Starting out on the journey to building your own home can be a little scary, however, it may surprise you to know the build process is actually very straight forward and can even be quite a rewarding experience!
Knowing what the construction process involves can make the process much easier to get your head around, as experienced builders who have mastered the ins and outs of this process over the years we have put together this handy guide to the stages of building a new house so you have a better idea what you are in for.
Step 1 Finance
First up you are going to want to sort out the finances. There is no point in investing time and energy into creating your ideal home if you don’t have the finances sorted. It is a good idea to get pre-approval from your bank or at least decide on what you can afford or would like to spend at this point. Pre-approval is also a good indication (to the builder) that you’re serious about this building project.
This pre-approval or initial indication will give you a figure to begin with and a rough idea for budgeting and allocation of costs. The cost of building in NZ can be broken down into five main areas:
- Land Price. The cost of your section.
- Consent Fees. Including Resource Consents, Building Consent and any other consents or permits required in relation to your site, the size of the section and the local geographical area.
- Build Price. The actual price of the new build provided by your builder.
- Finishing Costs. (such as driveways, concreting, landscaping, letterbox, clothes line, patios and decks)
- Extras. (such as extra cost of getting amenities to the build site, site access issues, engineering and structural requirements for uneven sections, unforeseen costs, costs associated with delays in construction or sourcing products etc).
Step 2 Finding The Right Section
Finding the right piece of land is next on the list. Once you have your budget sorted you will know how much you have to allocate towards securing your section. This can be the trickiest part for some as there are areas in New Zealand such as Auckland and Wellington where bare land is in short supply.
Some common options for finding a section are looking at house and land packages offered by builders, seeking out new subdivisions, or by keeping an eye on local real estate websites to see what is around in the area you are looking at. All good builders will usually offer assistance with finding the perfect section too!
Step 3 Choosing Your Builder
Speaking of builders – it’s time to source a good one for this project if you haven’t already. There are many factors that you will need to consider when choosing your builder, these will include
- The type of house design (standard or custom, straightforward or complicated etc)
- Location of the build
- References and recommendations
- Personal preferences
See here for more information on choosing the right builder.
Step 4 Finalising The Plan
Most people will have been working on their house plan for a while, sometimes even before choosing their section as building to suit your specific requirements is one of the top reasons why people choose to build their own home.
Whether you are building from a set plan or designing your own custom version, now is the time to finalise the finer details, work out the kinks and take on board any advice your builder has to offer. If a speedy build is what you are after then choosing a set house plan the builder has built many times before will best meet your needs. If specific or unusual features are what you need, then designing your own custom plans will be the answer; however, this option can add to the expected timeframes and costs.
When finalising the plan, take special note of the location of any outdoor taps, electrical appliance locations both indoors and out, window placement and size, drainage and other details that are often overlooked. Once the plans are finalised with your builder they are signed off along with a Build Contract, at this point, a significant deposit (or prearranged amount) will be required to get things underway.
Step 5 Confirming The Finer Details
Most building companies will have you choose your colours, fixtures and fittings early on in the build planning process, in most cases this stage will come before signing off the plans and the build contract, however, it can also come after where the build has been classified under certain pre-determined price range specifications. Building companies will provide the option for “Variations” to these initial details later in the build (this is, of course, at an extra cost).
Confirming the finer details early on means everything is able to be ordered well ahead of time (avoiding delays), and costs are fixed at this time avoiding any further inflation-based increases between the time of choosing and time of purchase.
Confirming the finer details will mean selecting paint colours, cladding styles/colours, taps, showers, vanities, the bath, floor coverings and kitchen cabinetry. This selection process can be straight forward if you have already put some thought into what you want, but it can be quite time consuming. Some building companies have colour consultants and design professionals that are able to assist you with this process.
At this stage, you may also be asked to take a look at the electrical plan for lighting, switches, plugs and any other electrical installation that is required. Think carefully about the number of plugs, lights and location of switches as these things can bother you later when they aren’t in the right place.
Step 6 The Consent Process
Once the plans are signed off and the contract has been formalised, your builder (in conjunction with an architect) will draw up a formal set of plans to submit to the local Council for approval and official consent to build. The Council needs to verify your proposed building will meet the requirements of the NZ Building Code.
Building Consent approval time varies depending on the area of NZ that you are applying in, but expect the process to take anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks or more depending on whether there are requests for more information and the complexity of your project. It also pays to note here that your building work will need to be started within 12 months of receiving the building consent or it lapses.
It is possible to complete this process yourself, but in general, it is best left to the professionals as if the application is incomplete or does not provide the necessary documentation then this can drag out the consent process significantly and end up costing you more money. See here for more information on the Building Consent process in New Zealand.
Step 7 Construction Begins!
Now it’s time for the fun to begin! After months of careful planning and preparation, the construction crew will get underway with your new home. During the building process, there are several significant stages these are listed below, at each of these stages, you can expect progress payments to fall due if you are working to a progress payment schedule. There are also a number of Council building inspections due both during and at the completion of each stage.
The 6 Stages Of The Construction Process In NZ
- Base Stage. This includes site preparation and foundations. This includes levelling, excavating, pouring the concrete slab and/or construction of foundations as well as any underground connections that are required such as drainage, plumbing and electrical systems. Expect this stage to last anywhere from one to two weeks.
- Frame-Up. This stage is all about the construction of the walls, roof trusses and framing on your house plan. The duration of this stage is approximately two weeks (weather dependent).
- Lock-Up. As expected, this stage is when the exterior of the home gets completed to the point where the building is watertight and can be locked. This will include the installation of windows, external doors, guttering, roofing iron or coverings, brickwork and walls. Some builders may spilt this stage into two stages ‘Roof On’ and ‘Lock-Up’. Allow approximately six to seven weeks for the lock-up stage (weather dependent).
- Fixing And Fitting. Once the building is watertight and dry the fixing and fitting stage commences. This involves working on all the internal features of your home such as wall plastering, ceilings, skirting boards, internal doors, painting, tapware, showers, baths, and all pumbing and electrical requirements. The fixing and fitting stage duration depends greatly on the availability of individual contractors and sourcing of products, but as a general guide, this stage will take around six to eight weeks.
- Practical Completion. Once all of the home’s fixtures and fittings have been installed, the last jobs are the installation of the kitchen and any tiling, floor coverings, completing the final fitoff and cleaning. At this point the house is fully operational, this is called ‘Practical Completion’. However, before you can move in you require one final sign off from the Council – the Code of Compliance Certificate. This certificate states that the final product matches that of the submitted plans and that the house is good to go. Allow approximately three to five weeks for this stage.
- Handover. This is when your builder provides you with the keys to your new home and you can move in. This stage is usually immediately after receiving the official Code of Compliance certification from the Council. As part of the build process, you should also receive post-construction and structural assurances lasting anywhere from 3 to 12 months where you can get the builder to fix any issues that may arise after the build is complete.
Ready to get started on your new home build? Find out more about how we can get the build process started for you! Contact Build7 today and enquire about our free house design services.