Bathroom pods: an OSM way to build better homes faster
19 May 2020
It sounds a little like how you might put together your child’s doll house – an entire bathroom, complete with toilet, shower, basin and encased in lined walls and timber framing, to be slotted neatly into its rightful place in the home.
But this is certainly no toy, it’s off-site manufacturing (OSM) at work. High-quality bathroom and laundry ‘pods’ like this are forming part of people’s new warm, dry homes in Auckland.
This initiative forms part of a research and development programme that could further advance the capabilities of Kāinga Ora as New Zealand’s largest residential builder, meaning more people in the homes they need.
“Kāinga Ora is responsible for the delivery of a very large build programme in a highly competitive and congested construction sector,” says Tim Campbell, Kāinga Ora Business Innovation, Research and Design Director.
“Factory-built bathrooms and laundries have the potential to improve the quality of the thousands of buildings we produce, and streamline the design and delivery processes.”
Initially, the pods will be used across four building sites in Auckland, working with different manufacturers for each.
One of those partners is Canterbury-based Concision, the nation’s largest off-site manufacturer, which is producing pods for an 18-home three-level apartment block being built by Miles Construction in Blockhouse Bay.
For Wade Macauley, Concision’s General Manager, the benefits are abundantly clear.
“It means more jobs for Kiwis, more homes built faster, less waste, safer building sites and a healthier bathroom for Kainga Ora’s customers,” he says.
“Being able to connect our design team with Kāinga Ora’s research and development team ensures innovation is an everyday conversation. For us it’s not just bathroom pods, it’s a way of improving and evolving the Kāinga Ora build programme in its entirety.”
Tim says the same project managers will work on each of the four pod trials, so – when coupled with different manufacturers for each – Kāinga Ora can “test, evaluate, review, improve and then test again” to make the most of lessons learned as the project advances.
If successful, the pods could be used in more than 60% of Kāinga Ora’s build programme in the future, but factors like location, supply chain availability and other factors need to be taken into consideration when evaluating whether pods are the best option.
Page updated: 19 May 2020