Laing Homes, a family-owned transportable homes business in Christchurch, has moved into the world of architect-designed prefab housing with its new Smart House, on show at PrefabNZ’s HIVE.
Grant Laing, Managing Director of Laing Homes, says, ‘Working with an architect in the way we have on this and also stepping into the public arena with the Smart House at the HIVE Home Innovation Village are both significant departures for us.’
‘We’re really looking forward to displaying this prototype, and depending on demand, we hope it will be the beginning of a new range.’
From relocations to high-spec prefab
David Hill, of Wilson & Hill Architects, describes the Smart House as a true collaboration and one that should excite considerable interest because of the specific challenges of designing a fully transportable house.
‘This is at the extreme end of the curve for a highly specified prefab,’ says David. ‘For Grant’s company, who are specialists in building relocations, the learning challenges have included handling the transport logistics of the high stud and large full-height windows.’
The sloping coved gable roof was designed to be strong for transportation – it has a 6° pitch, standard box gutter, trusses and long-run steel.
Interestingly, designing a home for transportation and for seismic activity has major overlaps – considering movement and flexibility is paramount for both. In addition, the Smart House is engineered to withstand three times the snow and wind loadings of the Building Code for Christchurch, making it ideal for the kinds of alpine conditions found in locations such as Tekapo and Central Otago.
The Smart House is noticeable for its clean lines and its modular approach, achieved with an engineered wood panel building system, which also provides durability. Other features include the use of locally sourced materials where possible and low or zero VOC water-based paints, oils and stains.
Option to extend
If customers go over the $220,000 base price for the Smart House, they have the option of extending the house with an additional bedroom pod, master living pod or garage pod.
‘Showing a wider range of people than our usual client base the benefits of architecture applied to an economic prefab house is exciting,’ says David Hill. As prefabricated houses and buildings become more popular, he expects they could sustain a dedicated category in future architectural awards.
For more information, see www.laing.co.nz.
The new Keith Hay Homes Park Terrace house, launched at the HIVE Home Innovation Village, shows what can happen when a long-established housing provider and leading architect work together on a building project.
The new Park Terrace house by Keith Hay Homes has been designed to be transported in two sections. It can be constructed off site in 8–10 weeks and joined on site with decks in 1–2 weeks.
Options to expand
The design allows for easy expansion. It can be extended through predetermined openings, eliminating the need for changes to existing work. It could start with a four-bedroom home, complete with media room and study or start with two bedrooms with the option to expand as needs change.
A recessed lighting track runs the entire length of the living space, concealing the joint where the house is split into two sections for transportation.
The full-height pocket sliding doors is a first for Keith Hay. Matthew Hay, grandson of the founder of Keith Hay Homes, says, ‘This new design is an exciting addition to our existing range of homes and getting the balance right between the addition of features and price has been a good challenge.’
‘The new materials and design details will dramatically improve the perception of transportable housing. This will allow the benefits of transportable housing to be utilised in a growing market where discerning customers are seeking greater living spaces and more design elements in their new homes at a price around $300,000’, says Matthew Hay.
Andre Hodgskin of Architex, well known for his BACHKIT and iPAD house designs, agrees that the perfectly symmetrical Park Terrace house is specifically designed to be a house of ‘generous room sizes, appointments and proportions’.
Andre has an insatiable appetite for the design of prefabricated buildings and thrives on the challenge to find an extraordinary solution to an ordinary brief that meets the needs of any discerning house-hunter on a non-specific site.
For Matthew, who sits on the PrefabNZ board along with Andre, the Park Terrace house opens up a new housing category for Keith Hay customers.
Working together highlighted common interests in design and affordability. It has also created a signpost to a future where narrow opinions about the word ‘prefab’ are transcended in the best interests of everyone.
For more information, see www.keithhayhomes.co.nz.
Articles are correct at the time of publication but may have since become outdated.