Iconic Ford factory welcomes its new resident, CLOS: From cars to modular construction.
In the heart of Geelong, the opening of Cross Laminated Offsite Solutions (CLOS) at the iconic old Ford factory has merged tradition with innovation. The event on February 9, attended by the Deputy Prime Minister, the Honourable Richard Marles MP, Ella George MP, Member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly, employees, their families, and industry figures, underscored its significance for the local community and further highlighted the rise of the modular construction industry.
The Open Day marks the next evolutionary leap for CLOS’s owner, John Fitzgibbon, who founded CLOS approximately seven years ago in Avalon. “Expansion is the main objective. We were in 2,000 square metres at Avalon, and we’re now in 15,000 square metres at Ford with 4,000 square metres of hard stand,” Fitzgibbon explained, emphasising the need for more space to support growth and accommodate new equipment.
The choice of the Ford factory was a strategic decision, influenced by timing and the availability of suitable space. “I’d looked at Ford in about 2021 as a potential place to move to, and they weren’t quite ready… We left the meeting at Avalon one afternoon, drove straight to Ford to see if something was available. This was available, and we signed heads of agreement soon after,” Fitzgibbon recounted.
Fitzgibbon also highlighted the variety of projects CLOS intends to undertake, “So, bigger projects are the key… NDIS work is coming through now… Key Worker Housing, so we’re discussing with several regional areas for multiple key worker housing… Affordable housing and high-end accommodation.”
See CLOS’s new modular factory
On the topic of scalability and the future direction of CLOS, Fitzgibbon was clear about the company’s goals. “Repeatability per project… once our machinery is up and running, the manufacturing line can produce 500 homes a year,” he indicated, referring to the expected productivity once their Homag-Weinmann panelised wall line is fully operational.
Furthermore, Fitzgibbon emphasised the importance of local employment and community integration as part of CLOS’s expansion plans. “Our growth strategy includes a strong commitment to the local workforce. By the end of the year, we’re aiming to increase our staff to 100, primarily recruiting from the Norlane and Corio areas. It’s crucial for us that our team is part of the community, contributing to and benefiting from our presence here,” he stated.