New Zealand is facing a housing crisis with many families in desperate need of a place to call home. Kāinga Ora have faced increasing demand to provide rental housing for New Zealanders in need. In late 2018 Greenstone Group were awarded the Hamilton 1 Portfolio of Works to work alongside Kāinga Ora in managing the delivery of 45 units across 16 sites in Maeroa, Hamilton.
Traditionally, social housing in these areas was comprised of large timber weatherboard homes on big underutilised sites. The 2018 brief from Kāinga Ora cited a desire to move away from this model, as a reflection of the changing demographic makeup of families in New Zealand. The brief was to manage 16 sites from concept through to completion with a mix of 1, 2 and 3 bedroom houses, including duplexes.
Kāinga Ora’s key objective was for these sites to be maximised in terms of densification, while simultaneously adhering to council bylaws. Much publicity has surrounded the role of landlords and the need to provide safe and healthy homes for our nation’s tenants. While the project was already dedicated to providing warm, energy efficient and aesthetically pleasing homes, this became even more imperative midway through the project with the introduction of 6 Homestar and the mandatory adherence to these guidelines.
This was an exciting, important and rewarding opportunity for the Waikato region to assist Kāinga Ora in completing the construction of much needed homes for vulnerable families and elderly New Zealanders in need.
As in all areas of life, relationships, communication and collaboration were key factors in this project. While all of these areas presented challenges, Greenstone Group were able to work through the presented obstacles to ensure warm and dry homes were provided for those in need.
Consultation and working closely with the local council were key aspects of the project in both the design and construction phases. A bespoke inspections regime was developed to fast track the Code Compliance Certificates and give responsibility of some inspections to the contractors. In addition to this collaboration, Greenstone Group also worked with a dedicated Building Inspector, assigned by the Hamilton City Council, which was a great benefit in expediting the construction process. Greenstone Group drove and managed these initiatives, with the assistance of Kāinga Ora and the Hamilton City Council. Without this teamwork it would have been much more difficult to provide warmth and shelter to those who needed it.
Again, consultation and clear communication allowed the project to navigate another potential barrier to success. The design process raised issues when trying to adhere with council bylaws in regards to the desired densification. Fortunately, well-presented proposals from the design team, notably the planners, allowed a productive partnership with the Hamilton City Council to forge ahead in order for optimal outcomes for Kāinga Ora on the individual sites.
Greenstone Group’s experience in managing diverse groups of people came to the fore during this project. Due to the appointment of a design team that was not wholly based in the Waikato region, the time Greenstone Group spent in management of coordination, programme and accountability was significant. This paid dividends, with Greenstone Group ensuring Kāinga Ora’s objectives were met and the key goal of providing completed homes at as early a date as possible was achieved.
Additional time than anticipated was also spent by Greenstone Group working with contractors to improve and upskill the contractors’ construction management processes, particularly in regards to health and safety, and project administration. Plenty of work occurred at the front end of the project to assist these teams in ensuring contract obligations were met and Kāinga Ora were protected. Kāinga Ora being protected led to more homes being provided to keep more families from living in inadequate housing situations.
The 45 homes constructed over the past 20 months exceeded Kāinga Ora’s expectations in terms of quality and date of delivery. The fast tracking of Code of Compliance Certificates was an immense success and ensured homes were occupied from the earliest possible time.
New tenants were not the only people who benefitted from this successful project. Consultants and contractors in the Waikato region formed strong relationships over the duration of the project, creating a solid foundation for Kāinga Ora to continue future developments in the region with teams that understand their needs and kaupapa.
The relationship between Greenstone Group and Kāinga Ora also flourished through this journey. Greenstone Group are continuing to foster this partnership with Kāinga Ora and will be eager to offer their services again when future opportunities arise.
- 6 Homestar Built Rating - Homestar V4