Smartway Builders are a Full Service Building Company, which means that we are happy to help you with your project from the initial design stage, through the council consent process and then complete the actual building work as well … or if you’d prefer, we can help with just the build process. It’s totally up to you.
Landscaping and Retaining
Garages, Carports and Sleep-outs
Decks, Pergolas, Paths and Paving
Knowing what to do is sometimes difficult to decide as there are always a number of possible options. We come on site, listen to what you are trying to achieve and make suggestions on design and layout. Between us we then develop an overall plan for your renovation, addition, alteration, new build or other possible change you’re thinking about.
Most importantly, overall you end up with what you want, not what someone else wants. And it’s something that works for you.
We also work out approximately what your renovation, addition or new build will cost you, and give you a ball-park figure … so you don’t waste your time and money getting drawings and consent for a project that doesn’t meet your budget. We believe it makes sense for you to know what your project might cost at an early stage, so you can make changes if necessary.
There’s an old saying in the building industry that goes like this … “If You Can Dream It, We Can Build It” and it’s right, we can build it … but we also have to temper our dreams with reality. Most of us have to be practical. Most of us only have a certain amount of money to spend on our property renovation, upgrade, addition or new build. And most of us only have a certain amount of time to be allocated to a project.
So, the reality is that there are inevitably compromises that will need to made in your design.
We believe that part of our job is to educate you about the options you can consider. We can’t possibly tell you everything about every single item, but if we spend some time with you … and we LISTEN to you, we’re pretty sure we can come up with a range of suitable possibilities.
Then you can decide what you want to do from there.
Sometimes the hardest part of any property upgrade, renovation, addition or new build is knowing what the options are. When you deal with Smartway Builders, you end up talking it all through with someone who can think outside the square when it comes to residential property construction, and that can be a huge bonus, and it will also help you consider ideas that you may not have thought of.
We pride ourselves on the design and implementation concepts and ideas we can come up with.
They’re practical, real, valuable ideas that will work for you. And they’ll help you stay within your budget.
Without a plan you have chaos. In the building industry without a plan you have massive cost overruns, mistakes, shortcuts being taken and a lower quality result, none of which you want. We are happy to help you plan and manage your project from start to finish so you reduce the likelihood of issues on the way through.
Every successful building project needs one main thing to succeed … good planning. Planning is the key, and it simply can’t be ignored.
A successful building project can result in your dreams coming true, but without careful planning and good management, it can unfortunately also become a real nightmare.
And your plans need to relate to what YOU want as the end result, and be based on YOUR reasons. So make sure that you “stand your ground” at these early stages, so you get the right outcome … for you. Don’t let anyone dictate your design, work with someone like Smartway Builders who will listen to what you want.
Wouldn’t you rather have us help take the stress and hassle out or your residential property renovation, upgrade, addition or new build project? Or try and manage it all yourself?
Whether you are restoring an older character home, extending your home to cater for changing future needs, simply renovating some or all of your property, or building a brand new home … specialised help is essential.
We provide and coordinate the quality specialists like our architects, engineers and builders, and our tradespeople and contractors that we will need to deliver your project on time and on budget; without you having the stress of managing it all yourself.
Renovating, altering, extending or building a new home is one of the most significant projects that you will probably ever undertake. And you need to do it right. There are many potential pitfalls – local and regional council requirements, fire and insulation requirements, previously unforeseen costs, potential legal arguments, and expensive mistakes – which can be avoided with the right approach from the start.
Some people assume that a building project process is as simple as engaging a ‘friendly architect’, employing ‘Bob the Builder’ or ‘doing it yourself’. Unfortunately, as almost every Home Improvement TV program highlights, this is usually a recipe for disaster, including huge over-runs in both time and money.
Project management involves the organisation, management, and supervision of all aspects of a construction project throughout its duration, from initial concept to final handover. And it’s something we’re very good at. So let us help you, let us take on this burden and simply make it happen.
Some building projects need a Building Consent from the local council, and some building projects don’t. Some projects also need Resource Consent.
But … What’s the difference?
A Building Consent is Council’s written authority to carry out building work that it considers will then comply with the Building Code, provided it is completed in accordance with the plans and specifications submitted with the Building Consent application.
Resource Consents may be required as well if your project does not meet the specific requirements of the Resource Management Act and the Council’s District Plan.
Essentially, Resource Consent applies to work you intend to do on the land (which may also relate to the building building if it falls outside the District Plan and allowable Building Envelope), and Building Consent applies to the actual building work you want to do.
If the building work you are planning somehow impacts on the land, other users of the land, or your neighbours, you may need a Resource Consent – for instance, if your house plans fall outside the allowable building envelope (size / height / closeness to boundary or road / percentage of land used etc.). Conversely, if what you’re planning on doing is allowed under the District Plan, and your plans fit within the allowable building envelope (height to boundary rules, ground coverage, etc.) then you will likely not need Resource Consent.
We understand which projects fit into each category and can help to manage your new design through the consent process, liaising with the architect, draughtsperson, surveyor and engineer to help make it all happen for you.
Today, getting Resource or Building Consent is not a simple process and is best managed by experts. The building regulations are complex, the construction details needed are huge and the local council regulations are a challenge to navigate. It is no longer something that just anyone can do.
As we mentioned earlier, not all work will need a Building Consent. The list below is a summary of building work that will need a consent, but we can check your local council rules for you, just to be sure:
- structural building work – additions, alterations, full re-piling, some demolition
- plumbing and drainage where additional sanitary fixtures are created
- relocating a building
- installing a woodburner
- retaining walls higher than 1.5 metres
- fences or walls higher than 2.5 metres
- all swimming pools and their associated fences
- decks, platforms or bridges more than 1.5 metres above ground level
- sheds or sleepouts greater than 10 square metres in floor area
- some earthworks.
Garages & Carports: … These can be any size, any shape. It’s totally up to you. And garages can be multi-purpose and include workshops or office space as well. We specialise in creating in-character garages and other external storage areas that look like they belong.
Every person has their own idea of what their dream garage should look like. One person may want the ultimate tool bench, while another wants a clean, organised space so that they don’t have to judge their distance by how close they are to a box of Christmas decorations, or a tennis ball on a string hanging down from the ceiling!
The good news is that we can create an amazing garage almost anywhere. It’s also often relatively simple to make changes in a space like an existing garage.
If you don’t currently have the carport or garage that you need, then there are a range of methods available for creating one from scratch.
You can have exactly what you want … size, design, function, looks. Our preference is to make sure your new garage is completely in-character with your existing house.
Here’s a thought … while it might seem unusual to suggest using your carport or garage as a sun catcher to capture solar energy, it’s actually quite a hot trend overseas. Solar powered units on carport and garage roofs are being created to help re-charge electric cars, and can be designed to also provide power to your entire home.
So, you can easily protect your car from the elements and add value to your home with an in-character garage or carport addition.
Sheds and Sleep-outs:
A shed is a shed is a shed … really?
A shed performs any one of a number of valuable functions, and these days your shed can be an attractive addition to the garden landscape, and not an ugly, tired, overgrown, falling down, “leaks-like-a-sieve” building that has to be hidden away around a corner or at the bottom of the garden.
It doesn’t have to be just for the mower and the petrol can … you are allowed to create something new, to renovate, and to make your shed bigger.
You can even totally change the function or purpose. Is it just for storage? Does it support the garden as a place to put your tools and implements? Is it there to give you some space away from it all, or to help you have time for your hobbies or crafts? Or maybe it’s a sleep-out for family or guests?
If what you want is a larger, correctly constructed multi-purpose shed or sleep-out or office, then maybe we can help you. If you want a simple prefabricated steel shed assembled then we’re not the right people to talk to.
Decks: … Ground level, medium level, 2nd level or roof-top … some need large steel supports and some are simple and straight-forward. And we can add steps, multiple levels and seats. Whatever you want we can create it for you.
Create an outdoors “room”, or an extension of your inside space. Get that much wanted indoor/outdoor flow. Will your new deck or patio then flow through to the garden area as well?
If you’re going to install a deck, it’s always a good idea to arm yourself with some information beforehand. That way, you won’t wind up with a deck that doesn’t fit your needs or, worse, is potentially too small or dangerous. After all, your friends, family and visitors will likely spend time on your deck, so choosing the most appropriate materials and construction methods is crucial.
We can help with both the design and construction of your new large, multi-level deck.
Pergolas and Other Outside Structures:
Pergolas built for outdoor entertainment and family gatherings can define extra spaces and provide shade etc., and a well-designed pergola should complement your home.
You can use a pergola and trellised areas to add romance and enchantment to the outdoor living area surrounding your home. Or they can help define entryways, provide a perfect backdrop for climbing plants, and add tons of street appeal to your home.
From simple archways to more lavish designs that incorporate shade and protection from the elements, outdoor pergolas and other structures can become quiet corners of your home … ones that you won’t want to live without. And if you correctly blend the construction into your overall new home design, renovation or extension, it can look like it has always been there.
Paths & Paving: … Paths enable us to get from point A to point B without getting our shoes dirty. That’s what they’re for isn’t it? Maybe, but they don’t have to all be boring, straight and made from concrete.
They can be charming and lead visitors to interesting parts of the garden. But they can add more interest to the garden themselves by meandering around trees, shrubs, statues, seats and other garden objects.
Paths can also be as decorative or as plain as you like. Work hard on creating beautiful paths and paving to lead you through your landscape, and you will be justly rewarded.
When planning a new garden path take into consideration the likely traffic it will take, i.e. wheel barrows, bikes, wheelchairs and pushchairs. Ideally it should be wide enough for two people to fit along it at the same time, but if you only have a small area to work with then your path should at least be as wide as your wheelbarrow or mower.
Choose your pathway material according to the style of your house and garden, how much use it will get and who will use it. And, obviously it needs to be constructed of a material that won’t be slippery.
One last thing … ensure that the base for the path or pavers is prepared correctly (this is the most important part of any paving job!!) Form Your Foundation First!
Driveways: … It’s just a driveway, so what’s the big deal?
What is one of the very first things that people will see when they visit your home … your driveway of course, and it’s highly likely that they will either drive or walk up it to get to your front door. So it needs to be both impressive and functional.
Here are some of the things you need to think about when it comes to your driveway:
- You must decide on the actual design along with the driveway width. It’s also a good idea to think about extra driveway parking for guests, so that access is not blocked.
- What about the edges? With some paving materials a driveway edge is functional and necessary, while with others it’s simply about visual appeal.
- Where will your driveway entry be? And where will it end?
- And what are you going to do about moving surface water away correctly?
- Also, should you include an extra area so that you can back the car up and drive out forward?
- What driveway materials will you use? Your paving can be as simple as loose stone chip or it can be constructed from pavers with a range of patterns.
- There are also a range of special surface finishes that can go over the top of the likes of concrete.
Lots to think about in relation to your “simple” driveway. But we can help.
Landscaping: … Whether your current landscape “design” is planned and intentional, or random and unintentional, there are a number of things you need to think about when it comes time to upgrade your landscaping.
In an ideal world you want to avoid a collection of randomly chosen and haphazardly placed plants, plants that are too wide, grow too tall or too small, shed their leaves into your pool or shade all your sun from your entertainment areas. Or maybe they’ll need constant pruning or pest treatments or they’ll attract animals you don’t want or they simply get in the way.
Here are some guidelines or helpful hints that you can take into account in your landscaping:
- Aim for unity, simplicity and balance in your landscaping plans and decisions. Use this as your overall guiding rule.
- Understand the purpose of each segment of your landscape design plan. If you are working on an area that requires some degree of privacy then you want landscaping components that will achieve that.
- Make your focal points stand out, but not “stick out”. They need to be connected and part of the overall landscape, but still a main feature.
- Stay informal and flexible if you can. Overly formal gardens can create all sorts of maintenance problems in the future and can progressively become more and more costly to maintain.
- Use your landscaping to enhance your house, not hide it. Mould the two components together for best effect. Don’t design your garden and landscaping in isolation.
- Plan for an all-year-round garden, not one that is barren and uninviting for 6 months of the year. Choice of plants, location etc. all come into play here.
- Understand your garden’s “growth timeframe” and ultimate size. Balance your plants so that they not only look good when they are planted but will still be in balance with those around them in 1, 2 or 5 years.
- Be prepared to start or restart from a blank canvas by removing overgrown and inappropriate vegetation, fencing, paths etc.
- “Curb your Curves” by not going overboard with too many curves. They can get in the way and complicate the garden unnecessarily. They have a definite place, but maybe not the dominant role. However the choice is a personal one.
- Add components that bend gently with the breeze and create added interest through their movement, rather than maintaining too much rigidity.
- Plan for any necessary equipment access, whether that’s the lawn mower, a wheelbarrow, a trailer or painting trestles … allow space for them to get through.
Retaining: … If you need to hold the earth back then you’ll need a good retaining wall. Timber posts, concrete, blocks or some other construction. Engineered or “out-of-the-book” retaining walls for all purposes.
According to Wikipedia, “Retaining walls are built in order to hold back ground which would otherwise potentially move downwards. Their purpose is to stabilise slopes and provide useful areas at different elevations.”
Seems simple enough. Stack some stone, block, or timber up and that’s it … done.
But in fact, retaining walls are carefully engineered systems that have to be involved in an everyday battle with gravity. Why? Because they can end up restraining tons of saturated soil that would otherwise slide away and potentially damage the surrounding landscape.
Even small retaining walls have to contain enormous loads, and even though they are simple structures, a casual check around your neighbourhood will probably reveal lots of existing retaining walls that are bulging, cracked, or leaning in the wrong direction. Some will have already fallen over.
The secret is in the foundation, or the depth and angle of the piles, and often you are better to create two smaller walls on two terraces, rather than one large one, as the amount of weight a wall has to hold back increases geometrically as the height increases. Adequate drainage behind the wall is essential as well.
Common materials include timber, interlocking block, stone or brick, poured concrete or block walls.
They are simple to get right if you know what you are doing, and follow some basic engineering rules. But they do come with a very precise set of construction rules and requirements, and even a small retaining wall could need Building Consent!
So, give us a call and let us handle your retaining wall requirements.
Working The Smart Way…
In this day and age, finding great tradespeople can be a daunting task. However, your search is over because we are not just your run-of-the-mill building company. We are different, in many ways.
Our business is set up to “perform like a business”, with responsibilities, accountabilities, systems and controls. It came about through necessity and a desire to raise the bar in the building industry, to give a fantastic customer experience … and so everything we do is designed to deliver a better result for our clients.
The simple fact is that we don’t like to let our clients down …So, if you’d like to form a longer-term relationship with a quality building company who really cares, and who believes in working with you to achieve what you want, then let’s start doing just that. Just pick up the phone and give us a call.
There’s a reason we have two ears and one mouth! Because listening and understanding is incredibly important in the building industry … so that we can deliver exactly what you want, and minimise issues, concerns and problems.
We listen to what you have to say.
We don’t take shortcuts and we don’t do cover-ups. We follow the New Zealand Building Standards and good practice guidelines, even if your work doesn’t need a Council consent. Our experienced and appropriately qualified people take pride in getting it right first time. In addition, the entire team engage in on-going training and education to make sure they keep up with the latest developments in good building practices, safety issues etc.
Our talented growing team of builders currently stands at nine, and it’s expanding further. We have a mixture of trade qualified and New Zealand Government Approved Licensed Building Practitioners (LBPs) with varying levels of experience. They ALL know what they are doing, and how to deliver what you need, when you want it … in a tidy and friendly manner. They’re great people to have in your home, great people to talk with about the way forward and great people at delivering. And we’re proud to have them on our team.
If, whilst carrying out your work, we find anything material that we hadn’t anticipated as part of our initial assessment, we will endeavour to inform you of the implications of this prior to proceeding further. We understand that unknown items can impact the cost and/or time, and we believe that wherever possible you should agree to any changes before they are actioned … so we have a full Variation Capture Process, designed to make it simpler for us all.
Our team also includes architects, draftsmen, council consent specialists, structural engineers, fire engineers, plumbers, drain-layers, electricians, plasterers, painters, tilers, roofers, earthmovers, foundation specialists, designers, colour consultants, and floor and window cover people to name just a few. We can make your total project happen from start to finish with the least amount of stress to you.
We carefully select our builders and subcontractors for superb workmanship and shared values of honesty and integrity. Our people strive to achieve an affordable project price and work hard to exceed client expectations.
One of our clients told us that they continued to use us for all their work, because we were a “safe pair of hands” and they felt really comfortable using us. We hope that you will too.
We pay attention, don’t take shortcuts and don’t cover anything up. We treat you and your home well and take pride in what we do.