Popular student-built homes bought before they’re finished

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Tish North has recently bought one of this year’s relocatable homes at the early stages of construction. She was interested in last year’s units but missed out. Now she is able to add some of her own input.
“I think it’s a really good idea, and you get exactly what you want if you pre-buy it because you can customise it,” Ms North says.

Already there are a few modifications she has made, including an increase to the size of the bedroom and raising the window in the bathroom.
“I’m going to have it as a base and then I’m free to travel. I’m downsizing and I’ll be looking out for a section to put it on.”
It’s the third year the houses have been built as part of the Certificate of Carpentry course, and the extra incentive for the students is that proceeds from the sale of each unit go towards pre-trade scholarships for next year’s students.

Ben McMillan is one of the current carpentry students involved in building the units. He received a $900 scholarship thanks to the sale of last year’s house.
“That’s great that I got a scholarship from the last students’ efforts, and now I’m able to help new students get a scholarship as well.”
There is still one relocatable home for sale at the Marlborough campus. It’s under construction, the framework has just gone up, and there is still a lot of scope for a buyer to customise the interior.

“I would recommend them to anyone,” Ms North says. “Having met the students who are building it, I can see their pride, and the standards they’re building it to are really high.
“It also feels good to be contributing to scholarships for next year’s students. It’s a very good concept all round.”

Sheila Robinson has bought the other relocatable, and was involved with planning it right from the start.
“I’d seen last year’s relocatables and I was really impressed with them. When I was thinking of a sleep-out for our Wakefield property I approached NMIT about it. My sister is a little person and she’ll come and stay sometimes, so we’re going to make sure the height of things like the switches are good for her.”

Carpentry tutor Huw Morgan says this onsite training is hugely beneficial to the students. “They all look forward to this building project, and now that two of the homes have pre-sold they’re even more excited because they know the outcome and they’ve met the buyers,” Mr Morgan says.
“They want to do their best, and they love having that interaction with the owners.”

The relocatable house project has the backing of local industry, and a number of business partners are providing professional service. The units are all built to strict New Zealand building regulations, and include building consents issued by the respective councils. 

Local business sponsors of the project include Aotea Electric, Harcourts Marlborough, PlaceMakers, Schneider Electric, David DeGray, Classic Hits, Newstalk ZB, Tim Miller Plumbing and Absolute Energy.