Business North December 2023

| 105 T T Sue Russell Building strong team culture core to success This year has seen industry recognition for the team at NZ Builders. NZ Builders BUILDING Jesse Bird established Auckland-based NZ Builders with big dreams and strong founding principles back in 2015. Two years later, Blake Cooper joined, having spent several years building high-end residential projects in the UK. Both Jesse and Blake are qualified builders and the company today is structured in a way that Blake handles the front-end of projects, while Jesse is more connected to the projects once underway. When Business North spoke with Blake, he and Jesse had a team of 23 builders and apprentices engaged in a variety of projects. At any given time, the work is spread over up to five projects, all in the Auckland area. “Given the opportunity we would one day like to expand into other parts of New Zealand like Queenstown, Tauranga and Mangawhai,” Blake says. Admitting to be optimistic in nature, though the building sector is experiencing some retraction forces at this time, Blake says, he understands the cyclical boom/bust nature of the industry. He and Jesse have the company structured with senior foremen overseeing experienced carpenters and apprentices that they can flexibly withstand reasonable market variations in demand. “We’re fortunate to have a great network of other reputable builders that we can lean on if things slow up as they also for us us which we love about the industry’s co-competitive nature.” Blake says he’s also pleased to the election behind us. “It means we can go on now with a sense of a more positive economic reality impacting on small to medium businesses such as ours.” While 2023 has been a somewhat slower year than the previous two, Blake says he’s happy with how the business is performing, the range of projects its involved in and the reputation the business has garnered since establishing. With eight apprentices, Blake says, seeing one of them, Jacque Auret, being placed third in the NZ Apprentice awards was a real thrill. “He’s now an apprentice leader voice for carpentry in the industry apprentice national advisory group of the BCITO and will be through his apprenticeship this year.” Building a strong team culturally has been core to NZ Builders’ success and journey to date. You need that when you have so many apprentices on board at various stages of learning. “All our apprentices are trained through BCITO and I think the training pathway is getting better and better, with the use of technology. Once a month we do an Apprentice night where we cover off a couple of topics.” This year has seen industry recognition in the form of winning a Gold Award and Top 100 selection in the regional Master Builders House of the Year Awards for a ‘Super Remodel’ renovation at Pt Chevalier in the Bunnings Renovation $750k - $1.5m category. Design work for the renovation was undertaken by HMMA Architects and involved extensive knock-down and recycling of original materials in the home. “It was really cool to recycle the old Matai flooring reclaimed from the original bungalow we demolished. For me, this project aligns with my own taste and sense of what great design and materials composition is in a home.” The use of natural timber panelling is one of many highlights in the home, complemented with exceptional use of natural light to bring a bright and breezy feel into the home. “We knew this was going to be an exceptional build and outcome right from the start and knew we wanted to put it forward for the House of the Year Awards. Everything in the home was completed to the highest standard.” The home owners, who work in the hospitality sector wanted to create the look and feel of a high-end cafe. Quality Plumbing & Roofing in Auckland Highest standard workmanship Trustworthy & reliable 24/7 Urgent service PLUMBING GAS FITTING ROOFING 09 636 9204 1/136 Captain Springs Road, Onehunga CustomKitchens & BathroomVanities • Laundries &Wardrobes • Built in custom cabinetry • Delivery & installation 027 476 1315 CountrylaneCNC Proudly working alongside NZ Builders • Residential & Commercial • Plumbing, Gasfitting, Drainage • Maintenance and Emergency Call out Services