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Two houses constructed as part of a housing commission
As the largest and most diverse city in New Zealand, Auckland draws hundreds of potential new residents every week.

While the population continues to grow, the demand for affordable housing has sky-rocketed in recent years; a trend which in June 2016 prompted the Housing New Zealand Corporation - one of the largest residential landowners in Auckland - to introduce the Auckland Housing Programme. Over a 10-year period, the programme aims to fast-track the growth of Housing New Zealand’s portfolio to deliver an additional 11,000 new social housing homes and over 12,600 new affordable market homes across the city. The plan is to demolish old residential properties to make way for multiple modern dwellings, each designed to provide warm, safe, quality housing that is weather tight, sustainable and efficient.

It was important for Housing New Zealand to partner with construction companies that could deliver these projects on time and to the highest standard. Grant Millar and Danny Spooner of Precision Construction Ltd were up for the challenge, with an extensive history in construction of townhouses and providing alterations and additions in the Eastern suburbs of Auckland. Managing Director Grant Millar says, “We’re delighted to be involved in the Housing New Zealand program, the objective being to provide sustainable well insulated, double-glazed, weather-tight homes; to provide brilliant housing to lots of families. It is a great initiative to be involved in.”

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Working closely with Housing New Zealand on multiple redevelopment projects, Precision Construction has recently completed a housing project at Healy Road, Manurewa. Contracted as a design and build, the objective was to redevelop three homes into five stand-alone, two level homes and four single bedroom apartments in a two-level walk up format. The project also included the civil works, consisting of infrastructure, drainage, lights, landscape and driveways. The project has taken a dedicated team approximately nine months to complete. Precision Construction General Manager, Rob Moule explains the project brought with it some unique challenges. “A lot of construction nowadays is moving to vertical tenancies, which is a different ball game altogether. It is residential construction edging into border-line commercial, with considerations such as fire rating systems; acoustic rating systems; emergency escape lighting and egress routes.”

On the Healy Road project Rob explains, “The four, single bedroom apartments are built on two levels – one apartment on top of the other. One of the challenges was the acoustic-rated intertenancy timber floor system. We were able to solve this by using a combination of additional insulation and a floating floor (batten and rubber cradle) system.” With the core of Precision Construction’s business in high-end architecturally designed residential properties, quality has always been of the utmost importance. “Just because it’s a state house, it doesn’t mean we let quality slip – it’s very easy to maintain that same level,” says Rob.

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Precision Construction’s decision to partner with Bunnings Trade was key to the project’s success. “Bunnings are really flexible to work with, because they’re responsive, reliable, have a great range of products with plenty of stock. Customer service is really fantastic at Bunnings, they always jump to action, and are great at communication. Their pricing is sharp. Product supply and availability is important,” says Rob. “Bunnings is a one stop shop. We could be going to the open market with joinery or for roofing or framing, but we have one company that provides us with a total construction package, which makes our life and administration easier. And with their buying power, we know we’re getting a good deal too.”

“It’s not just about pricing, it’s the relationship and support they give us. We have a very transparent relationship with Bunnings, we give them lots of feedback, we have strong relationships with their suppliers. It’s an open discussion, if there’s something else we need, they’re happy to source it.” On the completion of the Healy Road project, Grant Millar says “We’ve seen some of the tenants move in and it’s like a revelation for them, moving into a brand new home. It’s definitely life-changing for many of these people. It’s quite a nice thing to be a part of; that side of things is quite unique in our business.”

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