Meeting industry needs
The Australian construction industry is currently in the grip of a resources-led boom, which has resulted in severe pressure on infrastructure delivery, particularly in the states of Queensland and Western Australia.
This has impacted on the construction industry in a number of ways, through staff shortages and scarcity of materials. The mining industry has attracted tradespeople who might otherwise have worked in construction and the volume of work has resulted in fewer staff in our industry participant organisations being available to work on Construction Innovation projects.
The buoyant nature of the industry is also placing significant demand on resources, other than staff. There is a high nationwide demand for construction products, which places additional pressure on infrastructure and results in increased costs throughout the supply chain.
To address these challenges, Construction Innovation has increased its focus on research to enhance the productivity of delivering national infrastructure. Integrated digital modelling research projects in our extension program, which commenced on 1 July 2007, are as equally relevant for infrastructure as for buildings. The Interoperable Standards Development project looks at developing the current IFC international standard, which covers the building, to a standard which can apply for where the building meets the ground and with civil and external works like pavements, retaining walls, landscaping and underground services. Similarly, the Collaboration Platform project promotes the shared usage of digital tools and data for clients and contractors in building and infrastructure.
Other projects in the extension program, such as the development of Safety Effectiveness Indicators against critical safety management activities and research to improve project Dispute Avoidance and Resolution are highly applicable for building and infrastructure and have been strongly industry-driven.
The extension program will build on and complement Construction Innovation's existing work and will run in parallel with the existing CRC to June 2008 and as a standalone program through to June 2009.
Six additional industry participants have joined Construction Innovation to assist in delivering the extension program. In response to current industry pressures, and to maintain the critical R&D service to our growing participant-base, our Centre will submit a competitive bid to the CRC Programme's 2008 Selection Round.
The focus of this bid will address these issues through digital technology, which provides the capacity for industry to be more productive and sustainable. The offsite design and manufacturing component of the rebid will impact on industry in several ways. Work normally done onsite would be undertaken in factories, which would alleviate skill shortages on site, as less skilled labour would be required.
Development of building components such as facades, bridge beams and bathroom modules, to a higher quality standard in a factory environment would also enable these materials to be produced more sustainably with less waste, more safely and economically â€“ leading to better, faster, cheaper and safer construction.
With increased industry engagement and support from its partners, Construction Innovation is recognised for the unique role it plays in providing leadership of industry-wide research and development.
Our Board and the team of 351 industry, government and research professionals who undertake and deliver our research are committed to continuing to provide valuable outcomes for Australian industry through applied research, education and technology transfer for the future.