May 2014 Newsletter

Welcome to our May 2014 Newsletter!  

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

Associate Member:  National Precast Association Australia

Small Professional Members: Cotter Projects; and PDSM

Individual members: Owen Jourdain of Illowra Projects; Zvonko Orsanic of n.e.a.d. Architecure

Student MembersDale RobertsJaron HoffenbergHoang Pham

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The above photo is of Nunawading Station, Melbourne.
As one of Melbourne’s busiest level crossings, used by 50,000 cars, 218 trains and 5,000 pedestrians a day., this rail and road grade separation was critical. It was also important to minimise the construction time frame - hence off-site construction.

Engineering by Arup. Architecture by Grimshaw Architects. Main Contractor: John Holland.  Modules by Prebuilt|Precom.

PrefabAUS Conference 2014

To celebrate our 1st birthday, PrefabAUS is delighted to announce ourInaugural Conference in Melbourne from 11 - 13 August 2014.

The event will be multi-sectoral, from commerical to residential, from health sector to education and will be inclusive of all approaches to off-site construction.  It will include national and international speakers, project visits and factory tours.  Put the dates in your diary!

Further details and booking information will be coming your way on Friday 30 May.

Habitech Open Day

PrefabAUS Member Habitech is hosting a project Open Day in Port Melbourne this Saturday. 

This is a great chance to see how design and innovative prefabricated construction technologies combine effectively and efficiently to make the most of the opportunities on a small, narrow, inner-suburban block..

When:     Saturday 31st May
Time:      10:00am - 4:00pm  
Where:   388 Graham St, Port Melbourne  

Gain key insights on affordable housing

The Affordable Housing Development SummitMelbourne, 28-29 July2014,  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 video

This month's video profiles the new building for the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning at The University of Melbourne.

The project is due to be handed over in August, 4 months ahead of schedule.  Part of the strategy to achieve this has been significant use of precast concrete and other off-site fabricated elements and sub-assemblies.

Learn more about the project in this video.

Image Source: Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning, Architecture by John Wardle| Nader Tehrani Architects. Main Contractor: Brookfield Multiplex.  

Some events for the diary

May 2014

Habitech Open Day
388 Graham St, Port Melbourne , 10am - 4pm, 31 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

August 2014

PrefabAUS Conference 2014
Rydges on Swanston, Melbourne, 11 - 13 August 2014

5th Annual Modular Construction and Prefabrication Summit
Traders Hotel, Brisbane, 25 - 27 August 2014

View the full prefabAUS Events program here.

What's been happening?

In its latest policy paper, the Australian Construction Industry Forum calls for increased use of off-site manufactured products in our construction.  It cites the benefits such as shorter construction times, safer and healthier project sites, reduced waste, less neighbourhood disruption, better quality outcomesand improved labour producivity as some of they key reasons behind the policy recommendations.

If you haven't seen the McGraw Hill Construction Report on Prefabrication and Modularisation: Inreasing Productivity in the Construction Industry, then we suggest you check it out today.  This report is available as a free download.

On 19 May, Frame Australia attracted the largest number of delegates in 16 years of the event.  Prefabricated timber systems were an important part of this year's conversation.

The 4th Global InterPrefab Conference

Although ths year's 4th China Prefab House Fair Fair might not have been as extensive as we had anticipated, the Interprefab Conference certainly featured some interesting Speakers.  The following is just a snapshot of the event.

Professor Mohamed Al-Hussein of University of Alberta in Canada discussed his transformational work with modular manufacturers in North America.  He works with businesses that are seeking to improve productivity and advises on leaner and smarter construction manufacturing approaches.  The increased performance and associated profitability can then be progressively reinvested in an appropriate level of assisted technology or automation within the factory environment.

Anders Thomson of the Danish Technological Institute spoke of the Denmark-China collaboration that is developing green prefab housing products, largely for the Chinese market.  The WorldFlex Home is one outcome, an upcycled container house product that suits the affordability requirements of the mass Chinese housing market. Professor Byungyun Lee of Chunkgbuk National University, South Korea spoke of his research collaboration with Korea’s modular construction industry to develop new agile housing products that can support a family throughout life’s many transition.

National Association for Steel Frame Housing (NASH) was well represented by Ken Watson (Australia) and Gordon Barratt (New Zealand) as they discussed the specific nature of quality and codes of practice that needed to be met in our markets.  Gordon also managed to inject a good dose of humour into the event.


And of course PrefabAUS was representing the Australian industry in Guangzhoutoo. 

Sarah Backhouse focused on exploring a number of Australian made projects, including infrastructure projects such as Nunawading Train Station, remote housing projects such as Force 10 Global’s Christmas Island project, and multi-residential projects such as 19 Hall Street Moonee Ponds.  Damien Crough discussed the historic stigma born by building prefabrication due to its association with some temporary and portable structures, yet how a successful series of recent Australian projects - crossing a number of sectors -  have helped to shift perceptions andincrease the awareness of both quality and productivity provided by off-site construction methods.

Image: Anders Thomson discussing the Worlflexhome project.  Photo by Sarah Backhouse.

PrefabNZ - Massive Timber event

The Massive Timber event on Wednesday 2 July is your opportunity to see the very latest timber manufacture in operation - cross-laminated timber (CLT) from the XLam factory and laminated veneer lumber (LVL) components at the Nelson Pine factory. in Nelson, New Zealand.

See it in action, learn the ins and outs of specifying these systems, and watch digital fabrication technology in action. 

International News

The Modular Building Institute in the USA recenlty hosted its awards and a number of the winning projects demonstrate how permanent modular buildings are playing an increasingly major role in North American construction. 

NRB USA Inc was one of the off-site manufactuers that did very well, with some of their winning projects in a range of categories including: Lehman College Child Care Centre  which is tightly nested on the busy campus of City University of New York, and the David H. Koch Childcare Centre at MIT.  The York University Robotics Pavillion was co-designed with the University students.  And perhaps most surprisingly is the Muhlenberg Dormitory with its brick facade to tie in with the existing campus buildings.  This non-combustible steel and concrete building was built using 20 modules plus one prefabricated tower section. Brick slips were pre-installed in the factory.

International events for the diary

June 2014

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

July 2014

Nelson, New Zealand
Massive Timber Event
2nd July 2014

September 2014

Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Modular Construction and Prefabrication Summit Europe
15th - 17th September 2014
View the full prefabAUS Events program here.

Last Word

Innovation with beautiful materials can create poetry.

The HygroSkin – Meteorosensitive Pavilion project by Achim Menges Architects proposes an organic, climate responsive architecture with a building skin that that autonomously opens or closes in response to its surrounding climate.  This happens without the use of any mechanical and electronic sensing, or actuating and regulating devices. Be inspired!