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More support needed for pre-fab home manufacturers

The Government needs to show more support for pre-fab home manufacturers to help undo KiwiBuild’s damage, National’s Building and Construction spokesperson Andrew Bayly says.

“The news that Canterbury-based Welhaus Limited and its sister company Welstruct have been placed into liquidation does not auger well for the pre-engineered, panelised homes market in New Zealand.

“Also known as offsite manufacture (OSM) or modular construction, this method of house building has been tipped as a solution to deliver on the Government’s KiwiBuild promises.

“Although there have been soothing words of encouragement from both the Minister of Housing and Minister of Building & Construction, little tangible support has eventuated.

“What is required – and quickly – is the development of a National Standard to get around councils applying different ways of consenting this form of modern modular manufacture.

“If the Government is serious about supporting a New Zealand-based home modular industry then it should also be placing some orders.

“Many companies have spent hundreds of hours applying to become an accredited OSM contractor to KiwiBuild and, as yet, it does not appear anyone has been awarded a contract.

“Surely with all the delays plaguing KiwiBuild, the Government would be showing some urgency.

“Offsite manufacturing is an increasingly viable option, but these types of factories require committed manufacturing volumes to help cover the expensive capital cost of establishing these highly-mechanised manufacturing processes.

“It’s time for the Government to stop procrastinating and get on with it.”

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