By: Simon McCarthy
Photo Credits: Modscape
The Australian community is in urgent need of additional social and affordable housing, with a current deficit of 650,000 homes nationally.  Victoria will need 6000 new social housing dwellings to be built each year for the next decade to avoid a homelessness crisis,  and according to the Victorian branch of the Urban Development Institute of Australia,  there are currently 50,000 households on the waiting list for affordable housing in Victoria.
A number of steps are being taken to alleviate this situation. Firstly, the Victorian Government is investing almost $500 million to public and community housing to boost construction jobs in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, CBRE estimates that 12,000 units for the nascent build-to-rent sector are at varying stages of completion in Australia.
To attract the attention of developers and increase delivery of new houses, we need to make the prospect of developing an affordable housing project attractive, feasible and viable.
By utilising modern methods of construction, we can show how efficient design and predictable construction techniques can reduce the extent of costly delays and variations prevalent with conventional build methods.
Efficient building techniques can best be achieved by using logical, non-complex framing layouts. Repeatable room configurations, prefabricated frames and proprietary bathrooms can remove the costs associated with regular housing solutions, such as the expensive development of site-specific layouts to give each new building its own identity.
The design of permanent modular type building layouts and repetition of building elements on various sites and/or on multiple levels can deliver significant savings in construction cost and provide an achievable approach to resolving the shortage of construction in social and affordable housing.
The assembly of these single or multi-storey buildings using prefabricated, pre-finished volumetric construction (PPVC) and a production line approach, is successfully and increasingly being adopted in Europe, Japan, Singapore and the U.S. The manufacture of these units in a factory environment provides:
The adoption of modular housing layouts allow for repeat floor plans to be built on many different sites, and:
Three to four social and affordable housing developments on standard residential blocks can be completed in 2 years using modular/offsite construction, compared with one to two of the same buildings using conventional construction.
At Sensum, we will constantly challenge and create new and improved ways to positively impact people’s lives and their communities.
Sensum are making a difference in the construction industry by transforming the way projects are designed and delivered. We have unmatched experience in the design and delivery of buildings that use offsite construction methods in Australia. We practice continued professional development to offer best-practice approach to our clients and to ensure our advice meets current industry standards and regulations.