CSR Hebel has opened a new Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (AAC) plant, adjacent to its existing manufacturing facility in Somersby on the NSW Central Coast. The new $75 million state-of-the-art facility, which opened in October 2019, will enable Hebel to double its current capacity and meet the growing market demand for its quality building products and systems.

The 10,000m² building houses an automated manufacturing line built with the best technology and equipment sourced from Europe as well as Sydney and the NSW Central Coast.

Operations manager Steve Zebib, who oversaw the project from the time it was first envisioned six years ago, said, “To be able to build the world’s best AAC plant in the fastest time, while still operating and running the existing plant at 100% capability in a buoyant market, was a true test of the grit of the team at Hebel.”

According to Zebib, the rising acceptance of Hebel building systems meant that the company needed to increase its capacity to service the needs of a market that regarded AAC as a mainstream building product providing customised solutions for walls and floors.

Hebel building systems are widely used in new residential estates, retirement facilities, modern versions of terraced housing and commercial developments.

“The demand for Hebel building systems in medium-density living and detached living continues to increase. There is growing recognition of it as an innovative material that allows builders to build faster and more efficiently.”

In addition to increasing its output, Hebel plans to utilise the new technology available in its second plant to add further value to its building systems by enhancing the fire-resistant properties and thermal qualities.

Hebel’s new Somersby facility is designed to minimise its carbon footprint. For instance, the plant boasts of zero water waste, with all water including rain directed by a water management system into an 800,000-litre basin from where it is re-used in the production process.

Conservation of the Somersby Mintbush, a protected species of flora that grows on the land, has also been an important aspect of the project. CSR has worked closely with Central Coast Council and the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage to define and allocate a large piece of the land as a conservation zone for propagation of the plant.

“We have built a plant that is capable of competing on the world stage, and Hebel is now among the top players globally,” Zebib concluded.

Image: CSR Hebel's new AAC manufacturing plant launch at Somersby; Photography by Eden Connell