Architecture student's innovative solution to construction waste

Half of all waste in New Zealand comes from one industry - construction.

There are concerns that will only increase as more homes are built because of the housing shortage.

But now a Wellington architecture student is researching an innovative way to eliminate waste from the building sector.

Ged Finch says the solution is prefabricated housing - and he's working on a prototype.

"The solution is prefabrication, and so this is the wasteless prefabrication design.

"So we don't produce any waste at the start of the building; we don't produce any waste during the lifetime of the building and none at the end as well."

That's because every single component is designed to be disassembled and reused.

Mr Finch won an award from the New Zealand Institute of Building's Charitable Trust to turn his idea into reality.

Building a new home creates about four tonnes of waste, and even more when a home's demolished.

Despite efforts to recycle and reuse material, the New Zealand Green Building Council says the landfill's often the easiest option.

"Fundamentally there needs to be more incentive to not go to landfill," says CEO Andrew Eagles.

Mr Eagles believes that incentive should come from an increase in the waste disposal levy, which is currently $10 per tonne of waste.

Associate Environment Minister Scott Simpson says the levy works well but he is looking at ways to start charging more for certain types of waste. He says the Government is already funding recycling initiatives within the building sector - initiatives that are even more vital as tens of thousands of homes are built to keep up with demand, which Mr Finch hopes his idea will help with too.

"We're talking about housing lots of people," he says.

He'll build a 25-square-metre prototype of his design by the end of this month.