Modular prefabricated home
The Housing Industry Association says it’s time for building codes to be updated to remove barriers keeping modular and prefabricated construction methods from reaching their full potential. Image – Canva
  • Modular methods offer benefits of speed, accuracy and finish, but are held back by outdated building codes
  • HIA calls for code to be modernised, encouraging industry professionals to speak out and join search for solution
  • Association has previously been vocal about making changes to code, supporting increased energy efficiency standards

The Housing Industry Association (HIA) has called for the modernisation of building codes to support the uptake of non-traditional construction methods.

The announcement comes as the HIA released a consultation paper aimed at dismantling the regulatory barriers to popularising modular and prefabricated construction methods.

Current building code not fit for modern day

Modular or prefabricated homes are built off-site in controlled factory conditions, streamlining the construction process and minimising disruption at the site.

HIA Chief Executive Industry Policy Kristin Brookfield said innovative building techniques are highly sought-after by builders, trades and homeowners alike for their speed, accuracy and finish.

However, the regulatory process in place is failing to keep up with the changing times.

“Our current building codes, standards, planning and building regulations, and financial systems were created with traditional homes and construction methods in mind.”

Kristin Brookfield, HIA Chief Executive Industry Policy

According to Ms Brookfield these regulatory barriers are time-consuming and costly during a building project.

“They can also result in inconsistent outcomes for industry and consumers, with the potential for non-approval.

“For manufacturers and suppliers looking to bring new materials and construction systems to market, there is often a hesitancy by designers, planners and building surveyors, to accept these alternatives because they don’t fit the mould,” she said.

Streamlined building methods are the future

Ms Brookfield expects off-site building methods to take off within the next decade or so, as more fast-tracked building solutions are introduced to the Australian market.

“It is critical that there is a clear understanding of the regulatory barriers that exist today so that we can set the industry up for success by identifying the potential solutions sooner rather than later.”

Kristin Brookfield, HIA Chief Executive Industry Policy

“Examples like more tailored building codes and standards, overcoming planning rules that control the size and location of homes or the types of external finishes used, or looking at modern forms of home building contracts that recognise the ‘off-site’ pathway, are all things we are aware of,” Ms Brookfield explained.

She added that the HIA acknowledges there are various barriers preventing the uptake of modular and prefabricated methods.

Ms Brookfield welcomed those in the industry to speak up and identify these issues to work with the HIA towards a solution.

This isn’t the first time the HIA has supported a building code overhaul, with the association welcoming changes earlier in the year to increase energy efficiency standards.

The HIA’s consultation paper is part of a series of projects being conducted by the AMGC Pre-fab Innovation Hub, and remains open to submissions and survey responses until January 27, 2022.

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