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REDUNDANT car industry engineers, designers and managers recently found new opportunities with the leading edge of any revolution in building and construction.

About 20 of those highly skilled workers are already utilized by the Melbourne-based Hickory Group to function on the design and production of prefabricated house, in addition to 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 simply may be the build time halved and also the cost reduced, this factory-based procedure for construction allows buildings to get placed in locations where construction workers are hard to find. Which means industrial jobs in cities and regional centres for workers impacted by economic restructuring.

Hickory Group has to date completed 16 prefab builds, including office towers, hotels and even a hospital over the past seven years. Some are already as tall as nine storeys, such as a Perth public housing project that was carried out just ten days.

It’s now begun making prefab bathrooms which were sold with other developers and slotted into apartment buildings throughout Sydney and Melbourne. In a single of Hickory’s own projects in Collins Street, Melbourne, it produced over 700 bathrooms for your 65-storey building.

Some great benefits of prefab and modular construction are compelling, however, not everyone gets it. The federal government’s industry “growth centre” agenda, which targets five key sectors according to advice from McKinsey along with the Business Council, doesn’t mention this industry.

But Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane, who saw one among Hickory’s Melbourne buildings this month, told The Australian that the technique presented an “exciting prospect”. Innovation in industry and the effective use of new technology and its particular result on the workforce are already in the middle in the Powering Australia series this current year.

Macfarlane met with Hickory’s joint managing director Michael Argyrou, who told him how former car industry designers and engineers were very skilled at finishing products to a extremely high standard. Macfarlane’s views about prefab were reinforced a week ago when executives from South Korean steel giant Posco told him these were developing their prefab capacity.

Argyrou said the Victorian government have been very supportive of its strategy. He said former car industry managers and designers were actually better at precision-oriented work than those with a construction industry background. “They add an enormous amount of value to the business; these are far better at it than what a construction guy can be,” he said. Their skills were “very transferable” and also the company planned to integrate them in to the business with the prefab components production then “slowly adjust them to the building industry”.

Hickory had about 75 workers at steel warehouse and was trying to growing the business to around 200 workers within the next two years.

Modular construction is different from prefab in that the building usually is available in a steel container. In the last fourteen days a modular home created in Geelong and Mittagong has become assembled with a Sydney clifftop from the space of just eight days.

The design and style by Sydney-based Tektum was integrated the factory, loaded in a container after which unfolded and assembled at your location at Bilgola Plateau.

Tektum’s co-founder Nicolas Perren said the business was applying car manufacturing strategies to home and building construction. But unlike many modular homes, the high-quality finish led many people to conclude that it was a conventional build.

“Few of the visitors feel that it has been transported over a standard truck and unfolded on-site with bathrooms and kitchen into position. All of them leave convinced this is basically the way forward for construction,” Perren said. Tektum has additionally built a residential facility for disabled folks Wodonga and it is now chasing regarding a dozen new projects australia wide and Nz. These include a childcare centre, remote clinics in Queensland, a golf resort in NSW, community halls as well as 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 far more efficient and price-effective construction method. She said the shorter build time meant significant savings for investors and a higher rate of return. There was less waste in the manufacturing process along with the buildings also delivered better energy use. “Building conventionally is really disruptive inside a city. It can be disruptive to the community, in the roads. Modular can be a more rapid response to a demand that exists,” said Green, a former investment banker with JPMorgan.

But Green was highly critical of the inflexible approach taken by banks which regularly refused to finance these builds due to the fact construction was taking place in the factory as an alternative to on location.

The owner from the Bilgola Plateau home, who asked not to be named, said modular approach was more appropriate towards the steep slope of your block as the container was dropped from a crane straight to the 06dexspky sub-frame then unpacked.

But he admitted there was a perception problem. “A home is a huge-ticket item. People consider it as light steel villa compared to a custom build. This is a perception,” he stated.