New CEO appointed to help drive off-site construction in Australia

Australia’s peak industry body for off-site construction, prefabAUS, has appointed a new CEO to help manage rapid growth in the sector.

Newly appointed CEO, Warren McGregor, says he is determined to “connect clients, suppliers and allied interests, nationally and internationally, and to ensure that prefabAUS represents the full spectrum of Australia's off-site construction industry."

McGregor’s appointment marks the beginning of an exciting new phase for the industry and for prefabAUS, established in 2013 to help advance the growing sector.

As part of this, in April prefabAUS is bringing internationally recognised prefabrication expert Amy Marks to Australia for a series of presentations. Amy will draw on her extensive experience in the field to discuss the opportunities and challenges for the off-site construction sector and what it means for the way projects are initiated and delivered as well as the supply chain implications.

Australia’s off-site construction industry currently supplies three per-cent of all housing but is expected to account for 10 to 15 per cent by 2023, according to prefabAUS.

“The prefabricated construction sector has to prepare for growth and the changes that will entail,” McGregor says. “It is forecast to grow by more than 5 per cent per annum compared to overall building industry growth of 2.3 per cent over the next decade.”

McGregor has a diverse range of skills appropriate for a diversified construction sector that brings together project managers, architects, engineers and researchers, product suppliers, builders and freight companies as well as government agencies, client organisations, developers and finance organisations.

McGregor has broad experience in management consulting, project development, finance and construction, in Australia and Southeast Asia. He has more than 20 years’ professional experience in financial and management consulting.

“Financial approval is the ‘gatekeeper’ for project approval,” Mr McGregor says. “This aspect becomes even more important when new processes and technologies are involved, as is the case with prefabrication. Preparing robust business cases is a crucial part of achieving much wider adoption of prefabrication.”

McGregor lived and worked in Southeast Asia as a management consultant for nine years. This experience is expected to help the Australian off-site sector forge ties with suppliers and clients in those competitive but crucial manufacturing environments.

McGregor was General Manager of the Asia region for KPMG, and as principal of Apriori Advisory Services and Senior Adviser at Thinc Projects he helped companies test project proposals, develop business cases and source finance. He has advised private projects and major private-public partnerships in East Timor, the Philippines and Indonesia and arranged contract manufacturing for Australian companies in China.

McGregor also has essential hands-on experience in the Australian property sector as research director for m3property strategists, and director of a property development company since 2010.

Patenting is another essential tool in the off-site construction industry and McGregor will draw on his experience with a successful start-up business that commercialised patent technology to guide members on this potentially complex aspect.

Founding Board Director, Damien Crough, says Warren McGregor is the right person to take Australia’s prefabrication industry to the next level. “If Australia doesn’t increase off-site construction capabilities now, we could lose a major slice of our construction industry off-shore. Warren has all the skills required to ensure rapid growth continues in Australia.”