Could Modular Design Solve the Housing Crisis?

Sustainable place making for people must be at the heart of development

In an interview with Newstalk ZB, Property commentator Alistair Helm told the show on that he believes modular construction is the future for homes in New Zealand.

This interview was timely, with the recent hype surrounding Bunnings flat-pack homes dominating nationwide news. Although there is some ignorance surrounding them,  discussion has been sparked amongst New Zealanders about how we can creatively confront the housing crisis: homelessness, state housing and first home ownership.

Over the last month, the new Bunnings flat-pack homes have been making waves as cost-efficient solutions to nationwide housing affordability issues. Because at face value, they seem to be miracle they claim to be, costing as little as $69,000. But too good to be true, this price does not include the site, council fees, builders’ costs, services connection, development or reserve contribution – which alone add tens of thousands of dollars to the finished price.

Commentator Helm comments, “Buyers who think the flat pack is a silver bullet to affordability challenges within the housing market should factor those extra and sizeable costs into their calculations.

“In New Zealand, land, not the house, is the most expensive component when buying a property.”

Despite some misleading aspects to this launch, we cannot doubt the enthusiasm the public has greeted this building solution. Amidst a housing crisis, modular design innovation could  indeed present an opportunity to those who would otherwise be left out of the market.

What is modular design and construction?

Modular construction is a method that involves manufacturing portions of the build away from the building site, then delivering those portions for streamlined onsite assembly. The benefits of this technique are rapidly increasing as technology is refined and processes are polished. And to quell any reluctance, homes can be constructed at equal or greater quality to traditional methods when holistic design thinking is applied from the very start.

Place making for people must be at the forefront of development. The homes need to be more than just a space to occupy; they must engage and transform communities by creating a desirable place and culture.

Woodspan(1080) final from Bruce Gatward-Cook on Vimeo.


On the Newstalk ZB show, Property commentator Alistair Helm said that he believes modular construction is the future of homes in New Zealand. Upon the topic of the housing crisis, he maintains that in order to provide higher density housing in urban areas, “That will be solved by what I hope is off-site modular construction, which is the way of the future.”

With a goal of achieving construction programmes that are forty percent faster and twenty percent cheaper, the BOON Modular design and building solution goes beyond a one-size-fits-all approach. Here, there is potential for unlimited design and creative variation, with standardised delivery.

The aim of the BOON Modular solution is to bring certainty to the uncertain – design, construction, and indeed housing.  This is what sets it apart from other modular solutions nationwide. With people-centric, design-thinking at the centre, BOON is about:

+ Certainty of design outcome.

+ Certainty of design quality.

+ Certainty of delivery cost.

+ Certainty of delivery program.

+ Certainty of operating cost (i.e., maintenance and life cycle replacement).

With the public housing wait list rocketing past 10,000 this year, the country is in a state of uncertainty.

While Labour has pledged to build 10,000 houses over the next ten years to solve this, its annual review has revealed it is far off achieving it’s targets and the demand for the Kiwibuild product is not as large as government had hoped for. What the Kiwi build project needs then is a method which is streamlined and yields desired homes for the market of people in need. Modular design and construction provides exactly this – and with its annual review incoming, these alternate methods must be considered for the certainty of this countries housing.

Author: BOON