A guide to building new without the blues
Building a new home is a little like starting married life according to Andrew Clark, Director of Warren Adolph Homes. He's heard second-hand horror stories of where builder and client relationships have started well then soured and broken down completely.
"It often starts starry-eyed and full of hope. As the months wear on, and differences arise, you sometimes worry about whether you’ve done the right thing!"
That’s why choosing a licensed Auckland builder plus the right house design is a critical partnership to get right. Only then can you hope to live happily ever after in a wonderful new home you’ve enjoyed building.
Here’s five ways to avoid a painful budget blowout when building a new home, according to one of Auckland's most experienced house builders.
1. Choose your builder wisely.
We’ve all heard the stories of builds gone bad. Where either clients sack the builder or the builder walks off the job because of non-payment. Changes made in the middle of the project can stretch completion dates, strain nerves and kill the finances.
It’s probably one of the most critical life decisions you’ll ever make according to Andrew.
“The wrong choice could mean years of heartache and financial pain, so you need to put the time into the selection process.”
Choose a longstanding licensed Auckland builder with a strong track record. Ask for referees and ensure they offer a ten-year guarantee. Also pay for legal advice upfront before you sign the building contract. Andrew says it’s critical to have a good relationship with the builder well before work commences.
“If construction starts and there’s communication issues already, it can be an omen of things to come. “
Problems can quickly escalate out of control if plans are suddenly altered, the design is redrawn, the architect is replaced or communication processes aren’t in place.
“These are all common pitfalls which we try to pre-empt with our extensive experience and processes,” says Andrew.
2. Establish the scope of work and stick to it.
This is one of the most common problems, says Andrew.
“People are often in such a hurry to start building their dream home; they don’t properly examine everything on the plans, miss the finer details then try to back-in extras later.”
Things like driveways or landscaping might not be captured in the final plans so the builder’s fixed cost might omit this.
"We take our clients through their plans thoroughly so they understand what they’re committing too," says Andrew.
It’s important the inclusions and exclusions are clearly communicated in writing and both sign off on the scope of the project. Changes midway through a project almost always increase the cost. So allow for a budget contingency of 10-15% to allow for any extra costs out of the agreed scope.
3. Be prepared for unplanned delays
Often people have a fixed idea on when they’ll move into their new home without allowing for lags in council consents or unexpected events like severe weather or delays in material supplies.
“Often this can be out of our control despite the best project management in the world,” says Andrew.
It can be stressful and expensive if a project drags on with interest mounting on any loans or bridging finance and rental expenses.
Andrew recommends scheduling major projects from September and factoring a four-week buffer into the expected end date. It also comes down to builder availability which doesn’t always line up with the client’s ideal start date. Which is is why it’s essential to lock your preferred builder in with a deposit on signing the contract.
“When we get the deposit, it's full steam ahead and we'll happily confirm the build-start date,” says Andrew.
4. Know what’s underground
When you peel back the fabric of an existing building on your site, you never know what you might find, advises Andrew. Some costly surprises you might discover are volcanic rock, asbestos from an existing old building or council drainage not on the LIM.
“If you’re on a site that’s had a building pre-mid-1970s, then there’s a good chance it will have asbestos which has to be removed extremely carefully at significant cost”, says Andrew.
Request a geotechnical survey and an engineers report to fully understand what’s on the site before purchasing land for development.
5. Go for a custom-build not a volume builder
Not all builders are the same. Sometimes quotes can differ for the same design by $200,000 or more. So it's imperative to understand what each quote includes and excludes line-by-line. Many builders don’t factor in project management, engage cheaper non-licensed tradies or include the lowest material spec possible.
Leaving you bereft of options when it comes to choosing things like the cladding system on your new house. Or the tapware for your designer bathroom.
“Some builders look to cut corners and don’t include items which we believe are essential to achieving a durable high-quality result,” says Andrew.
As a bespoke Auckland housebuilder, Warren Adolph Homes provides peace of mind with a 10-year guarantee. They also only build a handful of new homes each year and take pride in their aftercare service.
“We’ve been building for 30 years and place immense value on longstanding relationships. Our testimonials reflect our strong track record.” says Andrew.
Avoid making the common mistakes on a new house build and talk to Warren Adolph Homes. They can manage your project from concept to completion with their hand-picked team. If you’re looking for a licensed builder Central Auckland, book your free onsite consultation now.