Blog

Thursday, August 23, 2018 - 8:15am

Signature Homes offers a number of comprehensive guarantees to give you peace of mind during your house build and after the keys are handed over. Find out more about what they are and how they work. 

1. What is the Comprehensive Guarantee Programme?
Signature Homes offers an independently bonded building guarantee 
for completion of a client’s home as set out 
in the building agreement. The programme gives our clients more protection than
 any other in New Zealand and covers not only home completion, but other aspects including weathertightness, structural and non-structural defects. These guarantees 
are indemnified by RIL (Residential Indemnity Ltd), a company set up solely to underwrite the guarantee. RIL is independent from the Signature Homes Franchise Builder who you contract to build your home. 

 

2. What are the differences between RIL’s Home Completion Guarantee and other ‘completion’ guarantees?
Other building guarantees have set limits in relation to the total amount that can be paid out for loss of deposit and/or non-completion, and some have excesses to pay on any claim. This means that the difference in the claim limit set by the guarantee company and the actual costs to complete the home then need to be paid by the client. RIL’s Home Completion Guarantee has no set limits around how much any client can claim. Should there be a problem, RIL simply guarantees to finish the home as per the building agreement – at no extra cost to the client. There are not any excesses to pay on any claim made against RIL’s Guarantees. 

 

3. When do the guarantees start and finish? 
The loss of deposit and completion aspects of the Comprehensive Guarantee Programme come into effect from the
 date your application is accepted by RIL (usually within two weeks of your building agreement becoming unconditional) and the cover remains in place until the Practical Completion of your home. The structural, weathertightness and non-structural
 defect guarantees apply from the practical completion of the home. Non-structural defects are covered for two years and structural and weathertightness defects are both covered for a period of 10 years from Practical Completion. 

 

4. Should a claim need to be made on the Completion Guarantee what is the maximum cover? 
The maximum cover available is the cost to complete the home (if any) over and above the remaining progress payments that are to be made under the building agreement. The provided cover is based on the home being finished as per the plans and specifications in the original building agreement, and any subsequent variations. 

 

5. What is the financial strength backing the Home Completion Guarantee? 
The Home Completion Guarantee is backed by a performance
bond of $1 million issued by ANZ Bank New Zealand, plus significant cash reserves. The performance bond and cash reserves are independently audited by Deloittes on an annual basis to ensure the bond and cash reserves are adequate to cover any potential claims. 

 

6. Are the guarantees transferable to the next owner of the home? 
Yes they can be repeatedly transferred at no cost, unlike many other building guarantees. 

 

7. If our Signature Homes Franchise Builder did fail, who would finish our home? 
In the unlikely event this did occur, another Signature Homes Franchise Builder would complete the work (in the first instance). If this was not possible, then a reputable substitute would be used. The structural, weathertightness and defect aspects of the Comprehensive Guarantee Programme would still be applicable to the home once completed. The Home Completion Guarantee ensures your home is completed as per your building agreement, with no additional cost. 

 

8. Is the work on my home insured if I need to make a completion claim?
Yes, RIL makes sure that insurance is in place from the time the builder ceases work through to the apointment of a substitute builder and the Practical Completion of the home. This differs from a number of other build guarantees, where the guarantee company is not reponsible for keeping the works insured.

 

9. Can my solicitor take a closer look at RIL’s Guarantee Programme? 
Absolutely, we encourage this. Your solicitor will be able to confirm that RIL’s Guarantee Programme stands up very favourably when compared with others on the market. 

 

10. Are there any conditions or general exclusions I need to be aware of? 
Yes – such matters 
as landscaping, materials supplied or work performed by others, acts of God etc. These are similar to other insurance policies and guarantees, and are covered in the terms and conditions of the guarantee document. 

 

Our Market Leading Building Guarantees

Our aim is to delight our clients with every aspect of our service and every detail of their new home. That's not just a promise, we back it up with our exclusive, independently bonded guarantees. These include: 

TOTAL PRICE GUARANTEE: We guarantee that the price we give you when you sign the Building Contract is the same price you will pay for us to build your new home – with the exception of any agreed variations. 

NO HIDDEN EXTRAS GUARANTEE: We guarantee that we won’t sneak anything else into your price meaning there are no nasty surprises.

GUARANTEED COMPLETION DATE: When we tell you which day you can move in to your new home, we mean it – otherwise we pay! 

10-YEAR STRUCTURAL GUARANTEE: Your new home will stand the test of time. 

10-YEAR WEATHER TIGHTNESS GUARANTEE: We guarantee all our homes will be warm, dry and healthy to live in for years to come. 

2-YEAR MAINTENANCE GUARANTEE: (which covers any non-structural defects)
We guarantee that our homes will remain maintenance free for two years, giving you more time to enjoy living in them. 

Our unique Home Completion Guarantee provides 100 percent protection on any payments made by our clients during construction of their home. 

Read more about our Guarantees here.

Thursday, August 9, 2018 - 8:30am
Signature Homes Seaview plan

Picking an architectural style is a choice informed by how you live as well as your personal taste. We round up some popular options and what to consider before you choose.

1. Contemporary 
If you love the look of modern materials, simple shapes and clean lines, a contemporary home is for you. Our Design & Build service allows you to achieve the architectural look you love using the most up-to-date technology to create a bespoke home unique to your family. Pictured is our Seaview plan (main image), and Nelson showhome (below), both featuring original design.

 

2. Coastal 
We Kiwis love our lakes, rivers and beaches and a home on the water is a dream for many of us. If you’re lucky enough to realise this dream, you’ll want a durable, easy- care home with big, beautiful windows. This home was built from Signature’s Sandy Bay plan at Marsden Cove in Whangarei. 

 

3. Classic 
This style of home has a heritage feel that will always be timeless. A classic home is also extremely versatile as it’s equally suitable for a lifestyle block, sleepy country town or an urban suburb. Pictured here is an example of the Tetley plan, a generous home design that’s ideal for entertaining. 

 

4. European 
The New Zealand landscape is so diverse that borrowing architectural ideas from around the world often makes sense. Our love affair with Tuscan and Spanish houses is ongoing and these styles can offer easy living with great connection to the outdoors. Pictured is the Tangaroa from our Pacific Collection

 

WHAT’S IMPORTANT WHEN CHOOSING YOUR HOME STYLE?

SIZE: What size home will best suit your family? Consider storage, bedrooms, bathrooms, room sizes and living areas. 

FUNCTION: Think about what you like to do in your home, eg entertain, work, study, individual hobbies and family time. 

YOUR STYLE: Think about your personal taste and how objects and furniture will fit your new home. What is your vision for the interior and which house will best suit it? 

LANDSCAPE: Consider what type of house suits your location and section, and takes best advantage of the view, sun orientation and wind. 

THE FUTURE: Think about how your family might change, grow or shrink and research what technologies are likely to be common in our homes. Prepare for tomorrow!

This article originally appeared in Signature Style magazine. Click here to request your free copy.

 

Thursday, July 26, 2018 - 11:15am

As well as designing and building homes from scratch, Signature Homes offers some inspiring pre-designed home plans. Find out if one of our plans might be right for you.

1. What is a house plan? 
A house plan is the design for a layout of a home. It doesn’t include any decor or materials and is more about providing a template for a style of living. Signature Homes offers a range of pre-designed house plans that you can choose from as a template for your dream home. Choosing the right plan will depend on a number of factors, such as the size of your family, the characteristics of your site and the things you love doing in your spare time.

2. Why build off a plan? 
House plans are a great way to understand how a home can be designed and laid out in different ways. It can also help speed up the design process if you find a plan you like that fits on your section. Many of our clients tell us they wish they had gone to our website before spending money with an architect because their ideal plan was already there! A plan is just a starting point, particularly with our Pacific Collection, where most clients choose to make some or many changes. Our clients have full control of every design aspect that goes into their home, from kitchen layout to flooring choices, tiling and paint colours, and every home we build is different, just as each of our clients 
is different. Whether it’s adding extra space in the garage for the boat or rearranging the kitchen cupboards, it’s all up to you. 

3. What makes Signature Homes’ plans special?
Our plans have been tried and tested by our clients. Many of them started as custom designs that have proven popular with other families. We have built thousands of homes across New Zealand so we know what works, and our teams across the country are in touch with local trends, which means we have lots of choices available.

Dreaming of a butler’s pantry? We have them. Want your kids’ bedrooms close to the master bedroom? We’ve got it. Want the kids’ bedrooms at the other end of the house? No problem! We regularly review our plans and designs to ensure we are keeping them fresh and up to date with current trends. We also work closely with our suppliers to ensure
we get the best and latest materials and products to go into all our homes. 

4. How do I know what plan is right for me? 
Our New Home Consultants are experts at finding the perfect home for you. They’ll get to know you, your interests and lifestyle, where you see yourself in the next five to 10 years, and so on, in order to find you the right living solution. We also recommend you visit one of our showhomes or take a virtual tour online. This is the best way to see how a plan works in real life, as well as the quality of the build. 

Building a home isn’t easy and the process is different for each and every home we build. The one thing that’s always the same is we are with you from the first point of contact right through to handing over the keys, so we go on the journey together.

5. What does a house built from 
a plan include?

Whether you build using one of our plans or we design you a home from scratch, you will be provided with what we call a Total Cost To Build. This will include everything you need to move into your home once we hand over the keys. All aspects of the design, consents, construction and internal fixtures and fittings of your home are included in this estimate. So when you sign a build contract, you’ll be receiving everything you need to move in. On some sites, such as steep sections or reclaimed land, there may be additional engineering requirements and costs, and these can’t be fully determined until we start work on the site. In most cases we are able to provide an estimate for the siteworks so we can determine how much of your budget is required for your siteworks, and what budget you have available for the build. 

6. Can I customise parts of my plan such as the kitchen layout? 
Yes! We provide a variety of experts for you to consult at different steps in the design process. We have a number of local and national suppliers who can help with different parts of the home such as kitchen layout, interior design choices and bathrooms, plus our New Home Consultants and in-house designers are with you every step of the way to help with these big decisions. 

7. Will it cost extra to make changes to my plan? 
This depends on what the changes are and at what part of the journey the change is made. We have pricing on some plans to provide guidance for our clients so if you change those plans, sometimes this can impact the cost of building the home, but we are completely transparent throughout the process. We have systems in place to show how any changes can impact the cost for everyone so there are no nasty surprises down the road. 

8. Which are the most popular Signature Homes plans?
Out of our four collections we have a number of popular homes that get lots
 of hits on our website. From our Design & Build homes, the Tamahere 
is popular, as is the Karaka and the two- storey Wellesley. In our Pacific Collection, four-bedroom designs with two or three bathrooms, a double garage and a butler’s pantry are popular, and we have a number of plans that fit the bill including the Sandy BayTafua and Rakino. Our Aspiring Collection was driven by the trend towards open-plan spaces and smaller footprints, and this new collection is seeing a lot of interest. Our Smart Collection is our most efficient in terms of cost and has several options under 200 square metres; our most popular plans are HeronWeka and Kahu

9. Can Signature Homes help me draw up my own plans?
Absolutely. Signature Homes started in 1983 as a house design and build company, and we still work with in-house designers 
to create unique homes to suit our clients’ budgets. We found many clients were asking for similar styles of homes, so took our most popular plans and turned them into plan collections to make it easier for families to start with a template, then add their personal touch. However, custom design and building is still a big part of our business, as some sites require an architecturally designed home, and many clients have unique needs. We take a holistic approach to the design process and keep our clients involved and engaged at every step of the journey. 

10. What are the most exciting trends you’re seeing in house design? 
We are seeing a lot of changes in what people are looking for in a new home. In Auckland there is a growing need for two-storey and terraced homes with efficient design for smaller sections. We are also getting a lot of requests from clients looking to add extra living spaces and kitchenettes, sometimes to accommodate parents continuing to live with the family, children living at home for longer, and people looking for additional income. As the kitchen has become the heart of the home, we have seen more floor space given over to this area, and we don’t build many homes without a butler’s pantry of some description. Similarly, ensuites and bigger master wardrobes are becoming must-haves for our clients. With an evolving focus on devices and entertainment, we are also designing more and more work stations in living areas and media rooms or versatile spaces that can be closed off through the use of sliding doors.

To find out more about our Signature plans, click here.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018 - 12:15pm
Nude natural flooring in a Signature Home

The best flooring fades into the background while making our homes a joy to live in. Check out our top flooring trends, as well as the wide range of durable and modern options.

1. Nude natural (above image)
Inspired by the Scandinavian trend, this look is all about stripped-back simplicity, pale wood tones and clean whites. The appearance of white-washed wood is ideal for floors, either hardwood, laminate or vinyl. Natural fibres add warmth and texture, and greenery creates a connection to nature.

 


2. Deep blue
Cool grey and deep blue flooring can create a stunning contrast with warm wood, as well as adding depth to rooms with good natural light. Consider a stone-look laminate and use rugs and soft furnishings to make the coolness feel cosy.

 


3. Light & white
Black is back and contrast is king! This striking look is bold and modern, and very light or white flooring stops it from becoming too heavy. White tiles are always on trend and very pale wood effects add the lightest hint of texture and nature in sleek spaces.

 


4. Warm wood
Rich timber and polished wood are always timeless in the home. The heritage feel of chestnut, oak, mahogany and native timbers is ideal in houses with a traditional look and feel. Hardwood floors, vinyl tiles and even laminate all offer amazing options if you love walking on wood.

 

"The appearance of colour can change in different environments, so it’s important to view your chosen sample under daylight and artificial light before making your final decision. And remember; darker colours can make a room appear smaller, whereas lighter colours can create a sense of spaciousness." Cavalier Bremworth.

TYPES OF FLOORING

CARPET
Soft and cosy, you can’t go past carpet for warmth, price, beauty and durability.

HARDWOOD
A pricier choice, hardwood is long-lasting, timeless and always beautiful.

VINYL
The ideal choice if you’re looking for a specific look on a more modest budget.

STONE & TILE
Marble, travertine and mosaic effects without the costly price tag.

LAMINATE
All the beauty and tonal variety of wood with the toughness of laminate.
 
Which flooring is best for which part of your home?

LIVING

Carpet is ideal for relaxing on, but if your living area flows out to a deck, use tough hardwood or vinyl, then add rugs for the snuggle factor.
 
KIDS’ AREA
Vinyl flooring is tough, easy to clean and comes in heaps of cool colours.
 
KITCHEN
Tiles are beautiful but take a lot of cleaning – vinyl and laminate look great and can withstand anything you throw, spill or drop.
 
BATHROOM
Tiles, tiles, tiles.
 
HALLWAY
High-traffic areas such as hallways can get noisy – a warm, durable carpet is the best choice.
 
GARAGE
Carpeting in garages is the norm these days, even under the car. Tough garage carpet will also provide a good surface for your home gym.

 

This article was originally featured in Signature Style Magazine, Issue 4. Click here to order your free copy.
 

Friday, June 15, 2018 - 11:30am
Pendant lights in a Signature Homes Design and Build

Lighting is integral to creating a warm and inviting yet practical home. Drawing up a lighting plan is the best way to ensure all your lighting needs are covered, from cooking up a storm to chilling out.

Types of Lighting


Pendants
These hanging lights are designed to make a statement, as well as illuminate, so are ideal for lighting your entryway, kitchen island or dining table.


LEDS
These versatile lights are the future due to their high energy efficiency. LED strips can be mounted almost anywhere and make great downlights in kitchens, bathrooms and hallways. LED lights are also often colour-changing so you can customise the tone of light in a room (warm or cool) or switch to full-on disco mode.


Recessed
Small lights inset into your ceiling are wonderful for low-profile illumination that won’t disrupt the flow of your space. These types of lights are often the foundation of a lighting plan and can be combined with spotlights, pendants and task lighting to provide all the different types of light you’ll need in your home.


Wall sconces
Wall-mounted lights may not be as modern as LEDs or come in as many different types as pendants but this more traditional form of lighting still has its place in the modern home. Wall lights combined with dimmer switches are great for creating a more moody feel – think dimming the lights for a movie night or special dinner for two.

Other types of Lighting fixtures

Ceiling

These lights offer general illumination and will be required all over the home, but especially in areas that need good visibility, such as the kitchen and bathroom.

Desk & Table
Lamps for reading, studying or hobby work are always handy and can be swapped out when you need a style update.

Track Light
Ideal for spotlights that will illuminate task work in zones such as the dining table and laundry.

Floor Lamps
Standing lamps are super versatile and can create a real statement. Choose a secondhand lamp or curvy brass lamp for a vintage feel.

Outdoor
Lighting your garden and entry areas well will make your home more secure, as well as more stylish. Consult a specialist for ideas on lighting your home’s exterior.

ENERGY SAVING TIPS
Here are a few easy ways to choose lighting that will lead to lower energy costs and a happier planet:
  • Recessed downlights have a narrow beam so you’ll need a large number to provide even light, resulting in higher energy consumption. These lights can also compromise your home’s ceiling insulation and thermal comfort, resulting in higher heating bills. To mitigate these drawbacks, choose modern LED downlights that are rated IC, IC-F or IC-4. They can have compatible insulation fitted over them to keep the heat in and offer lower lighting costs.
  • The ‘flood’ effect of surface-mounted ceiling and pendant lights means they light large spaces easily, so you won’t need many. Fit them with energy-efficient LED bulbs for low lighting costs.
  • Dimming your lights can help cut down your electricity bill and increase the life of your bulbs. If you dim a bulb by 50 percent, you can make 50 percent energy savings.
  • Pale-coloured walls and furnishings help to maximise natural light by providing a reflective surface. Skylights and solar-tube-type fittings increase natural light and therefore reduce lighting costs.

For more energy saving tips visit energywise.govt.nz

This article was originally published in Signature Style Magazine, Issue 4. Click here to order your free copy.