Choosing a trusty home builder can be tricky and ideally you should choose your builder just as carefully as you choose the options for your dream home. It’s important to hire a reputable company, who while initially may come at a higher investment, will ultimately build you a better quality home and save you stress down the track.

To see our full version of how to choose the right builder, download a free copy of our ‘Comparing Oranges with Oranges’ which outlines the differences between home builders and what they offer.

How to choose a builder

How do you select the person who is going to transform your new home dreams into your new home reality? We have sought out the best advice from those in the know to bring you a list of tips, tricks - and your legal rights and responsibilities.

1. Seek them out

Ask friends, family and colleagues if they have used any good (or bad) builders they would recommend.

Or even consult community groups and forums like Facebook or Neighbourly to see if anyone is making recommendations on there.

2. Check them out

Use these same resources, as well as the building business’ website and social media accounts, to see what type of feedback, testimonials and previous work they have completed.

Go and visit their company’s show homes, or the homes of previous clients - the results are what count, and the best litmus test of a builder’s expertise.

3. Test them out

Once you have whittled down a shortlist, approach them each for quotes. Compare the estimates are for the same level of service, for example - building hours, the number of staff they will have on site, the level of specifications and building materials being used.

4. Question them

Don’t be shy to query the reasoning behind their quotes. Why is their price so much lower or higher than others? What will you be getting for the extra cost (or missing out on).

Also, don’t forget to question their credentials. Are they a Registered Master Builder? A member of the New Zealand Institute of Building? The Building Industry Federation? The Certified Builders Association of New Zealand?

You can check the government’s register of Licensed Building Practitioners here.

5. Iron those guarantees and contracts out

What will happen is defects arise in the first year of completion? Ask your builder options for their guarantees and negotiate for any terms which may apply to your project over and above the norm.


In New Zealand, everyone who builds under a contract has protection for defects found within one year of the build’s completion if you notify your builder in writing. When this happens, it is up to the contractor to prove they are not responsible for the defect.

Kiwis are also protected by “implied warranties”, automatic guarantees for every residential building project. Nobody can contract out of them and future owners may also be able to use them. BUT, unlike the one year defect period in this case it is up to the property owner to prove the work is defective


The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, which oversees the building industry, has a detailed guide of the rules here.

These state for any building work over $30,000 a formal contract is required to determine agreed costs, payment schedule, time frames and project deliveries.

They also have a list of contracts to choose from here.

6. Understand the roles

Knowing who's taking care of the building process can help things run smoothly and ensure everyone understands their role in getting your home completed. If you build with independents, you may put your builder or architect in charge, or you may decide to manage the build yourself.

When determining this, it's always good to consider how much time and experience is needed to effectively manage the project, as if it's not done well, it can negatively impact your timeline and budgets.

At Orange Homes, we project manage the entire process, from design to completion, which saves our customers stress and time, and helps protect their budgets from overruns.

7. Know your rights

Keep this link handy, it has a great breakdown of all the things you need to know - and are required to do by law, as well as offering support and advice in case things do go wrong.


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