Ask the expert: builder Troy Jury

We ask QBS’ director Troy Jury about how to make the most out of your builder, what design mistakes he sees homeowners make, as well as a few personal questions!

How does someone find a builder for their project?

Recommendations are always a great option but sometimes that doesn’t work out. Drive around your area and have a look at sites, see if they look clean, safe and well-managed, then look the builders up. There are a range of online spaces where you can find potential builders to vet. Archipro, Instagram and Facebook are a great place to start to just get a feel for what sort of work the builder does and to what scale. Google search will always bring up a lot of options and sometimes can be hard to dial in. We recommend using the platforms that are out there that allow the builder to showcase their work to help you make a decision. Choose two or three and then jump into websites and intro emails from there!

How do you know a builder is right for you and your project?

You need to select a builder who does the type of work you are after; it’s no good choosing a spec home builder to do high-end. Their company’s structures, rates and margins just won’t match up and comparing pricing will be a nightmare. Again, use apps like Instagram to get a feel for what that builders market is!

QBS director Troy Jury is a licensed building practitioner and has run QBS residential building firm for over 11 years.

As a residential builder, what’s the scope of what you take care of?

At QBS we service all areas of building from reclading to developments, renovations to new homes. But our focus market is bespoke, high-end residential construction. We have spent over a decade fine-tuning our teams and office to cater to this line of work.

What’s the payment structure for a new build?

There are many options around how you structure payments for a new build, it starts with whether the price is fixed or not. If the job is fixed and you don’t intend on making changes, it is easier to set up staged claims; if you want more flexibility then charge-up progress claims is best.

Is it any different for renos?

Yes, renovations are very different because of the variables. Each renovation will also have its own challenges and this will change house to house. Some may be very well-built and others not! In our experience working on cost-plus agreed margin is best for all renovations as long as the builder is good with the admin side. Timesheeting, invoicing and admin needs to be very good if a builder wants to work on cost-plus.

QBS were engaged to build this modern take on the classic Auckland villa in Ponsonby. The new-build has the character features of a century-old home, with a grand foyer, high ceilings, and a large designer staircase.

What services do you offer?

We offer design and build, build only, budget creating and quantity surveying for all areas of residential building and light commercial.

What’s your top tip for a homeowner who has not worked with a builder before?

The best advice we can give a client who is building for the first time is to do your research online, meet with two or three builders and really understand what they offer both on and off-site, pre and post-build. Then select your favourite one to go through the process with. Bringing a builder in early on is critical to the process to avoid budget blowouts during the design phase! This will set you up for a great start to the project and ensure the home’s buildability matches the budget.

Where do you reckon clients spend too much money in their design?

In our experience over the years, clients tend not to spend enough on the details of the job early on. If you want a builder to be able to create a realistic budget and for it to be accurate he/she needs as much info as possible… Exact finishes and products are often left out and then, come the end of the job, the one the client wants is not within the budget. Time and money should be spent on these details at the design stage.

For homeowners, what’s the top tip you can give them to get the most out of their builder?

Trust your builder. What’s the point of selecting one if you are going to doubt their expertise? There are some really good builders in Auckland and there are some really bad ones. Do your homework, keep the contract simple but ensure you have any specific expectations listed and then trust in your decision and the builder to deliver on that. Oh, and some cold beers and pizza always goes a long way with tradies!

This designer home by QBS was a 90% re-build and extend from a 300m2 cottage to a 780m2 architectural retreat with views back across Auckland.

We get to know Troy by asking him some quick personal questions…

What you do for work described in one sentence: Oversee the craftsmanship required to bring quality, architectural design to life!

My favourite coffee house/restaurant is: Honey Bones, Richmond Road in the am! Azabu, Mission Bay for lunch… mmmmmmm.

My morning routine is: I’m at the Parnell office 4am daily with a long black and music on! 7.30am run/gym, 9am onwards it’s site visits/meetings.

On my wish list is: I’ve always wanted to be able to escape to a classic Kiwi bach on the weekend. Personally I would like something that is simple and minimal but has a high-end finish. Somewhere I can really just switch off from the day-to-day grind and dig the feet into the sand with a cold beer—and build a sandcastle!

What inspires me is: Competing with fellow builders, any complex and difficult designed home. I find a lot of inspiration from browsing home design magazines and books that display people’s hard work and dedication. There’s nothing better than seeing your work displayed and that is great inspo! When I come across a design that I wish we could have been a part of, it adds that little bit of extra drive to keep pushing!

My secret talent is: Golf.

My favourite room at home is: Master bathroom

I recently discovered: How much I missed chucking the tool belt on and getting back to my roots as I’ve been renovating my home over the last six months!