Friday, July 28, 2017 - 11:15am

A beautiful roof is the crowning glory to any home but what goes on it is more than just a visual choice. Your choice of roof materials plays a critical role in the performance of your home, and it impacts your budget now and when it comes to maintenance down the line.

One of the advantages of building new rather than buying an existing home is access to terrific new product technology and guarantees that mean your home will be weathertight for decades to come.

Whether you know exactly how you want your roof to look, or if you just want a cost-efficient and durable solution, this blog post explains the most common roofing materials used in New Zealand, and gives an insight into how they can affect the look of your home and your budget.



The most popular roofing material in New Zealand is long run metal, and for good reason. Lightweight, durable and easy to install, it comes in a wide range of colours and profiles to give a classic finish to any home. Profiles are the curves and patterns that give a metal roof striking shadow lines and personality, whether you like the traditional undulating curves of corrugated iron or the contemporary architectural lines of a tray profile.

The classic corrugated iron roof has largely been replaced by zinc or aluminium coated alloy-steel, which means less maintenance and greater durability, especially if your home is within sight of the sea.



Metal roofs are also available as tiles, pressed from zinc or aluminium alloy-coated steel that give the look of a traditional tiled roof. Popular in our Smart Collection of houses due to their cost-efficiency and resilience, metal tiles come in a wide range of finishes, from a shingle or stone look to pre-painted metal. A metal tiled roof lends charm and character to the overall aesthetic of a home.

Low-maintenance and easy to replace, metal tiles typically weigh a sixth of the weight of a conventional tile which reduces the amount of timber bracing required, thus providing cost saving in design and materials. Despite this, they give strength in the event of an earthquake and are impenetrable even in gale force winds due to their interlocking design.



Asphalt shingles are suitable for roofs pitched over 15 degrees and are a low maintenance option in sea spray zones. Although they are comparable with metal roofing in terms of material cost, they must be installed over a plywood substrate, which increases the overall price of the roof.



Clay tiles (from concrete or terracotta) are suitable for roofs with a pitch over 10 degrees and are extremely durable and weather resistant. Popular on traditional Italian or Spanish style houses, they give a natural warmth and are good at absorbing the sound of rain and hail. Although the cost per square metre is comparable to metal roofing for concrete tiles, they are as much as a third heavier and require a greater investment in timber bracing. Clay tiles are significantly more expensive and require extra bracing as well.



Solar Panels and Tiles

As more clients look towards renewable energy sources, products have become readily available that can be installed onto the roof and convert light into electrical energy. Signature Homes can provide quotes for solar tiles or solar panels on request.


Skylights and Rooflights

Fixed panel skylights (roof lights or roof windows) are a great way to obtain natural light in certain homes. If electronic opening versions are used, they also provide ventilation in areas such as bathrooms and showers. Signature Homes can provide quotes for skylights or rooflights on request.


Deciding on the final details of your new build can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to exterior items such as the roof. These decisions have significant structural and financial implications if changed later, so getting it right during the design of your home is critical. If in doubt, ask an expert.

Building your home with Signature not only gives you access to our decades of experience and exceptional guarantees, we are also here to support you through design, budgeting and build so you get the best possible home for your money, lifestyle and design taste.


Click here to see images of beautiful Signature Homes roofs to inspire your new home.

Friday, June 16, 2017 - 12:45pm

When planning to design and build your dream home, the style of roof is probably not as high on your list of must-haves as the kitchen and bathrooms, but it should be. Your roof provides protection from the elements and plays a major role in how weathertight, resilient and energy efficient your home is. Your roof also makes up as much as a third of the exterior of your home, and has a significant visual impact.

There are many considerations when planning your roof design, for example pitch, style, colour, choice of material (roof coverings), exposure to weather conditions, site positioning and of course, budget. This blog post looks at the practical and visual elements of roof pitch and style.

Roof pitch describes the steepness of a roof and it is essential in determining how water and debris will disperse. The main reason for pitching a roof is to redirect water and snow away from the house, which is why a steep pitched roof is common in areas that receive heavy snowfall. Pitch also determines what materials or systems are suitable for that home’s design.

There are four main roof styles that are common to New Zealand architecture.

1. Gable Roof
The gable is very popular in New Zealand, recognisable by its triangular shape and traditional aesthetic. The two roof panels are pitched so that they meet in the middle, and this style is typical of Cape Cod and Tudor style houses. From a functional perspective, gable roofs easily shed water and snow, however bracing design is essential in high wind zones. Inside, a gable roof provides space between the ceiling and roof coverings for storage or attic purposes, or can be used to create a striking raked (Cathedral) ceiling. 

2. Hip Roof
The clean, symmetrical design of a hip roof makes it another popular choice in New Zealand. Sturdy and stable in areas with snowfall or high winds, the hip style has all sides equal in length, forming together at the ridge of the roof to resemble a pyramid. Consistent with gable roofs, the increased height of a hip roof allows ceiling space for storage, attics or raked ceilings.  

3. Monopitch Roof
Modern and striking, a monopitch roof is also known as a skillion roof, and has a single, angled plane that rises from one side of the house to the other. Monopitch roofs can be very easy to construct, and evoke a minimalist, industrial style that has gained popularity in recent years. Eye-catching to look at from the outside, they add size to the interior rooms and give a nice aesthetic to ceilings if designed to follow the pitch of the roof.

4. Flat Roof
Made popular in the 1920s by Modernist architects such as le Corbusier, a flat roof has little or no pitch. Popular in cities with dry climates, the benefit of a flat roof is that the roof can be used as extra living or deck space, or for a rooftop garden. Flat roofs are more common in commercial applications in New Zealand as they provide space for storage of solar panels, air conditioning units and other building services. Ventilation and correct choice of roof covering is essential when using a flat roof design.

Before choosing your roof, it is important to determine what will work on your selected building site, the weather conditions your home will be exposed to and any other local or regulatory conditions. Once you have narrowed the choices from a practical perspective, think about what your needs are in terms of storage, building services, energy efficiency and of course, how you want your roof and ceilings to look. Ask your New Home Consultant for a Signature Homes Scrapbook and use it to collect pictures of existing houses you love.

Our New Home Consultants are specialists who will work with you and your ideas to make your dream home a reality. Whether you choose one of our pre-designed plans or want us to design your home from scratch (Design & Build), take time to consider what style of roof will best suit your lifestyle and needs, and give your dream home the crowning glory it deserves.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017 - 3:30pm

Have you ever had a suit or dress tailor made, just for you? Starting with a pre-determined cut or design, the tailor then helps you choose fabric, fit, colour and design finishings to make it unique to you and your needs. An extra pocket here, a cropped hem there, even though your suit or dress came from the same design as multiple clients before you, the final product can look completely different if you want it to.

Building a new home from a Signature Homes Pacific Collection plan is much the same. Your choice of plan determines specifics such as the number of bedrooms, bathrooms and overall floor plan. From there, you can instantly modify the look and style of your home through your choice of roof shape, exterior cladding and window style, or by adding exterior details such as a feature chimney or covered deck.

Take the two houses in the picture above, for example. Both options that can be built from the Marina plan, each exterior has a unique look and feel. House one has a gable roof with brick and weatherboard cladding and feature chimney. House two has a completely different look with monopitch roof and weatherboard cladding, and that’s before even considering colour choice and joinery. And both homes have changed the location and entrance of the garage.

Inside, there are endless options available to tailor a plan. You can add bi-fold or sliding doors to create indoor / outdoor flow, remove wardrobes to create office space or add in a kitchen island or butlers pantry to give you your dream entertainer’s kitchen. Some changes could alter the final cost of your home, and your New Home Consultant can help you work out whether the changes you desire can be made easily and within your budget, or whether you might be better off choosing an alternative plan.

Starting with a plan doesn’t mean you get the same home as everyone else who has also started with the same plan, Signature have never built the exact same home twice. A tried and tested house plan means you can relax knowing that the bones are good, and enjoy the process of personalising your home to make it unique. 

We have recently seen a significant, 25%, increase in home building inquiries from first time home builders in 2017, as awareness about the LVR exemptions for residential home builds grows.

Our CEO Paul Bull says first home buyers, particularly in Auckland, are giving up on the inner suburbs and literally fleeing to greener pastures because it’s easier to borrow money for a home build, and many of the old risks associated with over capitalising on new builds no longer exist.

"I can’t blame them. Who wants to live in a second-hand house in congested old suburbs? Building your own home in 2017 is low risk and makes financial sense. By the time you've managed to save a 20% deposit, or $191,200, for a $956,000 existing house (the median house price in Auckland) – the price of the house will have already increased.

"It's like chasing your tail. It's not a race first home buyers can win, and there is growing awareness of that. Nowadays if you meet the lending criteria you can arrange finance on a new build with as little as 5% deposit, with payments commencing when you move in to your new home. And we can guarantee that your home will be finished at the agreed price," says Paul.

Managing Director of mortgage financier Newbuild, Ian Webb, says a major obstacle for new home builders has always been the ‘unaffordability’ of the process, not the actual house, because people are required to live somewhere and pay rent while they wait eight to twelve months for the house to be built.

"Now we can structure the loan to the needs of the borrower. For example, they may want to make a progress payment, interest only payments, or no payments while building is in progress.

"It depends on the buyer and their financial position, but for example, interest can be capitalised (added to the loan). We also build in funding for contingencies, and any unused funds belong to the customer and are returned to them at the end of the build process."

The finance to build a home is at mortgage rates advertised by a major bank – there is no premium added to the construction loan interest rate – so you pay exactly what you would pay the bank on a similar home *loan.

"It is important to remember that if your bank declined a mortgage application, don't assume everybody else will too," says Ian.

In addition new homes will meet all the new building code standards, make use of modern building materials and technologies and will be designed for modern living, so their resale value is often higher than a second hand home.

"When you have the option of building with a deposit from five per cent for residential owner occupiers, and from ten percent deposit for residential investors, it’s a no brainer to build in this market.” says Paul. 

*A low Equity Margin may apply with less than 20% deposit.

As you have probably been reading in the media, the property market is booming. This boom isn’t just happening in Auckland, many other cities and regions are also seeing an influx of new residents. As New Zealand grows, the building industry is growing along with it – now is a good time to be a builder - however, as the industry grows, we are beginning to see some cracks forming. The pressure on the industry, caused by demand outstripping supply, is also creating a lot of competition in certain areas, which puts pressure on price and unfortunately creates opportunities to cut corners.

This has been highlighted in recent articles by the New Zealand Herald (you can read here and here) investigating substandard building practices including a class action in Christchurch against three companies using substandard steel mesh and another article on substandard products being sold to builders out the back of cars on building sites, products that don’t meet compliance.

As stated in the NZ Herald by the General Manager of Auckland Council’s building control team, Ian McCormick, council building inspectors were noticing more and more substitutions than ever before. The pressure to deliver a home on time, for less money was the main driver for replacement products being used. McCormick states that he is aware of a number of incidents where faulty or non-compliant products were used, and had to be removed after the completion of the home. Ranging from non-compliant roofing and electrical wiring, to substandard pre-cast concrete, the issue is wide-spread and not always easy to detect by your average homeowner. In some cases, where the company cannot prove compliance to the council, the homeowner has ended up footing the bill for the replacements. And these are the ones that have been identified before compliance. There is a reason that we have compliance, for the safety of the families who live the buildings, so in the future there may be more cases brought to light through damage to homes or loss of life caused by substandard building materials.

These examples are another reason you need to have full confidence in who you are using to build your home, that all the materials will meet compliance once completed, and that you are aware of the details of the guarantees you have on the home, from which suppliers and how long those guarantees last.

Signature Homes guarantee all our homes, and all the products we use. Our extensive supply chain of locally recognised building suppliers has been cultivated over time, allowing us to acquire the best quality products that have been tested to NZ Standards. Everything we use, our supply chain, products and trades, are the highest quality and ensure strict compliance to the New Zealand Building Code and applicable laws. What makes Signature Homes different is our guarantees, provided by an independent company, which provide the most extensive and comprehensive cover in the industry.

Throughout the Signature build process, our Project Managers and specialist Production Teams will personally oversee your entire build. They can help you stay abreast of everything that happens with your home, and are there to answer any questions you may have. Beyond that, they are there to manage all the contractors who work on your home, the quality of the work and ensure that your new home flies through the Code Compliance Certificate checks from the council without any hitches. This process is how Signature Homes can confidently guarantee the lasting structural integrity and weather tightness of your new home. Simply put, the guarantees Signature Homes offer are the best in the business meaning you can trust that you will not be left with any nasty surprises, and can sleep easy at night.