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The success of any project often comes down to the level of collaboration and the working relationships between client, builder and architect. 

Metzger Builders Ltd (MBL), a National House of the Year Supreme winner.

Finding the right builder

The success of a project often comes down to the partnership between you and your builder. Speak with
several builders to find one you feel comfortable with and can trust. Look for builders who have experience in projects like yours, and don’t hesitate to talk with past clients about their experience with the builder.

Consider working with a builder who is backed by a trusted brand like Master Builders, who are known for
building quality homes and buildings that last.

Choosing a Registered Master Builder means they are backed by a trusted organisation and can offer a Master Build 10-Year Guarantee, which needs to be applied for and accepted before work starts. The guarantee provides the most comprehensive cover available on the market, including loss of deposit and non-completion. It is one of the only products to provide cover if your builder goes into liquidation.

Master Builders are held to a high standard. To become a member, they must comply with a number of checks, including a review of their financials, build quality, and customer service. Typically less than half of those who apply are accepted to be Master Builders. 

Metzger Builders Ltd (MBL), a National House of the Year Supreme winner..

Key discussions to have 

Don’t be afraid to be upfront and discuss any potential issues and challenges that might arise. Communication really is the key to success.

Involve the entire project team

Make sure everyone – from your builder, architect and interior designer or landscape designer – is on the same page from the beginning. Agree on timelines and inspection stages and discuss potential challenges and how any variations will be managed. Be upfront about your budget and explore cost-saving options. 

Manage price escalations

Talk with your builder about your budget and ensure the project plan has contingency for price escalation. Your builder can provide guidance on product and process alternatives that may help reduce costs if needed. While less common, it is important to be wary of fixed price contracts in the current environment with price fluctuations. 

Contracts and other documentation 

Discuss all important documents, including your contract, with your builder to get a good understanding of the scope of work, timelines, and payment schedules.

If you choose a Master Builder, they have access to a building contract that provides fair and balanced risk allocation. It outlines how much you should pay in your deposit and provides a comprehensive payment schedule based on completed milestones. 

Understanding defects and tolerances 

It’s a good idea to talk with your builder about your expectations for workmanship and finishing. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) sets the benchmark for tolerance levels for building workmanship, which covers aesthetic issues rather than non-compliance with the Building Code. If you want a different finish, discuss this upfront with your builder as there may be cost implications.

J A Bell Building, a National House of the Year winner.

For more tips about managing successful new build or renovation projects, visit

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