The construction sector is important to Victoria's economy. It employees almost 240,000 people and contributes 6.7 per cent or A$21.6 billion to the State's economy in 20141. The sector includes residential, non-residential and engineering construction. The outlook for the sector is positive, driven by a continuing increase in Victoria's population and the need to provide housing and related infrastructure.
Melbourne's population has grown more quickly than any other Australian city over the past 10 years and is projected to be Australia's largest city as early as 2030.
New infrastructure projects include urban renewal at Fishermans Bend, the Ballarat West Employment Zone, E-Gate and the Queen Victoria Market Precinct. There are also large investments across health services, such as the Latrobe Regional Hospital upgrade and the ongoing A$250 million Monash Children's Hospital redevelopment.
Victoria the nation's centre of excellence in off-site construction
A large portion of Australia's off-site construction activity is either in Victoria, or carried out by Victorian based companies. Australia's largest and most advanced modular construction firms is the Hickory Group, which is based in Victoria and has significant projects in Western Australia and New South Wales.
The Australian Research Council's Training Centre for Advanced Manufacturing of Prefabricated Housing is to be established at the University of Melbourne, with industry partners Amoveo, Prebuilt, Prefabaus, Meko, Tektum and CIMC Modular. With funding of A$4 million, this centre will be a strategic asset to leverage the state's status as the Australian leader in the field.
Victoria is a showcase for smart construction
Victoria has flagship examples of high performing green, smart buildings including Pixel. Australia's greenest commercial office, which in 2012 received the highest green rating given by a leading US based sustainability index. The building was designed by Victorian architects Studio 505 and build by Grocon Constructions.
VIDEO: Pixel Building
Industry and research partnerships encourage technology uptake
Victoria has outstanding material science capabilities at its universities and at CSIRO's Clayton facility. Dulux and CSIRO partnered to develop a powder coating system for heat-sensitive substrates that is both emissions free and environmentally sustainable. The system, which replaced conventional liquid coatings was successfully commercialised in Victoria and the product avoids the use of toxic solvent emissions and reduces solid waste going to landfill. Read more here.
The Victorian and Commonwealth Government have made significant investments in the Carbon Nexus facility. The state-of-the art research and analysis laboratory located at Deakin University are developing carbon fibre applications including for the use in construction.
Victoria has proven ability to commercialise construction technologies
Grocon Construction developed the Lubeca jump form system in 2002, while constructing the 92-storey Eureka Tower in Melbourne. The system involves an automatic climbing mechanism, which jump forms two building floors at a time. This system is reported to halve the number of concrete pours and reduce the amount of steel required on projects.1Grocon has exported the Lubeca IP worldwide.
Victorian IT firm specialising in the construction sector is Aconex. Founded in 2000, the firm provides a suite of software tailored for the sector's need, including low cost BIM software. By 2014, Aconex had been used on construction and engineering projects globally with an aggregate value of more than US$800 billion. The company was successfully floated on the Australian Stock Exchange in 2014.
1. ABS Cat. 5222.0 Australian National Accounts State Accounts