The Government has set itself, the building sector and local councils a big hairy audacious goal – to build 10,000 new houses a year for 10 years.

New Zealand has been facing a housing Armageddon, with property prices hitting all time records, firstly in metropolitan cities of Auckland, Wellington and Tauranga, then a flow on effect to the provinces.

There has been a major increase in homelessness and a selling down of state housing.

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Land for new housing is sparse and getting through council red tape is an exhausting and sometimes mind numbing exercise, not to mention the ever increasing costs involved with bureaucracy.


However, an age old building solution could be New Zealand's answer to the housing crisis.

Prefabrication is quickly becoming a serious contender to help the Government keep to its promise.

There has been a bit of a stigma to prefabricated building thanks to the old prefab classrooms many of us were educated in, but these days it's very hard to see the difference between prefabricated houses and design/build houses.

If you ever want to see a stunning example of prefabrication Google "Grand designs prefabricated house Germany".

The norm for housing these days is double glazing, insulation, energy saving devises and technology which are now common practice in modern homes built either on site or in a factory just like ours in Hastings.

Cottages NZ has been a member of Prefabrication NZ for over a decade and has built hundreds of prefabricated houses, commercial offices and education facilities.

We have design templates for buildings ranging in size from 10m2 right through to 150m2 and within our purpose built facility we can work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, if needed and without feeling the effects of poor weather conditions slowing us down.

If the Government is serious about its promise, then it is going to need to work closely with councils as this can be the part of the building process that slows down people moving into their new home.


It is becoming harder to find new land to develop on while there are many people, especially empty nesters that are living in large houses on big sections they no longer need.

Quite often the assets of a home become the liability when people retire and have to spend money on costs associated with heating, maintenance, insurance on these larger homes. At a time when these houses would be sold, with the aim to downsize, the land prices have escalated due to land shortages for a variety of reasons.

Building materials and the Building Code are exactly the same, whether a house is built on site, as panels or fully constructed buildings.

We construct within a factory environment and there are many benefits such as quality, reduction in time, reduced cost, sustainability, productivity and Health and Safety to name a few.

With buildings that are fully constructed off site, there are some design parameters which need to be considered such as the height of the building and the width, though we are offering modular homes to cater for the larger buildings.

Prefab NZ is doing a fantastic job of promoting this construction method as a way for government to keep to its promise.

* John Roil is a local businessman and former Hastings district councillor.