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February 2018

Expect the unexpected

15 Jan 2018, Builders business

Builders’ Business is a column by builders for builders. Its objective is to provide a forum, particularly for small business operators, in which to share knowledge, experience, tips and idea 

Q: What aspect of building are your clients best and least prepared for?

Firm: Form Builders
Principal: Matt Stevenson
Location: Christchurch
Staff: 13

From our perspective, cost is what they’re best prepared for. We put together a thorough pricing document, so that everything is transparent from the start of the project. However, at the end of the day, every client is unique and some have a better understanding of the build process than others.

Generally, variations are something that can surprise people. It’s reasonably common here, following the earthquakes, that enhanced foundations or extra earthworks are required on a project, and it’s hard to know what is needed until you start digging – so that can be something people don’t expect.

As much as we try to prepare them, the sheer number of decisions people need to make at the end of a project is also something they don’t often expect. This can include everything from appliance choices to how they want rooms finished, through to any changes they might want to make, all of which can be a source of stress.

Given they’re making one of the biggest investments of their lives, that’s understandable.

Firm: Gregg Builders Ltd
Principal: Colin Gregg
Location: Christchurch
Staff: 28

Our clients are generally pretty well prepared. Prior to beginning a project, we make sure we spend a lot of time briefing them on the construction process and what information we’ll need from them at certain stages of the build.

The aspects they’re least prepared for would have to be unforeseen additional costs, such as rock breaking at excavation time or sewer and storm water systems that may need to be redesigned after platforms are established.

Landscaping costs can also be an aspect clients do not factor into their budgets.

Firm: Tomik Ltd
Principal: Mike Hutchens and Todd Flashman
Location: Waiheke Island
Staff: 10

Some clients are very aware of what is required of them and others aren’t, such as specifying what they want and working through lists of decisions we need from them.

People who have built before know what to expect, but I’d say 50% our customers are building for the first time.

The intricacies of the modern build are something people don’t expect. The industry has changed greatly over the past 15 to 20 years.

Building a home is a lot more complex than it used to be, particularly in the high-end architectural sector.

There are so many different things now that have made the process a lot more intricate. The end of the process can also be a surprise in terms of all of the paperwork that is required for a Code Compliance Certificate.

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