Build with confidence: what to know when building your dream home

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17 March 2024

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5 min read

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From balancing budgets and cost fluctuations to overcoming unexpected obstacles, working with the right team is crucial to a project’s success.

With over three decades of experience at the helm of DJ Hewitt Builders, award-winning master builder Daryl Hewitt has helped countless homeowners craft their dream homes. 

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Teamwork, clear communication and budget clarity are all key in a project's success.
Teamwork, clear communication and budget clarity are all key in a project's success.

Working with an experienced team to limit challenges in the build journey

For many, building a home is the most expensive investment they will make. Often a once in a lifetime experience – bringing with it plenty of obstacles – it’s important to engage the right team of professionals to ensure your investment is protected.

Every new build project comes with unexpected challenges. But with clear communication and an experienced team, it’s possible to reduce the risks. 

“Hidden costs often arise when we start excavation – you might hit rock, soft ground, or the remains of a previous build,” says Hewitt.

To minimise the chance of this, DJ Hewitt provides geotechnical reports on every site before work commences.

“We mitigate as much as possible, but it all comes down to working with a good engineer who understands the budget. We always recommend people allow a little bit of a buffer in the budget to solve any issues with ground conditions because you don’t really know until you’re digging the hole.”

Renovations need to also be approached with caution as you don’t always have a clear understanding of the structure’s history.

“You have to go in with a bit of an open mind because you’re going to get some surprises coming up. We’re solution-based, so when we find issues with alterations, we aim to find a cost-effective solution to sort it out.”

“Hidden costs often arise when we start excavation – you might hit rock, soft ground, or the remains of a previous build,” says Hewitt.
“Hidden costs often arise when we start excavation – you might hit rock, soft ground, or the remains of a previous build,” says Hewitt.

Budget-conscious building

Along with an open mind, clear communication – including budget clarity – is key to every project’s success, and bringing a builder on board at the beginning is important to achieve this and ensure the build runs smoothly. 

“It’s important to get a builder involved to do budgets early – you don’t want to spend all your money getting all the plans done, and then find out it’s going to be more expensive than what you had expected,” says Hewitt.  

“When a client starts their project with us, we can help them with things like choosing a section and doing due diligence on that section to make sure that it’s going to be in their budget. Once they have the budget sorted, that build should be enjoyable and easy.”

With all projects, the earlier professionals can be engaged, the better. However, Hewitt urges the importance of being realistic about what you can afford and will help his clients by suggesting the right architect or designer suited to their needs.

“We have a substantial network of different people who specialise in certain types of projects,” says Hewitt. “Some are great at renovations, while others specialise in thermally efficient homes. I try to match a client to a designer or architect depending on what the wishlist is, and what their budget is.”

Hewitt urges the importance of being realistic about what you can afford, and communicating this will your build and design team from the outset.
Hewitt urges the importance of being realistic about what you can afford, and communicating this will your build and design team from the outset.
DJ Hewitt Builders works with a network of architects and designers to help their clients create the right home for them.
DJ Hewitt Builders works with a network of architects and designers to help their clients create the right home for them.
“People often have reservations about discussing their budget, but clear communication is vital when working as a team,” says Hewitt.
“People often have reservations about discussing their budget, but clear communication is vital when working as a team,” says Hewitt.

Establishing a budget will not only benefit the client-builder relationship but also the relationship with the architect. 

“People often have reservations about discussing their budget, but clear communication is vital when working as a team. That open relationship is crucial, so we’re always at the meetings with the client and the designer, or the client and the engineer, to make sure everyone is on the same page with where the project is going,” says Hewitt.

“A designer might have a great idea, but it could end up adding a lot of money to the build – one line drawn on a plan could cost $15,000, which might not fit the budget. So, we can pipe up at the meeting and try to guide them along the way.”

Daryl Hewitt has over three decades' experience in building homes in New Zealand.
Daryl Hewitt has over three decades' experience in building homes in New Zealand.

A good relationship between you and your build team will ensure the success of your project, and allow you to enjoy the experience of bringing your dream home to life. 

“Building is a long process, from the documentation to the end of the build, so you need to be able to get on with your builder or designer, be on the same page, relate well together and trust each other,” says Hewitt. 

“For us, it’s all about making the client’s dollar go a long way, achieving amazing architecture and building a house that’s going to perform well.”

If you’re looking for a builder to help you get started on your renovation or new build project, get in touch with DJ Hewitt Builders.