Auckland must increase production efficiencies to deliver new housing at the scale and pace necessary to meet anticipated need.
This requires our development and construction sectors to raise their productivity and take up new opportunities. It also requires the right support mechanisms to be in place.
This has been recognised by many, including the Mayoral Housing Taskforce Report (223KB) charged with finding solutions to housing supply.
Delivering housing is a complex process. There are multiple players in the system and they need to work together to ensure new housing meets demand, and is affordable.
Some fundamental requirements for long-term success include:
- making the right decisions about development location and development sequencing
- lowering house build and operating costs
- improving access to finance
- raising the capacity and capability of the building industry to deliver an appropriate range of housing types
- coordinating investment in infrastructure.
How this can be done
New Zealand's building industry is small-scale and fragmented, and there is a shortage of qualified builders. Local capacity and expertise needs to be strengthened. We also need to attract big development companies from overseas who have expertise in delivering large-scale projects and who will help build local expertise over the medium term.
Auckland needs to replicate overseas construction techniques, and be able to use alternative and newly launched products with ease. The aim is to bring the cost of construction and housing down.
For instance, the level of prefabrication in our construction industry is largely restricted to components, such as panels and trusses, as opposed to at-scale and wholesale prefabrication occurring in factories with dwellings being 'assembled' on-site. Visit the Prefab NZ website to read more about these construction methods.
Adopting these new approaches, however, requires our legislative, testing and accreditation mechanisms, such as the New Zealand Building Code, to be flexible, less costly and highly responsive.
It also requires our building industry to be adaptable, well-coordinated and equipped with sufficient expertise to be able to move away from bespoke houses built largely on-site.
Circuit-breakers are needed to accelerate large-scale quality developments.
These can include:
- making it easier to source affordable building materials without compromising quality
- deploying innovative designs at scale
- helping the industry readily adopt modular building techniques or other faster ways of construction
- amalgamating land parcels to allow for at-scale development
- encouraging large-scale overseas development companies to enter the Auckland market.