The Australian Government is funding a collaborative research project to develop and build prefabricated multi-storey housing solutions based on high-tech renewable materials and advanced manufacturing processes.

The five-year research collaboration between the University of Sydney and Lendlease Property will receive a $3 million grant from the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science’s Cooperative Research Centre Projects (CRC-P) program.

Observing that the demand for affordable and diverse housing called for new solutions from industry, Kylie Rampa, Chief Executive Officer, Lendlease Property said a key objective of the research project was to bring to market an innovative design-led housing system that would help address affordability issues, while developing advanced manufacturing technologies and techniques for future housing construction.

Associate Professor Mathew Aitchison in the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning at the University of Sydney says that the project presents an enormous opportunity to bring innovation to the dormant residential construction market.

He adds that the project seeks to drive efficiency and safety benefits and boost Australia’s competitiveness internationally, where a notable increase in advanced manufacturing has been observed in building over the past decade.

The research project will develop a range of solutions for the multi-storey housing market that address increasing urban density and residential market demands.

According to Kylie Rampa, the products and industry processes stemming from the project aim to create new jobs, skills, technologies and potentially export opportunities for prefabricated housing to meet the sophisticated needs of homebuyers and builders.

Outlining the objectives of the project, Mathew Aitchison said the focus will be on developing multi-storey prototype houses that can be adapted for manufacture and customised project to project. The research team will also explore ways to reduce risk and waste, while increasing the efficiency, safety, quality, sustainability and diversity of market-ready housing.

The research project brings together industry leaders in Australian housing and construction including Lendlease and the University of Sydney’s Innovation in Applied Design Lab, located in the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning.

Image: Forte in Victoria Harbour, Melbourne, designed and constructed by Lendlease. It is Australia’s first timber high-rise apartment building.