Woodlands Resort is a lifestyle village that offers independent living for over-70s in Fielding, Manawatu. Over the past 18 months, the retirement village has undergone a huge expansion, with 37 new two and three-bedroom villas completed in 2019, and a further 13 villas in the final stages of construction. Meeting the tight timeframes of the project meant looking beyond traditional construction methods, with Metra Construction Panels chosen to ensure speedy installation and high performance.
Stew Buchanan, builder and owner of NailingIt Ltd, had used the Metra Construction Panel system in the past and knew that it would help streamline construction of the 50-villa project. “We’d been building with the Metra Panel system for almost two years prior to the retirement village project and we just found it to be a really efficient system,” he says. “It gave us the ability to timeline our jobs more accurately with subcontractors coming on site.”
“The main benefit is speed,” says Stew. With minimal framing required, the 2.45 x 7.35m construction panels are crane lifted to site — reducing labour time and costs and resulting in a much faster installation. Using the Metra Construction Panel system has meant that wall and ceiling installation for each villa takes as little as an afternoon.
“As of August we would have done 50 wall and ceiling stands in less than 18 months,” says Stew. “And that would be more like 16 months if we took out lockdown.”
The panels provide health and safety benefits for Stew’s team. “The truck does the heavy lifting for you, so the system saves our guys from lifting and is good on their joints,” he says. Once installed, the MetraCeiling can be used as a work rated platform, allowing builders and roofers to work on the ceiling without risk of in-fall.
The use of Metra Construction Panels also simplifies the installation of services and furnishings. “It’s a solid panel wall, so there’s no need for timber nogging,” explains Stew. “This means you can screw in fixings wherever you want to.” This will make it easy for additional handrails and other accessible features to be added to the villas in future if needed.
The finished walls and ceilings provide exceptional durability, low maintenance, thermal performance and acoustic benefits, as well as excellent aesthetics. “The level of finish is really high,” says Stew. “It’s a true level 5 finish on the panel, so it’s easier for the painter as the walls are smoother.”
Ultimately, the use of the high-performance Metra Construction Panel system has helped Stew and the NailingIt team make significant time savings on traditional builds. “I work quite closely with the owner of the retirement village and he’s very pleased with the progress,” says Stew. “We’re definitely on target for 18 months so he's very happy — especially with a project of that scale.”