15 July 2022

Can we fix the broken building industry?

We can build houses faster and cheaper with new design techniques like prefabrication, so why is regulation still getting in the way?

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Emily H.
21 Jul 2022
Fix the consenting process

I'm building a house in Wellington and it took about three months to get consent. The Council acknowledged receipt of my application, then there was absolute silence until day 20, when they suddenly came up with a whole lot of RFIs.
Asking for RFIs allows them to re-set the clock and start the 20 days again...
My Architect was great and responded to all of them the same day, then there was silence again for another three weeks until day 20, then some more RFIs came through, again re-setting the clock...
All the RFIs were tiny, inconsequential things.
So frustrating and caused weeks of unnecessary delay. Plus I paid waaaay more than the $2923 mentioned in the article!

Llyvonne B.
16 Jul 2022
Removing covenants

It would also help if covenants were removed from residential properties. I remember some time ago that a developer placed covenants so strict that a local builder who was doing prefabs that essentially put requirements in that meant he could not supply their houses.
Issues like minimum house size, strict rules about finishes etc. The other issues like minimum house sizes are actually an issue in many new builds as they are putting houses so large that there is no room for people to have gardens. With the cost of living so high, A smaller house would cost less to build, and a garden or orchard could make a difference for families - especially as we do not have the allotment like Britain does.

Rae S.
16 Jul 2022
Government, listen and act

Seriously important contribution to NZ's most pressing and influential social problem.
We need the Government to take a brave entrepreneurial lead on this in concert with innovators in the field - in the spirit of Mariana Mazzucato's philosophy (see article in Listener of Feb. 26 2022, pp22-27, 'Woman on a Mission'). Obviously the local body regulators would have to re-think their risk-aversion too.

Graeme C.
16 Jul 2022
A home every 15 minutes

Here is a new factory in the US aiming to produce a new US$50,000 transportable home every 15 minutes. How very far behind we are…

Peter C.
16 Jul 2022
Constraints on prefabricated housing

I live in a city where over a fifth of the new houses consented by the City Council are prefabricated, but most are moved to other locations in the North Island. A key barrier to their use is the rules under the District Plan, particularly the urban design rules. The rules also impact on the cost of building on site, due to the need to amend the design to meet the District Plan requirements. So the challenges to housing are both the rules under the RMA and the Building Act. Fire Serve rules create further impediments to multi-unit housing.