Our Build


Our Project Team And Suppliers

We’ve had the privilege to work with some amazing people and companies as we’ve brought our dream home to life. Here’s an ever growing list of awesomeness should you wish to embark on your own home building adventure.


Builders – Haven Renovations
Haven Renovations Logo


Aluminium Joinery – Fletcher Window and Door Systems

FWDS logo


Glass – Viridian Glass



Pre-fabricated Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) – Method Building Systems

Method Building Systems logo


Membrane Roof – Nuralite

nuralite logo


Membrane Roof Applicators – Terracon Industries Waterproofing Solutions

Terracon Logo


Cedar Cladding Supplier – Rosenfeld Kidson

RK Website


Cedar Oil Supplier – Dryden WoodOil

RK Website


Architectural Block Masonry And Designer Concrete – Firth

Firth logo


Block Honing And Sealing – Surface Matters



Structural Engineer – Stroude Structural Consulting Engineers

Stroude logo


Structural Engineers (SIPs Specific) – Create Ltd



Consulting Geotechnical Engineers – KGA



Hydrological Consultants and Surveyors – Thurlow Consulting Engineers & Surveyors



Pile Driving – Ground and Pound Contracting

Ground and Pound logo


Landscape Consulting and Design – Verdant Green



Landscape Supplies – Central Landscape And Garden Supplies Silverdale

Central Landscapes Logo


Rocks For Our Stream – Mangatangi River Rocks Ltd

Mangatangi River Rock Logo


Plasterboard Suppliers – Knauf



Lots Of Furniture Awesomeness – Freedom Furniture



Bathroom, Laundry and Kitchen Tiling – Tile Warehouse



Plumbers – Downunder Plumbing & Drainage

Downunder Plumbing & Drainage


Electrical, Lighting, AV, Security & Home Automation – EAV Electrical and Audio Visual Solutions

EAV Electrical and Audio Visual Solutions


Kitchen and all custom cabinetry – DL Cabinetmaking

DL Cabinetmaking


Skylights – ADLUX



Underfloor Insulation – InsulPro and Mammoth





Carpet and Timber Flooring – Carpet Court

Carpet Court


Paint and Colour Advice – Dulux



Home Automation Solutions – econnecx

Stylecraft Stairways


Designer Staircase – Stylecraft Stairways



Custom Made Curtains and Blinds – Kresta



Frameless Glass Balustrades – Glass Vice

Glass Vice


Composite Decking – Outdure

Glass Vice

35 Comment
  1. Hi Guys. We considered building our Waiheke Island 130sq mtr double loft bedroom bush block home with Sips panels a few months ago but became overwhelmed with the information and choices. We have just submitted our resource consent and need to make a final decision on stick or sips. Why did you decide on formace sips and couldn’t you find any North Island suppliers? Did you use for the roof and floor also? Cheers and looking forward to the next video :)

    • Hey Angelique, thanks for getting in touch.

      Completely agree, there is so much info and so many choices, often conflicting what each other are saying!

      Every decision we have made for our house has been a bit overwhelming at times, but we always come back to a few key questions/principles to make it easier:
      – does it fit with our overall design intention/philosophy (a lot of this for us has been working with the land not against it)
      – is it something we can ‘upgrade’ down the track, or is this our one shot to get it right (mainly around structure, roof, joinery etc)
      – why are we building this? To live in it and start our family – so there is a longevity consideration too which means we’re more inclined to choose the bigger/better/nicer product, as well as look at long term savings when it comes to things like heating/cooling etc

      So a long way to get to why we chose SIPs! But mainly:
      – wanted to be light on the land and prefabricate, as well as minimise wasteage
      – save time and cost (mainly labour time on build vs direct cost between sticks and SIPs)
      – design – they are structural. We have 6m spans in our living pod with no internal walls. Traditional methods meant we had 3 steel portals running the length, cutting through where we wanted windows, bench tops etc and seriously impacted our design. However with SIPs (we used 315mm ceiling SIPs and 165mm wall) we got rid of these to have perfectly flush internal walls, windows where we wanted etc
      – long term cost savings – they estimate 50% savings on energy bills. We are yet to live in the house, but can already feel the benefit of them in the bedroom pod which is fully up now. Yesterday I was on site, the roof was maybe 30+ degrees, but inside the pod (despite large openings still), it was a perfect temperature. So it really does seem to moderate the temperature.

      A couple of thoughts so far:
      – it really is super fast. We were behind a bit due to poor wether in Nov, but the walls were up and ceiling on all within a week. And that’s with builders learning the system too. Still have the time to get the foundations and sub floor down, so depending on your section, could be exponentially faster than normal methods.
      – builders are amazed at the strength and thermal benefits already
      – you do have to carefully think about plumbing and items you want to fix to the panels i.e. plumbing shouldn’t run in a SIPs wall. As internal walls are still sticks, we either have showers etc plumbed in them, or just up through the floor as elevated. We are working through now with a floating internal stair case how that will be fixed to the panels. But with some consideration you can still have a normal set up. And we’ve found it really beneficial to be so detailed in our planning early on, as now we are coming to the finishing the decisions are made and well thought out
      – Council had no issues whatsoever come consent time

      At the time we were looking (about a year ago), the only company in NZ we could find that was supplying the strandboard/poly/strandboard SIPs was Method and their Formance panels. There were others about, but they didn’t seem to be the same or have the same level of professionalism. We went and met the guys in Christchurch, got on really well and loved the product, so decision made. And have’t looked back yet!

      Hope that helps! If you wanted to pop by our build and have a chat with me and our builders you’re more than welcome. Just drop me a line :)

    • Thanks John. Yes, once you have your subfloor down, the SIPs system is fairly straightforward. Like a giant set of lego. Re the cost per square metre, it’s hard to put a cost to it as there are so many variables. Obviously we know how much we have spent, but it’s not the norm and we have a tough site, so a lot of cost has gone into the foundations and sub floor, plus the planning and reports to get to that stage. Then we have designed our home with lots of cantilevers and scope to add a second story down the track. So more cost structurally there. And we chose to go with the thicker wall and ceiling panels too. But if I was to estimate an average SIPs home to an average stick home, it costs more for the materials, but saves you labour time, gives you greater design flexibility and saves about 50% on your power bill. Check out some of the FAQs on the Formance site here http://www.formance.co.nz/learn/faqs

  2. Hi Ben,
    Does Knauf sells plasterboard in NZ? I cannot seem to find any on their website? Which model did you buy from Knauf? Are you also self project managing the entire build with your partner?


    • Hi Karan
      Yes, Knauf were selling plasterboard in NZ when we began our build, however they are slowly exiting the market as far as I know which is unfortunate as the product is so good. Our plasterers/stoppers love it. Between myself, Kylie and our builders we are managing the project, although more so our builders as they have the experience on this front and we have a great relationship.

      • Thanks Ben for the reply. Building a house in few months time in Hamilton and I have been getting a lot of great ideas and tips about which suppliers to go with (Rylock are really knowledgeable) from your blog. I see that Knauf’s plasterboard website is still running. Which model plasterboard did you end up with? ONE+, Soundshield or Fireshield and what thickness? Which brand and R value insulation product did you end up choosing for the walls and ceilings or with SIP panel’s it’s not needed?


        • Hey Karan, no worries. We’re using the 10mm Opal board as it has sound proof properties, hard wearing so more dent resistant, UV resistant to help stop paint fading and produces a very nice paint finish. Yes, Rylock are great, highly recommend speaking with them, or Fletcher Windows and Doors (parent) in general http://www.fwds.co.nz. You’re right, with SIPs we have inbuilt insulation in the panels. But we used a bit of noise insulation in a couple of internal walls (between en-suite and master, between bedroom and laundry and in-between bedrooms).
          Hope that helps, feel free to ask more questions!
          Good luck with the build too :)

  3. Hi Ben & Kylie

    Are you going to put up any guidance on how much you’ve spent to do this project? I’m planning for a renovation myself, but budget is always a difficult one to control. I really don’t like compromising on design. I’m interested how you’ve got a handle on the budget side. Your house looks like a multi-million dollar house!

    • Hi Meg, thanks for getting in touch. We have shared quite a few budget related things throughout discussions through our blog. Have a look through the comments for the discussions and details. In general, you can work to a cost per square metre figure to get an approximate cost, for a new build anyway. A really cheap house on a flat section could probably be built for around $2,000-$2,500 per sqm, then a higher end home $3,500-$4,000 per sqm and then even higher for mac-daddy homes.

      We used this as a feasibility gauge on the project, then worked with builder and various suppliers to refine it down to near actuals based on our plans. Then have had a quantity surveyor overlooking our monthly mortgage draw down requests by request of the bank.

      As it’s going to be the home we live in for many, many years, we have tried not to compromise on quality where possible. Good luck!

  4. Hi, in today’s paper (the article about the carpet), Kylie is in front of a timber ‘look’ wall. What is that wall made out of? It looks great.

    • Hi Justine. It’s American Oak – they’re actually t&g floorboards we got from Rosenfeld Kidson, then Garrick our very skilful builder put it all up. We just used a wax to protect it, but keep the natural, light colourings.

  5. Your house looks amazing! Who provided the concrete benchtops and how did they compare pricewise to engineered stone etc?

    • Thanks Caro! They were all done through our kitchen/cabinet maker – DL Cabinetmaking – but the bench tops themselves were poured by Slatecrete, but DL made the moulds and managed the whole process. They’re cheaper than granite, marble etc, and about the same as engineered stone, maybe slightly cheaper from memory when we had some quotes done.

  6. The house looks amazing! Love it all. Can you tell me where the bar stools and dining chairs are from – they are fab!

    • Hi there, we concepted and drew the plans ourselves, giving full scale plans to a draftsman to complete the working drawings for consent. Cheers.

  7. Hi Ben
    I’m interested in your build – tell me – and I know you have kind of answered this – I’m thinking of building – small functional build (although I love yours!) – and def looking at all options for just building using commonsense. Our housing in this country is pretty sub standard – hence me looking at doing the sums on the SIPanels – so I can be warm in wintertime and of course the longer term cost. If you were to weigh up the cost (minus your construction cost due to your site) was the difference 20% or 30% more (and I’m not thinking of what you save longer term) doing it this way? Thanks

    • Hi Elizabeth. I think it would be comparable – SIPs are more expensive when compared directly to timber frame and batts, but savings are made in labour/time. Then the long term savings would be on top of here. But savings could be a whole lot more given structural role SIPs play – i.e. elimination in steel etc. Really depends on the building and site. Hope that helps! Good luck :)

  8. Hi Ben
    Our sip house is taking shape. You were keen to see a photo. I have a couple. What email address do you want them sent to?

  9. Hi Guys,

    We’re building with SIPs too :-)

    We are having a log burner but as of yet, have not specified a heat pump to cool things down in summer.

    How have you found your first winter in the house – not too sure what you are using for a heat source?

    • Hi Michelle, thanks for getting in touch. Awesome! How far into the build are you and where in NZ are you building?
      We have a ducted Daikin system for heating/cooling. We are now into our second winter and have found the house to be very warm and insulated. We have a lot of glass as well. With the heating we have, literally within 10 mins the whole house is warm and it holds it well. In summer it’s the same to cool down. Since the SIPs make the house so air tight, you do need some form of air circulation, so a heat pump would be a definite for that.
      Hope it’s all going well for you!?

      • Hi Ben,
        We are looking to build a SIPs house and stumbled across your blog. Such a mint house! You guys must be chuffed. A few questions – I’ve seen your house design on a “Land Homes” brochure – did you use them for the design/working drawings? Also, did you put in a MHRV? Or just the ducted Air con? The MHRV systems are super expensive ($11-16k!!) so just seeing what our options are, acknowledging that with an air tight house ventilation is important!
        Also, did you use composite decking (wood / plastic)? How do you find it? Ive always liked the idea of its durability/lack of weathering and maintenance. Thanks :-)

        • Hey Vanessa, thank you. Yes, very stoked, and cool to see everything mature around us now we’ve been in for 3 years. No, I have never heard of ‘Land Homes’ before. Have just been on their website and see they are using images of our house there too, so will get it touch and ask them to remove them as they played no part in our house.

          We put in a ducted Daikin system. Can’t recommend a system like this highly enough. We have two units, one for the living area and one for the bedroom wing. Each bedroom has a vent, two in the living area. Then there are two extraction vents on the living room side and two on the bedroom side (one in our walk in wardrobe which has the added benefit of keeping clothes smelling fresh). Ours are in the floor as we didn’t have the cavity space in the roof (due to thick SIPs and wanting to keep a low/flat roof profile) but definitely decide what you want to use during the design stage and factor that into your drawings to get everything fitting/working well.

          Like you say, a SIP house is so air tight that you do need a good system to circulate fresh air through the house if you don’t have windows and doors open regularly. You’ll find the house is super energy efficient, it will hold heat really well in winter (a plus for Te Anau!), naturally if you have lots of sun coming in too. In summer, it will hold the heat too, unless you can cool it down with some A/C. I can’t comment on a HRV system as haven’t used them before. The best advice I have for whatever you choose is while the upfront cost may seem high (on top of all the other eye watering quotes!) it’s priceless for years and years of living in a perfect climate year round. We’ve found that is the case over and over again on most items in the house – while at the time of building it was tempting to choose lower priced products for things like glazing, light fixtures, flooring, handles, tap ware etc now we’re in and using them day in, day out, they are well worth every dollar – still look like new and don’t even think about the cost now.

          Yes, we did use composite decking from Outdure http://www.outdure.com and highly recommend it. http://www.outdure.com/gallery/gallery-by-industry/ben-kylie-resortdeck Three years on and no fading, no maintenance, no splinters and super fast to install (so install costs low). It is a premium option, about $10 per lineal metre so around Kwila pricing without the hassle. We actually added onto one of our decks a month ago and you can’t see any difference between the new boards and the boards that have been down for three years.

          Anyway, hope this helps! Cheers.

  10. Thanks Ben,

    Yes, Nick and his team at Formance/Method are awesome :-)

    It has been a bit stressful however building consent has been lodged and we hope to start building in Titirangi early September.

    We’ve gone for a Zehnder system from Fantech and have a log burner.

    The guys from EAV are also looking at our electrical and AV works too!

    • That’s awesome to hear! Yes, the Formance team are brilliant, as are Matt and the EAV crew, so hopefully you do work with them as well. Full of great ideas that make living so easy, especially sensors in bathrooms/hallways.

  11. Hey Ben,

    Awesome house – congrats!
    We are just starting the process of designing a house on a tricky section in Auckland also and your project and style of house is along the lines of what we had mind broadly speaking. We’d love to pick your brain on your experience and what you think of the house now that you’ve been living in it for a while (comfort, sounds proofness, insulation with SIP walls). Would you mind having a quick chat at some stage?


  12. Hi

    We are developing a new build product for manufacturing. Would you know of an engineer that would be able to work with us in the validation of a new SIP product.

    I look forward to hearing from you soon.


  13. Hi Ben,

    Just watched you all videos! A lot of likes going on throughout. We have just started the planning stage for a build in Napier. Your guys approach looks similar to what ours most likely will be. We are def going SIPS, air tight, and build to last, only we hopefully will do a lot of the build ourselves. I am very interested now you shared this info on this site and though video. This is something I have been working on building our tiny house on wheels (www.weemakechange.co.nz). I have been thinking about now to apaprach this for years and get the balance right. You can flick me an email or comment here would be great! Thanks

    • Hey Mike, thanks for getting in touch. Just checked out your site, great content on there, liking the videos. Are you building another tiny house for yourselves with SIPs? Your current location looks idyllic! Cheers, Ben

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>