The prefabricated timber Pods from Pryda Australia are taking a rapid hold in the Western Australian residential building market since their introduction in July last year.
Completed in the factory for use as second storeys on homes and transported by semi-trailer for erection by crane on site, the Pod has been developed and engineered by Pryda in conjunction with one of its leading West Australian fabricators, W.A. Spantruss.
Perth project home builder 101 Residential was the first company to trial the unique construction concept. The successful trial has led to the company using 30 Pods till date with another 60 in the pipeline for its various projects throughout the city. 101 Residential is also using them on display homes to attract further business.
Key advantages of the Pods, according to Dave Lewis of W.A. Spantruss include significant cost and time savings over conventional building methods, especially since no scaffolding is required to erect them. Pod sizes start at 6m x 6m, which save about 3-4 weeks in construction time. Larger Pods offer a corresponding increase in time saving. The largest Pod fabricated so far is a 110m² module, which includes a bathroom and greater roof heights, and saves eight weeks in construction time.
With most houses in Western Australia built from double brick, a two-storeyed house would require stronger and heavier footings and bricks to take the weight of the second storey concrete slab floor. According to Pryda Market Development Engineer Bernard Kennelly, the lighter Pods dispense with the need for these extra precautions. The Pods use Pryda Longreach for the second storey floor trusses while the roof trusses and timber wall frames are prefabricated.
To overcome the hurdle of matching the accuracy of the prefabricated Pod with onsite brickwork, WA Spantruss and Pryda use structural steel support beams between the top and bottom chords of the Pryda Longreach floor trusses. A number of webs within the Pryda Longreach floor trusses are moved to accommodate the steel beams and duct spaces. The duct spaces run the full length of the Pod and enable easy fitting of air conditioning ducts and plumbing and electrical services.
With 75mm EPS wall sheeting, windows, gutters, fascia, eaves, roof battens, linings and insulation all installed in the factory, the house can quickly be brought to lock up stage once the Pod is delivered to the site. For installation, the Pods are craned into position in two halves and joined together once they are in place. The installation process takes no more than a couple of hours, irrespective of the Pod size. Final finishing can be easily and quickly completed on site.