Builder Interview: Hawkeye Builders
With a number of sections due for title in the coming months and the ever expanding footprint of Wanaka’s township, new homes are being built at a very rapid rate. Trying to secure a builder and a good one at that can be difficult.
A good builder is worth their weight in gold – being able to communicate frequently and easily, looking for cost effective suggestions for problem solving and handing over the perfect home are traits that we have come to expect.
For many of my clients who have secured a piece of paradise here in Wanaka, I have a handful of reputable builders who I recommend. I will be interviewing a few of them over the coming weeks to give you some background on their work and who they are. The first interview is with Richie Hawkins, from Hawkeye Builders.
Richie has built for our family before and has built for two of our friends so I know him well. He’s a top bloke and a very skilled builder. Enjoy the read below and get to know a bit more about him.
How long have you been involved with building and where did you learn your trade?
I have always loved building and spent most of my childhood harassing adults into helping me construct various rabbit hutches and tree huts. At the first opportunity I did my apprenticeship, and have now been building for over seventeen years. Now adults harass me to help them!
What type of work are you known for building?
Spending most of my career in Auckland, I have a lot of experience renovating and rejuvenating character villas and heritage buildings. In recent years I have expanded my offering to include new homes and love working with architects to produce bespoke builds.
What sized projects would you start with and largest size you would build?
With my past-experience in tree huts, I enjoy building anything from a kiddies playhouse to a skyscraper. Though hopefully there will be no skyscrapers in Wanaka anytime soon!
What has been your most rewarding building project to date?
I recently worked with talented architect Tim Mein to construct the first CLT home in the North Island. CLT – or Cross Laminated Timber – are large structural panels custom built to the designers specifications, allowing for innovative and bespoke design.
As well as being visually interesting, it is sustainable and said to out-perform conventional frame construction in air-tightness, thermal insulation and internal moisture management, acoustic insulation and fire residence. It was a challenging and rewarding project to be part of and I am really proud of the results.
Are there any significant changes or trends forthcoming in the building field that property owners and or prospective owners looking to build should know about?
Like many industries, the construction industry is becoming more aware of sustainable practices. There’s a lot to consider when building now, from materials used to how you dispose of onsite waste. It makes every project a little more challenging, but I have found that it can result in more interesting, innovative outcomes and lesson our impact on the planet.
What advice would you give potential owners looking to build?
Be brave with your build. It’s hard to balance what you love with what you think future buyers will want, but in my experience clients have always enjoyed the process and the results much more when they put their own personality into their home.
Does Wanaka differ from other NZ regions for your line of work in terms of climatic conditions impacting your specifications? If so, how so?
The last home I built in Auckland was in notoriously-damp Titirangi. Wanaka is much dryer and can obviously get a lot cooler, which means working with clients and architects to build warmer houses. It also makes building outside in winter slightly less enjoyable, which is why, if we can, we plan inside work for the chillier months.
Wanaka also has amazing vistas in every direction, so it’s an extra challenge to make sure every room has the best seat in the house.
Best place to get coffee in Wanaka?
I’m more inclined to a pie and a beer. The best of which can be found at Kai Pai and Rhyme and Reason Brewery.
What is Wanaka’s best kept secret?
Other than the pies, I’d say the best kept secret in Wanaka is the backcountry huts. A tad chilly on the colder nights, but you won’t be sharing your bunk with thirty tourists.
Best advice for people moving to Wanaka?
Move here sooner.
It’s 10am on a Sunday morning, where would we find you and what are you doing?
Biking around Lake Hawea or at the top of a mountain. Basically, burning off all the pies.