Creating your New Home doesn’t need to be difficult, and it certainly doesn’t need to be stressful! We want you to have an exceptional result and an incredible journey.


Creating your New Home doesn’t need to be difficult, and it certainly doesn’t need to be stressful! We want you to have an exceptional result and an incredible journey.

How much more expensive is it to build a passive house or energy efficient home compared to a traditional timber frame house?

There is no simple answer to this. However, we can say that the gap is decreasing.  The building code is slowly catching up to Europe and the States.  Insulation has been increased, with ventilation and air tightness directives to follow, narrowing the cost gap further.  MBIE guidelines show that in 2030 the thermal demand for a new home must be designed to achieve 15kw/m2 – the same level required as a certified passive house.

2024, you could work on a rough 5-15% depending on the level of performance you are aiming for, but this will be very much dependent upon your design, inclusions and if like for like can even be achieved.  Therefore, it is very hard to answer this.

We prefer to work to your budget to achieve the best performing home for your budget. This may be through the design build process working to your budget, or choosing a plan from our high performance plan range.

It is so important that yourself, the designer and the builder work closely together from the start and the team understands your priorities, your lifestyle, requirements and budget.  Put simply, you have several fixed constraints that cannot be changed including your budget, section size/shape etc, and family size.  Then you have your build priorities, for example, high thermal performance and a healthy home.  Let’s work to achieve the best outcome for your priority within those constraints.

What is your m² rate?

An average home contains hundreds of different ‘ingredients’ including carpet, bricks, tiles, taps, sinks, paint, timber, glass etc. And all these materials come in different qualities. On top of that, the way in which these materials are assembled into a finished house differs in quality and attention to detail.

The variances are almost infinite. Comparing one builder’s price of $1,500 per square metre to another’s price of $2,500 per square metre is exactly like trying to compare an orange with a lemon.

Additionally, every house design is different. Some houses are square, some are ‘L’ shaped, and others have many different angles. While three different houses may all have the same internal dimension (square metres) the number of building materials that go into these homes will vary greatly depending on the shape, structure, materials, and engineering.

Kitchens and bathrooms cost more than hallways, living rooms and bedrooms, so the more bedrooms and living areas you have, the lower the average m2 rate.  However, the more bedrooms and living areas you have the larger the floor area and therefore, the higher the total house cost will be.  In energy-efficient homes, for example, an experienced designer will design out unused space that costs more to heat. This will bring the m2 rate up but does not mean the house will cost more to build as the floor area will be reduced.

Whilst we can offer a rough guide, we believe the best way to ensure you are comfortable with your investment is through great communication with your builder and designer.  Knowledge of your budget and your build priorities allows the design-build team to work with you to achieve the best outcome for your budget.

Do you have display homes or mid builds?

We hold regular mid build open days at most of our builds.  In fact, we were the first company in NZ to host mid builds to demonstrate SIPs & this method of construction.

These mid builds are extremely popular – This opportunity enables us to show you what you cannot see once the house is completed and explain the science and design/build principles applied at a more tangible stage. Like our FB page or ask to be added to our email data base for upcoming mid build events.  These upcoming events are listed here.

Our latest high performance show home will be completed in September 2024.  If you want to feel the difference and see our workmanship firsthand, then we would love to show you around.  Show home times will be listed.  In the meantime, if you want to move quickly with your high performance home dreams contact us and we may be able to show you around sooner.

Do you do design and build?

Yes, we can, and we actually prefer it that way.
The benefits of having a builder involved at the start are huge. It makes sense to the client to have a builder on board, not only to advise on potential budget blowouts but also to advise on practical ways to achieve design outcomes, possible alternative building solutions, and potential issues before the design process proceeds too far. Good designers will welcome working with a reputable builder.

The design stage also includes an estimate of concepts to give you the confidence to proceed to Working Drawings and provides a full fixed-price investment once the Working Drawings are complete.  Assistance with selections not detailed in plans and the use of our online job management portal allows us to identify and fix as many costs before the contract is presented as possible, ensuring a more accurate result.

For more on this view Our Services – Design & Build section

Do you have house plans, or house and land packages?

We now offer both custom design and build, and a high performance plan range.  

Our plan range still incorporates passive house principles into the design and they are all energy modelled providing peace of mind in their performance.  There is a starting price and clear inclusions & upgrades.

We are currently working with sub divisions to be able to offer house and land packages.  Please contact us to find out where we may have options at that time.

We also have a number of inspiration plans.  Whilst there is not a fixed price for these we can provide a ball park figure depending on what performance and specification level you are wanting to achieve.  There will also be cost savings in the design process as we are not starting from scratch.

What are your design costs?

What are your design costs?

There are several stages to designing and pricing a home. 

Firstly, a ‘Pre-liminary Contract for Design Services’.  This is an agreement with the homeowner to provide concept designs and a preliminary estimate, and secondly, to produce full working drawings and a full ‘fixed price’ investment proposal. The Homeowner must approve the concept plans prior to progressing to the next stage.

The costs for these services vary dependent upon the size and scale of the project, the designer used and any work/plans that have already been produced, i.e. our plan range, layout sketches/ideas, existing building parameters.

Additional costs may arise if plans need a lot of modification. This can generally be avoided through a design team, that includes yourself and your builder, understanding your priorities, lifestyle, requirements etc at the start.

Choosing the right designer is all about matching what you want with the best possible service within your budget, in other words tailoring what we can offer to your needs.

Once your ideas have been discussed we will be able to provide a much better idea of the design costs.

If you would like to discuss our design options, please call us to arrange an initial free consultation.  In the meantime, check our Design Build Service.

I already have plans; can you price them?

Yes. If you are considering Chatterton Homes to build your home and you already have working drawings, we can price those plans and present to you a fixed price proposal.

These are detailed documents with quotes obtained and thorough pricing checks completed.  We also require extensive input from you on inclusions/selections that are not specified in your plans or plan specifications (we work closely with you at this stage to achieve this and accompany you to suppliers where required). Together this allows us to provide you with a fixed price that is as accurate as possible as opposed to excessive allowances.

A lot of detailed work goes into this over several weeks so a ‘Pre-liminary Contract for Pricing’ is required and our price covers our costs.


If you are at concept stage and intend to build with us we can also produce an estimate.  At concepts the plan detail will be limited and no engineering will have been done.  The aim of an estimate is to give you the confidence to proceed to working drawings, or enable tweaks to be made to the design prior to the more costly stage of working drawings and engineering.

We engage an independent QS, and include certain quotes/estimates we have obtained from our own suppliers.  An estimate is presented to you allowing you to direct your designer to proceed to working drawings or request changes.

A ‘Pre-liminary Contract for Pricing’ is also required in this instance to cover costs.

How long does it take to prepare building contracts?

Building contracts are very important as they outline the details of your home and our obligations to provide you with a quality service and result. We use industry approved New Zealand Certified Builders Association Contracts that are computer generated and are very clear to read and understand. 

Building contracts do not take long to prepare once the plans, specifications and full fixed price building proposal* has been agreed to.

A template contract is available.  We can provide this at any time. If you are unsure of any of the content at contract signing we are happy to go over it with you.

*It takes a good 4-6 weeks to prepare a full fixed price proposal if we have all inclusions and selections not specified in your plans provided to us (examples include hardware, joinery, flooring etc). We request quotes from our suppliers and sub-contractors for the working drawings and other house selections supplied. These quotes need to be checked, compiled and compared by our QS.  We assist you to complete as many of your own selections as you can whilst the working drawings are being completed which reduces any delays to this pricing schedule, and provides a more accurate price for the home selections you actually want.  

For further information about Certified Builders and their comprehensive contracts go to www.certified.co.nz

When can you start building our home?

Build slots are available throughout the year, and this will be discussed with you early on in our conversations, so a general idea can be provided once a pre-liminary design or pricing contract is underway. Once a building contract is signed, we will confirm your start date, produce a build schedule and keep you up to date personally and through our online job management system.  

Who will be working on our new home?

We provide you with details of the main building staff working on your home prior to the build for your information. In some instances, we may send further staff to your site when additional/specialist assistance is needed.

We identify the best staff to complete your home.  Some are more specialised in highly engineered builds and others love the craftsmanship of traditional styled homes, all our staff, however, are skilled builders and have a lot of experience.

All our building team are experienced in passive house and energy efficient builds, and this extends to our sub-contractors too. We use the same guys who understand what we are trying to achieve, the construction methods involved and importantly know what not to do to affect the buildings thermal integrity!  Brent and Ciaran are also amongst a handful of New Zealanders who have achieved the Passive House Trades Person Certificate a very tough course demonstrating a sound knowledge of this type of construction and how to implement the practice successfully.

All builds are overseen by our Project Manager. He also oversees the building schedule and the sub-contractors and suppliers.

Everyone on site must work to our Company Policy, and our Health and Safety Policies. This ultimately leads to a safe, tidy and productive work site.

How can we contact you?

We have several ways to maintain successful communication.

Phone numbers and emails of key staff will be provided to you.  It’s important to us that we get back to you quickly should you wish to get hold of any of us.  Our Office is staffed daily by our Administrator (8.30-4) allowing access to any of our staff throughout the design build process.

As described our online job management software provides you with 24/7 access to the job and you will be provided with your own password once we proceed to working drawings. Using this system communication is recorded in one place (and copied to your email system) avoiding miscommunication and oversight.

Once construction begins, we will also conduct fortnightly site meetings with yourselves, your PM and your Foreman.  

Do you have an office?

Yes. Our office is located the Christchurch side of Rangiora. Our boardroom is a great place to meet at any time during the design build process.

We have a designer on site making access to both builder and designer easier, plus any questions or clarifications resolved quickly.  We can also hold online meetings with you, and our other designers from the boardroom.

Can I change my plans from timber frame construction to SIPs panels easily?

Yes, this is certainly possible at concept stage.  However, you will need to discuss with your designer and agree on any additional costs.  It is a lot more difficult at working drawing stage.

Are you ready to make your dream home a reality?

Take the first step and request a meeting.