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Developing options for affordable living

Developing options for affordable living
Able Spaces has a range of designs available, from a small 18sqm studio right up to 120sqm four-bedroom home.

With a vision to ‘create space for possibilities’, Lower Hutt’s Able Spaces is bringing New Zealand to the forefront of what’s possible in transportable buildings.

Company founder and managing director Norma McCarty is passionate about providing New Zealanders with genuine affordable housing solutions, and for the past three years, her company has been designing, manufacturing, selling, and leasing modular buildings nationwide.

“We provide the most innovative, healthy, sustainable, warm, transportable homes and buildings with minimum impact on the planet, on council services, and on each other,” she says.

Able Spaces has grown from Norma and her manufacturing manager Colin Holmes to now two staff in the office and three full time and two casual workers in the factory, who can be working on up to six transportable buildings at various stages of construction at any one time, with a manufacturing time of eight to 12 weeks.

“We’ve had a good response from the market,” Norma says.

“People like what we’re offering, they like our designs, and they like that we custom-build.”

Able Spaces now has a range of designs avail-able, from the small 18sqm studio right up to 120sqm four-bedroom home.

With these designs, Able Spaces is catering for a wide variety of markets, from first home buyers who have the option to put a transportable home on Developing options for affordable livingfamily property, to down-sizing parents who may sell their family home to their children and build their own transportable home on the same section.

Able Spaces homes make great baches, and can provide a higher return for property investors who can add another building on to their land without necessarily subdividing

.Able Spaces are built with a steel subfloor, structurally insulated panels at 75mm for the walls and 125mm for the roof, EXPOL UnderFloor insulation, Colorsteel MAXX flashings, and fitted with double glazed aluminium joinery and LED lighting throughout.

Able Spaces is now giving clients the option of having different internal linings, so instead of looking at the EPS panels, Able Spaces can be lined with plywood for a different finish on the inside, then they can also be clad externally with different materials as well.

Able Spaces is a member of PrefabNZ, benefiting from the industry association’s information, education, and advocacy for offsite construction methods.

“They really do lobby for the prefab industry and that’s great – it’s the way of the future,” Norma says.

“Prefabrication is nothing new, people have been doing this overseas for so long. Sometimes New Zealand can be really quick at taking things up, and other times really slow. The construction industry is one of those. If we’re going to move with the times, we need to look at people overseas and what they’re doing.”

The finance industry is still standing in the way of more people using prefabrication for their new homes, with banks only lending on transportable homes once they are actually on site and connected to services.

Developing options for affordable living

PrefabNZ is pushing for a change but until that happens, customers needing finance have to go to a private finance company.

With this in mind, Able Spaces has teamed up with Oxford Finance to help customers get into their own space a lot quicker and easier.

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