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How to build a house from the deck of cruise ship

The Sentinel App gave Kevan and Michelle visibility and full control from their European holiday

When you think about building a house, fun and stress-free are almost certainly not the words that spring to mind.

We know that for many people, the excitement of a new home build comes with a few not-so-exciting things: delays, nasty surprises and compromises.

Kevan and Michelle Stewart were worried that might be the case when they agreed to build their new home with us in the Waikato in 2017. They were already booked on an important trip – one that couldn’t be rescheduled. They were attending the memorial service that would mark 100 years since the Battle of Passchendaele. Clearly, Kevan and Michelle had to go, but it meant they wouldn’t be in New Zealand for much of the build.

As Kevan says, “When we left NZ on 31st August 2017, building consent had only been approved a few days earlier, and earthworks had not yet started.”

But they had a secret weapon. Our nifty little mobile app meant they’d be connected to their new home build, whether strolling along the Champs-Élysées, cruising in Croatia, or waiting for their boarding call. Day or night, they could access all the information about their build, from the plans and build materials to paint colours. It also let them keep track of progress, approve any variations, and keep in touch with their project manager.

Kevan and Michelle say the app made all the difference in the world.

“Each morning when we woke up, we could go in and check the latest uploaded photos of the work on site, and see the various milestones being ticked off.”

The app also gave them fantastic oversight, allowing them to make decisions and communicate with their project manager. They say it was as good as being on site (and maybe better, because they didn’t have to sign the hazard register or get their shoes muddy).

“We could also post messages backwards and forwards with our project manager, and keep track of the scheduled progress payments.”

Michelle and Kevan say they are “really happy” with how transparent it made the process, and feel like their home build made for an excellent homecoming gift – not the stressful nightmare it could have been.

“By the time we got back to NZ after eight weeks in Europe, the house was nearly completely closed in, the windows were in and the bricks were going on!”

Read more about The Sentinel Homes App here.

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