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HFH New Zealand’s “Fastest House in the World”

HFH New Zealand’s “Fastest House in the World”

Auckland, New Zealand - March 13, 1999 - If you didn’t see it, you might not believe it. But on Saturday, March 13, Habitat for Humanity New Zealand built a four-bedroom house in Auckland in 3 hours, 44 minutes and 59 seconds, from the floor to the roof, complete with curtains, mailbox, lawn, shrubs and fence. And yes, the lights worked, the shower sprinkled, and the loo flushed.

In the process, the Manukau chapter of Habitat for Humanity became the fastest house builders in the world.

“We made a significant decimation of the record,” said Habitat (NZ)’s Chief Executive Graeme Lee. “The previous record of 4 hours 39 minutes 8 seconds, held by a Habitat chapter in Nashville USA, was made with a three-bedroomed home, and we built one with four bedrooms and used only 140 volunteers on the site, and began when Graeme Lee inspect the 1996 World Record House in Pensacola.

The project had been 14 months in the planning. What helped in its efficiency was the use of ‘Laserbilt’ prefabricated walls – technology which had been invented by a company in New Zealand a few years ago.

“This technology is going to be widely used by Habitat for its speed of erection,” Graeme Lee said, “and cost wise it is comparable with other construction material.”

Also helping to keep the project on schedule was a crane which lowered the wooden roof frame (built on adjacent land) onto the four walls.

Dulux donated the paint for the house, as it has done for the other 52 houses Habitat (NZ) has built to date. Other items donated for the speed build included kitchenware, bathroomware, the exterior sheeting, the insulation, most of the plumbing and electrical components, and the bed frames. Many other items were purchased at an appreciable discount.

The family who were to be the new owners of the home, Mr and Mrs Suafoa with their four children, were stunned to see the miracle unfolding before their eyes.

A nice touch at the end was when a “postie” rode up on his bike and delivered the first item to the Suafoa family, in their new mailbox. It was a congratulatory letter from the Governor General of New Zealand, Sir Michael Hardie Boys.

Habitat has no immediate plans to try another speed build, Graeme Lee said, but is is rumoured that another attempt may be made on the record in twelve months time.

Graeme Lee said “the objective of Habitat is to allow a new family to own their first home on an affordable mortgage based on no profit and no interest.”

Habitat for Humanity International is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian organization dedicated to eliminating poverty housing worldwide. Habitat brings together people with resources and people in need to build simple, decent, affordable houses. The homes are sold to those in need at no profit, through no-interest loans. Founded in 1976 by Millard Fuller along with his wife, Linda, Habitat for Humanity has built more than 70,000 houses, providing shelter for more than 350,000 people worldwide. It has affiliates in every state of the United States and in 62 other coutnries around the world.