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Region’s builds are nailing it

Despite pandemic-related spanners in the works for the region’s builders, local businesses and builds are now being recognised in the national Registered Master Builders House of the Year competition.

The regional runoffs took place at the end of July and attracted almost 300 entries across nine regions.

Gaining recognition in the regionals were Wairarapa’s Dawes Construction, K B Gleeson Building, Wellington-based Maridale Construction [for a house built in Featherston], and Jennian Homes Wairarapa, with the first three of the businesses listed now up for the top spots in the National Awards Gala later this year.

Along with four other categories at the regional event, Dawes Construction took home the Pink Batts Craftmanship Award for a build at Riversdale Beach.

Owner Marty Dawes said he and the team are absolutely chuffed.

“It’s a pretty rare award, and I could see how pleased the team were, patting themselves on the back,” Dawes said.

“Competing with all these builders, for their work to be recognised as the best craftmanship is pretty pleasing.”

Dawes said the house – a holiday beach home for its Wellington-based owners – was designed by top architects, and it helped to have “good clients who trusted the architects and builders”.

“They let us do what we needed to do,” Dawes said.

“There was a lot of fine detailing and intricate timber, steel, and metal work.”

The build took about 16 months to complete, and Dawes said navigating logistics through covid disruptions was challenging but that it is gratifying to now be recognised.

“Covid was in the middle of the build, which made it a bit trying at times, but we got there,” Dawes said.

“Now the owners are happy, we’re happy, everyone’s happy.”

Dawes said his team are looking forward to attending the finals in November, complete with “black tie and all the hoopla”.

Just over an hour’s drive away there are a second set of happy owners in Carterton, living in their winning build by K B Gleeson Building.

Business owner Kieran Gleeson was quick to highlight the team behind the build and said the success behind the 360 square metre build is due to all-hands-on deck attitude from him, his staff, and their sub-contractors.

Like Dawes, Gleeson said they faced disruption from covid lockdowns and timing headaches.

“It had huge disruption to material delay and the influx of work, so all trades were stretched to their maximum.”

The house that made the top 100 list features 180 degrees of uninterrupted views stretching from Eketāhuna to the Remutaka ranges.

Nestled in the hills above Carterton’s Parkvale, Gleeson said he loves how the house design tucks it out of sight into the surrounding environment.

“At night the stars light up right over the valley, and in frosty mornings looking out over that area, it almost looks like a lake with that fog drifting over.”

Gleeson said he has told the owners that they are now living in a top 100 house, and that they are “absolutely stoked”.

The third Wairarapa build to land on the top 100 list is a house in Featherston, which took about 12 months for Maridale Construction to complete.

Due to the site location, trucks couldn’t reach the site access was limited to four-wheel drives.

Maridale Construction owner Brian Marriner said that all materials had to be brought up to the site on trailers, and a helicopter also made several deliveries.

“We had about 25 people from apprentices through to the architect involved in this project. It was a team effort,” Marriner said.

“The client was especially good to work with. His communication skills were fantastic, and he is a really nice person.”

Completion of the build was challenging due to the location and nature of the site, and Marriner said it is very satisfying to be recognised in the awards.

He agreed that the pandemic had stressed the sector over the past few years and said that, while certain things are improving, there is still an element of instability.

“Initially we had an abundance of work but couldn’t get materials. Then the workload slowed up,” Marriner said.

“The supply of materials has improved, and our workload has improved slightly, but that can’t be said for a lot of other builders.”

Marriner said his team will be heading down to Christchurch in November for the ceremony and are hoping to pick up the award for Sustainable and Environmental Excellence.

Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age, originally hailing from Wellington. She is interested in social issues and writes about the local arts and culture scene.

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