Where do I start?
The good news is that you already have! You’re on the Compass Homes website, you’ve thought about building – but more than that, you’ve taken some action to move your ideas along. Now it’s time for the next step - call our New Home Consultants for an obligation free chat, or pop in to one of our many showhome locations.
We’ll discuss the options available to you, from house and land packages, ‘off the shelf concepts’ to developing unique plans on your own site. We will assess your needs and take you through the decisions you’ll need to think about at this early stage. Bring your scrapbook, wish lists and ideas.
What should I concentrate on first when choosing my house?
There are three main aspects involved in planning your dream home.
Your entire design will revolve around the land that you are planning to build on.
Orientation - where is North facing?
Access – where does the driveway enter the section,
Slope – does the land slope?
Services – where is the storm water or waste water located?
Once these have been defined you have the basis to put a concept plan together. For example, a north facing section with the road and entrance on the south side is a completely different proposition to a north facing section with the entrance on the north side.
2. Your needs, wants and likes.
Once you have your land, it is important to decide on your list of ‘needs’ (things that we must have), ‘wants’ (things we really want) and ‘likes’ (things that we would like to have once we have all our ‘needs’ and ‘wants’ fulfilled). How can you do this? Simple: write it down! This forms a list with your highest priorities, your needs, coming first.
The process of defining what you want in your Compass Home may take a few days to refine, however that’s OK, as any time spent at this stage is well spent. You will find that some things on your list are definable, and some aren’t. For example, definable outcomes are measurable things like 4 bedrooms or a double garage. Some things that aren’t measurable are items such as ‘more sun’ or ‘better privacy’. This is OK, you can probably have everything in your ‘needs’ list, as Compass Homes has a large variety of plans that include almost every need you have.
Obviously you need to know how much you can spend on a new home. Your bank, or our building finance specialists will be able to assist you in determining what your building budget will be. Once you have a good idea of your section, your needs, wants and likes, and the budget you have to work within, you’re in a good position to start getting lines on paper and planning your Compass dream home. This is the time to browse through our plan section.
You’ll no doubt have a short list of 3 or 4 plans that would meet your requirements. Print these out, draw on them and write notes. Alternatively visit one of our showhomes and talk to our staff. They are very experienced in matching your needs, wants and likes list to your section and specifications. When you visit one of our showhomes we can also show you options for interior and exterior colours and textures, carpets, bench tops, window joinery, roof lines and tile finishes.
Find your nearest Compass Homes showhome
Once you have these three aspects defined you will be able to decide on a floor plan that best suits your family's requirements, provides privacy, achieves good sunlight and takes advantage of any views. You can then start to make decisions around the style of the house, including roof lines, window sizes and cladding. Houses can be any colour with a multitude of exterior and interior products available. Use your Compass Homes colour consultant to help you make those fun decisions. Then all you need to do is sit back and watch your home come to life!
What is a soil report and why do I need one?
A soil report is necessary to determine what ground conditions are like below where your house will be. The report will determine whether additional support is required within the footings should substandard soil be encountered. A soil with a low bearing capacity will cost more to build on than one with good soil. Some solutions for poor soil may include underground piles, more concrete in the slab or footings or a raft foundation. Getting hold of a soil report prior to purchasing a section can save you money in the long run.
Can I use an Architect to draw up my plans?
Compass Homes are specialists with a strong focus on building you a new home that is unique to you, your family and your lifestyle. We have a team of in-house designers, drafts people and Quantity Surveyors to make the process as streamlined and efficient as possible. We can also use drawings from your Architect to design and build the home of your dreams and build your home on time and within budget.
Can I make any more changes to my plans once the consent process has begun?
The Building Act places strict responsibility on your council to ensure that what is submitted for building consent is what is actually built. As such, Compass will complete your home to the plans and specifications that have been submitted to the council for building consent. Once the consent process is underway it is best to let the it continue, making any amendments once the consent is granted.
Making all the changes in one go makes the process faster and cheaper! Any changes that go through the consent process will take more time and also there are fees and charges that you would need to pay for.
Once I have paid my deposit, how long does it take for my plans to go to council?
Once you have paid your deposit and signed off the concept drawings, Compass will start to complete the detailed drawings, collect the site specific data and make final checks of all the paperwork so we can submit the building consent application. We estimate this will take between 5 and 6 weeks. However, if you make any further changes to your plans or selections during this time, this time frame may extend and fees may be incurred.
Can we modify your plans?
Yes. We have more than 50 proven floor plans and designs. Some clients like to choose one and stick to it. But most clients like to choose a plan to work from and modify to suit. We can also work with you from scratch – bringing your ideas and our experience together to design a home that is uniquely yours.
Who takes care of the consents and other paper work?
We do. But there are some instances when you’ll need to fill out or lodge an application personally. We’ll tell you what you need to do and when, it’s all part of our total project management approach.
Does a fence need a building consent?
Only fences that are over two metres in height need a building consent.
Do you give quotes for people's own home designs/plans or do you only build your own designs?
Compass Homes don't just build our own designs, we can work with you to come up with a suitable plan, or work with an existing plan.
If I already have a section that is fully serviced and select one of your designs, would the indicative cost be the total cost?
Additional costs are generally associated with the land and council. When lodging a building consent there will be fees involved in this. You may potentially need a resource consent and again, your local council with charge for this.
Depending on what the conditions of the building consent are, you may have to do things to the house or site which council have specifically requested, but it is unlikely we would be able to know what it is in advance. There are other factors such as earthworks that are not included in the website price (as each section is different).
Depending on what the soil is like once an engineer's report is done, it could mean additional slab engineering. The situation of the site will also have an impact on the cost as it may fall into a high wind, sea spray or seismic zone. There are additional costs associated with these too. It is probably best to get a consultant from your Compass office to get in touch.
I'm having a house designed by an architect. Do you build houses outside of your own designs?
Yes, however this is sometimes more expensive as the design and drafting process may be more involved.
Will Compass Homes take care of the entire building consent application?
Yes, we take care of the whole process. The consent process and possible resource consent is a comprehensive application involving many specialist reports and details. We have experienced staff that administer the consent and liaise directly with council staff to ensure an efficient approval.
We are considering purchasing a section that is steep, what options/designs are available for building? Would this increase the costs?
Because of the nature of the section, the cost of building on a steep section is higher than on a flat section. The best way to get an indication of the additional costs and what designs are possible for the section would be to contact your local Compass Homes office and make an appointment for a sales consultant to visit the section with you prior to you purchasing it. We do this free of charge.
What are the main types of building products/fixtures you use?
We only deal with industry leaders and trusted New Zealand brands like PlaceMakers, Plumbing World, James Hardie®, Gib®, Monier® and Pink Batts®, ensuring that everything that goes into your home is of a high standard, backed by the best in the business.
Can Compass Homes help with additions to existing homes?
Not generally. Additions and renovations are a different discipline and require systems and skill sets. We leave additions and renovations to companies that are better equipped to undertake this kind of work successfully.
Where can I see your house prices?
When you view a particular house in our Compass Home Designs gallery, the page will show a 'Price Indicator' for some houses. This is an indication of the build cost only, and should be used only as a rough guide. The price indication is based on the size of the house and doesn’t include the cost of land or landscaping.
Sites that are a long distance from services (power, water, phone, sewerage, etc.) and sites that are sloping or require extra earth-works will be more expensive to build on.
There may also be regional variations in labour costs, materials, and local council building requirements, and specific product choices can have an influence on the price too.
It’s always best to contact us directly for an estimation of your build cost – we’re always happy to discuss the actual details of your site and needs, which will give you a good idea of what your individual cost will be.
When the contract has been signed, is this the whole price for the house or are there ‘hidden extras’ that come on top of this price?
The contract price is made up of fixed costs and PC sums (see below). The fixed costs will not change. There will be PC Sums included for some items such as your earthworks, services and kitchen / bathroom etc. which will cover the standard costs only.
If you are to upgrade any items in your kitchen or bathroom, or, say for example, the conditions on your site were not what was expected, or the distance from the services to the house were further than normal, then there may be some additional cost. This will be discussed with you on a case by case basis, avoiding any nasty surprises upon completion!
What is a provisional sum or PC sum?
A provisional sum (or PC “provisional cost” sum) is an amount of money that is recorded in your Building Agreement where we do not yet know the final cost. For example, if the design of your kitchen or bathrooms has not been finalised, then we will allow a PC sum to cover these. Once your choices have been finalised and a price confirmed you will receive either a credit back or an invoice for the difference.
We structure our PC Sum to be completely transparent in the cost estimates and final costs, giving our customers peace of mind in all areas of our pricing. Typically, your Building Agreement will provide provisional cost sums for foundation engineering and structural engineering services, kitchen, drainage, utilities i.e. power/water and council fees and items such as carpet and tiles.
Are there any hidden costs with a Compass contract?
No, there are no hidden costs. Your contract will outline what is included and what is not. Included in the build contract is a complete specification showing everything that has been allowed for including appliances, bathroom fittings, hardware etc. and a full set of plans. In some instances, we will be unable to give a fixed price on certain items such details of the kitchen fit-out.
In this instance we will include a realistic quotation amount (PC sum) for the type/size of the home. Once we’ve signed off the full working drawings, we’ll price your dream home based on all the decisions we’ve made with you along the way. We keep Provisional Cost or PC sums to a minimum. These are discretionary costs that are within your control such as your kitchen joinery or flooring choices, or costs that are unknown at the time of signing the contract, like engineering for multilevel homes.
Rest assured; all our prices are based on established industry averages and because you’ll sign off the actual supplier costs, you can have confidence in complete disclosure.
What is your square metre cost?
The square metre cost for a house is arrived at by dividing the area of a house by the cost. Many home builders compete for the lowest square metre rate however the simple truth is – a discount in price is a discount in quality. Like anything, you get what you pay for. There are multiple factors that can significantly influence a calculated square metre rate.
Compass Homes builds for people wanting everything from small affordable homes to large luxury homes. Whatever the budget, we will ensure you get what you are looking for – that’s our mission.
What factors can influence the square metre cost of my home?
There are many variables that influence this figure. These include the construction type of the home (timber or concrete), fittings (taps etc.), finishings (carpet, paint) and the level of specification you elect. Not all square metre rates are created equally!
The square metre rate is a very inaccurate way of gauging the actual comparable price of a house, as it doesn’t reflect your personal choices or anything special you want added to the house.
Can you take care of driveways, fencing & landscaping?
Yes. If your vision is to walk into your new home with every aspect taken care of, then we can organise driveways, fencing and landscaping for you. These items would be included in the build contract as part of the overall construction process and completed before handover.
How are we affected if there are price increases while the home is being built?
We agree on a price under our building contract. This will be the price you pay unless you want to change the scope of the build or something arises in the course of the build that is outside our control. We do everything we can to limit what is outside our control, but the reality is that changes can happen in the construction of a home.
If something does happen outside of our control that will have an impact on price, we will tell you what has happened and explain why it has happened. We know customers don’t appreciate surprises and as such we always aim to be open and transparent.
What is the payment structure and what deposit is required?
There are different payment structures depending on if you choose to build in traditional timber/brick or in concrete. Concrete is a lot faster to build in so there are fewer stages involved and fewer payment milestones, although the milestones are larger. All monies must be paid in full before you are able to move in to the new property.
Generally, the milestones are as follows:
In most cases, for a timber / brick home the build contract will specify either a 5 or 6 stage milestone payment plan. The approximate percentages for progress payments are:
5% deposit - Initial deposit
20% Stage 1 - Slab down
18% Stage 2 – Roof on
13% Stage 3 - Enclosed
15% Stage 4 – Gib fixing complete
15% Stage 5 – Kitchen installed
14% Stage 6 - Completion
Generally, for a concrete home the build contract will specify either a 4 or 5 stage milestone payment plan:
10% deposit - Initial deposit
15% Stage 1 - Slab down
45% Stage 2 – Lock up
20% Stage 4 – Interior Fit out
10% Stage 5 - Practical completion