Manukau Home Renovation Builders

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When international visitors first touch down in New Zealand, the first glimpse they get of our fair land is the heart of Auckland’s south. Manukau City is a vibrant cosmopolitan region that’s characterised by its myriad parks, beaches and fascinating history. Home to more than half a million people, Manukau is less ‘city’ and more ‘village’ which is why the region has long been a popular place for families.

Richard Lightfoot has been running a successful Refresh Renovations team in Manukau for the last four years. He started his career in construction where he worked alongside architects and designers to project manage and carry out construction work and implementation of designs into building projects. The technical nature of engineering took Richard into the IT industry where his focus was on service and support. Four years ago, he saw the opportunity to merge his experience of both construction and meeting the requirements of customers with complex needs back into the building industry.

“It seemed like a natural progression for me to find this sweet spot of what I want to do, what I want to achieve, and how I can help people,” says Richard. “Working with Refresh gives me the opportunity to help make people’s dreams come true.”

The importance of family is what drives Richard, both in his personal life and when he’s dealing with clients.

“I have two daughters and I have a lot of pride and enjoyment in their success,” he says. “Family is really important to me and it’s one of the reasons why Manukau is such a great place to live and work, because it’s very family-oriented.”

Richard says that Manukau is seeing a big increase in multi-generational homes, more so than other parts of Auckland or even the rest of the country. 

“You can achieve more together than you can individually,” he says. “I think multi-generational living gives people the opportunity to live a lifestyle that they might not have been able to afford my themselves, while bringing the family together.”

As Auckland City continues to grow, a large amount of development is being carried out in the southern suburbs. But there are also many well-established communities that have been around for decades. These houses are now reaching a stage where they need a ‘refresh’ to make it more comfortable for today’s way of living. Richard predominantly works with homeowners who want to improve their home and their way of life because, second to their family, where they live and what they live in is the most important thing to them.

Of course, turning a concept into a plan and then into an actual building project is easier said than done. Homeowners without experience in building or project managing can struggle with navigating the red tape that comes with compliance, managing tradespeople and finding the time they need to ensure every box is ticked. Entrusting the project to Refresh streamlines the process and significantly reduces stress.

“For a homeowner it’s the time it takes to do it all,” says Richard. “It doesn’t help that council’s needs constantly change in response to Auckland’s higher density housing. I visit the council almost every day – I’m on first-name basis these days – because it’s not just the rules that impact a homeowner, it’s the interpretation of those rules, and sometimes it’s easier to sort it all out face-to-face. It’s good to have that relationship with your local body because it makes a big difference to resolving issues if they crop up. Ultimately, it all comes back to doing what’s best for the homeowner, giving them peace of mind, and making everything streamlined and stress-free.”

Richard says that council compliance is becoming stricter and harder to achieve, possibly thanks to past building failures like leaky homes. Therefore, it can take much longer for plans to be consented so it pays to get it right first time with an experience renovation specialist like Refresh.

Finishing a job on time and within budget is the hardest thing to achieve when so many people are involved. The proven Refresh process is what ensures every renovation project runs smoothly and to time. Every project is a one-off; Refresh uses a proven process and takes learnings from one project into the next to ensure each unique renovation meets the client’s unique requirements.

The success of Refresh’s projects also comes down to the nature of the people involved. Refresh Renovations is part of Master Builders and is backed by a Master Builder Guarantee. All work that’s permitted and consented comes with a 10-year guarantee, and all projects are backed by an insurance company to cover unforeseen circumstances.

“Our goal is to always work with the best tradespeople and suppliers who have the same core principles as Refresh – to always focus on the needs of the client,” says Richard. “Our clients aren’t one-off jobs; they might want to do something else further down the track, or maybe they can’t afford to complete their whole dream right now so they do it in stages. Our clients never go away; they’re just between projects.”

Being a Refresh Renovations specialist is rewarding, but it’s not without its sacrifices.

“It’s not uncommon for me to meet with clients at 8:30pm because they work during the day,” says Richard. “My days can be very long, what with being onsite during the day and sitting down with clients in the evenings, but that’s just what you do when you’re in the business of helping people.

“You’ve really got to love what you do – I really love what I do. It’s so rewarding when you can make a real difference to a family and help deliver something that they’ve dreamed about. The smiles on everyone’s dials at the end of a renovation are always worth it.”

Alex Wong is a Manukau Renovation Specialist who understands that without a well thought out plan and process in place, renovations can quickly run over budget and over time. He and his highly capable team take a different approach. They focus on clear and open communication as well as attention to detail to ensure they are providing the best customer service, and it's these qualities that set them apart from smaller builders. Alex acquired many of his project management skills in the Finance industry, as Executive Management of many financial strategy projects. He has a natural people person with a focus on building strong relationships. All of these attributes add up to a highly involved team and a great customer experience.

Renovation consultant Kim Reiche holds over 13 years of local experience in the design and build industry, not including the many years of interior design and architectural experience she gained during her time living in South Africa. She has been involved in a huge range of projects, including both high end commercial and residential renovations. Along with her team, Kim is experienced, reliable and detail oriented.

Kim’s team includes Dave Redshaw and Phil Cooney. Both Dave and Phil have been working for Refresh since 2014. Dave is an electrician with over 40 years of experience, while Phil is a flooring specialist who holds over 16 years of experience in floor installations.


Get in touch with Refresh to discuss your home renovation project

If you would like to discuss home renovation options for your next renovation project, please use the enquiry form on this page to provide us with your contact details. We will get in touch with you at a time that suits you to discuss your project. If you would like to provide us with more information about your project, we have a more comprehensive enquiry form on our "Get in touch" page too.


Andromeda Cres, East Tamaki, Auckland 2013
22 Brookesmith Drive, Waiuku
Bramley Dr Farm Cove, Auckland 2012