Member's Voice - Adaptable Structures' development to solve NZ's housing Crisis

Adaptable Structures

Can a modular design, light-weight, zero-waste structure based on a patented interlocking frame system help solve New Zealand’s housing crisis?

Audience members posed significant questions to the PrefabNZ Housing Crisis panel in early September,

  • Can we act responsibly in light of climate change?
  • Can we address the high costs related to monopolistic dominance within the industry?
  • Can we adopt new financing and ownership models to help open a market closed to so many?

The answers to all these questions will likely be ‘no’ regardless of what parties form New Zealand’s 52nd government. The major focus on timetables, funding and de-regulation, barring further details, their plans seem unconcerned with the high-cost, high-impact methods and materials currently used in most home construction.

We’ve been building the same way for decades since land and lumber were in much greater supply. Continuing this way in light of our current crisis is a mistake. As a policy, it’s a tepid response from a people so convinced of their thrift, resourcefulness, and social responsibility. The Treaty, women’s suffrage, and ‘100% pure New Zealand’ all embody our national self-image as much as ‘No. 8 Wire’ does. Our response to the housing crisis requires both aspects of our national character: heart and brains.

This is exactly the kind of problem Adaptable Structures set out to solve. How do you simplify the construction process to lower costs? How do you reduce waste to lessen your environmental impact?

Adaptable Structures uses a zero-waste fabrication and assembly system for building a modular design, weathertight, shear-resistant, seismic-proofed structure in a single day. It uses all-aluminium construction, 100% recyclable components light enough for two people to lift and assemble, with minimal skills and no power tools or heavy equipment (ie, cranes) required. Adaptable’s patented interlocking aluminium frame components can easily be repurposed in remodelling. A basic, single-bedroom structure with a bathroom and kitchen costs $50,000, but its built-in interchangeability lowers cost and waste for additions and remodelling.

If the old way will give us 100,000 homes over ten years, costing over $600,000 each, can a new system give us more, faster, and at a lower cost? Adaptable’s materials, assembly method and short supply chain - all fabrication is done in New Zealand - lower costs and eliminate waste. By focusing on load-bearing component frames, Adaptable lays the foundation for buildings suitable for various dwelling specifications, affording highly customised interiors and cladding, at a low financial and environmental cost. Anyone can build it. That’s the thrift and resourcefulness we need to solve a crisis that also demands heart.

For further information please contact Murphy O'Neal.

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