More prefab homes to be built as red tape cut

The construction sector is being freed up to allow more homes to be built more quickly as the Government cuts through some of the red tape of the Building Act. 

“Every New Zealander deserves a warm, dry, safe home and old inefficiencies in the Building Act make building slow and expensive – as builders well know,” Building and Construction Minister Jenny Salesa said. 

“We are making progress in tackling the long-term challenge of housing including making high-quality, large-scale manufacturing of prefab houses a reality.

For manufacturers who prove their systems and processes are compliant, there will be a new streamlined nationwide consenting process for prefab buildings that will:

  • enable the mass factory production of high quality buildings
  • slash the likely number of building inspections for factory produced buildings in half
  • ensure only the location where a prefab house is installed requires a building consent, removing the possible need for two separate consents

“Prefabrication and off-site manufacturing are the future of construction as they help produce high-quality buildings more quickly than traditional building approaches.

“In some countries, nearly 80 per cent of newly built homes are prefabricated offsite, in New Zealand it’s about 10 per cent.

“I will be introducing a Bill to the House early next year to ensure this process is in place as soon as possible.

As part of changes to the Building Act 2004, the Government has also decided to introduce minimum requirements for information about building products. Roles and responsibilities for manufacturers, suppliers and builders will also be made clearer, so the right person can be held to account if things go wrong.

“Councils have told us this will help them better assess compliance with the Building Code. Delays in consenting cost a building owner around $1,000 for each week of delays.”

“A suite of other changes have also been agreed to that will ensure the Building Act is fit for the 21st century, and are part of a wider package of reform that aims to accelerate building including reform of the Resource Management Act.”

“The Government is also working to improve occupational regulation within the sector and to address issues of risk, insurance and liability. Announcements are expected in 2020.

“There is plenty of work still to be done to improve our building and construction sector after a decade of neglect but the changes announced today are a step forward in ensuring we have a high quality and highly efficient building regulatory system.

Further details about the first phase of changes to the Building Act are here:

https://www.building.govt.nz/getting-started/building-law-reforms

Notes for editors 

Prefab, or prefabrication, refers to any part of a building that is made away from the final building site, whether a single component or a complete building. It is also referred to as offsite manufacturing and falls within an area of construction known as modern methods of construction.