The one thing your builder recommends before you start

Building a new home is a mammoth undertaking – your home is the investment of your life. But often building is a completely new experience for homeowners, so the processes and decisions needed are things you’re not familiar with.

We know this can make it all seem even more daunting, but don’t worry, NZCB is here to help! We’ve asked a few of our builders for the one piece of advice they would give you before you start building.

Richard Poff, RTP Builders Ltd, Canterbury

Richard says it’s important that you work out what your priorities are, particularly because your budget will often be the sticking point.

“Work out very carefully what your TOTAL budget is. You need to go to whatever lender you plan to use and get a very good idea of the funding available to you. If it’s your first home, you will have little idea of all that is involved in finishing a new build. For example, is a proper driveway more important than fancy floor coverings and a shiny big screen TV?”

If you’re not sure of the cost of any aspects of your build, check with your builder at the very start, as there’s likely elements you may not have considered.

Zane Raphael, Renovation Builders, Auckland

Zane recommends taking your time in the early stages, as it can get pretty expensive later on…

“Check over the concept plans before going to working drawings. Changes during a build always have compounding implications on time, material costs, and often multiple trade costs. What seems like a small change at the time is often a costly one.”


Ian Chamberlain, Bay of Plenty/King Country/Waikato

Ian’s advice is similar to Zane’s, but with a few more specific details. He says it’s important that you consider how you’re going to live in your new house – which rooms will be used most? What specific activities will happen where? Thinking about these specifics will help ensure your build meets all your needs.

“Ideally spend twice as much time in the planning and design stages gathering information and really thinking about how you will use the build, now and in the future.

“For example, a new house may take 4-6 months to construct, so ideally you would spend about 10 months gathering the info and getting examples of what you really like and having these incorporated into your design and costings.

“Keep a scrapbook of all your ideas and a wish list. Research energy efficient options, particularly if you plan to live in the new build for several years.

“Thinking through all the details and getting them drawn in prior to building will be a whole lot more cost-efficient than changing things once work has begun.”