Heh

July 19th, 2012 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Building and Construction Minister Maurice Williamson says having identical homes could bring down the costs of building new houses but he told the social services select committee that New Zealanders might not be ready for such a culture change.

Labour MP Jacinda Ardern said the concept already existed in New Zealand. “It’s called .”

Heh. Sort of true.

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44 Responses to “Heh”

  1. Colville (2,300 comments) says:

    Drive thru Dannemora, six house plans with a different type of brick or mirror imaged cover about 10 km2.

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  2. slightlyrighty (2,475 comments) says:

    Cookie Cutter Homes are a big thing overseas, bring down the costs while maintaining a level of quality. While some may decry the sameness of it all, how is it different from an apartment complex, save that you are less likely to hear nieghbours?

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  3. berend (1,716 comments) says:

    Do we really need to central plan this?

    We can easiliy find out if NZers like this: let builders built what they want. If there’s a market for this kind of thing, it will be built. If there’s no market, it won’t be built.

    But focusing on the house price while the biggie is the land price, is sort of like John Key trimming $40,000 by creating a super ministry, while ignoring super.

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  4. tvb (4,518 comments) says:

    I live in a subdivision of very similar but not identical homes and it is just fine. Bespoke hones are expensive and do not necessarily look good.

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  5. marcw (255 comments) says:

    Has the man never visited Botany or Gulf Harbour – what planet has been on for the last 15 years?

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  6. KiwiRupes (16 comments) says:

    The best plan would be to have say 5 designs, all of which could be orientated one of 4 directions on the plot of land to mix things up. The trick is less to have the houses the same to to ensure that the consent process means that the 5 designs only have to be approved once by councils (or better off the consent applies across the country) so consent costs should be dramatically reduced.

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  7. Nookin (3,468 comments) says:

    Nice to see that she has a depracatory sense of humour

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  8. Hamnida (905 comments) says:

    DPF – you could run a poll – worst city in NZ? Hamilton, Invercargill or Palmerston North.

    Also, PM in 2020 – Ardern, Bridges or Dotcom.

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  9. peterwn (3,312 comments) says:

    Railways had four designs of kitset ‘railway houses’ used in Tarikaka Street, Ngaio, Wellington, Taihape, etc, etc. They are now regarded as classics. A former boss of mine, not happy with house designs offered by a builder wanted to do his own design. Builder spelt out his design criteria and gave him a weekend to do a design which the builder accepted, then the builder put them up everywhere (no one seemed to be fussed about copyright then).

    With modern computer and woodworking machinery technology it should be possible to produce a wide range of house designs which can be produced in kitset format (AFAIK Lockwood Homes are sort of down that path).

    The concepts and master specifications to be approved by a Government agency and be binding on councils for building permit purposes. There is a thorny issue whether the Government should indemnify these approvals in case there are generic deficiencies, I am slightly inclined towards this, however councils should be indemnified. The concepts shopuld be reasonably ‘idiot proof’ so weathertightness is not crtitically dependent on high workmanship standards and searching inspections (traditional NZ houses with eaves, treated timber etc met that criterion).

    A certain amount of ‘likeness’ is a necessary evil to ensure people can be economnically housed. The problem as I see it is ‘middle class’ people especially Labour and Green supporters are effectively forcing an excessively high standard of housing on those who cannot afford it. The issue to to big to councils to deal with – they are excessively susceptible to ‘nimbyism’. They are almost like gentlemens clubs who exclude potential members through high subs.

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  10. Cunningham (846 comments) says:

    Hamnida where do you live?

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  11. expat (4,050 comments) says:

    Jacinda is such a horses arse.

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  12. KH (695 comments) says:

    Sad but thru. Country going down the gurgler and construction minister stuck about identical house designs.

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  13. RRM (10,034 comments) says:

    If you spend a bit of time walking around Dannemora or Papamoa you’ll notice that group housing firms can build the same house five times in a row, and still make them look reasonably different by using different colours of bricks and coloursteel, then putting a gable ended roof over the garage on the fourth one, or using pressed metal tiles for the second one.

    Meanwhile, on a street where all the houses ARE completely different, they all look alike anyway…

    There was group housing in my parents’ day too. However, back then people tended to do radical creative stuff like plant a garden out the front of their house new to give them a bit of privacy.

    I don’t understand why people are so funny about standard houses. Most people drive standard cars, and don’t seem to have a problem with it…

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  14. mikenmild (11,777 comments) says:

    I liked Williamson’s crack about builders before licensing only needing a cellphone, ute and a dog.

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  15. Bevan (3,924 comments) says:

    I liked Williamson’s crack about builders before licensing only needing a cellphone, ute and a dog.

    Ironically the house’s built by those the guys from that time aren’t rotting either….

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  16. david (2,564 comments) says:

    Considered buying a house in Sydney a few years back while working there.

    One of the major developers (Australand) did exactly what is suggested. 4 or 5 designs randomly mixed through a 30 house development. All the houses went up at once and there were absolutely no variations allowed in construction even though you might have bought off the plan before built. They wouldn’t even lay additional power points or telephone cables into the office and obviously the hardware was ordered in lots of 30 (where common). 30 garage doors, 30 washing lines, 30 heat pumps, ovens, etc etc etc. It looked like the trades were contracted in bulk as well.

    Result was that the price was very attractive and bore no relationship to the value of houses in surrounding suburbs meaning that capital gains were pretty much guaranteed.

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  17. mikenmild (11,777 comments) says:

    Bevan
    Actually, all of the leaky homes will have been built by unlicensed builder, as licensing has recently been introduced as one of the responses to that debacle.

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  18. emmess (1,433 comments) says:

    Way to go winning back some provincial support

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  19. backster (2,185 comments) says:

    Didn’t Labour’s little pony originate from the Waikato, she’ll be lynched if she goes back. The Local authorities organisation would be unanimously opposed to such a proposal. Less consent hearings mean less committee fees, reduced staff requirements, less inspections and form filling. Councils want more power and authority not less.

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  20. BeaB (2,148 comments) says:

    Typical cheap shot from a dimwit.
    I grew up in a 1930’s weatherboard villa in Christchurch and every house in the street was the same, even with the same layout. They were damp and draughty.
    I now live in a new subdivision in Hamilton (the Invercargill of the North!) and every house is quite different from the others – different materials, colours, layouts, position on section etc etc.
    I think people see what they want to see when they drive through new suburbs. Those of us who live in them love our warm, comfortable homes with all mod cons.
    My years of ‘character’ homes have taught me character comes from the people and objects in a house.

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  21. Bevan (3,924 comments) says:

    Actually, all of the leaky homes will have been built by unlicensed builder, as licensing has recently been introduced as one of the responses to that debacle.

    So, what is the ratio of leaking vs non leaking homes built from the 50s to the 80s? Now compare that to the 90s….

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  22. Hamnida (905 comments) says:

    Cunningham (170) – I live in Wellington, New Zealand.

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  23. Hollyfield (69 comments) says:

    Another thing that would make starter homes more affordable, would be to have them smaller but designed so they could be added onto or improved later. This was quite common in the past. For example, a 2 bedroom home (with the right floorplan and positioned carefully on the section) could have a third bedroom added 5 years later as the family grew and finances allowed. Or a separate dining room could be added on. Or space provided for an en suite, but not installed until later. So many new houses today are either tiny shoebox apartments with no room for the kids’ bikes, or are huge 5 bedroom 4 bathroom homes. Very little available in between, and with no flexibility to enlarge a small home later. (I’m guessing, though, that council consents for the additions could make these sorts of changes very expensive these days.)

    I’ve just checked out the website for Stonefields, the new housing area in the old quarry at Mt Wellington, Auckland. 2,900 dwellings on 110 hectares – every single house listed on the website is two storey, with either 4 or 5 bedrooms, the smallest of which is 214m2.

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  24. Bevan (3,924 comments) says:

    Mike, the homes that were built during the 90s that are part of the whole ‘leaky home crisis’ were not caused by the builders being unlicensed. Key to the issue was the relaxation of use of treated timber in the houses being built, coupled with the poor legislation around that area which guided the council inspector prior to granting consent – couple that with the desire of the average home builder to reduce their building costs as much as possible.

    I’m not saying licensing builders is a bad thing, but to try and hint that them being licensed means no more homes will be built that could be sub standard is very disingenuous. The problem arose because of a number of factors – and will not be fixed by implementing one.

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  25. RRM (10,034 comments) says:

    It is always amusing when people try to fit the leaky buildings thing to their particular political ideology.

    Up until 1991 the building code was prescriptive: Thou shalt use THIS type of weatherboards (and ONLY this type) to build your house, and thou shalt use THIS type of flashing detail (and only this type) to make sure the rain water doesn’t get in around around the joints. And your framing timber shall have THIS level of treatment against decay, no more and no less.

    In 1991 a performance-based building code came in: You can use any material, or any proprietary product you like, provided that the manufacturers of it can supply you with a convincing enough glossy technical brochure insisting that it works, and you can convince some bureaucrat at the council to rubber-stamp it.

    Everyone was happy: Builders could find systems they liked, punters got flasher houses for cheaper prices, and the bureaucrats got to feel important.

    But then it became apparent that some of these new ways of building houses were not all they were cracked up to be…

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  26. slightlyrighty (2,475 comments) says:

    tvb at 9:23 am.

    What is a bespoke hone?

    The alternative (i.e, production line, mass produced Hone) is too much to imagine!!!!!!

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  27. Paulus (2,672 comments) says:

    Price of houses not a problem – ask any Builder.
    Land is the bug – listening to Master Builder recently saying that they can build a house for easily $250,000 but have to pay $400,000 for a section in Auckland.

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  28. mikenmild (11,777 comments) says:

    Bevan
    I didn’t mean to hint that; only to point out that anyone could build a house during the 1990s. The leaky homes were the result of a combination of deregulation, poor design and poor installation techniques, and inadequate council inspection regimes.

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  29. mikenmild (11,777 comments) says:

    slightlyrighty
    Ha ha. I don’t think we need mass-produced Hones either!

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  30. Pete George (23,687 comments) says:

    It’s possible to get a balance of efficiency of design/build and variety.

    A sizable part of the new part of Cromwell was built with pre-fab houses trucked in from de Geests in Oamaru. They were varied enough to not look too tiki taki, and after trees and gardens developed they differentiated more. And since they were sold to private buyers quite a few have had alterations. Certainly doesn’t look like a state housing area.

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  31. Ed Snack (1,927 comments) says:

    I’m still of the opinion that the primary cause of the rotting houses debacle was the change in designs and cladding materials, and that the treatment of timber was at most a minor issue. The major problem was water getting at timber framing caused by small or non-existing eaves on “contemporary” designs plus the use of sheet style cladding without flashing using only silicone sealant products for waterproofing.

    From my time in the timber industry, the Boric treatment used for framing timber was a water soluble process, and if such timber was in an area where water penetrated, it rotted almost the same as completely untreated timber. Boric is primarily an anti-insect penetration precaution, it would defend against borer for example, but not against molds and funguses in the presence of water. With radiata it would take the Cu/Cr/As treatment (marked as H1 to H6) for water resistant protection, with H3 being the typical outdoors minimum specification.

    Older houses suffered less for a variety of reasons, prior to, say, the 1950’s the framing was likely to be a timber other than radiata pine with more natural resistance to water, but more likely the design had more protection, and the cladding was essentially waterproof without sealant; think overlapping timber weatherboards.

    New materials lowered the cost of building and made other design styles (think “spanish hacienda”) feasible, but they did introduce risks. Those risks were poorly managed at the time, but excessive regulation is likely to inflate costs without making a lot of difference now people are wise to the issue.

    And as someone who has renovated the odd old house or two, the thought that somehow the old builders had better standards is a bit of a joke, it more that the old methods had more tolerance for bodges frankly. Everything from missing parts of studs to bits of newspaper painted to look like weatherboard in obscure parts of walls, they knew how to cut corner s back then easily as well as now. Ther really was no “golden age” of building standards, but there was a time when good materials were cheaper, as we cut out our native forests for high quality timber, but that’s unfortunately a once off “windfall”.

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  32. scrubone (3,105 comments) says:

    Frankly, both the quoted comments are bizarre.

    We’ve had standard designs being sold in this country for years – both public and private sector.

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  33. jims_whare (404 comments) says:

    Well – aren’t horse stables mostly identical?

    Perhaps Ms Arden could have looked a little closer to home for an example.

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  34. cha (4,084 comments) says:

    + + Ed Snack for all of the above. Also modern cladding and lining contributed to the lack of ventilation and the inability of moisture to escape which was/is a the major cause of the deterioration of framing timbers.

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  35. dubya (243 comments) says:

    Radiata prices are high, so timber-heavy Lockwood homes aren’t a great option for low cost housing – a shame because they are bloody solid, earthquake proof, cyclone proof (they sell well in the Islands) and I’ve never seen one leak. Would be ideal for state tenants whilst we persist with that wasteful programme, as it’s hard to throw an insolent toddler through the wall of a Lockwood when you’re high on P.

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  36. BeaB (2,148 comments) says:

    The two houses we bought in the 1970’s and then in the 1980’s both leaked like sieves despite treated wood, eaves, weatherboard, bricks etc etc.
    It is a myth that everything ‘old’ is by definition good.

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  37. 3-coil (1,222 comments) says:

    Well Jacinda would know all about Hamilton – it’s right next to Cambridge, the equine capital of NZ.

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  38. barry (1,317 comments) says:

    Bitch….
    (barry from Hamilton)

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  39. Viking2 (11,574 comments) says:

    Socialist’s wet dream.
    Seemingly that includes the Housing Minister.

    Ed Snack (668) Says:
    July 19th, 2012 at 11:32 am

    I’m still of the opinion that the primary cause of the rotting houses debacle was the change in designs and cladding materials, and that the treatment of timber was at most a minor issue. The major problem was water getting at timber framing caused by small or non-existing eaves on “contemporary” designs plus the use of sheet style cladding without flashing using only silicone sealant products for waterproofing.

    Houses get wet from inside as well and the other issue that’s yet to rear its ugly head is that so much pine was sawn at a young age and is losing it’s strength. That timber is being eaten away bybacteria as you sleep. Just like rust eats steel while you sleep.
    10 years and houses will fall over without being pushed.

    Have fun.

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  40. dubya (243 comments) says:

    Jacinda works from a College Hill villa- probably the ultimate NZ Cookie Cutter home, tens of thousands were built, mostly from builders copybooks. Though no doubt she had some Rainbow Faction affiliate come and wave his interior design wand over it, and give it ‘unique, contemporary urban chic’ (like every other overpriced Ponsonby villa).

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  41. Ed Snack (1,927 comments) says:

    Cha, quite right about the internal water, but from my experience the volumes are rarely that high to be as dangerous as external penetration. Poor ventilation though can exacerbate.

    Viking, unlikely to be an issue for a lot longer than 10 years, at least IMHO, the degree of relative over-engineering in strength is such that the loss is not likely to have an impact; unless of course the house was built under spec’d to start with… Anyway, not sure what you mean by “young”; radiata is typically harvested at around 25 – 30 years (it does vary and can be longer but rarely much shorter), and younger than that there’s just not enough harvestable timber to get much return if it’s going into framing type timber. Not such a problem if the logs are peelers for ply or feedstock for MDF or the like. NZ radiata has been felled at similar ages for some time, although it has shortened a bit through better genetics and growing. And the only references I could find on bacterial attack oddly enough referred to CCA treated radiata, which is normally very resistant to decay; the particular enzyme used by the bacteria apparently binds well to The CCA metals and so allow the bacteria to tolerate higher concentrations of the normally toxic substances.

    On Lockwood, although I agree they have a number of good points, a close relative who actually owned and lived in one would never buy another. The noise that place generated as it moved with temperature changes was phenomenal, sounded at times like the whole structure was about to come down about ones ears, cracks, groans, long drawn out creaks, it had them all, and mostly at night when it was definitely not conducive to a good nights sleep.

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  42. Joseph Carpenter (214 comments) says:

    Maurice Williamson is an idiot. We’ve had mass produced/group housing in NZ for ages, in fact in 2009 83% of all housing & apartments were built by large builders using set designs. Hell I believe during the 30’s-70’s state houses were built using only 19 different variants of dwelling designs and only 7! multi-unit apartment designs.

    The fact is even using a set national design, due to the building code the actual construction will still have to vary due to location for bracing & strength requirements for wind and seismic loads, insulation & energy efficiency, ground strength, durability/corrosion requirements, siting, etc plus of course if the site slopes more than about 1:40 gradient you will have to have a bespoke design.

    What is entirely under Williamson’s control is the fact that under the current Building Act you can have “preapproved national” set group designs for housing but it doesn’t really save you any money – it all means is the Local Authority MUST grant a Building Consent, but they can (and do) still take the same amount of time and charge the same fee as a one-off bespoke custom architect wet-dream house of the same value. There is also the “Simple House Acceptable Solution” which is a reduced and simplified set of the NZ Building Code – 260 A4 pages and AS/NZS standards – 1940 pages – of rules and regulations you must comply with to build the most basic box design and detailed single level, stand-alone house. However of course you will still be charged the same fees and have the same delays as a complex building of the same value.

    Also under his control is the current “Licensed Building Practitioners” and “Restricted Building Works” regime which really only came into force April this year. I really don’t see that it will help construction much (in particular the leaky buildings issues) but it will surely increase the cost of building and I think a lot of people don’t realize just how far it goes, just wait until the DIYers get prosecuted or sued for building a deck or a large shed or renovating the kitchen.

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  43. Cricklewood (21 comments) says:

    People blaming leaky homes on timber treatment always makes me laugh, the whole issue is a lack weathertightness…

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  44. Viking2 (11,574 comments) says:

    No its not.

    Ignorance to think so.

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