Important Do’s and Don’ts while Building Your Dream Home

Building a new home is an exciting phase in anyone’s life. In our previous blog (Residential Home Building Stages – A Comprehensive guide from Designer Homes) we have covered all the stages in building a dream home in detail. Building your dream home can be a once in a lifetime opportunity for most of us. You need to do a lot of homework before embarking on the same. In this article we have listed out the major Do’s and Don’ts while building your dream home.
  • First and foremost, never ever underestimate the cost of building your dream home. Do some window shopping before you finalize your Builder. It would be a great idea to ask the Builder to provide you references of homes that they have built earlier.
Always have a Project Manager manage your dream home build
  • While choosing your Builder you should keep in mind that the cheapest is not always the best. You are building your dream home and you might be spending the rest of your life there. Hence ensure that you do a thorough check on the reputation of the Builder and their previous ventures.
  • You might have done a lot of research before deciding to construct your dream home. But at the same time, you should resist the temptation to manage the entire construction job yourself. There are a lot of complex processes involved in a construction project and it is always better to have an experienced hand managing the same. You should look for a Builder who will be able to oversee the construction project on your behalf.
  • Speak to your Builder for an estimate of the project costs and understand the various cost alternatives while finalizing the design. You should insist on a clear written quote before drawing up the contract with your Builder.
discuss all prime cost items with the builder
  • You should ask the Builder to reduce the no of Prime Cost items mentioned in the quote. In case the Builder points out his inability to do so for genuine reasons you should have a through discussion with him on the same. This would help you in ensuring that your budgets do not exceeded on account of those items.

(Prime Costs are where the Builder mentions the average cost of an item to calculate the expenses. The exact material might not be specified here. This generally happens with Tiles, Taps, Finishes, light fittings etc.) Refer to “Building or renovating? : do your homework……” on https://natlib.govt.nz/.

  • Ask for concept plans from your Architect / Designer / Draftsperson and work through the plans before going for the drawings.
  • The contract should be drawn up carefully and should contain details about the payment schedules, timelines, dispute resolution processes and guarantees. It is always better to consult a lawyer while drawing up the contract than blindly trusting your Builder.

You might want to read through “Know your rights: a homeowner’s guide to the consumer protection measures when building or renovating” available at https://natlib.govt.nz/.

  • Ideally you should have a contract which factors in a retention payment till the Builder fixes all defects and the Code of Compliance gets issued.
  • You should also ask for a full disclosure statement from the Builder which includes the legal name of the entity, the key contact person, they type of entity, the kind of insurance that they have and the warranties that they offer.
ask for full disclosure statement from the builder
  • Double check with your Builder regarding the timelines and possible delays that could come in. You should factor in the same before making plans or fixing a date to move into your Dream Home.
  • It would be a good idea to ask the Builder samples of fixtures, fittings, windows etc that would be installed before signing the contract. Of course, higher the quality of the installations higher would be the overall budget. But this at least will ensure that you go in with your eyes open and have the option of choosing the rights installations in accordance with your budget.
  • Ensure all relevant documentation for Resource and Building Consents are submitted to the Council. Generally, once an application is submitted the Council will revert within 20 Working Days. A missing documentation will lead to delays and your application will not be considered till all relevant information is submitted. Although “Design and Build” Companies take up the complete responsibility of getting Resource and Building Consents it is better that you work with them closely on the same to ensure everything falls in place.
  • You should be clear about your design before applying for Building Consents since any changes that you might want to bring in at a later stage would require separate payments and further delays.
  • The importance of having the right Insurance Plan cannot be stressed enough. Consult with your Builder or ask your Bank for references for the same.
  • Once you start the construction keep a regular check on the progress. Speak to your Builder in advance for visits to the site since the Builder would need to arrange for necessary Safety precautions while you visit.
  • Keep a track of inspections and ensure they are happening as per the schedule laid out in the Building Consent.
  • Ensure you collect signed energy certificates once the gas and electrical work is completed since these would be required to be submitted during the final inspection.     
  • Once construction is completed ask your Builder for a final walk through of the project
• Keep a track of inspections and ensure all energy certificates are in order
  • Now is the time to point out any defects or variations and get it rectified from the Builder.
  • Ensure all Council fees are paid on time and apply for Code of Compliance from the Council with all the relevant documentation in place.
Building your own Home can be a quite daunting process. In fact, the number of hours that you need to dedicate to just bring your dream home project from an idea to the construction stage and then to its completion is huge. But once you go through the process and complete your home construction and start dwelling, the feeling is incomparable. We wish all a happy experience Building your Home and hope that the above document serves as a Home Building Process guide for all New Zealanders.

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