Building Company Reviews

Welcome to Builder Reviews

From the Original Admin person:

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

Anyone want to set me in the right direction?”

And then I got the gig…

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

Adding a New Post

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



smilingwebApril 2015

Hi All

This is the essential tool if you’re building or renovating. Get it here – www.buildingguide.co.nz/our-magazines

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

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

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

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


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

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


3 Sept, 2015
Hi again

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


October 2018

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

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


NOTES: Please Read

October 2016

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

Ctrl-F to find specific references…


April 2017

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

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

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

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

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


June 2018

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

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

157 pages of them.

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

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


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

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

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


Adding a New Post

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

Mark G

2,706 thoughts on “Building Company Reviews”

  1. We are planning to build our first home with Generation Homes Hamilton. Have someone got any feedback for us it can be good or bad.

    Another thing is it good to do progress payments or have turn key package.

  2. Do NOT go anywhere near Stonewood homes Tauranga. All stories on here are true and I WISH we had not decided to trust them. Before you sign they will roll out the red carpet, once signed you are nothing but a number and I can’t even describe Kevin, the owner. Never once he showed any interest, paid a visit to have a chat, nothing….all about the money. Disgusting attitude.

    Save yourself the stress. Stay away from Stonewood homes Tauranga!

  3. I’ve worked for multiple “group housing firms” (10 years total) and been in the building industry for 25 years. Here’s the thing with 99% of these franchises… they are generally owned and operated by people with little or no knowledge of house construction and very little or no knowledge on how to actually run a business or manage the people within it. Directors very quickly get a god like complex and their ignorant opinions hold sway over fact and reality. They are more interested in hiring people who agree with them than those who actually know what they are doing… both firms I worked for where horrified when I told them that their documentation is misleading. It is quite literally a culture of lies, deceit, arrogance and incompetence being rewarded and applauded… honesty and integrity are quashed well before they have a chance to surface and if you highlight any of this you will be shunned, mocked and ridiculed. They chased me offering big dollars to do their work on contract after I left but in the end… I got sick to death of lies and deceit being employed to cover the arses of incompetent snakes.

  4. This is my personal opinion and review on GJ Gardner Christchurch South (JNF construction), and might not reflect their code of practice.

    Pro
    1) The sales consultant I deal with is good and awesome and able to answer most if not all questions that I have.

    Cons
    1) Feel a bit pushy in signing ATP and build contract
    2) They try to sell the standard floor plan as they have agreement with supplier to get materials for 20 – 30 builds per year per standard floor plan they have (I was told so). If you decide to go with custom floor plan, it costs at least 20k higher for the similar floor area.
    3) The build price per square metre is really based on very low spec;
    for example,
    a) the kitchen appliance in express spec is based on Haier kitchen appliances, which is usually 2k less than fisher and paykel kitcken appliance, or 4 k less than Bosch kitcken appliance by most building companies
    b) approximately 4% of build price is to HQ, and 2.5% sales commission, and overhead cost for QS, color consultant, sales consultant, which is over 30k on non-building related cost for a 400k build.
    c) The standard build price doesn’t include heat pump, patio, landscaping, vehicle crossing and only include 22oz carpet (most building companies offer 33oz and above with good quality underlay)
    d) Hip roof (no gable) to minimize build cost
    e) I was constantly told that they got the materials in bulk from supplier, hence the cheaper price. I agreed that they got good price from supplier but unfortunately I personally don’t think the saving is passed to the client. The saving is contributed to their profit margin.
    f) no joinery for wardrobe or shelving

    When I use the same floor plan and compare it to other building companies (apple-to-apple) for each item in specification list, the quote for a standard floor plan (4bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 2 living) using express spec by GJ costs approximately 30-70k higher compared to other building companies (GJ quotes me 385k but other companies can do 330k-340k yet the spec from other company is higher).

    When I first decided to use GJ, the main reason is the Halo insurance backed by Lloyd to cover company insolvency. However, this cover is now removed by Halo insurance.

    If you are looking to build a very basic house with a low spec and above average build price, I would say GJ is the one to go with. Otherwise, I would recommend the following in Christchurch: Jennian, Onyx, Quinn Homes, Faye Homes, Master Ace, or other local builders.

  5. My husband just finished getting his Nelson, NZ retirement home built. (I’m from USA) He used Signature Homes and learned a very expensive lesson. Signature Homes lured him away from Jennian Homes with lower prices and comments about Jennian being way over-priced. Turns out, Jennian was probably the honest builder, whereas Signature Homes took us for a wild ride. At first we thought they were just making lots of costly mistakes in judgement, but, in the end, we realize how they used the PC Sum trap to deliberately underquote the build. Some of their “costs” were 164% higher than their quotes! In all, we lost $58,000 due to their overages. We changed NOTHING in our plans. We are starting the process of a formal complaint. Has anyone here ever had any luck with getting these builders to honor their contracts or “price guarantee?”

      1. I had the same experience with Signature Auckland North Shore. Tactic became very obvious once the contract was signed. They include a large number of PC sum items which they over ran significantly on almost all items. It has been stated many times on this forum – you need to challenge hard to minimize PC Sum items. They are very good at convincing the inexperienced first home builder that they are an essential part of the contract but in my view they are way over used to their advantage in locking you in to a attractively priced contract. Then before you know it the project cost has blown out significantly and by that stage you are in to deep to do anything about it.

    1. A provisional sum is an allowance (or best guess), usually estimated by a cost consultant, that is inserted into a documents for a specific element of the works that is not yet defined in enough detail for an accurate price. It is a tactic some Franchises use to seem more cost effective. Good luck in your pursuit of claim, however it may prove difficult to get a decision in your favour.

  6. Just doing some due diligence, anyone built with Greenland Homes Christchurch? What was your experience? How did they deal with any mistakes and were variations due to undervaluing of prime cost or provisional cost items common and add much to the contract price? Would you build with them again?
    Thanks

    1. Hi, Sorry to not answer your question directly, but I do want to warn you to get PC Sums OUT of your contract. Everywhere! Our pc sums resulted in overages of anywhere from 60% to 164%!!!!! Our house cost $58,000+ MORE than we were quoted, and we changed NOTHING from the original plan. 58K is a huge overage on a 450K budget! So, my only help is in advising you to stay away from Signature Homes, and also to get PC Sums OUT of the contract. Honest contractors need very few of them. We had 2 PAGES of them!!!

  7. Hi,
    Has anyone used Latitude Homes Wellington Alix & Zach (a typical sales man). They look cheap but to start with they are giving estimated build price only with some allowances, I am concerned once signed they might raise the costs or find a way to raise costs.

    Zach says they are cheap but when I said the other builder doesn’t change so much for x work he then says if they are cheap whatever you will get will be cheap quality as well. He doesn’t know that will apply to Latitude homes as well LOL.

    Regards,
    Peter

    1. Oh well that’s ok then because at least we still have Registered Master Builders to look out for the consumer (said with all the sarcasm I can muster because we all know they’re as helpful as tits on a bull) but I do agree with the payment schedule part, don’t hand over anything until you are sure they’ve done the work properly.

      The problem with this is that how are we (the consumer) supposed to know if the job is done properly or not? Most of us don’t have any building knowledge and although the council come in and sign stuff off at certain intervals we can’t expect them to pull up the builder on things that don’t relate to their inspections at the time. We had to pay a third party who had all the accreditation under the sun, to come and put together a full report on what was wrong with our shed, and that cost us $1500. A small price to pay I know but unfortunately that was after we handed over majority of the money for our build and now we have to fight to claw some of it back.

      How do we effectively set the benchmark for the building work if a payment plan is set? And who oversees it? Clearly you can’t trust the builder as they’ll say whatever they need to in order to get they’re hands on your cash and the council are only partially responsible for certain areas of your build, any ideas anyone?

  8. Construction Accord consultation in Auckland:

    Invite to Auckland Construction Sector Accord public session
    You are invited to attend the second Construction Sector Accord public information and feedback session, being held in Auckland.
    Development on the Construction Sector Transformation Plan is underway. We are holding open sessions in Christchurch, Auckland and Wellington for the wider sector and public who are interested in the Accord and would like the opportunity to learn more about this work.
    Come and hear about how the Accord is tackling the significant challenges the sector is facing to change the construction industry for New Zealand.
    Government and the construction industry are working together to transform the sector through a Construction Sector Accord and a Transformation Plan.
    An Accord was signed and launched in April 2019 which includes high-level goals and the outcomes we need for a high-performing sector.
    The focus for the Accord programme now is to build engagement and support across the sector and create a detailed transformation plan.
    Details of session
    The second session is in Auckland.
    Date: Wednesday 4 September 2019
    Time: 3:00pm – 4:00pm
    Location:
    Ellen Melville Centre
    2 Freyberg place
    Auckland CBD

    What will this session cover?
    Overview of the Accord
    Progress of the Accord and Transformation Plan
    Q&A opportunity
    This is an open invitation – please feel free to forward this to your networks. RSVPs are required. Please click here: https://www.research.net/r/FYGBBB7

  9. I’ve read most of the comments on Platinum Homes and want to know why the master franchise and CEO haven’t been held accountable. The franchisee pay huge amounts to the master franchise, the master franchise clips the ticket on every item in the home and receives rebate payments from the suppliers of the products. The master franchise is absolutely creaming everything and then not stepping up if there are any issues. James 9.8.19 you are correct Shaun Riley the CEO is very much to blame he directs the company, he must know when payments have been made for homes to be built he must be aware of homes that haven’t been completed on time or at all. Why has he let this go on for so long. There are people who have been waiting two years for their homes to be built. Shaun Riley was to busy covering his arse and accruing his personal wealth so he could exit stage right and leave a mess behind.

    1. I totally agree with you there Jane. Head office knew it was going on but chose to turn a blind eye. We complained to head office numerous times and just got fed bullshit. We signed up in 2016 and are still waiting for our house to completed.

    2. Shaun Riley ripped into us because we complained too much. All the way through the build with Mass Construction we were in constant talks with the head office as it was a shambles from start to finish. If we hadn’t complained that much (and we had every reason to complain) we wouldn’t be where we are today. Shaun Riley knew that Jason Strange was cutting corners, not paying his tradies and quite frankly doing an horrible job, making our life a hell, but he just turned a blind eye and let him do his thing, not giving a damn about the customers. Jason Strange and Mass Construction goes under and conveniently Shaun Riley has left, what a weak piece of #$%@

    3. What people don’t realise is that it is optional if the Master Franchise gets involved in any disputes. It is perception (not fact) that if the Franchisee goes into liquidation that the Franchisor will pick up the cost to rectify. Doesn’t happen unless there is profit left in the build for the Franchisor.

  10. Being in construction all my life I having sold multiple products in the industry and dealt with many building companies throughout. I am disgusted with the amount of shoddy building work that is being performed in our industry and the attitudes towards customers. It is crippling our industry and reflecting badly on the good ones striving for best business practice. It is a minefield of stress and worry for most people building and/or renovating and getting the right fit as a provider is paramount plus its nearly always the biggest amount of monetary investment made in most peoples lives. The public need to do their due diligence and I mean do their due diligence. Point 1 – we have just completed a build addition and renovation and the two other providers were nearly $400K above us (yes, $400K) and we didn’t cut corners and have made good coin and thats because we have good process, a great team and we pick the right sustainable jobs to build our business. Building does have a right price point but cheap is not always the way to go. Cheap comes with a low quality finish. You need to tick off all the boxes for supply, communication, follow through, personalities and robust business ethics. Contract contract contract limiting the likes of variations or where there are to be variations a set margin added. Point 2 – People think they can manage a build. Some might but some are just plain kidding themselves, want to supply items but don’t realise the ramifications on delays, wrong product and then expect builders to sit and wait whilst not charging for time. This is unethical and not good business practice and any builder who is prepared to do this will not be in business in future and as such you have no warranty comeback. Point 3 – selecting an lbp does not get you the right supply partner. An lbp can be anyone that is a builder but hasn’t done roofing, hasn’t installed windows, hasn’t laid flooring, hasn’t done foundations, has never built a complete residential dwelling from ground up. And people are selecting a builder just because they are an lbp not knowing this. Did you know that most group home builders use contract builders in their businesses and those same contract builders hold the lbp licence for future issues, not the group home builder. Most of these group home builders pay low rates to their contractors and that is why we have so many shonky workmanship comments on this site. Point 4 – there are companies out there marketing renovation franchises specifically detailing they don’t want builders in the business. This is a major issue for NZ going forward and the overheads for any franchise company are huge with franchise fees you pay for a build starting around the 5% mark upwards and all that goes into head office coffers. All I can say is that our industry is amok with disreputable and greedy companies who are not there for a win/win but just to take your hard earned cash and ce la vie so this brings me to my final comment. Do your due diligence, ask them what builds they are currently doing (minimum of 5) ask for referrals you can physically visit and demand to go to the ones of your choosing. Do not take their offered selections. Go to some of their suppliers and ask them what the business is like to deal with and if they are current in trading terms. This will give you a good indication of who you are signing up with and give you some perspective on what they are like. Sales people from most build companies don’t know anything but basics in building and will promise you the earth to get you to sign up and make that deposit. Then you are a captured customer and on the path of no return when the build cost climbs and the variations kick in. Diligence is paramount people PARAMOUNT !!!

    1. These are great things to know. Greedy people suck, and they sure make more work for us. But we need to make ourselves more informed to avoid these predators.

  11. It has taken me a long time to get up and write this as I try to move forward with building my home, managing the project with my Husband and watch as he works all hours to figure out how to fix all the problems that Gavin, one of the worst builders created.
    We probably have one of the worst building experiences on this website. We Hired Gavin and Peter Stewart but can’t presently give you full names or company names yet for legal reasons. They are both still in business though. I have learnt to cope with living in a very unfinished house for 5 years now as we save money, fix issues, learn new skills and build our own business to pay for it all.
    I simply just cope from day to day, month to month and winter is hard. Please anyone who is going to take on the challenge of renovating or building their new home don’t hire Gavin from Albany or Peter Stewart. I want to take them to court and I have consulted Lawyers but getting my house built has been the priority, and even writing this is hard because it forces me to remember everything and think about what has happened because I hired those two builders. We spent $330k with Gavin and Peter before firing them, leaving us financially hit hard. Our house was 90% new build.
    I can list all the things that were built badly and that list is long so you would need some time to read it all. Two of the major issues is that my entire house cladding was done really badly, the cladding was at all angles, the sizes of the weatherboards were all different and some of the cladding wasn’t even nailed onto the wood underneath so it was held up by the building paper, which was also done badly. The other huge problem was that all the walls, floors and ceilings were not plumb, not level, some on a stupid angle. My entrance way was a parallelogram when it was supposed to be a rectangle. The floor was so bad that most doors would have not opened/closed properly inside unless fixed, and figuring out how to fix all of this has cost my family about $200k.
    Most of the prenailed frames were way out of plumb, out of square, in fact I don’t think the builder ever used a level? The steel beams had to be re-done because they were so badly installed, the engineer failed them at first inspection. We had to recladd the whole house, ripping out the brand new cladding as it was installed so badly. Face sizing all wrong, out of level, boxed corners not meeting around corners. Even our foundations have needed extra repairs as the poles were done badly. Even when Gavin was on site he was fixing his own mess, but badly and at our expence.
    Our replacement building firm had a huge task fixing this, costing us another $200k, then they went into receivership so we are trying to manage this ourselves. No building firm is willing to fix this mess, most won’t even return a call.

    1. I am so sorry you are going through this. We have only just finished fixing $50k of repairs on our two-room extension, thanks to a cowboy builder.
      Can you complain to the licensing board? Like us, we can’t spend Loren money chasing legal action when we know they will NEVER pay up anyway, but at least they can get a mark against their license.

      Also – Fair Go is doing a building special, get in touch with them as well!

      I think we all need to write to the Minister sharing our experiences with the construction industry, calling for a better resolution process.

      1. I recently spoke to our local MP about all the shitty building work that is clearly in abundance at the moment as it seems that anyone with a licence can take your money, leave you with a building you wouldn’t even put your dog in and they couldn’t give a rats arse. Why? Because they want to be seen as the government that solved New Zealand’s housing shortage, they want all hands on hammers and they don’t care if the person welding it can use it or not. The LBP needs to strap on a pair and stop giving a slap on the wrist for transgressions that really require the termination of a builders license. I shudder to think what the standard of building work going on at the moment will look like in ten years but I think it’ll make “Leaky Homes” look like it was only ever a bad paint job. If the current government want my vote in the next election then they need to GET OF THEIR ARSES AND DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!

        1. They actually have initiated a review of the licensing system as part of a broader review, so it isn’t really fair to blame the government. https://www.mbie.govt.nz/cross-government-functions/regulatory-stewardship/regulatory-systems/building-regulatory-system/

          So have you reported the shoddy work of the LBPs on your site?
          I went to the media as well and that put our Mr Cowboy out of business. This will be his second LBP hearing this year. Yes, it is a wet bus ticket but it at least flags them to future customers.

          I agree the system is screwed but unless we collectively report them and lobby for change, it will just continue being as it is.

          1. As we speak there is a massive housing project being built here in Hamilton which is a Labour and Tainui partnership. Tainui supplied the land and the government supplied the labour and materials (or roughly something like that) but it’s big and it’s expensive and it’s designed to house the people who would never be able to afford a house otherwise.

            We personally know of two builders (I would guarantee you there is more we don’t know about) who have been ripping people off for years doing dodgy work AND have finally had their licenses revoked who were welcome with open arms to build over 40 homes in this project so yes, I do think the government is culpable to a certain degree, what message does this send these cowboys and crooks with hammers?

            When a licence is revoked they should never be allowed to practice again. If a builder is disciplined he needs to be stood down for a set period of time. My husband and I both submitted our opinions on the restructuring of the building practices and the general feeling we get from others who did the same is that yes, it’s a great idea and long overdue and yes, it’s making all the right noises but we can’t see how the Labour Government intends to keep their promise of fixing the housing shortage while at the same time tightening the licensing rules. The answer is we don’t think the latter will actually eventuate to a level where poor victims like Donna will be protected and given justice. It will be a slap on the wrist with a ruler as opposed to a wet bus ticket but just as ineffective.

            If our wish becomes an actual reality and all those shoddy builders are told to get a desk job then we can see builders fresh out of Tech or apprenticeships being pushed through quickly to fill the gaps and that fills me with just as much fear. My heart breaks to hear of people like Donna and her family and they need protecting and justice and I’ll challenge any MP to stand up and tell us how they intend to give it.

            I’ve forwarded a link to this website to several MP’s and implored them to read It so if any are reading this now I would love their feedback, but like most things they say it will never happen.

            1. I agree with you. Should we all lobby the Minister of Building and Construction? There will be an opportunity to submit to select committee when the law is changed.
              The poor standards of construction have been going on a long time… well before this government.

              1. I agree with all the comments regarding the construction standards and processes in NZ but I think the issue possibly goes even deeper. In my experience after building with Signature Homes Auckland North Shore is that there is a culture of dishonesty. Not only did the project managers, construction manager, and general manager continually lie to me but they lied to their suppliers and they even lied to each other. It was ridiculously dysfunctional. Over the course of my 4 year project, 2 project managers were sacked by the construction manager and then the construction manager was sacked by the GM. Sharing my experience with others I have come to understand that this culture also exists in many of the other franchised group build companies. It is highly likely that this process stems from poor process. Poor process leads to pressure and mistakes and as the pressure builds the finger pointing starts and the dishonestly and butt covering follows. Unfortunately the client is the biggest loser in this soap opera.

            2. I agree with you. It’s not on that they do this to people. Would they like it done to them. It doesn’t take much to do a good job and meet the standards. Do a good job builders and everyone will be happy. Plus you will get more work.
              We need to get rid of these dodgy builders.

          2. Their review is putting apprentices back into the class where they learn nothing. The initiatives will burn the industry as 1) builders will have to be part of either master builders who are a joke and do not protect the home owner, be part of certified builders (applies to both of these organisations) who have group housing coys as members who do not have one qualified builder on their books contracting lbps to them and still paying cheap rates. And the reason for this is access to a guarantee held after a 2 year period or a client of Builtin Insurance or one other insurance provider. This is horse bolting thereafter material. Also an lbp will have to be on every site meaning a shortage of builders increasing build cost hugely. The real need is for extensively qualified proven builders to have a premium status over every other builder who refuses to be licenced as they don’t want to take ownership for their build quality. Speaks volumes eh. Good builders like us are pooled with the every other idiot out there with a licence who is behaving badly and it’s not right. This govtmt needs to put real initiatives in play to circle the good from the bad and their initiatives going forward are not going to do that.

            1. The tiered system proposed should weed out the inexperienced from the experts.
              Insurance for negligence should be mandatory. At present the threshold for licensing is set way too low and the bar for suspension way to high.
              You are correct in that it is hard to recognise the skilled builders from the cowboys.

        2. Hi Alice and Melanie, thank you for your support, I appreciate that there is still some decent people out there. My Partner and I have come across a lot of self-centred cowboys while trying to do this job. LPB is a joke, Gavin has already had a notch on his record knocked off and I could go his licence but that too is a lot of work and I am extremely busy. We are hoping to put all our shit into the LPB though and hopefully he will lose his licence. Believe it or not he is also a certified Builder so I think that is a have. No builder has to prove any level of skill to be certified. NZCB are only interested in their annual payment. Gavin was sued which we found out after our mess, by a client before us. We also think that badly built houses is going to be the next leaky housing mess, I blame a system that has few checks or guarantees. Builders should be held accountable financially for what they build with a working way to do it, maybe a compulsory insurance for the client to claim against. I don’t blame our current government; the previous government caused the housing/population problems. NZ Certified builders is basically a way for cowboy builders to try to fool you, probably most of the certified builders are very dodgy.

        3. I agree with you. There are a lot of shoddy builders out there who will take you money and will fix a known defect. They are ruining a lot of peoples lives and it is not right!
          The shoddy builders are giving the industry a bad name and there are going to be a lot of issues in the future.
          Time to make a stand and make them pay for the damage they have done!

  12. Hi, does anyone have any review of Homes for Living houses, not necessarily the build part but afterwards, how the house has weathered after a few years. Cheers

    1. Platinum NZ just as much to blame. Shaun Riley – previous CEO – let Jason Strange do his thing. Warning signals left right and center but nothing was done. We are talking years of ripping people off.
      Shaun Riley has conveniently left, and Jason Strange has skipped the country. These people are the lowest of the lowest.

    1. Have you seen all the comments on here about platinum? Personally wouldn’t touch them with a barge poe .Most problems have been with tingbrWellington nch ibeI lieve but apparently the head company has done nothing and let people down. Highlight this whole page and use control s to search for platinum.

  13. Hi there,

    Do anyone please have an updated review on Platinum Homes, DW Homes, Signature Homes is GJ Gardner in South/East Auckland?

    Preferably someone who is currently building a home with them or has recently finished building one?

    Trying to decide between these franchise locations only please.

    Thank you.

    1. I had a really bad experience with the current Signature franchise in East Auckland. I would not recommend them to anyone.

        1. I worked for Allan Moore at the Signature East Auckland franchise for 2 years. He has proven to me that he lacks integrity and cannot be trusted. He still owes me over $25,000 in commissions on houses I sold for him. In my opinion his builds take much too long. None of the last 6 houses I sold were finished 18 months after contract was signed. To me his business looks like just a ‘project manager’, subcontracting the trade work, with the client paying 20-25?% extra on top of the real build price … with someone who in my experience cannot be trusted.

          1. I know it is unfair to generalise when it comes to franchised builders but I do have a word of caution when it comes to Signature Homes. I built with the North Shore franchise and they continually over invoiced me or invoiced me to cover rework from their mistakes. This resulted in a stand-off situation when they stopped work after I refused to be ripped off. The Operations Manager from the Franchisor was brought in to mediate impartially but it very quickly became clear whose side they were on. Effectively they just brought more people in to gang up on me.

            Personally I recommend people stay well clear of Signature Homes unless you want to be constantly in fight mode. Honestly quite hopeless.

        2. Good afternoon.
          Howard also goes by the name of David Wilson. David/Howard worked for us for a couple of years but now works for another building company. David/Howard left unhappy as a result of a misunderstanding relating to some homes sold in a development. We met and discussed the issue and agreed on a resolution to the issue which we shook hands on. Several months later, after completing several sales with my support and obtaining an offer of employment from another home builder, he decided to renege on the agreement and demanded we pay him what he thought he was owed. We always paid David/Howard everything he was owed on time before and after this misunderstanding arose. David/Howard is a bitter ex-contractor who now works in competition to us and takes every opportunity to disparage us and our business.
          I invite anybody who is interested in understanding further the reason for David/Howards comments to contact me directly.
          Regards
          Allan Moore
          Signature Homes Botany

          1. My first names are Howard David.
            I worked for Allan for two years. He refused to pay me the commission as agreed to in my contract. I am not bitter. I do not trust him. I cannot recommend him. It is what it is. He is what he is.
            When we met to discuss the “misunderstanding” Allan stated what he also sent me in a letter: “Accept his offer” (of less than half of what was due) “or you cannot continue working here.” At the time I had around $7 million in contracts lining up, of which I contracted over $5million before leaving 8 months later. He was using that future commission as leverage: Take his measly offer or walk away from all the commission I had been working towards for 12-18 months. I was not given the opportunity to reject the offer. I was told “this is sorted now, or you are no longer welcome”. So I took the offer. We did not shake hands.
            I then asked for the full amount owed several more times – long before looking for another position and finally leaving.
            Apart from briefly here and on Allan’s local Botany office Google maps/review page I have not made any statements publicly about Allan or his business.
            And yes, I moved to a great business that has integrity and looks after its clients and its people better than most. And we build way better houses.
            It takes a lot of money to build a quality home. I need to trust my builder before giving him that much of my money.
            That’s why I left Allan Moore’s business.

  14. Anyone currently building with Platinum Homes Wellington (Mass Construction)?

    Want to know what other comms people have received this week following resources being pulled from sites

    1. Mass Construction have stopped trading – informed by my mortgage broker, New Build, this morning. Make sure to check your builder’s risk insurance certificate is still valid and renew if not. Also lodge a non-completion claim through your build guarantee so that you can get the build completed by another building company.

      Not ideal but probably a blessing in disguise having these cowboys out of business and off our sites!

      1. Not surprised, this guy has been ruining people’s lives for years now……lack of communication, contractors not getting paid, bullying tactics, staff walking out, he has had to operate for way too long and needs to get out of industry so he doesnt ruin more innocent peoples live, its a disgrace that he is still operating.

      2. This is not a surprise. Platinum Head Office has been keeping this guy afloat with no credibility whatsoever. They are most to blame for this fiasco people.

    2. Hi

      I work in the industry and apparently they have folded. We have three clients caught up in this at the moment. We are getting no comms from Platinum Homes on what is happening. We understand Platinum Homes is going to stop in as there are a number of developments affected. Cannot say i am surprised though given how slow they are to respond to queries.

    3. Sorry to hear what you are going through, we also built with Mass and had to go through a nasty settlement process.

    4. We have been notified by one of the subbies that they’re going into liquidation so would not be coming to do work. This was last week.
      Was a matter of time to be honest

    5. we are one of those families, we heard first from the digger man I feel so sorry for him, he looked just shattered. Our house was started just last week with earthworks now our back yard looks like a bomb whet off, its just terrible. We have been waiting for months and months for a start. Its terrible. The house we were building is for our disabled daughters. We saw the manager from head office today, he seemed genuine, but I feel I am no judge of character after dealing with Jason, he would charm the pants off a nun. From the crux of it a new contract may be offered with a new builder, but insurance will not cover our cost of getting the lawyer to look at the new contract, we are out of pocket for that. If you have really started then Platinum builders will take over, if you have not really started the build then new builders will take over. No compensation of stress and anxiety or loss of time. We were told we would hear end of next week what they will offer us to move forward.
      How has it gone for you?

      1. I’d bite the bullet and start with a new builder. Get your deposit back and save yourself several years of anxiety.

      2. Terrible news, I know the owner that was doing your platform. What a nice guy and so trusting now out of pocket for $$$$$$ thousands.
        Hope your build starts fairly soon with a good building company. MBA should have closed Jason Strange done years ago.

        1. Mass Construction went into liquidation on 5 August. Creditors have until mid-September to make a claim. We live near several homes being built by Mass Construction/Platinum Homes and for quite a while have noticed materials being delivered and then taken away, work starting and then no work for weeks, skips not being emptied (and other MC/PH contractors dumping their waste in those skips). Other suppliers we used ourselves said they hadn’t been paid for work undertaken in January 2019. I feel for the owners – one said they had no set completion date (though I know this is movable, they weren’t getting any information at all from the company).

          1. We signed up in 2016 and have never been given a finish date. Just constant lies & verbal abuse. Our house is still not finished.

          2. Anyone know who the liquidators are so we can contact if we have a claim.? We are waiting on a refund that was supposed ot be done in Jan 2019.

  15. We are looking at building in Rolleston. Anyone used Online Design and Build? or any suggestions for a building company that has been good to deal with. This is our first home so we don’t want get screwed over!!! Thanks

    1. We are building our first home with Homes by Parklane and I cannot rate them high enough. James Maher is great, you don’t just get the low spec items and choices

    2. Go to Generation Homes dependent upon budget. Seriously most of the franchised coys are bloody useless. Generation not so and no, I don’t work for them.

  16. Having our first home built by Newson Construction (in the Bay of Islands), we felt it necessary to provide some feedback.
    Dealing with the Newsons was often a very difficult, stressful and tiring process. The effective communication between the project manager and their accounts department was lacking and this caused multiple double ups on bills and errors on the accounts. When questioning these double ups, we felt our questioning was disregarded before they then admitted any error.
    Often we had to chase for the answers to our questions from the project manager who we felt would bury his head in the sand, he rarely met the deadlines he set and we lost our trust in his abilities.
    We would not recommend Newson Construction if you are building your first or dream home for that matter.

  17. Hi all.
    Looking at getting a reclad done in Tauranga on a mono house that has been well maintained. MBA referred me to Nisbett Builders. Can’t find any reviews or feedback anywhere so wondering if anyone has had any experiences with them?
    TIA

  18. We recently built with Landmark Homes in New Plymouth. I can’t speak highly enough of their service and advice throughout the entire build. We looked at several other home build companies before going with them and were warned about several of them from people we knew who had built with them. Landmark were very patient with all our little changes throughout the build, nothing was a problem. Our house is perfect and any little new house glitches we have had have been dealt with immediately by the team. If you want a peace of mind build, these are your guys! Very happy customer.

    1. Remember they are all franchises so one might be good, another will be nothing like it, so do your due diligence and ask to see the last 4 builds they did on their books (recent only, even ones they have in construction at present) and then ask to go and visit all of those 4 – otherwise they will put you onto people that they only want you to talk to. This way you get to talk to real people using their services real time.

  19. Hi all
    My partner and I are planning to build our First home in Rolleston, Christchurch.
    We have been talking to Golden Homes and after reading some comments on here we are a bit concern about variation cost and PC Sum at end of construction.
    We are still at very early stage so still looking around to compare as well.
    Anyone have any recommendation of which would be a good builder in Christchurch?
    Cheers
    Austin

    1. Have you come across green homes? Ask for Hamish, he was really great to deal with and got most of the PC sums removed and actual costs put in before the fixed price offer.

  20. Hi
    I am planning on building a home in the Whangamata are. Can anyone recommend some builders.

    Thanks

    Dave

  21. Hi, can you make the site more efficient by having a search feature whereby you can enter a company name to read reviews that are relevant to that one builder & not have to scroll through the whole site

    1. I search it by using ctrl-A (select all) then ctrl-F (find). At the top left a search box comes up and you can enter your words there. Use the arrow to and it jumps to the next one.

    2. Hi Richard
      I’ve tried adding a search plugin but they only search my posts, not the comments. I’m currently looking at how to rebuild this and still keep everything but it isn’t easy! The easiest thing to do is ctrl-F – you don’t need to ctrl-A – and that’s a search of the whole document.
      cheers

  22. Hi. Anyone built with Platinum Homes Taranaki/New Plymouth? I realise the lower North Island guy is a shocker, but this branch is owned by someone else I hear.

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Not built with them but more than 5 years ago I popped into their office picked up a few drawings and a copy of the contract. His parting words were we don’t change our contract. Due to the time lapse it may be owned by someone else now. In any event with builders in demand they tend to have the whip hand so other franchises and builders may well be the same and not be prepared to change their contract. Contracts are always in favour of the builder. A friend built with GJ in NP and was reasonably happy with them. I reiterated a number of times to him and his wife about reading the contract before signing. His wife was fairly meticulous and I think she spent more time in going over the contract. One does not need a lawyer to get a feel for the clauses. You might need to use one for a finer interpretation of a particular clause or where clauses are cross referenced
      By the way did I mention read the contract and understand it before signing and don’t sign in a meeting with the builder or franchisee. Pressure tactics.

    2. Hi Regan,

      I know the franchises are owned by different people BUT there appears to be a culture of grabbing money and not giving a damn at Platinum Homes that I would be very wary of.

      I entered into a contract with Platinum Homes it the Central North Island to build a home 31 months ago and it is still thwart with problems from shoddy building practices. It took 18 months to actually get possession of the home. I was initially told that he would have the home up in 6 months. My wife had metastatic breast cancer and the house was to be her sanctuary for the cancer battle. Our battle was less with cancer and more with the builder who allegedly took on 25 builds in the year ( fine if he had the trades to do so but he didn’t so he would just do a little work here; a little work there and not care about the deadlines and experiences of his clients). He allegedly was late for many of his clients. My wife became despondent …..with the build, with our hope, with cancer and then with life. She killed herself in May of last year; the house was ” finished” in July. Too late for her and nightmare for me. The builder was well aware of her illness when he took the build on. He promised me that he would pull out all stops to get it finished ASAP. He would even “put on his own tool belt”. They are the most despicable, disrespectful people. I wrote to their head office and received NOTHING back. Not a thing.
      If you have another builder option where you live I would recommend you take your business there.
      In my experience, this group of builders have no respect for their clients.
      I am going to provide media with the story as I think people need to know what they may be getting into with these builders. People need to know what to look for in their contracts; the warning signs of builder deceit. More importantly, we need to help fellow kiwi’s weed out the cowboys from this problematic trade.
      Good luck

      1. Hi D, please can you provide me with your email as I would like to have a discussion with you. Very sorry to hear about your situation and the difficulties you and your late wife went through.

        I am currently going through a battle with Platinum Homes and it may be beneficial for us both to have a discussion.

        Regards.

      2. Oh that’s horrible, sorry to hear about your wife. Who owns the central franchise? Can’t believe you received no communication back from platinum homes considering all you’ve been through.

  23. We are the victims of a cowboy builder in Wellington. $50K of defects and associated costs so far. Our situation aside, was disgusted that he was already the subject of a LBP Board investigation for negligence while he was busy constructing our extension not to plans, consent or building code.

    Further inquiry reveals that to be an LBP you only need a carpentry qualification, two referees and a telephone interview. No character referees, drug tests, or even a police check. Investigations take months and months, with no restrictions or supervision of the builder (unlike other professions where they are either stood down or work under supervision). No wonder we still have leaky buildings. Of course if it goes wrong, the LBP can quickly shut down their company to avoid all claims.

    Good to see the government has announced a review of the construction industry: https://www.mbie.govt.nz/have-your-say/building-system-legislative-reform-programme-public-consultation?fbclid=IwAR0R3iEJk1jX86m5bJMjyxmnvvws1sGrV3M1uY2dhUOz3kwpqa4zfwrnC0U

    Hope other affected homeowners submit their experiences!

    If you are entering a construction contract, I suggest you add a clause for drug testing and police checks seeing as the licensing board doesn’t bother. Odd that a hammer hand or forklift operator may have to pass these basic requirements, but an LBP director can do what they like.

      1. I think it a reasonable expectation that a licensed building practitioner is not under the influence of drugs or alcohol while doing or supervising restricted building work and running a building site. Just as an employer may expect it of an employee.

  24. Anyone else having a bad experience from Platinum Homes Wellington (Mass Construction/Jason Strange) not being paid?

    1. We have not had an invoice settled for 285 days and counting for piles driven on one of platinum homes (mass construction Nz Ltd) sites. Do not do any work for this company. You will not be paid.

      1. I spoke to platinum homes head office yesterday and they advised me they were looking into the situation with Jason strange . A decision would be made in Wednesday to either close up or continue the buildings . Jason has gone to ground . He owed us money from dec 2018 . The hole must be pretty deep .

    2. Latest news is that Jason Strange has left the country. The weak coward that he is, lying and ripping people off for years. Platinum NZ just as much to blame as all the signs have been there for years and they did nothing. Shaun Riley CEO has left as well, says enough. Only after one thing and that is filling their own pockets. New CEO in place, he will have a difficult job to repair the damage that has been done for years by these incompetent rats.

  25. We recently had a terrible experience with latitude homes hawkes bay. Please don’t use them! Debbie the owner is unprofessional and worse customer service ever. They don’t seem to understand the variation process. We thought we had been very thorough in our specs and drawings and every turn they added money or delivered anything but what we had specified with excuses at every turn. We went over time and budget and still didn’t get what we wanted. The final product was rubbish. We went to lawyers but latitude homes didn’t seem to care and didn’t comply. We have now found two other couples in our small neighbourhood who have the same problems recently. We’ve had issues with costs for site works and foundations. Windows and doors arriving too large so the builder hacked away at the framing to get them to fit then made the holes too large and used extensive amounts of expanding foam to just fill gaps. They installed sliding doors that weren’t the ones we asked for then made us pay for new ones. We still have a double bed sitting in our hallway as they made the hallway unusually narrow and used narrow doors. We now cant fit a standard bed in to a 4mt by 5mt room! to be honest we didn’t think to even check. Terrible paint finish we still have holes in our walls where the electrician has moved plug sockets even though we moved in in October last year. Trying to get anything remedied has been a nightmare. Weve sent lawyers letters but they just don’t listen. We are not sure what else to do. We have concrete patios that are uneven and rough and multiple colors. The list goes on. The head office seems to have no control over the other franchises so these sorts of companies are terrible to work with. One piece of advice would be don’t go with a group type builder. In this case it seems latitude homes is just a logo that any ‘builder’ can buy and head office have no control over quality or if things going wrong. The business owner is unprofessional and extremely defensive as the builder is her son. Her son was often rude to us and had terrible time management often showing up to site in the late afternoon and then rushing to get things done leaving a un satisfactory result. In our opinion he was too young and inexperienced and if we had met him prior we would of cut our losses. We’ve built before and know the process and the two companies couldn’t have been any more different. Debbie at latitude homes is terrible to deal with and seems to have no process for anything. On our final inspection she showed up with no paper work and kept denying being able to see any issues. She took a scrap paper out of her handbag to write things on. It’s ridiculous. They kept using different contractors as they burn bridges and contractors don’t want to work with them. Then when work isn’t to standard we just get left with the mess or an additional bill. If you want to speak to us please contact me or reply to this message. Small claims court looks like our only other option.

    1. What about going to the master build Ass. I think we are going to be in the same boat. ALIX from lower north island is the same. Not going by spec or drawings.
      Giving stories and lieing. We are about 60% completed and I hate the house.

      1. Master builders are useless, they are there to protect their members and nobody else. I have spent a lot of money with lawyer’s trying to help but master builders don’t want to know

        1. Disputes Tribunal will be increased to $30k soon. Probably the best way forward for all of us left with building defects.

    2. Hi Janine and Martin Green,
      My partner and I are looking to build in the Hawkes Bay and were looking into Latitude homes. We are also dealing with Debbie. Would you be able to share some more of your experience with me? I’d hate for us to waste our time and money. My email is carissa_quaife@hotmail.com if you are able to share your experience.

      Thanks

  26. Has anyone had any experience building with Izodom? They operate in Wellington and It looks like they have a good system for passive energy homes.

    thanks

  27. Hi,

    My partner and I are looking at doing a house and land package with either GJ Gardner or Key2 in Auckland. Does anyone recommend one over the other, we haven’t dealt with any before and would gladly hear of peoples opinions.

    Cheers

    1. Don’t know about key2, but be careful as G J way under quote the actual costs. Their “standard kitchen” doesn’t even have soft close drawers. They quote without checking covenants, so often adding gables etc. into their plan just to be able to meet the covenants will already add about $10,000. I would recommend going with a private builder. If you can, pay an architect to draw what you want up for you first then get quotes from a few different builders. Make sure you know the specifics in your quotes of everything included and brand of appliances etc.

      1. Hi Brie, All good advice. In connection with builders putting in ‘standard’ provisions (or alternatively PC or Provisional Sums) which are unlikely to give you what you want in the finished build, please see my post yesterday on PC and Prov. Sums.
        But regarding my other comment, about how many people in NZ seem to get involved in building a house, when they have limited or no experience of building or building contracts, I have to ask, ‘Who on earth would employ a builder to design and build a house on their land, without first checking themselves to see whether there are any covenants, and making sure the builder is aware of them and has complied with them in the design, or priced to comply with them during construction?’.

      2. Absolutely on same page as Brie. We had a customer who got a price from GJ’s and they came to us for a quote. We told them we would be $30K cheaper easily. They said when I put the quote to them that we were the same price as GJ’s. So I happily asked them to go back and ask specific questions and get it in writing about site excavation, fill, blockwork etc and yip, they had a pc sum of $1500 in the contract, no fill, no blockwork and yup, we were around $30K under the GJ price. Don’t be fooled people. Do your due diligence and tie up the contract for fixed price. Everyone out there is presenting contracts on pc sum which is a joke. It is unethical and works in favour of the company charging you huge variations. When you have to add something they charge like wounded bulls and you signed the contract allowing them to do this. Also make sure when you go to an architect you advise him what your build budget is and be realistic. We had a couple come to us wanting a beautiful house built out of Hinuera Stone and the cost from 2 other builders was around 850K to 1m and we came in at $760K. Their budget was $600K. They had to sell the land and move on destroying their dreams. We get this all the time, people wanting to build something designed by an architect and then expecting us to build for a ridulously low price. Its not fair on the customer and its not fair on the builder. We also do a huge amount of renovation work and find all the time that designers have designed something ridiculously costly for the application and coming to a reputable builder first and foremost, we can put you onto our contacts and work with them to design exactly what you need (ie: saving cost on the build). People think process is design, costing, choosing builder then build. Its not, its builder/designer working together, coming up with the right price for the build, tailoring specification to suit, making sure the wish list is accommodated for and then building with happy parties from go to whoa. Otherwise be careful what you wish for.

  28. Hi all
    Looking for a reliable builder to built 2 new dwelling units (each about 155 meter) in Glen Eden Auckland,Any recommendations ???
    two name i have in my mind are KVN builders Ltd and Emcon Ltd
    Feedback will help to decide

    1. Hi Everyone. Can some please clarify to me what the maximum percentage a P C -Sum can vary? Are there any laws within the Consumers Guarantee act that governs and protects the owner as far as this is concerned?

      1. No there isn’t. Try to have as few as possible because no doubt they will add on where they can! We’ve learnt the hard way.

      2. Hi Shas, This is a complicated subject (which I’ve written about on this blog before). I’m not sure that Janine & Martin are entirely right in saying there is no limit in the amount a PC Sum can vary, if by that they mean it’s outside your control. I agree you should try to keep them to a minimum, but as I mention below it’s not PC Sums that are really the problem. It’s Provisional Sums that cause most problems. But if the work under these items is required anyway to complete the job, then unless you got a really watertight fixed price contract (which is very rare) you’re going to pay for it anyway. You’re best bet is to anticipate the problems, and try to minimise the builders room for padding costs, by putting in realistic sums, or getting rates for the work upfront.
        First make sure you are using the right terminology.
        In NZ Prime Cost (PC) sums generally cover the cost of items you know you will want, but the specific items may not yet have been chosen. In this case it is important that the contract makes it clear that it is you, the client who does the choosing. So if, for example, the contract allows $2K for supply of an oven, or $50/sq m for carpet, and you choose a more expensive oven, or more expensive carpet, then you must pay the difference. But if you choose less expensive items you should be credited with the difference. It’s up to you to make sure PC sums are realistic for what you want. Ask the builder before signing the contract which supplier he uses for these things, and check out how much they charge for what you want. Some contracts allow you to supply your own stuff, but that can cause complications with warranties.
        A Provisional Sum (or Quantity) is an amount that has been included for work where the requirement for, or extent of the work, is not known and can’t be determined prior to signing the contract. Obviously this means that the final quantity of the work, if any, is usually completely outside the control of the client, and in many cases outside the control of the builder. It may be determined by the engineer or by Council requirements etc.
        Typically this would for things in the foundations, like excavation of unsuitable material, or depth of piles, which can only be known exactly after work starts. In theory I suppose you can say this is unlimited, and certainly most builders will try to underplay it when they give an initial price. But in reality an experienced builder is expected to be able to make a reasonable estimate prior to starting work, especially if you’ve had a detailed site survey and some simple site investigation done before talking to the builder. And of course you can always ask an independent quantity surveyor or engineer to estimate a reasonable figure before you sign the contract. If it came to a dispute I think a court or arbitrator would tend to side with the client, as the less experienced party, who did not write the contract. My suggestion would be to try to put in the contract at least some Provisional Quantity of these things, so you can get a price per cubic/square/linear metre. Then if the quantity changes it can be measured, and paid for at the agreed rate. It’s not just a sum the builder has dreamed up!
        I’m continually surprised that so many people in NZ go into house building with almost no knowledge of building contracts, and without taking independent advice.

    2. Hi
      Hutton Contracting done a fabulous job on my two dwellings out at beach rd browns bay.
      they are high quality builders that have built nice houses in the past.
      you can find him online huttoncontracting.co.nz.

  29. Hi, I’m currently looking at building with Golden Homes Whangarei franchaise. I’ve build with GH in Auckland and while the process is loooong, I think they do a good product for the money.

    This time I’ll be building in Kerikeri and they’ve stated that the build will be $10K more expensive because of transportation of materials and travel costs. I accept this because I figure most building companies do the same but build in the costs. Has anyone any comments good or bad on Golden Homes Whangarei?

    1. I can recommend Fowler Homes Whangarei. They do work in Kerikeri. I’ve just built with them and am pleased with the result.

      1. We had a bad experience with Fowler Homes in Queenstown recently and the Fowler Homes head office was no help. There is no backup if things go wrong. The tv advertisement says you can trust Fowler Homes, but they were not interested in us and did not seem interested in making sure their franchise-holders do a good job.

    1. We have had a studio built by Nest Homes – absolute top quality products and work. Jock and Jackie, and their sons are lovely people. To illustrate the high quality building standard they work to – we travelled with the studio on a trailer from Cambridge to Wellington in howling wind and pouring rain without any leaks. They went over and above to accommodate what we wanted. They take obvious pride in their work. Highly recommend.

  30. Hi there,

    We are looking to build in Tauranga and are after recommendations for a building company there please.

    This will be our first time, so are keen for any advice on what to ask, and what makes one company better than another.

    Versatile is standing out so far.

    Looking forward to your thoughts! Thank you!

      1. Hi May I please know why GJ Gardner was not mentioned in your standouts lists in the Bay? Just wondering as we are also looking at building in Tauranga. Thanks

        1. It may be too late but please don’t use Versatile. I am building my first home with them. One bedroom unit on flat ground already 9 months overdue and mistake after mistake. Deeply regret choosing them.

          1. Hi Susan
            Rather than just slagging off Versatile, can you please specify which franchise it was and what the issues were? There’s no good in slamming the rest of the Versatile franchisees because of one bad apple.

    1. The only builder there that is not a franchise is Classic. All the others are dependent on the individual franchise in that area and he may be crap but others around the country may be good operators. Don’t tar them all with the same brush.

  31. Hey Guys,

    We are building with Navigation homes in Dunedin at the moment and are wondering if any one else has built with them and what their experience was like?
    Cheers,

    1. Do your due diligence with the franchise. Ask how long they have been in business and what is their warranty/guarantee contract going forward as they market on 50 years structural guarantee but by law they don’t have to follow this under the building code. Its just a marketing ploy. In the North Island their franchises change like underpants and the Head Operator has been taken to court after promoting others plans selling franchises. The 3 in Auckland all lost their money walked away from the company years ago.

  32. Hi there,

    Just looking at information on New builds in the Golden Sands Papamoa area. We are looking at ZB homes or Venture. Has anyone built with these guys? How was the process so forth?

    Cheers Ash

    1. It may be too late but please don’t use Versatile. I am building my first home with them. One bedroom unit on flat ground already 9 months overdue and mistake after mistake. Deeply regret choosing them.

  33. As far as I’m concern they organized an engineer to do a soil test (which we pay) before the build and before they made the quote. Their explanation written below: (please note that they never advised us that there might be additional costs due to those changes) My arguments was; with all those changes how come they never advise us of the costs that may arise with those changes. They made us believed that even with those changes everything was covered by their quote.

    “As the dimensions and location of your home changed from original earthworks quote, our contractor is within their rights to re-quote and pass all additional costs on to you as per final plans. However, they are a very good company and offered to complete as per their original quote. Unfortunately they encountered a deeper level of topsoil at the northern end of your property than anticipated. They immediately ceased work and notified us of the extra cost of hard fill required to complete your building platform. They did not charge extra for the labour to compact the extra hard fill, just the extra to cover the unexpected extra hard fill.

    Due to your home design changing and moving on your site, the Electrician and Drainage contractors too have the opportunity to re-quote your job for you. We have spoken to them and at this stage they are happy to continue with the work as quoted unless anything unexpected occurs on site due to the new location of your home.

    We have attached the plans for your review along with the original earthworks quote.

    Sorry for any inconvenience caused due to the unexpected top soil depth on your site. Our purpose is to remove as much stress and make this an enjoyable journey for all, so we hope this email alleviates any misunderstandings.

    Our site supervisor and the earthworks contractor are still happy to meet with you and discuss the situation, however as you can see from the above changes you made we believe they have been fair and reasonable with dealing with your earthworks. Please advise if you would still like to go ahead with said meeting”

    1. I think this is fair due to change of location of building platform. The fact that no extra labour was charged is worth ticking off as a win. $1000 in the scheme of things is not big especially for footings and foundation. I’d advise to not make this a big issue given that as the build progesses you need to keep a good working relationship and there might be bigger issues down the track that need more leverage.

      1. Yes, agree. We had a similar figure on our first build in Wellington, and in the scheme of things this is small, there were changes to layout that were not originally envisaged. You should have a budget of, in my experience, 4-5% sitting to the side as a contingency even on fixed price contracts for these types of eventualities (and for the inevitable nice-to-have upgrades you may want later, plus curtains and landscaping).

    2. Seems fair enough to me – if something unexpected crops up, would be your cost – since it’s your house. Not always possible to identify everything that might crop up along the way.
      Really you need to have some resilience if your building as otherwise you will argue over every minor issue that will come up. That’s why you budget for an extra 10% etc.

  34. Just like to ask for comments and advice, we used golden homes to build our house. they gave us a “quote” for a fixed price contract to build the house. Everything is quoted aside from the kitchen and floor covers which are PC sums. When they start the earthworks, they charging me extra $1,100 because they said that they needed additional hard fill to level my section. I told them that based on our contract
    they gave us a quoted price for the earthworks which means that it is a fixed price. Can the builder charge me extra even though we agreed to the quote they submitted for the earthworks?

    1. Hi Jurgen, if it is genuinely just for levelling the section, then the answer should be no. But often, unless a comprehensive geotech report was done prior to starting the build, the builder may find soft ground that needs more fill to make it sufficiently stable for building on. If this is the case, it is almost always specifically allowed for in the contract in terms of unknown “ground conditions”. You can probably Ctrl+F on that phrase in your contract to see how they describe it.

      1. Should the builder of contacted the homeowner with a written variation stating what needs to be done before work commences. I also thought both parties were to sign the variation?

    2. Hey Jurgen – yes they can do that as in your contract it will state (as David mentions) about unknown conditions and there are clauses that allow the builder to charge you extra. However they have to be reasonable and when it comes to earthworks $1,000 is fairly reasonable. In my case they charged me $16K extra at the end of the job, despite my questioning them at the time and saying I could not afford to go ahead with build if it cost more (should note that the geotech report said the ground was “all good” – it was in waimak which is solid ground). They told me it would cost me $500 more then essentially spent an extra $15,500 of my money without even asking me (no variation signed). Ended up in Court as I had to pay them because they locked me out of my house until I did!!! Then took them to Disputes Tribunal. Unfortunately the DT “adjudicator” knew diddly squat about building and as they always do awarded half. Was extremely angry and pretty much still am. Because of Court case they also never came to do any of the maintenance issues I brought up with them – but just couldn’t be bothered to fight them anymore….. 🙁

      1. Yes, agree with Sarah. We had a very similar expense on our first build in Wellington for soft ground. In the scheme of things, especially given there were changes to positioning, this is small. You should always have 4-5% contingency set aside (preferably that the builder doesn’t know about) even with a fixed price contract for these types of things plus for the inevitable upgrades, curtains, landscaping etc. But all changes and variations should be formalised and signed by both parties, or at least agreed to before they commence via email.

  35. Spoiler Alert: If you believe a Master Builder is actually giving you a “fixed price contract”, you are probably wrong.

    We have spent the last 2 months “dating” A1 Homes. We found a plan that could work, with a few revisions, and agreed specs down to the taps and window latches. We have built before, so know exactly what we want, and they provided a fixed price estimate (crucially, not a quote) to our specs. It seemed like a fair price so we were keen to continue.

    They then said we would need to spend $3,000 on drawings and colour consultants before they could give us an actual fixed price quote. That is a lot of money – we have previously had quotes done on concept drawings that cost us $1,500 and $1,955 respectively.

    Eventually we came round to the idea, but we asked to see the contract they intended to use before we forked over $3,000. That’s when it got hairy.

    A1 presented us with a “standard” Registered Master Builders Association contract. The problem is that Clause 46 of the contract (2018 edition) specifically allows the builder to charge us more if ANY aspect of the build turns out to be pricier than the fixed price quote. i.e. it directly contradicts the claim of a fixed price quote.

    Further, Clause 101 of the contract (which has grown by about 60 clauses since we last built, practically all of them skewed toward the builder), specifically allows for a situation where A1 is building for Mrs Smith down the road and if that gets delayed, they can delay your start and end date. And with Clause 46 locking in their ability to on-charge any costs that might arise because prices rose since they gave you a not-fixed fixed price quote, they’ve ensured whatever their project management skills, you will pick up the tab. Oh and by the way, they have your deposit of 5% while they retain the right to delay indefinitely while they finish Mrs Smith’s project.

    We queried these 2 clauses and a couple of others. A1’s response was simply that they don’t ever change clauses. They had no answer for my question of how they could claim they offered a fixed price contract when it wasn’t. They said they hadn’t charged more than the fixed price on the 2 years they had used the contract, which frankly didn’t give me enough peace of mind to hand them $500K on the back of a contract that still says they can crank up the price at any time.

    I spoke to a Director of Master Build Services who confirmed there was nothing stopping them deleting irrelevant clauses in the contract; A1 was simply choosing not to.

    In the end, we were not willing to risk our money on a “no surprises guarantee” that isn’t any guarantee at all and could potentially hold a very nasty surprise. We suggest you give this a lot of thought and question whoever you build with if they have the same wide-open clauses in the contract.

    1. Hi David

      Very interesting comments that you make

      At Quinn Homes we have a seperate document that negates these clauses and clearly offers a fixed priced contract. Having been in the industry for nearly 30 years I am aware of the tricks that some building companies try on clients to get your deposit and tie you in.

      The main aspect I pick up from your comments is that it doesn’t set a good environment for the building relationship at the forefront which is critical for an enjoyable build in that both parties can work on trust from start to finish..

      A fixed price contract has to be a fixed price contract. Estimate should not be seen anywhere

      1. And if you are the Peter Quinn we talked to years ago from Master Build, I would advise people to not believe a word you say. Master Build Guarantees are not worth the paper they are written on and if people look into it they will find this out.

        1. Hi

          As we only joined Master Builders two years ago and checking my emails for the past five years ago I would suggest you are clearly mistaken.

          If you had done due diligence with your solicitor, any issues with this contract would had been clearly pointed out to you.

          My comments were merely an example of how things can be done better to protect clients like in your case.

          1. If you only joined two years ago, why would you check your emails from five years ago? Doesn’t make any sense.

            1. Because I have been a developer for about eight years. NEVER WORKED FOR MASTER BUILDERS. I joined the association two years ago because clients wanted it.

              1. Okay Peter. I did say, “if” and after talking with my husband we know the last name was Quinn but after so many years we are not sure of the first name (think it may have been Warwick) so believe you when you say it wasn’t you. Anyway, this site was originally set up for people who had built or were building to get information from other people in the same situation. It is still very clear that having a Master Build Guarantee means nothing.

        2. We are finding out now what the master builders guarantee is all about. Not worth the paper it is written on. They are taking money by deception. They have no intentions of helping the homeowners , I have tried to work through issues with our place with CEO David Kelly, kirsty Forman and fairway resolutions . Our issues are major and no one wants to take responsibility for it.

          1. Exactly. It is just a marketing tool. Under the Building Act you have a 10 year implied warranty and this is what matters.

          2. Hi Hadenough
            That’s the game they play. Try and wear you down with no intention of fixing the big issues.

  36. Hi all, would very much appreciate any response from those who have purchased a Keith Hay home with ‘shadowclad’ cladding. We are looking at purchasing a property that has the Keith Hay ‘Raglan’ showhome model on the site, finished in shadowclad board and batten. The home is just under 2 years old. I was concerned to hear that Carter Holt Harvey is the subject of a class action over the shadowclad product. Should I be worried – is there really a bigger issue with the cladding, or is it just limited to isolated cases? The cladding looks to be in conditiona tthis point, with no visible warping. Thanks heaps.

    1. Daniel – I would be very wary of buying anything with Shadowclad on which is 2 years old. The problems with Shadowclad came from how it was fixed on site. They have since updated the installation manual and details but only since May 2018 so if it I was you, I wouldn’t be going near Shadowclad which has been done before that date.

    1. We started our build three years ago with Fowler Homes Southern Lakes, director/ project manger John Mansfield . Still waiting on occupancy certificate, 56 page report of fails. It’s been an absolute nightmare. We have been lied to on numerous occasions , this man has no idea about customer service , my advice don’t even consider them!

        1. Would love to compare notes on our experience , we have been advised to go to fair go by our solicitor due to length of time this has dragged on. I can email you have requested a follow up email when you reply so it should not show on this forum.

              1. Tony Hill claims he has contacted customers of John Mansfield and reassigned them builders . We have not been contacted and I know of another customer in Queenstown who has also not been contacted. Hoping to hear from others who have not been contacted.

                1. We have also not been contacted by Tony Hill since Mansfield went into liquidation. No help at all. Nothing.

  37. Hi Everyone, looking for comments on Platinum Homes, especially interested in the service of fixing problems after the house is built, thank-you!

    1. If you are in the lower North Island they will not fix your issues. To be honest I am surprised that you even have a finished house. We are nearly two years in, had five completion dates and no end in sight. Absolutely horrendous outfit

      1. Platinum – Lower North Island – Jason Strange – SHOCKING
        no service – no nothing
        lots of promises – no action – and definitely no fixing things after you moved in
        as soon as they have your money they will ignore you completely
        long history of destroying peoples lives –
        you wonder how he is still allowed to operate a franchise
        Platinum New Zealand : it is time you sort this out !!

  38. Hi there has anyone built with Golden Homes in Christchurch and have noise issues with the steel framing?
    It’s been over 3 years and we are still battling to get the terrible popping/banging noises sorted out in the roof cavity that can be heard all throughout our home 🙁

    1. Hi Andrew – I did build a steel framed home with Golden Homes but I don’t have any noise issues so can’t help you there. However just wanted to say good luck with GH because I ended up suing them for another matter – in my opinion they are total asshats and the general manager is (again in my personal opinion) a nasty piece of work who is not interested in compromising or managing conflicts in any helpful way, shape or form, just wants a fight every single time. I’m guessing you will probably end up having to go down the legal route too. 🙁

      1. Hi Sarah,

        I’m curious which Golden Home franchise you’re dealing with? We’re using golden homes but are still early in the process and already have some concerns. Hoping it’s not the same area.

          1. We are planning to build with Golden Homes (S. Akl) and would be keen to know more about your early concerns and anything we should look out for.

  39. Hi All,

    Can I have any feedback at all from anyone that has had either success or failure in suing a building company for going well over their estimated build time frame? Our build contract states four weeks as of August 2018 (they were only erecting a shed shell, not hard) and as of today they are still dragging their heels fixing things that the council have ordered them to do and their council deadline runs out today, but we still have plenty of outstanding issues left. Chances are the council will fine them an infringement fee for going over their deadline but I want to try to and recoup some costs for ourselves if we can. They are the biggest bunch of muppets, and bullies to boot so if their is anyway I can keep as much of my retainer as possible I will give it a damn good go!

    We had our own builder, sparky and plumber who were contracted to fit out the inside (thank god for this!) as a third of the shed is habitable, but when their shell failed the council inspections on epic proportions, we had to take down and will have to re-do some of our own work so they can fix their mistakes and it can’t be helped. This does not worry me as we have a retainer up our sleeve for just such a thing and I will be deducting all our extra costs from this amount BUT can I claim costs for going well over the deadline? Stress? Extra Management and admin on our part? Please can anyone who’s done this let me know how you went and what terminology you used etc.

    Any help would be much appreciated and when we finally get them out of our lives and a C.O.C for our building I will tell everyone who we used and what they did so you don’t end up in the same boat!

    1. Hi, yes you can sue them under the building act, including for lose of property value. Its expensive so you need to ensure the cost is worth the effort and that they can actually pay!

  40. I am looking for a builder in the Mangonui/Cable Bay area that WANTS to build a new house and take a large sum of my money, without expecting me to enter into contracts that are draconian and for the sole benefit of the builder. Someone who will listen to me when I talk about my budget, my requirements, and provide an honest and earnest service that does not charge fees and prices on materials that border on theft, who will not disappear when I ask the difficult questions that all the building guides and people with experience advise you to ask, especially around transparency, duration and cost/variations.

    I am now more than 20k in the hole with an expensive design for a house that the architect assured me can come in on my budget but the builder priced 180K over budget, that I can not do much with apart from framing it and hanging it on the wall… after 2 years and talking with many local builders (Masterbuilders too, mind you) and national franchise builders it seems that builders are either cherry picking or trying to get you to enter into a contract that WILL cause you grief. Kudos to Advance build in Kaitaia though who was very quick off the mark with a design and pricing, but unfortunately have the limitation of maximum size that can be transported resulting in a number of deliveries and other difficulties with more complex designs.

    So, is there anyone on here that can make recommendations for a reliable, honest, trustworthy masterbuilder or NZCB builder anywhere between KeriKeri, Mangonui and Kaitaia that will not ask me for a 10-18% builders deposit before they even start with final working drawings? Or at least tell me who I should NOT use and why? Or am I asking for the impossible?

  41. Hi folks. Needing to downsize and build onto my son’s place in Wellington. Anyone had any experience of Topline Builders?
    The last time I had any building done was by Mike Fearn 20 years ago. I can’t seem to track him down now.

  42. Hi, planning on building in Ohauiti, Tauranga later this year. Looking for any recommendations or red flags for builders in this area.
    Regards, Keith.

    1. I hope I’m not too late but please avoid Versatile like the plague! 9 mths overdue and counting on a one room unit on a flat property with error after error and no goodwill left.

  43. Hi all

    Has anyone got any feedback on Brewster Building Ltd in West Melton, Selwyn?
    Or can anyone recommend a builder in the selwyn area who knows about energy efficiency in home builds?

    Thanks 🙂

  44. Hi
    Could someone direct to builders in Palmerston North, preferably who do a turnkey build we are wanting a small townhouse and with the current market builders just say well my previous build sold for this x amount instead of taking into consideration I don’t want a house to be built to meet the market it’s a home that we want
    Thankyou ,

    1. Currently building with GJ and so far so good, great communication, and very evident they have been in this industry for quite sometime as they have the business infrastructure to deliver. Not to mention their buying power as a franchise you end up paying a more reasonable price compared to others, and and they are able to do so in a much more timely manner than others.

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

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

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

      2. Hi Mathew
        You were wise, we went ahead with BCL and it took 2 years and 9 months to get anywhere near completion, I am gathering names of people who have had dealings with Lee Baillie as there are a couple of people taking him to court.
        Our house still has, not had follow ups done, painting, roofers and a cavity slider that is off it’s tracks. We are resigned to the fact that these things will not be rectified.
        illepu@msn.com

        1. Hi Carol
          I’m also happy to support you on this. I’m building with BCL at the moment, my house is approx 75% built after 14 months. I have a friend who is also experiencing follow up issues with BCL (similar to your situation). I’ll email you with my contact details.

          1. We were contracted by BCL Homes to do some work on one of their builds, it has taken 6 months to be paid. They are terrible business people, dishonest, use everyone and live the champagne lifestyle while their creditors wait. They owe money all over the place and we have heard nothing but negative things.
            Baillie Construction Limited, BCL tiny homes

            1. You only have to mention their name in town and you’ll find a heap of people who will tell the same story! Teflon we call them – nothing sticks! Hopefully one day soon they will reap what they sow. Good luck with your battle. My fingers are crossed for a good outcome for you all.

    1. Hi Matthew, go on, tell us who you are working with now who is better. We are also hoping to build in the Manawatubut have lost faith we will find someone with balanced contract terms.

    2. Have you seen Fair Go’s latest post? They are doing a building company special… check out their Facebook page ! If enough people write in about BCL we might finally be heard!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    2. Yes we had a home first policy with top end homes northland (platinum). Very poor communication from both platinum and builtin – we were offered an alternative if we paid something like $1500 – we felt we had already paid and did not want to spend further monies. We moved into our new build in march 2018 – this just added another issue to what was the worst experience building with platinum northland. Jenny bockett

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

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

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

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

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

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

        1. Hi Pritty,

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

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

          Would you like to make contact through our website http://www.speccheck.co.nz or email them through to us at info@speccheck.co.nz along with your contact details and I’ll call you to discuss.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

            2. What about going to the master build Ass. I think we are going to be in the same boat. ALIX from lower north island is the same. Not going by spec or drawings.
              Giving stories and lieing. We are about 60% completed and I hate the house.

            3. Hi Barb

              I would like to complain about the MBA, I am currently building and MBA are not assisting with issues.

              I feel helpless

          1. Hi letsdotherightthing,

            I would very much like to talk with you, I am happy for you to email me on jandgaustin74@gmail.com It is about time the homeowners who have been ripped off by bully builders and master builders join together and fight them through the media and what ever other means that are available to us namely Fairgo. I look forward to you contacting me

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  52. Hi There,

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

    Thanks

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

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

      1. Hi Peter,

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

        Hope that helps.

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

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

    2. Hi Muskan

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

    3. Don’t touch Platinum homes they are horrendous. We are nearly 2 years in with no sign of when this will be over for us. They lie and get nowhere.

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

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

        1. There might be a better way, but I hold down ctrl F (for find) at the same time. A search box comes up on the top right of the screen. Type the word or name in the box, then use the arrows to scroll up or down to the next one

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      1. Hi Jc

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

        Thank you
        Mahi

        1. Hi Mahi

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

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

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

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

              1. Hi Mark

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    2. Don’t touch Landmark Counties dishonest people we built with them and had a terrible experience in more ways than one avoid this company like the plague

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

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

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

    Thanks.

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

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

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

                https://www.noted.co.nz/money/property/would-be-homeowners-left-woefully-exposed-by-builders-substandard-guarantees/

                Cheers
                Sanketh

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

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

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

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

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

    thanks

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

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

  63. Hello,

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

    Or anyone have any thoughts on these builders?

    we are looking at going with one of them

    Thanks

    Mike

    1. Hey Mike

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

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

        Ginnier

        1. I hope I’m not too late but please avoid Versatile like the plague! 9 mths overdue and counting on a one room unit on a flat property with error after error and no goodwill left.

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

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

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

      Hi

      I am looking at a section in P

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

        1. Mike Greer are good but Rob Gibson from Central foundations does their slabs.
          Very dodgy cowboy who did all the sub standard condemned Bella Vista foundations.
          Beware!!

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

    Thanks

    Chris

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

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

        2. Hi Chris,
          Did you go with Green Homes in the end?
          Currently looking at them & would be great to get a bit of actual customer insight in what they’re like to deal with, build quality etc etc.
          cheers.

          1. Hi Sean,
            yes we have gone with Green Homes. The process sped up but then we delayed things as we decided to make a couple of changes and to make sure we had every thing in the build quote that we wanted. We now have a fixed price build contract that includes everything up front. We are now just waiting for the final drawings to so that the plans can go to council for consent. Xmas got in the way but it has meant we have been able to have some time off from concentrating on the build and have relaxed.
            We are hoping to begin building late Feb so it will be all go then.

            1. Sounds good.
              Couple of things on their website I wasn’t too sure on & will ask them when we get a chance to go speak with them, but if you have any insights or dealings, it will be great to hear from customer experience too.
              The focus seems to be on advertising the perimeter edge insulation, do they do underslab too or is that an additional request?

              The spec list in the Ebook mentions ‘advanced framing’. I can only find comparisons of that vs USA building standards, how does it differ from NZ standards? To what level do they seem to follow that practice?

              What air/moisture barrier do they use as standard? wrap or rigid (ply)?

              Were Thermally broken windows part of the standard package? they seem to have it listed on different pages as standard spec or optional extra. – I guess at the end of the day if I want those things, we’ll be paying for them regardless if its standard spec or an additional request, just curious as to what they go with.

              Sorry for the bombardment of questions haha.

              1. Hi Sean, I think your reply here illustrates why in reality it is almost impossible to get a truly ‘fixed price’ contract. There are so many details that would need to be fixed in the specification and on the drawings. I worked for years on construction contracts where the spec was a book 50mm thick, and there were volumes of drawings, but still things (and costs) changed during construction.
                To pick just two items as example, what assumptions has the builder made about the soil conditions in costing the foundations, and is the cost of electrical work based on just a provisional sum, or a detailed layout showing every light fixture, socket and switch? If it’s the former, then you better hope it’s a very generous sum! And in my opinion it’s unwise to take the builder’s word that something is a ‘generous sum’ for anything (kitchen, electrical, plumbing, joinery, floor coverings, vanities, etc etc). Go out and talk to all the sub-contractors and suppliers, to see what the thing you want is really going to cost.

              2. Hi Sean,

                they will send you a standard spec list if you ask. We found that whilst most companies offered a std spec this applies to one of their spec plans. AS for us we designed our our plan and then took some of the std spec but changed a lot. We are building 140mm walls with R5.1 insulation and R7 in the ceilings. Thermally broken is std but we added low e and argon filled.
                They use a wrap instead of ply as std we we kept(a lot of extra cost adding ecoply).
                The slab for us is specced to TC1 land which we have and is a ribraft foundation. we added perimeter insulation as well.
                We found that the original quote and specs whilst better than NZ building code were not what we wanted so that meant a lot of upgrades etc which is why we took so long to get an agreed build and quote.
                Green Homes can do an extended quote/spec for your build/plans which lists everything in a lot more detail such as the electrical, flooring, slab etc. We found this very helpful and were able to check we had enough plugs/switches & lighting in each room etc.
                One thing is the more you ask and the more detail you get/list the better as then you know exactly what you are getting.
                I work with someone who is building with a much larger well known group builder who went through the same but with not as much detail and they have had to add things during the build at extra cost.

                Take you time when doing the plans/quote and get detailed info for everything is all I can say regardless of who you build with.

                In my opinion Green Homes have been very good and accommodating so far and we are looking forward to the build.

                1. Thanks Chris.
                  Good to hear actual customer experience as its hard to find online compared to the big group home companies.
                  Time is on our side as we’ve secured a section and have no pressures so start building right away, so able to spend the time researching. Will be definitely taking your advice on board regardless of what direction we end up taking.

                  Thanks again.

                  1. I looked at them also and the thermally broken is not their standard the basic specs, the wording around this is confusing but yes they do have a list of their standard specs so ask for that it helps clarify

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

          1. Hi Chris

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

            Goo 🙂

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

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

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

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

  68. Hi guys,

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

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

    Cheers

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

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

    3. Hi Kathryn and Laura,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        I will update the process as we goes on

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

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

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

  70. Hi everybody!

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

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

    Any help would be greatly appreciated 🙂

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        Thanks again!

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

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

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

    Chris.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Has anyone heard of Ashcroft Homes and Finesse Residential?

    Would welcome any recommendations.

    Thanks
    Sanketh

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    3. Hi All

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Would be keen to listen to others experiences.

      Cheers
      Sanketh

      1. Hi Sanketh,

        I have checked with our Home Consultants who were on the stand at the Auckland South Home Show and it seems you may have misunderstood. The building work has to be overseen and signed off by an LBP. Not every builder is a registered master builder, so the idea that they would have to be for insurance purposes is incorrect and not something we would claim. Maybe the person you spoke to was referring to the Master Build Guarantee (which obviously only applies to RMB’s)?

        Glad you liked our plans and thanks for taking the time to say hi and visit our stand.
        All the best with your build project.

        Kind regards,
        Emma

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

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

    1. HI Tony

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

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

      Sanjay

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

        1. Hi Martin

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

          Sanjay

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

  74. Hi

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

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

    2. Hi Hyden

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

  75. Hi Peter Quinn

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

    Many thanks
    Sanjay

      1. Hey Mark

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

        Thanks
        Sanjay

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

    We strongly advise you to investigate and probably try any number of alternatives… http://bit.ly/2KRxDQf

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

  77. Hi everyone

    I am wanting to continue to assist homeowners throughout NZ

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

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

    Thanks

    Peter Quinn
    Quinn Homes

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

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

    2. Hi Peter

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

    3. Hi Peter,

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

      Thank you
      Mani

  78. Hi

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

    Sanjay

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

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

  79. Hi

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

    Thank you

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

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

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

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

        Good luck!

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

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

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

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

    1. Hi Naresh
      You can make a complaint to the LBP board via this link here – http://www.buildingguide.co.nz/resources-regulations/consumer-protection/ and it will also give you an overview of your rights as a consumer.

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

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

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

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

      Good luck

      1. Hi Naresh,

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

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

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

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

              1. Hi,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        1. Hi Naresh,

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

  82. Hi All

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          1. Hi Jay,
            The thermally broken and double glazing wont eliminate the formation of condensation – it simply helps to limit the development. It is a big misnomer that ducted air conditioning (heatpumps) will solve the problem too unless it is a system like the Mitsubishi Losnay system (Click here: http://www.beattiegroup.co.nz/images/Brochures/Mitsubsihi_LossnayVL220.pdf) or the Daikin HRV system: (Click Here: http://www.beattiegroup.co.nz/images/Brochures/Daikin_PCH0601_-_VAM_Brochure.pdf)
            that introduce fresh air from the outside, recovers the heat energy from the stale inside air as it is vented to the outside. The important thing, and something that most people do not realise is that in order to have healthy air and to significantly reduce or eliminate condensation the air in every room needs to be “changed” regularly and this can only be achieved by installing a ventilation system with or without heat pumps.
            There are heat recovery ventilation systems available which would be a good interim measure but without the expense of the heatpump. But later you can use the previously installed ducting for the ducted heatpump when you can afford it. Remember to plan ahead for where you would have to install the condenser units outside your home and it is worthwhile pre-wiring and pre-plumbing during your build phase to avoid the expense of removing cladding and cutting holes everywhere in the future when you decide to install the ducted heatpump.
            There are a number of Heat Recovery Ventilation systems available and there are some amazing products new to the NZ market that have been in Europe for decades that are worth investigating. I’ll give you some links below to assist you in reviewing the options but I love the FANTECH system that recovers heat from the earth!! Another favourite of mine to help keep the cost down, especially if it is difficult to run large ducts to any particular room, is the de-centralised ventilation fans which incorporate a heat recovery mechanism. These are also very useful for renovation of older homes where running 300mm ducts might e impossible without incurring huge expense.
            Please note that I do not have any commercial affiliation to any of the products to which I have provided you links for – I have garnered this knowledge by helping thousands of HOBANZ members look at their alternatives and also in researching the options for my own renovation.

            https://www.eboss.co.nz/library/stiebel-eltron/lt-50-decentralised-ventilation-system

            http://www.fantechhhv.co.nz/pages/whyVentilate.asp?page=ZN

            https://www.stiebel.co.nz/ventilation-systems

            https://archipro.co.nz/blogs/view/the-future-of-ventilation-with-the-heating-compant-the-heating-company

            https://www.theheatingcompany.co.nz/lunos-decentralised-ventilation.html

            Good luck with your build!

            1. Hi John

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    1. Hi Adrienne,

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

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

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

  87. Hi everyone,

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

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

    Thanks

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

      1. Hi Kerryn,

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

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

        this is your quality bible

        https://www.building.govt.nz/assets/Uploads/projects-and-consents/guide-to-tolerances/guide-to-tolerances.pdf

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

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

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

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

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

      All the best.

      1. Hi Pollu,

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

        1. Hi Cara,

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

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

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

          Cheers

          1. Hi Polly,

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

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

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

            1. Hi Cara,

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

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

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

              Cheers..

              1. Hi Pollu,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        2. Hi,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      1. Hi there,

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Thank you.

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

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

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

    4. Hi Ashley,

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

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

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

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

          Cheers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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