Building success with architect’s own home


John Harris of Harris Builders was extremely surprised when his Nelson entry was read out as the winner of the Westpac New Homes $600,000 – $1 million category at the Registered Master Builders PlaceMakers 2012 House of the Year.

He says there were a lot of entries in this category and all of a very high calibre, but he believes the high level of craftsmanship in this build made it particularly attractive to the judges.
“The design of this home enabled us to do a lot of carpentry work that really demonstrated our skills — there was a lot of internal and exterior timber work, including cedar sunscreens and interior staircases and floors, which required flawless execution to look good,” he says.
“This home is an architect’s own home, which meant that standards and expectations were even higher than usual — the finishing and detailing had to be perfect in order to showcase the architecture.”

Mr Harris says being a House of the Year award winner and a Registered Master Builder is a feather in his hat with clients and architects.
“Clients and architects like to see the Master Build Guarantee — and being a member increases their respect for us as a business,” he says.
“I think the fact that we have previously won House of the Year awards certainly had something to do with the architect approaching us to execute this build for him.
“We’ve seen a definite increase in traffic through our web site since House of the Year — it’s a fantastic promotional tool.”

The judges hailed the Nelson home as a very worthy winner of a highly contested category.
“This is a stunning home that has it all, from beautifully finished and detailed interior elements of polished concrete and American Hard Maple floors, to superb outdoor living and entertaining options,” they said.

“This comfortable home serves its family well with exceptional use of natural timber and stone, brought together with superb workmanship by a builder who is quite rightly proud of his craft.”
Mr Harris says he has some exciting projects in the pipeline, and he is looking forward to this year’s House of the Year competition.
“We’ve got a few houses on the go at the moment, and a couple of major several million dollar homes coming up in the next year or so,” he says.
“We will absolutely continue to enter the competition. This year, we have a renovation entered as something a bit different. Hopefully, we’ll enjoy the same success we had in 2012!”

The Awards are made possible through the support of PlaceMakers, James Hardie, GIB, Nulook, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Future-Proof Building, Carters, ITM, Plumbing World, Resene and Westpac.

For more information about the competition, visit the Registered Master Builders web site at

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