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    New draft code for modular construction aims to increase industry acceptance

    Prefabaus’ Modular Construction Codes Board is developing a new code of practice for modular construction, which aims to remove misconceptions and pave the way for greater adoption of the technology.

    MCCB steering committee member John Lucchetti, also a principal at Wood & Grieve Engineers and a director of Prefabaus, explains that the code is designed not to constrain designers, but to provide guidance for industry stakeholders who want to get on board with modular methodology.

    The draft code covers the key steps in Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA), including end-of-life, and encompasses structure, building services, facades, durability, transport, erection, temporary site works, traceability of materials, compliance with codes and standards, inspection and documentation, and disassembly and recycling, among other topics. The code is being developed at a time when modular construction is seeing a growing uptake in projects.

    According to Lucchetti, modular has already been used to deliver a wide variety of projects in multi-residential developments, hotels, student accommodation, hospitals, data centres, retail installations and even police stations and prison correctional facilities.

    DfMA presents several opportunities for sustainable construction including waste minimisation, and using factory acceptance testing and air tightness testing within the manufacturing setting to ensure higher levels of quality and compliance.

    The development of the code has been supported by Engineers Australia, the Australian Steel Institute and the Victorian Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources. Work on the draft code was initiated by James Murray-Parkes, head of the Engineering Innovations Group at Multiplex and professor of practice in the engineering faculty at Monash University. The initiative has also received significant support from the Victorian Department of State Development, Business and Innovation through the Manufacturing Productivity Networks Program.

    Key contributors also include associate professor Yu Bai at Monash University and other MCCB founding members from industry as well as Angus McFarlane, structural engineering lead at the Engineering Excellence Group at Laing O’Rourke; George Konstandakos, general manager of timber building systems and former chief executive of Hickory Building Systems; Brendon McNiven, principal in Arup’s building design team; and Dr Ben Forbes from Monash’s Civil Engineering faculty.

    The draft model code of practice is scheduled to be released for industry comment early in the first half of 2017.

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