New thinking transforms housing construction

New thinking transforms housing construction

December 11, 2018

If you’re in the housing design, manufacturing or construction business, you know the industry in Australia is challenged. Skilled labour is in short supply, productivity levels are low and have not improved in decades, and construction costs are soaring. 

Against a backdrop of a global housing shortage, the challenge is to utilise a faster, technology driven approach to building that reduces costs significantly – Offsite timber construction. 

The move to Offsite construction in Europe has solved cost and productivity issues so successfully, some countries have reached 80% of all homes built using offsite systems. It’s a revolution in construction and it’s paying big dividends.

For the residential building industry in Australia offsite construction comes with a myriad of benefits. It generates efficiencies in building design and prefabrication, encourages greater collaboration and integration, reduces cost and improves affordability for home-buyers.

One of the world’s foremost authorities on offsite construction is Gerry McGaughey, the CEO of US building systems company Entekra. He was a keynote speaker at the IWBC conference held in Boston, USA during October. 

Gerry has guided home builders in Europe and North America in transitioning from inefficient stick-framing to offsite construction – enabling them to significantly reduce cycle times and boost productivity while delivering higher-quality, more sustainable buildings.

In his presentation he commented “Offsite construction is a process not a product, and it forces a change in thinking about how you go about building. 

“The process enforces a discipline on everyone involved in the building construction to get together up front with all the information and operate as a team”. 

 “A key element for success is getting people to create systemic change, and then use process improvement to drive further change for higher efficiency”.

Another speaker Tedd Benson, founder and owner of high quality Bensonwood and Unity Homes in USA, advised the housing construction industry needs to develop better ways to build. 

He advocated adoption of the best digital technology to “build it twice – digital before actual” and embrace the software solutions now available to attain high levels of accuracy and quality in manufacture of energy efficient housing.

In Australia, these topics will be discussed at the Frame 2019 ‘Timber Offsite Construction’ conference and exhibition in June next year, a two-day event held in Melbourne. 

The program will include international speakers and local experts presenting in speaker sessions, along with Panel discussions and Workshop sessions. Highly relevant topics will encompass the design and construction of offsite timber and mass wood residential and commercial buildings. 


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