News & Updates
It’s certainly been a busy 2019 and with that, Construkt has recently hired two new staff members, each bringing their own unique and diverse sets of skills and expertise to the practice.
Leticia Silva– Architectural Graduate
Brazilian born, Leticia transitioned into her architectural education as a mature student and has spent the past 12+ years practicing as an Architectural Designer. Her experience has been equally split between Canada and New Zealand.Leticia has developed her skills and expertise across a wide range of projects including single residential homes, large-scale commercial, interior design, educational and hospitality projects.
Genevieve Lim– Architectural Graduate
Born in Singapore, Genevieve brings 15+ years of overseas and local experience in both interior and architectural design in the Netherlands, Singapore, Thailand, China and New Zealand. Her experience in design management with one of Beijing’s top boutique property developers further adds to her versatility as a designer.She sees each project as an opportunity to engage with the client, the site and the brief to create a unique and innovative masterpiece.
Madushin Amarasekera of Construkt Associates Ltd received the Resene Colour in Design Award and a highly commended award for Hobsonville Point Road Terraces, a multi-unit development in Hobsonville, Auckland.In this development of two blocks with nine units in each, a mix of three and four-bedroom units are paired with two-bedroom units. “Grouping the units together through the extension of the roof has created a simple ‘module’ and ensures a strong, defined roofline along the street edge,” the judges said. They also praised the way the tightly planned townhouses present a “pleasing syncopated rhythm to the street”.
Incredibly proud of our team being the architects for the Northern Glen Innes redevelopment project. In partnership with Creating Communities Limited and Ashton Mitchell Architects, the project received the Excellence Award in the Multi-Unit Residential Property category.
Citation from the NZIA Awards Jury; “Controlling costs – at whatever price point – while observing the requirements of the masterplan and other planning rules is not easy anywhere in Auckland, and probably nowhere has it been more difficult than in Hobsonville Point. This project by Construkt features three- and four-bedroom terrace units, with double garages, double-height glazing, courtyards opening directly from generous ground-floor living areas, and balconies off the master bedroom upstairs. The forms were required to be kept simple, with no membrane , parapet, internal guttering or other complications to the roofline, the result is a clean and deceptively simple row of bright brick, wood and steel homes. An elegant addition to the street that’s comfortable and extremely pleasant to live in.”
We are happy to announce that David Gibbs’ services to planning have been recognised by the New Zealand Planning Institute. David was presented the Alfred O. Glasse Award at the NZPI Annual Conference held in Napier this past weekend. The award recognises “outstanding services to planning by non-planners”. As founding Director of Construkt Associates, David has been heavily involved in the masterplanning of award-winning residential communities at Hobsonville Point and Long Bay. Outside of his practice, David has over a very long period of time contributed his expertise on a pro bono basis to a number of resource management and environmental campaigns.
Construkt are proud to announce that staff members Louise Li and Kirsten Zink have completed the process to become Registered Architects.
The path to registration demands dedicated study and hard work – requiring both a written case study to show their comprehensive experience and knowledge of the profession, and a three-hour interview with the registration committee. We congratulate Louise and Kirsten on such a significant achievement.
They say that their study groups and discussions with architects were an extremely useful part of the learning experience. After months full of evenings and weekends devoted to study and preparation, they feel the process has prepared them for this next stage of their careers. They are both very pleased to end the year on a high note.
A dedicated team at Construkt have developed a masterplan for the wider residential area and a range of housing typologies to suit the client’s brief and the site. Directors David and Russell recently took part in a public meeting to help inform locals about the project. The design for the first stage, covering over 70 dwellings, is on track to be lodged for Resource Consent before Christmas.
Peter Cooney, spokesperson for Classic Developments, said the development is pitched at families, first home buyers and retirees who are wanting affordable but good quality homes and living environments.
Key design considerations are to create a legible street network, provide visual and physical connections to the public reserve that will run along the stream corridor, and design houses with a strong street presence.
A lot of creative thinking goes in to forming an architectural language suited to a project. For Drury a combination of asymmetrical gable roof forms, large openings, and a contrasting material palette are used in various ways across the housing typologies to create visually interesting streetscape. Buildability has also been considered at this early stage, the designs follow standard construction methods to help meet the affordability targets.
We enjoy working with the highly skilled project team who are all driven to see results.
The Peacocke Growth Area has been strategically selected (alongside Rotokauri, Rototuna, and Ruakura) to accommodate Hamilton’s urban expansion.
Construkt have been busy developing a masterplan, designing housing typologies, and planning concepts for the neighbourhood centre as part of Stage 1 of the Peacocke area, for Northview Capital Ltd. The client’s design-focused brief has encouraged the team toward a comprehensive response.
The development of the Peacocke Growth Area will be characterised by its relationship with the large green reserves that spread through the interior of the site, expanding the existing natural environment, and enhancing the banks of the Waikato River.
The proposed residential neighbourhoods are linked by the reserve network and the interconnected transport corridors. Areas designated as community focal points are located at key intersections across the site.
An urban design review last week with Hamilton City Council’s Urban Design Advisory Panel was held on-site at the client’s suggestion. The on-site meeting was insightful, it allowed for the design proposal to be discussed and understood as a response to the specific conditions across the site.
Word of mouth is that the council found the site walkover “ground breaking” and that “the overall presentation raised the bar for UDP presentations.” We find that strong communication and collaboration with consultants and local authorities, such as through team and stakeholder meetings, helps to produce successful outcomes.
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The delivery of affordable housing is a long and complex process that requires the support, and sometimes the active participation, of many different stakeholders, including the private development and construction sector, local and central government agencies, community stakeholders and finance sector.
In the final of three articles on affordability, we consider some of these higher-level contributors under the headings:
- Project Procurement Strategies
- Regulatory Environment
- Delivery Path and
- Ownership Path
Project Procurement Strategies
In structuring a ‘Development Team’, strong, ongoing relationships between developer/builder, architect and full consultant team can contribute to a time efficient economic design process. Varying a consultant team during a development can result in loss of project knowledge and expensive time delays.
In a similar way, the use of singular main contractor across multiple sites and repeat typologies results in build up of ‘project knowledge’, meaning that feasibility calculations can be extended over multiple sites. Repeat units constructed by different contractors can produce different results when consistency is the desired outcome. Strong project and site management can also increase economy during the construction phase.
Clear contractual relationships with the contractor are essential to ensure the required standard of construction, and it is on the basis of this contractual relationship that defective work can be remedied. The reduced size of affordable homes and reduced number of details requires these details to be constructed correctly and consistently.
As discussed in previous articles, prefabrication and offsite construction can lead to efficiencies and protection from weather related time delays. However it is noted that due to the scale of the New Zealand market, and the desire for individuality in housing, to date prefabrication has not been the ‘silver bullet’ for construction costs in this country. The New Zealand construction industry is currently set up to be efficient using on site construction with prefabrication making an impact in relation to components of house, rather than complete homes. We are currently seeing these components becoming increasingly sophisticated, with elements such as fully lined or clad internal and external walls delivered to site.
Project specific consenting structures can be beneficial in minimising consenting times. This can involve a singular Building Consent for a standard typology, where foundations and services become the only site-specific aspect. For larger developments, access to a project specific Council Team at Resource and Building Consent stage can speed up processing and streamline engagement with Council.
An approach we are yet to see trialed in New Zealand is to provide height bonuses for developers amalgamating existing lots. Larger development parcels can lead to densities well beyond those achievable on single residential lots, with policies such as these supporting the need to promote density within existing suburban communities.
Development specific covenants on titles can protect the visual amenity of a development from unsympathetic additions and changes to affordable units by placing requirements for design approval for stipulated work to the exterior of houses or front yards.
Working with Council to achieve innovative approaches to storm water management such as planted recessed swales/cesspits can have the advantage of adding high impact significant landscape features and visual amenity to a development.
It is difficult to sustain affordable housing delivery without consistent strong political and bureaucratic leaders. Given the rapid turnover of governments and politicians this will be an enduring problem for affordable housing strategies. Effective strategies are ones that deliver actions that are difficult to ‘unravel’ or require a long-term agreement with a third party that is difficult to unwind.
While central and local government may take a lead, actual delivery will require the cooperation of key private and non – government partners.
Recently we are seeing the growth of this model, where local and central government agencies are partnering with the private sector to deliver housing, often within mixed tenure public/private developments. Under this model, private or affordable housing is provided in addition to existing social housing through intensification. This in effect is a ‘land release’ program and based on some initial successes, we would expect to see local and central government developing this further as a policy tool.
Transfer programs can see social housing titles and management responsibilities passed to the community housing sector in order to help the sector grow by strengthening its asset base and cash flow. This can also be a vital catalyst in the development of the size, diversity and professional capacities of participating community housing providers, where an expectation would be that growth would move into the area of development of affordable housing.
It is recognised that strategies need to be implemented across the whole of the housing continuum, covering both the rental and ownership market, and that organisations responsible for strategy development and implementation must be flexible, responsive and have environments within which innovation can occur.
Strategies can be effective over the longer term if initial successes are widely reported and celebrated, helping establish ongoing support.
Financing purchasers into homes can be a key component when considering affordability. Low deposit home loans can reduce the deposit and mortgage burdens of low-to- moderate income earners, shared equity and ownership schemes can also reduce the deposit and mortgage burdens of eligible households. Shared equity schemes enable the purchaser to enter into an agreement and share the cost of purchasing that property ownership with, a government or private agency. In this model the agency is directly influencing the affordability of the housing through part ownership.
Housing typologies with built in ‘value add’ capacity can lower the bar to initial home ownership, with the potential to increase the value of their home through development over time.
Over our three articles we have looked at aspects of site selection, house design, and ‘higher level’ influences, considering how they can impact housing affordability. There are other areas that could also be discussed such as around the markets of skills, labour, and material supply, which only goes to reinforce that there are many rungs to the ladder of understanding and dealing with housing affordability in New Zealand.