- A collaboration called Building 4.0 CRC has secured funding from a grant totaling 28 million Australian dollars (U.S. $16.4 million) to help speed up the construction process, implement new technologies and reduce waste and emissions from construction work. The group is made up of 30 partners, including Australia-based contracting company Lendlease, Monash University and the University of Melbourne.
- The grant, along with other funding the collaboration has received, will be used for a number of initiatives, said Tuan Ngo, research director for Building 4.0 CRC, including:
- Improving competitiveness in the Australian construction industry.
- Educating and training skilled workers.
- Improving cooperation between the industry and research institutions.
- Reducing red tape.
- Addressing market and consumer needs.
- Increasing business’ building capacity.
- The overall goal, Ngo told Construction Dive, will be to show how the construction industry can benefit from an upgraded, modernized process and an “ecosystem business model,” using offsite manufacturing, automation, data analysis and artificial intelligence to improve efficiency.
“This new CRC will deliver a new industry paradigm — 'Building 4.0,' founded on deep collaboration and the application of the principles and technologies of the fourth industrial age,” Ngo told Construction Dive.
The Building 4.0 CRC will have three main research programs. The first will primarily address industry wide issues on the macro level to aid with the implementation of new systems and processes. Research activities will seek to develop new business models and reform the culture of the industry.
The second will be focused on developing a digital platform to ensure open communication during the construction process. The new platform, Ngo said, will integrate different processes for project planning, design and construction, creating a single source of that data for all stakeholders.
The third will research the improvement of materials for construction, planning and maintenance.
The new ecosystem and business practices will be in two “lighthouse” projects, Ngo said. The first will ultimately result in a mixed-use residential and commercial high-rise with a “fully functional digital twin,” while the second will showcase the rapid delivery of affordable, customized homes using standard, sustainable components.
Both projects will be in Australia, he added, but Building 4.0 CRC hopes the lighthouse projects will set the example for the new construction process.