Kōrero: Building and construction industry

Whārangi 3. Residential construction companies

Ngā whakaahua me ngā rauemi katoa o tēnei kōrero

Villas, bungalows and state houses

Stand-alone houses in suburbs – most of them very similar – were mainly built by small-scale builders.

Early companies were based around the materials rather than the building process. In Auckland in the late 1880s, companies included the New Zealand Timber Company, the Union Steam Saw, Moulding, Sash and Door Company, and the large Kauri Timber Company. They produced catalogues of prefabricated products and plans for villas. Rising timber and labour costs in the 1920s led to the simpler, cheaper Californian-style bungalow which replaced the ornamented, timber-hungry villa. State houses, most of them three-bedroom designs, were built during the 1930s and 1940s. They were simple weatherboard or brick houses constructed by large firms and small building contractors.

Prefabricated houses

After the Second World War residential building companies were set up to mass-produce prefabricated houses. Firms such as Beazley Homes and Neil Housing emerged in the 1960s, assisted by the government’s Group Building Scheme. The scheme guaranteed the purchase of finished houses, and encouraged off-site construction to reduce costs and increase building speed. In the early 2000s companies such as Golden Homes, Signature Homes, David Reid Homes, Keith Hay Homes and many others, offered complete house-building packages with varied designs.


Lockwood manufactures and builds kit-set wooden houses. The company was established in Rotorua after two Dutch immigrants, structural engineer Jo La Grouw and marketer Johannes (Jan) van Loghem, arrived in New Zealand in 1951. They saw an opportunity to sell kit-set houses using exotic timber from central North Island plantations. By the early 2000s over 22,000 homes had been built, in many different designs. The company also designed and constructed commercial buildings such as Rotorua’s Agrodome. In the 2000s Lockwood remained a family business and employed over 100 people at its 10-hectare Rotorua site.

Keith Hay Homes

Keith Hay built his first transportable house in 1949 during a housing shortage. He developed a method of moving buildings in large pieces which did not require dismantling. Hay formed Keith Hay Homes to quickly and cheaply produce prefabricated houses from radiata pine. In the 2000s the company was based in Mt Roskill, Auckland, and had 10 branches throughout the country. It had built some 20,000 houses.

David Reid Homes

David Reid Homes was founded in 1993, and became a nationwide network of franchised branches. In the 2000s the company focused on building houses that were architecturally designed and more expensive (over $400,000). In early 2009 the Wellington franchise went into voluntary liquidation following a fall in demand for new houses.

Me pēnei te tohu i te whārangi:

Carl Walrond, 'Building and construction industry - Residential construction companies', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/mi/building-and-construction-industry/page-3 (accessed 22 July 2024)

He kōrero nā Carl Walrond, i tāngia i te 11 Mar 2010