New Zealand’s estimated resident population rose from 4.41 million in 2012 to 4.79 million in June 2017, according to Stats NZ. This continued population growth, particularly around urban areas, has put increasing strain on our housing market and resulted in a significant shortage of homes. As of 2018, NZ has a calculated housing deficit of 71,000 homes according to the MBIE.
Could prefabricated buildings be the silver bullet?
“We cannot afford to carry on building the way we are.” - Mike Fox, director of EasyBuild Ltd.
“Prefab will just become another tool that builders don’t think about, just like pre-nailed roof frames and wall trusses that come to site, builders will be ordering their wall panels fully furnished.” - Pamela Bell, CEO of Prefab NZ.
Read the latest whitepaper with interviews from leading New Zealand prefabrication practitioners in both the panelised and volumetric offsite methods.
A window into prefabricated building construction in New Zealand?
Prefab or prefabricated construction refers to any building, or part of a building, that is made away from the final building site. Also referred to as off-site construction, prefab building has a long history in New Zealand. ‘Portable’ colonial cottages shipped in parts from Europe were some of the first permanent homes of European settlers and there is even some evidence that Maori packed wetland Raupo to make wall panels.
Already a popular method of construction in the USA, Sweden and Japan, prefab construction is currently uncommon in New Zealand’s housing market, which instead relies almost entirely on traditional building methods and the production of on-site homes. However as the demand for affordable housing becomes louder and the critical shortage of homes across the country becomes more apparent, the case for robust quick build prefabricated construction is clearer than ever.
Product suppliers and architects in the New Zealand construction sector are also going to have to get out of their comfort zone if they want to be relevant when the new wave of prefabricated construction methods changes the build tide. Altus Windows is certainly trying to challenge the norm and offer clever new ways to offer better windows for better build efficiency.