Questions about building? We’ve answered a few below, but if you can’t find what you’re looking for, feel free to contact us. Click on the question to show the answer.


What is your per square metre rate?
We do not have a per square metre rate, as there are a large number of factors that need to be taken into consideration when working out the cost of a build. The main factors are:

• The block/section of land. What infrastructure is available to you – i.e. do you have a block that already has power, water and septic or does that all need to be included? Is the ground rocky, sandy or subject to flooding/liquefaction? These conditions all considerably change the cost of the substructure.

• The location. Is it remote or in town? These are considerations both for transport and further infrastructure costs, and the siting also affects costs - such as running power up a 10m driveway vs a 300m driveway.

• The size. On a standard materials house, the larger you go, the cheaper the square metre rate generally gets. However if you have a large house with multiple levels and complex materials the opposite is true.

• The complexity. Is your house a rectangle with a hip roof and 2.4m high ceilings? Or is it a H shape with full height windows and raked gable ceilings? A two storey house is always more expensive per square metre than single storey.

• The materials. Some materials are significantly cheaper than others. Brick vs weatherboard vs cedar vs stone cladding. Laminate benchtops vs marble. Budget kitchen vs bells and whistles. Your choices make a huge impact on the bottom line.

These things change with each and every build, which it makes it hard to establish a per square metre rate that is fair and accurate to every build and client. If you are concerned about pricing and budget, we suggest getting in touch so we can organise an appointment to go through any queries you have. We can design a house for every budget, and will talk to you about what you can expect for your money, or how much you would expect to pay if you already have a plan.

How come some companies offer a per square metre rate and you don’t?
Building companies that offer a per square metre rate offer a limited number of set plans, with set materials, based on the house being built on an urban section in certain cities. They also say ‘starts from’ on their rates or prices. That’s because any deviation to the allocated inclusions will result in a change of rate. There may be lots of hidden costs or high changes if you want to change anything in design or selections, or if your section is outside a certain area.

These deals are ok if you have a set amount of money and are happy not to change anything at all. We want to design and build a house that specifically suits your needs and your lifestyle – not someone else’s idea of that.

How much does a kitchen/bathroom renovation cost?
It depends on how far you want to go. We would say that a good estimate for a bathroom would be $8,000-$10,000 for renovations that involve only replacing the existing fittings with new ones, in their existing locations. The estimate would jump to $15-20,000+ when the work includes replacing the flooring and wall linings as well, or rearranging the layout. For kitchens an estimate would be $12,000+. This is also dependent on what level of finish you are after, as high end products are going to increase the expenses when compared to the middle and lower ranges. These are merely estimates as each build will be different, and quotes need to be prepared by individual cases.

I have a strict/limited budget, can you work within that?
Absolutely, and also sometimes No. We work really hard to help meet your budget constraints, and it does help to know as many details as possible about what you are wanting. This is why we offer a no obligation visit to assess your job and will chat to you then about whether your budget will cover what you want to do.

If we are designing a house for you, we will keep the size of the house and materials selected within your budget. With renovation or extensions, we are dealing with existing structures that may have deteriorated or need additional structural elements added, so there may be money needed on structural work that you won’t have taken into account.

Unfortunately building materials are also rising in price all the time, and sometimes people are shocked at how much renovations and new builds cost. This may mean that the budget you want to spend, does not cover what you want to do. We can work with you to come up with the best solutions and results for the money you have, and our quotes always show you where the money is being spent and why. The best way to know for sure if your budget is realistic is get in touch and we can book a meeting.

Do you offer any discounts?
No, we do not. We will however always offer you the best price that we can for the work involved. We buy products at our trade price, which makes our prices much better compared to if you were to go buy items from retailers yourself, and we do pass those savings on.

Do you offer a guarantee?
Yes. Not only do we have the 12 month defect period that applies to all work done, as Master Builders we can also offer an optional Master Build guarantee. Read more about Master Build guarantees here.

I have had three quotes and they are all really different prices. Should I just pick the cheapest?
Make sure that when you compare quotes that everyone is doing what you have asked for (the same work), with the same materials. For example if you are getting a fence quote, has everyone used the same size palings, rails, posts and spacings? Or with a renovation quote, have some of the quotes included everything that you will need for the job and some haven't?

We always give a comprehensive quote, and if the other quotes don’t say what they are doing, or one has included items but the other quote hasn’t, then you should ask questions. Don’t ever assume that things have been included just because you have talked about them – if it is not written on the quote then it’s not real, and you could be up for additional costs to get the job done correctly.

If it doesn’t say what is being done, or on the flip side what has been excluded, then you may end up spending more than if you had just gone with the more expensive quote. Or you could end up with an inferior job, with inappropriate materials that don’t last very long, which will cost you more in the long run, or worse, be non-compliant (which can affect everything from liveability, durability, insurance cover and re-sale value).

Do you offer finance?
No, but we do work with a mortgage broker who can assist you in obtaining finance.


Do you have any house plans already designed?
Yes, we sure do. See our House Plans page to have a look through. We have worked really hard and used our knowledge and experience to make these designs function well and look great. We are also happy to tweak these plans to help you get the house you want. Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions regarding the designs.

I want something different, can you help me with that?
Yes. We offer a Design and Build service that allows us to help design your home, renovations or extensions. Have a read through our Design & Build page to get a better understand of the process.

Do you handle all the paperwork?
Yes we can. If we have designed your plan we do all of the required paperwork from consent application through to Code Compliance. If you already have plans, usually your designer will do this, but we can do it upon request.

I’ve made an appointment to see you… what do I bring/need?
There are a few things that will help us get the most out of our meeting with you, but they are not crucial.

Budget. A rough idea will ensure that we are on the same page. We will be able to give you a good idea if that will cover what you want to do, and for a new house help us with the best design for you. Some people are reluctant to give out budget, as they fear that the builder will miraculously come up with a quote that matches that number. But it's not about that - we would rather be honest with you up front and say whether your budget is enough/not enough, than waste your time and ours pricing something that you can't afford. We also need to know if that budget amount is to include absolutely everything, or exclude some things.

Ideas. Bring in pictures of any ideas or features that you like the look of. This will help to know what you like, and will let us know if it will work within your budget.

Fixtures. If you want to do a bathroom renovation, have a look online or in person at showers, toilets, baths and taps. These items can vary hugely in price, and if you already know what you want it makes quoting much more precise.

If you have been looking at our pre-designed house plans, let us know which ones have caught your eye. If you can, bring in the LIM report for your parcel of land. This will give us an idea of what the land is like and we can get a heads up if there’s going to be any surprises and what it will do to your budget. Again, there’s no pressure to have all of these. We are here to help.


Do you do house and land packages?
We do not have house and land packages, however, we can assist you in helping find land. We have a lot of real estate contacts, and we sometimes have access to parcels of land that are not necessarily available to the public.

We already have plans, will you build them?
Yes definitely, we will quote and build from your supplied plans. We do prefer to work on the design right from the beginning, as it gives a better understanding of the project and what you what from the whole process, but we are also happy to work with your plans. When we help design the plans it allows us to spot any design issues and fix them in the design stage before we get into the build. When you supply the plans, any design omissions or issues become your responsibility and your cost.

Do you organise the sub-contractors/everything for us?
Yes. Once we have a quote or contract signed we will organise and take care of the whole build. We work with a trusted list of subcontractors and will of course get your contribution on selections when needed.

I have my own electrician/plumber etc that I want to use, can I use them in my build?
We do have our own list of sub-contractors that we rely upon and trust. But we are more than happy to use your sub-contractor as long as they can work within our schedule and can provide all the appropriate paperwork.

I want to do some of the work myself, is that ok?
Yes absolutely, as long as it is not restricted work (ie has to be carried out by a licensed builder/tradesman), and as long as it is done when we need it to be, and with the time frame we have allowed.

To clarify - we have a schedule for each job, and we have quoted based on a set number of visits from staff, or a set timeframe of staff availability. Some clients (for example) elect to do the painting themselves, but if it then takes 3 weeks to do instead of the 3 days a painter would take, then this means we are onto the next job and cannot guarantee that we will come straight back to you to complete any outstanding items. Or if the painting is on scaffolding, then we have allowed for 3 days hire, not 3 weeks, and this would be an additional cost to you for the extra hireage, negating any savings.

How long will the build take/when will it be finished by?
Each build is different in size, therefore it is hard to pin point an exact time frame right off the bat. For small jobs we can be fairly accurate, but for larger jobs it’s harder. Once we have a clear understanding of what the build will entail, we can give you a better idea of length and finish times. Sometimes requested finish dates cannot be met, and that can be due to current work load, or availability of product. Certain jobs will also require a building consent which means going through the local council, or speciality aspects to be built or engineered which all adds time onto the build.

We always work hard to keep our projects to schedule, however things can pop up during a build that results in delays. This could include adverse weather that restricts site access, or client design changes/choices that are made during the build. Either of those extends the completion date and cannot be anticipated. We try to combat this as much as possible by pre-ordering most products, and making sure the plans are exactly to your liking before we start building, to ensure that the build itself runs smoothly.

We are currently facing the everlasting effects of Covid-19, where manufacturing and shipment of some products is taking longer than usual. We are aware of these issues and are doing our best to prevent any delays, however in the case of product changes (flooring is a good example), there may be up to a 12 week delay for new product to become available.

What does the whole house building process involve?
The building process can be daunting…. but lucky for you, we have been doing this for years! Our Design & Build page goes more into detail about the full process. To give a quick outline; we will organise a time for you to come into our office, or for us to come to you. We will discuss what you are wanting and then create a plan going forward. Whether this is going through the design and build process or just creating a design, we’re happy to cater for everything. A design contract is signed, and then we take care of the behind the scene details that you don’t need to worry about. Once we have the design sorted and approved by you, the plans will get priced to give you an accurate budget. A construction contract is signed and we send the plans to the local council to obtain consent. The next stage of the process is to get the build underway. You will be given updates and will be asked colour choice and fittings questions, to ensure that the final product we deliver to you is perfect. This can be a stressful experience for a lot of people, but we are here to help you with it all. No question is too silly.

What if I want to change something once building starts?
Anything can be changed, but it does come at a cost. This could be a minor cost if you change what tapware you want, or a major cost if you want to change layouts. We account for these in a Variation document, and all variations are discussed and approved by you prior to the changes being made. We may also give you a monetary credit if you provide some items yourself that have been budgeted for (for example if we have allowed for appliances and you then buy them). One of the important things to remember is that any changes may impact the completion date.

Do I really need consent?
We are bound to follow the rules when it comes to consented work. This is for your benefit as well as ours, as it means that the work has been done to current building code and is therefore covered by warranties and guarantees. There is work that doesn’t need consent, or may only need consent exemption, and we are knowledgeable in what that work is, and can process all of the required paperwork.

Do you really need to put scaffolding up, it is so expensive and the other quote I received doesn’t include it?
If scaffolding is required for the job to be undertaken then we have to put it up. We take health and safety very seriously, and we need to keep our staff safe. There are very high penalties for companies that disregard safety. All of our staff are harness trained, and we will use harnesses where safe to do so to reduce costs, but some jobs do require scaffolding.

Ask yourself this – if a builder doesn’t enough care about their safety to include scaffolding, then what does that tell you about the care of job they are doing? If they are constantly worrying about falling, then they are not concentrating on the job they are supposed to be doing for you. And what happens if they fall off?


Why should I pick you to be my builder?
You need to choose someone you can trust, with a proven track record and longevity in the industry. We are Registered Master Builders who have been building throughout Canterbury and the South Island for more than 31 years, and have the experience to ensure quality work. Our goal is to not only meet your expectations, but to exceed them.

What kind of work do you do/What services do you provide?
We offer a wide range of services. This includes residential, rural, farm and commercial construction work in new builds, renovations and restorations. We work with insurance companies for insurance repairs and have worked on a number of heritage buildings and sites. We also offer design work, project management, and building reports.

Do you have insurance?
Yes, we have conprehensive Public Liaibility and Contract Works insurance amongst others. If we are doing a home extension then it is your responsibility to organise the Contract Works insurance, as we cannot cover work done to an existing structure. We also offer the Master Build guarantee which has its own cover.

Do you do building reports?
Yes, we do carry out building reports, however it does depend on our current workload. Best bet is to get in touch with us and we can discuss what you need.

Do you do any community work?
Yes, we love to get involved in our community and further afield. Check out our Sponsorship section at the bottom of our Meet the Team page to see what we’ve been up to.

Where are you based? Where do you build?
We are based in Mid Canterbury and will build anywhere between Christchurch and Timaru.

Can our build be environmentally friendly?
We do our best to lessen our impact on the environment as we understand the pressures that our environment is facing. We try to minimise our waste and reuse wherever possible. We like to keep up to date with new efficient building practices. The New Zealand Green Building Council and Master Builders Solutions are great sources to read and gain a better understanding of what is available on the market, and we are happy to include any green features that you would like.

Do you have a show home?
No, however we do have finished jobs in many locations where the owners are happy to show off our work and which we can take you to see.

What quality control systems do you have in place?
We are very hands on here, with Richard (our Director) and Tristan (our Project Manager) in touch with our Foremen and team’s daily and visiting site to ensure that the best work is being carried out. Our teams are equipped with technology and we are always aware of what is happening on site which means that if there is a problem we can react quickly. We are updating you regularly with the progress of the job and always discuss any concerns throughout the build.

We are constantly checking the quality of workmanship; this is so that we know as a company we are meeting our standards that we hold up for ourselves and as part of Master Builders. We also allow time at the end of the build to ensure that all the finishing touches are up to standard. This holds us and our sub-contractors accountable for the work we have carried out, and anything that is not up to scratch will be resolved during this time.

These systems may be small but it allows us to monitor the job and make sure that it is being built right, so that you have the best result.