A three-tower residential development with 101 apartments, The Gardens in Campbelltown is Australia’s largest multi-storey prefabricated timber construction project. It’s also the largest affordable housing project to be delivered without any government funding.

Costs and quality were high priorities for this construction. Building contractor Strongbuild proposed a cost effective build solution based on cross laminated timber (CLT) rather than traditional concrete and steel. The prefabricated building technologies will make construction time 20 percent faster than a traditional build; shaving off four months, and associated costs. Construction of the first tower is complete. Construction commenced on the second tower in early September.

The project includes three residential towers of six, seven and eight storeys that are being developed by Tier 1 affordable housing provider BlueCHP Limited to provide high quality housing. The first tower once fully fitted out will go to market to be sold to private investors or owner-occupiers.

The other two towers will be set aside for key workers – police, nurses, fire brigade personnel – in Sydney growth centre, Campbelltown. Rents will be capped for key workers at 30 percent of their wage. Affordable housing in reasonably close proximity to a regional city centre’s employment hub is essential for workers in the emergency services.

The regional city’s population is forecast to grow more than 36 percent from its current 158, 394 people to 215,875 within the next two decades; with the rezoning of the Western Sydney Employment Lands and NSW Economic Development Framework opening up opportunities for greater infrastructure and employment.

Strongbuild managing director Adam Strong says the prefabricated building material CLT has similar characteristics to concrete and steel yet is 30 percent lighter than traditional structures. It also offers better thermal performance and requires less energy to heat and cool.

“CLT is engineered and processed in a factory to be precise, making it fast and efficient to construct,” Strong says.

The prefab components are built in StrongBuild’s 8000sqm highly automated advanced manufacturing facility that provides control over the price, quality and timing with the entire design and build process in house.

“This also translates into less waste, less on site construction resources and a safer, quieter, cleaner overall build site,” Strong continues.

Warren McGregor, CEO of the national association for off-site construction industry, prefabAUS, says that saving four months off construction time means that the client will be operational earlier. “It’s a huge advantage having a building project delivered faster, particularly for affordable housing clients like BlueCHP and for projects such as hospitals and schools,” he says.

Housing affordability will be one of the many industry topics discussed at the upcoming national prefabAUS Conference, Delivering Next Generation Buildings, on October 10 to 12 at the University of Sydney. Adam Strong will be one of the industry guests presenting, and will discuss the CLT project that will feature as an optional site tour during the Conference.

Adam will be joined at the Conference by local industry guest speakers and international presenters, including author of several scientific publications and a book on the design of timber structures, Paolo Lavisci, PhD in Industrial Technologies – Timber. Lavisci is former CEO of an Italian Timber Design Bureau and has 25 years of professional experience in timber technology. He will present on Timber in Mid Rise Residential Construction under the new national construction code allowances in Australia.

Affordable housing advocate Marc Norman, from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, curated the Designing Affordability: Quicker, Smarter, More Efficient Housing Now exhibition that was recently held at the Centre for Architecture in New York. Marc will be a guest presenter and his exhibition will be on display at the prefabAUS Conference. prefabAUS represents key businesses in the design, manufacture and construction of prefabricated buildings and building modules. It is a not for profit organisation and is hosting Australia’s third national conference on the off-site construction industry. The conference will feature national and international specialists in off-site design, manufacturing and construction, as well as workshops, panel discussions and site visits.


The conference will be held at the Seymour Centre at the University of Sydney, Architecture Design and Planning, on Monday, October 10 – 12. For more information and to book, go to prefabaus.org.au/conference