Property editor of the NZ Herald

Builders confident in prefab demands

Paula Bennett. Photo / NZME
Paula Bennett. Photo / NZME

The prefabrication construction sector can handle Government demands for modular Auckland residences, says its boss.

Pamela Bell, Prefab NZ chief executive, said the sector was able to meet the state's needs for quickly-constructed places.

"The sector can easily build 140 one and two-bedroom houses," Bell said after Social Development Minister Paula Bennett indicated those numbers.

But the sector needed to be able to plan in advance to deliver what was needed.

"We just need the scope and time for pre-planning, along with co-ordinated infrastructure delivery and building consent cohesion through case study management, dealing with one person, rather than 20 for one job," Bell said. "Stanley Group recently finished their delivery of over 100 houses to Housing New Zealand's Rightsize programme. They are a leading provider in offsite construction technology.

"Keith Hay Home has been building these types of houses for over 50 years.

The technology is enduring,"

She also named Metrapanel, PLB Construction Group, Concision and Arrow International.

"There are good examples of two-storey townhouse typology using offsite construction at Hobsonville, such as the development by Beacon Pathway with New Zealand Steel and Strachan Group Architects," Bell said. "Prefab NZ conducted a quick audit post-Canterbury earthquakes and at that time 37 businesses said they could supply 850 houses in four weeks. This is on-site time and does not include lead time for infrastructure and building consent."

Bennett said officials were in negotiations to finalise lease arrangements for three sites in South Auckland that were earmarked for future development in the next 10 to 25 years.

"Before construction can begin, we also need Auckland Council to finalise the Unitary Plan to enable us to build the desired density. We will then move quickly to lodge resource consents, with earthworks to begin by December and the first tenants moving in by autumn 2017."

Modular housing providers would shortly have the opportunity to be selected for a panel of preferred suppliers so that construction can begin once the land is ready and consents obtained. Bennett said the properties would be tenanted with existing social housing tenants who need to be moved so redevelopment can occur, new tenants and people in need of emergency housing.

- NZ Herald

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