The building industry must embrace off-site construction methods or risk losing up to $30 billion a year and 75,000 jobs overseas, industry body prefabAUS warns.

Off-site construction accounts for 3 per cent – $1.4 billion – of the total construction sector with Australia behind Japan, South Korea, China and Scandinavia in adopting the technology.

Prefabrication involves the assembly-line construction of structures such as apartments, hotel rooms, hospital wards and bathroom suites. On completion the items are delivered and installed – like Lego – at the site.

Use of the technology can reduce costs through shorter construction time and reduce waste.

PrefabAUS is hosting its inaugural national conference in August and will push for industry take-up to rise to at least 10 per cent in the medium term.

“If Australia doesn’t move to develop an off-site manufacturing base now, we will lose a major slice of our construction industry off shore,” prefabAUS chief executive Sarah Backhouse said.

“Time is the most significant saving. With prefabrication, the modules can be manufactured in the factory while the site is being prepared.”

“The sooner you finish, the sooner you can start earning income.”

Members of prefabAUS include Hickory Group, which developed the patented Unitised Building System with Architect Nonda Katsalidis.

Hickory is currently building 800 bathrooms off-site for developer Harry Stamoulis’s 68-level apartment tower at 568 Collins Street in Melbourne, due for completion next year.

Read the full article by Larry Schlesinger  here.

 

prefabAUS is the new peak body representing key businesses in the design, manufacture and construction of prefabricated buildings and building modules. It is a not for profit organisation and is hosting Australia’s first national conference on the off-site construction industry  in Melbourne this August from the 11th to the 13th. The conference will feature 19 national and international specialists in off-site design, manufacturing and construction, as well as workshops, panel discussions and site visits.

To get involved in the growing discussion follow prefabAUS on twitter (@prefabAUS) and tweet #prefabAUS2014 during the conference.