As another turning of the year comes around at what seems like warp speed, I for one made a new mid-life resolution; to dispense with the resolutions.
Not so the industry. As 2018 launches, it’s satisfying to report on developments that look set to influence the offsite sector for years to come. The pace of such change may be slower than warp speed, but it’s afoot.
Our feature on the possibilities of the emerging build to rent sector (starting page 17) hints at a step change in the way Australians live, with implications for this sector. Given the demand for such housing and the need to supply it quickly and efficiently, the use of prefabrication or offsite seems a match made in heaven. And it’s not too much of a stretch to imagine that the learnings from the use of modular in hospitality and education schemes might be applied to the build to rent sector.
The end of 2017 marks further significant moves. The Australasian BIM Advisory Board (ABAB) is marking its first year of operation (see page 6). Initiatives such as (one of many) a proposed BIM Process Consistency Handbook to set new benchmarks in BIM processes, demonstrate an industry working hard to shape up for the future. Meanwhile the newly confirmed prefabAUS Conference International Keynote Speaker (see Warren McGregor’s column opposite) promises to open up discussions on city design that will reconstitute current thinking about how buildings and cities are delivered.■
Managing Editor Built Offsite
With 2017 rapidly coming to a close it is a good time to reflect, if only briefly, on the impressive momentum in the offsite construction space both here in Australia and internationally. It also marks the “first birthday” for Built Offsite magazine, which continues to gain traction across the industry.
We trust that, in providing news updates and timely feature coverage, the magazine will continue to open up and foster invaluable conversation about Australia’s emerging offsite sector, identifying both opportunities and challenges ahead.
I am extremely pleased to be able to announce Eric Baczuk, designer-in-residence at Sidewalk Labs as International Keynote Speaker for the prefabAUS 2018 Conference in Brisbane 11-13 September. Sidewalk Labs is a name we will be hearing a lot more about. As part of the Alphabet group (parent company to Google) Sidewalk Labs is not only imagining the digital-enabled communities of the future, but has just won the bid to deliver one by revamping the 325ha waterfront site adjoining the city of Toronto in Canada, now referred to as Sidewalk Toronto. New construction methods to make housing and retail space more affordable are part of the vision.
For more on Sidewalk Labs please see page 14. For 2018, prefabAUS members can look forward to our most active program of events, together with more international study tours. These study tours will include key international markets where prefab / offsite methodologies are being executed to world-class standards, with visits to factories and projects. Providing first-hand exposure to global best practice and market intelligence, the tours play a key role in prefabAUS’ commitment to fostering innovation in the offsite sector in Australia. Study tour details will be released early 2018.■