MELBOURNE BASED PROJECT MANAGEMENT SPECIALIST SENSUM IS EXPANDING ITS REACH IN THE OFFSITE INDUSTRY THROUGH EXPANSION INTO NEW SECTORS AND THE LAUNCH OF AN ENGINEERING DIVISION.
Sensum has to date laid down a strong track record rolling out modular/offsite projects for the Victorian School Building Authority (VSBA). In recent times the company has expanded beyond the education sector and is actively pursuing opportunities in the healthcare sector, due to typical accommodation areas being well suited to modular configurations.
This has become particularly relevant in light of the need for additional hospital beds to cope with the surge in patient numbers from the Covid19 virus. The healthcare sector includes facilities for rehabilitation, mental health, alcohol and drug treatment, aged care and staff accommodation.
“We are also receiving requests for development of designs on residential projects, something that has been lacking in Australia, but successful in mature modular markets such as the UK, USA, Western Europe and Singapore,” says CEO Nick Strongman. “We are also assisting these clients in contacting architects with experience in designing projects that utilise offsite construction methods. This leads to further development of the project team including reference to head contractors, fabricators and other professional services.”
In addition, the company has already been engaged to deliver designs for a number of affordable housing projects, where utilising the repetition of floor plans on small units can take advantage of a production line approach to save on construction costs.
Sensum has also established its own engineering division Sensum Engineering, which commenced operations on 2 March. The same day saw Simon McCarthy take up the newly created role of Principal Structural Engineer – Sensum Engineering.
“Sensum Engineering has been created to fill a void in the industry where existing engineering consultancies appear to be lacking the drive and experience to see the potential for modern methods of construction to be considered in the early stages of designing a building,” McCarthy told Built Offsite. “Sensum Engineering intends to take the lead by providing the building industry with a resource to rely on for improved construction methods, productivity, quality and return on investment.
McCarthy said Sensum would deploy a range of modular / prefabricated solutions in upcoming projects, depending on the budget and size of the building. “The most common frames utilise hot rolled steel. However, three to four storey apartment buildings are increasingly adopting prefabricated timber or light gauge steel frames, whereas correctional facilities will generally require volumetric concrete enclosures.”
“Volumetric modules are well suited to regular shaped buildings, whereas flat-pack frames are well suited to areas with difficult access. We monitor best-practice techniques used around the world and encourage adoption of those methods in Australia as part of our commitment to continued professional development and high quality results.”
CEO Nick Strongman said McCarthy’s appointment will bring a much needed level of engineering expertise to Sensum’s endeavours in the offsite space.
“Several of our existing staff have already requested peer review of advice they have received for their existing projects. The capability to provide a ‘second set of eyes’ and alternative solutions to our clients is a value-added service that sets us apart from our competitors.”
“Simon’s experience in the design of modular structures and knowledge of modern methods of construction are key to the successful development of new building designs, especially with regard to multistorey projects. As a structural engineer, his framing design is a key component of any modular project. It must satisfy the needs of architectural intent, whilst meeting the particular construction methods of a modular fabricator. As an advocate for lean construction and in the spirit of collaboration, he is frequently involved in coordinating and developing an appropriate framing layout that delivers efficient design, manufacturing and assembly requirements.”
“His knowledge of successful modular projects in key markets, both here and overseas, will be utilised to benefit the design of similar new projects. He also aims to utilise his contacts in software development to implement 4D (project programming) and 5D (quantity surveying) methods, for accurate monitoring of project issues during design development.”■