Australian building industry revolutionises the way it designs, manufactures and delivers for customers

  • Monash University, Lendlease, The University of Melbourne and Donovan Group are leading a $28 million funding bid for an initiative set to transform how buildings are manufactured in Australia.
  • If successful, Building 4.0 CRC will put the customer at the centre of each building experience. Buildings will be built faster, cheaper and smarter
  • Some of the outcomes this initiative hopes to achieve include:
    • 80 per cent reduction in construction waste
    • 50 per cent reduction in Co2 emissions for more sustainable buildings.

A $28 million funding bid, via the Australian Government Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) Program, has the potential to boost the economy through job creation and position Australia as a leader in advanced manufacturing of buildings. The bid was led by Monash University, Lendlease, The University of Melbourne and Donovan Group.

If successful, the Building 4.0 CRC research initiative will use digital solutions to transform Australia’s building industry from pre-industrial practices to a future where the customer is at the centre of each building experience, and buildings are built faster, cheaper and smarter.

“R&D carried out in the CRC will demonstrate that the building industry can come together to solve the big challenges of our times, delivering buildings that are more efficient, cheaper and sustainable, without sacrificing quality,” Monash University’s Professor Mathew Aitchison, Interim CEO of Building 4.0 CRC, said.

“With our involvement in the CRC, we want to transform the way the industry collaborates, which we think is the key to unlocking major improvements in the sector.”

Building 4.0 CRC will bring together expertise in the fields of architecture, design, planning, construction, engineering, business, information technology and law to develop industry-wide practices and protocols to transform the entire sector.

It will also leverage the latest technologies, data science and artificial intelligence to enable the application of robotics to optimise all phases of building delivery – including development, design, production, assembly, operation, maintenance and end-of-life.

Professor Shane Murray, Dean of the Faculty of Monash Art, Design and Architecture (MADA), said: "Building 4.0 CRC will catapult the industry into a connected, user-centred, sustainable and efficient future.”

Professor Elizabeth Croft, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at Monash University, said: “Ultimately, this change of focus will lead to a growth in high-value employment, a reduction in greenhouse gases, and create better housing that’s more affordable, liveable and environmentally friendly for the future of all Australians.”

The university and industry collaboration will announce its bid for the CRC program funding in Melbourne on Friday, 26 July. The event features building exhibits and digital demonstrations from a CRC project (2016-19) called Innovation in Advanced Multi-Storey Housing Manufacture, which will also be on display as Future Living Systems, and open to the public as part of the city’s annual Open House weekend on 27-28 July.

Building 4.0 CRC Chair Elect Dr Bronwyn Evans said: “The Building 4.0 CRC is going to be a really important factor in this sector, making sure we have a competitive future and we are addressing broad sector needs."

Bill Ruh, Chief Executive Officer, Digital, at Lendlease said: “We’ve got an incredible opportunity before us where we’re looking to use the latest digital technology to create high-fidelity, fully detailed, complete and absolute models of what we’re going to build, before we build it. The accuracy and speed of construction will be second to none, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible.

“For Lendlease, the CRC program is a great opportunity for us to not only test and use technology to develop new ways of working, but to find ways of working collaboratively with the broader industry.”

Professor Mark Cassidy, Dean of Melbourne School of Engineering at the University of Melbourne, said: “Our building industry needs to lead the digital disruption to ensure it gains a first-mover advantage. These reforms are only achievable with significant innovation and collaboration across the industry.”

The Building 4.0 CRC seeks to set trends and break rules in order to transform the way the industry engages and responds to customers’ needs.

Some of the outcomes this initiative hopes to achieve include:

  • 37.5 per cent reduction in project costs through digital technology and off-site manufacturing
  • 40 per cent reduction in project delays
  • 80 per cent reduction in construction waste
  • 50 per cent reduction in Co2 emissions for more sustainable buildings.

“I hope to achieve a more sustainable, more efficient and more user-friendly industry through this CRC,” Professor Tuan Ngo, Research Director of Building 4.0 CRC, from the University of Melbourne, said.

Gavin Tonnet, Australian CEO of Donovan Group, said: “Our vision is to create a world where people can visualise and realise buildings in real time.

“The purpose is to transform the way that consumers and builders design and buy buildings by providing easy-to-use browsing-based software that allows them to custom-design, visualise and price buildings in an engineering compliant way.”

The bid comprises 28 leading players in commercial industry, university, industry bodies and government partners, including: Lendlease, Monash University, University of Melbourne, BlueScope Steel, CSR, Utecture Australia, Bentley Homes, Coresteel Australia, A.G Coombs, Ultimate Aluminium Windows, Queensland University of Technology, Holmesglen Institute, Hyne Timber, Shapeshift Design Technologies, M-Modular, Schiavello Manufacturing, Gelion Technologies, YNOMIA, Fleetwood, Master Builders Association of Victoria, PrefabAUS, Salesforce, Sumitomo Forestry Australia, Green Building Council of Australia, Standards Australia, Taronga Venture Advisory, Victorian Building Authority and the Victorian Government Department of Job, Precincts and Regions.

Results from the CRC bid will be announced in December 2019.

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