Stage 3 Life Stages Home Ownership – Home DIY When You’re Thirty-ish

You’ve achieved the Kiwi dream and now own you first home! It’s time to start thinking about home DIY, but where should you start and what can you do? In this third article of our Life Stages of Home Ownership series, we’ll walk you through the tasks you can do and those you should call on a tradie to do for you.

home DIY


Posted In: Architects, Auckland, Builders, Carterton, Choosing Tradespeople, Christchurch, Electricians, Glaziers & Windows, Hurunui, Hutt Valley, Kaikoura, Otorohanga, Pacific Islands, Palmerston North, Piling & Foundations, Plasterers, Plumbers, Project Managers, South Waikato, South Wairarapa, Southland, Stratford

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Earthquakes are unpredictable and the best form of defence is to be prepared. Keeping a well-stocked survival kit with food, water and other essential supplies is one way we can care for our family after a shake. We can also prepare our homes too, with the aim to avoid as much damage as we can to both the building and our family members. Read on to learn more about earthquake preparedness for your home and family.

earthquake preparedness (more…)

Posted In: Architects, Builders, EQC Help


draughtsmanYou want to renovate your home. Which tradesperson is the best person to help you with this: a Draughtsman, Architect or Builder? Whether you are building a brand new home or adding an extension, who should you contact first?

Let’s look into what each professional does and how they can help you. (more…)

Posted In: Architects, Builders, Inspectors & Valuers, Mackenzie, Marlborough, Masterton, Matamata-Piako, Project Managers

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eco-friendly green homeIf you’re looking to reap the financial and environmental benefits of living in an eco-friendly green home, then consider building from scratch. A new home lets you add energy-saving features at a significantly lower cost than if you renovated an older home.

Eco-friendly green home

An eco-friendly green home will be designed around solar heating. It will also involve orienting the house and as many windows as practical north.  The kitchen should be east-facing with the living areas west-facing. This will decrease the need for you to use appliances to heat or cool your home.

Builderscrack has professional tradespeople available to advise and provide you with eco-friendly green home solutions. Read more on what to consider when building your eco-friendly home. (more…)

Posted In: Architects, Builders, Invercargill, Kaikoura, Kaipara, Kapiti Coast, Solar Installation

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A good working relationship between client and architect is a vital ingredient in the success of any building project. It’s therefore essential to choose an architect whose design approach and practice philosophy best fit your requirements.

However, you may have noticed there are a fair few architects out there. How on earth do you begin narrowing them down?

As with any tradesperson, a good way to start is by posting a job on Once you have found architects who are interested you can check their reviews on the site.

architectsOnce you have narrowed down the list you should remember that a successful building relationship hinges on more than a creative solution alone. You’re looking for someone who will be supportive and interested in your project, whose opinion you respect, but who will listen to you at the same time. They will also transform ideas, delivering the satisfaction and enjoyment of producing your new house.

Bear in mind, too, that the architect you engage may end up taking responsibility for more than just the design, depending on the complexity of your brief and the degree to which you want to be involved. Before a home’s drawings and specifications are prepared, your wish list needs to be interpreted, information given on costs, safety and environmental factors considered, Building Code regulations checked, and social implications discussed. This may involve seeking information from other specialists.

Your architect might then prepare documentation for approvals on town planning controls and engage the contractors who will be carrying out the work. When the project commences they may oversee the construction and take responsibility for solving the problems which inevitably arise as the job progresses.

All of the roles your architect will perform must be discussed in detail and agreed between you. It is very important to be absolutely clear about what will and won’t be undertaken. Once that’s all understood, design can commence and you’re on your way.

What goes into building a new house?architect1

Any architect will tell you that every design is different and it’s impossible to wrap the process into one blanket description. However, there are certain components that need to be there to ensure the end result meets – or hopefully exceeds – your expectations.

The brief

This defines your requirements and aspirations. It’s a working document, which should evolve. It might also include a proposed budget and timing for the project.

Information gathering

You or your architect will start to assemble site information such as the Certificate of Title, drainage plans, and zoning and town planning data. The section might be surveyed to ascertain its contours and boundaries. Issues with regard to existing planting, water courses and soil type are considered.

Concept development

At this stage, your architect might draw a floor plan and two or three perspective sketches to show a range of solutions. These provide the starting point for your design discussions.

Developed design

At this point, your architect establishes that everything is feasible and a quantity surveyor is asked to make an independent cost estimate. It is important that the standard of finish is discussed and agreed upon. This document is useful for borrowing purposes and will also help you to work out how your project might be achieved in stages if this is required.

Consents and working drawings

At this stage, a building consent and possibly resource consents are obtained. The complexity of the project tends to dictate the degree of detail in the plans needed to achieve this.


It is very common for a number of building contractors to be invited to submit proposed estimates of the cost and time it would take them to carry out the job. There are different types of contracts available, so ask your architect to explain them and describe the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Site operations

Before building begins, the site must be clear. Your architect will also be able to bring to your attention any relevant responsibilities you may have with regard to Health and Safety issues and appropriate insurances.

Completion and feedback

When your home is finished, you take possession. There may be some minor defects to correct and this must be carried out within a set timeframe. And don’t forget to let your architect know what you think of the result!

Article (modified) courtesy of Resene Habitat magazine.

Posted In: Architects, Choosing Tradespeople


architectsArchitects are tradespeople who are trained in the planning, design and oversight of the construction of buildings.  This involves pre-design services, programming, planning, providing designs, drawings, specifications and other technical submissions, the administration of construction contracts and the co-ordination of any elements of technical submissions prepared by others (including engineers) and technical designers.

A good architect is one who actually listens to you when you are telling them what you want and need in your new home. The ability to listen is your architects most important skill, so when you’re interviewing potential architects, make sure you hire one who has mastered the art of listening and can design a home that’s unique to you.  Don’t just assume your architect is hearing you and understanding what you want, ask them to explain the project to you until you’re sure that you both understand what’s being proposed.  If you are a couple with different ideas of what you want in a home, a good architect will help you find common ground to create a home you will both love.

Architects may specialise in different consultancies including:

  • Building code
  • Sustainable design
  • Historic preservation
  • Accessibility

Draughtsmen are tradespeople who is are skilled in technical drawing, able to draw complex instructions precisely and accurately and arrange information in an organized way. Drafting includes any task that utilizes graphics to convey instructions to another person. Commonly this is associated with the making of plans for structures or mechanical devices before they are built.

Draughtsmen may specialise in civil, structural, architectural, plumbing, cartography, electrical, thermodynamics, mechanical, hydraulics, telecommunications, materials, aerodynamics and archaeology.

Tools may include; drawing pencils, templates, rulers, tape and drawing equipment.

Hire an Architect or Draughtsman through Builderscrack

Posted In: Architects, Carterton

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