REDUNDANT car industry engineers, designers and managers recently found new opportunities in the really advanced of the revolution in building and construction.
About 20 of the highly trained workers have been employed by the Melbourne-based Hickory Group to operate around the design and manufacture of prefabricated house, as well as components which are into conventional builds.
Australia lags behind other industrial countries in the use of prefab and modular construction though these techniques offer numerous advantages. Not only is definitely the build time halved as well as the cost reduced, this factory-based procedure for construction allows buildings to become set up in locations where construction personnel are hard to find. And therefore means industrial jobs in cities and regional centres for workers afflicted with economic restructuring.
Hickory Group has to date completed 16 prefab builds, including office towers, hotels and even a hospital in the last seven years. Some have already been as tall as nine storeys, including a Perth public housing project that had been carried out in just ten days.
It’s now begun making prefab bathrooms that have been sold for some other developers and slotted into apartment buildings all over Sydney and Melbourne. In one of Hickory’s own projects in Collins Street, Melbourne, it produced over 700 bathrooms for your 65-storey building.
The benefits of prefab and modular construction are compelling, however, not everyone gets it. The government government’s industry “growth centre” agenda, which targets five key sectors based on advice from McKinsey as well as the Business Council, doesn’t mention this industry.
But Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane, who saw certainly one of Hickory’s Melbourne buildings this month, told The Australian the technique presented an “exciting prospect”. Innovation in industry and the use of new technology and its particular influence on the workforce have already been at the heart of the Powering Australia series this coming year.
Macfarlane met with Hickory’s joint managing director Michael Argyrou, who told him how former car industry designers and engineers were highly skilled at finishing products into a extremely high standard. Macfarlane’s views about prefab were reinforced a couple weeks ago when executives from South Korean steel giant Posco told him they were developing their prefab capacity.
Argyrou said the Victorian government was very supportive of their strategy. He said former car industry managers and designers were actually better at precision-oriented work than individuals with a construction industry background. “They add a big quantity of value to our business; they are significantly better at it than what a construction guy could be,” he was quoted saying. Their skills were “very transferable” as well as the company planned to integrate them in to the business through the prefab components production then “slowly adjust these people to the building industry”.
Hickory had about 75 workers at steel warehouse and was looking to growing the organization to around 200 workers over the next a couple of years.
Modular construction is different from prefab in that the building usually comes in a steel container. Over the past 2 weeks a modular home manufactured in Geelong and Mittagong continues to be assembled with a Sydney clifftop inside the space of just eight days.
The style by Sydney-based Tektum was integrated the factory, loaded in a container and after that unfolded and assembled on-site at Bilgola Plateau.
Tektum’s co-founder Nicolas Perren said the company was applying car manufacturing methods to home and building construction. But unlike many modular homes, the top-quality finish led most people to conclude that it was a conventional build.
“Few from the visitors feel that it has been transported on a standard truck and unfolded on location with bathrooms and kitchen set up. All of them leave convinced this is the way ahead for construction,” Perren said. Tektum also has built a residential facility for disabled people in Wodonga and is now chasing with regards to a dozen new projects around australia and New Zealand. These include a childcare centre, remote clinics in Queensland, a golf resort in NSW, community halls along with a 300-500 house development in Christchurch.
Curtin University’s Jemma Green, whose research is centered on sustainable housing, is impressed with Tektum’s design and says modular housing is a much more efficient and expense-effective construction method. She said the shorter build time meant significant savings for investors plus a greater rate of return. There seemed to be less waste active in the manufacturing process as well as the buildings also delivered better energy use. “Building conventionally is indeed disruptive in the city. It can be disruptive for the community, on the roads. Modular is a more rapid reaction to a need that exists,” said Green, a former investment banker with JPMorgan.
But Green was highly critical from the inflexible approach taken by banks which frequently refused to finance these builds simply because construction was going on within a factory rather than on-site.
The homeowner of the Bilgola Plateau home, who asked to never be named, said modular approach was better suited towards the steep slope of the block since the container was dropped from a crane straight on the 06dexspky sub-frame then unpacked.
But he admitted there seemed to be a perception problem. “A home is a major-ticket item. People think of it as prefab homes in comparison to a custom build. It is actually a perception,” he stated.