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True design and build

In the home building industry, offering a complete design and build service can be an attractive marketing tool, but whether a company can actually deliver is another matter. Craig Freeman, Director of David Magill Builders says you need to look behind the glossy websites and smooth commentary to discover if a company really ‘walks its talk’.



The team at David Magill Builders offers design and build in its purest form, demonstrating upfront transparency, true flexibility and an unbeatable ‘can-do’ attitude that puts the client ahead of business.

Flexibility lies at the core of a true design and build service; to earn the title it must be about making ideas into reality in the way the client wants it to happen.

“While we have strong relationships with local designers specialising in every type of home, we happily work with your chosen designer and products you like. We also have our own highly skilled, longstanding sub trades, but can work with contacts and resources that you might have, as long as their standards match ours. It’s a point of difference that we are very proud of!”

Brought to every detail of each project is Craig’s legendary attitude.

“I challenge others saying ‘it can’t be done’ – we disregard reasons not to and through lateral thinking we zero in on how we can get it done,” Craig says.

So intent is Craig that he will engineer solutions himself.

“Bespoke is more than a word; it’s being able to do it. We make it in the workshop or on-site using hand tools – and if you are not doing that you are not true design and build.”

The craftsmanship skills gained from ‘old school’ carpentry experience has bridged the gap between old and modern high-tech systems; resulting in some impressive ingenuity in design and build – often only seen in architectural homes.

For one owner, a copper front door was a heart’s desire.

Difficulty in product supply resulted in Craig and his team custom making it in-house for a fraction of the cost.

Meanwhile an existing house with a double stud height lounge room was designed to have a circular mezzanine floor added to create a library space.

The engineering plans specified an octagon with a circle inside – an ‘outside the square’ request.

An expensive continuous circular 100mm-deep beam was required, so Craig made it in-house, drawing the beam on his steel bench, calculating the dimensions, dividing the circumference into six individual pieces, making a form in the workshop to press the laminates together, cutting and fitting the pieces, before fixing the beam on site.

The end result: another very happy client. Now that’s design and build!


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.