04/07/2019 - 11:10

Innovative builds push boundaries

04/07/2019 - 11:10

Bookmark

Upgrade your subscription to use this feature.

Western Australia’s building downturn and increased take-up of smaller dwellings is providing impetus for the adoption of alternative construction techniques, with builders seeking to pass cost and time savings on to homebuyers as they battle to maintain market share.

Maté Korda expects builders’ demands for new construction materials to increase as energy efficiency and affordability become bigger priorities. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira.

Western Australia’s building downturn and increased take-up of smaller dwellings is providing impetus for the adoption of alternative construction techniques, with builders seeking to pass cost and time savings on to homebuyers as they battle to maintain market share.

One business capitalising on the willingness from builders to embrace new techniques is Innovative Building Services, a startup building products supplier established earlier this year by WA construction industry veteran Frank Di Costa and general manager Maté Korda.

IBS is aiming to become a leader in the supply of cutting-edge building products, from steel frames to new wall and flooring materials that promise time and cost savings, as well as better energy efficiency and acoustic performance than traditional double-brick buildings.

Mr Korda said WA’s residential construction slowdown, during which the number of housing starts has more than halved since a peak of more than 32,000 in 2014, has driven builders to adopt a new approach to building supplies.

“When you are going through a downturn, builders now have time to look at alternative products,” Mr Korda told Business News.

“What we are finding is they are having to be more innovative to find a point of difference.”

Mr Korda said one of IBS’s flagship products was a German-developed wall system known as Retrowall, which is lightweight, energy efficient and removes the need for plasterers during a typical build.

“One of the biggest delays in building is hard wall plaster – there are no apprentices coming through the system so we are seeing a rationalisation of a trade,” he said.

“If we can get the volumes that we need, the Retrowall will replace that trade with no additional costs.”

Mr Korda said installing all internal walls for a typical build would take around two weeks using the Retrowall system, which also provides savings on waste material and space.

The system also saves on the floorspace required for internal walls, making it ideal for small-lot and multi-residential construction.

“Maximising floor area is a big driver when you have six-metre frontages and you are building boundary to boundary,” Mr Korda said.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

Subscription Options