Construction

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The 34-storey timber tower planned for Stockholm. Berg | C.F. møller Architects

The skyscrapers of the future will be made of wood

Until recently, tall wooden towers were an engineering impossibility. Following a breakthrough a few years ago, the sky is increasingly the limit.
Some US bridges are currently living out their twilight years. Bob Jagendorf

Here’s how to fix America’s crumbling bridges

There are about 600,000 bridges in the United States, and about one in four is classified as functionally obsolete or structurally deficient. This doesn’t mean they’re in danger of imminent collapse; they…
The new Royal Adelaide Hospital, due for completion in 2016, is being built using BIM. RoboSparrow/Flickr

Explainer: what is BIM and is it the future of construction?

It is often argued that Australia’s construction sector productivity is lower than most other developed countries, such as the US. While there are many factors involved, Australia’s overall productivity…
Growing a solution to the growing problem of urban warming. Alison Hancock/Shutterstock

Green or white? Planted or painted roofs can cool buildings

It’s getting hot in the city, and our overheated cities are only going to get hotter still as more people pile in and development and energy use intensifies. But planting away the problem could be a surprisingly…
Prefab resprout: Here they come again! wikimedia

Prefab housing is coming back, and this time it’s permanent

In the late 1950s, more than a decade after the war and not long after the rock and roll explosion, Britain embarked on a house-building programme the like of which we have never seen before or since…
Six-star green projects like Melbourne’s Pixel Building are largely confined to Australia’s city centres. Supplied

Green building revolution? Only in high-end new CBD offices

Australia is allegedly in the midst of a “green building revolution”, powered by the awarding of ratings to developers who build sustainable buildings. But this brave new world is only a reality in the…
Prefab housing is an industry that shares many assembly methods with car manufacturing. Code_martial/Flickr

Building a housing industry from the relics of a car industry

Unless you have been living under a rock, you couldn’t help but hear the dying wail of manufacturing here in Australia. Car manufacturing and food manufacturing being the most recent victims. There’s no…
The Abbott government isn’t the first to take aim at corruption in the construction industry. Alan Porritt/AAP

Royal Commission take three: construction sector still lawless

In light of the upcoming Royal Commission into trade union corruption, it’s worth asking if the recommendations of the two previous Commissions into the construction industry, together with other state…
A protester makes her feelings clear about the pink batts scheme in 2010. AAP Image/Alan Porritt

Pink batts: what did it teach us about building better buildings?

The political fallout over the ill-fated Home Insulation Program continues, with former prime ministers Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard now having been summoned to appear before the Abbott government’s royal…
Politics can be removed from reform, such as to weed out alleged corruption in Australia’s building industry, without challenging its success. AAP/Julian Smith

Corruption in construction: building reform from the ground up

As allegations of corruption in Australia’s construction unions continue to emerge, the scandal – purportedly involving underworld heavyweight Mick Gatto and bikie gangs – appears to be an Underbelly script…
The CFMEU says corruption within the building industry should be referred to the police for prosecution, but the government is looking to a revived ABCC. Julian Smith/AAP

Bikies, unions … and the ABCC? Spinning the policing of work

Recent investigations into the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) by the ABC and Fairfax have revealed relationships between rogue union officials, underworld figures and outlaw motorcycle…
Infrastructure construction costs are far higher in Australia than in comparable OECD countries, making it difficult for politicians to commit to large projects. AAP/David Crosling

Australia’s infrastructure cost conundrum

Infrastructure is about the long-term growth and prosperity of a nation, but Australia will get very little of this benefit if the cost of building it continues to rapidly escalate. Australia is becoming…
The Abbott government is moving to re-establish a commission dealing with construction union militancy, but the CFMEU says it won’t back down. AAP/Juilan Smith

Revived construction sector watchdog more politics than productivity

Australia’s construction union will not back down on militancy in the face of tougher laws surrounding construction sites, according to controversial union boss Joe McDonald. The Abbott government last…

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