Next generation designers' timber technology featured at buildnz/ designex

Pictured: Adrian Janus, Rohini Contractor, Annaliese Mirus and Madeline Stuart all studying at Unitec

When PrefabNZ was invited to present a feature display at the recent buildnz/ designex show it provided an opportunity to demonstrate what we love - innovation and collaboration for excellent in offsite design and construction in New Zealand.

The “interactive display” comprised two pods: the “living pod” and the “interactive pod” conceived and manufactured by 11 female Unitec Architecture Students. The mixed-year “Women in Fabrication” project was led by final year Master of Architecture students Madeline Stuart, Annaliese Mirus and Alice Couchman, overseen by Unitec architecture lecturer Yusef Patel. They had just five weeks to design and create the display.

The “living pod” showcased engineered timber technology, using CNC machinery which minimalises the waste during manufacturing time, the wiring system is a rapid and easily installed range of prefabricated connector and cable assemblies, reducing installation time by up to 70%. The Smartfit © system ready to fit window eliminated complexity and risk for fast and reliable window installation, the new blow-in insulation is a fast and easy solution for insulation requirements ideal for prefabricated buildings and the roof and wall underlays are high performance for air-tightness and moisture control.

This innovative project required collaboration among multiple stakeholders with PrefabNZ partners supplying the materials for the project. The “interactive pod” created an environment for interaction between the audience and the structure. Beautifully constructed using prefabrication technology and NZ’s homegrown timber resources representing the future of design and construction in Aotearoa.

Unitec has an entrepreneurial approach to developing the talent of its students, involving them in the redevelopment of its Mt Albert campus, recently contributing to the acclaimed timber pavilion gateway for the 2017 Headland Sculpture on the Gulf on Waiheke Island. There are many links with industry and other collaborative learning opportunities. See

Ecoply structural plywood is made from sustainably grown NZ plantation pine. Shadowclad Natural Texture an uncoated panel suitable for staining/ painting when used in applications exposed to weather. See

APEX Wiring Solutions supply innovative and efficient modular wiring systems that are simple to install and safer due to no exposed wires. The “Modular Wiring System” replaces traditional wiring of electrical sub-circuits, with a rapid and easily installed range of prefabricated connector and cable assemblies, reducing installation time by up to 70%.

Fletcher Window and Door Systems is the designer of the Smartfit® system; ready-to-fit windows and doors that arrive on site with built-in head flashings, jamb flashings, cavity closers, end dams and sill support bars. The face fixing fin means they can be installed easily and without PEF rod, expanding foam or flashing tape to the framing. Eliminating complexity and risk, Smartfit® is the go to system for fast, reliable window installation.

Metalcraft’s Metdek profiled roofing and cladding manufactured from COLORSTEEL® pre painted steelcan be used on roofing and vertically laid cladding.

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