Australia Should Adopt Pre-fabrication to Address their Housing Affordability Issue

Home tenure is a keystone of the great Australian vision, providing economic and emotive safety, and time and again signifying the major investment an individual will make. However, home buyers are gradually going for higher density habitants such as apartments, flats and townhouses. According to a survey, over the five years through 2015-16, industry revenue is projected to decline by an annualized 1.0% to total $40.6 billion. This includes the contraction of 2.4% during the current year, reflecting a declining number of dwelling commencements following strong growth in the previous two years. 

In the midst of Australia’s housing affordability issue, prefabricated homes offer a solution. Experts believe that prefab housing is likely to decrease the cost of a new habitant by at least 10 per cent (excluding the purchase cost of land). Case studies of UK show savings of up to 10% to 15% in building costs and a 40% reduction in construction timelines. Manufacturing is more efficient, and factories don’t lose time due to bad weather.

Cost-effective and regulatory changes are likely to push for prefabrication 1.0

The prefabricated components, or let’s say “prefabrication 1.0” is a panelized system that incorporates layers of sheathing, insulation, air barrier, and coating. The components aren’t just confined to this. It can be modular construction components as well, the six sided boxes built with flooring, a roof, and door and among other HVAC features. Prefab boosts off-site manufacturing and the assembling of components becomes much easier than onsite. Hence, prefabrication 1.0 can cut construction time by 30% and can save tons of material that of on-site working.

The benefits of prefabrication like reduced construction time, reduced site trouble, saving from natural hazards are the common and most known. However, integrating it with BIM gives you a wider scope of exploring other benefits of this method

Why you should BIM - cation (BIM prefabrication):

BIM enables designers to participate from the very onset of the project unlike that of an outdated construction method. This aids in developing 3D BIM models that are used for virtual illustrations, information storage and analyses for the concerned project. MEP or HVAC clash detection done prior to construction saves considerable time and costs as well. 

Incorporating all disciplines at the design stage enables prefabricated construction. For major services like Plant room, chilled water pipes, etc. can be fabricated beforehand off-site and just be brought on-site for putting in the right place. Apart from saving the construction time, prefabrication of MEP services lessens the threat of high labor force on site as all stakeholders will bring together and produce service modules at the on-site and carrying it to the construction site.

Designers can conduct several building simultaneously to know the operability of the building prior to construction. 4D simulations done using software such as Autodesk Navisworks can assist the team in getting an improved insight into health and safety challenges likely to happen across the building construction projects. It becomes much easier to calculate Heating and cooling loads using the model than old spreadsheet methods. Apart from this, HVAC duct sizing and pipe sizing can too be calculated and distinct reports can be made for all computational studies carried out using the model.

Prefabrication means what to whom and why you should use it,

Architects: You have the most influence during the design phase of the project in deducing if the prefabrication is suitable or not. For you, prefabrication is a huge takeaway, for it offers better project efficiency, generating more sustainable structures and eventually growing ROI for the client as well as other members of the project team.

General Contractors and Construction Managers: Prefabrication delivers anticipated results for your schedule and costs. Research and surveys have time and again shown how prefabrication can decrease the buying and fitting costs of materials and compress project plans. These issues can in the long run cut the budget and let your firms be more competitive.
Owners: Given the accuracy BIM provides, and the quality provided by latest materials and manufacturing services, prefabrication construction offers the chance to attain substantial outputs on your schemes.


Prefabrication/modularization has not been practiced consistently over quite a period of time. It has fluctuated terribly according to wars and economic booms. Nonetheless, industrial developments over the past two decades have grown greater than before what prefabrication/modularization can attain in the construction industry. BIM, along with urbane manufacturing abilities now bids major productivity advances on projects.
With a construction industry facing severe shortages for onsite skilled labor its high time we adopt prefabrication/modular approach for better functioning and improved solutions for the projects.

BIM Data Sharing is for Transparency, but will it succeed?

One facet of BIM Level 2 is to set up of a Common Data Environment - CDE. In the setting of the Government focus for BIM Level 2, the CDE is listed by the business in the Employer's Information Requirements - EIR. This information is to a great extent, although not completely, related to the physical asset and choices the employers have to make during the growth of the facility.
Tier 1 contractual worker are exceptionally fascinated for utilizing the given data to smoother the construction process, both at the commencement stage and for managing facility. New developments are inclusive of digitizing the archives in forms attached to a BIM model. Models are connected to the programing software to create 3D visualization for clash detection and construction sequencing. Date and location specific data is recorded in the field, and at the same time one can also investigate the models for their data history.
It’s not a new thing. Contractors have so far kept all records and recorded the design developments through variations. The catch here, however is, how BIM can contribute in bringing transparency between all stakeholders. The root of BIM is “the single source of truth”, and the industry recognizes that information transparency is more than important, than ever. But the truth is that it’s a collective practice, where stakeholders look at it in their own commercial interest. The data or information is used in a very non-collaborative “need to know” basis and confidential as well at times.
It is hard to perceive how things will change; as there will be a discrepancy between records that the contractors require for their own reasons, and the data an employer might request to be kept in the CDE. In any case, if the source of information is solid and information is promptly accessible, it would help us to reduce the irregularity of records, which in previous cases would have prevented us from having a flawless picture of events in case of problems.
Project records are held in a CDE with access granted to any and every stakeholder to the project, or a committee will be asked to resolve the disputes, do you think it is a far-fetched possibility? How soon can we initiate from one source of truth held in the CDE and focus on resolving challenges from a common base?
For once-in-a-lifetime, tier 1 contractors employed with smaller projects, the information may not be recorded. But if larger tier 1 contractors bring together these practices as a set standard and make it a mandate for their supply chain to follow, the accessibility of data will become much more common, and the challenges of access and how it can be used in events of disagreements, will be a real problem for the industry.