With 38 years in the building trade under his belt, Garry Morton has seen plenty of change in the industry and in Cromwell where his business Cromwell Building Contractors is based. “It’s hard to describe what’s happened over the last 20-odd years. The growth, the expansion of the town is just incredible,” Garry says. With several subdivisions underway, demand for residential construction still very strong and there is plenty of work for everyone. While it is not difficult to recruit and train apprentices, as in most parts of New Zealand, qualified builders are harder to find.
Since it was established, the company, which employs five staff, has trained seven apprentices. Garry has developed a good working relationship with Gary Todd of Gary Todd Architecture, based in Dunedin, a collaboration that is proving win-win for both businesses and clients. Garry says a good architect/builder relationship is a key to a successful outcome in any new build, particularly as architecture is a creative process, but one which needs practical input to see that process come to fruition. “You’ve got to have faith in each other and obviously as a builder we sometimes wish to alter things, but these reasons need to be relayed back to the architect and client for input and approval,” he says. A house recently completed in Bannockburn, near Cromwell, is a good example of the collaboration between the two businesses. The 210 square metre house is situated on an elevated section to take advantage of the stunning vistas through its generously glazed windows and doors. Relating to the area’s heritage, it is a contemporary barn styled design, a combination of two simple gabled roof buildings crossed for the house with a courtyard to separate gabled roof garage.
Ironsand coloured corrugated steel on the walls and roof blend it into its Central Otago setting. Glazed doors each end of the living area allow the views to been seen from the courtyard through the house, which means the owners can choose the best side of the house for exposure or shelter from the sun and wind. The interior features polished concrete floor in the living area, complemented with warm natural plywood sloping ceilings and black strikingly used for the kitchen joinery and various fittings. Gary Todd says the client sought a modest building which highlights the fact that engaging an architect does not required an unlimited budget, but faith in delivering them the best value. “They were looking to create a cost effective home which is sympathetic to the area and that’s been achieved by paired them with Garry Morton; as we selected the builder for them,” Gary says. “It’s a simple but refined home, well designed and constructed, achieved with good client input.” This design and construction is a good example of how an architect, client and builder can create a home which not only meets but exceeds everyone’s expectations, even on a tight budget, he says. “We have a history of completing several projects with Cromwell Building Contractors where cost efficiency has been delivered on residential projects for many clients through good collaboration,” says Gary. “We have a proven track record of working with Garry Morton, and like us, clients say he’s easy to work with.”