The mining boom could worsen the shortfall of accommodation in WA. The Real Estate Institute of WA stressed this by pointing to Karratha. In Karratha the median house price has jumped from a peak of $770,000 in June to a new record of $822,000 in December last year. This pressure is set to boost interest in more efficient forms of housing construction to especially better cater for mining-related demand.

Organisers of the Perth Steel Frame Building Expo have noted a jump in interest to attend over the past two months with news of resurgence in mining.

The Expo is being organised by FrameCAD Solutions in conjunction with the National Association of Steel Frame Housing (NASH). The expo will be held from 17 to 19 March 2010 in Perth.

FrameCAD will display their totally self-contained mobile steel frame fabrication factory at the Expo. Named the “Factory in a Can”, FrameCAD’s F300i roll forming machine is housed in a modified 6.1m (20 ft) shipping container. This mobile factory can be trucked into any location and made operational within 24 hours of arriving on site.

The mobile steel frame fabrication factory has its own diesel generator and computer-operated steel frame fabricating machine, and is able to manufacture precision engineered roll-form framing and trusses at a rate of up to 700 metres per hour. This allows for a quick start construction of all kinds of structures, from residential homes to multi level commercial buildings. The mobile steel fabrication factory features such efficiency that framing and trusses for a standard 200sqm house can be completed in one day and erected within one to two days.

Growing demand for mining-related accommodation will continue to focus on northwest WA. The coastline here, between Broome and Exmouth, is the most cyclone-prone region of the entire Australian coastline.

FrameCAD’s mobile factory and the steel frames it produces on site address many of the key concerns for both housing and housing construction in harsh remote areas via: 

  • Lightweight to erect 
  • Lightweight, compact and cheaper to transport (i.e. assembled on site): important in WA with long distances to mining towns 
  • Faster construction versus traditional methods
  • Strength: cyclone proof - non-warping, non-twisting 
  • Cheaper/cost effective to construct: as much as 30% over traditional methods 
  • Safer to construct (i.e. less OH&S concerns than establishing traditional wood frames with nail guns etc) 
  • Termite proof 
  • Galvanised: rust/water/rain resistant 
  • The environmental benefits of steel
A number of FrameCAD factory machines are already operating successfully in WA.
Mr Peter Blythe, FrameCAD’s Australasia Manager, explained, “The mobility of the Factory in a Can is ideal for the vastness and distances of WA. Add to this the speed at which it can be deployed on site and you have real competitive advantages in filling accommodation demand in remote areas.

“There is seriously unfilled demand in WA for pre-engineered structures that can be produced, assembled and erected on site in remote regions.

“Coupled to this, there is a shortage in the availability of skilled trades people in WA as the economy turns around. This is adding to the appeal of FRAMECAD’s mobile factory and its steel framing because it does not require especially skilled labour for assembly on site.

“Our framing is ‘Meccano-like’ in its simplicity of assembly. This is because production is computer controlled and every piece of framing produced is numbered and coded so it can be easily assembled on site.”

Mr Blythe said the mobile steel frame fabrication factory was originally designed for commercial building companies wanting to build multiple homes in large-scale developments.
The Expo is open to all those associated with the building industry.

Dates: 17 to 19 March 2010
Location: 12 Millrose Drive, Malaga 6090
Framecad demonstration times: 10:00 am & 6:00 pm daily