A new training centre is being established at the University of Melbourne to tap the potential of prefabricated manufacturing for Australia’s building industry. The Australian Research Council (ARC) Training Centre for Advanced Manufacturing of Prefabricated Housing will advance and transform the building industry in Australia.

To be based at the University of Melbourne, the new Centre aims to create a co-operative training system between industry and universities, invest in new building technologies, and help unlock the potential growth of Australia’s prefabricated building industry.

A total of $8M from the Australian Research Council (ARC), universities and industry partners will fund the facility for over four years. The Centre will be led by Professor Priyan Mendis and Associate Professor Tuan Ngo from the Department of Infrastructure Engineering, and will directly engage students as well as academics and industry partners. 

Mendis said an emerging highly trained workforce driven by the needs of customers and industry, will help identify innovations in the use of advanced materials and design for manufacturing and assembly, leading to solutions for affordable housing.

He added that the Centre will enable the next generation of engineers and architects to apply advanced manufacturing ideas to prefabricated modular buildings. 

Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Julie Willis said the Centre will secure the Australian industry’s competitive advantage leading to local employment growth and increased exports of prefabricated products and services. The co-operative will train emerging industry professionals and enable industry to develop and apply new materials, processes and technologies that will create products and innovative business models. 

The ARC Training Centre for Advanced Manufacturing of Prefabricated Housing is supported by the University of Melbourne, the University of Sydney, Curtin University and Monash University.

Partner organisations include Surrey Engineering (Amoveo), Prebuilt, PrefabAus, Habitech, Envirosip, Timber Building Systems, ARC the Australian Reinforcing Company, FWPA, Tektum, Richard Kirk Architect, Modulum and CIMC.