The ‘Construction as Production’ program, first rolled out by UTS in late October, is one of the first of its kind in Australia, and is designed as a professional development subject in a short course format. Topics include: Client-led needs; mass customisation; modularisation; design for manufacture and assembly principles; supply chain strategies; logistics – identifying opportunities for production orientated methods and the use of digital technologies to link end-to-end delivery processes; new trust based assurance methodologies and how a higher level of construction supply chain stewardship will help transform the customer experience.
The course’s founder, Perry Forsythe, Professor of Construction Management at UTS’ Faculty of Design Architecture and Building, told Built Offsite he’d identified a clear need for the program.
“I started in the industry many years ago as a carpenter and I’ve worked in the building industry in many capacities. What I’ve discovered along the way is that while there’s widespread recognition for the need to transition into offsite construction, many companies simply lack the skills and knowledge to do offsite well enough to stay in business. It’s not easy to turn a construction contractor into a manufacturer but contractors will increasingly need to think in terms of production efficiency if offsite construction is to become accepted. There are a number of actionable learnings that we can teach on the course; for example – how to modularise a building. Modular doesn’t just mean big 3D boxes; it might mean breaking a building down into sub-products such as pods and panels. The course helps participants to think in terms of ‘product platforms’ much like a car manufacturer would. Another critical area is logistics; you don’t want to turn up to site with a pile of panels on a truck and find that the panel you need to erect first is at the bottom of the pile. These simple issues can add complexity, time and cost to a project, but they can be alleviated through technology such as RFID and some changes in thinking.”
“Our aim is to give course participants the tools that will enable all stakeholders in a scheme’s delivery to collaborate effectively. Ultimately it’s about building capacity. We’ve had instances in the industry in recent times where companies have invested huge sums of money into expensive equipment, but to make that cost-effective it needs to be working each and every day. Mass customisation is another key element of the course that optimises such technology and enables the quick and efficient delivery of differentiated building typologies.”
The inaugural ‘Construction as Production’ course ran from 21 to 22 of October. It is understood the program will be rolled out again in 2020 with course dates yet to be confirmed.■