A $28 million funding bid, via the Australian Government Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) Program, has the potential to boost the economy through job creation and position Australia as a leader in the advanced manufacturing of buildings.

The bid was led by Monash University, Lendlease, The University of Melbourne and Donovan Group.

If successful, the Building 4.0 CRC research initiative will use digital solutions to transform Australia’s building industry from pre-industrial practices to a future where the customer is at the centre of each building experience, and buildings are built faster, cheaper and smarter.

Interim CEO of Building 4.0 CRC, and Monash University Professor, Mathew Aitchison, said R&D carried out in the CRC will demonstrate that the building industry can come together to deliver buildings that are more efficient, cheaper and sustainable, without sacrificing quality.

“With our involvement in the CRC, we want to transform the way the industry collaborates, which we think is the key to unlocking major improvements in the sector,” he said.

Building 4.0 CRC 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 to transform the entire sector.

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

Professor Shane Murray, Dean of Architecture at Monash Art, Design and Architecture (MADA), said Building 4.0 CRC will catapult the industry into a connected, user-centred, sustainable and efficient future.

Murray said the university and industry collaboration will announce its bid for the CRC program funding in Melbourne tomorrow Friday, July 26.

The event features building exhibits and digital demonstrations from a CRC project (2016-19) called Innovation in Advanced Multi-Storey Housing Manufacture.

Building 4.0 CRC Chair Elect Dr Bronwyn Evans said the Building 4.0 CRC is going to be a really important factor in this sector, making sure broad sector needs are met.

Bill Ruh, CEO of Digital, at Lendlease said it's an incredible opportunity to use the latest digital technology to create high-fidelity, fully detailed, complete and absolute models of what's being built.

“The accuracy and speed of construction will be second to none, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible,” he said.

“For Lendlease, the CRC program is a great opportunity for us to not only test and use technology to develop new ways of working, but to find ways of working collaboratively with the broader industry.”

Professor Mark Cassidy, Dean of Melbourne School of Engineering at the University of Melbourne, said the building industry needs to lead digital disruption to ensure it gains a first-mover advantage.

He said these reforms are only achievable with significant innovation and collaboration across the industry.

Building 4.0 CRC seeks to set trends and break rules in order to transform the way the industry engages and responds to customers’ needs.

Some of the outcomes this initiative hopes to achieve include:
·       37.5 per cent 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.

Donovan Group CEO in Australia, Gavin Tonnet, said his 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,” he said.

The bid comprises 28 leading players in commercial industry, university, industry bodies and government partners, with the results announced December 2019.


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