Property editor of the NZ Herald

Stonewood home buyers get build guarantee

A Stonewood Homes- built house in Carterton.
A Stonewood Homes- built house in Carterton.

A reassurance has been issued on the Stonewood Homes receivership situation, with people building houses with the company told they are covered by a guarantee and all homes will be finished.

David Kelly, Registered Master Builders Association chief executive, has just issued a reassurance to anyone affected by today's new of the receivership of Stonewood Homes New Zealand.

While it was regrettable that business was receivership, all Stonewood Christchurch homeowners had Master Build Guarantees and therefore all of their homes will be completed, Kelly said:

"We will be working with the receivers KordaMentha closely to ensure that while they work on behalf of the secured creditors, we will be doing our best to ensure that the guarantees are not compromised so the homes are completed. We will help KordaMentha find members who can take over the contracts. This could take some time to sort out."

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"Homeowners with guarantees should not pay money to anybody or contract new builders themselves because at this stage the original Stonewood Homes building contract that has the guarantee is still owned by the receivers. We will be discussing with them the best way forward for the homeowners and helping them find RMBA members who are able to take over the contracts," his statement said.

Master Builders was in the process of contacting all of the Stonewood Homes Christchurch homeowners to inform them of the process and ensure that in the short term they do nothing to compromise their rights under the guarantee, he said.

It is because of unfortunate circumstances like this receivership that Master Builders had developed the Master Build Guarantee.

"From time to time, regrettably businesses fail. RMBA is committed to supporting its members with programmes that help them run better businesses, unfortunately this does not mean that failure does not occur," Kelly's statement said.

Stonewood operates throughout New Zealand but Newstalk ZB is reporting that independently owned Stonewood franchises are not affected.

Consents are at a 10-year high, but problems can arise during times like this when there are high building consent numbers because there can also be high costs in running businesses.
Grant Florence, chief executive of Certified Builders.

Companies in receivership are Stonewood Homes New Zealand Limited, and sister companies Stonewood Homes Limited and Sterling Homes Limited, it was reported.

Stonewood is headquartered at 10 Logistics Dr in Harewood and its website lists businesses operating in Auckland, Palmerston North, Wellington, Christchurch, Queenstown and Invercargill.

Grant Florence, chief executive of Certified Builders, expressed disappointment about the Stonewood receiverships.

"It potentially dents a bit more confidence in the building industry. I feel sympathy for homeowners who may be caught in the middle of it and I just hope subcontractors get looked after and get the money that's owed, but I'm unsure of the details."

New Zealand's record new housing consents last year spelled potential dangers, he said.

"Consents are at a 10-year high, but problems can arise during times like this when there are high building consent numbers because there can also be high costs in running businesses," he said.

Stonewood was not a member of Certified Builders, but was a member of Master Builders, he said.

Certified Builders launched an upgraded homeowner warranty last year for instances where builders can't finish a job. Since December, about 200 policies had been taken out and Florence expected that number to grow.

"We brought it in because we could see the liability and regulation landscape has changed. Consumers are expecting more and looking for more protection, as are builders," he said.

It frustrates me that there is no reason why homeowners can get caught out by a builder going under. There are protection measures available.
Grant Florence

"It frustrates me that there is no reason why homeowners can get caught out by a builder going under. There are protection measures available. We've made it mandatory for all our members to take this out and the costs are met by the builder as part of their overheads," Florence said.

Stonewood began in Christchurch in 1987 and is now one of the biggest homebuilding companies in New Zealand, according to its website.

"The early years saw the company operating out of a series of offices with a skeleton staff, two of whom still remain to this day," the company statement said.

"There is no doubt that one of the keys to Stonewood's success is the huge vision managing director Brent Mettrick has brought to both the company, and the homebuilding industry as a whole.

Mettrick has been president of New Zealand Registered Master Builders Federation, president of the Canterbury Registered Master Builders Association, director of New Zealand Green Building Council, and a member of EECA's Home Energy Rating Advisory Group, the business says.

See KordaMentha's Stonewood release here:

- NZ Herald

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