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10 Questions you should ask a Building Company

Updated: Jan 30

Making the decision to build a house is a huge commitment, and choosing the right builder is as important as selecting the right site or floor plan. A company’s viability and track record allows you to build with confidence.  Here are some questions perfect for first meetings, that we’ve gone ahead and answered.



How long have you been doing this?

Byrne Homes was established by husband and wife team, Joe and Lisa Byrne in 2014. We’ve built a strong reputation in the ‘high-end’ sector, reinforced by quality construction, design knowledge and innovation. Our up-front, honest approach takes the worry out of what can quickly become a stressful journey if not handled by a team with a strong track record. We pride ourselves on having many happy customers, some who have even come back for a second time!


Have you built other homes in the style I am wanting?

Across the years Byrne Homes has built a wide range of styles of homes. Whether clients have come with their own plans, or they are Byrne Homes facilitated plans, we have a vast array of experience and knowledge in building. From in situ poured concrete to masonry builds, gable, monopitch or flat roofs, complex excavation to managing sloping sections, we have seen it all and are here to guide you towards a home that suits your lifestyle, with your ideal spend at the forefront. If you are embarking on an architectural build, ensure that the builder you choose is experienced in this type of construction.


Are you fully insured and licenced?

If a Builder isn’t licensed or properly insured it can put you at risk - of losing your deposit or being shut down. Being a Licensed builder in New Zealand recognises your competency to carry out building work essential to the structure and weathertightness of residential building. As a Licensed Builder, Joe personally warrants the builds we undertake. Byrne Homes are also a Master Builder which means our builds come with a comprehensive 10 year Master Build Guarantee. In addition a Master Builder has to fulfill criteria such as having trade and professional qualifications, building experience, onsite management experience and has been financially vetted. Not only will your build be insured, Byrne Homes also have comprehensive insurance including ‘contract works’ and ‘professional indemnity’.


What do you offer that other builders do not?

As a Building Management Company we can cover the whole process from design to completion, from feasibility to landscape design. We coordinate all aspects, with many years of strong relationships with our sub trades and consultants. This also allows for competitive pricing benefitting the client. In addition, business owner Lisa is our in-house designer - allowing for ease of collaborating with architects and clients. By removing outsourcing of the design aspects, this creates more cohesion of the finished home and a stress free design process.


How can you reassure me on the quality of your builds?

We’ve been awarded 4 Gold Awards over the years at Master Builders Awards, and also a Category Winner Award. These awards are highly revered and recognised as a symbol of quality for those looking to build or renovate. The Gold Standard Awards are given to entrants who achieve 90% of the available points and are judged to be at least 80% above industry standard. 


How will the build cost be determined? 

Once you’re happy with your concept drawings, a 'Specification' is created and our Quantity Surveyor begins a Measured Estimate for your build to determine the costs. These documents become the Bible of your contract and build. They show ALL costs including GST and margin. Through this process we can identify areas where savings can be made. This process provides you with a fixed price for your build which you can then communicate to your bank. We will also give you an indication of any Council Fees and Development Contributions if necessary.


Why do budgets blow out with builds?

The most common reason for budget increases are clients changing their minds. It requires great discipline to stick to your budget and we are here to help keep you on track. On your contract you will see some Provisional Sums - these are aspects with unknowns i.e. Excavation or Kitchen design. With knowledge and experience a cost has been estimated or allocated. In the instance of design, we often see clients increase their spend as they want more for a space. With regards to excavation, until we start digging we don’t know what we will find in the ground or how much it will cost to manage it. At Byrne Homes we endeavour to allow for realistic and generous PC Sums and remove them wherever possible, to ensure our clients don’t get caught out.


Is there anything that you would exclude from the project?

Asking a builder what is excluded from their quote can be one of the best ways to understand what is included in the quote. It’s a bit like reverse engineering; sometimes you need to start from the end and work your way back. By highlighting items that are excluded, you will be able to ensure that you are comparing ‘apples with apples’ when comparing builders. Some of the more common items that are excluded from quotes include: Council fees, any Resource Consent fees, Watercare connection fees and Curtains and Blinds.


How long will it take to build my home?

Pre construction time and build times vary for every build, and depend on a build’s complexity.  In addition, resource consents, heritage areas and a development’s design approval can add time prior to breaking ground. We allocate anywhere from 3 - 6 months for concepts to Building Consent approval. And a build time anywhere from 6 to 12 months, once again depending on the size or location of your build. Our clients are able to access up-to-date timelines on where their build is at, information and site photos through our Customer Portal.


Are you able to provide verbal testimonials and visits to completed builds?

When making an investment of this size, it’s perfectly acceptable to want outside validation of a company’s abilities and attitudes. Where possible, we are happy to show you through current or completed builds and put you in contact with previous clients for verbal referrals. Nothing gives you more reassurance of what a builder is capable of than seeing the workmanship in person.


Starting a home build can feel stressful, but picking the right builder shouldn’t be. Gain as much knowledge as you can and think about what is most important to you.



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