Local Interviews

Interview: Turnkey Homes Wanaka

By on July 27, 2018

With the expansion that Wanaka has seen the recent years, the demand for modern, well built homes has been rapidly on the rise. We are fortunate to have land that offers some truly breathtaking views so finding the right builder becomes an integral cog in the journey.  Not so that you are immensely proud of what you have created but also so that both parties enjoy the process as it takes shape.

I recently played golf with a gentleman who had sold their farm and were moving to Wanaka to retire. He used Turnkey Homes to build and could not have been more positive over the entire experience and end result.  Always keen to learn more about positive build experiences here, I recently caught up with Jude smith from Turnkey Homes to hear more about their offering.



I regularly have clients who are considering building here in Wanaka, but often there is a considerable logistical barrier with them being based out of town and everything becomes too hard.  Can you tell me a little bit about Turnkey Homes and how you overcome this?

A large percentage of the homes we build are for ‘out of town’ clients and this does not pose any problems to us.  We have a Client Liaison Manager who works closely with clients and keeps them up to date with regular photographs and progress.  However, there are some crucial times when we encourage our clients to make a site visit i.e. once the frames are up which a good time to check that windows and doors are giving them the views and outlooks they are seeking. It also gives them the opportunity to start thinking about electrical placements and other such aspects.


How long have you lived in Wanaka?

We moved to Wanaka Queens Birthday 1986, to oversee the building of an accommodation and restaurant complex which we managed for 11 years.


What type of homes do you primarily build?  

Over the past years we have built a wide variety of homes from small to large and of varying designs. The common factor is that they are all built to a high standard of quality.


Do you work on projects of specific sizes?  Are there minimum sqm that clients must have before they can engage your services?

We have no size criteria, so long as the design fits with us in terms of quality then we will consider the smallest of home builds. Some of the smaller homes that we have built have the largest complexities.



What has been the largest project that you have worked with?

We have constructed numerous homes over 400m2 and are currently working on a home that is approximately 515m2.


Does a client need to have plans ready to when building with Turnkey or do you have a team that can help draw up plans?

Clients have the option to bring their own plans or concepts which we can develop, but most commonly our clients get us to design and build the home from the beginning to completion. We have a very good relationships with a number of Architectural Designers and Architects that we enjoy working with. There are lots of very good reasons to use these people – our relationships have developed over the years and each respects the other strengths and abilities.  I believe that this also flows on to our construction teams as they understand how each designer works.  This helps to alleviate any potential problems.


If clients are overseas or out of town, how do you keep the regular updates and communication flowing?

The systems and staff we have in place are geared for this to be a hassle-free experience for our clients.


Turnkey have recently won the coveted Gold Medal at the Southern Region Master Builders Awards.  Tell us about that project.

The project is huge for two reasons.  This client first built with Turnkey Homes in 2012 and were delighted when that house won Gold at the Southern Regional Master Builders Awards. They had offered this home to Turnkey so that any potential clients could view a completed and lived in home.  In 2015 a new show home was discussed. It was agreed that this client and Turnkey build the new show home. The end result is a happy client, a great show home and a second Gold award for the client.  The client is my husband, Grant and I! The house was architecturally designed and built by a dedicated and professional team.  To win Gold at the Master Builders Awards you must score over 90%. That shows the quality with which Turnkey homes are constructed.  



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?

This is forever changing and it is a significant task keeping up with trends and being aware of new products coming on stream.  I think the biggest thing people have to realise is that you have to build to the Central Otago climate which is so different to many places. 


What advice would you give potential owners looking to build?

Select your section carefully and be aware of any buildings restrictions on the site. Look at other people’s homes, have a wish list and realistic budget.

Does Wanaka differ from other NZ regions for your line of work in terms of climatic conditions impacting your specifications?  If so, how so?

Yes, very much so. With our extreme winter and summer temperatures, heating and cooling methods and products are very important. It is also important to use building products that can withstand the conditions without arduous upkeep.


Best place to get coffee in Wanaka?

Wanaka has numerous great coffee places.  But right now, I really enjoy the mocha espressos I make at home.


What is Wanaka’s best kept secret?

There are so many to list and many of them are very accessible.  However, for me it’s the bike trails around the lakes edge and the numerous walks (as hard or easy as you want). It’s also not hard to find a quiet place on a beach to drink in the pureness and stunning views.


Best advice for people moving to Wanaka?

Be true to yourself. Remember why you came here. We have everything, but on a different scale from what you may be used to. That is part of the Wanaka beauty.


It’s 10am on a Sunday morning, where would we find you and what are you doing?

Honestly, most likely chilling at home having a relaxed breaky and enjoying the stunning views we live with.  I will probably be thinking whether I will bike or walk and where I will go. Choices !!


You can get in touch with Jude and Turnkey on 021 58 33 52    www.turnkeyhomes.co.nz




mitch campbell

Welcome to my property hub, a place designed to showcase the very best of premium property in Central Otago and provide you with everything you need to ensure that your journey of buying or selling in this beautiful region is as smooth as possible.

I wanted to create a platform to share insights and knowledge on everything property-based from the Wanaka region, but also feature outstanding design products, interviews with industry locals, interesting architectural work and new trends to help inspire you with your own plans.

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