Taking The Wrong Drive
A little over a year ago, I wrote a blog tilted “Building Disruptor” https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/building-disruptor-phil-scardigno/ where I gave some thoughts on the status of Modular and Prefab buildings in the Australian construction landscape.
Fast forward to 2018 and there has been a little more activity happening around this area, however there still remains a void and opportunity we continue to miss. I would’ve thought from the size Australia has evolved to along with the forecasted growth in population we have that we’d have seen more priority into this space. The fact we have housing affordability challenges, as well as housing shortages in the larger cities, and ongoing concerns of building quality that perhaps there were enough reasons to have witnessed a greater spike in prefab activity.
Notwithstanding these reasons, the fact that prefab construction in factories reduces environmental waste issues on site, enhances a safer work environment compared to what happens on building sites and has some overall cost saving benefits for the actual construction itself, then one would think there was a fair amount of opportunity to be found in this form of building. But if there ever was a major reason to leverage an opportunity around the country, the demise of the car building industry and the infrastructure left behind has got me buggered why neither private nor government hasn’t pursued this harder.
We don’t need to look far through Victoria and South Australia to find a few empty factories that once had vehicles delivered around the country and off shore. Not to mention the accumulation of lost manufacturing skills and expertise that could be shifted sideways towards a different form of manufacturing in the prefabricated housing field. Click onto this brief article below from the UK for an interesting take on the activity from one of UK’s volume house builders. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/dec/31/uk-housebuilders-factories-prefabricating-homes
Yeh, that’s right, houses that can be erected within 20 days in the factory before heading to site for final assembly. Now even if we go at the relaxed pace of “she’ll be right mate” and double that to 40 days, don’t tell me there isn’t opportunity in this country for progress with some decent looking prefab homes that we could build utilising some of the infrastructure left behind from the automotive industry.
Social, economic and environmental gains are being missed along with the once in a generation opportunity of becoming leaders in the field of prefab housing. Surely somewhere someone is watching this space driving off into the wind.