Eastern Courier : June 17th 2011
8 EASTERN COURIER, JUNE 17, 2011 NEWS Joint project locks in a fast build Method man: Wilco Precast director Andrew Sinclair is on site to watch the first panels installed. Inset: The first panel to go up is already painted on the outside and the windows are pre-fitted. Photos: MATT BOWEN By MATT BOWEN Shanghai and Papakura have joined hands on a Flat Bush paddock. Companies from both regions are embarking on a housing project using what they believe to be the future of construction for New Zea- land homes. Here s why -- leaky build- ing syndrome is not an issue, they re fire resistant, quick to assemble, insulated, sound- proof and low maintenance. The number of council inspections also plummets. Shanghai-owned Lily In- vestment Company is work- ing through Zement Con- struction to build the 67-home development south of Ormiston Senior College. Project superintendent Jason Young says the idea came from Japan. It s the only country in the world to be struck by the atomic bomb so they re very conscious of Civil Defence, he says. They keep all these panels somewhere in anticipation of disaster. If it strikes they bring them out and build houses in no time. Papakura-based Wilco Pre- cast is producing the rein- forced panels using a rela- tively new product dubbed litecrete. Pumice sand from Te Puke is the key ingredient. Marketing manager Philip Archer says it s lighter and four times more thermally efficient than regular con- crete. Most of the work is done in the factory. All that s re- quired when the panels are shipped to site is that they re all locked together. A crane lowers each section down on to steel rods extending from a concrete base. The roof is built on site then lowered on to the top floor creating a closed home in a week. Mr Young says typical houses may need up to 15 council inspections whereas this method takes three. This construction is engineered specifically -- there s nothing much to inspect actually. The free-standing five bed- room homes are expected to go for more than $700,000. Mr Young hopes Kiwis catch on to their method of building rigid better quality structures for both low and high income families. Demand lifts house prices ' Demand for homes in this area has been particularly heavy. ' Peter Thompson Barfoot and Thompson managing director Homes pulled premium prices over the Eastern Courier s circulation area during May. Leading real estate company Barfoot and Thompson recorded an average sale price reaching $594,000 -- lifting the average price for the past 12 months to $558,000. The prices achieved reflected the low number of new listings, restricting choice and the quality of the homes on offer, managing director Peter Thompson says. Demand for homes in this area has been par- ticularly heavy and it is showing up in the solid prices being achieved. Mr Thompson says May s average price is six percent higher than the average price achieved for the past 12 months and 10 percent higher than the average in May last year. On average homes in this area are now selling for three percent or $14,000 more than they were 12 months ago. Areas of greatest sales activity were Danne- mora, Flat Bush, Howick and Pakuranga. Older drivers gear up for a refresher course Route planning: Participants in Age Concern's Staying Safe driver education seminar this month learn how to plan a route. Clockwise from front centre: Graham Pettett, John Holmes, Jeanette Benfell, Helen Smith and Sheena Martin. Photo: PIP BOURKE By PIP BOURKE John Holmes first studied the road code 60 years ago -- it s probably about time for a bit of a refresher. Mr Holmes was one of 25 people at Age Concern s Stay- ing Safe driver education seminar this month. It was designed for drivers with a few years experience, focusing on aspects of driving such as thinking about safety, driving skills, safe journeys and alternatives to driving. The seminar was hosted by Melanie Jaggs of Age Con- cern and introduced participants to the benefits of being a senior, including dis- counted taxi fares and public transport. Brian Jones first ran a similar course a few years ago when it was sponsored by Land Transport New Zea- land. He says it was really posi- tive. One year a 92-year-old woman came along. She sat quietly throughout the whole course and patiently lis- tened, he says. About a week later she came up to me shouting: I did it! She had gone through Panmure town centre for the first time in 10 years. Mr Jones says the seminar is fantastic because it builds confidence in elderly drivers. There will be another session later in the year. For information phone Age Concern on 274-4331.
June 15th 2011
June 22nd 2011