Is an EasyBuild home the affordable housing solution you’ve been looking for?

This article was originally published on newshub.co.nz.

A lot of things may have previously come to mind when picturing a prefabricated home – not all of them flattering. In the past, it’s often been considered a temporary housing solution, a glorified garage or an office out the back.

But one Kiwi company is aiming to change all of that, with its quality modular homes that may just be the future of housing in Aotearoa.

EasyBuild, a nationwide modular home building company, specialises in flat packed homes which can be built up to twice as fast on site as other new home options – at less cost and with no compromise on quality.

EasyBuild Kitchen and Dining

If you’ve suffered through the last damp winter in a drafty villa, or you’re stuck while looking for a first home option, these warm, dry and spacious home designs may just be the perfect solution.

EasyBuild co-founder Mike Fox certainly thinks so, and is willing to make the claim that an Easybuild home offers “the best value on the market”.

“Often, if you want to buy cheap, you end up with no more than a lined-out garage,” he told Newshub. “[But] our homes have above average energy efficiency, they’re made producing very low waste, the construction is way more solid…”

“Every time people turn up to one of our show homes they always say ‘wow, I wasn’t expecting it to be as good as this’.

“It’s the value for money aspect – there will always be something cheaper, but you’re not getting the same quality, warm, environmentally friendly home – for your money.”

Spacious Open Plan Living

The numbers back up the claims. According to EasyBuild data, their homes are more than twice as airtight compared to conventional builds, with less than three air changes per hour, compared to 6-10 per hour in conventionally built new homes – all translating to more money in your pocket with lower bills for heating and cooling your home.

To make it even better, building waste is reduced by two thirds, and each build is extra weathertight with a rigid air barrier and ventilated cavity – all features you don’t commonly find in comparable homes.

If you’re unsure about how an EasyBuild home works, Newshub previously wrote about the ‘flatpack‘ designs. Basically, if you can walk to a section, one of the company’s modern, modular home designs can be built on it.

In what will be another huge surprise to anyone who’s ever built a home, the on-site building process only takes around 12 weeks – meaning you’re saving time and money across the entire build, including rent and finance, labour costs and more.

That’s basically The Block speed – just without the stress, fights and cameras waking you up each morning.

So who’s the best fit for the novel housing solution? Just about anyone it would seem -– their wide range of light and spacious designs means there’s something for everyone. But Fox says a major portion of their clientele is especially those looking for first homes, or looking to downsize.

If you don’t mind living a stone’s throw from mum and dad – great for laundry purposes – Fox says they’re seeing a surge of first home buyers building on larger family sections after previously being locked out of the market because prices are too high.

EasyBuild Open Plan Living and Dining

“A really big thing we’re seeing is families using their assets if they’re on a large section, by subdividing and building another house on the back for their adult kids to move in to,” he explained.

“Or they’re also great for people wanting to downsize and move into a warmer, drier home. Baby boomers are a big portion of our market – especially people who are retiring – because they’re warm, low maintenance homes.”

If it all sounds too good to be true, the EasyBuild team recommends you get along to one of their show homes to see for yourself – before getting out of your cold damp home quick smart, and into something warm, environmentally friendly and energy-efficient – without breaking the bank.

‘The IKEA of the building industry’: Is an EasyBuild flatpack home the answer to your building woes?

This article was originally published on newshub.co.nz

You’ve probably heard of flatpack furniture, and potentially even built your own dresser or bedside table at home. But have you ever considered the possibility of a flatpack home?

Game-changing Kiwi company EasyBuild is dubbing itself the ‘IKEA of the local building industry’ and is tackling some of the country’s biggest housing challenges one home at a time.

Coromandel Show Home Exterior

With less warm, affordable housing around than ever before, it might just be the solution to a major problem.

“What we found when we set out to achieve and produce an affordable, robust home, was the marketplace had an overabundance of large expensive homes but the value end of the market was not being catered for,” says EasyBuild co-founder Mike Fox.

“Our homes are essentially like an IKEA of houses, flatpacked and delivered to site for easy and quick on-site building, by our skilled teams of builders around the country or as a DIY project.”

There’s a range of quality designs available, whether you’re looking to get into your first home or downsize to your last.

Here’s why an EasyBuild home might just tick all the flatpack boxes for your next build:

It’s the DIY job of your dreams (but don’t worry, you can have it built for you too!)

It sounds too good to be true to be able to buy and build an almost-readymade house – and sure, this isn’t going to be an afternoon job with a glass of wine to get you through.

But if you consider yourself somewhat competent on the tools, you’ll be able to tackle the build, with a DIY ‘house pack only’ option provided with every home.

Fox clarifies you must be “semi-skilled”, or at least have a friend or family member who is. But the high degree of partial prefabrication – including windows already installed – means it will only take a few months to get off the ground, so to speak.

Anyone who has watched a build be continually pushed out by weeks or months will know how rare that is.

If you’re more into watching The Block than participating, your local EasyBuild Preferred Builder will make the process smooth sailing for you.

They’re kinder to the planet…

Not only better for your stress levels, EasyBuild homes also have much less impact on the planet than a traditional build. Fox says they didn’t only want their building option to be affordable, but energy efficient and low waste too. Because the materials arrive ready-measured and cut, it makes the task a lot easier. In layman’s terms, he explained, when building a typical 140 sq m home, you’ll take around three skips to the dump to offload building waste.

“With ours, it’s half a skip – and we’re working to get that down.”

And easier on the wallet.

As any first-home buyer knows, affordable housing in Aotearoa is something of a pipe dream. If you’ve ever rocked up to a house auction and had the first bid blow way past your maximum budget, these homes are for you. With a small three bedroom home starting from around $225,000 + GST fully built, or around $117,000 + GST for the pack only, EasyBuild’s designs feature open plan kitchen, dining and living, spacious bedrooms and bathrooms and raised ceilings – everything you need to get yourself started.

“Our industry has not been good at explaining ‘buy as it is’ in terms of structure and layout,” Fox explains, revealing it’s when people want to make customisations to pre-existing builds that the costs really start to rise. “Don’t change the structure and you’re going to get a really good quality affordable home, quickly.”

The homes are also super energy-efficient and warm, so say ‘bye’ to shelling out hundreds trying to heat a decades-old Auckland villa.

The i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed

All EasyBuild designs have MultiProof approval from MBIE, meaning the consent process is faster, costs less, and you won’t be drowning in red tape. Fox says all you need to do is find the right site – something the team can help with as well.

“Ideally the flatter the land is, the better access it’s going to have – but because our houses come flat packed, if you can walk to the site you can build on it,” he explains.

“The hard work has been done in regards to the council – the solution is there, you’ve just got to order it.”

They have the ‘wow factor’

And if this all sounds like it’s going to be easy on the wallet, but you don’t want to live in a house with the personality of a cardboard box, Fox assures me their houses have the “wow” factor.

“They’re very different to the rest of the products on the market – especially those that resemble a sort of well-lined garage,” he laughs. “We really encourage people to visit our showhomes, we’re hearing so often ‘wow, I didn’t think it would be as nice as this’.”

He says you can jazz up your space with interior design and outdoor living to really make a special home that’s truly yours.

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Get to know your EasyBuild Wairarapa Team

EasyBuild Wairarapa's Hyrum Modlik

EasyBuild Wairarapa's Hyrum Modlik

Building a new home is an exciting step in your life, and getting to know the team who’ll be taking care of your project helps build great communication, and create a stress-free experience, so you can focus on looking forward to enjoying your brand new EasyBuild Home.

EasyBuild Wairarapa is owned and managed by Hyrum Modlik. Born and bred in Wellington, Hyrum is a father of two and below he tells us a little bit about himself, and what motivates him to do a great job for his EasyBuild customers.

Tell us about yourself

I’m someone who doesn’t do well doing nothing or stagnating in any one thing. This has led me to do everything from volunteer work with the Natives in Alaska to working as a Mortgage Maintenance Specialist for Kiwibank. Once I felt I knew what I was doing, it was on to doing a building apprenticeship and establishing a career in the building industry, which has now led me to owning and running EasyBuild Wairarapa.

What do you see as a successful home build project?

I think with a successful project, what it comes down to is clarity. Whether it’s the initial stages of gathering information to make the right decision, expectations around cost and timing and product quality, to the actual delivery and communication throughout the project, so our customers can really feel involved in the process and have a stress-free building experience.

What’s your favourite part of the build process?

For me, I really love initial contact with the client and seeing them experience an EasyBuild home for the first time. Most people who come into our Wairarapa Show Home have seen our homes online and may have a preconceived idea of what they’re like, but being able to watch them go through the Show Home and really get to see not only what it looks like, but what it feels like as well is an awesome experience.

Although I do have to say, the moment our customers get to see their own home finished for the first time is what really drives me. I love knowing they’ll have a comfortable, warm and quality home to make memories in with their families.

What motivates you to do a great job for your clients?

I love getting to know the client’s story behind wanting a new home. When you understand a bit about where the customer has been and where they want to go, you get to feel a bit of the excitement that they do at the prospect of owning a new home whether it be a first home, a family home, an investment property or a holiday home, it’s all very exciting.

What’s your advice for anyone thinking about building an EasyBuild home? What do you think makes EasyBuild different from our competitors?

The best advice I can give for someone planning to build a new home, with EasyBuild or another company, it’s that communication is key on both parts, so getting a clear understanding of someone’s expectations, and ensuring our customers understand what we offer and our process helps us make that a reality.

It may sound a bit sales-pitchy, but for me EasyBuild offers what I feel are the Big Three. With such an overwhelming shortage in homes in New Zealand, the only solution has to be a product that can be built quickly, without jeopardising quality or most importantly the health benefits of a new home, and being able to offer this at an affordable price. I honestly feel like EasyBuild hits the bullseye with every one of those – and that’s why I’m here!

How do customers start their new home journey with you at EasyBuild Wairarapa?

Come on in and see us at our Show Home at 141 Fitzherbert Street, Featherston – see our website for opening hours and details; or simply pick up the phone and give us a call on 021 239 0142 or 0800 232 792.

Be careful what you wish for. The risks of a Trans-Tasman bubble for the construction industry.

Coromandel Show Home Exterior

Coromandel Show Home Exterior

In our Director Mike Fox’s latest Building Today article, he covers the risks of a Trans-Tasman bubble for the local construction industry. While the bubble may seem further away than ever, the reality is that when it eventually arrives, unintended consequences may surface, and as an industry we need to be prepared.

With all the talk of the much hoped-for but now less and less likely Trans-Tasman bubble and the benefits it would bring to the tourism sector and the economy in general, you’d think it could only be positive.

EasyBuild Director Mike Fox

However, when the eventual euphoria of getting easier access to Australia turns into reality and some of the unintended consequences surface, it might not be all beer and skittles. Especially for those in the construction sector.

Australia has long used New Zealand as a source of ready and trained workers for decades. With often higher wages, our youngest, best and brightest are easily lured away with some never returning home, despite the majority living with second class resident status in Australia.

They are in essence tax paying contributors to the Australian economy without the full gambit of social and safety net benefits available to other residents. That injustice is canvassed well elsewhere, and of course not the reason for this article.

Australia really benefits from the free training New Zealand provides and the skilled workers we export, and I suspect that following the lengthy Covid-19 border closures there will be pent-up demand for our workers especially in the construction sector.

Thus far, Australia has classed its construction workers and projects as essential workers in their Covid-19 response, with no shutdown of the industry, so companies have not had to weather the same economic shortfall our industry has had to endure.

The Australian government understands that increasing the number of new home builds transpires into increased employment and wellbeing of the future occupants. As a direct response to Covid-19 the Australian Government put in place a new home grant of $25k which is in addition to other grants available.

Depending on which state you reside in, qualifying clients have access to grants ranging from $35k to $60k which are solid incentives to build new, supporting their Government’s goal of incentivising the building of 100,000 homes over the next 12 months.

It sounds a bit like Kiwibuild but in this case is an actual financial plan to get money through the system to the very people who need it and can make it happen. This housing stimulus is in addition to the massive infrastructure projects and buildings that they are pushing ahead with to keep their industry and economy moving.

To complete this work, they are going to need many skilled workers and the easy picking for these is from New Zealand. This will be even more prevalent especially if our residential market is allowed to tank, wiping much needed skills out of the industry by either exporting our skilled people or pushing them into other types of work. History tells us that once someone leaves the industry, they are unfortunately unlikely to return as they find the boom bust cycles and tough working environments a turn off, especially when there may be more stable positions in other professions available to them. The crazy thing is that the demand for housing will not decrease, on the contrary housing demand will only increase as the diaspora of scattered kiwis escape the Covid-19 ravaged world for the safer shores of New Zealand. If we were smart, we would use the upcoming downturn to catch up on the affordable housing shortage by fully employing the surplus trades on projects that would start to fill the gaps. However, our track record in these scenarios isn’t good. By default the solution gets left to chance and subsequently the market doesn’t have good results. Poor legislation and our hands-off approach are the driving reasons behind such a disparity between what the market delivers – an oversupply of large houses on expensive small lots – and the chronic shortfall of affordable housing so desperately needed but not catered for.   New Zealand’s coalition government has taken a different approach to Australia, with ours doing a lot of talking about shovel ready infrastructure projects but placing very little focus on affordable housing.

Infrastructure projects sound great in theory but don’t deliver or preserve the jobs of valuable trades people. You need very few plumbers, electricians, painters, builders etc on a roading project. With the pinch point on employment for tradespeople coming later this year and early next year we are setting ourselves up for a potential exodus of trades across the Tasman as they follow the work and go to fill the burgeoning demand Australia has created. Their skills are readily transferable, and they won’t be alone on site as many work displaced kiwis will be there with them. This is not a new phenomenon as we lost droves of trades people in the mid to late 90’s when similar economic conditions prevailed. The result was a generation of skilled trades people lost and we’ve struggled to fill the gaps ever since. The last thing our industry and country needs in the months to come is a brain drain of our best or a repeat of the 90’s trades exodus.  What levers does the Government have to avoid the oncoming train wreck of skills losses? For a start, they should copy our Australian cousins and stimulate the residential construction market by making meaningful grants available. Another solution could be as simple as forgoing the GST on new builds.

PwC’s June 2020 Restoring New Zealand’s Construction Sector report details that for every dollar invested in construction, economic activity in excess of $2.50 is generated. Show me another industry that that can impact the economy as directly as that. Conversely when the residential market contracts, so does the economy. It’s in our nation’s best interests in more ways than one to ensure this economic activity continues.

The Government can also be pragmatic and break down the red tape that stops and delays so many projects. They are well aware of how difficult it is with the failed Kiwibuild skeleton forever rattling behind them.

They really need to reinvigorate the vision they had with Kiwibuild but take pragmatic advice from the industry on how to deliver and remove the roadblocks. Put the money into the hands of the ones who can make it happen.

As well as targeted incentive grants, funds should be directed to community housing providers and Iwi as they often have access to land but are short on funds to build. This retains skills within New Zealand and starts the journey to provide the housing we need.

Failure to grasp this and put a solution in place will put our industry and society back decades, as not only will we lose another generation of skilled tradespeople but the housing gap will just continue to slip further behind.

This article was originally published in the August 2020 issue of Building Today. 

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New building consent exemptions from August 2020 – what do they really mean?

EasyBuild Oxford Design

EasyBuild Oxford Design

In our Director Mike Fox’s latest Building Today article, he talks upcoming changes to building consents from August 2020, and what this means for the industry and DIYers.

Read on to find out more.

“Like me, no doubt you’ve probably seen recent media coverage that from August this year more building projects can be carried out without a consent.

EasyBuild Director Mike Fox

This has to be good news for the industry and the consumer, as any initiative that reduces council involvement and cost, and improves efficiency, should be well received.”

But what’s the reality behind all the hype?

Mike continues, “In essence, sizes of previously exempted work under Schedule 1 of the Building Act have been increased, and more authority is given to Licensed Building Practitioners and Chartered Professional Engineers.

Using a sleepout as an example, the exemption for building one without consent has increased in size from 10 sq m to 30 sq m.

A more useful exemption in this instance would have been to increase the exemption to 36 sq m — the size of a double garage, reducing the need for even more consents.”

So what requirements must these new projects meet?

“Continuing with the example of a single-level sleepout, as long as it meets local planning regulations, is supplementary to an existing dwelling, is the prescribed distance from boundaries and other buildings, then it can be designed and erected without a building consent in one of the following three ways:

  • A kitset or prefab sleepout under 30 sq m can be used where the manufacturer has had the design reviewed by a Chartered Professional Engineer. Anyone can put it up, including a Do-It-Yourselfer (DIYer), or
  • A Licensed Building Practitioner can design and erect a sleepout under 30 sq m using any code-compliant design, materials and methods, or
  • Anyone can erect a sleepout so long as lightweight materials are used, and it’s built in accordance with B1/AS1 when it comes to structural components. In simple terms, this is pretty much a NZS3604-compliant building with an iron roof, timber structure and weatherboard cladding.

No inspections are required with all of the above, but all work must be done in accordance with the Building Code and relevant standards. It remains unclear how this will be tested, unless a future owner challenges work that might not comply. It will certainly be an interesting space to watch.”

What resources are available?

“MBIE has done some great work providing online modules which explain the Building Code and how to comply with it,” says Mike.

“They are also in the process of rewriting the current somewhat cumbersome guidance document that will accompany the revised Schedule 1.

I recommend all designers and tradespeople upskill by reading the guidance document and using the modules, all available here

It’s actually somewhat surprising how much work can be completed without a consent but, as with most things, the devil is in the detail, so studying this will be time well spent.”

What about DIY? Isn’t it risky?

“One of the glaring risks I see with the new exemption regime is the ability for a DIYer to complete this work with zero oversight.

This transpires into significantly heightened risk of substandard buildings being completed.

Perhaps a smarter, safer way to do this would have been to set requirements for an LBP to complete or oversee the work of a DIYer for these increased exemptions. Or, failing that, the DIYer would need a consent and be subject to inspections.

Such an approach would provide accountability, and a worthy and clear distinction between a Licensed Building Practitioner and a DIYer, as well as suitable checks and balances on DIYers on larger structures.

Only time will tell how this omission pans out. However, I can see problems on the horizon with the lack of DIY oversight that’s currently proposed,” Mike elaborates.

Can exempted structures, like a sleepout, be self-contained?

Mike continues, “An often-asked question will be, can a sleepout be self-contained and still be built without a consent? The short answer is no — if you are going to include plumbing, then you need a consent.

It’s not yet clear whether the inclusion of plumbing triggers a full building consent for the structure or just the plumbing component.

I see no logical reason why you couldn’t erect your sleepout and then do a small consent for the plumbing required, either part-way through or before any internal linings are installed.

In a perfect world, plumbing would be allowed to be installed without consent on the proviso that it must be completed by a Registered Plumber/Drainlayer, with as-built drawings sent to the local authority so they can keep their records straight.

Perhaps this is something for the next round of amendments, as huge efficiency gains would be made by relaxing this. The reality is that if you are going to build a 30 sq m structure, at some point it will need plumbing.

Plus, with the tiny house revolution gaining momentum, having the ability to put in a small self-contained dwelling without the roadblocks and expense of council involvement would make much needed housing available to many who just can’t get a home through traditional channels.”

What else can I build without a building consent?

“I highlighted a sleepout as an example because it’s easy to relate to, but there are a number of increased exemptions which make sense and are helpful. Key ones include:

  • Single storey detached builds up to 30 sq m
  • Carports up to 40 sq m
  • Ground mounted solar panel structures
  • Ground floor awnings and verandahs up to 30 sq m
  • Outdoor fireplaces or ovens up to 2.5m high
  • Flexible water storage bladders
  • Small pipe supporting structures
  • Small short span bridges on private land
  • Single storey pole sheds and hay barns up to 110 sq m on rural land.

A full list of exemptions is available at building.govt.nz.

Whether each of these exemptions has been fully thought through and considered for its practicality remains to be seen, and there’s potential that some of the changes in the DIY space in particular increase risk in the longer term, and may come back to haunt them in the future.”

Caution is key – do your homework

Mike concludes, “The increased exemptions present a good opportunity to educate the industry around how to make best use of these changes.

It’s imperative that anyone contemplating doing work under the exemptions allowed in Schedule 1 does their homework before forging ahead – especially if you are an LBP as it will be rightly difficult to feign ignorance and ask for forgiveness afterwards.

It would be fair to say that most of us in the industry know of Schedule 1 but would struggle to give you definitive answers about it. The existing guidelines are somewhat overdue for an overhaul and it’s timely that the changes MBIE are making will ideally make things clearer for everyone.

Overall, the changes are a step in the right direction but with a few more tweaks they could be brilliant and have made a real difference. Some opportunities have unfortunately been missed with this well meaning initiative.”

Check out Mike’s original article in the July 2020 issue of Building Today.

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Modular Homes 101.

Prefabrication and off-site manufacturing of modular homes is the future of construction in New Zealand – it allows us to produce high quality homes and buildings more quickly and to a higher standard than traditional building.

EasyBuild’s unique modular construction method is the perfect choice for your new home. We offer a top-quality product that gives you a warm, energy efficient home that you’ll be able to move into up to twice as fast as a conventionally built home.

Panel Installation

But first things first – what are modular homes?

Modular homes are partially prefabricated and consist of repeated sections called modules.

In EasyBuild’s case, the majority of your home’s structure is constructed off site as pre-finished panels, with pre-installed windows and exterior doors at our Upper Hutt factory, and then flat packed and delivered to your site for assembly.

All the additional components that make up the structure of an EasyBuild Home are delivered at the same time as your panels. The remaining materials to build your home are delivered in a series of three deliveries, and these include exterior cladding, interior linings, plumbing fittings, appliances and kitchen. From there, roofing, cladding and interior finishings are completed.

What are the benefits of a modular home?

We could talk about the benefits of modular homes, like ours here at EasyBuild, all day long. Here are some of the key benefits:

Faster, Smarter, Better Quality Building

EasyBuild’s unique construction method and partial off-site construction significantly reduces on-site build time, meaning you can move into your new home sooner.

Construction in our Upper Hutt factory is carried out by the same builders, time and again, so you can trust they’re experienced at what they’re doing, and quality control is high.

Modular building is smarter too – our team are experienced at producing EasyBuild homes, and each component is precision cut by custom machinery, so time spent on site by builders is as productive as possible, and building waste is minimised by design.

Plus, with our factory construction able to continue rain or shine, your house components are constructed with no delays, and are completely protected from the elements.

The subsequent quick on-site build time means that your house can be enclosed on your site within as little as a week, further reducing the exposure of your house to the elements. Overall you’ll be moving into your new home up to twice as soon as with a conventional build.

Value for Money

Buying and building an EasyBuild modular home is one of the most cost-effective ways to build your new home – and you’ll enjoy superior quality at an affordable price.

We’ve worked hard to make sure you’re getting the best value for money with EasyBuild. We include premium construction features such as a rigid air barriers, ventilated cavities and high levels of insulation in every home, ensuring they’re extra weathertight, dry and protected from the elements.

You can expect to be warm and dry no matter the weather – in all of New Zealand’s tough conditions!

Pre-Consented Designs mean less admin and faster turnaround to get your home started on site

A key benefit of building with EasyBuild is that all our designs have MBIE national multiple use pre-approval (MultiProof), meaning the consent process is up to twice as fast and costs you less.

Essentially, MultiProof consent means that each individual design already has consent, and local councils are simply checking that your chosen design is suitable for your site and any site specific requirements. Note that this does not cover Resource Consents if they are required.

Warm, Energy Efficient Homes

Another bonus of EasyBuild’s modular home designs is that they’re ultra warm and energy efficient, so it’s easy to keep your house warm in winter, and it will stay cool in summer.

EasyBuild homes are more than twice as airtight compared to conventional builds, a benefit of the unique modular construction process. Our homes have less than 3 air changes per hour, while conventionally built homes have 6 – 10 air changes per hour, making your EasyBuild home easier to heat and cool, and more energy efficient, ultimately saving you money in the long term on heating and cooling your home, and helping the environment at the same time.

Reduced Environmental Impact

Our unique modular construction also has a significantly lower impact on the environment.

Our method reduces total build waste by two thirds compared to conventional build, and our quick on-site build time – up to twice as fast as conventional builds – reduces local environmental impact and land disturbance too.

So there you have it, just a few of many great reasons why modular homes, just like ours here at EasyBuild, are the future of construction in NZ, and a great choice for your new home journey.

Convinced? Check out Our Designs today and get in touch, we’d love to help turn your dreams into reality.

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New Zealand’s Affordable Housing Crisis – why is it so hard to produce low cost homes?

In EasyBuild founding Director Mike Fox’s July Building Today column, he discusses New Zealand’s affordable housing crisis – and why it’s so hard to produce low cost homes.

Mike’s article elaborates:

“It is one of the biggest problems our country faces — we cannot produce the affordable housing that’s so desperately needed.

But we can produce an overabundance of expensive homes. So why the massive disconnect between demand and supply?

Without political ownership and a major overhaul of the current regulatory processes, affordable housing will never be delivered. New Zealand’s journey to housing unaffordability has been 30-plus years in the making.

Over the past four decades, I’ve built hundreds of homes, and have watched the market progressively tilt towards larger homes on smaller, very expensive lots, with building time frames stretching out and productivity plummeting.

Unfortunately, this is what our current system and market dictates, but it is woefully under-delivering on what we need to house everyone, especially in the dawning era where affordability will be paramount.”

After our Government’s Kiwibuild solution failed, they soon realised too that the delivery system in NZ is broken, full of delays, hurdles, costs and skewed towards high cost land and therefore high cost homes.

Mike continues, “We have been building a disproportionate oversupply of expensive larger homes, with the greatest area of demand being affordable homes, hardly catered for.

This needs to change, and quickly. However, if we continue to follow the same regulatory processes, how can we expect a different outcome? It just won’t happen.

If we want affordable housing, we need to produce affordable land free of inflationary minimum size and design-restrictive covenants.

In reality, these covenants are put in place by developers to raise the price of subsequent section releases. They cut out a large portion of buyers who might be wanting a smaller, more efficient home.”

At the end of the day, to solve this crisis, we need a different approach, says Mike, “The solution is relatively clear — we need fewer rules and political fortitude, as local authorities will need to be curbed and, in some cases, overruled — and not just for Government projects.

If they asked me, I would remove all smaller residential projects from the Resource Management Act as it is no longer fit for purpose, and the planning process too subjective. The process often gets highjacked by neighbours, anti-commercial practices, personal agendas and nimbism.

More standardisation of design and modular building needs to be increased, and the consumer conditioned to not expect a bespoke home if they want affordability and value.

Building companies create the expectation that you can have your home any way you want. However, if the consumer realised that building bespoke added at least 25% to the cost of their home, they may view things very differently.

This is even more important now where people will be cutting their cloth accordingly, and looking for homes within their means that deliver efficiency on all fronts.

The social and health costs from not getting more affordable housing into the market far outweigh the cost of providing good housing. All these people forced to live in motels, cars and caravans need a stable, warm place to call home.”

Check out Mike’s full article on buildingtoday.co.nz.

EasyBuild have the perfect solution to help New Zealand’s affordable housing crisis, and we’re committed to providing high quality, excellent value for money homes for Kiwis, around the country. Talk to us today about how EasyBuild can help you.

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