$28 million grant to transform design and production of buildings in Australia

Image of a construction site.
Building 4.0 CRC will bring together expertise from various fields to develop industry-wide practices intended to transform the entire sector. Image: Pixabay

Reducing waste, delays and emissions from building projects is the focus of a collaborative initiative between 30 industry partners that received $28 million from the Australian Government.

Monash University, Lendlease, the University of Melbourne, Donovan Group, BlueScope, Sumitomo Forestry and CSR, along with 23 other partners, have been successful in securing this funding to establish the Building 4.0 CRC - an initiative seeking to transform how buildings are designed and manufactured in Australia.

Announced by Federal Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews, the $28 million grant will leverage a combined $103 million from industry, government and research partners.

The Building 4.0 CRC research initiative is focused on use of digital solutions, new products and processes aiming to transform Australia’s building industry to a tech-enabled, collaborative future where the customer is at the centre of each building experience and buildings are not only better, but faster, cheaper and safer.

Building 4.0 CRC is funded by the Australian Government Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) Program, which has the potential to boost the economy through job creation and position Australia as a leader in the advanced manufacture of buildings.

Completely unique to the Australian and international markets, the Building 4.0 CRC could set trends, break rules and transform the way the industry engages and responds to customers’ needs, where buildings are built faster, cheaper and smarter.

The CRC will be based at Monash University in partnership with the University of Melbourne, and in collaboration with the Queensland University of Technology.

Some of the outcomes this initiative hopes to achieve include:

  • 30 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

“Building 4.0 CRC demonstrates that industry and government can come together to solve the big issues facing the building industry today,” Interim CEO of Building 4.0 CRC, Professor Mathew Aitchison, from Monash University said.

“By leveraging this government funding and our deep collaboration with research and training partners, we are committed to putting the Australian industry at the forefront of global developments.”

Lendlease Chief Executive Officer, Digital, Bill Ruh, said: “Lendlease is proud to be part of the Building 4.0 CRC. We are committed to creating a safer, more sustainable industry, and our investment in the CRC is essential in the research and development of solutions to achieve this vision.”

Lendlease Digital Delivery: Co-founder and Chief Product Officer, Daryl Patterson, said: “this is a great opportunity to extend our proven high value utilisation of research partnerships and the CRC program.”

Chair of Building 4.0 CRC, Dr Bronwyn Evans, said: “the Building 4.0 CRC is going to be a really important factor in making sure we have a competitive future and we are addressing those broad sector needs.”

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 intended to transform the entire sector.

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

Monash University President and Vice-Chancellor Margaret Gardner said: “Building 4.0 CRC will lead to a growth in high-value employment, a reduction in greenhouse gases, and create better housing that is more affordable, liveable and environmentally friendly for the future of all Australians.

“Monash University is proud to be leading this initiative, and we are grateful to the Federal Government for their recognition and support of this transformational CRC.”

University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Duncan Maskell said: “The University of Melbourne welcomes this funding, which will see the building industry benefit from world-leading research.

“With significant innovation and collaboration expertise across the CRC group, Building 4.0 is an exciting new opportunity to transform the building industry.”

Research Director of Building 4.0 CRC, Professor Tuan Ngo, from the University of Melbourne, said: “I hope to achieve a more sustainable, more efficient and more user-friendly industry through this CRC.

“The Building 4.0 CRC is going to be a really important factor in this sector, making sure that we have a competitive future and that we are addressing broad sector needs."

Australian CEO of Donovan Group, Gavin Tonnet, said: “Our 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.”

Building 4.0 CRC comprises 30 leading players in commercial industry, university, industry bodies and government partners, including: Lendlease, Monash University, University of Melbourne, Donovan Group, BlueScope Steel, CSR, Sumitomo Forestry, Utecture Australia, Victorian Government Department of Jobs Precincts and Regions, Bentley Homes, Queensland University of Technology, A.G Coombs, Coresteel Australia, Holmesglen Institute, Salesforce, Ultimate Windows, CadMakers, Hyne Timber, M-Modular, Shapeshift Design Technologies, Amazon Web Services, Fleetwood, Gelion Technologies, Master Builders Association of Victoria, Schiavello Manufacturing, Victorian Building Authority, YNOMIA, Green Building Council of Australia, PrefabAUS, Standards Australia and Taronga Venture Advisory.

For more information, please visit https://www.building4pointzero.org/