New research centres are investigating ways to make construction in Australia cheaper, without compromising on safety or quality.
Two Cooperative Research Centres (CRCs) – Building 4.0 CRC and SmartCrete CRC – will receive $28 million and $21 million respectively over the next seven years, the Federal Government announced last month.
Building 4.0 CRC
Headquartered at Monash University, Building 4.0 CRC aims to develop lower cost, smart housing solutions, catapulting the industry into an efficient, connected and customer-centric future.
Among its targets are an 80 per cent reduction in construction waste, and up to 30 per cent reduction in project costs by using digital technology and off-site manufacturing. It also aims to increase the human capacity of the building industry by training 36 PhD students, 1000 masters students and 7000 apprentices.
The centre’s research programs will encompass sectoral, digital and building transformation, with the aim of improving all aspects of the key building phases: development, design, production, assembly, operation, maintenance and end-of-life.
Artificial Intelligence is expected to play a role, with planned activities including the digital connection of construction sites to provide live progress monitoring and feedback, and tracking of building elements through the use of the Internet of Things tags and devices.
Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said the aim was to propel Australia into a world-leader in the advanced manufacture of buildings.
“Affordable, sustainable and safe housing is something that concerns all Australians,” she said.
“It’s vital we do what we can to make construction more efficient and cost-effective, without reducing quality.”
The SmartCrete CRC aims to ensure the long-term viability of concrete infrastructure in Australia by reducing costs and improving durability and sustainability.
A collaboration of asset owners, industry, small-medium enterprises, the supply chain and academic community, SmartCrete CRC’s goal is to improve industry competitiveness through four key enablers: an innovation interface with regulators/standards bodies, skills and training development, risk mitigation performance testing and new products and processes across Australia.
“Concrete is so essential to our building industry and public infrastructure projects that even small savings and increases in productivity can make a massive difference,” Andrews said.
“It will allow us to get more bang for our buck, which is so important for the productivity and sustainability of Australian industries.”
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