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A skilled migrant to Queensland has found an unexpected boost to his eco-home business, experiencing an upsurge in enquiries since the onset of the COVID-19 lockdown.

Gold Coast business ModnPods manufactures high-quality, affordable prefab eco-homes, which it sells to consumers in Australia and overseas.

Managing Director John Christie, a skilled migrant from the USA, said COVID-19 had prompted a surge in interest from homeowners wanting to provide affordable spaces for returning family members, and from those considering adding accommodation to create new income streams.

‘Backyard modular pods are much more efficient because they are far less costly than adding onto a home,’ Mr Christie said.

‘The combination of COVID-19 and the recent bushfires has seen our enquiries increase by around 40% over the past year, which is translating into higher demand for pods.

‘Our factory can produce up to 15 to 20 pods per month, and we will be looking at expanding if demand continues to increase.

‘We’re pleased to be able to help people find affordable, quality housing at a challenging time.’

ModnPods sources more than 95% of its pod products from Australian manufacturers, and is committed to using building materials that are both environmentally friendly and healthy for pod occupants.

Mr Christie has a unique migration story, having served as a helicopter search-and-rescue swimmer in the US Navy for 6 years before coming to Queensland to study for his MBA at Bond University Gold Coast in 2014.

He brought the same passion and drive to his business studies that he had shown in his navy career, developing the concept for ModnPods while still a student.

‘The market needed a solution for affordable eco-homes,’ Mr Christie said.

‘At first, ModnPods was just an idea, but shortly after I graduated from Bond University in 2016 it became a reality, and we built our first pod.

‘To date, we have developed multiple pods ranging from container offices to prefab granny flats.’

In 2019, Mr Christie received his permanent residency after being nominated as a skilled migrant by TIQ’s team at Business and Skilled Migration Queensland.

In the same year, he forged a partnership with Ben Sinclair from fellow Gold Coast business Base Haus, a commercial building company specialising in Greenstar, Well and Passive House construction. Together, they are working on delivering healthier, more energy-efficient, affordable spaces.

Mr Christie said the market was rapidly expanding for prefabricated housing that was not only affordable but also ticked all the boxes for quality, beauty and sustainability.

‘The focus in 2020 is now on residential, high-end, affordable prefab modular units – whether it’s one unit for a home, multi-units for a caravan park, or a tiny home development,’ he said.

ModnPods manufactures its pods at its Arundel factory, where it employs around 20 staff in a variety of permanent and casual roles.

Attracting the best business and skilled migrants to Queensland is another way TIQ is helping to build the Queensland economy and grow jobs and prosperity.

For more information on Queensland’s business and skilled migration program, contact BSMQ.