Want Answers? Here Are The Answers To Almost 40 Questions


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Q
Why Should I Work With Smartway Builders?
A

We are a professional business with qualified builders who know and understand the building standards, building code, can read plans and who follow the rules.  We are your building partner of choice who you can trust and be comfortable with as we walk with you through the entire project.  From initial ideas and designs, through to managing the end to end project with all the various sub trades, right through to getting the code of compliance for you.

Q
Are Your Builders Qualified?
A

We have a good size team of people ranging from fully trade qualified, Licensed Building Practitioners (LBP’s), through to apprentices.  The builders are all hand-picked, they know what they are doing, provide quality workmanship, and know how to deliver what you need.  They are all good people, people you can trust and rely on. And you will feel comfortable having them in your home.

Q
What Type Of Building Work Do You Do?
A

We cover all areas of your building project, including:

• Design and architectural drawings
• Building and resource consent
• Renovations
• Additions and alterations
• New builds
• Landscaping, fences, paths and driveways
• Retaining and structural work
• Garages and carports
• Exterior cladding, windows, foundations, walls and roofing etc.

Q
Can You Help Me Through The Building Process?  It Seems Very Complicated.
A

If you have a budget in mind, then it’s important to engage your builder early in the process, especially if the work you want to do might need an architect/draughtsperson and council consents.  We help you work through your ideas and sit alongside you with the architect/draughtsperson to make sure that you understand that what is being drawn up fits in your budget and is designed in a cost effective and practical way from a building perspective.  Once that is agreed then the architect/draughtsperson will draw up the detailed plans and necessary documentation for council, check them with both you and us, and then submit them to council for approval and sign-off.  Then we help manage the entire build process from start to finish.

Q
When Can You Come And See Us To Talk About Our Building Project?
A

To maximise our efficiency we organise our initial client visits for specific days of the week.  We try to be as flexible as possible for our clients, so we can meet you during normal business hours, or sometimes in the evening or on a Saturday.  It depends on what time slots are available.  We also ask for some information from you prior to our meeting, in the form of a Building Questionnaire.

Q
Do We Need To Do Anything Before You Start The Actual Building Work?
A

Once we have the plans and consents sorted, we can start the building work, and we agree what you need to do before we start.  It really depends on the project, what type it is and what areas of your home it affects.  You may need to move out of the house completely, or vacate some rooms or clear some outside space.  And if you want, we can handle everything, including moving and storage of various items on your behalf.

Q
What Areas Of Wellington Do You Cover?
A

We are happy to perform building work for you anywhere in the greater Wellington area from the Kapiti Coast to the South Coast through to Upper Hutt. We’ll also look at larger projects in the Wairarapa.

Q
How Do You Ensure That I’ll Get A Quality Building Job?
A

Quality is what we deliver. We take pride in our workmanship and in the quality and expertise of our builders and sub-trades. Not only does the work have to pass all the engineer and council inspections it also has to pass our internal Quality Control processes as well.

Q
Who Will Keep Me Informed Of Progress During The Renovation Work?
A

Your day-to-day contacts will primarily be the onsite lead builder. His job is to handle your questions and queries, organise things so the building work flows well and make sure that the Health and Safety and Quality Controls processes are followed. In addition we are always available if needed. Between us we make sure that you are kept informed of what’s happening. We have communication systems and processes and offer a full range of on-site meetings, telephone and text communication, plus email. It’s a wired world and we like to stay in touch, even if you are on the other side of the world.

Q
How Easy Is It To Get Hold Of Your Builders If I Need To?
A

You will have direct access during the day to the onsite building team.

Q
Can I Go Into The Renovation And Building Area During Construction?
A

Yes you can, but only if we accompany you as we have to stick to all the Health and Safety regulations and it is a Construction Zone. So there are lots of potential hazards you need to be aware of and precautions you need to take. It’s all about keeping you safe.

Q
What Is A Licensed Building Practitioner Or LBP?
A

A Licensed Building Practitioner (LBP) is a tradesperson you can trust to know how to “build it right”.  LBPs have been independently assessed under a New Zealand Government authorisation process, as being fully competent to carry out the building works.

Q
Why Do I Need A Licensed Building Practitioner Or LBP?
A

If you’re thinking of getting building or renovation work done on your house or apartment, you need to check if it’s ‘Restricted Building Work’. If it is, you’ll need a Licensed Building Practitioner – or LBP – to do it.  Restricted building work involves changes to the building’s structure, weather tightness, and/or fire safety systems. Because this work is such an important part of your home, it’s only allowed to be carried out by Licensed Building Practitioners (LBPs). Not only are LBPs assessed before getting licensed, they also have to maintain their skills and qualifications each year, and stay up to date with changes, to keep their license.  Restricted building work, and the requirement to use LBPs to do it, was brought in on 1 March 2012 (through changes to the Building Act 2004). We have 5 Licensed Building Practitioners at the moment, available to carry out these specialised components.

Q
Do You Have References, Testimonials Or Endorsements Of Your Building Work?
A

Yes we do, but not for every piece of work. Sometimes our clients simply don’t want to advertise that they have had their house re-modelled so we don’t show their photos publicly, or share their names and addresses. Many though are happy to provide testimonials, some of which you can see on our website.

Q
Do You Do Landscaping Or Just Renovation and Building Work?
A

We cover the full range of internal and external work as part of our building projects. We are happy to include the hard and soft landscaping, pergolas, patios, decks, paths, retaining, fences etc. as part of the overall building work.

Q
Why Are You Different From Other Builders?
A

There are many, many points that make us unique in the building industry. For example, we make a point of providing you with a detailed proposal that includes all the components potentially needed to complete the entire project.  This approach then limits the need for variations and surprises by things not being included up front.
We also have quality control systems, communication plans and building controls that help ensure we deliver on time and on budget.

Q
Isn’t The Building Industry Full Of “Cowboys”?
A

Some builders, unfortunately, take your money, perform the additions and alterations (if you are lucky!) and then you find that it starts falling apart on day one, and they stop returning  phone calls.  A responsible builder understands that he or she has a reputation to protect, delivers quality, that live up to the promises, and remains available should issues arise.That’s what we do. You can rely on us to complete the work correctly and stay available to you. And our 21-point Guarantee helps keep you safe, and sets us apart from the “cowboys”.

Q
What If I Have A Number Of Building and Renovation Projects I Want To Do Over A Period Of Time?
A

Not a problem, we have a number of clients where we have 1, 2, 5 years plans to work with them to achieve the home they want.  We focus on long term relationships with our clients, not quick fixes.

Q
How Much Will My Renovation Or Building Work Cost?
A

A very good question. The cost depends on a number of factors including the nature of the work, access, building regulations and council requirements, timing, sub-trades etc. and   every job is different. We are happy to come and meet with you at your property at a time that is convenient to us both to discuss your building project and its likely costs.

Q
Shouldn’t I Just Go For The Cheapest Building Quote?
A

The absolute number one, most important factor in maximising the value of your renovations, additions or alterations around your home is not the changes you make, or the cost of them but rather who completes it all for you. Cheap means exactly that and in the building industry you definitely get what you pay for. Quality work performed by qualified builders does cost more, but it comes with the “peace of mind” of knowing the job’s been done right.

Q
How Long Will The Building Work Take?
A

Again, this depends on the nature of the work, however we will always focus on completing the work as quickly as possible, while producing a quality end result for you. We can talk about the timing of your particular project when we come and see you.

Q
What Is A “Provisional Cost (PC) Sum” In A Renovation, Addition or Building Quote?
A

Often a building project will have PC Sums included in it. These are estimated costs only at the contract stage and can be subject to change, depending on your choices and/or other matters.For example we might include a PC Sum of $3,000 for electrical work, or $1,500 for a new shower, or $2,500 for tiling in our agreement. How much you end up paying depends on what the actual cost is, which can depend on how many lights you want and what type, or which particular shower you choose, or whether you want imported Italian tiles or less expensive ones. So we initially only include a Provisional Cost in the calculations, and make sure that you understand what that means.

Q
What Happens If I Want To Make Changes During The Renovation Or Building Process”?
A

It is possible to make changes to design, layout etc. at any point even after plans have been submitted to council and/or consent has been issued and/or if work has been started, however there are potentially extra costs associated for the administration, calculation, design, pricing, council and build costs.
It is much better to spend some extra time at the beginning of the process to get the design right so it doesn’t need to change.

Q
Do We Have To Move Out While The Building Work Takes Place?
A

We are more than happy to work with you as to a plan and the best approach to make the project accommodate your needs. Some of our clients move out and others live in while the building work takes place. Whilst it’s certainly easier to complete the works in an empty house in both cases we try to minimize the disruption to your household.
Living in a Construction Zone however does have implications on you and your family, and on the build costs.

Q
I Have Young Children At Home.  Will They Be Safe During The Building Process?
A

We work hard to ensure we have a clean and safe working site for everyone including you, your family, our builders and other visitors to the site.  We will inform you of the hazards that you need to be aware of, take the necessary safety precautions and even clean up at the end of each day to ensure it is safe to have the children around.
We have Health and Safety systems we proactively follow to help minimise any potential issues.

Q
What If The Job Needs An Engineer Or Architect As Well As A Builder?
A

We will arrange the appropriate resources that will be needed to ensure you project is completed to meet the standards and rules. You don’t need to find these skilled specialists because we already have them available.

Q
Who Manages All The Subbies Like Plumbers, Electricians and Tilers?
A

We will manage the entire project for you and bring in the appropriate resources as they are needed.  If you have a preferred trades-person that you would like us to use then we are more than happy to do that as long as they can meet your projects timelines.
So we take care of all the subbies for you, so you don’t have to worry. We affectionately call it … “Herding The Cats”.

Q
What Colours Am I Allowed To Have?
A

Any colours you want. You have total control on the colour choices that you would like used for your building project. We will help out and connect you with the right people (like a colour consultant), so that you have the necessary assistance in finalising your colour schemes.

Q
Do I Get To Choose My Kitchen And Bathroom Fixtures Or Is Everything “Standard” Only?
A

Once again, you have total control on the choices of fixtures and fittings that you would like used for your building project, such as kitchen cabinetry and benchtops, appliances, showers, vanities, bath etc.  We are happy to provide assistance in choosing any of these items, or connect you with the right specialist people.

Q
How Long Does It Take To Get Building Consent?
A

The design and drawings, discussions and agreement, detail preparation, lodgement with council and approval process can take up to 4-6 months so it’s important to start early.  On rare occasions the process can take even longer.

Q
Do I Need To Get Building Consent?
A

This depends on what the work is. There is a very good explanatory document available at www.dbh.govt.nz/bc-no-consent which covers it all. Here are some examples of building work that DOES NOT need consent:

•Turn an extra-large bedroom or rumpus into 2 single bedrooms
•Replacing kitchen cabinetry / Replacing bathroom fixtures if in same room
•Build an attached carport less than 20m2
•Add a porch / patio less than 15m2
•Enclose a porch less than 5m2
•Build a pergola / outdoor garden structure
•Build some retaining less than 1.5m high (that doesn’t support street or driveway or other additional loading)
•Build a fence less than 2.5m high (2.0m for boundary fence)
•Build a deck less than 1.5m off ground
•Replace an existing window with some French Doors or door / window combination
•Build a patio / paved area
•Change some French doors back to a window
•Remove existing window or door and close in exterior
•Driveway and path replacements (unless they require retaining)
•Hard landscaping
•Partial replacement of landscaping
•Partial reclad of exterior weatherboards
•Interior lining removal, inwall timber repairs
•Non –structural chimney removal

Q
When Will I Get The Code Compliance Certificate From The Council For The Building Works?
A

Our contract will define who is responsible for getting the Code Compliance Certificate (CCC). If it’s our responsibility then once all the work is completed we will file the forms with the council, complete with all the necessary certificates from the LBPs, the electricians, plumbers etc. That normally takes 3-4 weeks after completion, then the council takes a further 6-8 weeks to check everything and issue the CCC.

Q
Is Your Renovation And Building Work Inspected By The Council Or Others?
A

When a Building Consent is issued by the council it defines the points when different types of inspections are needed for building, plumbing etc. The work done by us and others need to pass all of these progressive inspections so that the Code Compliance Certificate can be issued at the end. Sometimes there are also inspections needed by engineers or other specialists, and these need to be passed as well. We take care of all these inspections for you, and make sure that they pass.

Q
How Does The Payments Process Work?
A

We require a deposit on signing the contractual documents, plus progress payments will be made throughout the project. The payments process does vary slightly from job to job but this is fully documented before we start.

Q
What If I Need Additional Funding So I Can Pay For My Home Renovations etc?
A

If one of your project steps is to secure additional funding, we can put you in touch with one of our excellent insurance, financing and mortgage partner – just let us know and we’ll introduce you.

Q
Do I Need Any Special Insurance While The Building Work Is Happening?
A

It is extremely important that you advise your insurance company of the work you are undertaking so that they can ensure that the appropriate level of cover is in place for you.
For our part we have $5,000,000 worth of Public Liability cover in place, plus Contract Works Insurance on contracts up to $50,000 in value. If your contract price exceeds this $50,000 total you will need to arrange your own Contract Works Insurance cover. Alternately we are happy to organise this for you however additional charges will apply.

Q
What About All The Legal Stuff?  Do We Need A Building Contract?
A

We have a standard set of terms and conditions that get signed and form part of our building agreement / contract.  We also provide you with Building and Disclosure documents and the Checklist document if your project is over $30k.  These are all in line with the new building laws introduced in January 2015.

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