McKinstry Projects is a father and son team specialising in the architectural design and build of new houses, renovations, extensions and additions. We provide a complete design / cost / build / manage solution from start to finish. Our projects are individually designed (no set plans) to suit your requirements, your site / location and your budget. We operate an open book invoicing system which essentially means that you are in complete control of your spend.

Who we are

Joseph McKinstry (Dip Arch Dr NZCAD Licensed Building Practitioner - Design 2)

Architectural Designer / Draughtsman & Project Manager

After completing his studies in Otago and a stint with a Christchurch architectural firm, Joseph headed off to see the world and work along the way. Over nine years Joseph worked for Todd Architects London/Belfast and Building Design Partnership Dublin undertaking architectural design and detailing of residential new homes and extensions/renovations, light commercial and commercial. He returned to New Zealand with his young family and formed McKinstry Projects in 2010. He now specialises in new houses, renovations, extensions and additions.

Joseph McKinstry
Allan McKinstry

Allan McKinstry (Licensed Building Practitioner - Carpentry)

Builder & Project Manger

Allan is from an era where the builder knew how to do ‘everything’ on a building project. He started out in the building industry in the seventies down in the south of the South Island and has gradually made his way up the country to Auckland, where he has been based for 15+ years. With vast knowledge and experience in all aspects of construction, including carpentry, quantity surveying and project management, he has specialised in light commercial, new homes, renovations and extensions for over 35 years.


“The project, including sub-contractors was managed to a very high professional standard. The design is imaginative and processing through consent was painless. The standard of construction was outstanding and we had no issues either during or after the project. We unreservedly recommend McKinstry Projects for either a new dwelling or renovation work.”

Sam & Greg

Our Process

We wish we had a dollar for every time a client has come to us with a set of plans they have had drawn up by an architect and have fallen in love with. The plans have been through council. They’ve started contacting builders for a price and have quickly realised it will be double their budget! This happens all the time because, believe it or not, the architect and the builder have never spoken!

We’re different because we offer the benefits of architect and builder working together as a team from start to finish. We provide two stages of pricing on your project before we go near the council. This means you’ll know what it will cost before you commit to the council process and all associated fees.

Our Process

Project Management

Allan (the father) manages all of our projects. He is your point of contact right from the start. He has a firm handle on the budget and timeline, and will visit your site 2—3 times per week to make sure all is in order. This means our builders can concentrate on what they’re good at – building.


When undertaking a major renovation (particularly on an older house) you have to expect some ‘unders and overs’ in the budget. It is impossible to know exactly what is lurking within your 100 year old walls. Because we’re regularly onsite we keep you up to date with how things are tracking and let you know early on if there are any causes for budgetary concern.

Architectural Design & Costing

Joseph (the son) takes pride in being able to interpret a client’s brief, zero in on their style/tastes, and provide an individual and interesting design solution which will meet your brief and the budget.

Allan then takes the concept design and provides two stages of pricing (preliminary and then final ) to ensure alignment with your budget.

Initial Consultation and Planning

You’ll initially meet with Joseph and Allan at your place to discuss your project. We’ll establish what you are hoping to achieve and your budget, and advise on considerations and decisions that you’ll need to make throughout your project journey.

We encourage our clients to give us their full ‘Wishlist’ right at the start.


As a general guide a significant project will take up to six months in the design, planning and consenting, and another six months for the build.

Joseph will advise on the council planning rules, design stages, external consultants and the council submission process. He will also do some preliminary investigation into your site to see if there is anything which would impact your project and/or costs.

Allan will advise on building costs, the pricing stages, the open book invoicing system and the construction phase.

Following this meeting we'll leave you a coffee table brochure which provides a more detailed overview of the relevant stages we undertake for our projects, which you can review in more detail at your leisure.

Following the consultation Joseph will prepare a detailed fee proposal summarising everything we have discussed.

Project Budget

Everyone has a budget or an amount they are comfortable spending on their project. Often there is a wide variation between this figure, and the amount actually required to achieve the desired result. We’ll help you prioritise the items which are most important to you, separating your ‘must haves’ from your ‘nice to haves’.

Using our ‘Open Book’ system, we keep things open and transparent so you know where you’re at every step of the way. We do away with ‘margin on margin’ costs and you pay only for the work that has been done – we don’t pay any tradies in advance.


The design process is a collaboration between you and the designer (Joseph) – it’s the fun part. It‘s about offering advice and providing ideas, not imposing ideas and tastes on you. You‘ll have plenty of opportunity to provide input and feedback throughout.

The stages of design include preliminary concept design (the fun part & includes initial pricing guide), final concept design (includes final pricing), Resource Consent application (if required) and Building Consent application.

Joseph will start by taking a detailed measure of your house (renovation or extension) or site (new house) and preparing preliminary layout options and sketches for discussion. He’ll make suggestions on the best use of your house/site.

Read more about our Design process


The build component is where you see your plans turn into reality – it’s the exciting part. Our emphasis is on a quality build and finish, which means doing things properly and no cutting corners.

Allan manages all of our projects, and is your point of contact throughout. He believes communication is the key to a successful project. He will visit your site 2—3 times per week and takes care of the paperwork, leaving the builders to do what they’re best at – building.

Read more about our Build process

Want a seamless renovation or build?

Are you time poor? Are you looking for a professional company with design and build know-how to take away the hassle of your building project? We can help.

Contact Us

The Open Book Invoicing System

No one likes invoices, especially ones for work not yet completed or where you’re paying ‘margin on margin’. Why pay a builder’s margin over the top of the plumber’s margin?

At McKinstry Projects we’ve developed a fresh ‘Open Book’ approach to invoicing that keeps things simple and transparent. You are in complete control of your money. You can track your spend throughout the project, knowing at all times what you have spent, and what you have left to pay.

There is no margin on top from us, no progress payments for work not yet completed. You just pay for what’s been done.

Open Book System

Our Partners

At McKinstry Projects we like to work with nice people. (No room for grumpy tradies or precious designers!). We have put together a great team of every supplier and sub trade you can imagine. We have selected them based on the quality of their work, their attention to detail and, very importantly, how they interact with our other sub trades and with you, our clients.

HFC Consulting
Structural Engineer

HFC Consulting

EQ Engineering
Stormwater Engineer

EQ Engineers

A I Bates
Cadastral Surveyor

A I Bates

Light Plan


Trinity Interior Design
Interior Design

Trinity Interior Design

Suppliers & Subtrades
Placemakers New Lynn
Builders Merchant

Placemakers New Lynn

K-10 Plumbing

K10 Limited

Echo Drainage
Leck Electrical

Leck Electrical

Tasman Roofing

Tasman Roofing

Vivid Electrical

Vivid Electrical

John Worrall
Gib Supply & Fix




Phoenix Aluminium
Aluminium Joinery

Phoenix Aluminium

Superior Kitchens
Kitchen & Joinery

Superior Kitchens & Joinery

Elite Bathroomware

Elite Bathroomware

Solid Tile Company
Jetspeed Painting
Painting & Decorating
Action Glass
Showers / Balustrades / Mirrors / Splashbacks

Action Glass

JSC Timber
Timber Cladding/Decking

JSC Timber

Pink Bins

Pink Bins