One of the concerns that is always presented by so called “rapid” construction projects is that safety is going to be neglected. We have seen it so many times in the media particularly relating to overseas construction projects where records are being broken for construction time that safety often takes a back seat, fortunately this was not the case with an apartment block that went up in Melbourne recently in a record low 120 hours.
The nine storey apartment in Melbourne by Amnon Weber Architects was constructed in a mere 5 days or 120 hours.
The construction company responsible for the successful ground-breaking project was Vaughan Construction using the Hickory Group’s Unitized Building (UB) system. The apartment building is located in Melbourne’s inner fringe and consists of 34x one and 2 bedroom apartments.
According to the contractor despite the speed with which the installation occurred did not result in a compromise of quality. Amazingly the building has managed a 6 star energy rating and the developers boast includes a clean architectural style and contemporary interiors.
According to Michael Argyrou, the director of Hickory Group and UB (Australia) the speed can attributed to the fact that much of the apartment blocks construction occurs at the factory and at the site all that’s left to do is simple assembly.
The post on ArchitectureandDesign.com.au quotes him as saying:
“We can manufacture units to almost any dimension, and include the façade on the unit in the factory. This helps us stay true to the architects’ vision,”
The prefabricated technology not only allows for quick construction but also affordability as the article goes on to explain:
Hickory’s UB system is a prefabricated technology developed by Nonda Katsalidis, director of Fender Katsalidis. Created with affordability and the environment in mind, the benefits of the system is evident in One9, and ranges from faster construction times and more cost savings, to greater flexibility with lighter weight construction.
Delivering the advantages of modular construction, Hickory does not provide a fixed module size, but works with architects, developers and engineers to create prototype modules to suit a particular building design.
Although nine storeys is by far the tallest building they have constructed, they say that “Hickory modular construction has no theoretical height limitation and is currently being specified on buildings up to 70 storeys.”
While this type of construction may be new and ground breaking in many ways, it is not without its hazards. Any type of construction work presents risks and these need to be identified and managed to avoid accidents. Even if the construction isn’t being undertaken from scratch but rather constructed using prefabricated technology that doesn’t mean occupational health and safety should take a back seat.
Even on these types of construction sites, workers must be trained on safety. This safety training must first and foremost take the form of The White Card – general construction induction safety training which familiarises workers with construction site health and safety issues as well as fulfils a mandatory requirement. In addition to this training everyone on the site must also receive the necessary site specific training to educate them about the hazards specific to their work site.