Signature Homes featured strongly during the Green Building Awards held during Green Building Week 2016 (September 26–October 2), with two of our recent builds given the highest possible ’New Zealand Excellence’ Green Star ratings.

Green Star takes into account nine categories when rating a building’s overall environmental impact:  energy, water, materials, indoor environment quality (IEQ), transport, land use & ecology, management, emissions, and innovation.

Paul Bull, Signature Homes CEO, couldn’t be happier with the awards “To be recognised in this way for two quite different builds by the New Zealand Green Building Council is recognition of the fact that Signature Homes is able to apply these rigorous requirements to any project that our clients require from us. As an industry we now need to be more aware of the environment in all aspects of the build process from sourcing materials, to design and to future sustainability, and we have the expertise to do so.”

Te Kura Kaupapa Maori O Whangaroa, a Maori immersion school in Matauri Bay, Northland, and built by Signature Homes has been awarded 5 stars. Through its sustainable features it will be an example to the children that pass through the school, that is already focused on sustainable practices.

Project Manager Dale Prosser, of Signature Homes Ltd, was pleased to accept the award for the build, “I’m proud of the effort the whole team put into taking the school from concept through to reality, ensuring the strict Green Star criteria were met along the way. We need to move forward as a country, making sustainable building a priority. Te Kura Kaupapa Maori O Whangaroa is a perfect place to implement this as it will educate the next generation on the importance of sustainable design.”

Eight new homes in Mount Roskill (pictured above), owned by Housing New Zealand and built by the Signature Homes North Shore Franchise have been awarded 6 Homestars (the best rating possible). Homestar is a specific branch of the New Zealand Green Building Council, designed to apply environmental standards specifically to housing. Homestar awards points across seven categories: energy, health and comfort; water; waste; materials; site; home management; and an optional innovation category. The new Housing New Zealand homes in Mt Roskill are a great example of how through good design, land use can be maximised in an efficient and sustainable way for comfortable urban living.

The two awards illustrate how we can successfully incorporate sustainability into any building project, from commercial builds to residential developments. This will in turn deliver benefits to the owner and community through lower running costs, a healthier indoor environment and a smaller environmental footprint. 

Even if you aren’t striving for a Greenstar award, if you are looking for more sustainable ways to build your next commercial or residential housing project talk to your nearest Signature Homes office.


Thursday, October 20, 2016 - 12:30pm

With the rise of Pinterest and Instagram, we have access to more inspiration right at our fingertips than ever before. Photos of beautiful homes and rooms give rise to ideas and combinations we never thought could work together. 

This year we are seeing a 'nakedness' creep into the aesthetic of popular bathrooms. Raw textures, unfinished surfaces and bare bulbs are amongst the trends that are proving popular, and for good reason. A mixture of textures gives a richness that pleases our tactile nature as humans. Exposed Edison bulbs and copper fittings provide light and warmth, contracting against dark, textured walls.

While it is tempting to throw yourself headfirst into current trends, it is important to consider the long term reality of them. Will they still be on trend in a year? Will those exposed shelves you love, so beautifully styled, become annoying with no doors to shut away any mess? Our best advice is to use easily changeable pieces to follow the trends; you can easily swap your light fittings, or repaint a wall. The rest of your bathroom should be about keeping to the classics. 

One thing we have found time and again that never goes out of fashion is a great shower. Picking the right shower head can make the difference between fantastic pressure and a trickle. Methven are making great shower heads at the moment, their designs are sleek, functional and modern. Popularity speaks volumes, and their Aurajet AIO is proving incredibly popular amongst all our clients. 

We love to provide great advice to our clients. There are a wide range of options available to you, both in the bathroom and throughout your home, to suit all tastes and budgets. Talk to us today about building your new home, our designers, colour specialists and project managers will be there with you every step of the way. 

The price of housing in New Zealand is rising. We are seeing huge increases in the cost of purchasing property all around the country. Auckland prices in particular are sky-rocketing. People are beginning to look to look further afield, searching for cheaper house prices, causing the price of property to rise around the country.

Notably, these price increases are making it difficult for first homebuyers to get a foot on the property ladder. Beyond this, media speculation and news pieces on the topic paint a grim picture, this adds fuel to the fire, causing panic. This panic can be compounded at high stress auctions seeing prices soar way above the expected sale price. 

We’ve compiled a list of tips below that could help you beat the New Zealand housing crisis:


1) Investigate all your options

One of the first decisions you will make when considering the purchase of a new home is whether to buy existing, or build new. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, but the disadvantages of buying aren’t always obvious.

Many modern features are standard on new homes, but older homes may need to be retrofitted to include these. Once you add this cost to your purchase price, the amount you will have to spend will increase dramatically.

You will need to consider whether the house you are looking at contains the following: Security systems, double glazing, energy efficient appliances, a dishwasher or space for one, indoor-outdoor flow, a floor plan that takes into account the position of north, aluminium door and window joinery, security window stays, multiple power points per room, bathroom extractor fans, multiple telephone jacks, hard-wired smoke detectors, garage door openers with remote control and internal access garages.
So many of these features we take for granted, yet these features make a huge difference to how we live in our home.

You will also need to investigate the potential health hazards of buying an existing home. Some homes house harmful products that are no longer used, these can have serious health ramifications or can be incredibly dangerous – it won’t just be your wallet that gets hurt. Asbestos was used extensively in older homes as were lead based paints. Both of these require considerable work to fix and can cause serious health issues. How watertight is the home you are looking at? Homes built under older building codes didn’t have to meet the same stringent guidelines that a required today.

We also need to consider who used the house we are looking at buying before us. Was it used to cook methamphetamine? Poisonous toxins from the cooking process remain in the building long after the perpetrators are gone. They seep into the structure of the building, leaving no option but to tear the house down.

Building a new home is often considered a stressful process, but at Signature homes, we believe the whole process should be not only stress free, but also enjoyable.  

It should certainly involve a lot less stress than fixing some of the above issues.


2) Consider looking out of town

When choosing a location to buy or build, there are many contributing factors that can affect your decision. For some people, living in a specific area is more important than for others who can afford to be more flexible with where they decide to live. If being more flexible is an option for you, consider looking further afield. Perhaps there is somewhere nearby that you hadn’t considered because it’s a slightly further commute, but it might actually only add 15 minutes to your commute time. School zones play an important part in pushing up prices. Do your research on other schools in the same city; it may be that there are other comparable schools in different areas that can offer the same learning environment for your children without the big price tag for the location. This would allow you to look in different areas giving you more options.

Perhaps there is an up-and-coming area that is cheaper to buy in because it isn’t in a popular zone. If you have the option to relocate easily with your career, considering extending your search for property to different cities or towns can yield better result.

Finding the right area to live in is a balance between your wants and needs and your budget. The more options you can give yourself, the more likely it will be that you can find the right property for the right price.


3) Buddy up/rent out a room

Unconventional living arrangements are becoming increasingly conventional. It isn’t uncommon in New Zealand now to have several generations of a family living under one roof. This opens up a huge amount of possibilities for pooling resources to get on the property ladder. Are you looking to buy you and your family a home while your parents are looking to downsize? Could you combine your resources and purchase a large house with space for you all under one roof?

Alternatively, do you have friends also looking to get on the property ladder? Could you combine your resources and purchase a property together, living as if you were flatting together, but instead you own the house between you. This could be a good stepping stone to get into the market. Another option is to buy a property and rent out one of the rooms that you aren’t using. This can help you cover the mortgage repayments every month making such a large purchase more economically viable.

These are all great ideas to provide you with an opportunity to buy property, however we do suggest you choose who you decide to live with carefully and get a thorough contract drawn up incase a disagreement occurs.


4) Do your research

It is important when looking to buy property that you thoroughly research all your options. There are a couple of great Kiwi Saver schemes out there for people who fit the criteria. New Build Finance also offers affordable finance and low deposit loans to Signature Homes customers. They can offer loans from as little as 5% deposit and once your deposit is paid, you don’t need to spend a cent on repayments until you move in to your brand new home.

Check out New Build's Home Loan Qualifying Calculator here.

By doing your research thoroughly you open yourself up to more opportunities that could allow you to purchase property more easily.


Tuesday, December 15, 2015 - 10:45am

Make sure your home looks lived-in

You don’t want that stack of newspapers to let potential burglars know that you’re away on holiday. To avoid making your house look empty follow these tips:

  • Stop your newspaper delivery and mail.
  • Park your car inside the garage not on the street.
  • Put one of your household lights on a timer.
  • Install a motion-activated sensor on an outdoor floodlight.
  • If you’re going away for a long time get a gardener and make sure the grass doesn’t get too long.


Be aware of necessary plumbing and electric precautions

Refrigerators and freezers are going to be a drain on your power and finances and increases the chances of something going wrong. Avoid the expense and headache of something going wrong with an appliance while you’re away:

  • Unplug all of your appliances and electronic devices.
  • Make sure to Turn off water valves to the dishwasher, washing machine and all sinks.
  • remember the thermostat isn’t just for you. Make sure you set the temperature to a level that still protects your plants, pets and furniture.

Some general home preparation tips

Some general tasks to consider doing before your vacation:

  • Notify your bank that you are going out of town.
  • Notify your security company that you are going out of town.
  • Make sure your smoke detectors are working properly.
  • Leave your emergency contact information with a neighbor.
  • Toss out any food that will go bad before you return from vacation.
  • And last but not least but also quite essential make sure you take out the kitchen trash, or any other trash that could get smelly.
Wednesday, September 23, 2015 - 5:00pm

With summer still a few months away and that chilly winter air still hanging in there, it's important to make sure that you are making the most out of your home's warmth. I mean, nobody wants to be paying those high winter power bills all through spring as well! So with spring signifying a new start, Signature Homes is here to provide you with seven helpful home heating tips to help you make a new start toward keeping your home warm and your power bills down.


Did you know that up to 40% of your home's precious heat can escape through uncovered windows in winter? That's almost half of your home's heat literally going out the window. By investing in heavy curtains, that extend below the window frame, you are helping insulate your windows, preventing the warmth from escaping.


By installing insulation, or even just topping up old and thinning insulation, you can save your home from using up to 45% less energy towards heating and cooling, dramatically reducing your power bills. New and improved insulation basically pays for itself.


Random gaps and cracks around your home can account for 15-25% of the heat loss in your home. To keep your heat from creeping out through any cracks or gaps, you can seal them up using cheap materials from the local hardware store. A bit of weather stripping around doors and windows, a touch of gap filler for cracks in the walls and even the basic door snake for the foot of the door, all three of these will see heat retained more effectively in your home.


For most people, a comfortable room temperature is around 20C in winter, so any extra heat is simply wasting your energy. If your heater doesn't have a programmable thermostat, simply place a thermometer in your home so you can keep an eye on the temperature.


Why bother heating up an empty room? To keep the heat exclusively in the room that you are using, keep any doors to unused rooms closed shut. This let's you control and retain the heat in areas where you want it. EMBRACE THE SUNSHINE Make the most of the sun's UV rays. Ultraviolet radiation passes easily through glass, but once it hits an object it becomes infrared radiation, which doesn't pass back through glass as easily, thus heating your room up. In order to make the most of all this free energy, you should leave your blinds and curtains open during the day. Especially on north or west facing windows, which tend to enjoy the most sunshine.


It's much easier to keep yourself warm, rather than heating up an entire house. You can save heaps on heating and power bills, simply by putting on a cosy jumper or some warm socks.