The best time to build

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On average it can take 4-6 months to fully complete a house so your build will likely happen across several seasons. So when’s the best time to start building? And are any seasons off limits?

When is best?

Weather causes the most delays during a build but believe it or not there is no “perfect” time. It might be cold and rainy in winter, but summer can be excessively hot enough to shut down work too. 

The “best” time to build a home as far as weather is concerned is when it is cool and dry. The actual time this occurs will depend on where you live. For example, Canterbury might get cold in winter, but it can also be dry, clear and super sunny at the same time.

Our best advice is to pick a time that works best for you and try not to stress out about what the weather throws at you. You can’t control it and neither can your builder.

Winter building

If your site gets a lot of sun, starting a project in the winter won’t be as much of an issue as it is with a shady site. However, if you’re concerned about the inclement weather in winter, consider timing the build so that you can get the house weatherproof (closed up and the roof on) before the worst conditions set in. Tradies can do their thing inside the home in any weather.

Remember that winter daylight hours are shorter so less can be done in a day by anyone working outside.

During winter the ground is wet (and un-landscaped) so more mud is likely to be traipsed about. You can get around this though by setting up a designated pathway into the house for builders and tradies.

Ask your builder to ensure excavation and foundation laying happens very close together so there’s less chance of frost or lots of moisture getting into the soil under the foundation. Also, foundations need to be poured/laid in good conditions. This doesn’t necessarily mean sunny and warm. In fact, the best concrete curing temperature is around 13 degrees Celsius. Too hot and it dries too fast becoming brittle.

Winter building isn’t all bad. Here are some potential benefits of choosing to start at this time of year:

  • If winter is a quiet time for building in your area chance are builders and subcontractors will be able to start work sooner and be flexible to meet your schedule.
  • If lots of people have decided winter isn’t the time to start building, there’s a chance your consent application could be processed faster.

When do most people start?

Here are the number of building consents issued for new residential dwellings in 2017 according to Stats NZ:

  • November 2017 (heading into summer) - 3,262
  • May 2017 (heading into winter) – 2800
  • August (heading into spring) - 2025
  • February 2017 (heading into autumn) - 2418

If we assume builds begin soon after consent is granted, we can gather from these figures that at the very least, more people are looking to start building in summer.

FYI, once consent is granted you have only 12 months to start or it lapses and you have to reapply. In total you have two years to complete the build from the date of consent, so you can see why it would be a good idea to start as soon as possible.

No matter when you want to start building, you can start planning your new home right now. Use our modern online home-building tool, to design your very own new home. Without pressure from third parties, you can take your time tinkering with the design to perfect the home you want. It’s easy to use and you can start now.

Published:  31 January 2018
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