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How do windows fit into the prefabrication process?

How do windows fit into the prefabrication process?

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.

For prefabrication, the faster windows can be fitted the better. In an industry that strives for efficiency, reducing installation time is a huge bonus. With this in mind, EasyBuild uses Smartfit® by Altus Window Systems for its process. “They are perfect for our model,” says Mike Fox. “We can install a Smartfit® window in 15 minutes… the time saving is huge.”

Smartfit® Windows have built-in support bars, head flashings, and a face fixing fin meaning once they are screwed in and taped, no more work is needed.

Tony Whale, general manager at Concision, says that while window type was down to the client, his team often used Altus’ Smartfit® design. “We use both traditional and Smartfit® windows, but our preference from a manufacturing perspective is the Smartfit® window because it’s a lot easier, quicker and less complicated to install.”

But traditional window types can work just as well. Keith Hay Homes are providers of a volumetric prefab solution, but in contrast to EasyBuild’s method the whole structure is completed in their factory and then transported to the site. Matthew Hay from Keith Hay Homes explains that for their process they use the Altus Weathertight™ System. “It’s a proven product, a good all-round system that’s easy to use.”

Read the full whitepaper here.

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