Fletcher Living: Creating communities, with Firth

Fletcher Living has been building homes and creating communities in Auckland, and around New Zealand, for more than 110 years. Waiata Shores, located 15km from the Auckland Airport Business District and 5km from Manukau City Centre, is one of Fletcher Living Auckland’s developing neighbourhoods, which will eventually contain around 700 homes in all shapes and sizes … featuring the complete range of products from Firth ... everything from foundation slabs, exposed aggregate and footpath Certified Concrete®, to retaining blocks and a variety of sizes, colours and finishes of paving from the Firth Paveware™ range.

Situated beside the Southern Motorway on-ramp and across the road from Te Mahia train station, Waiata Shores has excellent access to local amenities, parks and shopping centres. This exciting new neighbourhood features open green spaces, a children's playground, a new café and a childcare centre with a Countdown supermarket to be built in the near future.

Meeting the market

Darren Soo, Senior Development Manager for Fletcher Living discusses the progress of Waiata Shores since the development began in 2016.

“I would say we are about half way through with the development,” says Darren. “We are one of the few residential developers that complete homes before putting them on the market so people can see what they are getting and the quality of the finished product. Most developers sell from the plans so we are unique in that respect.”

To ensure Fletcher Living is building to the market Darren says they build about 100 homes at a time. “We do want to make sure we are providing the variety of homes people are wanting to live in today.”

The development currently includes everything from one-bedroom terrace houses up to four-bedroom, two storey stand alone homes.  “Pricing at this stage of the development, which will change as we progress away from the motorway end to lots that have water views, ranges from approximately $525,000 up to $980,000 for the largest of the homes,” explains Darren.

Planning for the next stages of the development takes anything from 12 -18 months and is continually evolving as Fletcher Living listens to their customers and the type of housing and configuration of dwellings people seek. “Intergenerational housing and affordability for South Auckland families is a key consideration for Waiata Shores,” says Darren. “The changing dynamics for families and their housing requirements means we have been able to adapt our housing offer to supply a variety of housing options to the South Auckland market.”

Building communities

Darren says that the development is not just about building homes, it’s about creating communities. “The plan for Waiata Shores has always included land for a retail centre that would include a supermarket, an early childhood centre, and the must-have local café,” says Darren. “We built the café and have leased it to operators. Named the ‘Song Bird Café’, it looks pretty amazing and has some great features including a highly polished concrete floor, exposed aggregate concrete and Firth paving to accentuate the outdoor areas.”

Prefabricated homes … the way of the future

In December last year Fletcher Building opened the doors to its 8300m2 ‘Clever Core’ prefabricated factory which produces around 500 houses a year with scope to produce more in the future. The ‘offsite’ manufacture of homes promises faster home-building, a lift in productivity and a high-quality product produced using precision German technology.

“At Waiata Shores, Fletcher Living are working with ‘Clever Core’ to build a number of houses in future stages,” explains Darren. “We can make one of our prefabricated homes watertight in a day. Even the internal finishing is completed a lot quicker as the electrical wiring and plumbing are included in the walls before they arrive on site. Prefabrication is certainly the way of the future.”

Firth a trusted supplier

“Firth supplies everything we need in the way of concrete for the foundation slabs, the footpaths, the aggregate finishes used for the drives and playground, retaining blocks for various retained sections and the paving used at the Songbird Café – with all the concrete supplied from their Auckland Airport plant which is the closest to the development,” adds Darren. “We support Firth as they are great at what they do and are also part of the wider Fletcher Building group.”

Darren says that even though COVID-19 put a halt to production for seven weeks everything has pretty much picked up where it left off. “The good thing is that demand for houses has not dropped off at all which is a good sign for the rest of the development and the Auckland housing market.”

Customer:                                       Fletcher Living 

Landscape Architect:                   Bespoke Landscape Architects 

Location:                                        Waiata Shores, Manurewa

Product:                                         Certified Concrete®, Decorative Concrete, Firth Retaining, Firth Paveware™              

                                                         Piazza® in Waiata Shores MTO - Bush Hammered finish

                                                         Piazza® in Waiata Shores MTO - Honed finish

                                                         Piazza® in Avon - Honed finish

                                                         Holland® in Milford Sound – Honed finish

                                                         And Grass Pavers