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Launch of Value Case for Prefab

Media Release – embargoed until Thursday 27 March, 1pm

New Zealand urgently needs more quality, cost effective housing and its prefabrication design and construction industry is gearing up to respond.

“New Zealand is heading into a building boom and our design and construction industry is at a crucial tipping point in the uptake of prefabrication and offsite technologies”, says Pamela Bell, PrefabNZ CEO. “We are looking to prefab lessons from Germany and Scandinavia as ways to build more houses, more quickly, and at higher quality using indoor facilities.”

International examples of the benefits of prefabrication were outlined today at the PrefabNZ National Conference with the launch of the Value Case for Prefab. Presented to over 130 design and construction delegates from as far afield as Australia, America and Korea, the Value Case for Prefab highlights the significant wall of work the New Zealand industry faces and provides the evidence to show that through the use of prefabricated construction methodologies New Zealand can have better quality homes, faster.

“A number of factors stop prefabricated technology from being used more in mainstream design and construction and the primary issue is public perception,” says Pamela. The development of the Value Case follows the release of the Prefab Roadmap last year, which showed that misconception is one of the key challenges facing the uptake of prefabricated technology. Many people still associate the term ‘prefab’ with temporary school classrooms. In fact, as viewers of television shows like ‘Grand Designs’ will appreciate, prefabrication is simply a way to build in bigger chunks. Prefabrication, or offsite construction, is a strategy that affects the whole project, pulling together designers, builders and clients in the early stages of a construction project, and resulting in manufacture of substantial parts of the building prior to assembly at the final location.

A typical 157 square metre prefabricated home can deliver a 15% saving in build cost compared with traditional construction, not to mention the increased value it generates through delivering a better quality product. “Time is money,” says Pamela. “It is easy to just look at the bottom line of a building project, but the true savings come when the project is finished sooner and the clients are in a warmer, weathertight, more sustainable home”.

The Value Case also outlines some of the other economic and social benefits to building offsite, including less noise and disruption for neighbours, better conditions for construction workers, less overall material waste, and known costs and timeframes.

Developed with support from the Productivity Partnership and BRANZ, the Value Case for Prefab forms part of the overall strategy for increasing the uptake of prefabrication technology in New Zealand.

“The opportunity is clear”, says Pamela, “and PrefabNZ is passionate about working together with the government and industry to help drive the change to deliver better housing solutions for New Zealanders.”

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