Cheap and fast: Fletchers 100,000 new KiwiBuild homes

So let’s have a look at the numbers: Fletcher Construction is currently building 1000 homes a year and has been in the new for “issues”.

The capacity issue

Now the government plans to build 100,000 homes in 10 years, which will be on average 10,000 homes a year to a KiwiBuild standard. And Fletcher’s new factory will be creating panels for 300-500 homes annually, about max. 5% of those buildings.

So it would need 10 Fletchers and 20 of Fletchers factories to build those targeted houses and those would be exclusively working just on the KiwiBuild scheme, not on any other contracts, ie Joe Blogg’s family home or any of the new apartment buildings or any other public buildings.

So far it would appear that Fletchers standard is not the highest (based on news coverage) and KiwiBuild’s standard is the building code, which is regarded as the lowest possible denominator and not really sufficient.

So a 10fold increase in very basic quality houses (if the term quality can be used here).

And the industry is at 100% already at the moment, without the 10,000 homes/year scheme. Even builders and consultants that should never have gotten a job are busy at the moment. The Tauranga “The Lakes” syndrome comes to mind.

Quality? Not so much.

KiwiBuild does not talk about HomeStar, contrary to some news coverage, only refers to the McLennan development as an example which reads “And while all homes share the same attention to detail and quality, and are double-glazed and insulated to ensure maximum energy efficiency […]”.

So they are double glazed and insulated, cool – that’s a legal requirement based on the NZBC. No talking about water conservation, increased insulation, or god forbid photovoltaics.

One can only assume that the people moving in there will have to spend more on electricity, water and repair and maintenance, but hey – they have a house.

So yet again, cheap and fast seems to be more important that quality and resourceful or even sustainable. Which is pretty disappointing with the Kyoto deadline approaching with no government action other than “requiring urgent discussion”.

We will see how the report commissioned by the Green Building Council will flow into KiwiBuild – or not.