Creme de la creme of new houses vie for recognition

By John Maslin

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PROFESSIONAL EYE: Mark Wilson (left) and Simon Crawford were in Whanganui this week looking over a local home which has made it through to the regional final of the House of the Year competition.PHOTO/STUART MUNRO
PROFESSIONAL EYE: Mark Wilson (left) and Simon Crawford were in Whanganui this week looking over a local home which has made it through to the regional final of the House of the Year competition.PHOTO/STUART MUNRO

It takes something very special for a home to be considered for judging in the annual Registered Master Builders House of the Year competition but one Whanganui home certainly clips that ticket.

This week, judges Mark Wilson and Simon Crawford were running their professional eye over a Westmere home that has made it through to the Manawatu-Whanganui regional final.

The home, less than a year old, was built by local firm Masterbuild Ltd.

Mr Wilson, an architect based on Auckland's North Shore, and Whangarei builder Mr Crawford are travelling the country to judge two categories, but their current trip is focusing on new homes in the $1-2 million price range and during the week they have been judging six in this region.

"There are about 50 across the country in this section. We see a mixture of styles and quality but generally in this category the level of quality is relatively high, as you'd expect."

And he said trends varied from one end of the country to the other.

"We find the further north we go the trends are a little bit more up to date. Some of the provinces lag a little behind but not too much.

"But we certainly see differences in building methods. For example, the way builders do the foundations around here is very different from the methods they use say in Auckland and Christchurch."

Mr Wilson said the Whanganui home they judged this week sat on a cliff looking out over the Tasman Sea.

"It's an exposed site but they've used things like copper flashing and very robust exterior cladding. I don't think there's anything here that would cause any issues. They've used things appropriately."

The House of the Year judging panels always team up an architect with a builder.

"It's an interesting task for us. We see some interesting homes and meet some wonderful people," he said.

More than 330 homes across the country will be assessed by judges before the regional winners are announced in July and August, with the Whanganui-Manawatu-East Coast awards on July 8.

The awards cover new homes and show homes, to renovations and builders' own homes.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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