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As a member of USG Boral’s Architectural Specifications Team, Tyrone Peck has been involved in the development of pre-assembled pods for bathrooms and kitchens.
Pre-fabrication of building modules has many advantages. Factory-building to pre-determined standards can reduce the construction and fit-out times of new buildings. It can also impose design standards on conformity in large projects. To date, pre-fabricated modules have not been much used in Australia, although they have been popular for some time in Europe.
For the past three years I’ve been working on a new way of factory building bathrooms ready to ‘crane in’ to apartment buildings, terrace houses, hotels and hospitals. The result is a joint effort between Australian Modular Fabrication (AMF), Lendlease and USG Boral.
Superstructures are created in steel at AMF’s Brendale factory near Brisbane. They are then lined with USG Boral’s Fiberock®, a moisture-proof homogenised gypsum product fixed with high-strength polyurethane glue from our partner RLA. Back in 2014 we had prototype pods tested for racking by the University of Queensland in Toowoomba. Placed on a shaker table, they were subjected to vibration and pulling to see whether they would rupture or tear – and the results of the testing were excellent.
The pods are wrapped with a permeable membrane then clad with plywood and stored off-site until required. In a high-rise residential or hotel tower, for example, the right number and design of bathroom pods is delivered for one level at a time. Each pod is then craned into position in the appropriate apartment or hotel room.
Once secured in place, the pods are ready for plumbing and electrical connections to pre-installed pipes for the water supply and electrical fittings.
THE WAY OF THE FUTURE
Pre-fabricated bathroom pods built by AMF for Lendlease are just one of the ways we’re working with the building industry to reduce construction costs, on-site effort and ensure quality and consistency.
With plenty of residential bathrooms now built using this technology, the next frontier is kitchens – and we’re already working with a national building company to create Fiberock® kitchen pods for their own residential developments.
As USG Boral’s Architectural Specifications Manager for Queensland and the Northern Territory, Tyrone Peck works with architects and builders to help them achieve their design visions with innovative construction technologies.