Phil ‘hopes’ prefab houses will rescue KiwiBuild

Housing Minister Phil Twyford says he hopes more than half of the Government’s 100,000 KiwiBuild homes will be made by prefabrication.  Image Whaleoil

Quote

Housing Minister Phil Twyford says he hopes more than half of the Government’s 100,000 KiwiBuild homes will be made by prefabricationEnd of quote.

Hopes? Given the not-inconsiderable salary we are paying him, I would expect the minister to have firm plans, not just “hopes”.  Quote:

Twford has asked companies in New Zealand and overseas to express their interest in setting up, or expanding, off-site manufacturing factories to make KiwiBuild homes.

“Cabinet has decided the Government will seek interest from both local and overseas companies to come forward with their plans,” Twyford said.

“One of the challenges for Kiwibuild is there isn’t the scale and capacity in the construction sector to build the number of houses New Zealand needs.”

On Saturday, Twyford told The Nation he could not currently put a number on the number of prefab houses built under Kiwibuild, but within a few years – when the Government was building about 10,000 houses a year – “a substantial proportion” of the houses would be built in a factory using high-tech, high-precision gear.  End of quote.

Wait, “within a few years”  when the Government will be building about 10,000 houses a year. Wow, every day the goal posts move.  Quote:

He then said he hoped more than half the houses would be prefab, “but it’s very early days to be putting a number on that”.  End of quote.

There’s that hope word again. And, no indication of numbers. It sounds like there is no plan at all. Plenty of hope, but no plan Quote:

Twyford said he had been approached by international and domestic companies, which were already using off-site manufacturing to build houses quicker and more efficiently, since the Government launched KiwiBuild.  […]

[…] Using prefab buildings had always been part of the Government’s Kiwibuild plan – even ahead of taking office.[…]  End of quote.

If prefab buildings were always part of the plan before taking office, I’m wondering why Twyford is being approached by international and domestic companies. Surely, any good plan would have already researched pre-fab suppliers and discussed numbers.

Judith Collins nails it: Quote:

[…]”It’s not that pre-fabrication is a bad idea, and National supports efforts to build more houses,” Collins said. “But Kiwibuild was first announced in 2012. Now six years later and after eight months in Government his grand plan amounts to a plea to the private sector to bail him out at some point down the track.”[…]  End of quote.

All hope and no plan

If the houses are being built overseas, they will need to be transported here. That’s going to add to the cost. But,

If the houses are being built overseas, they will need to be transported here. That’s going to add to the cost. But, I’m sure Phil has factored this into his… plan. Would this be a good time to buy shares in shipping companies?

I’d like to know how these prefabricated houses will stand up to New Zealand conditions? Are they robust enough to survive earthquakes and high-wind-zone areas? I’d want to see one survive a Wahine-sized Wellington southerly and at least a 6.5 earthquake before I committed my hard-earned $550,000.

Would you be willing to buy one?

 


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