What Makes A Good North Shore Housebuilder?

Choosing The Best North Shore Housebuilder

Auckland housebuilderPeople have different motives for choosing the best home builder. Some might want a top-class new house build, while others might be looking to work at the best builders. The reasons for either a home-owner or a first-rate building employee are probably quite similar.

A Great Finished Product For The Homeowner

If you are going to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a new home, in lovely neighbourhood, you will certainly want not only good value for money, but you want a home that looks fantastic. You will want the latest and best fixtures and fittings. These give you maximum comfort, ease of use, better environmental impact, and will have a long-life too.

A new purpose-built home will have the rooms, styles, size and format that work for you and your family. It can allow your family to grow in comfort, and adapt as any children age. Teenagers will want different rooms and spaces from their young childhood. By working with a first-class builder and designer, you can have the home of your dreams especially designed for your needs, now and in the future.

Plus, good quality building means that your home will need minimum maintenance, be great value and be easier to sell in the future.

How Do You Recognise The Best North Shore Housebuilder?

Having a new home built is often daunting yet exciting at the same time. There are many things you need to consider before building can commence. It is also important that you have chosen a reputable company, yet this is not as easy as it sounds since there are dozens of housebuilders around. Here are a few ideas to help you.

Are They Certified Builders?

Auckland housebuilder certificationWhen you start looking into home building companies, the first step is to ensure they are licensed or certified. New Zealand Certified Builders Association (NZCBA) has a “strict entry criteria where the minimum entry requirement for all members is a recognised industry trade qualification. Our builders have a history of stability and success and a solid reputation for realising homeowners’ aspirations.”

They work with training and education institutes to bring on good building talent and also to make sure that their customer gets a good quality finish.

A Certified Builder will also have the required insurance coverage. This is important because if a builder doesn’t have the insurances necessary, then the home-owner is liable for any damage to neighbours, workers and property so making sure your building company is covered can save you a lot of headache, not to mention costs.

Check On The Overall Quality Of Their Workmanship

Being licensed though is only the first step. That ensures they are following the current practices required by the government standards. If you are aiming to find THE best house builder to build a home, or to work for, then you need to find builders who go above and beyond the LBP requirements.

The best way to do this is to look at case-studies of previous work, testimonials from happy clients or reviews online. Each of these has a different function and show different aspects of how a house builder creates a great reputation. Do not be afraid or shy to ask a potential builder to show their portfolio of completed projects and comments from their customers.

A good builder will be delighted to show you what they have produced for other people.

House Building Guarantees

A house building company that is confident in the work that they provide will usually offer a more than adequate guarantee. A top-quality housebuilder will have a great guarantee that covers you for not just the house meeting the building plans. A good guarantee will also offer alternative accommodation in case there is significant remedial work.

Look for a ten-year guarantee for structural issues, and also for non-completion of the work.

The industry standards are not set when it comes to the duration of these guarantees, yet it is obvious that the longer ones are better. The home building companies that are backed by longer warranties and guarantees are confident in the work that they provide.


A big problem that many people experience with home building companies is a lack of or breakdown in communication. A house-building project is a big job and there will definitely be issues along the way.

How your builder communicates with you about problems from their end, or about changes that you might want, will make the house project easy or a complete pain.

Look for a builder where previous clients commend their communication skills.

You will find that a builder who communicates well with their customers, will probably be a good communicator with their staff too. That will mean that the project is clear to everyone, and is much more likely to progress with fewer difficulties and to schedule.

Finding The Elusive First-Class Builder Or Employer

It is easy to find a builder but to find a top-quality one is not easy. Take time, and look at the ideas above to help you in your search for the best North Shore housebuilder.

If you are interested in hiring a top-quality builder for a new house building project, please call me on 0800 224 628 and I will gladly come along and talk to you about your ideas.

Auckland Green-Building Eco-House Builder

Green-Building; Homes To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

When asked the question what is green-building? Most people automatically think ‘Grand Designs’ with houses built from packed mud and hay, homemade clay-tile roofs and using recycled beer bottles for windows. This is perhaps an option for ‘green building’ and looks impressive on TV but there is a range of different options to do your bit without going quite to those lengths.

With the increasing activity about climate change, environmental impacts, carbon footprints, excessive waste, sustainability, and many other associated labels, it is time to look at green-building. But first, let’s see where we are and how current building techniques stand up in this debate.

A Review of Traditional Building

Auckland eco-house buildingTraditional building frankly is not sustainable, has a high carbon footprint, high emissions, and poor impacts on the environment.

One of the biggest carbon emitters is concrete, or more specifically, cement. A concrete pad or brick-built house will have quite significant carbon emissions. Efforts are out there globally to reduce its impact; however this isn’t common practice.

Wood used for framing, while it does come from a forest which is likely to be replanted, the carbon footprint to get the wood into a usable state on-site, is heavy. Cutting, trimming, transporting multiple times, it soon builds up.

House designs are not as efficient as they could be, resulting in lots of wasted energy- from roofing and wall materials, heating systems, to inefficient lighting design and fixtures allowing considerable heat escape.

In short, traditional building has been a very poor example of a sustainable industry.

What Is Green-Building?

A green home is one that uses sustainable building practices, uses less energy and water to live in, produces less waste, and is also a healthier home.

Simple things like the correct orientation of your home to naturally maximise warmth from the sun and cooling from a breeze. This can help you in reducing the energy needed to cool and heat your home.

Consider the size of the home you actually need. Do you really need four or five bedrooms when three or four might do just as well?

Green-building also looks at the materials used in the construction of a house. Modern materials are often better at retaining or reflecting heat, are more durable, and can even be made from recycled materials. Other materials will be produced in a more sustainable way too.

But it is not just new materials. Older building techniques are being used like vegetation on roofs or adobe-style muds to provide insulation.

Some people even use modern non-building materials. For example, old tyres can be filled with mud to produce stable, and very energy-efficient homes. Glass or plastic bottles can be used for walls and then covered with adobe or other protective material.

Well-known Green-Building Methods

There are plenty of obvious and long-standing green building concepts that are still not commonly used. These include solar panels on the roof, under-floor heating (heat rises), extra insulation in the walls, and double or even triple glazing to reduce heat-loss. Modern heating systems are generally better than older ones for energy efficiency both in consumption and output.

Sustainable Materials and Production Techniques

A green home is one in which the building materials are all sustainable and use less natural and other limited resources.

Increasing the use of materials that have been recycled can have a big impact. Reusing materials from homes that have been dismantled is a common tactic. This can add the retro-chic style many people want these days.

Use wood that has been sustainably harvested and where the supply chain is documented and certified. Some materials like bamboo are easily and quickly renewable.

Make sure that any materials you use are non-toxic ad non-allergenic. Of course, one of the biggest pollutants is trucks on the road, so reduce your impact by buying materials that are available locally. You also help the local economy.

Recycling Waste

Green-building can also apply to design. For example, rain run-off from a roof is usually wasted, going into the drainage system. This water can be used for non-drinking water inside the home or recirculated around the garden. Some types of vegetation on the roof, can filter the water to remove pollutants and even in some cases make the water potable.

Efficient Appliances

Heating systems are not the only improvements in living. Modern household appliances are much more energy-efficient than they used to be. Make it a point to install only appliances that are energy efficient.

Use lighting fixtures that have low power requirements while still giving you the level of lighting that you require.

Install showerheads and toilets that use a low flow of water. See if you can install a system to harvest rainwater and reduce your dependence on water supplied by the local utility companies.

Also now many appliances can be controlled by apps on your phone so you can turn them on when you need them such as heating the home before you get back, or turn them off if you forgot when you left the house.

Healthier Homes

Building materials used should never contribute to the toxins or allergens in the house. Such as picking paints with low Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) and choosing floor coverings that are made of natural materials and avoiding those that are made of artificial fibres.

You can go further in the building of a green home if you install systems that are constantly monitoring your use of energy in the form of water and electricity. Change your lifestyle to make less use of hot water or heating and cooling devices. Stop using dryers and go in for natural drying of clothes. Reduce heating temperatures for hot water and heating and set your air conditioning to cool at higher temperatures. Switch off appliances like televisions and computers when they are not in use. Install timers or motion sensors to switch off lights.

A green home must be one that constantly conserves the use of water and energy and is built with materials that have had the least impact on the environment and energy use. It must also be one that produces the least waste during its use. Some people argue that the cost of these is not economic and that it can take years to recover the investment. The key here is the word “investment”.

Firstly, a home is built for a long-life, not a short-term pay-off. More often now house buyers want to buy efficient homes so if your home does not have those, then it will not be as good a property investment as one that is built with these green building concepts.

Secondly, many people will say that green building is not just an investment in the actual home, but an investment in the planet too.

At Cain Built, we are increasingly being asked to look at green-building for ideas and techniques. If you’re looking to build a new green home in Auckland or renovate to have a greener home, please give us a call on 0800 224 628 or email at and we will gladly have a chat with you about your aims and give you some guidance on your green home.

Auckland Home Renovations – Budget Ideas

Home Renovations – The Key Part – Knowing your Budget

Before you embark on a house renovation, the most important job you must do is to work out what budget you can afford.  By doing this at the start of the project you will save yourself a lot of time, energy, and possible disappointment. Imagine building up a picture in your mind of a wonderful renovation to your home, getting all excited about the new house only to have your hopes dashed when you talk to an experienced home renovations builder who gives you a ball-park estimate twice as high as your funding.


It is much better for you, and the renovation builders too, to have a clear idea of what you can afford.


Here are some questions we come across when we talk to potential clients about a building budget.


How Do I Know What I Can Afford To Build Or Do Within My Budget?

Prices will vary a lot depending on

  • the size of the building
  • the state of the current building
  • the building plot, is it flat or sloping?
  • the grade of renovation materials you want
  • and many more


However, CoreLogic, a property information, analytics and services provider, suggest that building in Auckland is in the region of $2300 per sq metre. That means that building a typical new house would cost $445,000.


However, they go on to warn of “invisible costs” including:

  • The cost of the land itself
  • Architect or designer fees
  • Council and other regulatory permits
  • Admin costs for sub-division or in-fill
  • Groundwork if it is a sloping section
  • Development costs i.e. getting services to the building which alone can be $60,000.


This means you are looking at close to $600,000 before the cost of the land.


Talk to your bank or mortgage broker to see if those figures are affordable to you and if they are prepared to lend on the property.


Have A Very Clear Idea Of What You Want

One of the biggest causes of costs over-running is clients changing their mind part-way through the build. As a renovation builder, it causes us no-end of problems making changes, but we have to pass on the extra costs to the client. This could be up to an extra 50% on the original cost. To avoid big additional costs, be clear from the outset what you want.


We suggest people have two lists:

  • The must-haves
  • The nice to haves if budget allows.


With our experience we can advise you on what is feasible and what it is better to cross off.


Remember too, that most renovations must have consent from the Council. The approval process can months and any significant changes to the plans can take weeks. To minimise the delays to your house building or home renovation project, have clear, and fixed idea from the start.


Be Very Clear On Your Budget

This is a combination of the first two steps.


Once you have a reasonably good idea of your budget, plus a clear plan of what you want, then you can hire an architect or designer to convert those into building plans.


Ideally we can work through those at the concept stage with you to explain where costs might be saved or what additional costs you might be looking at.


These steps save so much time and disappointment, both for us, and for the client. If the client has a more modest budget, then it saves them the significant cost of having useless plans drawn up.


Be clear, even ruthless from the start about your building or home renovations ambitions.


When Should You Involve The Builder?

A builder cannot determine your budget for you. You have to decide that with your financiers.


We work out the costs of converting your design into a finished home. That includes, groundworks, consents, labour including sub-contractors, materials, and finishes.


If that pricing is significantly above your budget, with our experience we can look at the design and work with your architect to suggest changes so that the finished home will be closer to your budget.


However, we can talk to you before you hire an architect to give you a ball-park figure based on your outline and having seen the section we are building on. This will help you and the designer to come up with a design that is within your agreed budget. We are happy to come along to your property to discuss this with you. We can also suggest a suitable architect or draughtsman based on your project type and budget.

How much to budget for house renovations

How much to budget for house renovations

Changes To The Plan During The Build Process

As mentioned before, changes to the plan once the home renovations building process has started are costly, on a number of fronts.


As a builder, changes during the project are not welcome but in the end we are going to be paid for them so it doesn’t affect us apart from frustration or being late for our next job. But for the client the changes can cost thousands of extra dollars.


If the changes are significant like the footprint of the project such as making the rooms bigger or adding an extra room, that means the plans have to be re-drawn and re-submitted to the Council.


You will have extra costs such as:-

  • design and drawing fees
  • costs for the Consent
  • additional construction costs- as well as rental and site cost if project has already been started
  • material costs.
  • Re-pricing and administration costs


Plus of course, this will add time to the overall project. If you are living in rented accommodation, then you will have extra rent to pay too. That might result in having to renew your lease on the rental property.


As stated above, have a clear idea from the start, and don’t make significant deviations from it.

Auckland home renovations

The Quality Of the Finish

This relates to the carpet, fixtures and fittings, appliances, bathroom fit-out, lighting, and even the quality of paint that you want to use or fits within the budget.


This is often an aspect that can add a significant over-run to the total project cost. People decide to have a more expensive style of taps, or higher spec appliances in the kitchen or bathroom. Even door handles can add thousands to the original cost.


You can easily go from a $60 door handle to one over $250, and remember, you need two handles per door. If you have cupboards, closets as well as room doors, you could easily need 15 doors. That change in door furniture would cost almost $3,000 more.


Be clear on the standard of finish you want or can afford, and stick to it.


Summing Up Home Renovations And Building Budgets

The strong message is to have a very clear idea of both budget and expectations from the start, and to not make significant changes to that. Any change will cost you time and a lot of extra money.


At Cain Built we are more than happy to discuss your ideas for your home renovations before you approach an architect or designer to help gauge the potential project cost, and make suggestions based on our years of experience in the building industry. This will help you fix those ideas and costs from an early stage.


If you want an exploratory chat to discuss our building or renovation project, please call me on 0800 224 628 or if you prefer, you can email me at


I look forward to hearing from you.


Tim Cain.

Auckland House Renovations – Answers To Frequent Questions

Auckland House Renovations – Frequently Asked Questions

Over the years we have been asked many questions about house renovations. Some of those crop up regularly so here is a list of some of the FAQs we are asked.

House renovations Dairy Flat FAQs

Why renovate?

There are three main reasons people renovate their home:


They need more space

More bedrooms – A young couple you may have bought a starter home but with young children, you now need more bedrooms, so you are not sharing a room with your children. Then as the children grow older into their teens, they no longer want to share bedrooms.

Work from home – One of you has a change in career and decides to work from home. A kitchen table or a corner of the living room may not be enough space or allow for quiet time. Maybe you need a design studio or a dedicated office. Renovating your home can add a specialist working area to your home saving you hundreds of dollars a month in office rental.

Older relative coming to live – This is very common as a parent needs more care or simply doesn’t want to live on their own anymore. Renovating to include a granny-flat is a common cause of a bigger renovation project.

Entertainment rooms – Increasingly common is people deciding that they want entertainment areas. This might be a home theatre or a games room. Some people even want a dedicated music listening room.


Outdated design or poor standard of repair

Poor layout – The current layout of the house is old and inefficient. Older homes are not open plan, which wastes a lot of usable space. Renovating can free-up a surprising amount of new space which can be arranged as bigger living areas, extra bathrooms, a bigger kitchen, additional bedrooms, and many more ideas.  Older homes will also be inefficient from an energy consumption perspective whether heat loss, water heating, or heating systems. When renovating, you can install the latest energy-efficient systems to reduce your running costs and carbon footprint.

Poor standard of repair – Let’s face it. Not everyone wants to spend their leisure time decorating, installing new appliances or cupboards, or generally maintaining their home. Major Auckland house renovations can take care of all those problems, and more. Better still, you get a professional house renovation building company to do all the work for you.


Not wanting to move

Many families are very happy in the are they live in and simply do not want to move. They have friends or family close by, or it may be more convenient to get to work. Often it is the place at a preferred school that people don’t want to give up. On top of that, moving to a new house is a lot of work. You must look for a suitable home, give up time by going to lots of viewings or open homes, have emotional stress and setbacks when your offers get out-bid. Then if you are successful, you have to go through the turmoil of sorting and packing your chattels and furniture, moving and then unpacking at the other end. Then you have to make new friends etc. It is easy to see why some people simply prefer to stay where they are and renovate their existing home.


What should I consider when thinking about renovating?

There are a few key points to consider before a renovation project.

Budget and affordability are key. – Unless it is affordable, then don’t waste time or energy thinking about a renovation.

What do you want from the renovation? – This can be broken down into two lists – the must-haves and the hope-to-haves. By having a clear idea of what you want as a minimum from the renovation, you can determine your budget. Once you have that sorted, then you can look at other ideas like an entertainment room, a bigger kitchen etc. But draw-up those two lists to discuss with an experienced renovation builder like Cain Built.


Am I over capitalising?

Is it right for the area? – This is a good question to ask and one that needs you to think about selling the home at some stage. For example, if all the houses in your area are two- or three-bedrooms, would someone want to buy a four-bedroom house in that locality? Or would they instead look at the next suburb for a four-bedroom home? The best way to answer this is to call in a real estate agent or better still, a property valuer. They will be able to advise if the renovation project is too big, or if the area is likely to develop along those lines.

House renovations FAQs

Can I live in my house while it’s being renovated?

It depends – The answer depends on the extent of your home renovation project. If walls are being ripped out so there are no bedroom or bathroom privacy, or maybe the kitchen is taken out, then you will most likely need to relocate during part of the house renovations. There may be harmful materials like asbestos that needs to be removed so again you won’t be able to live there while that is happening. Sometimes the builder can work in stages so you can move from one room to the next but generally, especially for bigger renovation projects, it is easier, and quicker for the builders to have free access around the house.


Can I leave my belongings in my home while renovating?

It depends – Again it depends on the extent of the renovation project. Generally though, it is better to remove as much as possible. This is especially the case if the exterior walls are going to be replaced leaving the home open. Your belongings can also get very dirty with all the dust, mud and other particles on the building site.

How do I know I’m hiring a builder I can trust?

There are two ways to determine this:-

Accreditations – Look for accredited builders. At Cain Built Ltd we are both Licensed Building Practitioners (a government building standard) and an NZCB Certified Builder. For both of these accreditations, we have to undergo regular training and meet nationally approved standards. This also means that we provide a ten-year guarantee plus we have to hold a required insurance cover for public liability.

Testimonials – Ask previous clients or look at testimonials. We have tons of great reviews from very happy clients – please see this page on our website for what our customers have said about our work.


How do I get a project started / Where to start?

Talk to a builder – A chat with an experienced builder will give you an idea of what you could achieve within a rough budget. If the renovation still seems a likely project, then you need to work out your budget and talk to a designer or architect.


What type of work requires Council consent?

These projects will or may need Council consent:

  • Relocating a building
  • Recladding
  • Retaining walls
  • Altering an existing building
  • Extensions and additions
  • Deck
  • Porch or veranda


Who will take care of securing Council consents?

If the renovation does require council approval the Architect or Draughtsman typically takes care of submitting the plans to Council and getting them to the stage that they are ready for construction to begin.


How long will the consent process take?

Council has 20 working days to process the building consent application during which time further

information may be requested; if further information is requested the clock is stopped.

The reality is it often can take longer than this for a ’building consent’ to come through.

Should you project require ‘resource consent’ also this can draw out the planning stage of the process significantly, some have been known to take a year or more due to the number of specialist consultants involved, correspondence between them and council and red tape that can be associated with some building projects or sites.


If you later make changes to the plan, you will have to go through the consent process again.


What warranties and insurances are in place to protect my building and me?

Contracts – On agreement, we will supply you with a binding contract from the Certified Builders Association, who produce the most up to date contracts in the industry. This will outline our responsibility to you, the extent of work, insurances, time period and payment schedule.


We will also provide you with a disclosure statement detailing which sub-contractors will be working on your project, a written warranty on the building products being used and details of our insurance. We will also include a timeline and completion date.


Insurance – We carry Public Liability and workmanship Insurance.


Guarantee – We offer the most comprehensive guarantee in the industry. The Halo ten-year guarantee covers loss of deposit, non-completion cover, alternative accommodation due to errors, as well as building and material guarantees.


In addition, we are Accredited New Zealand Certified Builders (NZCB) which means we have been thoroughly vetted and licensed.

Devonport villa renovations
Villa renovations

Devonport Villa Renovation Builders – Getting Best Value

How To Get The Best Value From Your Devonport Villa Renovation

If you are considering a Devonport villa renovation, the most important aspect is before you even start. You need to be very clear about what you want to have at the end of your villa renovation. If you have doubts or are not clear, then you may end up spending much more money than you were planning to. Alternatively, the end result might be what you were anticipating. Many times, we have seen people changing their minds part-way through their projects. This inevitably adds more time and expense to the project, but it can cause a lot of stress to customers too since they don’t know their time or financial commitments. That is why we highly encourage our clients to take a bit more time at the beginning working with us through the range of options to be sure that they have a sound project

Devonport villa renovations

Devonport villa renovations


What Do You Want At The End Of Your Devonport Villa Renovation?

This is the most important question to ask. Your answer to this question will determine how much time and expense you are likely to have.

For example, do you want more space, to upgrade your kitchen, or to modernise your home with an indoor-outdoor flow. Each of these requires different amounts of work, and thus differing amounts of time and money.

What Projects Should Your Villa Renovation Include?

There are two ways to look at this. One is to carry-out renovation projects at different times, the bathroom, the kitchen and so on, though there are numerous problems with this – each part of the home will age at different times, but perhaps the biggest problem with this is that you are continually living in a building site.

In our experience, the best way to approach this is to have your villa renovation as one whole, integrated project. You can tie-in the appearance of the whole villa, coordinating your style and finish for the entire home. You will find this a much more pleasing outcome to live in, and when you come to sell, potential buyers will prefer a continuity of style and decorative look.

Typical Villa Renovation Projects

We work on a range of renovations in villas, ranging from big kitchen upgrades, replacing bathrooms, creating open-plan rooms and more.

Knocking out walls to create a big open-plan area can have a dramatic effect on the apparent size of a house. It makes the whole house look much bigger without having to extend the footprint of the house. However, if the floor area is a bit small, we can add an extension to create additional living space.

Which Renovations Increase The Value Of Your Villa The Most?

The answer to that question will depend on the villa’s current state, as well as the area where you are located. However, generally speaking, a new kitchen adds the most value, followed by bathroom upgrades. However, good landscaping can add a lot of value as well. Though we don’t do landscaping ourselves, we recommend that you include modern landscaping as part of your overall renovation project – we can recommend companies in your area if you don’t have anyone in mind. That will allow you to match the appearance and feel of your villa with its surroundings.

Looking at things from a different perspective, in our experience, Devonport villas that see some of the best capital growth, are those where a full renovation has been done. This not only updates the home with luxurious bathrooms and the newest kitchen appliances, but also takes full advantage of the latest heating technologies to reduce energy costs and improve sustainability for the building, as well as making the most of the potential space available.

Top Quality Workmanship In Villa Renovations

Another important factor in increasing your villa’s value and your overall satisfaction with the job is the quality of work that is done. Auckland has many builders, but we take great pride in the high standard of our finished workmanship. Comments from our satisfied customers confirm our own views on our work.

How To Manage Your Villa Renovation Project

The idea of getting a villa renovated is a concept that appeals to many people. Having seen renovations on TV shows, people “want some of that.” The old Kiwi DIY approach is always strong but a villa renovation is a massive undertaking, especially if you also work full-time and have a family. It can be very hard to find the time to do it, and will take far, far longer and cause a huge amount of family strife – not to mention most work can legally only be carried out by a licensed building practitioner.

Other people think it might be easy to hire tradespeople and manage their own villa renovating project. That appears to be a good idea but trying to manage as many as 20 different tradespeople can be a hugely stressful job. It is a hard-enough task for professionals to deal with, but for the average homeowner, it can turn into a logistical nightmare. You can easily end up with idle which means expensive tradies, the wrong materials or materials not turning up on time. Project managing a renovation job is not for the faint-hearted.

Hiring A Top-class Devonport Villa Renovation Builder

It may seem incongruous but usually the lowest cost option for a big renovation job is to hire a well-known top-grade villa renovation company. Even though you will be paying for a significant amount of labour, you will save huge amounts of time, money and emotional energy in other ways.

For a start, you do not have to research, assess and select 20+ different companies. You don’t have to try to source good value materials, and the only person you have to manage is the lead building contractor.

Not only that, the builder will be able to buy materials at much better prices than you because of their volume-discounts that you could never attain.

Finally, the time you will have to invest as an amateur working part-time, versus a team of professionals who know what they are doing, working full-time.

It soon becomes very clear that hiring a good, local villa renovations building company is, in fact, a saving rather than an additional expense.

If you have a villa in Devonport or the surrounding areas that you are thinking about renovating, please call us on 0800 224 628, or email us at We are more than happy to have a chat with you about your options.

A New Build Home In Coatesville – The Right Choice?

Is a New Build In Coatesville The Right Option For You?

When you are in the market for a house, whether it is a first-time buy or even looking for an additional investment property, people tend to think about buying an existing house. However, going down the route of a new build is also well-worth thinking about. TV shows are littered with stories of delays and budget over-runs but that is when people are renovating. A completely new house build is a very different issue since we are building on a bare piece of land rather than having to work around existing infrastructure and boundaries. But there are other reasons too. Here we explain why it makes a lot of sense to think about a new build in Coatesville if you want a new home.

Easier Deposit And LVR For A New Build

The first reason is the Loan-to-Value Ratio (LVR) as set out by the Reserve Bank. The LVR is lower for new builds (10%) than it is if you are buying an existing property for yourself, typically 20%, or for investment then it is a 30% down-payment. You can see more details here

Even though the financial security is similar to buying an existing home, i.e. the security on the mortgage deed, one reason for this distinction is that with a new build you are adding to the housing stock rather than simply transferring it. The Reserve Bank and many other commentators have said that a restricted supply is one of the reasons for high house prices so it makes sense that they will offer an advantage to someone willing to increase the stock of housing in Auckland.

New Build CoatesvilleThe different percentage may not sound a lot until you put it into dollar terms. With the median house price in Auckland currently being about $850,000, if you were buying an existing home for you to live in, you would have to find a deposit of $170,000. Instead, if you go the new build route, then you only need a deposit of $85,000.

For investors, the news is better still. They can still opt for a new build with the same 10% deposit of $85,000. If the same investor buys an existing property, the deposit they need would be 30% or $255,000. This difference is massive and should make every investor in property look seriously at the smarter commercial option of new builds.

A More Modern And Better Appointed Home

The next benefit of going the new build option is that your property will be much better appointed than buying in effect, a second-hand home. The fixtures and fittings will all be brand-new, and you can choose the most modern designs according to your budget.

The kitchen and bathroom will have all the latest styles to make your home a talking point. And you can easily include features like a home theatre, playrooms, or a separate granny-flat.

Bedrooms and living areas can be designed to the layout and specification that you want rather than having to accept the best option when looking at open homes.

Less Maintenance With A New Build

Another big benefit, especially for younger families that don’t have a lot of free time, or for senior couples who don’t have the same desire, is less maintenance. Your home will be freshly decorated so you don’t need to look at that for five years. The walls, kitchen and bathroom will all be newly fitted-out with new appliances which will be under guarantee so again no need to worry about repairs or maintenance.

Better Quality Tenants For A New Build

If you are an investor, then with a newly built house, with higher specs for decoration and appliances, you will be able to attract a better-quality tenant. They will likely look after the property better and you or your letting agent will be able to be far more selective about the tenants you accept. For example, you could easily let a brand-new build to overseas corporate clients looking for a two-year stay in Coatesville. And with better tenants, you will probably be able to charge a higher rent too.

The Various Options Available When Purchasing a New Build

There are many ways of buying a new build.

The hardest by far is to purchase a piece of land or work with a property you already own and try to manage all the construction and installation work yourself. You need lots of time, knowledge, patience and a very understanding family if you choose this route. With this option however you do have increased flexibility in the design and overall finished look of the new build, as you have the freedom of selecting the builder and architect for the project.

You could buy off-plan but this is not as simple an option as many people think. We have seen a number of bigger property developers go bust in recent months. This is mainly because their financing was wrong and their costs were under-estimated. Often people buying off-plan have to come up with significant additional money before they can take possession of their home. These extra amounts can be six-figures!

A third option is a “House and Land Package”. These are offered by some of the national building companies and don’t have the funding problems of big developers because the carrying cost has been the land they bought years ago. The funding for the house only comes into play when a buyer comes along and they are the funders, not the building company. The two main problems with this option are that there is no choice about the location and is often on a development with other houses. The second problem is that they offer a limited number of designs to choose from. So if you want to have a purpose-designed home, this option is not for you.

Choose A Builder For An Architecturally Designed, Purpose-built New Build

If you want a bespoke design new home the only option is to have an architecturally-designed home built. The easiest way to do this is to start by finding a residential builder for new builds in Coatesville. This is for two main reasons.

First, they know the area and can give you a ball-park estimate to start with so you know the potential size of your project cost.

Second, they usually know a number of draughtsman or architects that they can recommend which will save you a lot of time and frustration.

Finally, a good house builder will also manage the entire project for you. Some people try to project manage themselves and it generally ends up costing them a lot of extra money and certainly a huge amount of stress.

Financing A New Build

Arranging finance for a new build in Coatesville is quite easy and straightforward. The banks are doing this all the time, and your builder will be paid in the increments agreed to for completing various stages of the project.

This means you are not paying the mortgage for the total cost from the start, but it increases as the value of the property increases with completion of the next stage.

If you are looking to build a new home in Coatesville or nearby, please give us a call. Not only are we local to the area, we recognise this is the biggest financial investment you are likely to undertake and therefore are committed to providing you with all the help you need to have a stress-free build. Cain Built can take care of the entire building process from start to finish, from new build house plans and designs right through to completion, so you can relax knowing you’re in good hands. Give us a call on 0800 224 628 or if you prefer, you can email us at

Dairy Flat New Build Home – Certified Existing Plan Or An Architectural Plan

What ‘s Better For A Dairy Flat New Build – A Certified Existing Plan Or An Architectural Plan?

Building a new house is an exciting project. At the same time, it is also one of the most challenging endeavours you can undertake. There are lots of decisions you will need to make along the way but one of the most difficult is whether to choose an already existing certified design, or to go for an architectural plan from scratch. This article takes a closer look at these options to help you understand their pros and cons, and to make an informed decision in regard to building your new build in Dairy Flat.

Advantages Of Using Certified Plans For New-Builds

Fast Availability

Certified existing designs from New Zealand Certified Builders have the huge advantage of being already available so you don’t have to wait for architects to create plans from scratch, or waste time having to discuss, then review and amend ideas with designers. This one step alone can save you weeks of going backwards and forwards.

Having plans ready from the get-go also means that you can begin the consent application a lot earlier, which in turn means you can start your construction sooner.

Browse Plans Online

New build Dairy FlatSome of the Certified new-build plans and designs are available online, so you’ll be able to browse through multiple options to find the one that best suits your needs. If you have an open mind and are flexible, whatever the size and the layout of your dream home, you can find something suitable. Your effort will be well worth it, as you will save both money and time by not having to hire an architect to create original work.

Lower Cost New-Build Plans

Another important advantage of choosing an existing design is the price. Hiring an architect to produce a custom-design for your new build will cost you a lot of money. Certified designs have already been prepared so the cost is far less than a custom-design option. An already certified design will save you from problems in obtaining all approvals needed to proceed with your work.

Costing For The Builder

A further benefit of using pre-approved designs for a new build is that the builder already has a good idea of the cost of construction materials. This means you should have a much more accurate price estimate. Of course, each site will have its own cost challenges, but the material costs will be relatively easy for the building company to assess.

Advantages Of A Bespoke Architectural Plan

Despite the above, architectural plans do come with some advantages as well.

A Unique Design For Your New-Build

First of all, you will have the opportunity to create a living space just as you want it to be. A pre-approved Certified new-build plan will probably have been built somewhere else before. For some people this is an issue, so with an architectural design, you know you will have a completely unique design just for you.

A Distinct Design For Your Building Section

Dairy Flat new buildWhen you create your space from scratch, you can design it to suit your specific section and locality. You may want to take advantage of certain aspects of your property, such as coastal or rural views, streams or bush which can be incorporated or drawn on for inspiration to create the design and feel of your home. You can also choose the building materials that either match your location or are ones that you specifically want to use. An architectural design means that you can match your home to your location.

A House Designed Specifically For Your Wants

Perhaps the biggest reason people choose an architectural design for a new build is that they can incorporate their specific desires to build their dream home. This could be a granny-flat, a home theatre, a specific kitchen layout, windows and views for a certain aspect and so on. Certainly, if money is not a serious constraint, then having a new house built to your own specifications and design is a route to consider.

Drawbacks With Architectural Designs

The two main drawbacks of architectural plans are their cost and time to completion.

As you can imagine, a custom-plan costs more than ready-made ones. The architect needs time to discuss, interpret, and develop your project. This will inevitably require multiple conversations and meetings with the owner to get the design exactly right. An architect’s time does not come cheaply, so the more iterations and amendments that you have, the more it is going to cost.

Once you have agreed on your preferred layout for a new build, you will have to submit plans to the Council for approval. This will also take more time. Building Consent at Auckland Council can take months to come through. A pre-approved certified new house build plan will remove a certain amount of that application approval process.

Summing Up Certified Plans Vs Architectural Plans For New Builds

Dairy Flat new build homeAn architectural-design will allow you to create a home specifically to meet your preferences. It can also match the feel and environment of your building section. However, they are expensive and take more time to get to the start of the construction process.

Certified plans for new builds do cost less, are quicker to get to the start of construction and also mean that the builder can give you a much better costing for the whole project.

As members of New Zealand Certified Builders, we can offer access to over 30 architecturally designed plans that are ready to build immediately or which can be customised to reflect how you live. These plans cater for all different housing needs and have been designed for urban living, rural living and seaside areas.

At the end of the day, the choice is up to you. If you would like to have an initial chat to discuss your new build in Dairy Flat or neighbouring area, feel free to give us call us on 0800 224 628 or if you prefer, you can email us at, we’re here to help.

Ponsonby Villa Renovations – Renovating Old Colonial Homes

Tips For Engaging The Best Builders For Renovating Old Colonial Villas In Ponsonby

Ponsonby villa renovations builderColonial villas were built in another era using materials that have since been discarded in favour of new and more sustainable building components. Renovating an old colonial-era villa can give you a valuable piece of real estate but with all the mod-cons of this century. Having all the latest bells and whistles can certainly make your life more comfortable but you chose an old villa for its looks too. Therefore, the big question is, how can you ensure that the villa renovations work will keep the look, feel and structural integrity of the old building, both during and after the renovation is completed? An experienced Ponsonby villa renovations builder is the answer.

Finding An Architect For Villa Renovations Drawings

The first step is to find a good architect or draughtsman who can convert your dreams into a design that retains the integrity of the existing visual appearance. If you want to maintain or return a villa to its original glory, you should hire an architect who has an in-depth understanding of construction methods and architectural styles used during the colonial period.

A knowledgeable villa renovations contractor can provide useful tips on how to best restore a vintage residence to its original glory, but they will still need working drawings to follow during the actual construction project. You will also need drawings to submit to the Auckland Council for Building Consent.

It is often easier to find a villa renovations builder in Ponsonby than to find a suitable architect, so ask the builder for recommendations of a good, and sympathetic architectural firm.

Finding Good Ponsonby Villa Renovations Builders

Villa renovations Ponsonby

Once you have your design approved and the finance in place, you need to hire a builder qualified for villa renovations. This is highly skilled work beyond the range of most handyman builders. The building techniques needed to retain the visual aspect are more complex than on a new build for example. So the key to a great villa renovation is to hire an accomplished building contractor for the job.

One way is to hire specialists for each aspect of the project. A villa roofer, a window retrofit company, another for the interior work, etc. But this is complex to organise and you will end up with a lot of work managing all those trades and sub-contractors.

The best way is to hire one lead renovations builder who will know specialists they have worked with on other villa renovations projects. Managing those sub-contractors then becomes the work of the renovations builder. This makes your life easier, and will also make the whole project flow better since the builder will know when they need which workers on site, and when.

Things To Ask A Villa Renovations Builder

When hiring a prospective villa renovations builder, you should ask interested candidates to show their portfolios. Any contractor should have successfully renovated villas to the full satisfaction of clients. They will have photographs or a portfolio of the renovations so you can see the quality of the work they have produced before.

A further step to make sure you hire a good building company is to ask for references from other clients. Make sure that you get in touch with the referees provided to ascertain that a prospective builder did indeed carry out the work they are showing to you.

  • At the same time, ask how the builder was to work with.
  • Did they clear the site properly?
  • Were they good at communicating progress or problems they faced?
  • Did the project come in on schedule and close to budget? If not, what were the causes of any over-runs? Often it is down to changes made by the client rather than any failing on the builder’s part, but be sure to check.

This leads onto the project management skills of the builder. If they cannot manage the different sub-contractors and different trades, the project will be behind schedule. This will not only be inconvenient to you, but can also cost you more money. For example, you may be renting while the renovations works are carried out. If there is a delay, then you may be on the hook for extra rent. So adhering to a building schedule is essential.

Other Requirements From A Renovations Builder

Villa renovations builder PonsonbyIn these days of labour shortages in the building industry, it is imperative that you hire qualified builders. Ask to see their industry accreditations. This can be a Master Builder, Licensed Building Practitioner or a Certified Builder. If the builder has any of these certifications, it shows they have been trained to the top standards of the building industry. To retain these accreditations, the builder has to undergo regular training so if you see these, you know you are hiring a qualified builder, rather than someone who has a van and few power tools.

Insurances are another key issue to check. This includes Public Liability so that for example, if there is damage to a neighbour’s property, the builder has suitable insurance coverage. In a similar light, if someone is injured on site, the builder ought to be carrying the right insurance protection. Ask to see the insurance certificates because, if they don’t have the coverage, then you are liable for any damage or injury claims. A Certified Builder is required to carry these insurances, so this is another reason to only hire someone who has that industry certification.

You will also want a guarantee of the building work. Again, hiring a Certified Builder will cover you in this regard since the certification process comes with a ten-year guarantee, even if the builder is no longer trading down the track.

Villa Renovations

Carrying out renovations on a villa is a significant financial investment so it is important that you make a good and informed choice when hiring Ponsonby villa renovations builders. Don’t take the cheapest quote. Be sure to ask for references, and to see examples of their renovation work. If you follow these guidelines, you will have a fantastic villa renovation when it is finished, one you will be happy to show off to your friends, and one that will suit your family for years to come.

At Cain Built, we have worked on villa renovations in various parts of Auckland. If you’re looking to renovate your villa in Ponsonby or surrounding areas, please give us a call on 0800 224 628 or email at and we will gladly have a chat with you about your aims and give you some guidance on your villa renovations.

Northcote Villa Renovations Builder – Some Tips

Some Tips For Renovating A Colonial Villa In Northcote

Northcote villa renovations builderIf you have had thoughts about renovating a colonial villa, you are going to want to implement some things to get the most out of it. There is plenty that you should be looking to do to save money on the renovations and to get more out of the process. Below, we offer our key tips that on what to implement when you are looking into renovating a villa.

Key Tips For Renovating A Colonial Villa: 

  1. Know Your Budget.

Most importantly, you will want to know and understand the budget that you have to work with. Knowing what kind of budget you are willing and able to spend on the villa renovations is key. You want to identify the total amount that you are willing to spend on your renovations because it can make a big difference in determining if you are able to complete the renovations within your respective budget. 

  1. Flooring.

One of the best renovations that you are likely going to be able to make when you are dealing with a colonial villa renovation would have to be the flooring. The flooring that you have in your villa is likely worn down. You should be able to update the flooring to really bring life back into it.

  1. New Paint.

Villa renovations builders NorthcoteAnother extremely cost-effective update you can make which will surely freshen up your villa is painting. By giving your walls and doors a new coat of paint, you will really be able to effectively improve the feel of your villa. Simply painting the molding and trim white can brighten up your villa and make it look much more modern. Don’t stop with the inside – painting the exterior of your house can add that valuable street appeal also.

  1. Do Your Research.

Not all builders are created equal. Talk to a few builders and find one that you can build rapport with and feel comfortable having in your house. Builders who are trade association members such as with New Zealand Certified Builders Association (NZCB) are great, as members have to be vetted before joining. They also offer extended warranty guarantees to protect your investment.

Cheapest is not always best. Weigh up what your builder has to offer as a complete package, as opposed to simply looking at the bottom line figure – often the real value is in the overall service given.

  1. Do Renovations Yourself Where You Can.

If you are someone that is much more handy with work around the house, you might be able to handle a lot of the basic renovations on your own. By doing some of the work on your own, it is going to end up saving you a lot of money in the long run. This is especially true when you are talking about basic renovations that can make a big difference for something like villas. For the larger and more complicated tasks though, it is still best to employ a qualified professional to ensure a high level of finishing and that compliance is met.

  1. Update The Kitchen.

One of the best renovations that you will be able to make which can pay off in a big way would have to be updating the kitchen. By making improvements and updates to the kitchen, you should be able to make your home much more desirable on the open market and it can really help to enhance the overall look and feel of the colonial villa in general.

  1. Add More Space.

You might be able to knock down a wall here or there which can really open up your entire villa, whether it’s knocking down a wall to make your kitchen larger or even your living space. Doing this is a great way to get more living space out of your villa and to make it look much more spacious in general.

Overall, there are a lot of different things that you will want to implement when you are aiming to renovate a colonial villa. By following some of the tips above, renovating your colonial villa doesn’t have to be too difficult and there are plenty of simple and affordable ways to spruce up the villa to make it much more modern and livable.

At Cain Built we are not only New Zealand Certified Builders Association accredited (NZCB) but have renovated colonial villas before, so we understand the intricacies involved and therefore are sure to be able to help you renovate yours. If you have an idea for your villa, please give us a call on 0800 224 628 or email at and we will gladly have a chat with you about your project.

House Extension Builder For East Coast Bays

Expand The Living Space Of Your Home With A House Extension

If you are starting to outgrow your home, you might want to consider adding a house extension. Many people in this situation immediately think about buying a new home or moving to a new neighbourhood. This option has lots of challenges, especially if the children like their school. However, another idea means that you can stay in the home and suburb that you love by adding an extension to your current home. Below we look at some of the ideas for house extensions East Coast Bays homeowners can enjoy.

There are two main ways you can build a house extension. You could build upwards by adding another storey, or build out into your garden making a bigger footprint for your home.

Adding Another Storey For A House Extension

Home extensions builder East Coast BaysA common approach to building a house extension is by adding another storey to the house. If your land area is limited this is often the better option for you. Also, if you live in a hilly area then adding a second storey can give you extended views and vistas that can take advantage of the locality that you live in.

However, be warned. An additional storey obviously means additional weight on the house foundations or concrete slab. Therefore, a key question to ask a house extension builder is, can your home support the added mass of another level? For this, you must talk to an experienced house extension builder. Often this is a question that only an engineer can answer but a good builder will be able to refer you to a good quality structural engineer that they have worked with previously who can give a definitive answer for you.

Why People Build Up For Home Extensions

Building up is a great approach to adding more space to your home. In many suburban areas, sections have been sub-divided into two or more building plots. This clearly puts a restriction on the ground area available so upward is often the only viable option.

But what about height you might ask?

Well, in the Auckland Council Unitary Plan, they are advocating developers build higher developments than before. This is mainly for building new multi-level (up to six storey) apartment blocks, but the Council is more open to considering allowing higher homes in some locations to leave more ground available for an additional dwelling on the same section. In short, Auckland Council wants denser housing which inevitably means taller houses.

Personal Choice With Another Storey Home Extension

Adding another storey to your home is going to give you a lot more space but more importantly, it is space to your specifications. You get to choose what bedrooms, bathrooms, or other rooms you want in that space. It is much easier to design your dream space from a blank canvas than to change an existing living area.

Added Value From A Home Extension

A broad rule of thumb is, more space means more value, so adding another storey will also increase the value of your home. In some suburbs you need to take advice from a local real estate agent about possible resale values of homes with extra living space, but in many areas, if you have additional, Council approved living space, your house will increase in value, often by more than the cost of the extension building project.

Building Out For East Coast Bays Home Extensions

If you don’t want to add another storey, or if you have the land available, then you can add an extension to the side of your house.

For many people, an extension built out from the home is the better option. It doesn’t require any strengthening of the foundation pad, and is often a relatively straightforward building project. Extending the footprint of your home can add grandeur and elegance to your house as well as the extra space.

When people have an extension built, they often take the opportunity of upgrading other areas of the house, especially those close to the new addition. This can include upgrades to kitchens, or making living areas open-plan. This makes the new and the old tie together to create a fabulous looking new home.

In fact, this is one of the key ingredients to a successful home extension. You have probably seen extensions that look like a garage has been tacked onto the house. It looks poor and doesn’t add as much value to the house as it could. A well-integrated house extension, tastefully designed, and finished to merge with the existing house will not only look better, it will add more value, and you will be much happier with the outcome.

An extension can be built on most terrains but if the land has a steep slope, then building the home extension will be more difficult, and consequently, more expensive. However, a good quality builder will have the skills to work on difficult sections.

Choosing A House Extension Builder In The East Coast Bays

It is important to work with a good local house extension builder in East Coast Bays. If you are choosing to get more than one quote, it is important that you don’t simply go with the cheapest. You must ask all the potential building contractors to explain why they have priced as they have, as you need to be aware of any additional costs, known as variations, that may not have been allowed for in the pricing (such as tree root removal and asbestos testing and removal) so you know exactly what is and isn’t included. Otherwise, you may think you’re comparing apples with apples, when you’re actually comparing apples with pears, and could therefore be in for some unexpected costs later down the track once the project is already underway.

Also, ask to see their portfolio of other house extensions and ask for references too, so you know the builder is experienced enough for your project.

At Cain Built we are not only New Zealand Certified Builders Association accredited (NZCB) but have worked on many different types of house extensions in the East Coast Bays and surrounding areas, so we’re sure to be able to help you with yours. If you have an idea for expanding your home, please give us a call on 0800 224 628 or email at and we will gladly have a chat with you about your project.