Building partners for over 20 years, Steve and Ian, directors of Shearwater Construction thought they had mastered every possible challenge in residential builds — from steep sites with huge retaining walls and volcanic rock under foot, to articulate drawn details by prominent architects — until they started the just completed excavation and rennovation of a grand Arney Road classic. The logistics of the dig out was a challenge in itself — initially the house was balancing on wooden stiles, which made planning around safety imperative as nana and poppa were living on the top floor and mum and dad and family were directly above the site works on the first floor for the duration of the project.
As with all Shearwater rennovation work, when families are still residing on the premises during construction, respect for each and every family member is paramount.
“It is not just about the person who is signing the cheques,” says Ian with a wee smile. “It is nice to have a yarn with nana and poppa, take an interest in what the family is up to outside the job — even the family pets need to be considered.”
“I enjoy ‘shooting hoops’ with the kids at breaks,” says Steve, who has five children of his own and Ian who has three. “We understand busy households and the least amount of disruption if possible on our behalf, the easer it will be on a family’s busy routine.”
“We are thankful for having a big team of highly-skilled and loyal sub-contractors and have been fortunate to also have worked with outstanding architects and engineers. This is all part of a recipe for success in construction, so as to deliver a project to a high standard.”
Understanding people’s expectations is also key in this business, says Steve. “You have to maintain a good dialogue and have an ability to compromise when opinions vary between the parties involved, including the neighbours and council staff.”
2014 was a busy year for Shearwater. Besides the Arney Road project, other projects completed included rennovations on properties on Remuera Road, Glenfell Place in Epsom and a commute to Omaha to work on a beach house for clients from St Heliers. Not forgetting a few long days spent on Queen Street, sub-contracting on the recently opened Christian Dior project.
“Besides ‘banging nails’,” says Ian, “being a builder in 2015 is about understanding the new regulations and building code, making cost-saving suggestions, being aware of timelines and budgets and having relationships with clients firmly based on trust.”
Steve’s son Matt is presently studying engineering and Ian’s son Campbell is doing electrical and IT. “We would like to see the boys get involved with Shearwater in the future,” says Ian. “We see a positive outlook for the building industry in this city and we’re moving towards expanding our business over the coming years.”
Shearwater Construction / Licensed Building Practioners
“Shearwater Construction was the lead contractor for an extensive renovation of our Remuera home. The renovation was complex with potential for time and cost over-runs, but was completed on time and within budget, to a very high standard. Steve and Ian were always very accommodating and extremely easy to work with. When decisions needed to be made they clearly explained the options, made great suggestions and listened carefully to our opinions. We were assured throughout the project that our satisfaction was paramount and we have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending their building services.”