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The B word: South Architects

When planning new home projects, conversations about budget and expectations should start early. Don’t wait until the design is underway, suggests Craig South of South Architects.

Getting ready to build a new home is so exciting, particularly if it is for the first time. As architects, it is incredibly rewarding to work with people setting out on that journey and talking with them about their lifestyle goals and dreams.

The role of architects at this initial stage is to start breathing life into the brief, getting to know the client, along with their site and life aspirations.

Many architects strongly recommend involving either the builder or quantity surveyor early in the process to establish firm build cost expectations.

It can sometimes be difficult having those frank conversations around budget, but it is much better to be clear about all the details and associated costings before work begins on the ground.

A work to budget promise must entail much more than a lip service commitment that everything will be covered. In fact, fulfilling that promise rests on having good, clear communication from the outset around what the budget is, what it includes and what it will deliver. Even a simple misunderstanding about whether fees include GST or not risks having a big impact if no one has ever taken the time to clarify it. Fundamentally, meeting client expectations rests on communication, respect and achieving clarity and understanding right through the process.

From a design perspective, the architect’s number one priority is always to create an inspiring home for their client that fulfils expectations.

Within that, budget parameters play a part in guiding and influencing the size of the home and the complexity of the architecture.

In our experience, the wow factor comes from having beautifully designed spaces which can be achieved within any budget. Playful inspiring design is still very achievable.

As the build progresses, the architect’s ability to make changes to align with a particular budget will gradually diminish.

It underlines the importance of having everyone on the same page from the outset, to minimise any likelihood of the unexpected as the project enters the construction phase. Early decisions on finishing elements will help keep the budget on track through to the end.

Design and construction costs are not the only factors worth weighing up when thinking about budget. Increasingly, people are also starting to consider whole of life costs associated with their plans.

How homes constructed today can have a big impact on long term running costs. More energy efficient designs that include a solar system and high-performance glazing and insulation will be more expensive to build initially but the trade-off will be a home that is cheaper to live in.

Adding to that, of course, are the comfort, well-being and sustainability benefits associated with a well-designed energy efficient home.

Having good discussions right through the whole design and build process remains pivotal to ensuring your new home will deliver the lifestyle you want long term.



Hillside sleek: Smylie Builders

In completing this stunning SDMC Architecture-designed home on Cannon Hill, Smylie Builders have provided a fabulous outcome for the owners, who faced tribulations in getting back onto their much-loved site post-earthquakes.


“Topography dictated the design, and we were involved in the whole process from design to completed build,” says Smylie Builders Creative Director Chelsea Smylie.

“We were able to achieve a seamless build that fitted within our client’s budget.

“The strength was in the partnerships we have between the designers and subtrades.”

The homeowners had a clear vision of the aesthetic and Chelsea was able to work with them on all their interior choices.

The result is sleek featuring dark cladding and kitchen, fused with some elements of fun – a kiwi bach vibe, think retro wallpapers and tiles, splashes of colour, and plywood ceilings with negative details throughout.

Colorsteel cladding and a 22m roof all on one plain enclose a hidden, plywood-lined band room-slash-teenage hangout accessed via a step from the garage, creating a cave-like feeling.
The study is connected to the hub of the house with an internal window above the feature barn track yellow door.

“The building process was highly interesting with the combination of timber retaining walls, concrete retaining walls, suspended concrete floors and suspended timber floors, lots of structural steel and suspended walkways, including drive on deck,” says Managing Director Nick Smylie.

“We were determined to deliver a home that would make this family feel it was all worth it: personalised; and it had to feel like a fresh start.”


Growing an English Rose: DJ Hewitt Builders

The family of a Strowan home describe her as a beautiful English Rose – an ode to iconic Christchurch history.

Angee and Chris Robertson fell in love with the spaciousness and strong bones of their character villa two years ago, now renovated with robust modern comforts by DJ Hewitt Builders.

“I kept hearing Daryl’s name come up when parents chatted about their home-build experiences,” says Angee, a former English teacher at Shirley Boys and St Margaret’s College.

“We had endured the highs and lows of building before, and as busy professionals with two young children we wanted a team of reliability, high quality and integrity.

“They guided us through every step of the project. Everything was on time and pre-calculated, with no surprises. The workmanship was faultless! It shows they love what they do, and Daryl did some of the work himself.”

Utilising the sunny 800sqm section was the next plan, but the Robertson’s since chose an adventure in Auckland. Elmwood is now for sale, after having only three owners in 110 years.

Transformed with personality from a house to a home, clean lines and clean colours created a classic palette.

“It’s so light and bright. To me a home is synesthetic, to involve all your senses.

“With the styling from Lume Design, the massive, beautiful kitchen was modernised and a long island bench created our home’s hub and heart. Bathrooms tend to be a quiet space of luxury, so we chose art deco-style Italian tiles and double showers with deluxe rain heads.

“Everything was completely rewired and well insulated, with new windows, and there is a heat pump, gas fire and log burner.”

The old garage on the north-facing section, was completely rebuilt to look like it has always been there, and includes a guestroom or fourth double bedroom, with its own elegant bathroom.

“Both Daryl and Tara treated us like family, making the process simple and pain-free. They were knowledgeable, genuine and warm. We never felt like a number, and through DJ Hewitt we created not just a point of difference, but a point of excellence. Any family would feel at home here.”

Visit to view the home.


Multi-prep for Multi-Use Arena

Preparation for construction of Christchurch’s $473 million Multi-Use Arena continues, with contamination testing, utilities work, transport planning and formation of a project board underway.



Construction of the 25,000-capacity, roofed stadium is due to begin on the site bordered by Hereford, Tuam, Madras and Barbadoes Streets in February.

Until then, Christchurch City Council is working with Enable, Vodafone and Orion to plan and relocate underground services such as water, power and communications cables across the three-block site. Fibre cable hauling is already under way.

Three water systems in the area are being redesigned using 3D modelling. Conflicting water mains and stormwater pipes will also be relocated from the site.

Results of contamination tests are pending to inform if any asbestos, fuel and coal tar need to be removed from the site and enable a tender to be developed.

A transport assessment is also being completed to diagnose and mitigate any impacts on pedestrians, cyclists, public transport and private vehicles by scheduled works.

Land Information New Zealand is clearing buildings from the site, and the project board is being formed. Murray Strong – who chaired the steering groups for Te Pae, the bus interchange and Metro Sports Facility – has been named as chair.

Christchurch City Council has allocated $253 million to the Canterbury Multi-Use Arena, and the Crown has approved $220 million towards the project from the Christchurch Regeneration Acceleration Fund.

The stadium will host sporting and music events when completed, which is estimated to be 2024.


Repairing the Repairs: WD Build + Hardy Projects

The EQC $300m policy for homeowners of over-cap on-sold properties in Canterbury enabled affected homeowners to apply for an ex gratia Government payment to have their homes repaired.


The payment was also available if the same owners had the home, but believed the repairs done post-earthquakes were not satisfactory, or overlooked levelling.

WD Build and Hardy Projects have been at the forefront of this process, helping homeowners get the correct repairs.

Recent client Ben McLean is delighted with the result he has received, “working with company owners Mitchell James and Paul Hardy was so easy – they made the process really straightforward when we didn’t have a clue about what was required.”

The house required foundation repair, partial relevel, new flooring, tiling in the bathroom, internal painting, electrics brought to code, and the underfloor insulation which had been noncompliant all replaced. he garage had its foundations dug out and replaced as well as blockwork repaired.

“The house now looks amazing,” says Ben “and the estimate of four to six months work was actually completed in 12 weeks!”

He says with Mitchell and Paul on the job the work was very well planned, started quickly, ran smoothly and was completed to a very high standard.

“I’d recommend W D Build and Hardy Projects to anyone in a heartbeat,” says Ben.

So If you need repairs undertaken or advice on where to start, call WD Build or Hardy Projects to book your free, no obligation, meeting and take the first step to getting your home repaired properly.


Expert house relevelling + Engineering services
Ph: 0800 742 739

Creating places people love to share.
Ph: Mitchell James 0274 134 382


Buying or selling a home? MHR Drainage

Don’t let the dream vanish down the drain.

When it comes to buying or selling a home, drains are not necessarily something many of us consider. However, as Josh Mackey, owner of MHR Drainage, explains—damaged drains are a constant problem for both buyers and sellers in the greater Christchurch area.

“Following the earthquakes, we were flat out doing emergency drainage repairs,” he says.

“These repairs — which were only ever designed to be temporary — may well be failing now. Combine this with the fact that thousands of homes in Christchurch still have undiagnosed problems with drains, creates a big red flag for buyers.

“Our team carry out diagnostic tests daily and about half the homes we visit show earthquake related damage to the drains.”

Josh points out there is good news: “Damaged drains are covered by the EQC, even if your 2010 or 2011 claim has been settled. Plus, there is no cut-off date for lodging a claim relating to drainage.

“So, the best solution for vendors is to have an inspection done prior to listing your home on the market. Then if there are problems these can be rectified through the EQC system. Similarly, for a home buyer, a simple drain inspection as part of your due diligence provides peace of mind and helps avoid costly complications down the line.”


For more information on drain inspections — call the team at MHR Drainage on 0800 356 946.


Level headed about insulation: Level Head

Insulating your home or investment property not only keeps you warm and dry and saves on power bills, but it increases the value and compliance of your asset. Metropol catches up with Canterbury and South Island insulation specialist Michael Cations of Level Head to learn more.



“We use Expol underfloor heating, which are rigid polystyrene panels fitted under floorboards to stop cold air and damp drawing through. The products are non-allergenic and non-irritating and come in different varieties for different conditions. If you live somewhere extremely cold or windy for example – which is not uncommon in parts of Canterbury and the lower South Island – I’d recommend our graphite-infused product which is 30 percent above code.”

“Not at all. Expol is great for new and existing flooring, it exceeds the minimum R Value for timber floors and improves the insulation rating of your home. It’s especially great for polished wooden floors common in older homes, or exposed floors common in newer homes.”

“Spring is actually a great time! Not just because of our spring specials, but most people wait until winter – when there can be long waits and when they won’t get the full benefits of insulation. In spring, it’s generally easier to schedule. It’s also an opportune time to get set up for summer, before your air conditioning bills come in.”

Contact Mike on 0273444680 or via for a no-obligation quote, or to find out more about the springtime specials.


Granting your repairs: Precision Solutions

If you are the owner of an on-sold over-cap Canterbury property you have been given a few more weeks – until October 14, 2020 – to register your interest in applying for an ex-gratia payment to cover any necessary earthquake damage repairs.


“The deadline was originally August 14, 2020,” says Charles Porter, Contracts Manager for house re-levelling company Precision Solutions.

“But there are so many instances of houses requiring re-repairing post the earthquakes that the deadline has been extended,” he says.

Precision Solutions is therefore urging homeowners to have their properties assessed right now, including floor level and foundation issues in which the company specialises.

“Thousands of homes have been bought and sold in Christchurch since 2011. Many people are simply unaware they may have problems until they try to sell and are forced to get a builder’s report which will then show up any issues,” says Charlie.

“If you miss this extended time period to make a claim you could personally be paying out tens of thousands of dollars for repairs.”

Charlie says the team at Precision Solutions offers a free initial site inspection within the Christchurch area to assess and identify any issues.

If there is a problem, they can help homeowners navigate what they need to do with EQC and subsequently carry out the remedial work.

Don’t delay any longer. Make the precision decision.

Call 0800 775 3835 for your free level and foundation assessment.


An historic birthday

One of Christchurch’s most iconic heritage buildings celebrated a notable achievement recently – its 107th birthday.

The Old Government Building in Cathedral Square has long been an epochal architectural addition to Canterbury’s cityscape. Beginning life, as the name suggests, as home to several government departments when it opened in August 1913, the building has lived several lives in its 107 years.

It was designed by renowned architect Joseph Clarkson Maddison in a grand Italian Renaissance Palazzo style, which was typical for official buildings built in New Zealand in the late Victorian and early Edwardian years. The style was seen to project an impression of authority to signify the power of the state.

Maddison was known for designing many large scale and brickwork buildings in the city, including the original Ballantynes and Carlton buildings, as well as several churches and large industrial factories in wider Canterbury.

The foundation stone of the Old Government Building was laid by then-Prime Minister Sir Joseph G Ward in 1911, who told the gathered crowds they should be proud to have such a building of character “suitable to the importance of the city”.

The building housed various government departments until the 1980s when occupants moved to other newer offices, and the beautiful building fell into serious disrepair.

Public outcry saved it from demolition, and Christchurch City Council purchased the building from the central government for $735,000 in 1991.

It was then on-sold to high profile Auckland-based property developers, Symphony Group, for a profit of over $6 million, and on the condition it was earthquake strengthened.

That condition – completed as part of the building’s conversion into luxury hotel suites under the Heritage Christchurch brand – likely saved the building.

The Heritage Christchurch opened in 1996, and the strengthening works made it one of the only heritage buildings in the CBD still standing after the Canterbury earthquakes.

The building, with much of its historic character preserved, now hosts beautifully appointed self-contained one- and two-bedroom suites, plus, a fully equipped health club with lap pool, sauna and jacuzzi on site. It’s also home to the popular OGB bar, and a barber shop.

Heritage Hotels has secured numerous awards for its stewardship of the building, including Canterbury Heritage Awards in 2010, 2012, 2014 and again in 2018 in the tourism category, as well as several World Luxury Hotel Awards over the last decade.


Brush up your summer entertaining: Deck Fence Pro

When the days start getting longer and the temperatures begins creeping up, it means one thing: barbeque season is upon us. Tim Gerard from Deck and Fence Pro tells Metropol how to brush up your outdoor entertainment areas in time for al fresco season.



From decking and fences to pergolas, privacy screens and wooden outdoor furniture, Deck and Fence Pro can make all your wooden structures look like new. They also offer deck and fence repairs, cleaning and repainting for brick, stone and plaster.

A deep clean – using premium environmentally friendly products which contain no bleach, acids or phosphates and won’t harm your plants or corrode any metals – removes all dirt, mildew, moss, mould, lichen and previous stains and finishes from deep within the wood grain.

Using quality, New-Zealand made oil stains and Enviro or Dulux paints in a variety of colours nourishes timber with each coat. These products not only make the wood look like new but also help protect and maintain it for the long term – so you can get more barbecues for your buck!

Wood stains perform best when topped up every 12- to 18-months. After your initial restoration, an on-going maintenance schedule can include a light clean and a stain recoat with a mild detergent used to clean in between.

For a free quote or more information, contact Tim on 027 349 0527 or via