CONTENTS
CONFERENCE PREVIEW

PREFABAUS 2018 CONFERENCE PREVIEW

MATERIAL RE-SETS, CHANGING END-USER REQUIREMENTS, EARLY ENGAGEMENT, STANDARDISATION AND THE APPLICATION OF TECHNOLOGY ARE AMONG THE PRESENTATION THEMES FOR SPEAKERS AT THE PREFABAUS 2018 CONFERENCE.
BELINDA SMART REPORTS.

KARIM KHALIFA – SIDEWALK LABS
International Keynote speaker Karim Khalifa is Director of Building Innovations at Sidewalk Labs, the urban innovation venture owned by Google parent company Alphabet.

Khalifa, whose career spans around 30 years in design and construction across project management and engineering, has a pivotal role in the ‘smart city’ scheme known as Sidewalk Toronto, comprising the digitally enabled, sustainable and forward-thinking revitalisation of an expansive waterfront site in Toronto in Canada.

It is understood is current focus on the Sidewalk Toronto project includes the modular and offsite expression of tall timber construction, with moves to prototype such buildings to a height of up to 30 storeys underway. Another governing interest for Khalifa is the effect of technology and innovative thinking – such as digital electricity and generative design – on urban regeneration.

(Despite efforts on both sides, Built Offsite was unable to secure an interview with Karim Khalifa prior to publication.)

Karim Khalifa,
Director of Building Innovations at Sidewalk Labs

 

JAMES MURRAY-PARKES MONASH UNIVERSITY | BROOKFIELD SCIENTIFIC SOLUTIONS
James Murray-Parkes, Professor of Practice in the Faculty of Engineering at Monash University and Director of Brookfield Scientific Solutions, says his presentation will disrupt current thinking on offsite building with the unveiling of a mathematically based building system.

Murray-Parkes says he wants to “radically re-focus the current conversation” about optimal construction techniques and materials, including the current focus on mass timber, by propounding a composite solutions that utilises the tensile properties of steel in partnership with the compression properties of timber.

“I want to be unequivocal about this. CLT is not the answer. It’s extremely wasteful. Builders are using mass timber to slow down accelerated forces created by the weight of the building; huge supporting columns and comparable structures that are simply inefficient. You need a hell of a lot of timber to create the same tensile and compression qualities of the system I’ve developed. I want to get the message out to industry that there is an alternative that’s much lighter and stronger.”

Murray-Parkes’ new system is named BohrHaus, in homage to Niels Bohr (the ‘grandfather of geometry’) and was undergoing the patenting process as the interview for this story unfolded.

“You need a hell of a lot of timber to create the same tensile and compression qualities of the system I’ve developed. I want to get the message out to industry that there is an alternative that’s much lighter and stronger.”
James Murray-Parkes, Professor of Practice in the Faculty of Engineering at Monash University and Director of Brookfield Scientific Solutions.

The system, which is being piloted in New Zealand by construction innovation company Tall Wood, is applicable to residential dwellings up to six or eight storeys. Murray-Parkes confirms the unveiling at the conference of an early draft of a new publication on the design of tall structures (scheduled for official launch in late 2019) also includes BohrHaus principles.

James Murray-Parkes,
Professor of Practice in the Faculty of
Engineering at Monash University,
Director of Brookfield Scientific Solutions.

 

LENDLEASE – SIMONNE BAILEY
Simonne Bailey, General Manager, Lendlease Building, will explore the ‘future of living’, particularly in the context of Australia’s mid-range residential market.

“I’ll be exploring the future ways of living and how low-cost delivery models, such as pre-fabrication and modularisation, can disrupt the way we approach construction methodology in five, 10 and 20 years from now.”

Lendlease’s design approach extends beyond the physical environment, and Bailey will explore “the idea of a holistic approach to construction in response to market demand; this includes design, strategic partnerships, life cycle costing, pre-fabrication and creating a kit of parts that considers the final product presented to the end user.”

“Many of our clients are seeking innovative and speed to market solutions, particularly in an evolving asset and land hold platform such as develop to rent, retirement living and affordable housing models.”

Looking ahead to a future industry, Bailey comments:

“Social demographics, such as age, population growth and income level, may support the idea that flexibility and adaptability are key to ensuring people can live and stay in their communities for as long as they need.”

“Products that allow us to do this will be in demand, whether it be integrating flexible technology solutions, pre-fabricated moving parts or growing your home as your needs change, home ownership and models that allow flexibility and variety of product will be key.”

“I’ll be exploring the future ways of living and how low-cost delivery models, such as pre-fabrication and modularisation, can disrupt the way we approach construction methodology in five, 10 and 20 years from now.”
Simonne Bailey, General Manager, Lendlease Building.

Simonne Bailey,
General Manager,
Lendlease Building.

 

PAUL KREMER – XLAM
Looking at early involvement from the supplier’s perspective, Paul Kremer, Head of Sales and Marketing – ANZ, XLam, says his key message will be to promote the concept of early supplier engagement.

“In essence the traditional construction approach has been to leverage a linear supply chain entailing the client, developer, architect, engineer, builder, contractor and then the supplier. What we’re proposing is an arrangement in which the activities of the supplier are incorporated into the process at inception stage, meaning supplier, developer and builder converge simultaneously during the early stages of the project.

The outcome is a more fully realised concept of the final structure, much earlier in the project lifecycle, and one that is available to all project participants in advance of the scheme’s commencement. The earlier the development of a more refined concept, the more efficient and certain are the details for the design and manufacture of product.”

Kremer says this new paradigm offers distinct advantages.

“The supplier is able to bring the ‘smarts’ of offsite manufacture into the process early on. Earlier supplier engagement is underpinned by a similar philosophy akin to Early Contractor Involvement (ECI). Early supplier and contractor involvement enables a triangulation of key attributes in the design of a building such as acoustics, fire and constructability of structure. A supplier can bring these together into something akin to BIM that collates various disparate functions, shop drawings and other key parameters early on. As a supplier, we’re effectively managing the ‘BI’ – the building information – in ‘BIM’.”

“Supply is not about product delivery anymore; it’s about project delivery.”

Paul Kremer,
Head of Sales and
Marketing – ANZ, XLam

 

PROFESSOR TUAN NGO – ARC CENTRE FOR ADVANCED MANUFACTURING OF PREFABRICATED HOUSING (CAMPH)
CAMPH Research Director Tuan Ngo will present the latest technologies in modular construction in Australia.

“In particular, enabling technologies such as Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DfMA), mass customisation, lightweight materials and systems, automated off-site manufacturing, BIM, sensor networks and Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence and machine learning, blockchain technologies, smart contracting/procurement and innovative financial models for prefabricated modular buildings will be covered, with examples of Australian projects.”

“I’ll present the underpinning processes for selecting materials and designing integrated systems that holistically consider functionality, structural adequacy, energy consumption and reusability into tools that can help design professionals achieve high-quality designs satisfying end-user requirements.”■

Professor Tuan Ngo,
Research Director,
CAMPH.

 

ADAM STRONG – STRONGBUILD
Strongbuild Group Managing Director Adam Strong says his overall message will be “to inspire positive change in the building industry; spark creativity and collaboration, influence cultural and environmental awareness, build communities and enrich people’s lives.” More specifically, his aim is to drive the critical importance of early involvement in the design and procurement process, via early contractor involvement (ECI)

“We have the ability to reduce more risk and provide more certainty over quality, time and cost the earlier we are involved in design.”

And, he adds, benefits accrue when clients are encouraged to drive smart designs that are standardised utilising a kit of parts. “This doesn’t mean designs need to be bland. It requires clients and designers to work with builders and fabricators early in conceptual design to understand what those parts are and how they can be implemented creatively.I believe that there is massive momentum from clients and consultants wanting to innovate, however the great majority of projects that we see being delivered utilising manufactured components are still mostly prototypes. Manufacturers are mostly only 1being afforded the ability to convert conventionally designed projects after design is conceived. Standardisation is key and absolutely required.”

Adam Strong,
Group Managing Director,
Strongbuild.

 

FRANK DAVERN – HSBCAD AUSTRALASIA
As Technical Sales Manager at Hsbcad Australasia, Frank Davern says his presentation will advocate for agile software that can adapt to the rapidly evolving industry.

“Hsbcad is operating in Australia and New Zealand to support local industry on a global stage. The Hsbcad solution is the complete package for the quick framing of walls, floors, roofs, CLT homes, log homes, SIP homes and more to deliver the leading design to construction experience.”

“We see our role as to streamline processes by supporting collaboration and advanced production from design to construction. As the future promises growth and expansion, Hsbcad will continue to develop in its provision of design accuracy, efficiency and the flexibility to define unique engineering methods for wood and steel construction.”

Frank Davern,
Technical Sales Manager,
Hsbcad Australasia.

 

NICK STRONGMAN – SENSUM
Specialising in project managing public sector and government education projects, Sensum understands the unique market opportunities for prefabrication in this sector, says CEO Nick Strongman, whose presentation will touch on the market opportunities for prefabrication and modular solutions in the government education sector.

Strongman says the possibilities of what can be achieved with offsite construction are yet to be realised through greater focus on manufacturing. “At the moment, we are not utilising manufacturing and lean processes to achieve greater efficiencies. Government needs to instil confidence in manufacturers that there is a large pipeline of work to warrant a significant investment in the automation of their facilities.”

“On the client side, education around the long term benefits needs to be improved. The industry needs to move away from short term returns and focus on the long term benefits of innovation and research and development. Updated contracts and procurement guidelines are required to reduce the barriers to market. Further discussion around early contractor engagement and collaboration is also required.”

“The industry needs to move away from short term returns and focus on the long term benefits of innovation and research and development. Updated contracts and procurement guidelines are required to reduce the barriers to market. Further discussion around early contractor engagement and collaboration is also required.”
Nick Strongman, CEO, Sensum.

Nick Strongman,
CEO,
Sensum.

 

MICHAEL LI – CLIMATEWORKS AUSTRALIA
Michael Li, Project Manager at ClimateWorks Australia, will present findings from a research-industry collaboration, jointly managed with the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC), which aims to prepare new buildings for the net zero carbon environment in which they will ultimately be operating.

“The project has developed evidence to support a transition plan to make the National Construction Code ‘Zero Carbon Ready’. Such a plan would provide guidance as to when, how and to what degree energy requirements will change over time. This would provide a regulatory signal to industry that would encourage investment in new technology, design and construction practices.”

“There is an opportunity now for government to provide regulatory certainty in Code energy requirements, to encourage the investment and innovation required to transition to a zero carbon built environment.”

He adds that a government forward plan for energy requirements would provide the regulatory certainty needed to enable investment in innovative practices that improve energy performance. “This might be of benefit to construction practices including prefabrication and offsite manufacturing where they can be shown to increase energy performance cost-effectively.”

Michael Li,
Project Manager,
Climateworks Australia.

 

JAMIE COE – HUTCHINSON BUILDERS
Jamie Coe, Business Development Manager at leading construction company Hutchinson Builders, will highlight Genesis Care projects completed earlier this year in weeks rather than months. Under a previous traditional model the client typically allowed 18-24 months to design and build purpose built cancer treatment centres, says Coe.

“Hutchinson Builders were able to complete the build and have the facilities treating patients in 16 weeks with the design team working out of the ‘Hutchies’ yard and finalising the design as it was being built.”

“These projects are a great example of modular construction providing real benefit to a client and allowing them a solid 18 months of operational gain compared to traditional construction. The other big benefit to the rest of the hospital was the reduced impact because of the shorter timeline.”

Jamie Coe,
Business Development Manager,
Hutchinson Builders

 

SIMON WALDREN – APEX WIRING SOLUTIONS
Managing Director, Apex Wiring Solutions, Simon Waldren, says his key message is around facilitating smarter building in Australian and New Zealand, with a focus on the importance of services.

Waldren indicates a number of the pain points in the Australian market need addressing.

“Drivers in other regions and countries are often government led which in turn creates a platform where the sharing of ideas and innovation is encouraged and as a result prefabrication is more collaborative and accepted as a realistic solution for construction. This can be seen particularly in Europe where all elements of build, including services, are integrated in the prefabrication and DfMA models. This inclusive approach fosters true partnering of service providers, not a ‘commodity procurement’ logic.”

Important issues include that any offsite solution must have a fully integrated plan and design to build using prefabrication underpinned with partnering and engagement.

“The importance of services in prefabrication and construction must be highlighted with a focus on fully integrated and inclusive design up front.”

Simon Waldren,
Managing Director,
Apex Wiring Solutions.

 

MATT TOBIN – UAP
Matt Tobin, Managing Director of UAP, says his current focus is strategically driving the digital transformation of the business – readying it to grasp opportunities presented by the Industry 4.0 environment.

“UAP’s specialty is in complex creative works for building projects. This can be anything from a facade, to a complex staircase or a free standing sculptural element. In our particular area of manufacturing, where everything is customised, we see great opportunity for growth. Today’s design and documentation programs and the continuous advancement of manufacturing technologies and equipment will allow for more complexity and increased customisation.”

“It is essential that we identify and embrace new technologies to transform the capabilities of our staff and our workshops.”

Today’s design and documentation programs and the continuous advancement of manufacturing technologies and equipment will allow for more complexity and increased customisation.”
Matt Tobin, Managing Director, UAP.■

Matt Tobin,
Managing Director,
UAP


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