Old-school training pays dividends
There is a difference between a home crafted with love and one that is not, says Christchurch builder John Ross Kelleher. It shows in the finishing and detailing.
A passion for building with love on Christchurch’s Port Hills is driving John Ross Architectural Builders’ aspiration to be the number one “go to” company for clients wanting sundrenched homes, a creative edge and majestic views of the ocean.
If John’s passion for building and skilled craftsmanship was ignited in the woodwork classes at high school, where he topped his year for carpentry, it was finely honed during his apprenticeship.
“At 16 I was offered an apprenticeship from a well-known builder around Christchurch,” says John.
“It was just me and him and he was a stickler for detail; old school – hand-sawing everything. Every cut had to be perfect. “Learning from him was crucial for me.”
In 2011, faced with a downturn in building and aged 22, John’s destiny was steered towards selfemployment.
As if by divine providence, he was approached by a company that he had done work for when an apprentice, and invited to accept a $300,000 carpentry package for a $3m rebuild of an earthquake-damaged church.
John says that while it was daunting, he was young, enthusiastic and keen to work night and day to get the job done.
Hiring a young apprentice, John Ross Architectural Builders was born. After the first church, another church rebuild followed and then a new church.
In between churches, John Ross Architectural Builders accepted new house builds and his team grew to five.
Now located in Ferrymead, the business has continued to grow, with John Ross leading his team with an unwavering focus on quality and attention to detail.
He says that he’s picked up a number of his old boss’s traits.
“I make sure my boys know how to use a hammer well and that their sawing skills are on point. “At the end of the day that’s what being a good builder is all about – doing the basics right.”
These days most of John Ross Architectural Builders’ work is architectural new builds on the Port Hills, although they continue to do a good deal of standard residential homes and townhouses.
Earlier this year the company completed a $1.8m build in Mt Pleasant. It was its largest build to date and John says the client placed a lot of faith in its ability – faith rewarded with the home of her dreams at completion.
While too late for entry into the Master Builders competition this year, the builder, who has attained various awards over the years, has been through the home and given it the thumbs-up.
“While that was a high-end build we want to show people that building on the Hills on a lower budget is achievable and we can help them do it,” he says.
“Part of our service is helping clients pick the sections to suit their budget and a design that fits their needs.”