It's that time of year again - when judges tour the country in search of New Zealand's top quality builds for this year's Registered Master Builders House of the Year Competition.

Registered Master Builders Judge Clive Barrington says: "We go over everything with a fine tooth comb and the good builders get awards."

Mr Barrington has stopped off in Hawke's Bay to assess two properties, a new build in Eskdale and a renovation in Havelock North.

They're just two of more than 370 homes that have been entered throughout the country.


"It's generally a builders' competition not an architects' competition," Mr Barrington says.

"It's basically based on workmanship, well that's where most of the points go so we just look for good quality building right down from the foundation right up to the painting and the general finish."

There are three new categories in this year's competition - they've been added to reflect the ever-changing market and types of homes that are now built.

Mr Barrington has been judging on and off for the last five years."

He says things are changing.

"There are some very nice things to go in houses these days of course and we're seeing a lot more glass and innovative designs in general. I think young people don't want a lot of land necessarily, the quarter acre seems to be a thing of a past, in the big cities anyway, it's just unaffordable."

Registered Master Builders Association chief executive David Kelly says the demand for building has brought on new ways of operating and new types of building.

The way things are going, he expects multi-unit dwellings to account for 40 per cent of residential builds by the end of 2021.

But, that isn't yet the case in Hawke's Bay.

Davcon Principal Builder Julian Davis says many in Hawke's Bay are now "staging" their builds.

"People are buying land, particularly the younger families they really want the dream house but they can only afford to do three quarters of it, so there's a lot of staging, we'll do three bedrooms and then they'll do the fourth and the office at a later date, in ten years time."

And Mr Barrington can see why.

"Hawke's Bay, well this particular site," he says referring to a seaside view, "this is gorgeous I can see why people want to have these sorts of arrangements".

Regional winners will be announced mid year with overall winners crowned in November.

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