Last month saw prefabAUS question the way our cities are constructed and the sustainability of these choices. Hosting their inaugural conference on the future of Australia’s built environment, the new peak body for Australia’s off-site construction sector had us looking at what prefab means for apartment buyers and the housing market.
Prefab, short for prefabrication, refers to a house or building, which consists of parts that have been created or fabricated off-site.
In 2013, the building construction industry in Australia contributed over $200 billion to the economy and represented 7.5% of GDP. Comparatively, Australia’s off-site construction industry currently supplies 3% of all housing, worth around $1.4 billion, which, according to prefabAUS, is expected to grow to ten to 15% over the next ten years.
Representing key businesses in the design, manufacture and construction of prefabricated buildings and building modules, prefabAUS is a not for profit organisation committed to representing, showcasing and advancing the industry through collaboration, innovation and education.
This became evident as 200 national and international key representatives from all related areas, including architecture, engineering, manufacturing, material supply, property development, construction, education and government descended upon Melbourne for the conference.
Asked why now, one of the key speakers, David Chandler (responsible for the construction of Australia’s New Parliament House), said he was conscious of the green economy and sees prefabrication as the way forward.
“Australia’s construction industry has many competing agendas and until now very few of these have taken a national industry focus... prefabAUS is looking at the bigger picture,” Mr Chandler said.
Covering both the residential and commercial approaches to off-site construction,
prefabAUS engaged attendees in this broader conversation with a conference program that featured workshops, panel discussions, factory tours and site visits as well as 19 national and international specialists in off-site design, manufacturing and construction.
Also on the cards was a trip to One9 in Moonee Ponds. Developed by The Moloney Group, designed by architecture firm, Amnon Weber and constructed by Vaughan Constructions, One9 comprises 34, one and two bedroom contemporary apartments.
Built using Hickory's innovative prefabricated construction systems, the nine levels of eco-friendly apartments were assembled on site in just five days! The impressive installation is quite a sight to behold.
One9 exemplifies how far prefab technology has come in the past decade and its potential application in our housing market.
For apartment buyers, One9’s speedy turnover times suggest how prefabrication can positively affect affordability – that is if developers pass on the savings associated with the reduced overheads, waste, risk and time spent on site.