Solution to KiwiBuild is New Zealand made

The capacity to build more quality homes is already within New Zealand, instead of overseas, new research from PrefabNZ shows.

Instead of shipping in from abroad, the PrefabNZ ‘Capacity & Capability’ report demonstrates that Kiwi-based housing manufacturing firms and construction companies can deliver for KiwiBuild using offsite methods.

Through using innovative building methods, PrefabNZ Members say they could deliver around 7,000 more homes each year from 2020. This would deliver 70% of KiwiBuild's target of 10,000 homes per year over ten years. In fact, manufacturers and builders surveyed by PrefabNZ say they are ready to reinvest around 8% of revenue, and up to 20% in some cases, to deliver KiwiBuild.

“This is astonishing news,” says PrefabNZ Chief Executive Pamela Bell.

“New Zealand housing manufacturers and builders are telling us that they are willing to forego some profit in the short term to deliver KiwiBuild. This research is economic proof that our innovative construction industry does not need a big multi-national outsider in order to deliver on the KiwiBuild promise.”

“We can have several New Zealand businesses using innovative building methods working together, using homegrown materials and sharing specialist expertise. For example, different companies might make wall panels, or roof pieces or bathroom pods, or any of the elements that go into a building.”

In the words of PrefabNZ Board Chair, Lauren Christie: “This Capacity & Capability report is well timed to demonstrate the latent capacity and commitment of the innovative construction sector to deliver better homes for Kiwis under the KiwiBuild banner.”

Mark Farmer, author of the game-changing United Kingdom report ‘Modernise or Die’ agrees that offsite is an important part of the KiwiBuild solution. His experience in the UK shows how government officials have taken on board the advice he provided in his 2016 report where he showed how 25% of the British construction industry would be gone in the next 10 years as workers retired.

A year after the Farmer Review, the British Government committed to prioritising offsite building methods for several Departments, including transport, health, education, justice and defence.

Mark is now here in New Zealand to discuss what New Zealand needs to do to take full advantage of innovative building methods. Mark’s appearance at this week’s annual CoLab event in Auckland is in partnership with the Industry Transformation Agenda, a bold programme to transform the entire building and construction sector led by BRANZ.

PrefabNZ’s CoLab event explores ways to reduce the road-blocks to innovation through:

• Better Bank Finance to enable first-time home owners to access traditional bank mortgages for prefabricated homes,

• Good Offsite Guide which clarifies the process around building consent and compliance pathways to bring innovation to market, and

• The SNUG design competition to produce a range of pre-consented home patterns for smart compact one-bedroom dwellings for existing back-gardens – effectively ‘a home in my backyard’.

The Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford and Building and Construction Minister Jenny Salesa will open the conference. “CoLab is a golden opportunity to bring together some of the smartest brains and best entrepreneurs in construction,” says Minister Twyford. “The industry needs this more than ever.”

Pamela Bell adds: “We’re really pleased to have the Ministers at our event to understand the impact that using offsite methods could have on KiwiBuild. We are committed to continuing the conversation with Ministers and officials about how we can collaborate to ensure quality homes are designed for production in New Zealand at scale and at pace.”

Projects on display at CoLab feature a prefabricated plywood stand designed and constructed by Unitec second-year architecture students for Carter Holt Harvey WoodProducts, one of the Platinum Partners with PrefabNZ to deliver CoLab. Home-grown cross-laminated timber (CLT) from Platinum partner XLam will be featured as part of the site visits to a Housing NZ social housing development.

PrefabNZ’s CoLab is supported by Platinum Partners Carter Holt Harvey WoodProducts and XLam, along with a range of design and construction industry sponsors.

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