Prefabricated construction has a long history in New Zealand. During colonial times, European settlers were said to bring ‘mobile’ homes into their ships by parts. Some archaeological evidence also showed that Maori used wetland plants called Raupo to make wall panels.
Prefabrication Still Has a Long Way to Go
Despite the long-standing existence of ‘mobile’ homes in the country, New Zealand remains a newcomer in today’s prefabricated housing industry compared to other countries like Sweden, America and Germany where prefabrication is a popular method of construction.
Currently, prefabricated construction is getting more attention as a possible solution to NZ’s housing crisis. Recent statistics show that NZ has a housing deficit of approximately 71,000 homes, which resulted from the rise in population in 2017. The demand for housing has led to reduced quality in homes and affected the property price bubble that prevents first-time buyers from purchasing homes within their budget.
Various misconceptions, specifically about the quality of prefabricated homes, are keeping interest at bay. It seems that it may take a while before prefabricated homes become a mainstream housing option in NZ.
Learning from Major Prefab Players in Japan
For many years, Japan has been the world leader in prefabricated construction. Fifteen per cent of one million homes constructed every year in Japan are prefabricated. Prefabrication is not only used for building simple homes but also for large luxury homes and multi-unit apartments.
Japan’s prefabrication industry emerged as a response to the aftermath of World War II. Both the growing population and the government’s incentives for construction led to the prefabrication boom in Japan. Since then, the industry has been thriving with the country’s continuous demand for prefabricated homes.
Unlike other countries, prefabricated homes in Japan are associated with quality rather than affordability. Given their location, many prefabrication companies equip their homes with high-level seismic absorption capabilities.
The level of quality present in Japanese prefabricated homes is matched with affordability. For example, in 2016, Japanese retail company Muji released a range of relatively affordable prefabricated ‘huts’ valued at around NZ$271,800.
Advantages of NZ’s Prefabricated Homes
NZ is home to a number of companies that manufacture high-quality, reasonably priced prefabricated homes. No strangers to seismic conditions, NZ builders place equal importance on durability and affordability.
A white paper from door and window specialist Altus Windows found that 91 per cent of traditional homes in NZ have defects. With prefabricated construction, homes are manufactured in a controlled and monitored environment where the designs are carefully designed and planned. This method leads to fewer risks of faulty construction.
Budget-wise, prefabricated housing is more cost-effective. A recent report by Prefab NZ suggested that homebuyers can save up to 15 per cent on construction compared to traditional homes. Buyers of prefab homes are aware of the cost of the home on the onset since the construction methods are highly accurate and digitally driven.
Kitset Homes by Durapanel
At Durapanel, we aim to redefine prefabricated homes by introducing innovative kitset houses to New Zealand’s property market. We respond to the problems of traditional construction without compromising the price, quality and design.
Save time, minimise risks and maximise labour with Durapanel’s kitset homes. Get in touch with us today.