Tom’s Thoughts:
Re-cladding – seize the opportunity or hold off?

Fair enough if you’re one of the many people asking this question right now. Since we are getting asked this question a bit at the moment, I thought I’d share my thoughts on the subject.

It goes without saying that the pandemic created unprecedented challenges for many businesses, and the past couple of years have also been pretty tough for our building industry. A combination of material shortages, lockdowns, low numbers of trained builders, and a record number of consents created the perfect storm that saw costs and timeframes increase by around 30 per cent. That’s a significant increase to what is already a costly investment. In addition, many builders cannot offer ‘fixed price contracts’ as they have no idea what the materials will cost when it comes time to order them. So, it’s little wonder that people are nervous about whether it’s the right time to build.

There are good reasons for ‘timing’ being a factor when planning your re-cladding project. However, if you own a plaster-clad home (that likely has issues with weather tightness), the reality is that time is not on your side. As the building degrades further, the costs increase for timber replacement, and additional stress is put on the integrity of the building.

Bear in mind that for every challenge, there is a solution. At Resolution Projects, we appreciate that re-cladding is a significant investment and can be stressful for homeowners. However, we do everything we can to ensure the process runs as smoothly as possible; it’s about giving our customers peace of mind.

I’ve outlined the key issues the building industry is facing and how we have risen to the challenges.

Increased material costs

Unfortunately, the price of building materials increased significantly over the last year. However, we are seeing this begin to plateau. Sadly, it’s unlikely that costs will return to their previous levels (when has that ever happened?), so I see it as ‘they are now as cheap as they are ever going to be’. On the upside, building materials only make up around 25 per cent of the cost of a re-clad, so overall pricing has not been affected as much as it would be for a new build.

Material availability

All builders were taken by surprise by this issue. Fortunately, at Resolution Projects, our reps work tirelessly to ensure we have the materials we need. We have supply agreements with large and smaller suppliers, so we spread our risk. And of course, preparation is key. We place orders for projects as early as four months before putting hammer to nail. And on the upside, lead times are stabilising, and we’ve found we can often commence the job with 100 per cent of the materials required delivered to the site from day one.

Lockdowns and Omicron

The lockdowns were hard on us all, weren’t they? As builders, we were unable to work at level 4. However, now that every team member has had Omicron, we remain hopeful that lockdowns are in the past and the economy and supply chain can begin to recover.

New Zealand’s builder shortage

This country’s lack of trained builders has always been an issue. So, we tackled this issue head-on – the best way we knew – and we’re proud to have trained around 30 apprentices in the time we’ve been re-cladding. We achieve better outcomes and quality by teaching people to build to our high standards, and our team comprises qualified and licensed builders, many of whom have been with us for over five years.

Other considerations:

Interest rates

With a predicted rise in interest rates in the coming months, now is a smart time to lock in contracts and borrow from the bank ahead of the increase.

House values

We’ve seen the property market cool off a little. When that happens, there are fewer buyers to compete with, and purchasers become more discerning. As a result, a well-presented home will tend to hold its value and sell, while plaster homes that have not been re-clad tend to dwindle on the market as investors are cautious about taking on large projects.

Moving forward – re-cladding with us

Considering all the above factors, I firmly believe that now is a great time to consider re-cladding your home. We are not only confident that we can complete the job with minimal disruption, but we still do also fixed-price quotes for the ‘Main Contract’ works to eliminate any nasty surprises.

Our ‘Payment Plan’ is broken down weekly, so you pay for what is completed each week – on time, to schedule and with no discrepancies.

My wife and I have been through re-cladding ourselves. So, we appreciate that re-cladding your home is a big decision, a significant expense and frankly, a massive leap of faith. But, as always, we’ll work with you to ensure the job is done on time and within budget.

Drop us a line if you’d like to explore your options with us, or download our re-cladding guide to learn more about the process.