The Government has announced it will loosen consent requirements for prefabricated homes in a bid to see houses built faster.

Prefab homes in recent times have been put forward by the Government and parts of the industry as a possible way to ease the housing crisis and to help the ailing KiwiBuild programme.

But only about 10 per cent of newly built homes around New Zealand are currently made offsite, compared with 80 per cent in some countries, and the companies have struggled with complex consenting requirements.

Building and Construction Minister Jenny Salesa on Friday announced the Government would be reforming building laws to try to speed up consents.


Among the changes, the Government will remove a previous rule that required prefabs to largely require consent both where they were built and where they were put up – meaning it will only need to go through the process once.

Salesa said other changes would also likely mean that the number of inspections factory-made buildings had to go through would be halved, allowing greater mass production.

"Prefabrication and off-site manufacturing are the future of construction as they help produce high-quality buildings more quickly than traditional building approaches," she said.

The legislation is expected to be introduced in Parliament early next year.

Other changes announced include the introduction of requirements for information about building products.

"Councils have told us this will help them better assess compliance with the Building Code. Delays in consenting cost a building owner around $1000 for each week of delays," Salesa said.

"Roles and responsibilities for manufacturers, suppliers and builders will also be made clearer, so the right person can be held to account if things go wrong."

Decisions would be made next year about changes to occupational regulation within the sector, Salesa said.


But the NZ Building Industry Federation has in past questioned whether prefabricated homes would help the situation, saying they were unlikely to be cheaper that on-site construction because of the scale of New Zealand's market and its cyclical nature.