The University of Sydney and Australian property group Lendlease have been awarded a A$3m (US$2.3m) grant by the Australian government to work on prefabricated multi-storey housing solutions.
Despite major advances in other manufacturing sectors, innovation in residential construction is lagging– Mathew Aitchison, University of Sydney
High-tech, renewable materials and advanced manufacturing processes are to be explored in the five-year, industry-led project, which is deemed necessary due to high demand for affordable and diverse housing.
A new, marketable housing prototype should emerge, said Kylie Rampa, chief executive of Lendlease Property.
"We aim to bring to market an innovative housing system that is design-led, which will help address affordability issues, while developing advanced manufacturing technologies and techniques for future housing construction," she said in a University of Sydney press notice.
The idea is also to shake up residential construction techniques, which have not changed much in 100 years, said Associate Professor Mathew Aitchison, from the university’s Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning.
"Despite major advances in other manufacturing sectors, innovation in residential construction is lagging," Aitchison said. "This project seeks to drive efficiency and safety benefits and boost Australia’s competitiveness internationally, where we have seen a notable increase in advanced manufacturing in building over the past decade."
The project will develop a range of solutions for the multi-storey housing market that address increasing urban density and residential market demands.
New jobs, skills, technologies and export opportunities for prefabricated housing are also expected.
The research project brings together industry leaders in Australian housing and construction including Lendlease and the University of Sydney’s Innovation in Applied Design Lab, located in the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning.
Image: No stranger to innovation, Lendlease built Australia’s first timber high-rise apartment building, called Forte, in Melbourne (Lendlease)