The client’s vision is absolutely integral to the design of any new home, according to Alpine Homes NZ Ltd owner Brian Archer.
The company’s holistic approach helped to take out the New Homes $250,000 – $350,000 category in the Registered Master Builders 2008 House of the Year, in association with PlaceMakers.
However the award-winning home just north of Cromwell nearly didn’t get built at all.
“Our clients had previously been living in a motor bus prior to deciding to build their own home. But after a building company supplied a plan which didn’t fit their section, they were so disheartened that they nearly threw in the towel,” Mr Archer says.
“Honestly, the biggest challenge for us was changing their attitude towards building. They were really put off after their initial experience, so we had to work hard to prove we could deliver the property they wanted.”
Alpine Homes NZ, which offers everything from surveying and custom-designing through to building and landscaping, arranges consulting sessions at the beginning of the building process so homes are literally designed in front of clients’ eyes.
“We use software that lets us create a virtual home right there with our clients. This way they can communicate elements that are important to them and we can be up front if something is simply not feasible. There are no surprises,” he says.
The finished home, which features Oamaru stone and cedar, barely differs from the plan generated from the initial consulting sessions, and Mr Archer says his clients are over the moon with the result.
“They were just rapt — the home was everything they thought it would be, which is the best feedback you can get.”
Mr Archer, who started Alpine Homes three years ago and has been building for 14 years, says his introduction to the industry was somewhat accidental.
“I was on holiday and a friend asked me if I could give him a hand building some frames. That was in 1995, and I’ve never looked back.”
The current climate in the construction industry is challenging, but he believes being dedicated to clients’ needs pays off.
“It’s not easy out there — it’s cut-throat. If you don’t have a passion for building it would be very difficult to survive.”
Alpine Homes’ major business goals for the year are to keep doing what they do well which, Mr Archer says, is building quality homes that meet and exceed client expectations.
“Entering the House of the Year is a great way to leverage that quality work. The competition is well known, and is an influential marketing tool.
“Our success is another way to show the market we will deliver the whole package and ensure it is of an award-winning standard.”