Reflections on a Southern region Supreme award . . .


John Gavin of John Gavin Construction was “really pleased” when he found out he won five regional awards, including a Gold Award and the Westpac New Homes over $2 million category, as well as the Local Supreme Award, the Craftsmanship Award and Outdoor Living Award for the Southern Registered Master Builders 2014 House of the Year.

Mr Gavin explains that even though he knew he’d built a really good house, he didn’t expect to take that many awards for one home. He said that the awards lifted his company’s profile quite remarkably.

“For me, winning the awards was a pat on the back. You go along your whole working career telling yourself you do a good job, but you never really know,” he says.

There are only five builders in Gavin’s company, which he explains made the win so satisfying.

“We’re a small family-run company, so it’s a credit to my men and the guys who work for me. We get houses like that to build regularly because of who we are and how we run it,” he says.

“These guys have built multiple houses with me, so to get that pat on the back was outstanding. It was the first Master Builders competition I’ve ever entered, so we were really stoked to win five awards.”

The judges explained the home required a builder of “extraordinary skill” which was met by John Gavin Construction.

“Coupled with a difficult site and testing climatic factors, this home posed its fair share of challenges,” they said.

“With well-crafted exterior timberwork and immaculate stonework, the materials blended into one another and the landscape seamlessly. The detailing is extraordinary — visually simple but complex in its solutions. This is a build of international presence, by a builder who clearly takes pleasure in his work.”

Mr Gavin explains the main challenge was the location, with the building site having limited access which made it difficult.

“There was a lake on one side, a neighbour on the other and an impassable gorge that we couldn’t go through on the other side!” he says.
“Everything had to go through the front gate which made it a little bit difficult.”

John Gavin Construction became Registered Master Builders so they could be a part of a well-known and informed organisation.

Mr Gavin explains that it’s particularly important in the changing building environment, with leaky homes, changes in legislation and licenses.

“If you’re not a member of Registered Master Builders you’re sort of on your own. Being part of the organisation means you’re the first one to hear of any changes in the legislation act, and it keeps you up to speed — particularly for a small company like mine,” he says.

“A little old builder can rattle up the driveway in a beat-up old truck to build a house. But the houses we’re building are multi-million dollar homes.

Now that I’m a member of Registered Master Builders, it gives my clients a little more assurance and comfort that I’m not just a little old builder rattling up the drive, I’m actually part of something.”

Mr Gavin won’t be competing in House of the Year this year as he is currently working on a project for next year’s competition that is “quite amazing”.

“We’ve got a pretty special project going on at the moment, and I’m pretty confident that it will do well. It’s an impressive, stand-out house,” he says.

House of the Year helped give John Gavin Construction great exposure, he explains. “All of a sudden people who have never heard of John Gavin Construction have seen it in magazines.

“At the awards you hear architects and others having conversations like ‘Who’s these guys? Oh, it’s John Gavin. Oh hell, he’s just won five awards, we better check this fella out’ — it works like that.”

Mr Gavin thought the whole experience of House of the Year was fantastic, and really enjoyable. He’s looking forward, and is excited, to be entering again next year.

The Awards are made possible through the support of PlaceMakers, Master Build Services, James Hardie, GIB, Nulook, Future-Proof Building, Carters, ITM, Plumbing World, Resene, Westpac and Mitre 10.

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