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May Round-Up: Budgets, Housing Affordability and a ‘Vending Machine’ Skyscraper?

29 May 2017

May was an interesting month as both the state and federal governments unveiled their spending and saving plans – the big question is, how will the construction industry be affected?

Here’s a round-up of the latest articles covering not just the budgets but other trending topics including housing affordability, the national architecture awards and even a ‘vending machine’ skyscraper!

Victorian Budget 2017: More New Trams And Trains On The Way

The Victorian budget contained a not-so-insignificant amount allocated to the procurement of more rail vehicles for both the tram network and the regional V/Line network.

$218.1 million has been set aside to order 10 more E-class trams on top of the 20 that were announced and ordered in last year’s budget.

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Opinion: Society Suffers If We’re Idle On Public Housing

Everybody knows Australia is in the middle of a housing crisis. For those of us who live and work in our cities, the level of homelessness on the streets is a reminder of the lack of housing.

As the federal Treasurer has said: “It’s all about supply.” And he is right. It’s that simple.

But there are also two distinct segments of housing supply: housing created to be bought by the private sector (investors and owner-occupiers) and housing that is not economically viable because people cannot afford to rent it. They just don’t earn enough.

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Federal 2017 Budget Unveiled: What’s In Store For Australia’s Development Industry?

Australia’s financial roadmap was released at 7.30pm on Tuesday, March 9, 2017, when Treasurer Scott Morrison handed down the Federal Budget 2017-18.

According to commentary by Value Beyond, the budget forecasted a cash deficit of $29.4 billion, moving to a projected surplus by 2020-2021, and expected growth to increase to 2.75% for 2017-2018 and 3.00% in 2018-2019. Measures were outlined to tackle cost of living pressures, including childcare and energy, and funding increases were declared for health and schools.

But What About The Development And Property Industry?

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Sydney likely to see biggest office construction boom since 1980s

With vacancy rates at a record low and rising rents, Sydney’s office construction cycle is expected to deliver the city’s biggest commercial building boom since the 1980s, according to forecaster BIS Oxford Economics.

More than 2 million sqm of new office space is to be built across metropolitan Sydney between 2019 and 2023, with most of this construction occurring in the CBD, Macquarie Park and Parramatta, the Australian Financial Review reported citing BIS data.

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The May CBD Development Wrap

May 2017 has thus far brought with it a string of cold mornings and a rash of news relating to various developments across Melbourne’s CBD.

On the planning front, VCAT have delivered good news to interests seeking to turn the historic Phillips Shirts building at 274-278 Little Lonsdale Street into a substantial tower. Originally planned as a 59-storey residential tower, the design has been substantially clipped to approximately 100 metres in height or 30 levels.

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Architecture’s leaders honoured with national awards

The profound contribution of Australia’s foremost architects and architectural students has been honoured with the awarding of prestigious national prizes from the Australian Institute of Architects at a special ceremony at Sydney’s International Convention Centre.

The highest honour, the Australian Institute of Architects’ Gold Medal, was awarded to Peter Elliott AM recognising “his exceptional contribution through design, through architectural education, through leadership within the profession and through promotion of architecture within the community”.

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Meet The ‘Vending Machine’ Skyscraper That Prints 3D Homes

In a world where robotics is mainstream and wastage on construction sites remains a big problem in many countries, Malaysian architecture student Haseef Rafiei believes he has the answer.

As a student at Manchester School of Architecture, Rafiei has come up with a concept that takes a skyscraper and turns it into a ‘home dispenser’, not unlike a giant vending machine.

According to Rafiei, the concept was inspired by the avant-garde capsule structures proposed by the Metabolist Movement of Japan in the sixties. The movement envisioned plug-in technologies and design concepts that would revolutionise how cities function.

With today’s cutting-edge 3D printing technology, such proposals did not seem as ridiculous to the ambitious young architect. The notion led to the design of a skyscraper that would 3D-print homes on site.

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Market Pulse: A shift in focus could see prefab jobs boom

Australia’s construction industry is a long way behind Europe in the uptake of prefabrication, however with a few shifts in focus we could take advantage of this emerging opportunity, according to a leading expert.

Kathryn Bunn, project director of international project management consultancy SUPERFUTURE PROJECTS, is analysing data and benchmarking exemplar projects in the global prefab modular construction and manufacturing sector. She says our whole concept of bricks and mortar needs to change.

“Our understanding of housing and that embedded concept of ‘bricks and mortar’ really leaves a legacy which is prohibitive to prefab modular and other types of materials in the construction industry,” she said.

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