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Adam Jordan, Asia-Pacific Lead at Bryden Wood, talks to Martin Fenn, Director of Integration at PT Blink and MMC Lead for the CIOB Oceania. They are joined by Simon McCarthy, Principal Structural Engineer from Bryden Wood.
At the moment, Victoria is going in one direction. New South Wales is going in another. Victoria’s permanent modular skill building program increased the number of offsite fabricators from five to 16 in four years and they recently released their offsite construction guidelines. New South Wales has done a comprehensive study over the last two years leading with their Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DfMA) guidelines for schools that go beyond volumetric towards a platform-based approach. In Queensland, there’s been a recent expression of interest released to find out how they can utilise MMC to build more affordable and social housing.
States are talking about DfMA and MMC but taking different approaches and not necessarily sharing knowledge and insights.
A component-based platform approach will help engage local manufacturing. We will see smaller manufacturers of repeat components getting engaged in the supply chain rather than just being a few big players producing the majority of a building. This has numerous socioeconomic advantages. Fostering innovative thinking among SME fabricators and smaller suppliers is a key driver for change in construction more broadly.
Right now, the supply chain in Australia is relatively immature. To move towards a component-based model, we must look at procurement and a holistic change in how we deliver construction projects. How we can use multiple, smaller suppliers; procurement; different contracting methodologies, all need to be explored.
Cross-industry associations and groups (like the UK’s Construction Innovation Hub) are necessary to drive sector-wide change. Multi-stakeholder reports and materials on the practical application of MMC with collaboration from builders, engineers, designers, suppliers, and integrators, will enable everyone to be heard and shape the change.
The construction industry has been stuck in a time warp of lowest price, maximum risk transfer. A platforms approach to construction has a profound impact on productivity, cost, carbon, skills, safety, and the potential for digital workflows to automate key pieces of the design process. Once the benefits are clear to both the public and private sectors, collaboration can make this a reality.
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