Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve never built before, where do I start?

Start by giving us a call, with 80 years of experience combined in the building industry. You can trust us to give you the best advice and to guide you through the entire building process.

At what stage do I involve a builder?

This can vary with each person, some are willing to come up a plan and design their own and some are more than happy to have a builders expertise from the start. This can be a good idea, especially with new builds are there tends to be complications and details that the professionals know. This can help in reducing price of the overall build as well as time.

Why is it important to select a Master Builder?

Only a Master Builder can provide you comfort in the knowledge that your builder is trade qualified and offers the protection of consumer friendly building contracts. With a Master Builder, you will also be provided with the Master Build 10-year Builders Guarantee.

Does my builder need to be a Licensed Building Practitioner?

Any work that is critical to the integrity of the building must be done by an LPB, this is a requirement of the NZ Building Act 2012.

How do I know if my builder is licensed?

To check if your builder is registered use the LPB Search. You can find this on the following website:

Do I need a building consent?
  • If you are carrying out building work you may need to apply for a building consent.
  • Here are some examples of work that requires consent:
  • Any structural building including new buildings, additions, alterations, accessory buildings (sheds), and re-piling
  • Plumbing and drainage
  • Heating (fireplaces), ventilation and air conditioning systems
  • Siteworks for a building
  • Retaining walls higher than 1.5 metres, or retaining walls with a building or driveway near the top
  • Fences higher than 2.5 metres and any swimming pool fence
  • Swimming pools
  • Decks more than 1.5 metres from ground level

If in doubt we recommend you ring your local Council and discuss your project with them.

Do I get a guarantee?

Yes you do!

The full Master Build 10-year Builders Guarantee will cover you for:

  • Loss of deposit
  • Non-completion of the dwelling
  • Structural defects for 10 years
  • Non-structural defects for 2 years
  • Alternative accommodation

With Gray Brothers Builders you’ll receive the best new home build guarantee around so you can feel comfortable that the job will be done right.

We’ll maintain constant communication with you throughout the build so you’re not left in the dark, ensure your home is built on time and to the agreed budget, as well as our team will be respectful and treat your home like our own.

Are the guarantees transferable if I sell my home?

Yes, your guarantee can generally be transferred to the new home owner. Application for the transfer must be made within 30 days of settlement. Having the guarantee gives the buyer peace of mind and will help to sell your home.

How can I keep the building project within my budget?

The devil is in the detail! This is what it’s imperative to have a document set that’s as detailed as you can as this will provide the proper framework for your builder to provide a contract with as little PS/PC items as possible. Be aware as per your contract obligations that these can fluctuate and can cause the contract price to increase over the building duration. By having a thorough set of plans and specification though, this will eliminate these and give you the confidence going into your build.

How do we pay for the building project?

You pay on a progress payment system as detailed in your building agreement. One advantage of full contract is you only need to make payments to one company and payments are made at specific stages of the project. When you receive a written contract quote, we will provide you with a payment schedule and also a construction schedule so you know what to expect and when to expect it.

Can I make changes during the building project?

We welcome you to make any changes you would like to enhance your home. Any requests by yourselves incurring extra labour and/or material costs will be treated as a variation to the contract. All variations will be costed and presented to you in writing for approval authorising the builder to carry out these changes before any such works can be started.

This way we ensure you to make an informed decision and that there’s no hidden surprises come time for the next progress claim.

Will the construction site be safe?

We will always endeavour to keep our construction sites safe and clean. We have all paperwork on site including a sign in and out register and will provide you with a safety information pack at the beginning of the building programme.

Can we go on site to see progress of the Project?

This is difficult to answer. Yes, we want you to be a part of the build process and see your dream home coming together. However, it is a building site, and can be dangerous. In order to prevent any unwanted accidents, it is the procedure of Gray Brothers Builders that we have a representative present at all time of inspections. We can then manage any potential hazards and prevent accidents happening. For alterations where you wish to remain living in the house, we will need to take extra precautions for your Health & Safety.

Where do you build?

Generally, in the Dunedin City boundaries but we are willing to negotiate to work in other areas.

Can I use my own Subcontractors?

We specialise in project managing your build from beginning to end, and have an experienced group of subcontractors we recommend – covering everything from plumbing to landscape and interior design. If you have a preferred subcontractor you would like to work with, let us know. One thing we have learned over time that it is sometimes better if we manage them under our contact as well, this saves potential fallout with family & friends.

What are PC and PS Sums?

Prime Cost (PC) items and Provisional Sums (PS) are two items in a standard building contract which cause great confusion among homebuyers. Most building contracts are called “fixed price contracts”, but the final contract sum can vary due to fluctuations in the PC and PS items.

A PC item is an amount of money included in a contract sum to purchase a specified item such as tiles, taps, doors or bathroom fittings. An agreed estimated amount is included at contract signing but the specific products are not selected until a later stage.

A Provisional Sum (PS) is an amount of money included in the contract sum to cover work or materials or both, the extent of which cannot be specifically detailed when entering a contract. Typically, builders will include a PS for sitework costs. The builder is legally required to take reasonable steps to ensure an accurate site work cost estimate.

What is Preliminary & General

Preliminary and General are site specific overheads of a project. They are costs that are directly related to the running of the project that are not accounted for under labour and materials or subcontractors. This may include such things as:


  • All health & Safety costs
  • Rubbish removal & skips
  • Contract insurances
  • Project management & coordination of subcontractors

What is the term "Tender Tags" mean in the Gray Brothers quote?

Tender Tags are items that are not allowed for in our tender this may be due to lack of detail in the plans or we require further discussion with the architect.

How is the work insured while being built?

For a new house build the contract insurance will be included in our costs. For an alteration you will have to contact your insurance company to arrange insurance during the build.

Aren't all builders the same?

No. Not all building companies are the same. The old adage applies here, you get what you paid for. We at Gray Brothers Builders will go the extra mile for you. This is backed up with our in house 287-point checklist and personal guarantee.

Didn’t Find Your Question? Just Ask Us!

One of our directors, Mark or Paul, will personally conduct the session, which is normally valued at $300. However, we are offering the session FREE to people that are seriously considering building a dream home to help them make informed decisions towards the next step.