School of Property, Construction & Project Management

Surviving Winston: RMIT housing project in Fiji endures recent cyclone

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Cyclone Winston recently hit Fiji with wind gusts of over 300km/h devastating many
townships and poor communities in the South Pacific region. One of those communities
survived Cyclone Winston with no major damage to any of its 164 homes, and no injury to its 780 residents. This township is known as Koroipita and it is near Fiji’s second largest city, Lautoka. Koroipita means Peter’s Town as it was named after its founder, Peter Draysdale.
RMIT-PCPM Staff and Students, led by Assoc. Prof. Guillermo Aranda-Mena, pioneered the design (2009-10) and construction (2011-12) of Koroipita’s Stage Two houses (K2). The work included design and documentation work using Building Information Models (BIM), and the preparation of a Construction Guide Book that volunteers on the project have continuously used over the years including follow up RMIT Study Tours lead by Matthew Myers, Vince Raso and Guinevere Gilbert. Most of the labour is carried out by Australian volunteers.

From Guillermo Aranda-Mena:
“Our ongoing involvement with Peter Draysdale has been very meaningful for many people, not just for the residents at Koroipita, but also to our students and researchers at RMIT. We tested with early BIM models the design of these simple, economic yet strong homes in 2009-10 and then we travelled to the Fiji site with 23 of our PCPM students to build two of them. Returning back to Melbourne after this hands-on experience, we created a Construction Guide Book, again using BIM as a resource. The great lesson here is that we can apply high-end BIM tools and technologies to low-cost volunteer-built housing systems. It was a useful experience to all involved, to successfully apply BIM as a tool, to design, document and build cyclone resistant housing in Fiji – it is just a smart way to do it! We are currently preparing a follow up project in collaboration with Hans Tilstra who is the Senior Coordinator, Learning and Teaching Academic Development Group, College of Science, Engineering and Health at RMIT University and CATIA Dessault BIM Systems as our industry sponsor.”

For more information on current and future BIM (hands-on) projects contact Guillermo at
Link to our MELBIM Industry Forum
Photos by Guillermo Aranda-Mena
Other image  attachments:
BIM Model of a Home  by Guillermo Aranda-Mena
Extract of the Construction Guide  by Guillermo Aranda-Mena 

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This entry was posted on April 13, 2016 by and tagged , , , , , , .
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