NZ and overseas companies asked to ramp up prefab ops for Kiwibuild
Last updated 10:29, June 25 2018
Housing Minister Phil Twyford says he hopes more than half of the Government's 100,000 Kiwibuild homes will be made by prefabrication.
Twford has asked companies in New Zealand and overseas to express their interest in setting up, or expanding, off-site manufacturing factories to make KiwiBuild homes.
"Cabinet has decided the Government will seek interest from both local and overseas companies to come forward with their plans," Twyford said.
"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."
On Saturday, Twyford told The Nation he could not currently put a number on the number of prefab houses built under Kiwibuild, but within a few years - when the Government was building about 10,000 houses a year - "a substantial proportion" of the houses would be built in a factory using high-tech, high-precision gear.
He then said he hoped more than half the houses would be prefab, "but it's very early days to be putting a number on that".
Twyford said he had been approached by international and domestic companies, which were already using off-site manufacturing to build houses quicker and more efficiently, since the Government launched KiwiBuild.
"High-tech manufacturing of homes, as is done in Europe and North America, could allow us to build Kiwibuild homes at scale and pace."
Off-site manufacturing was significantly more productive so more homes could be built from the available workforce, and it would help address some of the constraints facing the construction sector until New Zealand could find enough local builders, he said.
New products and techniques used in off-site manufacturing meant houses could be built up to four times faster, he said.
Using prefab buildings had always been part of the Government's Kiwibuild plan - even ahead of taking office.
Earlier this year, PrefabNZ released a report, showing prefabricated factory-built houses and apartments could deliver at least 7000 homes a year from 2020.
Twyford said this meant large-scale factories could be established in New Zealand, working alongside existing off-site manufacturing companies. "Off-site manufacturing will be a game changer for New Zealand housing."
But National Party housing spokesperson Judith Collins said the "plea to the private sector for help" showed the Government was struggling to deliver on its Kiwibuild promise to build 100,000 affordable homes in 10 years.
"It's not that pre-fabrication is a bad idea, and National supports efforts to build more houses," Collins said. "But Kiwibuild was first announced in 2012. Now six years later and after eight months in Government his grand plan amounts to a plea to the private sector to bail him out at some point down the track."
Construction is underway on the first 18 Kiwibuild homes, all of which are in south Auckland.
Twyford said the Government would build 16,000 Kiwibuild homes in the first three years of the scheme - 1000 in the first year, 5000 in the second and 10,000 in the third.
In the House, Twyford said he projected 200 to 300 Kiwibuild homes to be built through Housing NZ, and the land for housing streams in the first year. Meanwhile, about 700-800 would be built through private development. If the Government can deliver these homes, it would put it on target for its goal of 1000 in 2018/19.
But deals needed to be signed before the minister would make announcements on the developments.
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