Universal Homes’ single largest development, the new community of West Hills in Northwest Auckland, is pioneering new ways of building at scale to deliver high quality finished homes at value for money, says Universal’s Vice General Manager Andrew Crosby.
The opening of new Showhomes at West Hills marks a recent milestone for the development which will deliver around 1200 new homes over the coming decade, as well as new parks, playgrounds, roads, and other public infrastructure close to the NorthWest Centre.
Mr Crosby says that the methodologies, designs and approach being used at West Hills is the product of the company’s 60-year experience and learning over recent decades, resulting in new ways of doing things to both improve quality and reduce cost.
“Everything we’ve learned building around 600 new homes at Hobsonville Point, as well as our work at Long Bay, Karaka and Millwater, has been absorbed and refined so that at West Hills, where Universal Homes is delivering the entire project, we can employ new methods and ideas,” he says.
“We’ve taken the best of what we’ve learned across a range of projects and are applying these lessons at West Hills. We are working hand in hand with Auckland Council, Auckland Transport, Panuku and the Parks Department to develop what will be a wonderful estate.”
An example is the decision to undertake civil works at the same time as building new homes, rather than waiting until land is sub-divided to build. This requires close co-ordination with Auckland Council and other infrastructure providers and partners but is saving around nine to ten months in delivering new homes.
“We are doing civil works simultaneously with house building,” says Mr Crosby. “We are piloting this with Auckland Council and are one of the first to be doing this at this scale. It does make delivery more complex but we have a great team continuously working through new, innovative solutions and it’s going well.”
Mr Crosby says that other innovations include refining methods of construction, properly sequencing tasks, using offsite manufacturing where appropriate and working closely with suppliers to improve construction delivery.
“All these improvements mean that Universal Homes can offer high quality new homes at West Hills at a price that offers value for money in the Auckland market,” he says.
The opening of the new Showhomes provides visitors with a chance to experience what the new two-bedroom and three-bedroom homes at West Hills will be like.
“We’re making really good progress as our Stage One homes are being completed and momentum is building at what will be a thriving new community” says Mr Crosby.
The company was heartened by strong visitor and buyer interest at this early stage for what is a first major development in a part of Auckland that is a major focus for growth and amenity over the next two decades.