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294 posts

Ultimate Geek


# 254278 5-Aug-2019 09:24
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We're looking to get our first build a little out of Christchurch. So far we're really most impressed with the showhome and general attitude of Whitehouse Builders. They seem to have more attention to detail than some others we've seen, and sound more honest and up front about things like time frame, even if it means they come off not sounding as impressive as some others at first. And they have their own building staff, they don't subcontract, which sounds good.

 

But as with everything, I think it's good for us to seek out reviews. These days it's easy to see reviews of any random cafe or such online, but surprisingly hard when it comes to builders. Probably because they aren't as big as say GJ Gardener, there really isn't much to be found on Google. So I thought I'd post here and ask if anyone has dealt with them and what their experience was like.

 

We have no reason not to trust them, both my wife and I are very impressed with their approach, and if we do go with them we'll post about our experience to help others out there. But especially with such a big commitment, I think seeking reviews never hurts.

 

Or if anyone has any experience with other builders they'd strongly recommend (we're looking around $350k in terms of build price, excluding land, giving ourselves a bit of a buffer for any additional costs) or are a builder themselves and have questions we should be asking, any advice is much appreciated.

 

Thanks!


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  # 2290049 5-Aug-2019 10:22
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How much in sqm are you looking to build with $350k budget?





Do whatever you want to do man.

  



294 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 2290094 5-Aug-2019 10:34
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Thanks, it's about 165 sqm on a 600 sqm plot ($165k).

 

This is what we'd start with, which is the plan of the show home we saw:

 

Click to see full size

 

Which is roughly $320k and we'd make a few changes (getting pricing on all our ideas first of course). Including the land, that's $65k under the max we'd lend, with some of that going to the changes, fencing, landscaping (we'd want minimum landscaping but do require some for the subdivision standards) etc. Our primary upgrades will go on ensuring the house is warm.


 
 
 
 


neb

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  # 2290157 5-Aug-2019 13:12
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LostBoyNZ:

Thanks, it's about 165 sqm on a 600 sqm plot ($165k).

 

This is what we'd start with, which is the plan of the show home we saw:

 

 

If you're allowed to make alterations I'd go for swapping the layout of the master bedroom to have the ensuite + WIR next to the lounge, for two reasons. Firstly, you (presumably) want a sunny bedroom, and you're wasting an entire wall of the house with the WIR and ensuite, you bury those internally somewhere because they don't need much, if any, light. Secondly, you want the additional barrier between the bed and the main living area, if there's any activity in there (looking at the layout, that wall is where a TV is going to end up) and someone's in the bedroom trying to sleep you don't want the bed up against the common wall. Having the ensuite+WIR there will provide extra sound deadening.

 

 

Also, the kitchen design is terrible, it looks like they've got a fridge right in the narrow entrance passage, the fridge is one of the most frequently-accessed things in a kitchen and where it's located it blocks access to every part of the kitchen when someone's getting something from it, you'll be perpetually waiting for someone to get out of the way in order to get into/out of the kitchen or pantry.

 

 

Finally, those bedrooms look pretty small, more like a 1970s house. If you've got the space for it, lay out one of them with scrap timber or something and see how easy it is to move around in them. It looks like you'll be sidling around the beds all the time, and there's little if any room to place a dresser or chair or similar in there.

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Master Geek


  # 2290172 5-Aug-2019 13:52
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Don't have any experience with these people personally.

 

However have recently built with Online Design and Build (South Christchurch branch) and found them excellent. I've been in for a few months now and their quality control was very good - the extent of the defects I've found are two small blemishes in the paint which won't be hard to patch up. Everything happened when they said it would with no cost overruns. They're also happy to customise floor plans and specifications etc. All up for a 160m2 house it was in the region of $320k (which included some optional extras, excludes land obviously). So I'd happily recommend that you have a look at them if you are in their catchment and want an alternative option. 

 

 




294 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 2290182 5-Aug-2019 14:08
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neb:
LostBoyNZ:

 

Thanks, it's about 165 sqm on a 600 sqm plot ($165k).

 

This is what we'd start with, which is the plan of the show home we saw:

 

If you're allowed to make alterations I'd go for swapping the layout of the master bedroom to have the ensuite + WIR next to the lounge, for two reasons. Firstly, you (presumably) want a sunny bedroom, and you're wasting an entire wall of the house with the WIR and ensuite, you bury those internally somewhere because they don't need much, if any, light. Secondly, you want the additional barrier between the bed and the main living area, if there's any activity in there (looking at the layout, that wall is where a TV is going to end up) and someone's in the bedroom trying to sleep you don't want the bed up against the common wall. Having the ensuite+WIR there will provide extra sound deadening. Also, the kitchen design is terrible, it looks like they've got a fridge right in the narrow entrance passage, the fridge is one of the most frequently-accessed things in a kitchen and where it's located it blocks access to every part of the kitchen when someone's getting something from it, you'll be perpetually waiting for someone to get out of the way in order to get into/out of the kitchen or pantry. Finally, those bedrooms look pretty small, more like a 1970s house. If you've got the space for it, lay out one of them with scrap timber or something and see how easy it is to move around in them. It looks like you'll be sidling around the beds all the time, and there's little if any room to place a dresser or chair or similar in there.

 

Thanks!

 

Sun wise on the lot we're looking at, the Bedroom 3 / Kitchen / Living & Dining would be facing North, then Bedroom 1 would get it in the later day. Bedroom 2 / Bathroom wouldn't get sun as they're facing the South side.

 

But still swapping the Ensuite / WIR to be next to the lounge sounds good for reducing sound. I guess they have them that way around because of the hallway above Bedroom 2 leading to Bedroom 1, but yeah it'd be good if we can swap those around.

 

One of the bedrooms will be an office, and another we're thinking of extending to be a media room (or larger master bedroom for future owners of the house if they prefer).

 

Good idea regarding the bedroom size, we'll mark it out on the ground and see how it feels considering there's a bed etc in there. I'll have a chat about the fridge location too.

 

 

 

 




294 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 2290183 5-Aug-2019 14:09
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Kim587:

 

Don't have any experience with these people personally.

 

However have recently built with Online Design and Build (South Christchurch branch) and found them excellent. I've been in for a few months now and their quality control was very good - the extent of the defects I've found are two small blemishes in the paint which won't be hard to patch up. Everything happened when they said it would with no cost overruns. They're also happy to customise floor plans and specifications etc. All up for a 160m2 house it was in the region of $320k (which included some optional extras, excludes land obviously). So I'd happily recommend that you have a look at them if you are in their catchment and want an alternative option. 

 

 

Thanks for the recommendation, that's great feedback to have on them and we'll check them out too yep :)


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Ultimate Geek

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  # 2290209 5-Aug-2019 15:02
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As its one of there standard plans have they built one recently that you could look at talk to the owners

 

Good Luck

 

 


 
 
 
 


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Master Geek


  # 2290239 5-Aug-2019 15:39
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I'd suggest looking at things like locations of doors and windows too. Like for me personally the two most obvious places to put a TV have windows in them, and the third possible location is opposite a door which could be annoying if you want a sofa there. But you might have very different thoughts about that than me. 

 

You could also think about whether you'd prefer the door from the garage to go into the entrance-way. That would mean you could have one alarm keypad in the entrance and be able to get to it without going outside or through one of the alarm zones.

 

For the kitchen you could probably just bump the fridge down to the other end of that bench. You might also find that the kitchen drawing is just a placeholder and they send you to a kitchen company to design the real thing which could be totally different from what is drawn. Some building companies do it that way - that would be quite a good question to ask them. 


429 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 2290344 5-Aug-2019 16:21
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Ask Whitehouse for owner references




BlinkyBill



294 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 2290587 5-Aug-2019 22:29
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Thanks, good thinking to talk to owners / ask for owner references, we will do.

 

No I'm agreed on the TV placement too, I imagine it's built for putting the TV in the corner (not ideal for surround sound) and we currently have our TV in a corner here. But I'm looking forward to having a much better setup.

 

Ah I believe that's correct yes about the kitchen, in that we set the layout when we talk to the kitchen people. We'll be sure to consider where the fridge goes too. And even though we won't have a dish washer, it sounds like it's good to have an area where it would fit perfectly into, and we'd have a cupboard there in the meantime or something.

 

Good question about the garage door, and entry way too, we're jotting all these down as things to consider.

 

We're also making a list of what we want in the house in terms of must have, should have, nice to have etc.


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  # 2290589 5-Aug-2019 22:38
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I can highly recommend a couple of things related to thinking about a new build: 

 

An extra .5 to 1m of width in a garage makes a massive difference.

 

You can't have too much storage. Seriously.

 

 


neb

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  # 2290590 5-Aug-2019 22:38
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LostBoyNZ:

Thanks, good thinking to talk to owners / ask for owner references, we will do.

 

 

You don't even necessarily need to talk to owners of that particular house, just people who have owned/lived in a few houses over the years, to weed out potential issues with the plan. For example I've never lived in a house built by Whitehouse but I have lived in one where the fridge was placed at the entrance to the kitchen, coincidentally right next to the convenience table where you put your keys, mail, notes, phone, etc, which meant that access to the area was semi-permanently blocked by someone standing in the way while using one of those two locations.

 

 

Another thing, which I found out the hard way from my current house, never, ever, ever buy a place with no eaves. If I ever find out which 1970s architect decided that was a good idea... testiculos... sobre un fuego grande...

neb

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  # 2290591 5-Aug-2019 22:40
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networkn:

I can highly recommend a couple of things related to thinking about a new build: 

 

An extra .5 to 1m of width in a garage makes a massive difference.

 

You can't have too much storage. Seriously.

 

 

+1. Another thing, you mentioned that future owners might want to combine rooms or something similar, in that case make the walls that might be expected to be moved in the future non-load-bearing.

Baby Get Shaky!
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  # 2290642 6-Aug-2019 04:42
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networkn:

 

I can highly recommend a couple of things related to thinking about a new build: 

 

An extra .5 to 1m of width in a garage makes a massive difference.

 

You can't have too much storage. Seriously.

 

 

Another +1 for this. No experience either with Whitehouse sorry, curious which side of out of chch, to the west or the north?

 

If you keep the master layout as is than put in extra sound insulation on the joining wall with the lounge. Our house (6 years old) has the master backing onto the lounge and you can hear everything... great as a shift worker with little ones. There's an interesting thread on the NZ reddit from yesterday about one persons experience with building a house over the last year in Tauranga - interesting read, highlights a few issues that were unexpected which you wouldn't really consider, worth a read.

 

Keep us posted on how you get on, would be interested to hear about your experiences.


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Master Geek


  # 2290681 6-Aug-2019 08:11
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You might find it is a false economy not having a dishwasher. Newer ones are often more energy efficient than hand washing (as counter-intuitive as that sounds) and you'll never get one cheaper than buying it through your builder with their access to trade prices - it would probably cost the same as building a cupboard anyway. With that butler's pantry you will have plenty of kitchen storage. It is a good idea to pick your appliances before finalising the kitchen so they can make sure everything fits. Ask they builder who they get their appliances from (often it is Kitchen Things or Harvey Norman) and then you can go and have a browse. Also check the rangehood they quote you - I know plenty of people who wish they had paid a bit extra to get a quieter one. 

 

Is attic storage space included in their quote? It is quite an easy thing to add in and gives loads of storage. 

 

I'd also suggest you count up roughly how many power sockets/lights/data points you think you will want and make sure that many are listed in the tender when you get to that stage (some companies will quote you for the bare minimum, like two plugs per room and three data points for the whole house). The sparky will happily install more for you when they do the electrical plan with you but it's best to allow for it at the start before they can charge a margin for variations. 

 

For warmth you will find beefing up your pink batts doesn't cost very much. But then you will want to consider things like slab perimeter insulation, and thermally broken/low-e windows and they cost a bit more. 

 

 


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