Looking to build a new home in Christchurch or the Canterbury region and want to learn more about choosing the right builder, how to pick your section and which suburbs are the best to build in – post quakes?
Take a look below for insider tips and industry advice on building your new home in Christchurch.
Christchurch’s Post-Quake Building Environment
The most recent defining moment in the history of Christchurch’s building industry has been the devastating earthquakes. Building in Christchurch in the post-quake environment faces some unique challenges; geo tech, engineers and builders reports have become a necessity, architects have new rules and regulations to consider and businesses providing trade services like tiling and scaffolding experienced temporary yet unsustainable growth.
The ramifications of the Christchurch earthquakes have been immense within the building industry in NZ, extending far beyond the immediately obvious changes in the Christchurch landscape.
Changes To The Way We Build Post Quake
One of today’s biggest complications when building in Christchurch is the obvious changes to the ground that we now build on. Liquefaction, subsidence and unstable hillsides to name just a few have become considerable factors when preparing to build or renovate. But there are other changes that have only served to make the industry safer and more resilient.
- Land Zoning. Christchurch land is now categorised under the Land Zoning system, which involves applying T1, T2 or T3 to sections for the purpose of identifying repairable housing areas and liquefaction-related land damage. For more information on these Technical Category classifications see here.
- Stricter Regulations. Stringent post-quake re-build regulations and requirements have been put in place to future-proof buildings, not only in the Christchurch and Canterbury region but for the whole of New Zealand.
- Stronger Focus On The Building Code. Following the changes in regulatory requirements, there has been an increased focus on adherence to The Building Code which has seen a shift towards an increase in accountability and consequences associated with building materials, meeting budgets and targeted delivery timeframes.
- Geotech Reports. As part of the Building Consent process it is now a requirement of local council that a Geotechnical Report or Soil Report be provided when developing land to be built upon. This helps to establish the land stability and foundation requirements.
Choosing The Right Builder In Canterbury
Once you’ve decided to go ahead with a new build, you’re going to need to choose a builder in the Canterbury region. When you are investing such a large amount of money, choosing the right company to deal with is an important consideration.
There are many horror stories out there about people who made the wrong decision. Sadly, some people have found poor workmanship, extra costs and even unfinished projects. However, there are many great builders out there that can offer professional advice and service.
Checklist For Choosing A Good Builder
There are a few things to consider when you choose your builder. This checklist will help you avoid the disasters with hiring the wrong company, budget blowouts and extended deadlines.
- Experience. Choosing a builder that is tried and tested in the industry is a good option. More experienced construction companies have staff that can spot issues before they become a problem and take action to avoid possible complications. They are also more likely to come up with workable solutions to problems while providing more cost effective and efficient workmanship over all.
- Registration And Licenses. Having the right registration and licensing requirements means that the company has proven skills and certification in their industry.
- Pricing. A good motto here is ‘If it seems too good to be true, it probably is’. You should choose a builder that meets your criteria, looking out for builders who charge hidden fees and inflate their prices midway through the build. Always check quotes thoroughly and choose a builder with fair rates and a good reputation.
- Customer Reviews. Always ask your builder for references and look for feedback online. Also get in touch with some of their past clients and ask about their experiences. If you hear mostly positive comments, then you should feel safer about choosing that contractor. If the feedback is negative in general, then you know it’s safer to look at another construction company to build your home.
Choosing A Section In Christchurch
Choosing your builder in Canterbury is a tough decision, but once you’ve got one sorted, its time to start planning. When you decide to build your brand-new home, choosing the right section is one of the first and most important decisions you will make.
5 Top Tips For Choosing The Best Section
There are things like lifestyle needs and budget that play an important role in the decision process. But there are also other things that you may not have thought about yet, things like sunshine, weather, traffic noise levels, and your surrounding neighbourhood.
When weighing your options on which site to choose, try to visualise what it would be like during various times of the day and the year. It could help if you ask yourself: Will my new home be getting sufficient sunlight in the winter? Will it be getting sunlight at my preferred waking hour in the morning? Always remember that you could end up paying extra heating costs if you choose a site with poor winter sunshine.
2. Geo-Technical Classification
There are some important characteristics to watch out for when you’re choosing your section in Christchurch. These include softness and silt ground material, and whether the area could be prone to erosion, floods or earthquake. If any of these hold true for your site, it could require extensive engineering efforts. All of which will hold great expenses in labour, materials and design.
If your goal is to build property in a residential area that’s zoned for other uses, you’ll have to get permission from the council. This can sometimes be a very expensive and time-consuming process.
On the other hand, if you’re planning to live on the more rural countryside it’s highly recommended that you be aware of close by property consents in process. For example, construction of a cattle farm next door could be underway, or that empty section across the road could end being turned into a waste dump.
4. Surrounding Neighbourhood
The type of neighbourhood you’re moving into is a factor that needs some consideration. Test out traffic levels at different times of day, particularly around peak traffic times. How far away are the shops? The school? And although this may sound a bit over the top – checking out the neighbours is time well spent. Noisy or inconsiderate neighbours can ruin your enjoyment of your new home rather quickly. If you see them out in the driveway head over for a chat and see what you can discover.
It’s also a good idea to contact your local or regional council. They can verify any potential hazards that the section could be prone to. Doing this research is worth the effort, rather than finding out too late.
The Insider Christchurch Suburb Breakdown
Looking for the best place to build your new home in Christchurch? Need to know some insider details on what went down and where? Take a look below.
Many parts of lower lying river side areas like Avonside, Bexley, Dalington, Avondale and Burwood have become unsafe to build upon without the need for severe land remediation. The remaining housing in these areas and beyond are subject to an increased focus on foundations and Geotech requirements along with more recent flooding issues.
Hilltop suburbs in the Port Hills like Mount Pleasant, Redcliffs and Cashmere Hills face their own set of extenuating circumstances; steep hillsides, restricted access and high winds all add to the difficulty of the build process however the resulting custom-designed split level homes and other innovative designs for sloped properties have only emerged stronger and better.
Coastal suburbs like Ferrymead, Sumner, Lyttleton and New Brighton although having suffered greatly throughout the earthquakes with liquefaction being a major issue have shown resilience and strength with increasing rebuild and renovation activity within their borders.
The city centre redevelopment as laid out by the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan has led to repurposing central city space into specific precincts housing different industry sectors. The expected return of businesses to central city locations is set to drive the need for inner city living options. The “East Frame” has been designated for providing more compact central city housing options like apartments and townhouses.
Outlying suburbs like Halswell, Hornby and out towards the Christchurch International Airport have experienced a growth surge as people have naturally migrated inland. Christchurch construction companies have completed many new construction projects both commercial and residential in these areas, with many still underway.
Further afield in the Selwyn district to the South West of Christchurch city, an explosion of new home builds is occurring in Rolleston, West Melton, Prebbleton and Lincoln. With available land seen as more “stable” it is snapped up hastily for all types of new home builds. Population growth in Selwyn is expected to double over the coming years.
To the North across the Waimakariri River, Rangiora, Kaiapoi, Woodend and the relatively new settlement of Pegasus are also experiencing huge growth, with new developments and subdivisions providing the necessary land for substantial increases in new home builds.
Building A New Home Versus Buying An Existing Property In Christchurch
Buying or building a new home in Christchurch may have been an aspiration of yours for years. A common question that you may be asking yourself is: What’s the best method to go with to make my dream home a reality?
Whether you choose to buy or build there are always going to be advantages and disadvantages, educating yourself on the facts is an important step in the decision making process.
Advantages Of Building A New Home In Christchurch
- Personal Choice. Choice is by far the biggest advantage here. Building new allows you to design everything to your exact liking; choosing materials, colours and specifications to suit your budget and personal wish list. You may also be pleasantly surprised by the affordability of many house and land packages in Christchurch.
- Avoidance Of Earthquake Complications. Another factor to consider which is fairly unique to Christchurch is many buyers are hesitant to purchase homes with existing or ongoing earthquake repair disputes and disagreements in progress. These buildings often have issues around insurance along with other complications when it comes to their sale and purchase.
- Straight Forward Insurance. Speaking of Insurance this is also another important thing to investigate prior to buying a home in Christchurch. Insurance pay-outs (for things like patio concrete and driveways for example) are sometimes never used to repair the earthquake damage and therefore this aspect of the property remains uninsurable until it is fixed.
Benefits Of Buying An Existing New Home
- Convenience. Depending on what you’re looking for, convenience and cost are usually the big benefits here. Lots of people find the process of shopping around fun. It gives you the chance to get a clear idea of what it would be like to live in a house, because you get to see it in a “lived-in” state.
- Quick And Easy. If you are short on time time, then buying a house is definitely the quickest method. It’s common for most house hunters to move in after about 3 months.
- Potential To Renovate. Keep in mind even though you may have ‘big ideas’ in place for renovations and alterations be aware these sorts of expenses can add up rather quickly.
Let Build7 Help You
Build or buy, you can’t go wrong if you do the research and choose the right builder and building company. At Build7, we have a team of Christchurch builders that can help you make the right choices whether you are building from scratch or renovating. We’re an honest, reputable home building company and we give you realistic estimates and practical advice.
As local builders in Canterbury, we have the expertise to help you with building on places like Christchurch’s Port Hills and complicated build sites around the city. We can advise you on the best suited innovations for your specific section and we also have our own team of in-house designers that can customise your floor plan specifically to your section. Need to simplify? Take a look at our some of our available home and land packages.
Here at Build7 we have chosen to place emphasis not only on meeting regulatory requirements but consistently delivering results above and beyond – doing our bit to create better, more resilient homes for the future.
If you have been looking to build or renovate in the Canterbury area, then get in touch with Build7 today to learn about our free home design service or to get practical advice about choosing the right build options for you.