Offsite construction: unlocking a thriving and sustainable construction industry

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Modern methods of construction (MMC), widely recognised as offsite construction, will be integral to the longevity of our buildings, the creation of a thriving and sustainable construction industry, and a resilient future for all. Joyce Ferng, Building Structures and Modular Lead at AECOM, explores the benefits of offsite construction and why increased policy is essential to improving the procurement process, encouraging innovation, and driving widespread uptake.

Pressure is mounting to address the construction industry’s role in limiting climate change. In Australia, we finally recognise that offsite construction could be one of the most effective construction methodologies for sustainable development and may help solve systemic industry challenges such as fragmentation, skills shortages, and antiquated methods of construction.

Offsite construction offers significant environmental, quality and safety benefits compared to conventional construction methodologies, but what are the barriers to widespread adoption?

Realising the benefit: a whole-of-life construction process 

The construction industry is on the precipice of radical change. Offsite construction provides an opportunity for a traditional building process to evolve into industrialised construction. We can design building components for production in a manufacturing environment, creating an ideal platform for smarter design to harness new technologies that will shape and fundamentally change construction as we know it today.

We can disrupt industry norms by integrating Artificial Intelligence within smart production facilities, using 3D printing for intricate components, and applying biomimicry principles to create responsive and restorative products that eliminate waste, which will provide the efficiencies needed to keep up with growing demand. Fundamentally, offsite construction is more sustainable than traditional construction. With new technologies in practice, we will see higher quality construction, greater precision and less waste during manufacture, improved safety outcomes, and faster delivery.

Offsite construction requires us to consider the entire building lifecycle and unlock value even at the end of a building’s useful life. Each stage is intimately interrelated – from manufacture, assembly, and operation to disassembly for the recycling and reuse of components.


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