We answer your frequently asked questions


How do we choose an architect?

Choosing a designer or architect is an important stage in any project. The team you get to help you and the decisions you make now, will determine how you build, the finished result and the final cost. If your project is residential and contains restricted building work, you must use a licensed building practitioner (LBP) to do or supervise the design work.

You want to find someone you can communicate your ideas to, and can talk openly with about your budget, how your completed build will be used and by who, as well as the finished look and feel. Try asking your family and friends, or if you’ve chosen a builder, ask for their recommendations for architects. After all, the builder and architect will work closely together throughout your build.

How much will our build cost?

The choices you make at the design stage will also determine your budget. Often your first indication of the actual cost of a design is when building proposals come back from prospective builders.

Be clear with your architect or designer what your budget is from the outset, and whether meeting that budget is important for you. Your personal preferences will impact on the overall cost of your build – you should specify if you want high-end, standard or budget fixtures and fittings.

Making changes during the build can cause delays and incur greater costs, so it’s best to ensure your design is finalised prior to building work starting.

What is a scope of work?

A scope of work is the rule book of your building project and, irrespective of the project size and duration, every build should have one. There are many variables that influence a project, many deliverables to carry out, and many projected expectations to accomplish. Your scope of work can be prepared along with your architect or designer. Your chosen builder may also seek clarifications to ensure they can provide a building proposal that encompasses all your requirements.

Who submits our plans to the council for consent?

The person completing the application needs to understand the application requirements and the Building Code, and also be able to provide or source the information that shows how your project will comply. This may be you, or is more likely to be a representative such as your architect, builder or project manager. Usually, your architect will have allowed for council submission in their proposal.

If you have restricted building work, the licensed building practitioner who is going to do your work will also need to complete or supervise the completion of the relevant part of your building consent application. Applications often fail to show compliance in three key areas, so ensure the person completing the application knows about Building Code requirements related to structure, external moisture and laundering facilities.

How much does council consent cost?

The fee to apply for council consent varies, depending on the size and the complexity of your project and the value of the proposed finished building.

If Auckland Council identifies something that requires further investigation, or wasn’t in your application, it may request the information. You will need to source the information and might need to pay additional fees.

If you amend your plans once your building consent is granted, you will need to pay additional fees for the council to review your amendment so its important that you are happy with your design prior to submitting your plans.

How long will consent approval take?

Depending on the volume of applications that Auckland Council are processing, you could expect your consent to be granted within 20-40 working days. From the day your building consent is granted, you have 12 months to begin work. You can apply for an extension for a maximum of 12 additional months.

For resource consents, you usually have five years from the day the consent is granted to complete your work. You can apply for an extension of this period if required; applications are considered on a case-by-case basis.

What will be included in my contract?

Contracts are a legal requirement for any building work over $30,000 incl GST. The contract must cover everything your contractor will be involved in over the duration of the project, as well as any materials that will be used and the cost of labour. There are a few different types of contracts:

  • Full Contract This is a fixed price for your whole project. The building company organises everything involved from contractors to the final building inspection.
  • Cost Plus This includes the price of all materials plus the builder’s margin. Although this type of contract does not offer a fixed price, it allows you to take advantage of builder’s discounts on materials and trades and to input new things as the project progresses. Under Cost Plus, the building company will also organise everything from contractors to the final inspection.
  • Labour Only This covers the cost of the builder’s labour only, meaning you have to arrange contractors, inspections, materials and everything else yourself. This process can be very costly and time consuming unless you are able to hire an experienced project manager to take on the task of organising your project.

How can I keep the building project within my budget and on time?

We recommend entering into a full building contract, which will enable you to know exactly what the cost will be and what you will get.

Qualitas Builders will provide you with a schedule and an in-depth building proposal which outlines the cost of every detail in your building project. These documents will tell you what is happening and when, so you know what to expect. However unforeseeable circumstances can arise, such as bad weather or structural rot (common in renovations), so it is important to be prepared to change things if necessary. Our team are experts in planning and project management and are solutions focussed; they will deal with any challenges on site and ensure the project continues to run smoothly. We’ll keep you up to date with regular progress reports and through our BuilderTREND site logs.

It’s vital to have a contingency amount in your budget, especially when renovating, to cover any unforeseen issues that may arise.

How do we pay for the building project?

One advantage of full building contracts is that you only need to make payments to one company and at specific stages of the project – progress payments. When you receive our comprehensive building plan, it will include your payment schedule and also your construction schedule, so that you know what to expect and when to expect it.

Can I make changes during building?

We welcome you to make changes to enhance your home. Any requests incurring extra labour and/or material costs will be treated as a variation to the contract. These will be costed and presented to you for approval, authorising the builder to carry out these changes before work can be started. The team at Qualitas Builders will always provide open and detailed information for variations and extras that occur outside of the original scope of work.

Who applies for the Code of Compliance?

Code of Compliance Certificate (CCC) applications will only be processed once the final inspection has taken place and been passed. We will see you through the CCC process, submitting all required information for you to the council, including any required producer statements. Producer statements are evidence that the design or building work complies with the Building Code and that the work has been undertaken by a licensed professional with the expertise to carry out the work e.g. electrician, plumber and engineer.