Groovy housing

This project. The Grove, in Papakura, Auckland I took over development management/ project direction and a month later also project management (to improve builder to client communication) for 36 houses under construction and about 60 sites under civils and initial design/feasibility for a further 50 sites/homes to replace a temporary stormwater pond whilst council finished an adjacent wetland/stormwater management area.

One builder this time, steel frame. That eventually seemed to work ok. However, a build contract that was ineffectual so everything became a negotiation.

Strategic anecdotes:

When house sales dried up at the prices required, using a project marketing approach I took a micro approach. Individual homes were given to aggressive local agents, one per agent, each one staged and marketed in their own way and dissapated the staleness of the original campaign. That eventually worked.

Stage two, instead of preselling homes and land, we presold land only to smaller builders. At that market there was a little bit of positive arbitrage compared to hiring a main contractor and building ourselves. The resource consent was an integrated one so all the homes were designed to match the overall aesthetic of the development. What we supplied was the land with titles, with reserve contributions sorted and almost ready to lodge building consent plans- using timber construction to maximise the number of potential buyers. Ready to lodge – so they took on all the risk on the accuracy of the plans but could also adjust to suit their details and techniques. They all sold at good prices.

When I took over the project the conditions required to satisfy 224c was quite onerous but some sections had already been sold with sunsets. And the two no longer matched. I reckon I needed another six months!

The race was on and there was neighbors infrastructure agreement reneged on, a pumpstation to create, thrusting a water main half a mile down the road, getting agreement from parks on top of all the usual conditions. Lets just say Veolia got sick of me turning up to their offices!

The heat was on. I still can’t believe it but we got 224c a week before the sunsets expired. Why is this important? Because since purchasing the sections the housing market had declined…..

I have a system for dealing with obtaining 224c, mainly its coordination and persistence and a load of structure – but that is for a different day.

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