Whangamata bach transformation an unexpected win

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Luke Baxter of Beach House Builders was taken aback when his name was read out as the winner of the Master Build Services Renovation Award up to $250,000 at the Registered Master Builders 2014 House of the Year. 

He says they only entered House of the Year for the experience, never expecting to take out an award.

“It was a pretty unexpected win. I didn’t even have a speech for it!” he laughs.

“We saw the competition online and it all looked pretty good. We thought we’d be lucky if we beat any of the other entries. Winning was a good feeling and a real surprise.”

Mr Baxter says there were a range of challenges involved with the five-month renovation.

“There were a few unexpected issues with the renovation, so we had multiple amendments to the plan which added a bit of time and cost,” he says.

“Keeping the home’s original character played an important part in the renovation. We wanted to hold on to the traditional bach look and feel, so it was crucial not to modernise the exterior.”

The judges were impressed by the renovation, saying Beach House Builders was a more than deserving winner of the category.

“As one of the original homes in Whangamata, the asbestos-clad, two-bedroom bach was stripped back to its bones on its journey to meet the dreams of the client,” they said.

“Although the footprint of the existing home didn’t increase, a modern holiday home was created, while still keeping the bach feel.”

Mr Baxter says there were a range of benefits in taking part and succeeding in House of the Year.

“The competition was a fantastic way to generate a bit of publicity around what we do. Now we don’t have to just tell people we do a good job — we have the proof behind us.

“You don’t really know how you measure up against other builders until you’re at the competition, and it’s great to meet and network with others in the building industry.”

Mr Baxter has been a proud member of Registered Master Builders since 2011. 

“The main reason I joined was to have access to all their contract documents and guarantees. I tried doing it all myself originally, but it just got too complicated,” he says.

“I find that when I’m pricing a job against other builders, most of them are members of Master Builders. I feel that clients gain a sense of security knowing that we’re part of an Association.”

The Registered Master Builders House of the Year is 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.