The building industry is central to our economy, contributing 13% of GDP and employing over 1.4 million Australians.* Unlike other sectors, it has failed to modernise and is plagued by rising costs and stagnating productivity. Through deep collaboration and new technologies of the 4th industrial age, Building 4.0 CRC will catapult the industry into an efficient, connected and customer-centric future. This will deliver better buildings at lower cost and the human capacity to lead this future industry.
COST—37.5% reduction in project costs through digital technology & off-site manufacturing
ENERGY—40% reduction in life cycle costs through high-performing, efficient buildings
TIME—40% reduction in project delays through integrated, live scheduling
SUSTAINABILITY—50% reduction in CO2 emissions for more sustainable buildings
WASTE—80% reduction in construction waste & re-work for higher productivity
EXPORTS—Up to 25% increase in the export of building products & construction services
BEST PRACTICE—Improved quality, customer satisfaction, safety & certainty
REGULATION—Improved policy & regulatory frameworks
COMMUNICATION—Connect industry with common protocols & interfaces, and shared data
CULTURE—Create an open, collaborative, innovative, inclusive & gender diverse industry
EDUCATION—Train 36 PhDs & 1000 Masters Students
JOBS & TRAINING—Create new high-skill jobs—training 7000 apprentices in new technologies
STATE OF PLAY
Construction and property have a major impact on the economy, environment and society. With the world’s urban areas increasing by 200,000 people per day, access to housing is critical. Importantly 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions are attributable to buildings.
For decades, building has been plagued by rising costs, stagnant productivity, high waste and low margins. These problems are compounded by the record demand for buildings of increasing complexity, higher performance standards, with increased customer expectations and sustainability requirements. The industry needs to meet these demands while finding new efficiencies to lower costs.
In Australia, evidence of the building sector’s shortcomings are found in the housing affordability crisis, several recent high-profile safety events, falling quality, skills shortages and the highly disproportionate levels of insolvency of the industry’s 345,000 SMEs.
Building has not kept pace with the rapid technological and organisational change of modern business and society, which has led other sectors to gains in productivity and customer satisfaction. Building’s core challenge remains the modernisation of a fragmented and adversarial industry, which has hitherto blocked the collective problem-solving approach required for change.
Australia’s existing high-cost, low-tech building sector is an ideal target for disruption. Building 4.0 CRC will prepare the industry for this event and place Australia among world-leaders in the field.
By taking a ‘whole-of-system’ approach, the Building 4.0 CRC aims to create an innovation ecosystem. This leverages the entire construction value chain to underpin the sector’s future prosperity and unlock opportunities for growth and productivity. This will lead to an increase in GDP share, growth in high value employment for Australians, a reduction in greenhouse gases and make better housing that is more liveable and affordable for Australians.
ALIGNMENT WITH NATIONAL PRIORITIES AND GROWTH CENTRES
Building 4.0 CRC aims to develop an internationally competitive, dynamic and thriving Australian advanced manufacturing sector for building, in alignment with the Commonwealth Government’s national priorities and the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre’s (AMGC) objectives.
The Building 4.0 CRC’s research partners bring expertise in fields essential to the transformation of the construction industry. This expertise spans Architecture, Design, Planning, Construction, Engineering, Business, Information Technology, and Law. Well-known for their industry partnerships and expertise in applied research, Building 4.0 CRC’s research partners will work with industry on collaborative ‘lighthouse’ projects.
Research programs, representing the three irreducible elements of the future building industry, will deliver: new products, services and businesses; new jobs and relationship;, new systems, protocols and networks; and ultimately new buildings, precincts and ecologies.
VALUE PROPOSITION AND PARTNER BENEFITS
A 5X to 10X productivity boost can be achieved by the building industry if manufacturing principles are applied.*
Building 4.0 CRC’s principles aim to decrease waste, creating buildings that are faster, cheaper, smarter, and will capture new opportunities by facilitating collaborative work between stakeholders across the whole value chain in co-operation with government and research organisations. This collaborative structure enables partners to understand the value of new thinking and to integrate innovative practices in their work.
Building faces fierce competition for highly skilled tech talent from other sectors. The CRC will create pathways to future employees to develop new, tech-focused skills through a deep understanding of the industry’s needs and culture.
* “Reinventing Construction: A Route to Higher Productivity” McKinsey Global Institute 2017
Industry partners will increase profitability and productivity by:
Participation in ‘lighthouse’ projects as a safe testing ground for new partner relationships and ideas;
Creating growth from new products, services and intellectual property;
Conducting research and development in an integrated manner;
Commercialisation bringing together expertise from multiple disciplines, collaborating in a single entity;
Industry-focused R&D projects that leverage Commonwealth funding and expert researchers; and
Providing access to new talent and development opportunities for staff.
Leverage investment from CRC partner contributions and the Commonwealth to conduct industry-focused research that makes an economic, social and environmental impact;
Develop research capability in collaboration with other research and industry partners;
Develop strong relationships with government and industry participants;
Lead the development of approximately 12 Post Docs and 36 PhDs; and
Work with industry and government partners to establish Australia as a leading hub for the advanced manufacturing of buildings.
Reduction of project costs;
Reduction of life cycle costs;
Reduced construction delays;
Reduced greenhouse gas emissions;
Reduced construction waste;
Increasing building material and construction services exports;
Improved quality, customer satisfaction, safety & certainty;
A more collaborative and inclusive culture; and
New high-skill and high-value jobs with training in new technologies needed by industry.
A stronger economy driven by improvements to productivity and competitiveness and increased exports and employment;
An improved environment created by better designed buildings that deliver social and ecological outcomes;
Provision of evidence and data that will define future policy settings for industry;
Improved construction policy and regulatory frameworks; and
More connected industry with common protocols & interfaces, through a foundational layer of deep data.
The building sector is the largest employer of Australians with more than 1.4 million jobs, and the training of 50,000 apprentices each year.*
The sector is of vital importance to the nation’s social and economic outcomes. Industry experts are in strong agreement that sectoral change is both necessary and imminent. The Building 4.0 CRC will fulfill the key roles of both preparing and leading this sectoral change. The education and training strategy will address current skill shortages, demographic change from a retiring workforce, and new skills demanded by this digital age.
The CRC’s partners from industry, VET, universities and government will work together to understand training and education requirements for today’s jobs. These requirements will inform new skills that leverage evolving advanced technology for new jobs and career pathways. The CRC will establish industry-led programmes increasing partnerships between VET and universities. These partnerships will deliver the next generation of highly-skilled and innovative building professionals. This will increase the number of apprentices who continue to attain degrees ensuring that education aligns with skills shortages and that varied teaching approaches are practiced to encourage increased diversity to transform the culture of construction.
As a not-for-profit company, the Building 4.0 CRC will be limited by guarantee and governed by an independent board selected by the members of the CRC.
A Projects Advisory Committee, comprised of a mix of independent and participant members, will review research project proposals submitted by members, and provide recommendations to the board.
Project agreements will be documented prior to project commencement and will outline terms such as partners involved, investment, IP ownership and commercialisation rights, timing and milestones.
CRC participants will be grouped into three tiers based on levels of cash contribution. Each tier will have different rights commensurate with their level of contribution.
Foundational industry partners: Lendlease, Donovan Group, uTecture, Coresteel Buildings
Lead research organisations: Monash University, University of Melbourne
Interim CEO: Prof. Mathew Aitchison
Chair Elect: Dr Bronwyn Evans
Research Director: Prof. Tuan Ngo
WHAT IS A CRC
The Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) Programme is the peak funding initiative of the Australian Government for industry-focused R&D.
CRCs focus on medium to long-term industry-led collaborations to develop important new technologies, products and services and assist in driving the growth of new industries.
CRC terms are up to 10-years and are granted an average $4.5 million per annum
in Commonwealth funding, deliver research, education and training activities.
More information can be found at: www.business.gov.au/assistance/cooperative-research-centres-programme
GET IN TOUCH
Prof. Mathew Aitchison
Prof. Tuan Ngo
University of Melbourne