OffsiteNZ is a non-profit membership organisation that informs, educates and advocates for innovation and excellence in offsite design and construction in New Zealand. Our Members are at the heart of everything we do and we are the heart of innovative construction in New Zealand.
OffsiteNZ is passionate about how prefabriation and new technologies can achieve a better built environment - high quality, smarter, greener, safer, faster, more innovative and efficient building solutions. Our mission is to be a member-focused innovation champion - engaging, challenging and leading for increased offsite construction.
Formed in 2010, and previously known as PrefabNZ, the organisation changed its name in 2021 to OffsiteNZ after much consideration and broad discussion over a number of years with stakeholders including members, non-members, officials, policymakers, the public and the wider construction sector. The name change reflects the advancement of the industry which covers secondary dwellings, residential, commercial and infrastructure sectors.
What is offsite manufacturing?
Offsite manufacturing refers to any part of a building that is made away from the final building site. It can also be referred to as prebuilt or prefabrication.
Offsite solutions are a complementary system to traditional construction and comes in all shapes and sizes, from small components to two-dimensional panels, three-dimensional volumes/modules, a hybrid of several systems or a complete building. It can be made up of any material, from timber, to concrete, metal, plastic or a combination.
For example, your home may have pre-nailed roof trusses and wall frames, your bach may have started as a transportable building or your workplace may use precast concrete elements.
Frequently asked questions
Why focus on offsite manufacturing now?
You’ve all heard about sustainability. Now productivity is the new buzz-word at government and strategic construction industry level.
Prefabrication is a key approach to improve efficiency, effectiveness and productivity in the design and construction sector. OffsiteNZ is aiming to be the point-of-contact for government-level strategy in this area. The latest BRANZ Industry Needs Survey shows how important prefabrication is in the current industry climate.
OffsiteNZ is building on an innovative and rich history of prefabrication in NZ – from large-scale government investment in infrastructure projects (such as hydro-electric scheme housing) to some of the first one-piece fibreglass bathrooms (from Industrialised Building Systems in the 1970s).
Today we are riding the wave of renewed interest in prefabrication through the ‘green modern offsite’ and ‘offsite’ movement around the world. NZ is home to new-generation offsites such as bachkit, port-a-bach, HABODE, ipad and k-bach, with many more in the wings.
There is no doubt that a lot is happening in the offsite world, but often it is happening in isolation. There is a clear need to coordinate, inform and in many cases, re-educate. The timing is right to build on OffsiteNZ’s current profile, to join forces, create collaborations and market ourselves to the world.
What makes offsite manufacturing so special?
Offsite manufacturing is an agent for innovation and can offer higher-quality, more timely and cost-effective built solutions to clients. Unless you know about the range of available options, you won’t be able to benefit from them!
How exactly does offsite manufacturing improve quality?
By constructing parts (components, panels, modules and/or complete buildings) in a controlled environment, away from inclement weather, where worker and resource use can be closely monitored and enhanced. “This type of construction method allows for greater quality control, as faults can be identified early and easily managed and addressed placing more professionalism back into the industry” Collin Clench (Performance Assurance Manager, Hutt City Council).
How does offsite manufacturing save time?
By constructing parts off site (in a factory or yard) at the same time as on site construction takes place.
I thought offsite manufacturing was meant to be cheaper. How does offsite manufacturing save money?
Offsite manufacturing is primarily a way to a higher quality built solutions. It is possible to save money by repeating elements or details, reusing templates or jigs, and other efficiencies in a controlled environment
Why is offsite manufactured housing a good solution for post-earthquake conditions?
Offsite manufactured housing offers a quickly deployable solution. It is used for replacement housing that is either temporary or permanent. Temporary housing can be re-used at other sites or sold through second-hand or recycled trading posts such as TradeMe. Offsite manufactured housing that is a modular or complete building form is reinforced with structural bracing to withstand transportation so it is very strong and can protect the occupants from future earthquakes. There is a good supply of offsite manufactured housing in New Zealand, both made here and imported from offshore.
Don't all buildings look the same when built offsite?
Surprisingly, even cultures that appear to have more homogeneity than our own (such as Japan) claim that each offsite building is unique. As a general rule, the smaller the component, the greater the variation, and computer-aided-design enables customisation by clients. We have moved from an era of ‘mass-standardisation’ in the mid-20th-century to an era of ‘mass-customisation’ today
But isn't an offsite manufactured building flimsy, temporary and mobile?
Not anymore! Past offsite manufactured buildings may have had one or all of these attributes but today the use of the computer for mass-customisation enables a variety of high-quality products to be designed, fabricated and constructed.
What's so great about joining OffsiteNZ?
Lots of tangible stuff (web, e-news, database, events etc.) but also, you get to connect your business with other industry players to either buy or sell offsite manufacturing systems, technologies and production capabilities from or to related product and service providers.
How will joining OffsiteNZ help develop my business?
Joining OffsiteNZ puts you in touch with the offsite manufacturing industry in NZ. Your organisation will benefit from an increased awareness of current research and development initiatives and possible collaborations and joint ventures with like-minded, compatible businesses. Why re-invent the wheel…
When is the best time to consider offsite manufactured options?
Learn about offsite manufactured options NOW so you have them in your offsite manufactured tool-box. Consider offsite manufactured options as EARLY in the design process as possible. Meet with specifiers, potential contractors and the client early in the design process to find out when the design needs to be frozen, for potential offsite manufactured benefits to be maximised.
Why will offsite manufacturing work now when it has failed in the past?
Today we have learnt from past mistakes and understand that it takes more than great design – marketing and financial factors are crucial at start-up. We also have improved technologies (computer to machinery fabrication) and the market demand is there due to increased global offsite manufacturing awareness since the early 2000s.
How can offsite manufacturing be a more sustainable construction option?
In a controlled environment it is possible to minimise material waste through careful use and re-use, and to achieve minimal construction tolerances to prevent energy loss (and reduce running costs).
What does BIM and inter-operability have to do with offsite manufacturing?
Industry buzz-words BIM (building information management) and inter-operability are ways for the industry to collaborate during the design and construction process, by working off a shared digital model with components (or panels or modules) traceable from design to fabrication to installation. This process is more efficient and productive. Many see this as the way of the future.