With the increased housing demand in our cities continuing to have an excessive impact on the building industry, we have heard repeatedly that business-as-usual just won't cut the mustard. So why haven't more building companies embraced prefabrication technology as an alternative construction solution?
Can you tell the difference, on completion, between a prefabricated home and traditionally built home? Most probably not. What's important is that your home is durable and warm, and there are no compromises on quality.
Commercial projects utilise prefab components in a variety of projects, but residential builders in New Zealand are often perceived by European innovators as behind in their thinking although we are ahead of Australia. In the residential housing sector Australia's uptake of the technology is at 3% and New Zealand is currently sitting at 33%, which is mostly wall framing, roof trusses, windows and joinery (BRANZ 2013). In Sweden, prefab custom closed panels are the preferred construction technique, making up 90% of the housing.
A report from the Productivity Commission indicates that one of the key barriers to productivity growth is the uptake of innovation in particular partnering and collaboration. But while it can be difficult to find the time to investigate complementary options to enhance proven traditional methodology and processes, it is important to know that the design and construction industry in New Zealand is potentially at the tipping point of delivering better value to clients and, importantly, to embattled first-home owners.
Approximately 30,000 houses are needed urgently in Auckland and Canterbury, and construction demand is expected to increase by 10% per year for the next four years. At the cusp of 2015 the uptake of prefabrication has been likened to an explosion, with a much wider range of prebuilt product entering the market. Economies of scale and standardisation
Past booms have shown that when construction demand goes up, quality goes down. The greatest benefits of prefabrication occur when economies of scale and standardisation are achieved. But this doesn't mean that all buildings need to look the same. Good design facilitates desirable and sustainable urban environments with buildings that are future proofed. The role of the architect and the design team remain critical in providing a range of aesthetic solutions.