Your Home Building Process

Building your own home is certainly a challenge. Many people haven’t done this before so it appears daunting prospect, with many “maybe’s” , “that depends” and “what if” questions. Each person and family is unique and have unique needs and wants. It’s our role to ensure that the building project runs smoothly and that our clients are a part of the building process, and that the outcome is a positive one.

Most people start with an “information gathering exercise” to find out what is available, how it all works, how much this will costs and what happens next. In many cases this results in overwhelm – when a wave of information (brochures, facts and figures, terminology and  technical jargon) turn up in your email and you’re expected to know all this instantly and make some fairly big decisions. 

Life is not like this. You want to understand and process the information and then feel comfortable making an informed decision.  

There are some key steps that make a successful home building projects and ensures that the building process is successful for you.

Step 1 – Initial Thoughts

A good home building project starts with an idea. You’ve thought about building and decided to take the next tentative steps to finding out how this all works. Rest assured, while the process may seem daunting at first, thousands of New Zealanders have done this and do this every year.

The “look and feel” of a home is important to you and one of the best ways to experience this is with a video walk through. Click here to have a look at the Onesie 48, a single level one bedroom home and click here to experience the look at feel of a Family 84 three bedroom, 2 storey home.

Having a clear list of “needs, wants and ‘nice to have'” is the key and having clear expectations around what you want and need.

Contact us here to talk to FirstBuild about how we can turn your idea and dream into a reality.

FirstBuild Building Process

Step 2 – Finance

Getting finance approved is one of the first steps in the building process as this provides certainty that you have the ability to build and up to what level.

FirstBuild works with several lenders and brokers to assist our clients to obtain finance for their build process. There is some more information for you on our Finance Page here.

A word (or two) of caution about costs…
We’ve lost count of the “what’s your per square metre rate”, or “what can you do for this much” conversations. Like most things, there are no shortcuts. Comparing “apples with apples” is also an issue with many building companies not including items in their prices (like consent costs, water connection costs, or even GST). This has the effect of initially seeming to be a good price, however at the end of the day, with all the hidden costs and upsells, the costs usually turns out to be more expensive when compared to companies that provide an all-up cost. FirstBuild has a “No Surprises” policy and includes everything in our pricing, right down to the letterbox and the numbers on the letterbox.

Time is also important. If you have a building company that may be slightly cheaper, but they take a long time to build, in many cases, they are going to be more expensive. Things like rent payments still need to be made while building is being undertaken, and depending on your arrangement with the bank, you may need to make interest payments on any money drawn down on the build. A faster build is generally more cost effective.

Bear in mind that there are costs that can’t be determined at the outset of the project. There are always unknowns like soil conditions and other items that may be required like a Resource Consent. FirstBuild works to ensure that any unknowns are quantified and included in the build agreement.

FirstBuild Family 84 3 bedrooms 2 bathroom 2 levels

Step 3 – Choose Your Plan

The next step in the building process is the plan. With the finance box ticked, you can begin to look at house plans. There are several factors to consider at this stage.

      1. Budget
      2. Section size
      3. Number of bedrooms

These are the three factors that are the largest in coming to the decision on the right house plan for you and your family.

FirstBuild has many options that cater for all budgets, section sizes and from 1 to 6 bedrooms. Click here to go to our plans and designs page.

Our plans are versatile and can be rotated and “flipped” to provide the best plan for your section. Items such as where North is on the section play a large part in the overall design. We can orientate the home to make the best use of the sun and to also position the solar panels on your roof to maximise their efficiency.

Step 4 – Concept and Working Drawings

This is the step is where all the planning comes together in your build process.

FirstBuild will arrange for a site survey to get the exact dimension of your building site and define the position of services (water, waste and storm water, electricity and fibre). We will also undertake a Geotech investigation to test the strength of the ground. Depending on the site, we may undertake a planning investigation to ensure that the proposed plan doesn’t infringe any council policies or plans.

Our draftsman put together the first set of plans for your approval. Any changes required can be done at this stage. Once these are approved by you, we put together a full set of drawings for the build agreement and consent process.

FirstBuild House Plans
FirstBuild Building Agreement

Step 5 – Agreement to Build

It’s time to formalise the building process. Once we have the land, the plan and finance organised, we enter into a Build Agreement with you. Under the Building Act there are obligations that the builder has to their client, and these are defined in the agreement. In New Zealand there is a commonly used agreement that most builders use.

We recommend that your lawyer looks over the agreement and that you get professional legal and financial advice.

The agreement includes the drawings and specifications of the home as well as guarantee information and proposed timeframes

Step 6 – Consenting

Buckle Up, it’s consent time.

This is usually the most frustrating time in the building process for our customers as it appears that nothing is happening. You’ve gone through an intensive design and decision making process, organised finance and plans etc, then all the paperwork disappears, and it seems that there’s no progress.

Relax, this is normal.

FirstBuild submits all the required documentation to obtain a consent for your home. Consenting times vary, however we normally allow 8-10 weeks for this process. The FirstBuild team will also be busy behind the scenes answering any council queries and organising things for the next steps.

FirstBuild Consenting
Modular Home Factory
A modular home factory in the US

Step 7 – Construction

Once consent has been issued, we begin construction. This is where the build process takes shape.

Because FirstBuild homes are manufactured in a factory the building time can be very short, depending on the workload. At the same time, we also undertake the siteworks – any earthworks and retaining walls are undertaken and the piles and foundations are laid.

 We keep in regular contact with you, updating you on the progress of your new home.

 FirstBuild uses an integrated online management tool. This manages all our build projects and centralises all your build information and communication between all the people involved in your build. This ensures that everyone is literally on the same page through out the building process.

Step 8 – Completion and Quality Assurance

Throughout the build process we undertake a quality assurance process that assures a high quality product is produced before being taken to site.

Once the home is completed, the council inspect it onsite and issue a Code of Compliance or “CCC”. This states that the home has been completed to the standard stated in the building consent. The final sign off is done by the inspector onsite.

The Code of Compliance normally takes 2-4 weeks to be issued

FirstBuild Quality Assurance
FirstBuild Handover

Step 9 – Keys!

This is the best part!

You get the keys to your new home.

Relax, you’ve made it… Now enjoy!

There is a lot of good information available about the steps to having a successful building process. Consumer have published a good article here. Building Performance also has a good article here as does the government here.

Contact us here and talk to us about how you can build your own FirstBuild home for your and your family