8 July 2020
By Remedial Team
Recent events aside (fire and COVID-19) over the last few years, the commercial building industry has experienced significant growth.
But that said, the industry has also been subject to significant change, owed in large to technological advancements and a shift in project management techniques.
But what is to come, what is likely to affect the building solutions we all use? We think that there are 7 key events which are affecting the industry as a whole at the moment and which are likely to be shaping influences in the years to come.
1. Increased Off-Site Construction
In a bid for more streamlined and profitable operations, more and more building companies have moved onto modular and off-site construction. Because off-site and modular projects accelerate building timelines by 20 – 50 per cent, these types of work are quickly being embraced by many players in the construction industry.
It is therefore not surprising then that off-site building solutions are a growing trend in 2020 and will continue to expand and change the construction landscape in the future. Currently, off-site work and modular construction represent about 5 per cent of Australia’s building sector. But it is expected to grow to 15% by the time 2025 rolls around.
This growth will come primarily from a change in the factors limiting construction technology, design, repairs, and maintenance. Where it was once a given that off-site construction was inferior or more expensive, we can expect that constructing parts of a building at a separate location will continue to become a viable solution for all builders around the country. After all, the process improves productivity and flexibility and offers a sure method to reduce the costs involved in many projects.
2. Structural Resiliency
The Opal Tower in Sydney is one of the major examples of building failures in Australia in recent memory. 392 apartments within the tower had to be evacuated when cracks were identified in structural elements of the building. Homeowners were forced out of their dwellings and 8 months after the initial evacuation, reports stated that there were still 15 homeowners who couldn’t get back to their homes.
The tower’s building defects were attributed to shoddy construction and poor design, particularly of the hob beams. Opal Tower is not alone in its situation, so much so that the Government is undertaking increased scrutiny of the building industry to prevent a fall in faith and a resulting building crisis.
The national construction secretary for the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CMFEU), Dave Noonan shed light into this matter. According to him, “Australia’s building and construction crisis will cost a staggering $6.2 billion—to fix apartments they’ve already paid for.”
There is now a major push for resilient structures happening in Australia. Building solution services that help commercial and residential properties stand the test of time, improve structural issues and enhance environmental elements are in high demand.
3. Focus On Defective Cladding and Its Replacement
In connection with the rising concern for structural stability and resilience, one of the building maintenance solutions that has been mandated for a complete overhaul is the replacement of defective cladding.
Cladding plays an important role in construction. It is the layer applied to a building’s surface to promote better insulation, weather resistance, and the aesthetic value of a structure. If the defective, combustible cladding is left in-situ, it could compromise the building during a fire.
To avoid costlier problems down the road and to ensure that buildings are stringently following the safety regulations imposed by the Building Code of Australia, there is a raising need for cladding repair and maintenance services and similar building services solutions. These services will become more commonplace through the year ahead
4. Incorporation of IoT
The Internet of Things (IoT) is basically the interconnectedness of various appliances in a home or machines in a community space. Facilitated by Wi-Fi technology, the IoT connects devices with a central hub.
You can, for example, adjust the air conditioning of your home or turn on the lights even if you’re still at the office. Functionalities of refrigerators, coffee makers, washing machines, garage doors, security systems, and more can be controlled via a smartphone.
According to the report published on ResearchAndMarkets.com, the IoT market in Australia was valued at $7.9 Billion in 2018, but excitingly, it has the potential to become a $25 Billion industry by 2024.
It is easy to see why there is an increase in demand for IoT and building solutions that embrace the potential that IoT offers. The Internet of Things promises convenience, productivity, and a better quality of life and there is an argument that eventually, technology will be built into structural elements, helping to keep track of maintenance requirements.
5. Adaptive Re-Use of a Building for Different Use
To address environmental concerns, stricter building codes, and economic sustainability issues — the adaptive re-use of buildings is gaining traction in Australia. This entails the conversion of a variety of dated structures into modern spaces and using them for another purpose than what they were originally built for.
A wide range of historic buildings, structures that are falling into disrepair or functioning below full capacity, and abandoned properties are now undergoing restorations all over the country. In fact, we are currently providing services on the repurposing of the old Department of Education building which has been internally gutted, leaving only the beautiful historical façade. Many other projects around the country are now underway; transforming older buildings into commercial spaces, art buildings, community recreation centres, and other pleasing points of interest.
Structural and facade upgrades are being done on these buildings to boost their environmental, social, and economic sustainability, whilst maintaining the historical value and aesthetic feel of the area. These upgrades include building solutions that focus on insulation, energy cost reduction, removing toxic waste, increasing property value, and facade improvements. As a result, many contractors are now seeing a regular stream of restoration and reconstruction projects.
6. Better Compliance
The Building Code of Australia has undergone a lot of changes in recent years. The regulation amendments are mostly focussed on making sure that new construction and restoration projects result in stable, long-lasting, and safer buildings.
The governing bodies and professionals in charge of ensuring that a structure is compliant to the rules are also being more careful and stringent in implementing the rules. This is to avoid further aggravating the building crisis as detailed above.
Builders must satisfy the tenets set by the BCA, otherwise, they may run into legal trouble years down the track. Ergo, architects, contractors, and other professionals in the construction industry must provide building solution services that take into careful consideration the longevity of a building and the safety of its occupants—now more than ever.
7. Cost-Saving Technological Solutions
The Australian construction industry is fully embracing high-tech building solutions that are cost-effective. There is now an influx in construction software technologies and the demand for professionals skilled enough to use these applications is also trending.
Innovations and digital technologies are shaping the industry and they are expected to help the whole industry save as much as $25 Billion per year over the next ten years! Some of the technological breakthroughs implemented recently are those that streamline workflows and prevent the delays and problems brought on by manual administrative tasks.
Software for managing vendor relationships, material procurement, project timelines and document management are more and more commonplace. Solutions such as ViewPoint are here to stay and likely to be more readily embraced.
The Australian Construction Industry Gears Up for the Future
Despite the current standstill around the world brought on by an unprecedented pandemic, the outlook for Australia’s construction industry remains positive – if builders take the opportunity to improve operations. Builders and regulators that focus on creating structures that are cost-effective, sustainable, and technologically advanced will benefit most.
At Remedial, we are always striving to improve how we operate and to ensure we are using the best solutions and products available. If you are looking for expert help regarding leading remediation work across the construction sector, you can speak to one of our specialists who will be happy to help!CONTACT US
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