November 2013 Newsletter

PrefabAUS News

Welcome to our November Newsletter after another busy month!

As PrefabAUS gains momentum, we continue towelcome new members, and we're increasingly out and about as we seek to advance the uptake of prefabricated building technologies across Australia.

Do you have an idea for a PrefabAUS event?  We are currently planning our events for 2014, and we'd love to hear ideas from Members that are consistent with our mission of showcasing and advancing the Industry. 

We also invite Newsletter contributions from our Members, so please feel free to get in touch with your thoughts.  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 is of Duffy Primary School, Canberra, designed by NBRS + Partners and modules by Hickory Group.


PrefabAUS out and about

Our CEO Sarah Backhouse has been out and about this month, including speaking at events such as Melbourne Knowledge Week and Sydney Architecture Festival, plus witnessing the installation of some exciting projects such as Duffy Primary School, Canberra, which you get glimpses of in our banner image and in the image to the left.

Image source: Sarah Backhouse


Prefab for Urban Infrastructure Projects

When we put the words infrastructure and prefabrication together, many of us think only of large mining projects.  However there is a growing number of urban infrastructure projects that are using quality prefabricated building systems to create permanent quality architecture. Nunawading Train Station is just one such example.

Image source: PreCom


Robotic Architecture

On 6 November, PrefabAUS took part in a Sydney Architecture Festival panel discussion about a fast approaching step change in construction - engaging robotics in the manufacture of our built environment. 

Whilst the notion of robots applying their own artificial intelligence to construct a dry stone wall might sound like science fiction, such technology is closer to application that you might expect.  And Australia is already using construction robotics in a number of prefabricated building technology applications.  Learn more here.

Home grown prefab high rise in 5 days

Many of us were fascinated by the construction in China of the Broad Group's 30 storey hotel in 15 days. 

Did you know that we have similar, home grown capabilities in Australia? Our intrepid CEO was present to watch the installation of the One9 Project in Moonee Ponds, the 9 storey apartment building comprising 34 modules that were assembled in the period of a long weekend.

Coincidentally, this project is directly across the road from the offices ofBill Shorten, Leader of the Opposition, so we hope to use this project to raise the policy profile ofour growing Australian industry..

Image source: Sarah Backhouse

Some events for the diary

November 2013

PrefabAUS Sydney Welcome Event  
Sydney, 28 November 2013, 6:00 – 8:00PM

February 2014

Property Council Event
Outlook Lunch 2014
Sydney, 14 February, 12:30 – 2:00pm

March 2014

Green Cities 2014
Grand Hyatt, Melbourne, 18 March 2014

PrefabNZ 2014 Conference
Auckland, 26 – 28 March 2014
Please note that PrefabAUS Members will be able to register at PrefabNZ Member rates

View the full prefabAUS Events program here.

QUT Research Project

Queensland University of Technology (QUT) is currently working on a research project on behalf of Building Codes Queensland and the Western Australian Building Commission.  The project is investigating barriers to the adoption of prefabricated / manufactured / off-site housing innovations within Australia.

They are currently looking to recruit representatives from house-building companies to take part in focus group discussions of approximately 1 hour.

If you would be interested in participating in the next focus group of Thursday 12 December in Brisbane, please email the QUT team in the School of Civil Engineering and the Built Environment, Science and Engineering Faculty for more information.


PrefabNZ News

prefabAUS and PrefabNZ transforming prefab

PrefabNZ  is the hub for prebuilt construction in New Zealand –

- A catalyst for prefab collaboration,

- A front-door-portal for prefab information,

- An incubator for prefab innovation

The PrefabNZ Conference 2014 is taking place 26 - 28 March 2014 in Auckland.    Registrations are now open, and please note thatPrefabAUS Members will be able to register at PrefabNZ Member rates.

International News

Recent discussion at World Architecture Day in New York highlighted that there is still a knowledge gap between architects and building manufacturers. Much of this is centred on perceptions -  the desire of architects to create bespoke architecture and their fear that prefabricated building technologies only offer a one size fits all solution. Clearly this is not the case, and the debate highlighted that multi-disciplinary conversations are essential for us to be able to leverage the many benefits of lean construction and off site building technologies.

As the UK continues to face a housing crisis, prefabricated housing is increasingly seen as a critical part of the solution.

There are lessons here for Australian policy advisors.   We have numerous home grown manufacturers, constructors, designers, and innovators who are leading the way with projects such as aspirational homes that are delivered to difficult or remote locations 99% complete, 21C century modular classrooms that are 3D sustainability textbooks for our children, and multi-residential apartment buildings assembled on site in a matter of days.  We have reached the tipping point, we have the capabilities, and Australian construction is poised for a step change.

Finally, PrefabAUS and PrefabNZ have a number of delegates on the study tour to Germany to explore timber building prefabrication.  In addition to visiting a number of timber prefab home manufacturers, the delegates will also attend the International Wood Construction Conference in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.  We look forward to hearing from them on their return at some of our PrefabAUS events in early 2014.

International events for the diary


December 2013

Houston, USA
Modular Construction, Prefabrication & Logistics Summit
9-11 December 2013

Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
International Wood Construction Conference (IHF2013)
4-6 December 2013

March 2014

San Antonio, Texas, USA
World of Modular 2014
March 21 – 24 2014

View the full prefabAUS Events program here.

Last Word

For those of you who have found pleasure in the websites Cabin Porn and Stair Porn, 'Starkitect' Philippe Starke has come along with his own kind of House Porn with his recent collaboration with European sustainable prefab manufacturer Riko.  The series entitled P.A.T.H.  - prefabricated accessible technological homes - features a line of industrially manufactured turnkey homes that combine timeline design, high technology, comfort, green roofs...