April 2014 Newsletter

PrefabAUS News

Welcome to our April Newsletter!  

PrefabAUS continues to grow and we are delighted to welcome the following new Members:

  Corporate member: Built

  Individual members: David Upfal and Gary Anson

If you know someone who would like to subscribe to our Newsletter, they can do that here.

Do you like the banner image? This photo was taken at last year's PrefabNZ Conference in New Plymouth, New Nealand.
Photo by Sarah Backhouse.

PrefabAUS welcomes new Board Director

PrefabAUS is delighted to welcome Professor Peter Newman to the Board.  Peter is Professor of Sustainability at Curtin University, Director of CUSP, and is also on the Board of Infrastructure Australia.  Earlier this year, he was awarded an Order of Australia for his contributions to urban design and sustainable transport.  Most recently he has been researching in the area of sustainable building manufacturing.  He will bring an important Western Australian voice to the Board.

Do you want to get involved?  The first PrefabAUS Annual General Meeting will take place in August. We will be inviting Board nominations from our Membership base and will be in touch with more details in late May.

PrefabAUS is going to China

As you know, PrefabAUS will be representing the Australian prefabrication Industry at the 4th China Prefab House Fair to be held in Guangzhou from May 12 - 14, 2014.

We'll be showcasing the great prefab talent and innovation in Australia, while also gaining a greater understanding of the Chinese prefab market that is growing at an exponential rate.

We'll report back in our May Newsletter.

Gain key insights on affordable housing

The Affordable Housing Development Summit, Melbourne, 28-29 July 2014,  is the industry’s must-attend event to gain on-the-ground insights and best practices from key decision makers from government, housing providers, developers and financials shaping affordable housing in Australia.

Keynote speakers include: Federal Minister for Social Services, the Hon Kevin Andrews; Paul Tennant, Chief Executive Orbit GroupPresident, Chartered Institute of Housing UK; and many more.

PrefabAUS Members will receive a 10% discount.  Please contact Sarah for your special Members discount code.

Prefab time lapse videos

Each month we'll be including a time lapse video to illustrate some of the many advantages of off-site construction technologies.

This month's video shows the recently completed extension to the Australian Catholic University in Melbourne, installed by Modscape.

Learn more about the project in this video.

PrefabAUS Members, please get in touch if you have a video to share.

Some events for the diary

May 2014

Future Directions: Building our City
Property Council
Novotel, Perth, 8 May 2014, 6 - 8:30pm

National Manuacturing Week
Sydney Showground, 13 - 16 May 2014

Frame Australia Conference and Exhibition
Park Hyatt, Melbourne, 19 May 2014

Green Building Day
Green Building Council
NSW Teachers Federation Conference Centre, Sydney, 27 May 2014

June 2014

Advanced Manufacturing: Engineering Victorian Jobs and our Economic Growth
Crown 8 Whiteman St, Southbank,, 12 - 2:30pm, 5 June 2014

July 2014

7th Annual South Australian Major Projects Conference
Adelaide Convention Centre, 15 - 16 July 2014

Affordable Housing Development Summit
Park Hyatt, Melbourne, 28-29July2014

View the full prefabAUS Events program here.

Melbourne Breakfast Event

Around 60 people gathered for our first Breakfast Event on 17 April, and there was time for networking before and after the presentations.

The event opened with Professor Peter Newman of Curtin University who presented us with an overview of some significant opportunities for the off-site construction sector, including urban regeneration and infill, in particular the opportunity to revitalise our ailing manufacturing sector.  The potential to transition both physical and human resources towards building manufacturing is enormous and exciting, while simultaneously tackling issues such as construction waste, productivity and construction quality.  We need to seize the moment.

Joe Genovesi of The Buchan Group illustrated a retail project post the devastating Christchurch Earthquake.  The city’s Re:START Group sought to recreate part of the CBD by regenerating Cashell Mall with a temporary retail precinct.  Buchan Group's design solution used revitalised shipping containers and was installed in 8 weeks. This kind of pop-up project shows how innovative construction approaches coupled with good design can re-energise a disaster zone and its community.

The final speaker was Dr Masa Noguchi of The University of Melbourne.  Masa provided us with compelling insights into the nature of Japan's prefabricated housing industry.  We learnt that whilst these houses might be 8% more expensive to purchase, they achieve excellent results for energy savings and energy generation.  The consumer is educated by the industry to understand the whole life value of the homes they are investing in.  Is this a clue for how Australia's prefab home builders can differentiate their products from the traditionally constructed developer's offer? PrefabAUS and Mission delegates look forward to learning more during our ZEMCH Japan Mission this July.

Our thanks go to our event host The Buchan Group and our event sponsors Hickory Group.

PrefabNZ - The Value Case for Prefab

At the end of March, PrefabNZ lauched their most recent research document The Value Case for Prefab.  The Value Case explains how prefabrication can save 15% on the construction cost of a 157sqm house, as well as many other benefits including quality, safety and time-savings. 

The document is focused on benefits to the NZ housing sector, yet it is straightforward to extrapolate the key advantages to other sectors.

International News

The Chinese are constantly exploring new technologies and testing the boundaries of prefabricated building technologies.  This project employed 3D printing to 'print' 10 houses in 24 hours.   The 3-D-printed structures, which are in the Qingpu District of Shanghai, are constructed of a combination of recycled industrial waste and a mixture of sand, concrete, and glass fibre.  Whilst this is not the first 3D printed house -that's an accolade which belongs to the Netherland - the projects use of construction wastes sets it apart as offering exciting potential in cradle to cradle design. 

Given that the construction industry is a major offender when it comes to waste production, this technology and material reuse provides strong lessons for future use of our resources.

International events for the diary

May 2014

Guangzhou, China
4th China Prefab House Fair
May 12 - 14 2014

Guangzhou, China
InterPrefab - Global Prefabricated Housing Forum
May 12 - 14 2014

Hilton Portland & Executive Tower, Portland, Oregon, USA
Living Future 2014
May 21 - 23 2014

June 2014

Londrina, Brazil
ZEMCH 2014 International Conference
4th - 6th June 2014

View the full prefabAUS Events program here.

Last Word

Amoerican author Sheri Koones has recently launced her latest book- Prefabulous World: Energy-Efficient and Sustainable Homes around the Globe.  Prefabulous World profiles 50 of the most energy efficient, environmentally and beautiful prefab houses around the world, and we can report that one of the Australian projects is by PrefabAUS Member Modscape

If interested, the book is available on Amazon.