Time spent planning, researching, looking at materials, ideas, designs & designers will save you time and money later. It’s better to take longer here so you Build It Right than to rush and regret it.

This guide is designed to be a useful working tool for you, the homeowner, as you go through your building project. We’ve split the website up so that you can think through each item as it comes up and even work ahead so that you’re anticipating each step and are prepared for it when it comes.

The First Planning Steps in Building and Renovating

Undertaking a building project is a challenging time and can be immensely enjoyable or thoroughly frustrating.

  • We hope this guide will help you avoid many of the problems that can crop up and that we help your project be a source of pride for you on an ongoing basis.
  • Be prepared for large draw on your time and, of course, your budget.
  • Be prepared for major frustrations and stress.

Make sure your work colleagues know that you’re about to go through this – you will need understanding from your managers because of the time demands on you – be prepared to be called on to site to make instantaneous planning decisions about things.

Remember – this is not designed to be a replacement for a project manager and it is especially not a replacement for building inspections – these are a stipulation of the Building Act.

Rather, this site is a resource with features to help you keep track of your project, stimulate ideas and to remind you of things to look out for. For an alternative take on the processes, the Ministry for the Environment website has a valuable guide to the RMA – how it works, what you need to do for your project here…

Prepare for Your Project to Take More Time Than You Expect

Chances are your project will take longer than your builder estimates and much longer than you think. Prepare for delays, frustrations and minor irritations. Hopefully, that’s all you’ll have, and if you are planning well, these will be minimised.

  • The length of the project will be affected by availability of the builder and sub-contractors. Also, weather and sometimes availability of materials specified can cause delays.
  • Understand and accept that this will happen and you will reduce stress levels in all parties, however, regular followups and meetings with builders and sub-contractors can ensure work progresses as quickly as possible and problems can be identified early on.
  • A good relationship with your builder can be the difference between work going smoothly or otherwise. Ensure lines of communication are regular, clear and courteous. Know your rights.
  • Disputes can be dealt with through discussion first, arbitration and mediation second, legally as a tragic fallback position.

This guide will help you understand the steps and requirements of your new build or renovation project (and there’s a lot!), to stimulate ideas (check out our Design Guide site here) and to remind you of things to look out for.

But think about what it is you’re setting out to create…

From the Building Guide Team