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#19 January News 2012
10 January 2012

Welcome to PrefabNZ, the hub for prebuilt construction:
  • a catalyst for prefab collaboration,
  • a front-door-portal for prefab information and
  • an incubator for prefab innovation
We hope you are have enjoyed a restive festive season. The run-up to Xmas at PrefabNZ was a lively one – with trips around the country to the Kaiapoi Housing Expo, Construction Industry Council meeting and Christchurch City Council meetings to further the Hive project. The Hive project is starting to get some good press coverage and you can find links to these articles in our News section. We now have a lease for the Canterbury Agricultural Park site and all systems are go for the Hive Opening Weekend March 24/25 – see you there!

  On that Festive note
This tree took two months to build and contains 600,000 Lego bricks that make up over 1,000 baubles attacked to its 172 branches. UK primary school children created the tree under the guidance of professional Lego building company Bright Bricks that created the concept. Read more here.
Welcome to 2012
We value your readership and membership as we head into another busy year. PrefabNZ is just 18 months young and growing rapidly with your support. Check out the full list of members at the PrefabNZ Directory – your one-stop-shop for prefab and offsite needs.

If you are interested to reach the 1,000+ direct mail newsletter subscribers then please contact us about placing an ad in our monthly news. The rate is $400 (+GST) for non-members and $275 (+GST) for members. Please contact us for more details 

We are busy planning our 2012 events and are keen to hear from you about your recent prefab projects and any burning issues that we can address in upcoming presentations and workshops – please contact Pam with any suggestions or 021 972 635
  PrefabNZ Heart Event, Tuesday February 14th, Auckland
You are warmly invited to the PrefabNZ Heart Event (Feb 14th 12-6pm), hosted by Winstone Wallboards in Penrose, Auckland. Let’s see some prefabs that we love and let’s get to the heart of the matter. How can we work alongside the regulatory framework to ensure prefab and offsite offer quick-delivery high-quality building solutions.

Regulatory issues affecting prefab in 2012 include:
-    Building consents at two sites – comparing options to use two territorial authorities or just one
-    Licenced Building Practitioner scheme
-    Multiproof scheme
Together, we will ask the hard questions about how they are performing, and whether there are better approaches or small tweaks that could increase the flexibility and usability of these systems. This is your opportunity to speak with the decision-makers in a two-way facilitated panel discussion.

This afternoon event will include presentations from the Department of Building and Housing (DBH), Auckland Council, Stanley Modular, Winstone Wallboards and PrefabNZ. Afternoon tea will be provided and two site visits will be part of this event. This event has 40 CPD points for registered architects (NZRAB) and 4 DBH LBP points.

This event is $100 for non-PrefabNZ Members and $50 for PrefabNZ Members. Info about joining PrefabNZ is here.

Please register for this event here.
  2012 Diary Dates
Check out the PrefabNZ events listing for all kinds of prefab and offsite-related events around NZ and the world.
Member News
The ReGeneration Trust and the Sustainable Habitat Challenge (SHAC) is keen to get busy helping to rebuild Christchurch. They are running a six-day building project January 21-28 and a Licenced Building Practitioner builder and a handful of volunteers to assist with construction of a 10m2 office for GapFiller. Please contact Tim Bishop 021-705-346 for more details.

The Unitec and SGA Studio 19 2011 project, Rural House, is now on site in Waimaku. The student-driven and architect-led project used pre-nailed floor and wall framing and Flexus composite flooring. See here for more complete development of the project. The project blog is here also.

The University of Melbourne together with partners including the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development awarded CMA+U and Team winners of the Sustainability Award ʻFuture Proofing Schools Competitionʼ. CMA+U’s submission is based on the concept of click-learning to extend learning landscapes. The CNC fabricated timber system can be combined with prefab concrete or steel base structures as required and flat-pack delivered for rapid onsite assembly. See images below.

2012 Year ahead
Did you know the design and construction sector:
  • Employs 157,000 full-time workers
  • Accounts for 8 per cent of economy.
  • Is our fifth-largest industry.
  • Consents for year to October 2011 worth $8.5 billion.
The three main areas identified for the sector are:
  • Canterbury rebuild
  • Leaky buildings (homes and schools)
  • Auckland housing shortfall
New Zealand faces a growing population. It has been projected that Auckland’s population growth will require between 330,000 and 470,000 new dwellings over the next 30 years, or approximately 10,000 new dwellings per annum to meet demand for the Auckland Region. Current levels are approximately half of the projected numbers of dwellings required. Sources: Owen McShane Centre for Straight Thinking Digest and the New Zealand Housing Report (produced by DBH in September 2010).

To plan for this growth in 2012, see the GrowthGuide summary in the last segment of this newsletter below.

  Canterbury News
PrefabNZ’s Hive project was proud to be part of the Mainpower Kaiapoi My Housing Options Expo held December 10-11. Simon Markham, Recovery Manager at Waimakariri District Council noted that feedback from departing attendees was positive and that they got useful ideas, contacts, information or advice - many of which are translatable into decisions and agreements. The Hive teams included Keith Hay Homes with Architex, Laing Homes, Green Vicus Passive Homes, Premier Modular and Lockwood Canterbury. See more about the Hive project at

December 15th was a historic day for Christchurch, with the City Council adopting the most significant development plan for the city since it was established in 1850 – the final draft Central City Plan. After an intensive nine months of development, in consultation with the community, key stakeholders and partners Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, CERA and ECan, the Council have adopted the framework which will guide the redevelopment of the earthquake-ravaged Central City during the next 10 to 20 years. See plan here.
Tertiary institutes will start churning out building and construction tradespeople before year end, well ahead of the start to the substantial Canterbury earthquake rebuild. Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO) chief executive Ruma Karaitiana said it was hard to estimate the total numbers now in building and construction sector training. Students were being primed at South Island institutions, including Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT), the Southern Institute of Technology in Invercargill and Aoraki. Read more here.

EQC and Fletcher EQR have adopted the following targets for completion of the repair programme:
  • Repairs over $50,000 to be completed by June 2013,
  • 80 percent of all repairs to be completed by end 2014.
To date Fletcher EQR has completed about 30,000 emergency repairs, 13,000 winter heat repairs and 7,000 full-scope home repairs. The recent run rate has been above 1,400 completed home repairs per month, or more than 70 homes per day. Between $40 million and $50 million per month is entering the local economy through payments to contractors. Read more here and media release here.

The DBH has recently issued several new guidance documents that are available to download, free of charge. Revised guidance on repairing and rebuilding houses affected by the Canterbury earthquake sequence provides robust and well balanced engineering solutions for repairing and rebuilding houses in the Canterbury region. Find info here.
Housing Affordability report
The Productivity Commission’s draft report into housing affordability has been released and input is welcomed by 10 February. The final report will be presented to the Government on 16 March.  The report, summary and media release can be found here.
The Commission’s key recommendations include:
  • The urgent need for more land to be opened up for housing, especially in urban areas.
  • Reconsideration of Auckland’s draft spatial plan. 
  • Improved processes for consenting, to speed up the service and lower costs.
  • Improving how local council development charges for infrastructure are calculated and applied, including making them reviewable.
  • The Commission considers that there is scope to improve productivity in the home construction sector and endorses the work of the Building and Construction Sector Productivity Partnership, established in 2010 as a joint industry-government initiative.
Poor productivity in the construction sector is part of the reason it costs a third as much again to build a standard home in Auckland compared with Melbourne or the Gold Coast. It highlights three factors behind that: the difficultly of achieving economies of scale, skill shortages, and too little innovation. It contrasts a "cottage industry" dominated by small, often one-man firms building mainly customised standalone dwellings with Australia, where large firms, building more than 100 homes a year, have twice the market share and more than a third of the homes built are multi-unit dwellings. Read more here.

Land prices now account for up to 60% of the cost of a house in Auckland. “That means new homes tend to be at the top-end of the market. No one is going to put a $150,000 home on a $300,000 section,” said Productivity Commission chairman Murray Sherwin. Read article here.

In a struggling market and emerging enviro-consciousness, prefabricated housing is experiencing revival - and revolution. An influx of stylish, eco-minded architects and designers into the field of prefabricated homes has brought a sense of renewal and chic to the sector, opening the door for a new breed of would-be homeowners and challenging the traditional model of urban and rural development. Read here.

The $8.5 billion building sector is about to make a big recovery and hit boom levels again but in the meantime, Government spending is keeping the construction industry going, reports show. Westpac forcasters cite Christchurch's rebuild and $13 billion of house repairs and rebuilding to bring an extra $20 billion in spending to national construction activity in the coming years and that will help propel the sector back to the same levels of activity enjoyed in 2007. Another report shows how dependent the building sector has become on the state. Pacifecon, the construction report and analysis business, said of the 511 new, tendered and commencing jobs worth $5 million-plus from June to November, 235 were for the Government. Of 80 planned upper North Island jobs, 42 are for the Government. Of the 77 upper North Island projects which had started, 36 were for the state. Read here.

Code Watch is a new Department of Building and Housing update about changes to the Building Code and its documents. You can keep up to date by reading Issue 1 here. It deals with changes to the B1 Structure and E2 External Moisture documents.
Victoria University student Roger Wilson has emerged victorious in the NZIA Graphisoft Student Design Awards, a design competition contested by the top four final year students from each of New Zealand’s three architecture schools at the University of Auckland, Unitec, and Victoria. Wilson, 23, won for his scheme for a revived township at Denniston, an historic West Coast mining settlement. Read here.

The BOXPARK mall in Shoreditch, South London, has been constructed from shipping containers and is the new home to 60 fashion, art and lifestyle brands. The innovative design by Roger Wade is a cost-effective and environmental building method and means that these malls can literally pop up anywhere (as we have seen in Christchurch). Read here.

Bill and Abbie Burton, landscape architects from Solana Beach, California chose the easy way out when it came to their holiday home: a custom prefab house designed by Los Angeles firm Marmol Radziner. “We weren’t able to make lots of trips up here, so we couldn’t babysit the process,” says Bill. “Stick-built construction requires a lot of hand-holding. Going prefab made it pretty seamless.” Read here.

The Norwegian government is providing $NZD 900,000 to help preserve two prefabricated huts built by Norwegian explorer Carsten Borchgrevink on Cape Adare in the Ross Dependency, Prime Minister John Key says. "This four-year project is a chance to preserve an important piece of heritage," Mr Key said. The huts were prefabricated in Norway and are constructed from well-seasoned Baltic Pine planks, according to research by Auckland University. Read here.
The Crib is an “enviresponsible shelter” by Broadhurst Architects that can be used as a weekend cabin, backyard office, exercise studio, or guest house. It is built as a kit of parts with SIPs (R32 walls and floor) and other recyclable parts from steel and aluminium.  The prototype home also has multi-layer polycarbonate panels, insulated glass, heat-treated poplar siding, LED and CFL lighting, an energy-efficient ceiling fan, and rainwater collection for showers and gardening. Read here.

The Accord Group has made UK history by becoming the first housing association to open its own factory manufacturing low carbon timber frame homes. To meet the challenge of building higher quality homes with less Government funding, they developed a hub which will manufacture around 200 timber homes each year and create up to 30 local jobs. Read here.

The UK Napier University Centre for Offsite Construction and Innovative Structures (COCIS) is led by Dr Robert Hairstans, and focussed on delivering efficient offsite solutions and structural innovations. Among its most recent publications is Off-site and modern methods of construction: a sustainable approach by Robert Hairstans, a guide which examines production concepts that improve the efficiency of timber construction, following its history around the world. Read here.

New Zealand export earnings for logs rose by 25.8% in the last quarter due to strong demand and high log prices. China continues to dominate New Zealand's log export market, with volumes rising 32.6%. However, sawn timber export earnings fell 13.6%. Demand from Japan for wood panel products, though, remains strong following the natural disasters in March 2011. Read here.

This year Tauranga’s Fortified Timber Systems sent 15 containers of timber products overseas and it is looking to treble the number of shipments in the coming year, employing up to four additional staff. It has the capacity to fill 120 containers a year. Using patented technology developed by Forest Research Institute (now Scion) in Rotorua, Fortified Timber Systems is a world leader in timber densification and colouring. But it has been a long and winding road to build the product's brand in the international marketplace. "What we are doing is good for New Zealand and good for pine. We have genuinely added value to the pine - some three and half times," General Manager Rick Williams said. Read here.

MSI $60M investment
The Ministry of Science and Innovation (MSI) is to invest up to $60 million in innovative research through their Targeted Research, Enabling Technologies and Smart Ideas streams. MSI will invite interested applicants to a workshop in February to explain the investment round process.

The key documents for the 2012 investment round are now available on MSI’s website and the MSI Portal will open in early February 2012 for researchers to submit research proposals. Please get in touch with Pam at PrefabNZ if you have research that may be applicable, as this may be able to be channelled through a recognised research body towards a funding application
Growth Guidelines for 2012
At the December Construction Industry Council (CIC) meeting, Vantage Point presented the Building and Construction 2012 GrowthGuide supported by BRANZ and ANZ.

Pieter Burghout, BRANZ CEO, points out that more companies go broke at the start of boom times than do during the rough times, so right now is exactly the right time to be planning for the growth times ahead.”

The key questions to ask of your business are:
  • Do you have a simple business plan?
  • Have you mapped out your goals, how you will achieve them and who is responsible?
  • Given that more than half of businesses are expecting to increase staff numbers, how is your firm going to retain and attract skilled staff in a tightening labour market?
  • If your small non-diversified business is struggling, have you considered joining forces with another business with complementary strengths and skills?
  • How can you grow sales from existing customers if you don’t have a solid understanding of what drives their satisfaction?
  • If your business is launching new products or entering new markets, do you have a clear plan of action and is it based on the needs of your target market?
  • With 85% of businesses hunting for new customers, what are you doing to create and communicate a point of difference?
  • What can you do as a business leader to improve your company’s attitude and culture towards growth?
Stunning prefab shed
Linda Bergroth had gardening and storage in mind when she developed a scaled-down prefab prototype. The Finnish designer collaborated with Helsinki-based Avanto Architects for two years to perfect the compact unit—now available for purchase from outdoor brand Kekkilä—which artfully merges shed and greenhouse into one wood-framed, gabled-roof, glass-walled structure. Read here.

Pamela Bell for
PrefabNZ Incorporated

PO Box 19-063
Courtenay Place
Wellington 6149

Phone / Pamela Bell + (64) 21 972 635
Email /
All content © 2016 PrefabNZ

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