The New Category of Home project

Back to New Homes

Combining performance and off-site construction

The New Category of Home project was the brainchild of New Zealand Steel and challenges the perception of cheap and nasty ‘prefab’. It began with a vision of a new type of home that would perform to a high standard (meeting HomestarTM 8 and Beacon’s HSS High Standard of Sustainability®) but which would also be delivered through off-site construction with all its potential cost and time savings.

A group of industry organisations worked together on a wide programme of innovation to improve:

  • How well new homes perform - Are they warm and dry? Are they healthy to live in? Are they energy and water efficient? How can new technologies help homes to perform better (through renewable energy, rainwater collection and wastewater re-use, for example)?
  • How much homes cost to buy and operate - Can the costs of building new homes be reduced by prefabrication and more productive building methods? Can energy and/or water bills be reduced by good design and efficient technologies?
  • How cost-effectively new homes can be built - How can we take time and cost out of traditional construction processes?


In the shed

New Category of Home partners

Project partners, New Zealand Steel, Frametek-RFS, Insulpro, Fletcher Aluminium and Resene worked together to develop a new technology and approach which underpins the project.   

They prototyped and tested a new building system, Warmframe™, which combines the benefits of steel framing with a custom-made insulation system and double glazed window units, to create a highly insulated wall.  Claddings and innovative coating technologies can also be incorporated to maximise the benefits of off-site construction and ensure a high quality product.

This process was facilitated by Beacon. 

Trialling and demonstrating

No product can be considered robust without testing, and the partners agreed that Warmframe™ should be tested as part of well-designed and constructed homes.

The next step was to find opportunities for trialling and demonstration.

The first demonstration was the High Performance House at the PrefabNZ Home Innovation Village - this was the first test of Warmframe™ used to build a complete house off-site.

The second demonstration was the Warmframe duplex at Hobsonville Point which trialled Warmframe in both 3D pods and 2D wall sections.

New Category of Home partners

Logo, NZ Steel

Logo, RFS

Logo, Insulpro

Logo, FAL

Logo, Resene