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NZ’s first prefab housing show opens in Christchurch

Media release – April 19, 20012

NZ’s first prefab housing show opens in Christchurch on Saturday

Latest cutting-edge designed prefab houses will provide a safer future for earthquake-hit Christchurch people, PrefabNZ chief executive Pamela Bell said today.

PrefabNZ is the hub for pre-built construction in New Zealand and on Saturday mayor Bob Parker will open their Home Innovation Village (HIVE) at Canterbury Agricultural Park in Christchurch. The village will remain open until February 2014.

This will be New Zealand's first prefabricated housing display on council land. The second will be at the Puke Ariki museum and gallery on the New Plymouth foreshore, opening December 1.

Bell said prefab houses were not the cheap, flimsy, temporary homes of last century.

``Modern prefab is about high-quality, permanent materials, sustainable features, architect design and well-engineered homes. I would feel safer in a prefab house,’’ she said.

``The new prefab systems and products are strong but flexible and able to move in earthquakes without breaking. It is my understanding that these type of homes had exemplary performance throughout the earthquakes in Christchurch.

Chris Ward of Lockwood Homes in Christchurch, said their houses has been tested to withstand earthquakes up to 7.0 on the Richter scale and they had stood up well in all the big shakes in the city.

Pre-built houses that arrived at a site as a complete building had to withstand extra forces through transport by truck and lifting by crane, Bell said. The prefabs had effectively been over-engineered with extra structure and materials to make them stronger than traditional houses.

``Lightweight houses that have their walls, roof and floor tightly tied together are more likely to move as one-piece and self-right in an earthquake,’’ Bell said.

``There is a huge range of prefab homes available and they each have their own seismic design. The four houses opening at HIVE this weekend are examples of potential housing solutions for displaced Cantabrians.

The four houses at HIVE are Laing Homes' Smart House, Keith Hay Homes' Park Terrace, Falcon Construction's Rakaia and Lockwood Canterbury's Little Wing. Six more homes will be assembled at HIVE in the coming months.

Bell said all the designers and architects are tuning into resilient design to cope with earthquakes. The HIVE architects are Wilson & Hill, Architex and Strachan Group Architects (SGA). More HIVE architects will become involved in stage two.

Thousands of Christchurch people affected by the earthquakes are expected to visit HIVE this weekend to consider their housing options.


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