Monash University and Victoria launch world’s first Building code for modular construction


A strategic partnership of Monash University, the Victorian Government, Engineers Australia and industry has delivered the world’s first Modular Code of Construction Handbook for industry best practice.

Building construction uses nearly one third of the world’s resources and around 40 per cent of global energy, while emitting 40 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions (Green Building Council of Australia 2008).

Factory automation and innovation in modular construction can significantly reduce these impacts while improving safety and quality control, however the construction sector has been slow to adopt these processes and there is little guidance available for their inclusion in a regulated way.

The Victorian Modular Code of Construction Handbook is the first comprehensive publication of its type in the world to address this issue in a holistic way. The use of more efficient off-site manufacturing techniques in construction has the potential to improve economic and social outcomes through more efficient use of our limited resources and the ability to deliver more affordable, well-designed and durable construction. Well regulated modular construction will be a key contributor to the realisation of this potential.

Treasurer Tim Pallas, who launched the Code at a “prefabAUS” Conference, said the project represented the ability of the industry to collaborate and innovate to deliver world class outcomes.

"Victoria's building and construction industry is a significant driver of our economic growth and also one of our state's largest employers", he said.

"We recognise that the construction industry is rapidly changing and that prefab construction can play an important role in delivering affordable housing, and that new technologies - if used correctly - can transform the industry, and further boost the Victorian economy”.

Monash University Director of Industry Engagement in the Faculty of Engineering, and past chairman of Engineers Australia, Victoria Madeleine McManus OAM said the success of the code’s development was in the collaborative work driven by the University.

A Modular Construction Codes Board (MCCB) was established by Professor James Murray-Parkes working with Dr Yu Bai from Monash University.

With the support of the university, a steering committee was also established with the Structural Engineering Lead from Laing O’Rourke’s Engineering Excellence Group Angus McFarlane as Chairman.

“This collaboration brought together stakeholders across government, industry and academia with a common focus of raising the bar for the Modular Construction Industry and delivering an international outcome for significant impact,” Ms McManus said.

The Handbook is a collaborative project that has been led by Monash and prepared with support from the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, within the State Government of Victoria, Australia and a range of industrial and university partners.