We started discussing about building and materials in another posting, I thought it would be good to have a specific post if people are interested in sharing their experiences.
Firstly, courtesy of Dr Watson's advice it is still legally possible to owner build a house in NZ
I had a house built in Australia 25 yrs ago, generally went very well and at the end of the job I took the architects and builder out for a good lunch is a good sign. I recommended the builder to several mates and they were all equally happy with their jobs.
A few thoughts to start the ball rolling, no matter which way you decide to build
1. Similar to my job (Project Managing large mining projects) the key to a successful build is planning and preparation. The time to make decions and changes is on the paper, not during the build as so often happens (there are a few boats around that had the same problem)
2. Geotechnical investigations can be very important, if I build on my current site I will be building on sloping ground with wáter retaining clay in an área where they refer to the fault as "Onerahi Chaos". There are áreas in nearby Algies Bay where you just cannot build because of ground conditions
3. If you are building out of the big city, generally best to stick with the local guys - they will have all the contacts and sub trades on hand. Also they should be aware of any local problems such as I mentioned in 2.
4. If you go with a big/franchised builder get a lawyer to review the contract before signing, the agreements are typically very one sided and can even limit your ability to access the site during the build.
5. If you do not know the building game it can be worthwhile hiring an independent inspector to make sure the builder is complying with spec and codes. Do not rely on the council building inspectors - many of the AC inspectors appear to come from somewhere-stan and would not know how to build a tree house.
6. Check out the builder's financial condition, plenty have gone bust during builds. In Western Australia builders indemnity insurance is compulsory so if the builder goes bust there is coverage to finish the job and also if there are any major defects. Would be interested to know if there is something similar in NZ
7. Make sure the sums for progress claims are a fair measure and don't let the builder load the payments to get most of the money before the house is well advanced. At the same time when the milestone is reached pay him immediately - he has bills to pay as well
8. There should be some form of retention or bond to cover defects liability - 5% for 1 year is the typical value.
9. Be wary of architects, build estimates, if you want something more than an estimate from a m2 rate you should go to a quantity surveyor
Interested to hear whatever advice/experiences people can offer for a successful build be it designs, materials, builders whatever
This Project was quite interesting to follow
even if it was a bit "reality TV"