Prefabrication, and off-site manufacturing and construction automation

To increase productivity and reduce labour-intensive practices, we are exploring ways to optimise and automate manufacturing for prefabricated construction, and to create advanced solutions for off-site manufacturing.

Prefabrication will change the construction landscape and deliver immense value to the industry. Benefits include faster on-site deployment, lower costs, less waste and lower emissions. Faster on-site construction means prefabrication is well suited to increasing urban densification, creating more compact cities.

construction automation

Prefabrication can reduce costs by 20 to 40 per cent, reduce completion times by up to 45 per cent and reduce waste by more than 50 per cent. Digital technologies can already reduce project costs by 20 per cent or more. When combined, these technologies will have far-reaching consequences for the cost and speed of delivery of affordable and social housing as well as commercial buildings and general infrastructure.

We are progressing our research in artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic technology in manufacturing as well as other digital technologies such as BIM to further streamline processes in the off-site development of novel and prefabricated materials. The increasing use of sensor technology in construction is designed to improve safety.


  • Innovative systems for prefab construction
  • Optimisation of manufacturing and on-site construction processes

Timelapse: Prefab classrooms

Professor Tuan Ngo and his team at the University of Melbourne collaborated with the Victoria School Building Authority (VSBA) and Sensum on the manufacture and construction of Southmoor Primary School in Victoria, Australia. See the timelapse of the modules.