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What does it take to transport a home in New Zealand?

October 31, 2015

Ever seen a house on the back of a truck going down the road?

It’s an impressive sight and quite mind boggling to think about what must be involved. Getting the house on the truck, along the road, and back off the truck must be easier said than done!

But there are some experts out there who know how to make it easy.

 

I talk to Pauline Willcox from Willcox Building Removers about transporting houses.

With three generations of experience, Willcox know a few things about house removal and transport!

Pauline herself has been in the business for 45 years. She has a unique place in a male dominated industry. She tells me it’s exciting stuff (not the men, the job).

“There’s so much to organise, things can change and you have to adjust plans quickly – it takes nerves of steel and a good head for detail” 

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CAN ALL HOUSES BE TRANSPORTED?

Pretty much any house can be moved if there’s a relatively clear path between its old location and the new one. Obviously the size of the house and it’s complexity will dictate the cost. It may not always be financially practical to move a house, but that’s not to say it can’t be done!

SO WHAT DOES IT COST TO MOVE A HOUSE?

The cost will depend mainly on the time it takes. And that depends on the route, the size of the house and how difficult it will be to move. It can range from a few thousand dollars to move a single-piece house, with the price increasing for the number of pieces, location and difficulty.

WHAT’S INVOLVED IN TRANSPORTING A HOUSE?

A lot! There’s a lot of work that goes on preparing for the move.

First up, we visit the sites that the house will be moved to and from and check for suitability. We plan the route between, looking for any complications like trees, power lines, street lights and so on.

Next all the permits need to be organised such as power boards, telecom, transrail etc. Any escorts we might need like the powerboard. Then there’s insurance. Once all these details are sorted we’re ready to move.

WHAT HAPPENS ON MOVE DAY?

That’s a big day! We get all our gear loaded and then load and secure the house to the truck. We make sure the house and truck are well lit up all around.

Then we’re ready to roll at midnight. We generally have until 6am to be off the road again.

We take two pilot vehicles at the front – they say “House follows” and one pilot at the back “House ahead”. Our pilot drivers are certified (I’m one of them). Our main concern is the safety of other people on the road. We stay in contact with other truckers so they know where we are and we have constant comms between the pilot vehicles and house truck.

When we finally make it to site I do a cooked breakfast for the team. We rest up a bit and then it’s time to unload. There’s a lot of pre organisation here too. We need to have the engineers/inspectors on site at the right time and the concrete ready to pour.

It’s full on until the house is in place. I have to be able to deal with all sorts of hiccups like weather issues, traffic issues, timing of other contractors and so on. I’ve learnt to think on my feet and having a satellite phone sure has made life a bit easier.

WHAT ARE THE HOMEOWNER’S RESPONSIBILITIES?

The homeowner is responsible for building and resource consents.

They also need to organise (and budget for) the cost of connecting the house on the new site – connections to services, repairs, alterations and renovations.

IS THERE MUCH THAT CAN GO WRONG?

As long as everything is well researched and planned for, and contingencies are in place, then nothing really goes wrong (that can’t be fixed or dealt with). That’s where our experience comes in. We have very specialised equipment which we’ve developed over time, and loads of experience.

AND BEING A WOMAN IN A MAN’S WORLD?

It’s fun! The guys tease me about my little little smoko hut where I take care of all the admin. But we’re a great team, a family, so we all respect each other’s skills and experience. In many respects I have the traditional “mum’s” role – taking care of the food and organisation and general running of things. They couldn’t do without me…

 


Are you thinking about moving a house?

Get in touch with Pauline.

Willcox Building Removers are one of the transport companies that transport Ezyline Homes for our clients.

Ezyline homes are designed and built for easy (and economic) transport. Contact me if you want to find out more.