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When to engage a builder

Updated: Mar 22

Deciding to build your new home is an exciting prospect, but if it’s your first time it’s also filled with plenty of unknowns. The first of which is – when do I contact a builder?

Traditionally the focus has been on first tackling the visual design aspects of the project, by contacting the architect or architectural designer. Here at Byrne homes, we advocate talking to a builder at this exact same time.

Business owner Joe Byrne says it’s got to be a team approach, ‘The first thing you should do is form your team; you will be working together for 12 months to 2 years sometimes. Our approach is to drive the design on construction and cost management principles, where we not only achieve a good-looking design, but we get the best possible results for buildability and budget.’

Engaging a builder at the same time as an architect, can make a huge difference to your project, ensuring a smoother process and higher quality end product, with less disappointment and potentially money lost as you navigate designs for a home that is sadly not within your budget.

The Role of an architect

Did you know that 80% of architectural plans never come to fruition?

While builders and architects are both experts in building design, the individual focuses are very different. Working collaboratively allows your architect to focus purely on design while the building management team can focus on building methods, materials and costs - creating space for clear communication between all parties. Seeking build cost estimates at Building Consent stage (as intended by the traditional three-tender method) is a tough time to hear your drawings are not within your desired budget. In this scenario when it’s time to estimate costs, building companies end up being the bad guy. Joe advises doing your costing early, ‘and if there is money still in the kitty, then you can add those items that initially may have blown out the budget.’

Let’s not forget, the architect gets paid for their design whether you end up using it or not.

Engaging a builder before Building Consent

A builder brings a wealth of knowledge on latest costs and products, in addition to their technical expertise in construction and regulations, therefore mitigating early oversights. As the builder handles the entire scope of a project, it allows that accountability and responsibility early, as it’s the builder there on hand over day.

It’s also a fact that engaging a builder at the beginning could save you thousands in design time and build costs.

'Early contractor engagement also ensures that a project is understood completely, and once documentation has been signed off by the territorial authority, construction can start immediately with materials and contractors locked in and ordered’ says Joe.

There is a way to fuse vision with the practicalities of building. With a few small modifications, you can often achieve the same ‘design result’ for a lot less money. Our advice is to form your team from the beginning! The architect, builder and engineer should all work together, giving you the best of both worlds - a design that is beautiful and functional - and a design that is affordable to build!

Looking to work with an award-winning building management company with years of experience collaborating with architects? You've come to the right place!

If you would like to talk to us about building your very own ‘Byrne Home’, please get in touch today. Give us a call – we are a friendly bunch! Call 022 320 1954 or flick us an email at



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