Construction News

Fri April 03 2020

Lendlease team gets grant to develop ‘Building 4.0’

19 Mar A team of universities, companies and industry bodies have secured funding for an AU$131m (£65m) initiative to transform how buildings are designed and manufactured in Australia.

Monash University, Lendlease, the University of Melbourne, Donovan Group, BlueScope, Sumitomo Forestry and CSR, along with 23 other partners, will use the funding to establish Building 4.0 CRC - an initiative seeking to transform how buildings are designed and manufactured in Australia.

A newly awarded AU$28m grant will leverage a combined AU$103m from industry, government and research partners – bringing the combined research budget to AU$131m over seven years.

The Building 4.0 CRC research initiative is focused on use of digital systems, new products and processes aiming to transform Australia’s building industry. The idea is to create a “tech-enabled, collaborative future where the customer is at the centre of each building experience and buildings are not only better, but faster, cheaper and safer”.

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

Building 4.0 CRC is funded by the Australian Government Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) programme which is seeking boost the economy through job creation and position Australia as a leader in the advanced manufacture of buildings.

The project could “set trends, break rules and transform the way the industry engages and responds to customers’ needs, where buildings are built faster, cheaper and smarter”, says the team.

The research will be based at Monash University in partnership with the University of Melbourne, and in collaboration with the Queensland University of Technology.

Outcomes this initiative hopes to achieve include:

  • 30% 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.

Monash University Professor Mathew Aitchison, interim CEO of Building 4.0 CRC, said: “By leveraging this government funding and our deep collaboration with research and training partners, we are committed to putting the Australian industry at the forefront of global developments.”

Lendlease chief executive officer, digital, Bill Ruh said: “Lendlease is proud to be part of the Building 4.0 CRC. We are committed to creating a safer, more sustainable industry, and our investment in the CRC is essential in the research and development of solutions to achieve this vision.”

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.”

Dr Bronwyn Evans, chair of Building 4.0 CRC said: “the Building 4.0 CRC is going to be a really important factor in making sure we have a competitive future and we are addressing those broad sector needs.”

Professor Margaret Gardner, Monash University President and Vice-Chancellor, said: “Building 4.0 CRC will lead to a growth in high-value employment, a reduction in greenhouse gases, and create better housing that is more affordable, liveable and environmentally friendly for the future of all Australians.”

Professor Tuan Ngo, research director of Building 4.0 CRC, from the University of Melbourne, said: “I hope to achieve a more sustainable, more efficient and more user-friendly industry through this CRC. The Building 4.0 CRC is going to be a really important factor in this sector, making sure that we have a competitive future and that we are addressing broad sector needs."

Building 4.0 CRC comprises 30 players across commercial industry, university, industry bodies and government partners, including: Monash University, University of Melbourne, Lendlease, Donovan Group, 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, Green Building Council of Australia, Standards Australia, Taronga Venture Advisory, Victorian Building Authority and the Victorian Government Department of Jobs, Precincts & Regions.

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