Wakatipu mega-pads in running for national titles

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Two impressive new Queenstown homes are vying for a prestigious national title. 

An AJ Saville Builder home at the top of the Crown Range and a Cliff Erskine Builders project at Millbrook West near Arrowtown are among eight finalists in the Registered Master Builders House of the Year awards for 2011. 

Both properties are in the category for new homes costing more than $2 million. 

Separately, a swanky Lake Hayes home by Trevor Ward Builders has made the final in the $1 m to $2 m category, whilst Naylor Love’s innovative Remarkables Primary School is a finalist in the education project category. 

AJ Saville Builder owner Allister Saville says the Walker Residential Architects-designed home pushed the boundaries of design with some “pretty out-there architecture”. 

The other major challenge during the two-year completion was battling wild winter weather up the Crown Range. 

“It’s well-built for the Crown Range – it’s got about three or four different forms of heating,” Saville says. 

Saville adds that the property was done as a holiday home for a wealthy Singaporean financier – they also did a second and similar place right behind it for the guy’s mate. 

“I only met them twice but they were very nice people.” 

It’s already picked up five awards for the Otago-Southland region – including supreme house, and best house over $2 m. 

The home is up against a stunning Cliff Erskine Builders property at Millbrook West, also built as a holiday pad by an Auckland family. 

Cliff Erskine says the place contains the best of materials plus top quality workmanship and it was a pleasure to be involved. 

It includes special features like gas fires in every bedroom and a specially-wired home entertainment system that can be controlled via iPad from anywhere in the world. 

The floor is Tasmanian oak. 

“It was really cool – especially dealing with great clients. They flew down every two months and had a look through,” Erskine comments. 

The property has already picked up two regional awards – best interior and outdoor living – for Otago and Southland. 

Registered Master Builders Federation chief executive Warwick Quinn says this year’s competition has shown superb levels of building excellence from around New Zealand. 

“The quality of workmanship seen throughout the country is truly outstanding, builders are taking pride in their work and this is reflected in the quality of the finalists. 

“Exceptional quality is vital right across the building industry, not just in competitions like ours, and with the Christchurch rebuild and leaky home remediation there is no room for quick fixes that won’t stand the test of time.”

The finalists’ projects will now be re-judged over the next few months. 

Then the winners are announced at a gala dinner at Auckland in November.