Alternative Building Techniques
New Zealand needs to build an awful lot of houses over the next 10 years or so, to replace the old housing stock that is causing misery to tens of thousands of tenants, and to provide new housing for population growth and new immigrants.
The problem in New Zealand is that the current standard building technique requires a team of builders on every site for a few weeks, and there simply are not enough builders in New Zealand to meet the demand. Overseas techniques are definitely applicable in New Zealand, and one exciting method is to fully build and assemble all the wall panels and roof and ceiling in a large factory offsite. Every wall panel will be completed to the point where all the wiring and plumbing is installed as is the internal lining and external cladding and insulation. This wall panel manufacturing process can be largely automated with sophisticated computerised manufacturing systems, and using these techniques a large number of houses can be built simultaneously and very quickly with a very small number of Highly skilled staff.
The builders Tauranga meanwhile needs to prepare the site for the new house and build the concrete floor. Test cases have showing that once the concrete floor is ready then the entire house can be fully assembled on site in one working day, using heavy lifting machinery to carefully place the panels and skilled staff to join up the plumbing and electrical connections at the corners.
This type of construction method can produce vastly more houses for the same number of workers, and is also very attractive for the home buyer because they can design their house online and have it manufactured in the factory. Every building can be unique and have a unique floor plan, and this makes for a very satisfactory purchasing process for customers. The manufacturing company will of course have a large set of standard plans that they know work well, and this process is not really suitable for the so-called architecturally designed monstrosity.
The real advantage of this building technique is not only that a lot more houses can be built with a lot fewer building staff, but also that the building process is much cheaper. The manufacturing company will also be able to demand a very good price from their suppliers because of the sheer volume of houses that they are building, and the end result is that these types of new houses can cost between 15% and 20% less then the standard cost for current building methods.
The manufacturing company will also be able to bulk import most of their components for the house panels, and at this point they should be able to take advantage of a very competitive world market and should therefore be able to get very large discounts as compared to existing New Zealand suppliers. This impact alone should have a very significant disruptive influence on the current Building supply sector.