Pre-fab Innovation Hub to build industry capability

The Federal Government is backing Australia’s manufacturing, building and construction sectors, with support for the prefabricated building industry.

A collaborative innovation hub will be developed to help manufacturers design innovative prefabricated buildings that are more eco-friendly, affordable, and can significantly reduce construction times.

To kick-start this new project, AMGC will receive up to $2 million in funding to undertake a feasibility study and, based on the findings, establish the collaborative innovation hub.

AMGC is currently assembling a Steering Committee comprised of representatives from industry, research organisations, the Housing Industry Association (HIA), and Prefab Australia. This broad range of experts will contribute to the development of the feasibility study, and guide its findings. It is expected that the Steering Committee will present these findings to the Federal Government at the end of this year.


Why Pre-Fab?

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said the hub would support work on a wide range of buildings, including tiny houses, larger homes and offices, and strengthen Australia’s position in the global prefabricated building market.

“This sector is starting to build significant momentum and currently represents 3 to 5 per cent of Australia’s $150 billion construction industry,” Minister Andrews said. “This share could grow to 15 per cent by 2025, creating 20,000 new Australian jobs and adding $30 billion to our economy.”

With prefabrication accounting for 15 per cent of all residential building in Europe, there is clearly a huge opportunity for the Australian pre-fab industry to grow its market share, both at home and abroad. To help achieve this growth, the hub will work to promote the advantages offered by prefabricated homes, particularly their quality, construction efficiency, affordability, environmental sustainability, and liveability.

In fact, the prefabrication construction methodology delivers several key advantages relative to conventional construction:

  • Shorter build times: of up to 50 to 60 per cent less than traditional on-site construction in some cases
  • Reduced schedule risk: due to bad weather preventing on-site works
  • Superior quality: due to factory-based quality control and pre-design of similar modules
  • Safer construction: due to less labour and time on-site
  • Economies of scale: due to repetition of similar prefabricated units
  • Improved sustainability: due to less wastage in controlled manufacturing environments
  • Less disruption: to neighbouring properties due to multiple truck movements associated with conventional on-site construction

Through the innovation hub, AMGC will introduce advanced manufacturing concepts and capabilities—such as Industry 4.0, digitisation and automation—to manufacturers already operating within Australia’s pre-fab construction market.

AMGC will also focus on the application of Australian Standards and the National Building Code within the prefabrication industry, particularly as it is expected that new materials, techniques and products will emerge, all of which must comply with the relevant regulations.


Submissions & further information

Over next few months, AMGC will be seeking comments, guidance, and ideas on what the Pre-fab Innovation Hub could, or should, look like. We welcome all comments, enquiries, and submissions from industry to support the development of the feasibility study.

All submissions should be emailed to [email protected] by 31st October 2019.

For further information, visit the Pre-fab Innovation Hub page on AMGC’s website.