Your Project Team
You’ve sorted out your budget and had your finance approved. You know where you’re building. You have a plan that fits both your dreams of a stylish place to live and somewhere that accommodates the needs of your whole family. Where to from here?
The buck stops – where?
From a small alteration to a whole new house, every project needs someone to take charge.
- Often, your builder will be happy to manage the project for you, including liaising with council on your behalf if any of their suggestions or requirements don’t align with the physical reality of the job.
- Most design and build companies offer a full service from concept to landscaping.
- If you’ve employed an architect or architectural designer, you may be able to contract them on to manage the project as well.
- For a large project you could employ a professional project manager.
- You can also do it yourself, but this is not always advisable unless you have plenty of time and previous experience in the building industry.
Managing your build
Whoever you choose will be in charge of organising a plethora of things relating to the build including selecting sub trades and suppliers, arranging tenders, executing contracts, applying for building consents, ensuring on-site safety, managing inspections throughout the building process, progress payments, any rework, code of compliance and much more. He or she needs to be well organised, be thorough and diplomatic when dealing with the council and have good working relationships with the main contractor and subcontractors as well as you.
Selecting a builder
You may choose to select a builder first based on show-homes or other examples of their work you have seen. In that case, your builder may be able to recommend an architect or designer he prefers to work with. Alternatively, if you have an architect or architectural designer, he or she may be able to recommend a builder they prefer to work with.
If you don’t know where to start, here are some suggestions to help you create a short-list:
- Look on fpb.co.nz for builders in your area.
- Visit show-homes around town and talk with the builder. You can see first-hand the quality of their work and form an opinion what they will be like to work with.
- Ask for recommendations from friends or relatives.
- Check to make sure builders on your list are properly qualified – the Master Builders website is a good tool.
- Ask for testimonials from previous clients, particularly those who have lived in their houses a few years.
- Once you have refined your list to two or three candidates, interview each in person to make sure you like their style of communication and can trust and work well with them. This will likely be a long relationship, so it’s important that it is a good one.
Invite your short-list of builders to submit tenders on your project, then interview the one with the best tender again. Ask any questions you may have after reading the tender document, such as:
- If it was significantly lower than the others, why?
- What is not included in the scope of the tender?
- How long will it take to complete your project?
- What are the penalties if the deadline is not reached?
- Who is responsible for site clean-up?
- What happens if there is a work defect?
When you are satisfied, make your choice. Be sure to get a written contract from your builder, including details of their guarantee, insurance, health and safety plans, and payment schedules, and have this checked over by your lawyer.
Depending on the type of building project you have, you may need to involve some specialists.
- If your designer does not specialise in energy efficient design but this is a priority for you, an energy efficiency specialist will be able to provide the advice and knowledge required to tweak your house design to one that performs at its peak.
- It’s important to determine the electrical needs for each room. The layout of your furniture will give you a starting point in selecting the location of some of the outlets. In addition to standard electrical work, many electricians now specialise in home automation, security or data work. Installing Code 6 wiring is a great way to future-proof your home to cope well with high-speed download and upload as well as wireless home entertainment requirements for many years to come.
A renovation may simply involve changing the colours and floor coverings in a home. Even for larger building projects, engaging an interior designer for the interior finish can be an excellent idea that will leave you with a beautiful, better functioning home (by jan). Your interior designer can save you money by allocating resources wisely, save you on costly decorating mistakes and get you thinking creatively about your budget. Most architectural firms have interior designers as part of their team or you can employ one independently.
Using a specialist kitchen designer gives you a custom-designed kitchen for little more than the cost of a kit set price. You will also get a kitchen that not only functions well but looks great too.
A landscape architect’s skills can transform your outdoor living space by translating your needs and wants into a garden that best suits your lifestyle. Visit NZILA and LIANZ for information on finding landscape architects.
Last but not least
No matter how well you plan, any building project can meet with delays. If you are living on site, this can be an uncomfortable and stressful experience for family members of all sizes.
Consider whether there are any alternatives. Look into serviced apartments and motels in your area. Do you have family you could stay with – or at least shower with – temporarily?
Think about your pets too as constant loud noises and strange people coming and going are no more pleasant for them. Search for friendly kennels or catteries in the area where they can stay for the duration of the project, but you will still be able to visit them.
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Find out what you can do to be Life Cycle Costing savvy in the articles linked below.