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BIM enables designers to participate from the very onset of the project unlike that of an outdated construction method.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.

Hiral Patel

Hiral Patel is a news editor and has been contributing to the CAD industry since last 7 years. She mainly writes about the application of BIM across Architecture, MEP and Structural, Mechanical sectors. Her focus is towards encouraging construction companies, sub-contractors and architects to adopt right technologies to improve efficiency and profitability.