House of the Year — an insider view

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The Registered Master Builders 2016 House of the Year competition is now under way, with judges travelling around the country to find New Zealand’s top quality new homes.

Judges will be assessing more than 330 homes, but what will they be looking for? Paul Williams has been judging House of the Year for nearly 10 years, and offers an insider view of the judging process.

The judging panel consists of six different teams, who will judge across 12 competition categories, ranging from new homes to renovations. Mr Williams explains that quality and consistency is paramount with this format of competition.

“We have to make sure we have robust judging systems in House of the Year. The criteria is the same for every category — with a total of 2000 points. 1300 points are based purely on the quality and workmanship of the build, and 700 points on the design and functionality,” he says.

“We can’t have a competition where houses are being well built, but are poorly designed. Our judging system needs to capture all aspects of the home.”

Mr Williams says that for a home to have the X-Factor, it needs to have a balance between quality and functionality. He explains that a winning home is where a builder has made his mark and there are ideas that others want to copy — a smart design, or innovative material use.

“A winning home is one that stands out from the crowd — where the builder has really taken an aspect of the build to another level. That’s what we look for when we’re judging.”

Mr Williams is looking forward to seeing what the builders bring to the competition this year. Recently, there has been a strong trend towards sustainability and building healthy homes.

“There has been a steady growth in sustainable homes. People are more conscious of environmental factors, which has been great for the building and construction industry. We’re seeing healthier homes across New Zealand.”

Mr Williams says the standard of homes is always high within the competition, and so choosing a supreme winner from the category winners is often the greatest challenge for judges.

“You tend to get three to five builds where there are only a couple of points between them and they all deserve to be the category winner.”

Mr Williams stresses that entrants need to have an urge to win, have to put in the hard yards, and must be passionate about their craft. He wishes all the contestants luck for this year, and looks forward to seeing the quality homes entered.

The Awards are made possible through the support of PlaceMakers, Master Build Services, GIB, Nulook, Future-Proof Building, Carters, Plumbing World, Resene and Bunnings.

For more information about the competition, visit the Registered Master Builders web site at www. masterbuilder.org.nz.