Communication vital for small team big on service
Ask Dave Van De Geest what ski instructing on the finest ski slopes in Europe and North America has in common with building new homes in New Zealand and he will tell you ‘communication’.
As managing director of North Canterbury based Van De Geest Building Ltd, Dave says his background in Tourism has served him very well in respect to his building career.
“When you’re 19 and working as a skiing instructor you’re dealing with people who are professionals – doctors, lawyers and business people. You have to learn how to hold a conversation and get along with people from all walks of life.
“When I look back I do believe my past life has helped me. Communication with the customer is a huge part of what we do.”
Originally hailing from Nelson, Dave tells how he initially went down the path of an electrical trade when leaving school but sought a different direction before completing the apprenticeship.
Moving to Queenstown Dave qualified as a whitewater rafting guide and ski instructor – qualifications that took him on his amazing overseas adventure – until one day he realized he needed to head home and build a solid foundation.
“So I moved to Christchurch when I was 25 and started from scratch, serving my building apprenticeship. I’ve learned the business from a base level, working my way up to project managing and consulting on building sites.”
Establishing Van De Geest Building Ltd in 2011 Dave initially worked on contract to other building companies, but steered the business into doing more of its own builds to develop closer relationships with the very people he was building homes for.
Dave says a personal approach to the build along with his own strong involvement from concept to excavation right through to code of compliance has been a key to success for Van De Geest Building.
“We’re not a huge company and each build is important to us. I’m heavily involved in the whole process. We can provide everything that you can get from the bigger players – fixed price contract, quality craftsmanship, 10 year Halo warranty and great relationships with our sub-contractors and suppliers – but with the personal touch of a smaller business.”
Located in Pegasus, much of Van De Geest Building’s work now comes from within the community that Dave and his family are very much part of.
“We’re strongly invested in Pegasus”, says Dave. “It’s my home, my kids go to school here and we’re committed to pushing the town forward and providing a service to the local community.”
He says that while still enjoying renovation and restoration work, there is a stronger focus now on new builds within Pegasus and trying to raise the level of house design.
“We now have 21 of our own plans and concept designs ranging from entry level to high-end architecturally designed homes.
“People can select one of our concept designs with a base level pricing attached along with the cost of upgrades. We can also arrange a complete bespoke design to be done within a couple of weeks, specific to your section.”
As testament to its craftsmanship, Van De Geest Building has just completed a stunning architecturally designed home right on Pegasus golf course.
Dave says the large 311sqm 4-bedroom character home, complete with 110sqm decking, was very much the brainchild of the owners.
“A mix of linear board and painted bricks has been used as the exterior cladding. There’s a cathedral ceiling running right through the living areas and media room, lined with a grooved Shadowclad, painted white, to give it a matched lining look.”
The use of argon gas between double-glazing, thermally broken aluminium joinery, and high rating insulation all adds to the homes energy efficiency. “It was an amazing experience showing the finished home to our clients and how their vision became reality.”
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