With this issue marking the prefabAUS 2018 Conference at Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, the presence of International Keynote speaker Karim Khalifa will doubtless attract keen interest. As Director of Building Innovations at Sidewalk Labs, the urban innovation arm of Google parent company Alphabet, his presentation promises to offer insight into how urban environments might be designed from the ground up. He’ll be followed by an impressive line-up of presentations (snapshots from selected speakers start on page 23).
This edition’s main feature looks at the impact of international players. While imported products and ideas have historically had a necessary place in Australian markets, there are abiding question marks around the issue of product substitution and compliance, as well as the effect of international incursion on the endeavours of local operators. At the same time, international influence can be a boon to innovation. Coverage (starting page 15) canvasses the diverse views of a range of operators.
Our précis of the second instalment of the Built Offsite Forum Series, (starting page 29), looks at light gauge steel (LGS); an emerging material in offsite construction, with potential for further uptake. The forum’s expert panel discussed LGS’ benefits, from its weight advantages, to the speed and precision afforded by automated CNC enabled fabrication and its utility in adapting traditionally configured projects to an offsite solution. The full version of the discussion will be available through our digital edition.
Finally, a follow-up on the prefabAUS North America tour in June (starting page 35) looks at some of the organisations who generously shared their time and insights with tour participants. Their endeavours in re-thinking construction delivery encompass a range of approaches, engendered by market systems which, while bigger and more complex than our own, face similar challenges.■
Managing Editor Built Offsite
And welcome to the prefabAUS 2018 Conference. It gives me great pleasure to welcome conference attendees, sponsors, exhibitors and speakers. Our conference ‘preview’ starts on page 23 and will give readers a flavour of this year’s presentations. There will also be follow-up coverage in the next issue of Built Offsite.
It’s a positive reflection of the interesting developments in the Queensland market that this year’s key industry gathering is taking place in Brisbane. The Queensland capital is home to the 25 King Street development in the Brisbane Showgrounds redevelopment in Fortitude Valley. This almost complete 52-metre-high tower holds the title of tallest engineered timber building in Australia with the largest gross floor area for an engineered timber office building in the world. It also exemplifies the reduced waste that offsite construction enables, as well as numerous wellbeing, environmental and cost benefits of CLT embodied in the finished building.
Queensland has also grown some great innovators in the construction space, among them UAP, a Brisbane-based company that works with architects, artists and developers to deliver the most challenging structures and building features in Australia and around the world. We’re delighted to welcome co-founder and Managing Director Matthew Tobin as a conference speaker.
Again this year the conference promises a wealth of expertise, insight and lively debate from a great Australian and international line-up, headlined by International Keynote speaker Karim Khalifa, Director of Building Innovations at Alphabet company Sidewalk Labs, the driver behind the innovative development of a smart community at Quayside Toronto.
I’m also pleased to confirm that the prefabAUS 2019 Conference will take place in Sydney next September at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre.■