Low-cost cyclone proof houses to benefit remote area residents

Remote indigenous communities in Australia’s top end and developing countries will get a big boost from a new low-cost cyclone proof housing system developed with the assistance of the University of Wollongong (UOW) and the NSW Government.

The “BuiltQuik” housing frame system features steel frame housing modules that can be easily transported and assembled in remote communities, as well as a database that will identify suppliers, capabilities and materials in remote communities.

Wollongong-based social entrepreneur Ryan Mullaney of Lifting Point Construction Technologies has developed the technology, with engineering design support from SMEC, backed by the NSW Government’s Boosting Business Innovation Program.

In announcing the initiative, Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra, Gareth Ward, said the BuiltQuik system was designed to provide safe and affordable housing that could withstand category five cyclones with wind speeds up to 255+km/h.

“The BuiltQuik steel frame housing modules are a terrific idea and have been designed to be easily transported and assembled in remote communities with other materials and labour sourced locally to support housing, jobs and skills development,” he said.

A special database to support the BuiltQuik system has been developed by UOW’s Advantage SME with the support of the NSW Government’s Boosting Business Innovation Program, which provided a $15,000 TechVoucher grant for the project.

“The database, to be launched on 6th September, will identify suppliers, capabilities and materials in remote communities to help build the cyclone-proof houses,” Ward said.

“Through BuiltQuik we aim to not only provide secure housing to remote indigenous communities, but also train and empower local residents through their construction. We will trial the BuiltQuik system and database in the Northern Territory from October with SMEC. Later we aim to expand it to emerging economies globally,” he added.

SMEC’s National Advisory Manager Daniel Gregor said: “Contributing to the development of this social housing initiative to support and empower Indigenous communities is exciting and aligns with our principles.”

University of Wollongong researcher Dr Tillmann Boehme said the complex database project brought together a multi-disciplinary University team with skills in IT, logistics, supply chains, construction management and advanced manufacturing.

“We also co-designed the business and supply chain model to best enable the BuiltQuik system. Providing housing is wonderful but we will also empower communities through construction as diverse skills are needed such as fabrication, electricians, plumbers, BQ installers, plaster-boarders, painters and landscapers.”

Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the Boosting Business Innovation Program brings great business and academic minds together to create new products.

“It’s all about entrepreneurs tapping into top-notch research provided by the university sector,” Barilaro said.

 

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