A recent SHAWOOD consumer survey found that 24% of Australians would buy a more sustainable or environmentally friendly home if they had the chance. This growing awareness will mean a greater focus on sustainable technology, features, and approach in 2021.

At Sekisui House Australia, we take a holistic approach to sustainability to create long term and resilient housing in Australia. Housing should be economically sustainable, utilising materials and passive design principles to reduce ongoing running costs; and environmentally sustainable, optimising innovative building technologies and construction practices that result in long term efficiencies. It should also be socially sustainable, where homes are built within a
thoughtfully planned community designed to promote health and wellbeing.

SHAWOOD is a sophisticated pre-engineered post and beam system that delivers a home that is inherently strong and precise, with substantial improvements in quality and reliability, significantly reducing workload, build times and waste. This highly advanced wooden frame construction system was created by Sekisui House in 1995, following the Kobe earthquake in Japan. The SHAWOOD system exhibits the necessary resilience and durability to cope with the country’s frequent natural disasters.

In Australia, we fuse this technology with key design and construction principles that factor in health and wellbeing, thermal comfort, acoustic comfort, passive design, and energy efficiency, to ensure an optimal living experience. This kind of timeless design is allowing Australians to live and love their homes for longer as trends, needs, and abilities change.

Craig D’Costa
General Manager
The Hermitage and SHAWOOD
Sekisui House Australia

It’s heartening to see a promising bounceback in construction following Melbourne’s second lockdown as the number of jobs per company on Fergus software platform reached pre-COVID levels in November.

With this accompanying a 3.3% rise in GDP over the last quarter, Australia’s economy and construction industry are so far poised for recovery.

During March and April, Victoria’s 2020 jobs were higher than in 2019 due to an influx of home improvement jobs during the initial lockdown period.

This continued as Victorians saw more freedom in May, June and into the beginning of July before a sharp decrease in trade work when the second lockdown restricted the number of workers that could be on site.

As restrictions have lifted, so has the job creation number, putting trades businesses back to work at a time when they’re usually winding down for the year.

The data shows that tradies are having a strong end to a difficult year. The Federal Government’s HomeBuilder program, which had seen 7,636 applications in Victoria on November 20 – more than any other state – is likely to be playing a role in the recovery.

We are really encouraged by this latest data. This has been a really turbulent year for tradies – for all small business owners. To see new jobs being generated faster than at any point this year in the period after Stage 4 lockdown is great news for our trades, our customers, our families and our economy.

There are a lot of families out there who aren’t going to have the same kind of Christmas that they usually do because tradies are going to be catching up on the work that has been lost throughout the year.

A recovering housing market and healthy infrastructure pipeline will hopefully keep demand for construction strong in the early months of 2021, helping our industry power an economic recovery from a very difficult year.

By David Holmes
Fergus Job Management Software for Trades Businesses

I recently read a fascinating BBC Future article which suggested that we were at a ‘hinge’ in history – a defining moment when the decisions made now can fundamentally affect the future of our civilisation. We are certainly at a similar defining moment in the history of our industry. The complexity of construction
is accelerating, projects are getting larger, and the social, economic and environmental stakes continue to rise. Meanwhile, evidence suggests that we are struggling to keep up with the demands of society; project delays, cost over runs, contractual claims and quality issues are still rife. It is no longer an option to
continue doing things the same way.

With a plethora of traditional, segmented and industrialised design solutions available, and an increasing range of technologies and approaches to utilise, it can be challenging to understand risk and make informed choices. One thing is sure; drawing a line between design and construction is no longer viable.

Permanent and temporary works design and construction methodology must be considered in conjunction with an overall Construction Methodology and Erection Sequence (CMES) to deliver holistic value.

It is now possible, powered by BIM and Digital Design techniques, to digitally rehearse construction and assess options in a way that is interactive and ensures all stakeholders have clarity and confidence to make better decisions including the ‘how’, not just the ‘what’.

This increases certainty, an increasingly rare and valuable commodity. Go to to see RBG’s approach and how our journey in Virtual Design and Construction is evolving.

By Paul Mullet
Group Engineering and Technology Director
Robert Bird Group

By Paul Miller, Business Development Manager | BPM Industries Australia

Construction is a multi-billion dollar industry in Australia, and due to the nature of the game some people try to cut corners when it comes to delivering projects on time and on budget. Due to this there is a great deal of responsibility on both the suppliers of building products as well as principle contractors and architects to ensure we’re providing fully compliant high quality products that will provide the greatest long term value for clients by lasting the test of time.

Louvres and architectural façade features are often the final product to be placed on a building. However, the longevity of their aesthetic finish can make all the difference to a façade. At BPM Industries Australia, we place a strong emphasis on ensuring that our products are made to last and only work with accredited applicators to apply finishes to our products so that the quality our clients receive on hand-over is to the highest standard years and decades later.

It’s all too common in the industry where suppliers will provide non-compliant finishes to clients in order to secure the contract and meet the required budget. This is unprofessional behaviour, and leads suppliers giving the industry a bad reputation as well as enforcing the false perception that commercial grade finishes are no different to common house paint and will start to show signs of fading in just a few short years when properly applied commercial finishes can provide film integrity warranties up to and exceeding 25 years.

Everyone in construction including suppliers, fabricators, contractors and architects should renew their focus on understanding the benefits and risks involved with protective commercial architectural finishes. Search out and endeavour to work with contractors who have a good company ethos, invest in the suppliers with a commitment to supplying high quality products compliant with Australian Standards, and reap the rewards of having delivered a project that not only holds its architectural appeal but minimises ongoing rectification and maintenance costs. By being diligent and committed to quality, the product and the construction industry, will be something we can admire for decades.

About the author

Paul Miller is Business Development Manager of BPM Industries Australia, who design, supply, and install architectural louvres and façade features for some of NSW’s biggest projects.

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