Construkt’s Prefabication ‘Think Tank’

Demand within the New Zealand building sector is currently constraining the delivery pipeline. The government and independent bodies, such as Infrastructure NZ, have noted that increased prefabrication in the construction industry is a key part of the solution for building at the scale required to meet current housing demands.

Prefabrication means manufacturing and assembling whole buildings or substantial parts of buildings in controlled conditions prior to installation at their final location. Prefabrication spans from small components, two-dimensional panels, three-dimensional volumes through to complete buildings, including hybrid mixtures of these types with traditional construction methods.

At Construkt we recognise the potential of prefabrication, and the importance of understanding prefabrication in a specific way in respect to our local manufacturing, supply, construction and regulatory environment, and in response Construkt has established an internal team to research available options for prefabrication and modular design in the New Zealand construction industry.

As a practice we have a range of past experience on projects using varying degrees of prefabrication, and believe that the increased specific research that we will be able to generate will lead to benefits for our clients in informing them of suitable products for consideration and designing to incorporate specific products and systems. The team is led by Glenn Kevey and Louise Li.

Recently Construkt have worked with Mike Greer Homes and Concision on a 9 unit social housing project incorporating Concision’s prefabricated wall and floor components. In their highly automated factory, Concision prefabricates panelised wall and floor elements, (complete with cladding, insulation and lining). The panels are then transported and assembled on-site, providing the build team with on-site time savings. Another benefit of the Concision system for this particular project is that it can be customised to accommodate a variety of typologies within the design.

In 2017 Construkt was commissioned by a major international housing company as the design partner to assist with tailoring its prefabricated component construction system for the New Zealand market. The exciting aspect of this company’s approach to building is that almost every part of the house, including external joinery, cabinetry, wall claddings, and its unique structural system are all prefabricated components. As such, dramatic on site construction time savings are achievable. Construkt adapted the company’s existing housing typologies to fit with the New Zealand market, all within their prefabrication parameters. We are currently documenting an initial show home for launching the system in New Zealand.

Beyond these larger scale approaches to prefabrication, we are also meeting with and building up a list of suppliers of prefabricated building components.

We are excited about what we are learning and the impact it will have on our design work going forward.

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