Introducing: Hilltop Lodge & Jim’s Building Inspections

When it comes to hard work, Silverdale couple Martie and Andre van Schalkwyk, have no hesitation in rolling up their sleeves and getting stuck in.

After nearly 15 years running holiday parks in Whanganui and then Pakiri, they have opened not one but two new businesses.

Andre, who is a qualified civil engineer, is running Jim’s Building Inspections on the Hibiscus Coast and Martie, who has an accounting and administration background, is managing the newly opened Silverdale Hilltop Lodge.

But it is still a team effort with Martie doing the books for Andre’s business, while Andre helps out with hospitality at the lodge.

The B&B lodge offers five newly refurbished guest rooms, a function/conference room and two guest lounges, as well as use of a fully equipped kitchen.

The two-storey building has panoramic views north to Kawau Island and the Brynderwyns. Martie says she can see it being an attractive option for brides on the night before the wedding as it lends itself to stunning photo opportunities.

On the building inspection side of things, Andre says a home inspection gives a prospective purchaser the information they need to negotiate a fair price. For instance, he recently inspected a home that was on the market for $2 million.

“The inspection revealed some moisture issues that I don’t think the owner was even aware of,” Andre says. “As it turned out, the buyer went ahead with the purchase, but the price reflected the fact that treatment would cost around $300,000.”

Weather-tightness checks are a standard part of any building report, along with structural, plumbing and electrical, ceiling and sub-floor inspections. For a slightly higher charge, buyers can include tests for methamphetamine and asbestos.

Andre says asbestos testing on commercial and industrial buildings, built before 2000, is now a requirement under WorkSafe Health & Safety regulations. Asbestos can be found in many different places, from insulation and roofing material to decorative paints and vinyl flooring.

“Finding asbestos doesn’t necessarily mean removing it, but it does need to be described and audited. It is all about keeping the workplace safe.”

Prior to immigrating to NZ, Martie, Andre and their two children, lived in Namibia, on Africa’s Atlantic Coast.