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Member's Voice: Prefab yes, but how?

PrefabNZ, how to do prefabrication?

More and more architects, developers, and future home owners are waking up to the benefits of timber construction and prefabrication. As the term ‘prefab’ experiences a renaissance promising to help address the many shortcomings of traditional housing construction, more and more people are asking for prefabrication to play a role in their projects.

But where are all the capable prefabricaters keen to offer housing using this innovative alternative to traditional site-based construction? Where are the prefabricators with enough experience to successfully pull off prefabrication? Successful prefabrication requires a different approach to design and construction compared to the vast majority of our built environment came about. In fact, prefabrication or offsite construction, is more akin to a continuous manufacturing process rather than simply building away from site. Offsite construction business models, standard design details, manufacturing processes and systems depend on the type of prefab product and the volumes being produced.

At the upcoming PrefabNZ Cluster event in Auckland (7 Feb) Johann Betz from Offsite Design will be talking on what is required from prefabricators to get started. His focus will be on small to medium sized prefab operations using timber systems.

“At Offsite Design we get enquiries from architects and developers, however we sometimes struggle to refer them on to prefabricators, simply because New Zealand doesn’t have enough prefabricators, especially in a hot spot like Auckland. This is especially true for bespoke one-off energy-efficient architecture.” Johann says.

Johann will outline a roadmap for potential future prefabricators to market, and comment on important challenges (manufacturing and otherwise) waiting for them along the way. From considerations around design, manufacturing process, to manufacturing cost.

Words by Johann Betz, Offsite Design, "the one-stop-shop for timber building engineering design."

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