Wednesday, February 12, 2014

New Zealand Looking for a Few Good Modular Home Factories

Christchurch, New Zealand, will be used as a testing ground for the construction of hundreds of "affordable" prefabricated homes.

A not-for-profit organization - Pure Advantage - backed by a group of high-profile Kiwi business and civic leaders is calling for expressions of interest from building firms to deliver 300 to 500 "affordable" homes manufactured "off-site".

Pure Advantage wants to prove through the Christchurch pilot project that hundreds of prefab homes can be built in factories as is done in other countries including the United States, Germany and China.

Critics say it might be hard to convince Kiwis to buy the prefab homes.

Pure Advantage was set up three years ago to promote a greener New Zealand economy.

"Our intention is to deliver an at-scale pilot development of 300 to 500 homes to prove the business model and kick start the off-site manufacture industry," chief executive Duncan Stewart said.

It is offering to help finance the expansion of any company's off-site manufacturing operation as part of the deal.

One of its funding partners, Kiwibank, could offer mortgages to homeowners to buy the homes.

Pure Advantage wants the building firms to base the factories in New Zealand, use a local workforce and source materials nationally.

New Zealand Master Builders Association Canterbury branch president Clive Barrington said he could not think of any big Kiwi builders that built prefabricated homes already.

Thousands were built in the US and were "quite architectural" but that was a huge market.

A company needed to produce a lot to be able to sell them at affordable prices and still make a profit.

The biggest challenge would be getting New Zealanders to buy them, Barrington said.

"I think they are going to struggle. The average Kiwi likes an individual house."

Kiwis do not like the word prefabricated because it implied temporary even if it meant pre-built.

What a Kiwi thinks a prefabricated house is made from

He suspected some subdivisions would not allow small prefabricated houses. "Would you want a transportable home next to you on a brand new subdivision?"


Anonymous said...

sounds familiar

Anonymous said...

I'm in! Where do i sign up! They got wood, labor, weather, and they ain't f-----g here!