REDUNDANT car industry engineers, designers and managers have recently found new job opportunities with the leading edge of the revolution in building and construction.
About 20 of these very skilled workers are already hired by the Melbourne-based Hickory Group to work about the design and manufacture of prefab house, and also components which go into conventional builds.
Australia lags behind other industrial countries in the application of prefab and modular construction though these techniques offer numerous advantages. Not just is definitely the build time halved along with the cost reduced, this factory-based procedure for construction allows buildings to get placed in locations where construction staff is hard to find. And that means industrial jobs in cities and regional centres for workers afflicted with economic restructuring.
Hickory Group has thus far completed 16 prefab builds, including office towers, hotels and even a hospital within the last seven years. Some are already as tall as nine storeys, together with a Perth public housing project which had been completed in just ten days.
It’s now begun making prefab bathrooms that were sold for some other developers and slotted into apartment buildings across Sydney and Melbourne. In a of Hickory’s own projects in Collins Street, Melbourne, it produced a lot more than 700 bathrooms to the 65-storey building.
Some great benefits of prefab and modular construction are compelling, however, not everyone gets it. The government government’s industry “growth centre” agenda, which targets five key sectors depending on advice from McKinsey and the Business Council, doesn’t mention this industry.
But Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane, who saw one of Hickory’s Melbourne buildings this month, told The Australian how the technique presented an “exciting prospect”. Innovation in industry and the use of new technology along with its influence on the workforce have already been at the heart of the Powering Australia series this season.
Macfarlane met with Hickory’s joint managing director Michael Argyrou, who told him how former car industry designers and engineers were highly skilled at finishing products to a very high standard. Macfarlane’s views about prefab were reinforced last week when executives from South Korean steel giant Posco told him these were developing their prefab capacity.
Argyrou said the Victorian government was very supportive of its strategy. He was quoted saying former car industry managers and designers were actually better at precision-oriented work than individuals with a construction industry background. “They add a massive volume of value to our business; they may be significantly better at it compared to what a construction guy would be,” he explained. Their skills were “very transferable” and also the company planned to integrate them in the business through the prefab components production after which “slowly adjust these people to the development industry”.
Hickory had about 75 workers at steel warehouse and was trying to growing the company to around 200 workers on the next 2 years.
Modular construction is different from prefab because the building usually can be purchased in a steel container. Within the last 2 weeks a modular home made in Geelong and Mittagong has been assembled with a Sydney clifftop from the space of just eight days.
The look by Sydney-based Tektum was built in the factory, loaded into a container and after that unfolded and assembled on-site at Bilgola Plateau.
Tektum’s co-founder Nicolas Perren said the business was applying car manufacturing solutions to home and building construction. But unlike many modular homes, our prime-quality finish led the majority of people to conclude that this was really a conventional build.
“Few from the visitors feel that it has been transported on a standard truck and unfolded at your location with bathrooms and kitchen into position. Them all leave convinced this is basically the future of construction,” Perren said. Tektum has additionally built a residential facility for disabled individuals Wodonga and it is now chasing regarding a dozen new projects in Australia and New Zealand. Some examples are a childcare centre, remote clinics in Queensland, a golf resort in NSW, community halls and a 300-500 house development in Christchurch.
Curtin University’s Jemma Green, whose research is focused on sustainable housing, is impressed with Tektum’s design and says modular housing is a more efficient and cost-effective construction method. She said the shorter build time meant significant savings for investors along with a greater rate of return. There was clearly less waste in the manufacturing process and also the buildings also delivered better energy use. “Building conventionally is very disruptive within a city. It really is disruptive for your community, around the roads. Modular is really a more rapid solution to a demand that exists,” said Green, a former investment banker with JPMorgan.
But Green was highly critical from the inflexible approach taken by banks which often refused to finance these builds for the reason that construction was occurring within a factory as opposed to on location.
The owner of the Bilgola Plateau home, who asked not to be named, said modular approach was more appropriate towards the steep slope in the block as the container was dropped by way of a crane straight onto the 06dexspky sub-frame and then unpacked.
But he admitted there is a perception problem. “A home is a huge-ticket item. People consider it as prefab homes compared to a custom build. It is a perception,” he stated.