Building 4.0: transforming Australian construction

By Allen Jack

An AU$28mn grant has been awarded by the government for the funding of a revolutionary construction project called Building 4.0 CRC

Given by Karen Andrews MP, Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, this money brings the total sum invested in the project up to $131mn.

Partnering with over 30 companies and organisations - including Bentley Homes, Taronga Ventures, A.G. Coombs and Salesforce - the project is scheduled to start in July 2020, after seven years in development.

Modernising a key industry

The primary motivation for Building 4.0 appears to be in reaction to the perceived lack of technological evolution within the construction industry generally. 

“The building industry is central to our economy, contributing 13% of GDP and employing over 1.4 million Australians. Unlike other sectors, it has failed to modernise and is plagued by rising costs and stagnating productivity,” says the project’s website. 

It is hoped that Building 4.0’s diverse incorporation of multiple companies in several different industries will yield a newly energy efficient, people-centric and intuitively connected environment - also called the ‘fourth industrial revolution’ (FIR).

Conceived as a space in which the physical, digital and biological worlds crossover to create a sustainable and technologically advanced society, the FIR has started to be realised by several ‘smart city’ projects around the world. 


Reimagining Australian cities

Building 4.0 will seek to overhaul the efficiencies not just of energy, but also wastage, regulations and safety. The projects lists the following net improvements that are expected to occur in the buildings it will construct:

Energy: 40% reduction in overall usage.

Sustainability: Potential for an up to 50% reduction in CO2 emissions.

Cost: Up to 30% reduction in costs via digital planning and on-site fabrication.

Time: 40% less time wasted through better scheduling and data analysis.

Waste: 80% reduction in wastage from better utilisation of construction materials. 

In addition, the project will enable 36 people to be trained at PhD level and a further 1,000 at Master’s Degree level, thus creating high-skill work and opening the potential for apprenticeships in cutting-edge industry skills.

Becoming industry disruptors

Building 4.0 is envisaged by its organisers as a disruptive force in the market, which will transform a dominant industry that is need of innovation.

“Australia’s existing high-cost, low-tech building sector is an ideal target for disruption. Building 4.0 CRC will prepare the industry for this event and place Australia among world-leaders in the field,” says the website.

Confident that its methods could yield better results five times or 10 times faster than was previously thought possible, the project could be a significant opportunity for Australia to capture the world’s imagination and catapult it to being a global leader.

For more information on business topics in ANZ, please take a look at the latest edition of Business Chief ANZ.

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