Advocates of off-site manufacturing (OSM), which is sometimes referred to as ‘prefabrication’, ‘modern methods of construction’ or ‘industrialised building’, are typically eager to see the technology integrated across the full spectrum of building
and construction activity in Australia. But to achieve this requires a remarkable degree of cooperation and collaboration throughout our industry. Many countries overseas have succeeded in this effort, and while Australia has recently adopted various off-site manufacturing technologies, the uptake of OSM in this market has been slow. 

Recently, Master Builders, in partnership with Western Sydney University, Metricon, Frasers Property, FMG Engineering and RMIT, developed a training program that explores ways to enable and encourage collaboration to hasten the adoption of technologies like OSM. The project aims to identify both driving factors and obstacles by undertaking a number of case studies of companies that have already embraced OSM. OSM is multi-faceted and includes the manufacture and pre-assembly of components, systems or modules before installation at their final location. Making the decision to shift to off-site manufacture can significantly alter the sequence of steps in project planning and implementation, with processes such as design, construction methodology and quality control occurring much earlier.

The project found that achieving success in OSM initiatives requires innovation, process integration and a commitment to collaborative practices. Collaborative practices in OSM can be broken down into nine elements. Each of these elements is made up of competencies in the form of knowledge, skills and behaviours. Although these competencies are significant across all OSM settings, their relative importance can vary. In cases where resistance to change is strong among staff, then leadership and compelling, shared goals become more critical. When investments in assets need to be considered in the early stages, change management can become a more critical element.


As the final part of the OSM adoption project, the BLSC developed a training program to be delivered at the BLSC where participants will be able to learn about a collaborative practice model and framework and practice their collaboration skills in a simulated but realistic environment. The program is based on findings from three years of research and was completed through four rounds of data analysis, interviews, case studies and expert panel assessment. The program will also provide participants with opportunities to be immersed in short, team-based, live-simulated scenarios. The training allows for development of the knowledge, learning of behaviours and refinement of skills that will enhance their ability to be part of a leadership team for successful off-site manufacturing initiatives. 

The BLSC recently piloted the program with the goal of developing a fully fledged training course. More details about the project can be found here:

https://www.westernsydney.edu.au/scem/school_of_computing_engineering_and_mathematics/research/australian_housing_supply_chain_alliance_ahsca

If you’re interested in learning more about the course or enrolling please contact the BLSC on (03) 9411 8000.

 

By Marc Lyons
General Manager, BLSC
mlyons@mbav.com.au