Watch: Flatpack homes touted as future of Kiwi housing industry

Source: 1News

The future of Kiwi homes may be found in those that look the same and can be put up fast.

Currently around 10 per cent of new homes are flatpack or pre-fabricated, meaning they're built off-site and transported, or put together like Lego blocks from a factory.

But that's expected to expand, with planned Government changes and new tech taking up residency around the country. 

Wanaka company Nautilus Modular claims its factory homes can be made the fastest.

Bunnings believes its flatpack homes are among the cheapest.

And Fletcher Building reckons the factory it makes them in is the biggest.

Scott Fisher, Prefab NZ CEO, says it’s a growing industry.

“It's an industry going from strength to strength and there's a lot of great innovation happening in the sector,” he says.

Prefabricated homes have been around in New Zealand for a long time.

The 1920's railway housing scheme used pattern books and prefab as did much of the state housing in the 1930's and 50's.

Despite this just 10 per cent of new builds today are constructed off-site.

"In reality there's going to be the market but the issues related to financing of the product in the first instance are significant, planning for the product resource consenting the product, and then residual value,” says John Tookey, AUT Engineering Professor.

Another problem, New Zealanders want big, traditional houses.

But a series of changes are tipped to make prefabricated homes a lot more attractive such as streamlining consent processes.

“You can strip out a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of hurdles put in the way of getting rapid consents in place,” says Mr Tookey.

Up to 90 per cent of homes already have at least some prefabricated parts - like roof or wall trusses, or whole bathroom modules for apartments – that’s expected to increase too.