It seems that the modular housing craze is about to hit Wellington with at least two developments (Shelley Bay and the Arlington Flats) looking at multi-story modular housing (see the Dom Post story here). Proponents of modular housing say that they are cheaper, faster to build and more sustainable (click here to read an article on innovations in modular style design).
Modular housing presents a number of challenges for the construction process. For example, there will be impacts on cashflow for developers as most of the costs are incurred at the outset. In addition, most of the works occur away from the construction site. These issues are not covered by the standard form construction contracts and it will be essential to ensure the project agreements adequately allow for and minimise these risks to the participants.
Modular housing may well be the way of the future but the lessons from the past need to be applied. New Zealand is slowly emerging from a leaky building crisis which is now nearly 20 years old. Leaky buildings came about because architects, builders, manufacturers, government, councils and consumers were all persuaded that there was a cheaper, faster, and more sustainable way of building homes.
[this post is written by Mary Haggie]