October 2013 Newsletter

PrefabAUS News

Welcome to our October Newsletter, in which we share news about what's happening in our Industry both at home and abroad. The past month has been very busy as we hosted our first launch event in Melbourne, finalise our Sydney event, speak at events, continue towelcome new members, and collectively embrace the prefabAUS mission.

We welcome Newsletter contributions from our Members, such as Industry relevant news and issues, articles, images, and information on related events.

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

Do you like the banner image? This photo is of The Nicholson, a project manufactured by Unitised Building and designed by DesignInc.


PrefabAUS meets and greets

PrefabAUS hosted its first welcome event in Melbourne on 17 October.

Members and guests enjoyed inspiring and stimulating presentations from John Lucchetti (Wood &Grieve), Rob Colquhoun (Prebuilt) andNonda Kastsalidis (Fender Katsalidis). 

Speakers highlighted the innovation that was taking place locally, and the great potential for increased uptake of prefab in Australia as well as the potential for export of Australian products and ideas.



Prefab for the Healthcare Sector

PrefabAUS welcomed Matt Rumbelow of the Australian Health Design Council (AHDC)  at the PrefabAUS Melbourne event. 

“Given the importance placed on prefabrication within modern health facility design, construction and procurement, the AHDC is keen to provide industry representation for PrefabAUS and promotion of this important industry initiative,” said Matt Rumbelow. You can read more here.


Image source: NBBJ


PrefabAUS out and about

This year’s Sydney Architecture Festival features an exciting array of events and presentations, running from 1 - 10 November.

PrefabAUS will speakingat the Robotised Architecture event on Wednesday 6 November from 6-8pm, alongside prefabAUS Member Michael Argyrou of Unitised Building, Nicolas Perren of Tektum and Sydney University’s Marjo Niemela.

We will also be speaking at a panel event entitled Guiding Melbourne's Urban Growth on 1 November as part of Melbourne Knowledge Week.

PrefabAUS thinks of bushfire victims

As we are all aware,  a number of communities in NSW were recently ravaged by fire, leading to the loss of hundreds of homes.  This tragedy highlights the need for further innovation in the realm of fire resistant design strategies, materials and building technologies, together with smart and agile responses to the rebuilding programme.

PrefabAUS would like to hear from Members with suggestions on how the Industry can best respond to such challenges in a coordinated manner, so please email us with your thoughts.

Some events for the diary


November 2013

Melbourne Knowledge Week 2013
Guiding Melbourne's Urban Growth
Melbourne, 01 November 2013, 6:30 - 8:30 PM

Sydney Architecture Festival 2013
Robotised Architecture
Sydney, 06 November 2013, 6:00 - 8:00 PM

Property Council Event
Fishermans Bend Briefing
Melbourne, 12 November, 8 – 9:30am

PrefabAUS Sydney Welcome Event  
Sydney, 28 November 2013, 6:00 – 7:30PM

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.

Australia News

PrefabAUS Members Parkwood Modular Buildings are celebrating the installation of their high profile display suite at the Swiss Grand Hotel at Bondi Beach.  The display suite will assist in the pre-selling strategy of this forthcoming development, and Parkwood have also considered the future recycling of the suite in their design and construction approaches.

Still in Sydney, we reflect on the great architectural and engineering achievements of the Sydney Opera House as it celebrates its 40th Birthday. Prefabrication played an important part in the creation of this iconic building, for example the fine structural ribs of the shell were assembled from a series of precast concrete sections.  We couldn’t help note that the Lego Architecture range has now added a Lego Sydney Opera House to its collection.

Congratulations go to Sydney based TEKTUM together with their collaborators ARUP for winning the Engineering Excellence Award Sydney 2013 .  Their flat pack SPACE2.0 building system took out the Product, Manufacturing Facilities and Processes category for their robotic manufacturing processes that have been described as ‘disruptive technology’ in the building industry.

And PrefabAUS Members ArchiBlox congratulate their Construction Director David Martin who has just been named Master Builder of the Year at the Master Builders Association of Victoria Awards.

Ian Gilzean, Chief Architect of the Scottish Government, was recently in Australia discussing the lessons from hosting the Scottish Housing Expo in 2010.   By ‘housing expo’, we’re not referring to a ‘trade show’, but rather a housing development that is master-planned at State or Local Government level, features innovative construction and architecture, is open to the public over a summer period, then becomes a permanent positive legacy for the community as a mix of private and social housing.  The Scottish Housing Expo featured a wide range of innovations including a number of prefabricated building technologies, and was visited by over 33,000 visitor over the 3 month ‘open to the public’ period.  Could we explore similar opportunities in Australia?  Some food for thought.


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

PrefabNZ has been busy with a range of events and initiatives that you can read about here. Learn more about the HIVE Home Innovation Village that has been raising the profile of building prefabrication in New Zealand.

Check out the PrefabNZ October 2013 Newsletter here 

International News

Following from our piece last month on the B2 project in Brooklyn, New York designed by SHOP Architects, we can’t help but notice the media frenzy that appears to be taking place in the US during its construction.  This interest highlights that the world is at an exciting tipping point in terms of construction, and the balance seems ready to tip in favour for off-site construction technologies of all kinds.

And in the UK, Ministers in the British government such as Housing Minister Mark Prisk are advocating that off-site construction approaches are central to addressing the country’s rapidly increasing housing crisis, with a key role to play in reducing costs and improving speed and carbon efficiency.

This policy direction has been fuelled by the Construction Industry Council (CIC) report on promoting offsite construction which has called for new manufacturing facilities, tax incentives, a more stable regulatory framework, the release of ‘oven ready’ public plots and a new Institute for Future Housing Research.  We will watch the policy development with interest, and consider how it may translate within the Australian context to enable greater prefab industry growth.

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

This might seem like an idea from science fiction, however international designers and researchers believe that 3D printed buildings will become a reality in the not too distant future.  3D printing, which is perhaps more aptly described as additive manufacturing, has been explored extensively in Europe in recent year by firms such asMaterialise, and also by research institutions such as Loughborough University