School of Property, Construction & Project Management
The Center for Integrated Project Solutions (CIPS) recently launched a three-year project studying exemplars of offsite manufacturing in Australia. The project, “Efficient construction: Analysis of integrated supply chains for innovative off site housing manufacturing”, is led by Professor Kerry London. The team includes Associate Professor Malik Khalfan and Dr. Zelinna Pablo.
During the first year, the team will be conducting in-depth analyses of collaborative practices across of range of organisations in Victoria and in South Australia, including Australian companies as well as selected Victoria-based suppliers from China. The project is supported by the ARC and involves partnerships with Australand, Metricon, FMG Engineering, and Master Builders Association of Victoria, with a total budget of $ 513,385. The research team members will be meeting with partner company representatives in the first 2015 Project Steering Committee meeting next month. The goal of this academic-industry partnership is to explore the application of housing manufacturing techniques to improve efficiency in the construction industry, as these can reduce construction time and improve housing affordability.
The Research team will be employing actor-network theory as a theoretical approach, and are in the stages of finalising detailed research design. We are anticipating that project findings will shed considerable insights on OSM practice in the country, while contributing to theoretical discussions on a range of topics, including innovation, collaboration, supply chains, and large-scale industry change. The project shall be presented to the academic community through a series of talks, including a keynote presentation by Professor London in Perth, as well as a series of conferences beginning with a London-based symposium later this year. Apart from theoretical and empirical contributions, we are laying the groundwork for guiding policy and practice in the Australian housing sector. We have made significant progress in formulating a new conceptual framework which will soon be used in building a collaborative model envisioned to be used by practitioners in the OSM industry. Other outcomes will include the creation of innovative interactive training materials to be used in virtual simulations involving business collaboration scenarios for various practitioners. Simulations will be run in a special training laboratory, the innovative Building Leadership Simulation Centre, which is the only one of its kind in the southern hemisphere and is owned by one of our partner organisations, the Master Builders Association Victoria.
Although the project involves the use of some complex and novel data collection scenarios, the project was given quick ethics approval by RMIT CHEAN earlier this month. As we move into the data collection stage, Professor London will also be initiating processes to recruit a PhD candidate with a Scholarship to be the fourth member of the team.