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Let’s talk design & build: David Magill Builders

If great leadership is defined by vision, passion and enjoying challenges, then David Magill Builders is led by one of the best.



Owner Craig Freeman has risen to the top of his game through service to the New Zealand Defence Force, as an apprentice then as a Licenced Building Practitioner working for David Magill himself.

David’s retirement in 2016 opened the door for Craig to purchase the company.

“Over the years, I saw the respect granted to David Magill by his peers.

I resolved to achieve the same,” Craig says.

“I quickly realised that central to winning and retaining respect is placing the highest premiums on integrity, transparency and your word. I want to combine the traditions and values that have made the David Magill brand solid for 35 years and bring my own future vision to the table.”

At David Magill Builders, the ‘win point’ of any build is never at the signing of the initial client agreement, but rather at the end of the build experience itself.

“What we do at David Magill is we patiently listen and value our client’s opinion, and place a great emphasis on thought before action. Through careful listening we are able to translate a sometimes amorphous description into the finished product they envisaged.”

Thriving on challenging projects and great at problem solving, the company doesn’t operate from a template.

The approach is always openness to the client and to the project, as well as great flexibility.

“We’ve found that no build is the same and we have never built the same house twice,” Craig says.

“The success of the David Magill name is a result of a tightly knit team of people and an outer circle of trusted trades, some of which have remained loyal for two generations and align with our values.”

The variety and scope of work undertaken does not just end at residential but boasts a portfolio of multi-level apartment blocks, office space, preschools, light commercial to lifestyle semi-attached living.

Excelling at working with passionate homeowners on unique homes, the design and build of an art deco home in Perth Street has been a special project for Craig.

The company stepped in after the owner and existing builder had hit a stalemate; the owner low in spirit.

Always valuing transparency, Craig asked the builders if David Magill Builders could take over and this little jewel of a property was on its way to polished perfection.

A series of adjustments led to the design achieving consent and a quick turnaround of the whole project led to an excited owner and a fabulous house.

“The project is memorable as a series of small victories. We listened to the client, won his trust and resolved all the conflicts.”

With art deco homes becoming scarce, it was vital to retain the unique features, feel and character but utilising modern building techniques, creative thinking and design innovation.

Clever fibreglass roofing fits the representative curves of the facade. And Perth Street is just one of many dreams realised, built by the man with his feet firmly on the ground.


Let’s talk architectural builds: David Magill Builders

New landmarks are rising in central Christchurch on a satisfyingly regular basis and the latest building to catch our eye will break ground before Christmas.



Built by David Magill Builders, this three-story home on the corner of Cranmer Square and Chester Street West will be a milestone on your journey north across the city, planting its roots and taking its place in the 170-year history of Cranmer Square.

In fact, we can look forward to a long future association with this home – its foundation comprises piling down to 16 metres, with a raft floor laid on top of that, and a comprehensive structural steel superstructure by Blueprint Consulting Engineers. The striking silhouette created by the semi-rooved deck on the top floor is complemented by the unusual charred cedar cladding. Originally a Japanese technique, the charring is done by Christchurch-based company Chartek. Once sealed the blackened wood weathers, but does not require the maintenance that ordinary cedar does.


The owners of the home are current inner-city dwellers who are keen supporters of a thriving centre and love the CBD lifestyle. Architect Kelly Rush of Krush Architecture has designed a clever home where owners and guests can operate independently if they choose.

The top floor hosts the master bed, ensuite and wardrobe and opens out to the partly covered deck. The middle floor contains the kitchen, lounge and living area plus another deck, while the ground floor is dedicated to three bedrooms, each with their own bathroom.

Director of David Magill Craig Freeman says completing this home will take 12 months, as it’s an interesting design located in a busy area which impacts on access. “This build is right in our ball park – all of our buildings have a degree of difficulty, whether that be design, location, client, or sometimes all three, and we are very comfortable with that.”


Craig assumed ownership of the company on the retirement of David Magill in 2016. Dedicated to continuing the values that David instilled in him and the rest of the team, Craig says, “Everyone has been together for a long time, including our subcontractors. The mission has always been to be well-respected among our peers, and we are so proud that no-one ever has a bad word to say about us.”

Craig brings a unique and desirable skill set to his role. In a previous life he served the country in the New Zealand Army. Discipline in all areas is innate to his approach, while communication with people is a real strength. “I can talk with anyone, and zero in on what is important to them.”

His training brings an incredibly valuable agility to a project. “We are not stuck in any comfort zone or set routine, so we react quickly and positively to any road block.”


Craig places a lot of emphasis on being proactive, rather than reactive. “It buys us a lot of time.”

Every job is worked on by in-house carpenters. “It is vital that their trade and craftsmanship is top notch”. The company works with contactors that they have had a relationship with for several years. “I went through my apprenticeship with a lot of the people who are now leading the companies that we work with,” Craig says.

David Magill Builders happily runs a gamut of homes from $2 million to first home and retirement homes, with five house and land packages becoming available at Ravenswood for $500k, and an entry-level show home at Ravenswood open next year. “What our clients have in common is that they want well-designed, bespoke and interesting homes but with value for money. They seek top-quality products but not necessarily the designer label on them,” Craig says. “And you shouldn’t have to compromise on your quality, your tradespeople, design or the interest on a modest budget.”


Driven by a determination to do a good job and honour all promises made to clients, Craig cannot understand why anyone would take the ‘over-promise under-deliver’ approach. He ensures his team go out of their way to hit targets and do a great job. “Regardless of size or price, in 20-50 years, I want people to say ‘who built this incredibly well-constructed home?’”





Creating architectural impact: David Magill Builders

Building your new lifestyle has never been easier when engaging premier architectural building firm David Magill Builders. The name has been a fixture in the residential Canterbury and South Island market for more than 35 years, and continues to thrive in an ever-challenging industry.



It is one thing to be skilled at building well-designed homes, but to be the go-to architectural builders in Christchurch takes a talented team of experienced and knowledgeable builders. “We are seeing the market continue to change, with a move away from the quarter-acre family plot to more lifestyle-driven living that offers individuality and easy care, yet still demands the welcoming feel of a traditional home,” says Director Craig Freeman. “Finding the balance of modern architecture and functional design with any family home takes years of knowledge and expertise – and that’s where we know how to get it right 100 percent.”

Elegant and architecturally designed homes do not need to be created at the cost of everyday function and practicability. Building your home is all about having a home that works with your lifestyle.


“If a build design happens to be outside the norm, it doesn’t have to be uncomfortable to live in. We love problem solving, and we are always excited to work with complex, intelligent technical builds, even those on the hill,” he says. Not being a one-size-fits- all company, nor a volume builder, each architecturally designed home is an extremely personal experience. Every element of the design is planned in-depth to create the highest quality finish possible, not forgetting the finer touches.

“What many of our clients say about working alongside us is that we take the time to listen; we produce homes with well thought-out designs and grow real transparent relationships with them. It is so much more than just securing your job – its validating daily why you have made the right decision in choosing award-winning David Magill for your build,” Craig says. “We take ownership of the process from start to completion!”


Often the building experience can be uncertain, complex, frustrating, risky and downright overwhelming for some people. “We ensure the build experience and your experience with us is a safe and comfortable experience,” he says. No matter the scope of the build, all homes built with David Magill are given the same care and attention to detail.

“We can build from concept plans but also have a range of design choices available as a starting point if required,” says Craig, “Our eight-step process assures that every home is finished to the highest standard, on time and within budget. We are always looking for the latest in technological advancements and product choices that benefit and add value. Being a member of the Registered Master Builders Federation is a further guarantee of our authenticity as a company you would want to do business with.”



The ‘extended family’ network includes real estate agents, architects, engineers, surveyors, subtrades and suppliers who align with the same values-driven approach. An inhouse Quantity Surveyor to number crunch ensures clients get the best value for money.

Why should you do business with David Magill Builders? “We solve problems successfully; our professionalism, credibility and expertise enable us to find solutions that everyone is happy with.”

To view a spectrum of beautifully crafted homes that have catered to the site’s characteristics and everyone’s unique desires, visit