OFFSITE CONSTRUCTION TECHNOLOGY FROM AUSTRALIAN COMPANY HICKORY GROUP HAS PENETRATED THE UK MARKET UNDER A LICENSING AGREEMENT WITH LEADING UK BUILDER MACE.
It is understood Mace has secured Hickory Group’s patented Hickory Building Systems (HBS) to accelerate high-rise construction through the use of prefabricated elements. Mace’s deployment of HBS will encompass offsite components such as bathroom pods, utility cupboards and MEP service modules.
Hickory Group Managing Director Michael Argyrou told Built Offsite the group had been working with Mace for the last two years on technology transfer of HBS, which will be re-badged by Mace as Mace HRS (High Rise Solutions HRS). Mace has also set up a new business unit, Mace Tech, to manage HRS’ deployment.
“Mace is a big player in the UK market and should be commended on its commitment to innovation,” Argyrou said. “For such a large business it’s exceptionally agile. Under the leadership of CEO Mark Reynolds, it’s a company determined to change the way buildings are delivered.”
“While we licensed HBS to Mace, the relationship has been more like a joint venture entailing a mutual exchange of ideas,” he added. “[Hickory Group Director] George Argyrou is currently working with Mace on the ground in the UK; and in working with Mace we’ve also learned a lot. One of the biggest learnings for both parties is how you affect cultural change. It’s fine to innovate, but when you have to spread that innovation across a company with a staff of 1000 people, that’s where the challenge lies.”
Mace Tech business unit director Shaun Tate reportedly told UK news outlets that HRS entailed a new digital approach to how buildings could be constructed and assembled.
“We interrogated the entire production to delivery cycle, taking inspiration from the auto industry with its integrated production and assembly line, looking at how we can develop smarter and more efficient offsite assembly methods to drive better outcomes.”
Following a pilot of the system, Mace is currently using the HRS system to construct a London build-to-rent scheme known as N06, delivered by residential / rental management company Get Living. Split across two towers of 26 and 31 stories, the project will deliver 524 new homes.
Mace has shortened the construction programme by 18 weeks with 20% fewer workers onsite compared to a traditional building approach.
Mace Tech expects to be able to reduce design and construction programmes by 25%, vehicle movements by 40% and waste by 70%, enabling clients to reduce their finance cost, homes can be delivered quicker and disruption to local communities is minimised.
Hickory Group’s Michael Argyrou told Built Offsite the licensing agreement with Mace demonstrated the export potential for offsite solutions from both Hickory Group and other Australian businesses.
“I think Australian builders have a solid reputation overseas. We’ve seen the success of businesses such as Lendlease overseas in the offsite space. And at Hickory we are growing our international presence, fielding interest from markets including the United Arab Emirates and Japan.”■