Kiwi factory set to pump out prefab houses

Matrix Homes factory in Trentham.
Matrix Homes factory in Trentham. Rob McGregor | NZ Herald

NEW Zealand's first factory turning out finished houses has opened in Wellington, aiming to produce up to 500 places annually.

Sean Murrie, Matrix Homes chief executive and director, said Finance Minister Bill English yesterday opened the 8000sq m Trentham factory in the former General Motors assembly plant.

"People are building components of houses, then assembling them on the site. But the whole thing here is we're turning fully finished houses with code compliance certificates," Murrie said.

Grant Florence, chief executive of Certified Builders said more people were looking at prefabricated houses to address the housing shortage.

"This is not new. Prefabrication of houses has been around a long, long time," Florence said.

"I have concerns about whether the market is big enough to sustain these sorts of operations," he said.

"They have to overcome some consumer negatives around the prefab concept because people relate it to cheap and they relate it to prefabs at schools."

In December it was announced that Auckland's first house-building factory was being planned for Pokeno and could produce components for two-and-a-half houses a day.

Mike Greer, founder and chief of house building business Mike Greer Homes, said then that he and a joint venture partner planned to develop a $16 million high-volume residential panels factory at Pokeno because he thought that was the best place to supply Auckland, Tauranga and Hamilton.

The factory could eventually make components for 1250 houses a year, Greer said.

"You stick timber in one end and out pops a house," Greer said.

His business has formed Concision, a joint venture with construction business Spanbuild, to develop the new $14 million Rolleston factory south of Christchurch in the iZone industrial park where Weinmann specialist German machinery is installed for the production line house panel manufacturer.

Matrix houses come in an M1 module with a single bedroom and a larger M2 two-bedroom module and have a simple mono-pitch roof with a big square wall at one end. Both modules exist as standalone homes, or can be combined in a host of different configurations.

"Both modules can fit on a truck or book a ticket on the Cook Strait Ferry," the business said.

Module costs (NZD)

• $89,000: 51sq m, one bedroom.

• $99,000: 70sq m, two bedrooms.

• $195,000: 140sq m, 4 bedroom, 2 bathrooms.

• Transport costs: $10,000 in Wellington, $20,000 in Auckland.

• Piles are included in Wellington transport costs but not in Auckland. Pile costs for Auckland are an extra $3000.
Source: Matrix Homes

- NZ Herald

Topics:  architecture building industry business factory homes housing

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