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Good builds take time

Time involved with planning and building a Sentinel home

You’ve finally managed to save a deposit for a new home – a new build even!  You’re chomping at the bit to get started, but whether this is your first home or your fifth, the thing to remember is like Rome, your home won’t be built in a day.

In a perfect world, you should expect a new build with us to take approximately one year from the day you sign the contract and pay your deposit, to when you move in. But there’s also time involved with planning before any contract is signed – and this can take anywhere between a few weeks, to a couple of months.

Let’s look at our build process and how long you can expect each stage to take:

The meet and greet: getting to know you

You might spend time researching our previous work online or speaking to homeowners who’ve worked with us before – this stage can take as long as you need it too. Once you’ve decided you’d like to take things further we’ll be ready to kick things off. Depending on how quickly you’re able to work with us (maybe give the kids away for a week or two!), things like a site visit, taking photos, reviewing GIS, site checks, client ideas and existing plans can take a matter of days or months.

Contract Price: allow 2-5 working days

Once we’ve had a chat about the vision you have for your home, and we’ve conducted a site check, we can provide a contract price within 2-5 working days. This estimate gives you a rough guide of what you can expect to pay for the home you want – full marble anyone?! It’s almost always close to what you’ll end up paying for the build unless you completely change your mind (your prerogative).

Design: 30 working days

If our contract price fits your budget, you’re ready to take the next step (which requires a bit of financial commitment). At this point, most people will then meet with our architectural designer to design their home. They’ll work through initial drafts, changes and iterations and be involved at all meetings. We’ll refine the design until the client’s completely happy with it. We also organise a detailed survey of the land. Once this survey and the house plans are ready, our quantity surveyor will ensure all relevant data has been captured and they’ll price the design – right down to how much your dream kitchen sink will cost to buy and install.

Formal estimate/contract price: 14 working days

We’ll present you with our first draft specification and pricing. This is one of the most detailed parts of the process – it’s here we ensure you understand every single word on the specification. At this point, most people like to visit our show homes again along with a supplier or two to double check what’s on offer and see the products for themselves – we’ll adjust our specification and pricing based on any feedback.

Signed, sealed, delivered

Review and sign documents, pay deposit: 3 working days

If any adjustments were required to our formal estimate/contract price, you’ll receive updated specification and pricing until you’re 100% happy with things. We’ll present a Master Builders Contract, which you’ll need to send to your lawyer. Once all the paperwork is signed, and your deposit paid, we’ll almost be ready to start building.

Preconstruction: 50-70 working days

At this stage, the project is officially handed over to our pre-construction team. This team load your project into our Sentinel App so you have full visibility of the process. They also complete full working drawings, including all engineering required as part of the preparation of your council consent application.

50 working days for pre-construction is fairly standard unless you need specialised reports or if you change your mind on something. Note – this is your last chance to easily make changes – once we submit everything to council, any changes become time consuming and pricey .

Council approvals: out of our hands

The great unknown of the whole process is the council. This is something we don’t have any control over – no-one does. In Auckland and Wellington, consents are supposed to be granted within 30 working days (but have been known to take six months!). If you live regionally, consents should be granted within 20 working days. But not to worry – it’s our job to make sure your project stays on track and that includes liaising with (read: chasing up) the council.

Pre-construction meetings: 10 working days

It’s the final countdown! This is where we do a final review of all the plans before the construction crew are allowed on site. Everything’s a-go, you’re only 10 days away from breaking earth.

Construction: 6-8 months (if the council plays ball!)

Shut the front door (almost) – construction has started! Construction on a single storey home will take something like six to eight months from slab down, whereas double storey will take more like eight to ten. A more complex build or architectural design will add time, but your build team are in the best position to give you an accurate time estimate for any job.

What causes slowdowns?

We work hard to manage each stage so that things keep rolling along. It’s why we can say that, generally speaking, one year to build a new home is a fair and reasonable expectation. But (and don’t tell anyone) we’re not magic. There are some things that we simple can’t control – and these are the things that mean your build could take longer than expected:
• The council – they’ll need to check in on the build throughout the process, and work will have to stop until we get the ok at each stage. Most of the time, this doesn’t cause a problem, but with councils, you just never know!
• The biggest unknown is the weather. As much as builders love to build things, it isn’t nearly as fun (or safe) in the rain. So, depending on what time of year you build will impact how long it takes to get at least the foundations up.
• What’s under the ground. We do as much planning as we can to understand what’s going to be underneath the dirt, but it’s impossible to be sure. Big rocks, mounds of rubbish or even things that need to be carefully excavated: all these things can add days – or months – to a build.
• The client – changing your mind is your right, but it will hold things up. You can help keep timings on track by thinking carefully at every decision-making stage, so you’re less likely to make amends later. You can also spend time picking out new furniture or designing the kids’ bedroom, while we’re building, so you can move in on the day we hand you the keys.

Measure twice, cut once

That old building saying works for every part of the process. Don’t be tempted to rush the planning stages just to speed up the process. We’ve always found the construction stage to be easier, faster and more cost-effective when you put time into getting things right the first time.

Let’s be honest, we want your new home build finished on time too – delays impact us financially and mean other projects might be put back too. But – and this is a big but – quality will always come first. We won’t rush to meet a deadline if it means cutting corners. That’s because a couple of years down the track, when you’re relaxing in your beautiful home, you’ll hardly remember that you were two weeks late getting in.

Want to know more about our build process and the time involved? Give us a call on 0800 456 321 for a consultation.

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