The government will be inviting companies to set up or expand off-site manufacturing factories to make KiwiBuild homes, indicating it may rely on prefabricated manufacturing to build its promised 100,000 affordable homes.
Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford has announced that the government will seek interest from both local and overseas companies to provide them with plans, saying that off-site manufacturing could be “a game changer for New Zealand housing.”
Since its inception in December 2017, KiwiBuild has seen its fair share of hurdles including high building costs, lack of funding and land and skills shortages. The government is hoping to address several of these with its plans to call in the private sector and rely increasingly on prefabricated homes.
“One of the challenges for KiwiBuild is there isn’t the scale and capacity in the construction sector to build the number of houses New Zealand needs,” said Twyford.
“Since KiwiBuild launched in November, we’ve been approached by a number of highly capable international and domestic companies who are already using innovative methods such as off-site manufacturing to build quality houses quicker and more efficiently."
According to Twyford, utilising proven manufacturing methods used across Europe and North America would speed up the construction of KiwiBuild homes, and would help address New Zealand’s shortage of skilled construction workers. Products such as cross laminated timber can also “dramatically speed up the time it takes to build houses,” getting them completed an estimated two to four times quicker.
“Housing NZ’s use of locally sourced and manufactured cross laminated timber has resulted in their houses being built in four to five months instead of 14-18 months,” Twyford continued.
“PrefabNZ said earlier this year that off-site factory built houses and apartments could see more than 7000 additional homes built every year from 2020. Ultimately, this could mean we see large-scale factories established in New Zealand, working alongside existing off-site manufacturing companies and creating more jobs, more skills and more houses.”
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