REDUNDANT car industry engineers, designers and managers recently found new opportunities with the really advanced of any revolution in building and construction.
About 20 of those highly skilled workers happen to be utilized by the Melbourne-based Hickory Group to work around the design and production of prefabricated house, and also components who go into conventional builds.
Australia lags behind other industrial countries in the application of prefab and modular construction though these techniques offer numerous advantages. Not only may be the build time halved and the cost reduced, this factory-based method of construction allows buildings being set up in locations where construction workers are difficult to find. And this means industrial jobs in cities and regional centres for workers influenced by economic restructuring.
Hickory Group has thus far completed 16 prefab builds, including office towers, hotels or even a hospital in the last seven years. Some happen to be as tall as nine storeys, such as a Perth public housing project that was completed in just ten days.
It’s now begun making prefab bathrooms that have been sold for some other developers and slotted into apartment buildings around Sydney and Melbourne. In a single of Hickory’s own projects in Collins Street, Melbourne, it produced more than 700 bathrooms for the 65-storey building.
Some great benefits of prefab and modular construction are compelling, but not everyone gets it. The federal government’s industry “growth centre” agenda, which targets five key sectors based upon advice from McKinsey along with the Business Council, doesn’t mention this industry.
But Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane, who saw one of Hickory’s Melbourne buildings this month, told The Australian the technique presented an “exciting prospect”. Innovation in industry and the application of new technology and its particular influence on the workforce happen to be in the middle 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 high standard. Macfarlane’s views about prefab were reinforced last week when executives from South Korean steel giant Posco told him these were developing their prefab capacity.
Argyrou said the Victorian government ended up being very supportive of the strategy. He explained former car industry managers and designers were in fact better at precision-oriented work than people who have a construction industry background. “They add a massive quantity of value to the business; they can be significantly better at it compared to what a construction guy would be,” he explained. Their skills were “very transferable” and also the company planned to integrate them to the business throughout the prefab components production then “slowly adjust those to the building industry”.
Hickory had about 75 workers at steel structure warehouse and was planning to growing the organization to around 200 workers over the next a couple of years.
Modular construction differs from prefab in this the construction usually will come in a steel container. In the last 2 weeks a modular home created in Geelong and Mittagong has become assembled on the Sydney clifftop in the space of just eight days.
The design by Sydney-based Tektum was built-in the factory, loaded in to a container then unfolded and assembled on-site at Bilgola Plateau.
Tektum’s co-founder Nicolas Perren said the company was applying car manufacturing strategies to home and building construction. But unlike many modular homes, the top-quality finish led a lot of people to conclude which it was really a conventional build.
“Few from the visitors believe that this has been transported with a standard truck and unfolded at your location with bathrooms and kitchen in position. Them all leave convinced this is actually the way forward for construction,” Perren said. Tektum has built a residential facility for disabled folks Wodonga and is now chasing with regards to a dozen new projects in Australia and New Zealand. Included in this are a childcare centre, remote clinics in Queensland, a golf resort in NSW, community halls as well as a 300-500 house development in Christchurch.
Curtin University’s Jemma Green, whose research is focused on sustainable housing, is impressed with Tektum’s design and says modular housing is a more efficient and expense-effective construction method. She said the shorter build time meant significant savings for investors and a higher rate of return. There was clearly less waste working in the manufacturing process as well as the buildings also delivered better energy use. “Building conventionally is really disruptive in a city. It can be disruptive for the community, in the roads. Modular can be a more rapid reaction to a need that exists,” said Green, a former investment banker with JPMorgan.
But Green was highly critical of your inflexible approach taken by banks which often refused to finance these builds for the reason that construction was occurring in the factory as an alternative to on-site.
The dog owner from the Bilgola Plateau home, who asked not to be named, said modular approach was more appropriate towards the steep slope from the block for the reason that container was dropped by a crane straight to the 06dexspky sub-frame then unpacked.
But he admitted there seemed to be a perception problem. “A home is a huge-ticket item. People think of it as light steel villa compared to a custom build. It is a perception,” he explained.