How long does it take to build a house?

by Genius Homes

With demand for houses at record-breaking highs in New Zealand, the cost of buying a new home continues to rise. Add to that severe building supply shortages caused by Covid-19 related shipping delays, which are impacting more than half of all current building projects and you may find yourself wondering how long it actually takes to build a house in 2021. In this blog, we unpack the expected timeframe for building a new home stage-by-stage, taking into account the setbacks those in the industry are currently facing. 

While the actual construction of an average house typically takes between 5-6 months, there are many other steps in the process that also need to be factored into the overall timeline. From your initial meeting to the day you move in, the full build process (including concept designs, council consents and arranging services etc) often takes closer to 12 months. However, there are many varying factors that impact the length of time it takes to complete a residential build. These include:

  • Consent times at your local council
  • Speed to make decisions and number of changes required
  • House size and design complexity 
  • Current building supply shortages
  • Foundation quality and earthworks required
  • Weather conditions
  • Project management and client arranged sub-trades
  • Festive season disruptions 
  • Financing and pre-approval from the bank

Doing some background research online will help you gain industry knowledge and determine companies that you’re interested in working with. Understanding the build process and setting realistic expectations around the timeline and budget is also critical to the success of your project. There are multiple stages on the road to your new home, some of which are a lot quicker than others. Below we have broken down each stage so that you can get an idea of the expected duration after you’ve given the project the ‘green light’.

New House Contract Signing - 1 Week

Once you’ve met with your chosen building company, decided on a floor plan, implemented any features/changes and are happy to proceed with the proposed quote, it’s time to sign on the dotted line!

While the actual signing of the building agreement is a reasonably quick process, the timeline to get to this point can typically be as long or short as you make it. While it’s important to ensure you clearly outline your wants and budget at this stage to get it right, going back and forward can take substantial time. 

The contract should include details on guarantees, payment schedules and completion dates so that you have an estimated timeframe as to when you’ll be able to move in. This gives you time to finalise rental leases, settle on your current house sale, or simply just get things packed up and ready to move. Substantial changes you may want to make later on can typically be achieved, however will likely result in a change to the quote and timeframe. 

With Genius Homes, your new build will be allocated a project manager at the stage of signing your contract. They will see it through the drafting, council consent and build and ensure materials and specifications are available as required. You will also be booked in with a design consultant at this stage to finalise some of the colours and materials not covered in the concept design.

Design & Materials Selected - 2 to 3 Weeks

If you’ve purchased a ‘turn-key' house solution, you’ll go over samples and swatches with your chosen provider for finishings, materials and fittings such as floor coverings, handles, paints and joinery. 

At Genius Homes, our qualified and experienced staff help with designing your new home, from the layout right through to colour and material selection. This stage doesn't have as much of a fixed timeframe as these details just need to be confirmed and ordered towards the end of the build.

New home interior

House Designs Drafted - 3 Weeks

All builds need to comply with council requirements and building standards, therefore a draftsperson or architect is used to ensure that the plans outline these details. These are the official designs that are sent to the council for building consent. 

With Genius Homes, once the site has been marked up and final design details confirmed, the final drafting is completed for your home. 

New Build Council Approval - 4 to 5 Weeks

Once your proposal is confirmed and the contract signed, your plans will need to be submitted to your local council for approval. Sometimes consents can be issued quite quickly and other times it can take longer than normal if the council team is busy and can't be hurried.

At Genius Homes, we take care of this process for you by submitting the necessary documents and going back and forth with the council if required. As our builds are prefabricated in our Timaru-based factory, the building consent process is easier for most projects.

Construction & Fitout - 14 Weeks

Once you have building consent, and your build slot has been allocated, construction can begin. As soon as you know the start date, you need to tell your council. This date is important as you need to start your project within 12 months of receiving your building consent and finish it within two years as part of the council's final project sign-off. Your construction build slot will depend on factory wait times and this will be discussed during the previous stages. The construction work also needs to be completed within the timeframe stipulated in the building contract and if no dates were given then it needs to be completed “within a reasonable time”. A traditional build typically takes around 5-6 months to complete, including around 4 weeks to pour the concrete slab. However, a buffer should be added into this as it can often be longer in the winter months or when there are unforeseen earthworks involved or building material shortages

Weather can often be an unreliable variable for traditional builds, as heavy rain or strong winds can cause tradespeople that work on the exterior of a home (such as builders, painters or brick-layers) to halt work on jobs. This can have a domino effect on the timeline of other trades which delays the schedule and may increase the costs. As prefab homes are built in a factory, every element of the build can be tightly controlled and work can continue throughout the year, rain or shine. Therefore this reduces your temporary accommodation costs or means less time staying with family while you wait for your house to be built. 

With Genius Homes, each prefab home is constructed in a purpose-designed factory which speeds up the build, streamlines processes and eliminates external disruptions. They also feature a steel sub-frame that makes them strong and transportable. With an internal team of builders that are used to building our designs, we can move efficiently and quickly to have your home ready as soon as possible. Once your plans have entered the production line, the building process to site delivery will typically take around 10 weeks and there will be an additional 4 weeks of on-site work until the keys are handed over.

How long does it take to build a house?During the construction phase, we send you regular photos and progress reports of how the construction of your prefab home is tracking. However, if you want the experience of watching your house come together like an on-site build, you can still do so by visiting our factory and seeing your new home coming together!

As the whole build is carried out in the factory under close supervision, Genius Homes can also ensure that your home is built to the highest quality standards. All aspects of the building and fit-out are also closely inspected before the house leaves our factory. After the roof and walls are up, lined with Gib and painted, your new home's interior is fitted out with kitchen and bathroom, colour and fitting options as well as all plumbing and electrical fittings ready to be hooked up on-site. We then aim to complete site works once the home has landed within 20 working days. Most of the site works are carried out before the house is delivered. Once the house is on-site the Genius Homes team will connect it to the services, add decks, baseboards, carports and any other extras you have chosen. 

Code of Compliance & Handover - 4 Weeks

Once the build is complete and on-site, we will have local tradespeople come and finish the house. Typically this is simply fixing any wear and tear from transport and connecting your home to services before the council comes to issue your Code of Compliance certificate, which confirms that the building work complies with the building consent. The consent process can take up to 20 working days from the application being received. For those building with Genius Homes, our team will take care of the consent process. 

Because we use local tradespeople for the on-site touch-ups it can take a week or more to source suitable tradies and get the work booked in. While we do our best to ensure their work is to the highest standard it’s always worth checking this carefully in the next step.

Once the house is ready and you've inspected it with our Site Manager, it's time for handover – and the final stage of moving in begins! 

Genius Homes are with you for every step of your home building journey. If you’d like to have a chat with one of our experienced team members to learn more about the building process and current timeframes, please contact us. To see our full range of prefab home designs, download our new product catalogue.

Genius Homes Brochure download now

filed under Prefab Homes NZ , Kitset Homes

Sign up for our newsletter