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The Interview: Scott Matthews, Chief Executive, EasyBuild Homes

This article was originally published by Rebecca Reed, NZ Manufacturer.


We support local whenever possible, and we believe in providing housing solutions to Kiwis.

Scott Matthews, EasyBuild CEO

Why buy a modular house?

Most of us dream of home ownership, in fact most people would argue that it’s a human right.

We have all been raised in an environment in NZ where you commonly design your own home, and every home is different.

The building industry advertise this all the time, but then customers wonder why the house is often poorly insulated, expensive and requires lots of heating.

This is very different to many parts of the world where people buy a house off plan and it is one of perhaps 30 in the same location that looks similar.

I often make the analogy that if you want a good, reliable and fairly priced car, you would buy a Toyota Corolla, however if you want something different you would drive a custom build or a Ferrari.

Looking at a modular home vs. a custom designed home, the pricing difference is similar, but you’ll get better bang for your buck with a modular home in terms of build time, thermal efficiency, environmental friendliness, and other benefits, when compared to a standard construction house of the same price.

Modular homes are normally quick to build, well insulated and built, minimise waste and are normally priced the same as a similar sized home, but superior quality.


Where did the concept come from for your company?

The concept is relatively old, with the original inventor using this method some 30 years ago. However, the designs were brought up to date and the business was launched in its own right 5 years ago.

We have a simple but enduring purpose. We want to provide Kiwis with warm, robust, and affordable housing because we believe everyone should enjoy living in their own EasyBuild home.


What is your point of difference?

We’re a local business building affordable, quality, robust, and warm homes. We build quickly and efficiently whilst reducing waste and trying to source materials locally wherever possible.

We also create opportunities to train and support those returning to work and looking to engage in the workforce. Available nationwide, we now have 10 licensee locations building houses in their local communities across the North Island from Northland to Wellington and are looking to expand into the South Island.

Spacious Open Plan Living

What is the construction time from start to finish?

Excluding the time to create the pack in the factory, our homes on average are built and fully finished on-site in 12 weeks, but are closed in and weathertight within two weeks on-site.


Describe the manufacturing process

Essentially the skeleton of the house is produced as component pieces in a factory, so every piece required for the shell of the house is cut marked drilled and prepared for quick assembly on site.

All external walls are constructed as super insulated panels, containing insulation suitable for any NZ climate, conduits for power, a waterproof shell and finally the windows, rebates and window architraves are fitted before the house is sent to site in a shipping container.


Describe the work you are doing for Koru Kainga housing development?

We feel very privileged as a business to be working with Koru Kāinga and our own values align with the objectives of this development; to bring affordable, quality housing to local families and first home buyers.

We have worked with Koru Homes NZ founder Adrian Chooi to design 51 three-bedroom homes in Wainuiomata, Lower Hutt and provided a team of experts or a “dream team” to support the planning and resource consent application.

Developments of this nature don’t just happen, and we have really enjoyed supporting this development. We are proud to be part of New Zealand’s first private development dedicated to getting first home buyers on the property ladder.


Why do you think you were chosen owner Adrian as the preferred company to build these homes?

I think there are a couple of reasons why Adrian has chosen EasyBuild to partner with on this project and hopefully future ventures.

We provide a robust, warm, affordable housing solutions, we are experts in what we do, and we share common goals and values.

Like Adrian we support local whenever possible, and we believe in providing housing solutions to Kiwis.


How many staff in your company?

We currently have 15 staff based in our factory in Upper Hutt, but this is constantly increasing to keep up with demand.  In addition, we have 10 teams across the country who sell and build our homes in their regions.

We always try and hire locally and I’m proud that we have created jobs and opportunities in the Hutt Valley.


How are you currently finding the business climate?

The current environment is challenging but rewarding. Our business is growing, and we are currently negotiating contracts with housing providers and other developers similar to Adrian, whilst also developing relationships with Government. Finding good staff can be challenging and of course we want to support and keep them.


Is supply chain affecting your company at present?

The current supply chain and also the pricing changes have been a challenge for most builders in NZ, f not a global issue.

Materials are rising in cost on a regular basis and supplies have often been hard to secure.

Given our time in business we have some deep and established relationships with suppliers and merchants that are supplying us and all supporting us to the best of their abilities but even so it can be tough, and we spend lots of time on the phone calling in favours and chasing materials.


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