei,

  • Jason

    Has anyone had experiences with the ‘PACIFIC HOMES LTD’ ? currently considering signing with them for building on the Whangarei.

  • Royd Band

    Has anybody built with Mike Robson, of Canterbury?
    So far, my experience has been an absolute nightmare, I do not reccommend him at all.
    Details on request!

  • Anon

    We signed on with Platinum Tauranga in April 2014. It is now nearly the end of Jan 2015 and there is still no progress. Does anyone know how to get things moving? Any help would be great. They just give us a different excuse any time we ask them a question and these change daily! HELP!!!

  • Fifibear

    Great website. Thanks to everyone for their comments, good and bad, as it all helps. We have visited Mark’s site and read thoroughly! We are looking at using Jennian in Manawatu. So far on here there seem to be no bad reviews about them. Does anyone know someone who has built with them? TIA.

  • Sami


    has anyone used summit builders in pokeno? if so what was your experience like?


  • Felix

    This blog is the best thing ever for those looking at building their own home (land and house package) – THANK YOU all and certainly who ever started it. In the good old kiwi way, we buyers need to protect each other, because no one else will and there is a lot of money at stake.

    Was wondering if anyone had experience with KEY2 homes (particularly in the North Shore, Millwater area). Any feedback/comments greatly appreciated.

    Thank you in advance. Felix

  • Daniel

    Hello There – We are looking at building in the Nelson/Tasman area – Can anyone advise of Good Building Companies and also advise of any companies that we should be wary of??

    • Barbara Grant

      Good luck with building. Do your homework and don’t let the companies/builders just show you the houses they did right. Stay away from Hybrid.

    • Barbara Grant


      I could write a book on the terrible experience we had with Hybrid Homes & Living so avoid them.

      • Chris

        Lots of you guys are writing in to this blog with comments (generally unfavourable) about builders. But I can see you’re not following up on Mark’s advice, and putting your comments on Which is a much more user friendly site for other people to benefit from your comments, as it lists them under the builder’s name. But if you do put anything there, please note which area or actual franchise operation you’re talking about. As it would be unfair to criticise all the franchises operating under a particular name, just because one of then does something wrong. Unless of course you’re talking about something that affects all of them, such as problems with their headquarters, or their TV advertising.

        • And not just share on but also make sure you read the Building Guide or similar and PREPARE yourself by educating yourself around the build. Poor builders get away with bad stuff because their clients abdicate responsibility instead of learning, watching and participating. Take some responsibility for your own build – start here at least –

        • Just a heads up, I’ve just made a change to the so that if a company is a nationwide franchise (or servicing multiple regions) someone adding a review must select the franchise (or region) they built with.

          The franchise or region is then clearly shown along with the review.

    • Fran

      We are going to build in Richmond area soon. Just looking at building companies. Who did you use & any suggestions as to protect ourselves.

      • Ian

        For me personally, I would recommend Milestone, Jennian, Peter Ray Homes and Versatile as my top suggestions for the Nelson region. One of our neighbours built with InHaus, and were extremely happy too. Best advice for building, get pictures of everything you plan to have in your home and have it signed by the agent. Then there will be no miscommunication and disappointment. Right down to the mixer your going to get. Good Luck!

        • Fran

          Thanks for that help. At least I found this site before we have started. At this moment we are meeting with building companies & now have an insight on who’s the better ones to look at. Will definitely take photos etc & get a fixed price contract reading the fine print & lawyer approval.

  • Sabrinna

    I looked for a review site today and couldn’t find one. I’m renting a home in Nelson just for the summer. I’ve had workman in the place every week! Tenancy services says this is legal with notice. Worst holiday ever! Will never be holidaying in NZ again. A builder was here, making a terrible mess. I asked him to put down a dropsheet because it was being blown everywhere and white paint chips and dust were getting through all of my things. He said, “Are you a builder, are you?” in an extremely confrontational way. I said it was going everywhere and I didn’t need to be a builder to know what a dropsheet was. He told me to “bugger off back to Australia”. I told him to get out. He refused ans told me I had no right, I didn’t own the house, the owner had sent him. He continued verbally abusing me until I eventually rang the police. Disgusting! This man needs to be blacklisted.

  • David


    I am looking for a builder with positive reviews – they would need to be in the Kapiti/Horowhenua/Manawatu area.

    Does anyone have any feedback on Homestead Concrete Homes – Levin ?
    Does anyone have any feedback on Homebuild Homes – Palmerston North ?

    Up front I say that I believe in protecting specification and design and preventing changes/substitutions with a good contract that incents the right behaviours of the involved parties (me and the builder) to perform their roles with performance and quality clauses and retention, late penalties/incentives, escrow, inspections, QA etc and taking an interest and being involved.

    I know that I care most about my build and therefore I need to show interest and stay on top in the best possible manner.

    I am the employer and need to lead according to the effective ability demonstrated. IE if they demonstrate they are competent and on top of everything then it’s a light touch, praise and friendly questioning of whatever concerns me in writing. If they are lacking in areas it’s coaching and slightly firmer in writing, onsite meeting etc and formal with a view to get back to a light touch situation because whatever is fixed and back on track.

    I believe if anything nags in my mind in the initial engagement then I am not going with that firm – trust my intuition, but conversely I won’t be choosing someone because of how well they smile etc. If they don’t demonstrate efficiency, effectiveness, integrity and organisation in the engagement process then I will walk away also. Why would you keep going if they are slack in the engagement process ?!

    I don’t believe in Master Build Guarantees or their contracts or any other organisation type guarantees per se. The guarantee can be of value as in an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff if you prepared for the long battle to actually invoke them and most people will not have the stomach or funds to do that.

    I would love to find the builder/foreman who actually is on the job day in day out. I would love to find that builder who has the same team that does everything and has built house after house that is great on that basis.

    Any suggestions on who to look at for Kapiti/Horowhenua/Manawatu are welcome.

  • Helen

    Thinking of using a company for a property in Tauranga – this blog was helpful – I have been able to cross lots of companies off my list!

    You can search for a company name or region in this blog – and the relevant comments come up. Platinum, Jalcon, Hybrid, Landmark, Greenstone, Fowlers, Stonewood and Earthcube (probably more but this was the start of the list as I didn’t read the entire blog). you need to clean up your acts – won’t be going near you.

    Cheers to the people who have taken the time to comment.

    • Owen

      Do not use a company called Consultancy Plus Construction Ltd from Mt Maunganui, or the previous trading name for the same 3 directors, RKK Construction Ltd. Originally a David Reid franchise, then a Palladium homes franchise, wise companies, both gave them up as franchisees.We had them build a house for us & there organisation is terrible. Ended up with the lawyers to settle there “final account” Book keeping skills were terrible, charged for not supplied items, not crediting progress payments etc.The project manager lived 250km from the job so things were very disorganised, contractors worked off thru lack of payment, some sub contractors would only deal direct with us. Took nine months to build, even then when we moved in, house was not finished. Be very of the contracts from David Reid Homes, (probably similar clauses in other building contracts,) some nasty’s as we found to our disadvantage, the right to place a mortgage on your property in the event of “non payment” of the final account within 3 days of possession. We disputed the final account, so they placed a mortgage over our property, threating “mortgagee sale if not paid within three days. We were disputing their figures, but were forced to agree to monies in dispute to save the mortgagee sale. Get a “good lawyer to check the contract before signing, sadly, we did not to our disadvantage. We now of others who have had similar problems with this company.

  • Sam

    We are looking at building a new house in the Pokeno region. We are not sure which builder to go with?? We have never built a house before nor have any of our family our friends hence the question. We will have a fixed budget approved by the banks and don’t want any significant overspend (we understand there is likely to be some).

    1. Generally what is the overspend figure like (% or $)? Is it covered off in the contract?
    2. Is there any specific builder we should avoid?
    3. Does the slope of the land matter?

    Any feedback is greatly appreciated.



    • Chris

      Hi Sam, You’ve been very honest about saying that you don’t know a lot about building a house, and without wishing to sound critical your questions make that very clear. So my first suggestion would be to talk to some unbiased (ie not the builder) person who knows a lot more than you, or (unless you get very, very lucky with your choice of builder) you could be stepping into a minefield. Can’t help you on builders in that area, but briefly on the other questions:
      1. If by ‘overspend’ you mean the amount by which the final contract price exceeds the original contract price when you sign the contract, this depends on how much detail you tie the builder down to in the original contract, so you know exactly what they’re going to give you for the money, and how much you let them put in for provisional or prime cost sums. Simple example: contract says they’ve allowed $15K for your kitchen or for electrical fittings, but is that going to get you the kitchen you want, or the lighting and power points etc you want. Or when they say the contract allows for 30 m2 of driveway, or $5K for earthworks, are these enough for your particular house. Most builders will tell you it’s fine, and sure it may get you a very basic kitchen, or 1 light and 1 power point in each room, but almost certainly you’ll find you want more. If you change things then it won’t be covered by the contract. The stable door is then wide open for extra costs.
      3. Of course the slope of the land matters. It can affect the final cost a lot, for extra foundation costs, retaining walls and possibly more complex framing etc. But many builders get you sign on a contract that says it is subject to a flat site.
      Sorry for being blunt, but if you don’t understand a lot of this please find someone who does.

  • Nik

    hi, has anyone had any experience with MH builders hamilton?

  • Tony

    Can anyone recommend good builders (or builders/companies to avoid) in the Cambridge area?

    • steve

      Hi Tony,

      Can only say stay well clear of Generation Homes. Terrible, their quality would be around the Sunday DIYer standard at best.

  • Anybody have an dealings with Dave Middleton Buidling in Dunedin? I just recently spoke with him regarding some building and he was extremely rude and racist. He is not a suitable builder or a master builder and I would not recommend him to build a bird house let a lone something for me. Do your research before choosing him, he is not a trustworthy builder.

  • Liz

    Has anyone had experiences – good or bad – with Fowler homes North Shore/Rodney? And any tips?

  • Brooke

    Do not use Signature Homes Northshore! Nightmare from the moment we signed the contract (amazing before we signed of course). We got notification of a 10% overspend 2 days before we were due to move in (with no earlier indications of any overspend). Please note I was 8 months pregnant at this stage! So much for their fixed price guarantee!!! It took 18 months of constant follow-ups to get the code of compliance and almost 2 years on we still have issues that need fixing up as part of our guarantee and the Project Manager doesn’t even return my calls or emails. I tried to talk to to Gavin Hunt early on and he didn’t want to know. There were a couple of good staff during the design phase but they have both now left. Building with Signature was the most stressful experience in my life and it isn’t over yet unfortunately. I can’t wait for these issues to be resolved so we can go our separate ways.

    • Brad

      Hi Brooke,
      As per our email as the new General Manager of Signature Residential I apologise for what on face value seems like unacceptable communications.
      As you are aware from our conversation I have notified our Construction Manager who oversees all our Maintenance Works to investigate your complaint and I will personally be overseeing the concerns raised to ensure a speedy resolution. I expect to be able to come back to you in the next day or two in regard to completing any applicable items.
      Brad Smith
      GM Signature Residential

  • Forgot to put the link to the LBP page – You can check whether your builder or tradesman is licensed here.

    But who would know it’s there if you didn’t know it’s there?

    • Chris

      Hi Mark, Thanks for the responses about LBPs, and all you say about the system not working as it was originally intended to, or LBPs finding ways to get around it, surprises me not at all. Loopholes were designed to be wriggled through after all!
      But my concern was more to do with the Homeowner (ie person engaging the builder) possibly being personally liable if he allows restricted work to be carried out by a non-LBP, which is what the DBH leaflet ‘Build It Right’ seems to say.
      The good news is that I had an email from DBH, the gist of which seems to be:
      1. The homeowner is only in trouble if he KNOWINGLY uses a non-LBP.
      2. If you engage a builder to run the whole job for you, then you should put a clause in the contract to make it clear he is responsible for taking all necessary action regarding LBPs.
      But anyway I understand Council inspectors will not sign off on restricted work unless an LBP has first signed off on it. Although as you said it probably doesn’t necessarily mean the LBP has done, supervised (or maybe even seen) the work involved.
      I have worked in both local and national government engineering departments, so I know it’s not always about ensuring good work. Sometimes it’s about feeding the filing system, and allocating responsibility for bad work.

  • New Guest

    Has anyone had experience with Design Builders, Auckland Franchisee?

  • Tom

    Has anyone had any experience with Design Builders (Auckland)? I think the head office is based in Havelock North (

  • Mandy

    Thought everyone may be interested in this Consumer article on Building Guarantees. Interesting the difference between NZ Building Guarantees & Australia.

    Article reads…………
    Building guarantees are supposed to offer you peace of mind if you’re building or renovating a house. We assess the major guarantees available – including a new product that covers remedial work on leaky homes – and make the case for a government-backed scheme.
    Legal protections

    There are legal protections which are supposed to guarantee that any building work on your house is “fit for purpose”. But they don’t always help if your building project goes belly up.

    Implied warranties
    All residential building work is covered by the warranties set out in the Building Act.

    The most important of them state that building work must be done competently and completed within a certain timeframe.

    However, it’s difficult to enforce these warranties for shoddy building work. You can:

    File your dispute with the Disputes Tribunal (but only if you’re claiming for less than $15,000 – or $20,000 with the agreement of both parties).
    Opt for adjudication or arbitration (but fees can range from several thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars).
    Lodge a claim with the Weathertight Homes Tribunal (but only if you have a leaky home built or altered within the past 10 years).
    Take your case to court (but this is costly, time-consuming and stressful).

    Licensed building practitioners
    You now need to hire a licensed building practitioner (LBP) to carry out or supervise work that influences the structural integrity or weather-tightness of your home. The licensing scheme is meant to ensure that major work is done by competent tradespeople who can be held accountable if anything goes wrong.

    Under the scheme, you can make a complaint to the Building Practitioners Board if an LBP has done a sub-standard job on your house. The board can cancel the practitioner’s licence and impose a fine – but it can’t award reparation. So you’ll still be out of pocket.

    Private building guarantees
    Private building guarantees are designed to plug this gap in consumer protection.

    The Certified Builders Association of New Zealand and the Registered Master Builders Federation (see below) provide the main guarantees available here (although some independent companies, such as Signature Homes, also offer guarantees to cover their own work).

    The Department of Building and Housing estimates 50 percent of new builds are covered by guarantees from 1 of the 2 main suppliers.
    Builtin New Zealand guarantees

    Builtin New Zealand administers the Certified Builders Association of New Zealand (CBANZ) guarantee, which is called the Homefirst 10-Year Builders Guarantee.

    It also offers the Homefirst 7-Year Builders Guarantee and a WaterTight Warranty for remedial work on leaky homes. The guarantees and warranty are underwritten by CBL Insurance Limited.

    A Homefirst 10-Year Guarantee is only available if you’ve hired a builder who belongs to the CBANZ.

    The Homefirst 7-Year Guarantee and the WaterTight Warranty don’t limit your choice of builder as much. You can apply for one of these if you hire an independent builder – but Builtin New Zealand will have to approve your choice of builder first.

    The cost of these Builtin New Zealand guarantees depends on the cost of your building contract and your level of cover. Each guarantee has 3 different levels of cover:

    Full Contract covers the entire building project, including materials and subcontractors. But you must let your builder manage the project on your behalf.
    Carpentry Labour Only covers only the builder’s workmanship. You’re responsible for the work of the subcontractors and the quality of the building materials.
    Kitset Loss of Deposit covers your deposit on a building kitset if the builder goes bust and you don’t receive the materials you’ve purchased. Builtin New Zealand assures us that rot and fungal decay will be covered by the Homefirst guarantees if it’s caused by a defect.

    For a building project worth $350,000, a Full Contract Homefirst 10-Year Guarantee would cost between $1000 and $1200 (see “Guarantees compared”, below). It’d cost between $600 and $700 if you opted for the Carpentry Labour Only option.
    Master Build guarantees

    Master Build Services provides the 3 guarantees offered by the Registered Master Builders Federation:

    Master Build 10-Year Standard Guarantee
    Master Build 10-Year Classic Guarantee
    Master Build 10-Year Premium Guarantee.

    A Master Build Services guarantee is only available if you hire a Registered Master Builder to work on your building project. There are no exceptions.

    Each of these 3 guarantees offers a different level of cover:

    The Standard covers loss of deposit, non-completion, and both structural and non-structural defects in materials or workmanship but not rot and fungal decay. You can reduce the cost of this guarantee by opting out of the loss-of-deposit and the non-completion cover.
    The Classic covers defects in materials, workmanship and structure, plus rot and fungal decay.
    The Premium is basically a combination of the Standard and Classic guarantees. It covers loss of deposit; non-completion; defects in workmanship, materials and structure; plus rot and fungal decay.

    The Standard guarantee costs a fixed price of $1200 (or $900 if you opt out of the cover for loss of deposit and non-completion).

    The other 2 Master Build guarantees are based on a percentage of the work you’re having done. The Classic costs 0.55 percent of the work ($1925 if the contract’s worth $350,000). The Premium costs 0.70 percent ($2450 if your contract’s $350,000).

    The Classic and Premium guarantees offer cover for rot or fungal decay up to a maximum of $500,000 for a period of 10 years. The hitch here is that your house’s design must score 12 or lower on the Department of Building and Housing’s “Acceptable Solution E2/AS1 Risk Matrix”, which puts numbers on the risk of a house leaking:

    Low risk = 0 to 6
    Medium risk = 7 to 12
    High risk = 13 to 20
    Very high risk = over 20.

    So Master Build Services’ rot and fungal decay cover is available only for low- or medium-risk houses – which already have a reasonable chance of being weather-tight. (See “The risk of leaks”, below, for more details of the “risk matrix”.)
    Guarantees compared

    Prices quoted here are based on a building contract worth $350,000. The basic cover listed is the maximum offered by each guarantee and depends on the limitations stated in each guarantee.
    Builtin New Zealand

    Homefirst 7-Year Builders Guarantee

    Price: $1000-1200
    Loss of deposit: 20 percent of contract price or $50,000 (whichever is less)
    Non-completion: 20 percent of contract price or $100,000 (whichever is less)
    Defects (non-structural/structural): $100,000 (2 years/7 years)
    Rot and fungal decay: Covered if result of defect

    Homefirst 10-Year Builders Guarantee

    Price: $1000-1200
    Loss of deposit: 20 percent of contract price or $50,000 (whichever is less)
    Non-completion: 20 percent of contract price or $100,000 (whichever is less)
    Defects (non-structural/structural): $100,000 (2 years/10 years)
    Rot and fungal decay: Covered if result of defect

    Master Build Services

    Master Build 10-Year Standard Guarantee

    Price: $1200 (fixed price whatever the value of the building contract)
    Loss of deposit: 5 percent of contract price or $15,000 (whichever is less)
    Non-completion: 10 percent of contract price or $30,000 (whichever is less)
    Defects (non-structural/structural): $100,000 (2 years/10 years)
    Rot and fungal decay: n/a

    Master Build 10-Year Classic Guarantee

    Price: $1925
    Loss of deposit: n/a
    Non-completion: n/a
    Defects (non-structural/structural): $500,000 (2 years/10 years)
    Rot and fungal decay: $500,000 (10 years)

    Master Build 10-Year Premium Guarantee

    Price: $2450
    Loss of deposit: 5 percent of contract price or $25,000 (whichever is less)
    Non-completion: 10 percent of contract price or $40,000 (whichever is less)
    Defects (non-structural/structural): $500,000 (2 years/10 years)
    Rot and fungal decay: $500,000 (10 years)

    Limitations and exclusions

    These guarantees have some common limitations and exclusions. These include:

    Consequential damage
    The guarantees don’t cover consequential damage. So your leaky roof will be fixed (provided it falls within the scope of the guarantee) but your water-stained curtains won’t be. However, Builtin New Zealand’s two Homefirst Guarantees will cover the cost of alternative accommodation, and the removal and storage of household belongings for up to 30 days.

    Damage covered by other insurance
    The guarantees don’t cover damage or loss that’s already covered by another insurance contract. However, the Homefirst Guarantees will pay excess costs if the “first-resort” insurance contract doesn’t fully cover you.

    Variations to the building schedule
    The guarantees won’t cover variations to your building schedule unless you clear the variation with the guarantor first.

    Remedial work
    The guarantees won’t cover defects if you take repairs into your own hands (for instance, if you hire a second builder to clean up the first builder’s mess) unless you clear the repairs with your guarantor first.

    Emergency repairs
    The guarantees won’t cover damage to your house caused by a defect unless you’ve taken reasonable steps to prevent the damage. So you can hire an after-hours builder to plug a sudden leak in your roof – but you must try to notify your guarantor first.
    The onus is on you

    A building guarantee doesn’t free you from your responsibilities as a building owner. You still need to:

    Agree a contract with your chosen builder.
    Get building consent from your local authority.
    Monitor your progress payments as work is completed.
    Make sure council inspections take place as scheduled.
    Sign a Notice of Practical Completion with your builder.
    Apply for a Code Compliance Certificate from your local council.

    Not carrying out any of your responsibilities as an owner can limit your cover.

    No guarantee is a substitute for carefully selecting your builder. Check your builder’s licence (, qualifications, past projects and testimonials before signing a contract. Visit the Companies Office website to see if the director of the building company has gone into liquidation in the past.

    Making a claim
    To make a successful claim under your guarantee, you’ll need to be well-versed in its fine print. Make sure you understand the process for notifying the guarantee scheme of any defects (always in writing) and any time limits for lodging a claim.
    The Queensland system

    Queensland has a system of home-warranty insurance that acts much like a private building guarantee. It covers loss of deposit, defects and non-completion of work. And (like other guarantees) it won’t cover damage or loss that’s already covered by another insurance contract.

    But in Queensland, builders – not consumers – are required to obtain warranty insurance from the Building Services Authority (BSA) for residential building work worth more than $3300.

    The BSA is also a statutory authority, rather than a private outfit. As well as the insurance scheme, it’s responsible for disputes resolution and mandatory licensing of all contractors. Among its powers, the BSA can:

    Record instances where a builder has failed to rectify a defect (the records are publicly available).
    Revoke a builder’s licence.
    Recover costs from the builder if it has to pay insurance cover to a homeowner.
    Fine dishonest or incompetent builders $2000 and pursue further penalties (up to $25,000) through the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

    New South Wales has also moved to a form of statutory home warranty insurance. NSW Fair Trading offers a free building dispute resolution service. If the service fails, the state’s Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal can hear building claims up to $500,000.

    In 2011, as part of the Building Act review here, the Department of Building and Housing (DBH) mulled over the regulation of building guarantees. One alternative was a government-run surety product that could compete with the existing guarantees.

    In the end, the government decided against regulating guarantees until other Building Act reforms had “bedded in”.

    It also recommended that the DBH develop further information and guidance “to help homeowners understand and manage the risks associated with the current suite of guarantee products and services in the building sector …”. The guidance hasn’t been produced yet.
    Our view

    A government-backed home warranty insurance system (like Queensland’s) should be introduced here. It would provide better consumer protection than private guarantees.
    A statutory building-disputes tribunal would give homeowners a better chance of having poor-quality building work rectified. Building disputes are often complex and technical – there should be a specialist body to deal with them.

    Report by Luke Harrison.

  • Anne Smith

    How about in Dunedin -anyone have suggestions/reviews/comments about reliable and quality builders in Dunedin?

  • Duped

    Hello, we are currently looking for builder in Chrischurch. We are choosing between Generation homes and Today homes. Can you please give me any good/bad feedback regarding these two builders? Thank you!

  • Alana

    Hi has anyone built with Jennian homes in Auckland?

  • Steph


    Has anyone dealt with Penny Homes and Hallmark Homes, Christchurch. These are the two options given to me by my insurer.


    • Lyn

      Hi. We were dealing with Penny Homes via our insurance company and had no end of problems. In the end with the backing of the insurance company they were sacked. I know our insurance company were having a lot of problems with jobs turning to custard with Penny Homes so I wouldn’t go near them. Haven’t heard anything about Hallmark.

      • Delempicka

        Hi Lyn,
        My parents are currently in this exact situation. They too are dealing with Penny Homes via their insurance company, and have had no end of problems with their professionalism from the start. Sadly, while the expression of their concerns has brought promises of improvement by the Christchurch manager of Penny Homes, his word has been fruitless – even when has been on paper. To make matters worse, every time they have contacted the company to discuss their worries, they have faced a visit from their Project Manager, who has verbally harassed them for daring to say anything. They are now highly fearful of retribution, while also fretting about what will become of their home. It is a vile scenario, in which Penny Homes should have no pride. The people of Christchurch deserve better, it is such a pity that a North Island company is not only taking advantage of their misfortune, but is seemingly taking pleasure in adding to it. Shame on you PENNY HOMES!

        • Lyn

          Hi. I feel for your parents so much. We were very lucky to get out when we did as the intimidation had started with us at a very early stage. I got promises from the owner John Penny which were worthless. The insurance company assured us there were repercussions happening for Penny Homes in the background but obviously not enough to change anything. I agree Christchurch deserves much, much better. Our thoughts are with your parents for this to be over soon.

        • Kelly

          Just out of curiosity what help did you get if any from the Master Builders Organisation that these guys are members of? Appears that 95% of the complaints on this blog site are members of these building organisations! Its disgusting whats happening to people!

          • Anonymous

            Hi Kelly,
            I agree it is disgusting but this the price/risk that one has to pay/take if one lives in a country with zero cunsumer protection. Abroad , in some countries, the initial deposit is protected by Law. In fact builders are required to undertake a sort of “surety insurance” prior to commencing any work. This isurance will have to cover much more than the initial deposit Somewtimes it covers the damge caused by failing the delivery (such as rent etc). Owners, if they wish, can extend the insurance to cover any subsequent finance so that if the builder goes bankrupted the money is protected.
            Unfortunately New Zealand has a long way to go before becoming what’s called a first world country.

          • Hi Kelly/Anonymous
            We do have consumer protection but it’s different when it applies to home building. As I said earlier, there are different contracts available and it pays to read them carefully and ensure you have a good one and not necessarily the one you’re given by the builder.

            We recommend the one offered by the Building Disputes Tribunal – – who you can also go to if you have issues like the sounds of yours.

            We also strongly recommend insurance and you can get contract works insurance, which covers you for damage/theft and fire whilst building, and third party builder insurance, which covers you for builders going bust or not finishing your job.

            As we say earlier, it’s important for home owners to do their homework before going with a builder. This forum is excellent, but you can talk to their clients, inspect earlier work, do Google searches for comments. And please! Read the or the magazine. There is a wealth of information in there that is incredibly useful for people who are building and it’s important that you are prepared before you spend upwards of half a million dollars building or renovating a home.

          • Sarah

            Hey Mark, that reply got me thinking – with the houses we have built we have always had contract insurance, once we arranged ourselves but usually the builder will arrange and some builders I know have a “blanket” insurance policy which covers all their builds and I believe if they are a “Master Builder” they are required to do this. So for example in the case of the people with Williams & Co wouldn’t their deposits be covered if W&Co had contract insurance? 🙂

          • Hi Sarah
            It can get a bit confusing.

            You, the home owner, take out Contract Works Insurance but that covers the actual work – so if there’s a fire, or theft of materials, or damage by a digger, for instance, you’re covered for the replacement and/or costs incurred.

            The deposit with Williams & Co. won’t be covered by this.

            This could have been covered by a Third Party Builders guarantee, such as offered by Homefirst (

            An alternative is to use an ‘escrow’, also offered by the Building Disputes Tribunal. Here your monies are held in an independent trust. You need to have the money for everything but it doesn’t go to the builder straight away. So, the builder has the confidence his bills will be paid, but he must do the work beforehand and to a satisfactory level. You, the homeowner, know that you haven’t paid for something you haven’t got, and you know that you only pay when the work is done and if the builder goes bust, you haven’t lost your money. We recommend this approach.

            Above all else, we cannot stress enough the need for homeowners who are building the need to educate themselves about their responsibilities, about the processes, about their builder and about their options around product selection. The Building Research Association just did a report that showed that those who participated in the design and build of their project had much higher satisfaction rates than those who did not.

            One final note, the single biggest issue that came up with builder satisfaction in this report was that builders didn’t come back to fix defects. It is almost guaranteed there will be (hopefully only!) minor things to fix after the house is finished. Some builders are less than satisfactory at coming back to fix these. You are within your rights to withhold a portion of the final payment until all defects have been fixed.

          • AdaFrankBox

            Hi Mark,
            Your final comment about builders not coming back to fix things is the exact situation we are in, some of those things are stopping CoC being issued.
            We are dealing with a franchise builder and have no money held back and seem to be getting no progress, the issues are work not completed as per plan and poor workmanship.
            Any advice on the best way forward to get these things resolved would be much appreciated.

          • Hi AdaFrankBox
            This is pretty difficult as you have almost no leverage. It’s a lesson to retain a final payment until everything is fixed to your satisfaction.

            You can make contact with me and I can call on your behalf if you like – – or you can start shaming them on social media – their FB page and Twitter – that’s worked with other companies I’ve had customer service issues with. Alternatively you can contact the Building Disputes Tribunal – John Green (see link above). They’re superb to deal with and while may cost you a little bit of money, should be able to get things sorted for you.

            If they’re a member of Master Builders or Certified Builders then you can also go to them and complain. They are very protective of their brands and should get on to them immediately.

            good luck.

          • Mike

            Have you not seen both Campbell and Fair Go on the review of Master Builders and Certified Builders Guarantees. Not worth paper they are written on and only seems to protect Builder and not customer. Others have mentioned in previous Bl;ogs.

          • Kelly

            Hi Mark,,

            I see your comments about CB and MB, Unfortunately, CB and MB are very difficult to deal with, not sure what your association is with them?

            The last thing they want is having to get involved with problem members, clients have to go to great lengths to get assistance from the organisations, I know a lot of people like me who have experienced dealing with them, the complaint process is a complete waste of time and is designed to wear the client down even further because things are not dealt with timely enough and in some cases clients are completely ignored, they know time is money for the client the longer they can ignore people the better, heaven forbid they assist the client towards a claim with the insurer!

            I have real issues about this as this is not how they promote themselves. Lenders and insurers dictating to people who they can build with when there is no value in it for the client! Half the complaints on this site are about MB and CB builders who will be in breach of their code of ethics, something these organisations hate to be reminded about. The problem is, if they got tough on suspending members who breach these ethics (for serious issues) the organisations would fall over by the looks as there wouldnt be enough of “the good guys” left to keep them running!

            Your right in that alot of the problems are the maintenance clause in not coming back to fix these issues! But there is also the conduct and behavior side like the bullying tactics they use delaying completion of builds etc forcing people to accept the conditions of the homes because they are desperate to move in, and dragging end dates out and this just shouldnt be tolerated by the organisations but it is unfortunately.

            We did everything you said, re financing to safe guard ourselves (thank god) insurance you name it, but it doesnt stop terrible things happening and to be honest, your contract isnt worth the paper its written on when you get a particularly nasty builder it costs money to fight for whats rightfully yours we are lucky to have such funds and are prepared to go the whole way out of principal but alot of people cant and this is where these organisations need to play a tougher role!

            What a sad and disgusting state this industry is in,,, full of criminals! And thats my whinge!

          • Simon

            I totally agree with your comments Kelly about the CB and MB and all the builders who use bullying tactics, do not finish things, do not honor the finish date given in writing etc etc. There are so many problems. The other thing that builders are still getting away with is, close the company down, sack everyone and start a new company if they get too many complaints etc. Oh, no, we can not fix that. We have closed the company down etc.

          • Wow – I knew there were issues out there and they’re really starting to come through.

            Certified Builders and Master Builders are clients and I have a good relationship with them and generally see them as being genuine and well-meaning, but understand when individuals have poor experiences.

            As much as anything, going to the organisation is a box that must be ticked off first as if you do get some response from them it can save you time and money later. If it doesn’t work, then it’s time to escalate your response.

            You’re right that there are some very poor builders around, but there are also good ones. And yes, there are real issues in the industry but because only those who have problems out of a relatively small number of people who build or renovate each year, the issue doesn’t resonate with the wider populace (unless it’s an individual case shown on Campbell Live or Fair Go) and therefore the politicians can ignore it.

            My advice, again, is to go through an escrow service so your money is protected, and get the best contract you can – again, I recommend the one provided by the Building Disputes Tribunal. You can also contact the Home Owners and Buyers Association – – which can help you out with legal action, contracts, etc, and are really good to deal with.

            Once again, I lament the fact that so many people rip into their building project without doing any upfront homework about the quality of their builder or understanding the processes they’re about to go through – if you’re spending upwards of half a million dollars or more, you’d think it wise to get some advice so please! – check out the building guide website as a starting point – – it’s independent advice (because we are), it sets things out in easy to understand fashion, and it will help you prepare for the project which, as you all know, is much bigger than you think when you first go into it.

            And tell your friends who are building so they don’t have the same issues.

          • Chris

            Hi Mark, A new one for you give your usual helpful feedback on.
            I understand that Owners are required to check that the people designing and carrying out Restricted Building Work (which basically includes any new house) are Licensed Building Practitioners (LPB). Sounds like a good idea in theory, but the road to hell is paved with those.
            According to the DBH leaflet ‘Build It Right’ it seems Owners are supposed to check not only whether the building company owner, or his permanent employees, are LPBs. But they are also required to check , before signing the contract, whether every subcontractor (plus their employees who will actually do the hands on work on site), are LPBs. Plus if there are any changes in personnel after work starts they have to check them too.
            To follow this to its logical conclusion they would need to ask for proof of identity, to make sure the people who come to site are the same ones they have checked before.
            And if they fail to do any of this correctly they as Owners can be held personally liable (and possibly fined). This seems to be a totally impractical and unreasonable requirement.
            What happens if the Owners are people who have no knowledge of the building trade, and just want to employ a main builder to take care of, and take responsibility for, all this? What happens if the Owners are not always around on site to check this kind of thing, or perhaps not even in NZ while the work is going on? Are they required to employ a LBP as Project Manager to do this on their behalf, and if so are they still responsible for their PM’s omissions or mistakes?

          • Hi Chris
            this is an area with which I’ve been dealing with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), which now incorporates the old Dept of Building and Housing.

            Firstly there has been a completely inadequate education campaign to consumers around restricted building work and licensed builders. I would venture that most consumers don’t even know what a licensed builder is.

            As far as LBPs go, there are different categories of restricted building work, mostly dealing with weathertightness, and consumers need to know that LBPs must undertake this work, or if the tradesman is not an LBP, then an LBP needs to sign it off. So far as I’m aware, a building company owner does not need to be an LBP – but builders doing restricted building work either must be or the work needs to be signed off by an LBP. This means that turkeys can work for an unlicensed building company owner, but if they have an LBP come by to inspect the work and sign it off, then council will pass it.

            Bear in mind that the LBP signing off that work becomes personally liable for that work for ten years from completion, and under the latest regulations MUST come back, no questions asked, within the first year to fix defects. If there are issues with this, then people can make a complaint to the Licensing Board and they may take away the license from the LBP.

            Here’s where it gets silly – in spite of around 20% of new builds having a major issue (so on the approx. 20,000 builds per year, that would be 4000 serious issues) just 3 builders had their license removed last year. Go figure.

          • Kelly

            Hi Mark

            When you say only 3 have had their licence taken from them do you mean that out of all the complaints filed only 3 have actually been dealt with since the new law came in or do you mean out of all the complaints filed only 3 lost licenses? Do you know re your dealings with them how many actual complaints have been filed since the new law was passed and how many have gone through the system?

            How long can one expect to wait to see some action through the LBP after filing a complaint do you know why it is taking so long since this new law? Also as another blogger (Simon) stated, what happens if the builder shuts up shop and starts another company (as they do) before the claim goes through the system? What would happen there?

            You are correct in that alot of people dont realise they can file a complaint against a builders license here.

            People should do this just anything to try and get these #!!!!!!!##! As they can loose their license and be fined. Its surely worth a bit of effort even if it does take a while. Our council were great at informing us of everything we could do, this was one of them.

          • AdaFrankBox

            Thanks Mark, appreciate your advice and willingness to help. And yes big lesson learned regarding the final payment, funny how much better prepared we are to build a house having now built a house.
            We are working through a last ditch effort to get things going amicably, obviously that will be best for all parties in the long run.
            Unfortunately they are not members of MB or CB and have no real social media presence, guess I can see why now.
            I note somewhat amusingly that “Good Faith”, “Compromise”, “Co-Operation” and “Private” are key words in their dispute resolution clause.
            Will let you know how we get on.

  • Wassem

    Hi Guys,

    Has anyone had experience with Compass homes? Looking to build with them in Pokeno.


  • Wendy

    Hi there,
    I’d like to know if anyone has had any experience building with A1 homes in Kumeu? We are looking at building, but would like some feedback. We’re pretty fussy (like anyone else I guess) and A1 homes look like a good home for the price tag. Too good if I’m being honest – hence the question.

  • Bob

    If you are going to take advice, take it from me. I’m an ex Builder, Draftsman and I have been a new Home Consultant for 15 years. I’ve had a total of 26 years in residential building.
    Getting to the point, the state of the residential building industry is appalling.
    I find it horrific that group builders allow inexperienced, unqualified staff to advise clients on decisions worth hundreds of thousands dollars.
    New home consultants, franchise owners and construction mangers with little (or no) experience will generally complicate a project. There are so many things that can and will go wrong, without experience these traps cannot be seen.
    When you first meet a New Home Consultant, speak boldly; ask what experience they have and how many years they have had in the industry. Ask for the addresses of their last 20 builds then spend a day knocking on those doors and ask the owners about their builders. This is the only way to see past all the “smoke and mirrors” Doing this could save you potentially tens of thousands of dollars. I wouldn’t dream of dealing with anyone without doing this first.
    Forget about the brands, fancy brochures, guarantees and empty catch phrases. It’s about the individual franchise and the individuals you work directly with.
    Too many purchasers are consumed with shopping on price and don’t ask the important questions. over the years I have seen literately hundreds of clients choose other inexperienced builders or a franchises with a bad reputations because they appeared to be $10k to $60K cheaper (only to have these extra costs added later) If you are going to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a build you have the right to ask the hard questions. Be ruthless about it, demand transparency or walk.
    I’m happy to answer any questions any one has, I give honest answers as I have nothing to gain other than re-installing some integrity and faith back to the industry.

    • I endorse what Bob has said above. Don’t be fooled by a price that seems cheaper up front as you will often be stung down the path and be careful about who you pick as your builder. As I said earlier, make sure you check earlier projects to learn about who you’re dealing with.

    • Sarah

      Hey Bob – that is awesome advice – I wish I had done the door knocking thing before I built the last house. Really good idea, most people should do that. I come into contact with quite a few people now who ask about building/recommendations and I will definitely pass on that advice – cheers 🙂

    • saif

      Hi Bob,

      Great advice ! really good, thank you !!! Just want to know of what you think of Brant Homes in general ?