If you’re keen to start building your dream home in Marlborough, remember that Stage 6 sections at Boulevard Park on Taylor are expected to be released early next year. With titles for stage 4A & B being issued later this month.
If you’ve never experienced building a home before, there’s no doubt that this will be an exciting time for you, but equally there will be lots of decisions to make and lots of advice you need to seek.
To get you started we caught up with New Zealand’s leading authority on building law, Rosemary Killip of Building Networks.
BM: What is the most frequently asked question you get asked by people who are thinking of building their own home?
RK: Why didn’t I find you sooner?! Often people find or hear of me too late; when they are in trouble or something has gone wrong. People assume they are getting professional advice from an architect, designer or builder; and whilst this should be the case, I often find people may have done very little due diligence when selecting their professionals. Obtaining a building consent is a complex process and it pays to understand more about it yourself so you can select the right team to have around you. Generally, people can be astute when they buy a car but quite naïve when it comes to their largest purchase ever, their home, because they depend too heavily on others.
BM: What choices are available for people who would like to buy a section and build a home? Do you have any words of advice or tips for each of these options?
RK: There are a few options to choose from. You can go with a group house builder (like GJ Gardiner) buying land and a section as a package. This can be the easiest route, you’ll get a few options to choose from but can safely leave a lot of the compliance, and the appointment of building contractors to the group house builder. Alternatively, you can decide to commission your own home build, but remember, if you’re are a novice it can be challenging! Get yourself a good building surveyor or project manager who understands residential building to be your eyes and ears. It could save your sanity, it will keep eveyone on the straight and narrow and ensure the building is how you want it to be. Remember the Council are NOT your project managers they will do spot inspections and checks but in the months it takes to build a home you may be better off having someone run the complex process of contracts and warranties, as well as compliance.
BM: What’s the best way to choose a builder?
RK: The Government has put extensive information together to answer and guide you on this. Check out this website. But my key tips are firstly, do your research locally, ask others who have used a builder you’re considering what it was like to work with them. Then, interview the builder and make sure they have a good working relationship with the Council as they will be acting on your behalf. Determine how you will stay informed and in the loop during the process. I recommend people get every piece of correspondence and even attend the Council inspections to get full disclosure of the process.
BM: What’s your #1 piece of advice for builder/owner relationships.
RK: Pay your bills promptly, BUT never pay them until you see that work has been signed off (this happens in stages) and never give your final payment until the Code Compliance Certificate from Council is in your hand. This means your job is finished!
BM: How can one best build a home that’s going to stand the test of time?
RK: The New Zealand Building Code contains industry minimums. Think about the things you can’t see, like insulation. Consider how the materials and claddings you want to use will last in the New Zealand environment. Different locations will have different considerations. Look beyond pure aesthetics, and if you don’t know what you are looking for get advice from a building surveyor.