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G.J.'s builds a new home for Tobi and Sarah in Te Aroha

April 2014

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First home buyers Tobi Lawton and Sarah Lee thought they had found the home of their dreams only to discover ...

First home buyers Tobi Lawton and Sarah Lee thought they had found the home of their dreams only to discover that native termites had created extensive damage throughout the property. Mr Lawton had noticed a lot of dust on the floors while vacuuming and also found the wood in the walls behind the wallpaper was collapsing but wasn’t sure why. It was only a chance conversation with a neighbour that led them to discover the serious problems with their home.

A building report given to them made no mention of the infestation nor gave any indication that anything was amiss with the property they purchased. With the only feasible option to demolish the home and rebuild, Tobi and Sarah faced bankruptcy.

Prior to taking the story to air, Campbell Live called G.J. Gardner Homes – as John Campbell felt this was the best building company that might be able to help. Grant Porteous, our New Zealand managing director, immediately started working with Campbell Live on how we could help. Campbell Live then decided to take the story to air that night to expose the issues and to try help Tobi and Sarah set up a donation appeal via the Givealittle website.

New Zealanders were amazing and stepped up to the plate by donating money to the demolishing and rebuilding of the couples home. The money raised was five times the amount that Campbell Live had expected, but still some $100,000 or more short of the costs to demolish and remove the old home, sort site issues and build a new home. That’s where we, G.J.’s stepped in and added not only our financial support but also our building expertise, to wisely use the money New Zealand had donated and build a safe, healthy, new home for Tobi and Sarah and their three children.

Managing Director of G.J. Gardner Homes N.Z, Grant Porteous and G.J. Gardner Homes Hamilton Franchisee Jeff De Leeuw, along with Campbell Live, met Tobi and Sarah at their property in Te Aroha.
The couple were absolutely blown away after Grant and Jeff explained that G.J. Gardner would be building a brand new, three bedroom home for them!

Since voicing their support for the Te Aroha couple on Campbell Live, G.J. Gardner Homes has been pleased with the progress on their home despite encountering some unexpected challenges. The main issue was the discovery of asbestos sheeting beneath the plaster exterior when a plan for demolition was being established. Of course this only added to the complexity of the demolition process and consultation with demolition experts, department of Labour and asbestos removal consultants had to occur in order to find a safe and suitable solution.

The complete removal of the entire house to the safe, controlled environment at Leaches asbestos accredited quarry and dumping site, turned out to be the best answer. This met many objectives which included: keeping the community and workers on site safe, providing the least disruption to the neighbours and kept the termite ridden material together until it reached the dump site.

In preparation for construction, G.J. Gardner Homes has worked alongside Tobi and Sarah to design their new home. They have come up with a new plan, chosen the colours, materials and specifications and are really excited to get started. With the construction drawings complete and building consent granted, G.J. Gardner Homes is confident of keeping to their time frame once work has begun on the new house and they look forward to completing Tobi and Sarah’s new termite-free home. Good New Zealanders, G.J. Gardner Homes and Campbell Live, working together to make a positive difference.