Thrifty de­vel­op­ers should go mod­u­lar

Matamata Chronicle - - Out & About - PROP­ERTY

A build­ing com­pany is rais­ing its sights by plan­ning to build New Zealand’s first mod­u­lar high-rise.

Matrix Homes in Tren­tham which al­ready does mod­u­lar hous­ing is plan­ning to do the same for ho­tels and apart­ment build­ings.

It is in talks with a de­vel­oper for a 61-unit, in­ner-city apart­ment block in Welling­ton’s Vic­to­ria St which Matrix’s manag­ing di­rec­tor Sean Mur­rie says will prob­a­bly be seven storeys tall.

He hoped to an­nounce the project early next year, us­ing a sys­tem de­vel­oped by its mod­u­lar sys­tem part­ner, Alto Aus­tralia.Mur­rie said mod­u­lar con­struc­tion for com­mer­cial build­ings was a se­ri­ous an­swer to many build­ing boom prob­lems.

‘‘While ris­ing con­struc­tion costs are not the only rea­son many con­struc­tion projects aren’t pro­ceed­ing, clearly there is a need for greater in­no­va­tion that will re­sult in a less costly, faster and bet­ter per­form­ing built en­vi­ron­ment.

‘‘Had de­vel­op­ers adopted mod­u­lar con­struc­tion, we be­lieve many of the can­celled Auck­land projects could have been built.’’

Not only was the cost of mod­u­lar con­struc­tion cheaper but the build time was a frac­tion of an on­site build, tak­ing weeks in­stead of months.

The new sys­tem uses steel­framed load bear­ing mod­ules, dis­pens­ing with the need for an in­de­pen­dent struc­tural frame. Mur­rie said the mod­ules could be stacked like build­ing blocks to cre­ate multi-sto­ried build­ings of up to 10 lev­els.

The bulk of the build­ing takes place in­doors so work can con­tinue ir­re­spec­tive of the weather. Site work can take place at the same time.

Once the site is ready, the mod­ules are trucked there, craned into po­si­tion and bolted to­gether. The fac¸ade and roof­ing is then at­tached and ser­vices con­nected.

Mur­rie said it only took two weeks to in­stall the mod­ules for a six-floor build­ing and that the en­tire build could be com­pleted in less than three months.

Multi-storey mod­u­lar build­ings had lower main­te­nance costs, and bet­ter seis­mic and acous­tic per­for­mance, he said.

‘‘Our mod­u­lar high rise sys­tem pro­vides sav­ings of up to 25 per cent over con­ven­tional build­ing meth­ods, pro­duces less ma­te­rial waste and a safer work en­vi­ron­ment.’’ Matrix still builds tra- di­tional stand­alone homes but Murri said multi-storey mod­u­lar build­ings were less of a has­sle. ‘‘Each hous­ing con­sent is hard fought – the ter­ri­to­rial au­thor­i­ties are get­ting in the way of build­ing af­ford­able hous­ing. We would pre­fer to fo­cus on multi-storey mod­u­lar where our ef­forts aren’t stymied at ev­ery turn.’’

Matrix Homes’ Sean Mur­rie at their mod­u­lar build­ing fac­tory at the old Gen­eral Mo­tors site in Tren­tham.

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