House built on stilts to waterproof in 13 hours ready to live

A house erected in less than two days is now ready to be occupied, its builders eager to speed up production.

Lower Hutt-based company Flexi House took just 13 hours to go from piles in the ground to a weather-sealed building in July and worked on the finish and fit-out ready for viewing.

Company founder and designer Andre Heller says with the first house now complete, Flexi House is hosting an open house this weekend at its Central Otago location.

This is a one bedroom, two bathroom worker accommodation with an open plan kitchen and living space on a Cromwell orchard. Eventually, two more bedrooms will be added to the house.

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“It turned out amazing – we are so thrilled. We’re doing the final staging right now and it looks really good,” he said.

Offsite construction of the panels in the factory took seven weeks and fitting out the building took six weeks, including airtightness testing.

Exterior wall units are clad, glazed and insulated. Designing a house involves determining the number of units needed to build a structure of the desired size.

The prototype Cromwell house built by Lower Hutt's Flexi House company was erected in 13 hours and fitted out in six weeks.


The prototype Cromwell house built by Lower Hutt’s Flexi House company was erected in 13 hours and fitted out in six weeks.

Heller said the first house was actually a prototype built without any scale efficiencies yet.

“When you do multiple projects at once, those numbers will only get better.

“When we operate at scale and can deliver housing that quickly, that’s going to be a game-changer.”

There were many features that made the design and construction unique, he said.

The interior of the Cromwell show <a class=home of Flexi House.” style=”width:100%;display:inline-block”/>


The interior of the Cromwell show home of Flexi House.

“From its flexible high-performance construction, its durable low-carbon design, to its standardized construction elements, this makes the system repeatable and therefore scalable for mass manufacturing.

Heller said they are in talks with factories to create supply buildings across the country.

The next step was to get 10 customers together with house orders and then task their factory partners with building the houses.

“We expect to manufacture in the next 12 to 18 months.”

The prototype <a class=house was built for customers of a Cromwell orchard.” style=”width:100%;display:inline-block”/>


The prototype house was built for customers of a Cromwell orchard.

Heller said while they would create efficiencies through standardization and scalability, they weren’t looking to provide the cheapest homes on the market.

Many New Zealand building companies built to minimum building code requirements, he said, but Flexi Homes wanted to build its product to higher standards.

“We are working towards the passive house. We’re not there yet, but this system performs very well in its category.

The system is designed so that the floor plan can be customized and rooms added or removed as needs change.

The builders installed sensors in the first house to monitor temperature, humidity and energy consumption in the first house, which will provide Flexi with performance data.

The interior has been made airtight using a vapor and air control layer, with a mechanical heat recovery unit to ventilate and maintain temperature.

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