Pre­fab slashes costs and build times

Australasian Timber - - NEWS -

Monash Univer­sity en­gi­neers are ex­am­in­ing how modern pre­fab­ri­cated build­ing ma­te­ri­als can slash costs and im­prove ef­fi­ciency of new de­vel­op­ments, while pro­vid­ing a so­lu­tion to the Aus­tralia-wide chal­lenge of hous­ing af­ford­abil­ity. Dr Mehrdad Arash­pour from Monash Univer­sity’s Depart­ment of Civil En­gi­neer­ing is work­ing on a col­lab­o­ra­tive project to min­imise risk, op­ti­mise pro­duc­tion and im­prove the on-site in­stal­la­tion of pre­fab­ri­cated build­ings, in­clud­ing homes. Pre­fab­ri­ca­tion refers to the process of man­u­fac­tur­ing build­ing el­e­ments at off-site in a fac­tory rather than the fi­nal in­stal­la­tion lo­ca­tion. Strong, light­weight and af­ford­able, Dr Arash­pour said th­ese con­struc­tions could ben­e­fit ev­ery­one – from first-home­buy­ers look­ing to en­ter the hous­ing mar­ket, to re­tirees look­ing for more cus­tomised res­i­den­tial op­tions, and small busi­ness own­ers want­ing greater design flex­i­bil­ity. Dr Arash­pour, who has worked on more than 80 pre­fab­ri­cated high-rise com­mer­cial build­ings, said pre­fab­ri­ca­tion can stream­line Aus­tralia’s con­struc­tion op­er­a­tions by cre­at­ing more high qual­ity, cost-ef­fec­tive build­ings faster while em­brac­ing new en­er­gy­ef­fi­cient tech­nol­ogy. “Off-site pre­fab­ri­ca­tion is the fastest grow­ing sub­sec­tor of the con­struc­tion in­dus­try. It has sig­nif­i­cant po­ten­tial to solve prob­lems in tra­di­tional con­struc­tion such as time and bud­get over­runs, and qual­ity as­sur­ance,” Dr Arash­pour said. “There are mis­con­cep­tions in the pub­lic that pre­fab­ri­ca­tion means in­fe­rior qual­ity. This is sim­ply not the case. Many in­ner-city apart­ments in Mel­bourne and across the world fea­ture en­tirely pre­fab­ri­cated kitchens and bath­rooms which are built us­ing lux­ury, high qual­ity ma­te­ri­als.” The Univer­sity of Wolver­hamp­ton’s 25-story Vic­to­ria Hall build­ing is en­tirely pre­fab­ri­cated and was com­pleted in 27-weeks. In Mel­bourne, the nine-storey One9 apart­ment com­plex was con­structed in just five days. Ac­cord­ing to Dr Arash­pour, one of the big­gest ad­van­tages of pre­fab­ri­cated build­ings is that they can be as­sem­bled and dis­as­sem­bled quickly. “This means that they can be used as an al­ter­na­tive to cur­rent forms of tem­po­rary hous­ing in re­mote ar­eas, and can be used as an im­me­di­ate re­sponse to nat­u­ral dis­as­ters across the world,” he said. Monash en­gi­neers have been in­stru­men­tal in es­tab­lish­ing the world’s first Code for the design of mod­u­lar struc­tures in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Pre­fabAus, which was re­cently launched in the United King­dom. Re­searchers are also col­lab­o­rat­ing with in­dus­try to de­velop new con­struc­tion ma­te­ri­als, such as fi­bre-re­in­forced poly­mer, which can in­cor­po­rate so­lar pan­els to cre­ate a fully sus­tain­able build­ing design. Monash Univer­sity is also ap­ply­ing this cut­tingedge ap­proach to ed­u­ca­tion by of­fer­ing state-of-art train­ing in this spe­cialised area of civil en­gi­neer­ing to tomorrow’s in­dus­try lead­ers. As an ex­am­ple, “Through the on­line Master of In­fra­struc­ture En­gi­neer­ing and Man­age­ment at Monash Univer­sity, stu­dents are taught the lat­est in­sights in pre­fab­ri­ca­tion, in­for­ma­tion man­age­ment, ro­bot­ics and au­toma­tion, and vi­su­al­i­sa­tion – putting them at the fore­front of ex­cit­ing new de­vel­op­ments in con­struc­tion en­gi­neer­ing,” Dr Arash­pour said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.