The Minister of Housing and Urban Development Phil Twyford and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff confirmed a $339.2 million interest-free loan to Auckland Council last week from the Housing Infrastructure Fund to support major infrastructure projects in Redhills and Whenuapai.
Complementing the announcement of this significant loan is an exciting and innovative dual-consenting process that the council is piloting in partnership with Universal Homes.
Generally, the consenting process in greenfield areas involves the delivery of the earthworks that contour the land to create building platforms and the construction of required new civil infrastructure like wastewater and stormwater to be completed before the actual building of houses commences.
The council is working with Universal Homes on a pilot process that will enable the delivery of the earthworks and infrastructure at the same time as the construction of houses.
It’s an excellent example of the council and a large-volume housing developer working and innovating together to build houses faster.
Universal Homes Development Manager – Residential, Gerard Costello, says that enabling new and innovative ways of working together illustrates the commitment from central government, the council and the construction industry to ‘do things differently’ to help increase the supply of housing and ultimately improve housing affordability.
“This is a significant achievement. The first seven of the 94 houses were under construction and were being built simultaneously alongside the installation of required civil infrastructure," says Mr Costello.
"This means that by the time titles are issued, there will already be homes completed and ready for people to move in. This will result in a time saving of around 10 months."
The council’s Director of Regulatory Services, Penny Pirrit, welcomes Universal Homes as a great partner for the council to work with on this dual-consenting pilot project.
“Universal Homes is a developer that provides a vertically integrated development package from land development right through to the construction of houses. This means that we know that all aspects of the development process will be delivered," says Mrs Pirrit.
"As one of our 'Qualified Partners' in the consenting area, Universal Homes is putting in place the required quality assurance processes to ensure quality outcomes are achieved. Coupled with their integrated approach we felt that they ticked all the right boxes to work with us on this new initiative."
The council’s Qualified Partner Service is a collaborative partnership approach to consenting between the council and developers who have large programmes of work. It involves the council, developers and customers working together to improve the quality of consent applications and construction and delivering a faster and easier consenting process.
The programme aims to support faster delivery of consents to meet the growing housing needs of Auckland.