Your home your castle

by Ann van Engelen

The Kiwi dream is to build a new home or renovate an existing dwelling, which has years of history back to its former glory.

If this is you, and it is a major project, it is best to resist the temptation to manage it yourself, especially if you are not experienced. Although it may sound simple and exciting, managing a construction job is complex with many stages to it and should be left to an experienced project manager, or builder who knows council regulations, contract legalities and procedures.

A builder will expect progress payments so before you sign a contract, check expected payment schedules, dispute-resolution processes and disclosure statements. Get your lawyer to double check your contract as this will protect you and the builder you hire from any misunderstandings.

If you have trees that need to be removed, an arborist can do this safely and effectively, eliminating any danger you may encounter if you try to do this yourself. When it comes to choosing items such as whiteware, furnishings, landscaping or interior design requirements, your local suppliers and professionals are a good place to start. Whether it be blinds, fireplaces, electrical needs or carpet, engaging someone from your area often makes things easier if you need anything rectified after or during the build. That helps build rapport, and local businesses often understand what local people need.

When installing or relocating fireplaces within a building there are national wood standards and local council rules which apply. There are rules on what can be burned inside a fire such as no burning of treated timber, as this may result in harmful pollutants being released into the air. It includes timber from building sites, fences or decks as this may be treated. The air quality standards are national regulations and your fireplace supplier or installer can guide you through these. More information can be found on the Ministry for the Environment website mfe.govt.nz/woodburners.

Hot water cylinders are another item with various options. Ask your plumber for suggestions.

Do you want gas, solar, wetback or electric and what size would best suit your circumstances? Getting the correct size and type of product for your needs upfront saves a lot of time and hassle when it comes to hot water requirements and ensuring you don’t run out during those cold winter months. The same goes for lighting.

Talk to your local electrician about their recommendations for internal and external lights, and don’t forget driveway lighting for those night time requirements as well as security options for yourself and your family.

Your home is your castle, and it is your prerogative to have things just the way you want.

Your local professionals are there to help you achieve your dream.