HL23 apartments in New York.

Building products specialist CSR has been awarded a $3million grant by the Federal Government to drive innovation and development of an Australian first, high-performance building facade system.

The move will see CSR locally manufacture a new generation of advanced, pre-fabricated unitised facades for the Australian commercial and institutional construction markets, designed to offer safer, faster, higher performing and more durable facades for Australian buildings.

The aim is to make construction in Australia more competitive against global manufacturers, reduce construction costs on a range of projects, as well as expand the local skill base.

Facades and building envelopes, which form the outer skins of buildings represent a $20 billion market in Australia.

CSR is also investing more than $3 million of its own funds into developing this opportunity to full commercialisation.

Confirmation of the funding and associated project follows CSR’s recent launch of an advanced panelised facade design and manufacturing business – CSR Inclose which specialises in unitised rainscreen facades for the Australian commercial and high-rise residential construction markets.

Working in collaboration with New York-based company Island Exterior Fabricators LLC, Inclose is set to harness the technology developed by Island that has pioneered panelised facade design for more than 15 years.

The alliance will allow CSR to bring to the Australian building industry leading, world-class innovative technology as well as a system built with the quality and reliability of Australian manufacturing.

CSR Inclose manufacturing will be based in a new factory in Wollongong, NSW which is expected to employ 50 people locally within the first two years.

The Australian-made unitised rainscreen facades comprise large format panelised units, prefabricated with factory-installed windows and the specifier’s choice of cladding.

Strict quality control ensures guaranteed performance. The panels, which can be up to 12 metres in length, integrate with traditional structures such as concrete and steel and are fully customised for each project. Inclose provides an end-to-end service for the whole building envelope, from design and manufacture to delivery and on-site installation.

Island’s panels have been installed on iconic and landmark buildings across New York City including the HL23, a 14-storey apartment block positioned along New York’s famous High Line, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum and the Gansevoort Hotels, as well as Boston University in Boston.

Introducing these unique, unitised rainscreens to Australia will revolutionise the building and architectural design industry, offering benefits from increased speed of enclosure with less trades people, greater on-site safety, increased weather protection and improved airtightness.

Rob Sindel, CEO and Managing Director of CSR, commented:
“CSR is committed to delivering the latest technology and the most effective and cost efficient building systems. We continually invest in innovation and our expansion into facades systems is a very natural progression.”

“Through our alliance with Island, we are able to harness a wealth of international experience and design expertise. This, combined with the Australian construction industry knowledge from CSR, provides architects, engineers and builders with a high level of specification and construction security.”

“There are exciting times ahead for the Australian building industry.”

CSR Inclose indicates there is clear potential for substantial growth in the coming years, with recent data released by prefabAUS showing the Australian construction industry is valued at $150 billion with the prefabricated component valued at $4.6 billion. The use of prefabricated products in the Australian building industry is expected to grow to 10% over the next 20 years.■

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