• Grant

OK, where do you start on this designing journey?

Once you have read all my dribble, decided on your Designer, and decided on the type of building you want to live in and make your home.

The next big things to think about and to be truly honest with your answers, (and this applies whether it’s a new home, a large renovation or just a small addition or alteration) How long will you be there? How much money do I really have to do this? And finally how long do I have to do the work or get the work done. But before you answer this…..

There is an old very wise quote, that sums this choice up perfectly……

“You can have a fast job, a good job or a cheap job…..but you never have all three”

Now think for a moment, about how profound that quote is?

You will realise very quickly that you really can only ever have two of those specific items on any one job at the same time!

Fast and cheap project will not be good, fast and good project will not be cheap, and a cheap and good project will not be fast. Never a truer message has been given, and the profoundness of this gem gleams historically and will be forever true.

So what is really important to you? 1/Quality, 2/Cost or 3/Speed?

Note: If you picked item 3 when you read this as part of the importance of your project, then you are reading the wrong Blog! Or you are a property developer still practicing in the 90’s, to whom good Architecture is a business strategy to be avoided. Adios my friend!

For those of you that still remain, let’s break it down.


I don’t care how much money you have or how much you paid for something or how rare something is. If it is truly a quality item, it will always shine through as a quality item. If it is really rubbish it will always be rubbish, no matter how styly the packaging or how big and flashy the marketing hype about it is. I hear this time and time again with people who visit our own home, who say that it is a very special home that feels inviting and comfortable and makes you relax. That it also feels a very exclusive and expensive home.

Although I agree with them that it is a unique and comfortable home/work space, it cost the same as a G J Gardner building company house (note I didn’t say home), but it took a lot longer…………. much longer in fact to build because we didn’t have a lot of money to build it (refer previous quote above – I rest my case your honor!). However, it also costs less to run annually for energy usage than a generic GJ, it has much less maintenance than the typical GJ and values up far greater than the GJ for the same spend. And then there is the warranty? It has a combined average warranty of over 100 years on the main building components! Not the 10 years applied to the Building Company house offers currently available in NZ.

In fact the precast concrete sections of the home are immeasurable in respect to quality/warranty. My claim is based on the fact that nearly 2000 years ago the Romans built the Colosseum from concrete and it’s still standing! I’m pretty sure the concrete technology in our home is of better quality in 2019 AD, than the Romans concrete technology in 80AD, so if I add that into the average warranty period, it’s over 700 years, but I guess time will tell?


Cost is always an important aspect of Architecture and Design, whether you’re Joe Average or a mutli-gazillionaire. We all have a personal level of cost for our project, with a perceived value of the quality that will bring.

Although we all know this is true, the issue is when the heart takes over the brain in respect to desire, that that level of cost is compromised. Example a 65” TV costs say $4000. You buy it and it starts to decrease in value, until you have to pay someone to take it away in 10 years. That same $4000 will increase the insulation in your home to potentially save you $100 per month – forever, at today’s energy prices. That’s $1200 per year. So by the time the TV is worth nothing the insulation that cost the same has paid for itself and is now made you an additional $8000, assuming that the energy is the same price! And guess what, it will continue to do that for as long as it remains, so when the new Government rating system comes out (when it comes out) your home will also be worth more than the one next door because it is energy efficient, another payment bonus!

Further to that thought, Energy is the most obvious investment when building currently today, as the price of energy annually is increasing at an alarming rate and I’ll leave you with a thought.

Recently I was in deep discussion with a Registered Property Valuer, who claims that valuations are finally being affected now by quality materials and energy efficiency in regards to insulation, however also in energy production. To the extent that for each kWh a home produces to itself, this adds $15k onto the end value/price of that home. So that $20k 5kWh solar array you installed on the project, has now added $75k to the value of your home, while saving you money all the way to the date you sell it. Now you can buy that bigger 75” TV with the savings and still pocket $50K! – No brainer!

Next month: “It starts at the bottom!”

Remember “Art for Living” G

Next Month……

It starts at the bottom

Remember "art for living" G

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