Two national research projects focused on innovation and cost-efficiency in construction have been awarded close to $50M in funding – with Building 4.0 receiving $28M in support, and SmartCrete receiving $22M. Both of these research projects have the potential to achieve wide-reaching benefits for the entire industry, in Australia and abroad.

These government-backed initiatives are being supported by the Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) grants scheme – a program providing funding for medium to long-term industry-led research collaborations, with a focus on improving competitiveness, productivity, and sustainability of Australian industries.

Research is critical to achieving innovation, and for continuing to improve the performance of the construction industry in Australia. In a media release issued by the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, The Hon Karen Andrews MP explained the importance of funding for research projects just like these. “Affordable, sustainable, and safe housing is something that concerns all Australians. It’s vital we do what we can to make construction more efficient and cost-effective, without reducing quality,” Minister Andrews says.

Building 4.0

Responding to Australia’s growing need for safe, sustainable, and affordable housing, Building 4.0 CRC is focused on the need to deliver better buildings and new efficiencies, through technology and collaboration. Ultimately it will help the construction industry to reduce construction costs and transform the way buildings are designed and manufactured in Australia.

Representatives from across the commercial industry, academia, industry bodies, and government have come together to deliver on the Building 4.0 agenda, with ambitious targets including:

  • Reducing the lifecycle cost of buildings by 40%
  • Reducing C02 emissions by 50%
  • Reducing construction waste by 80%
  • Influencing and improving policy and regulatory framework to achieve better buildings
  • Using technology and off-site manufacturing to reduce project costs by 30%
  • Using integrated live scheduling to speed up construction
  • Growing Australia’s export market by 25% for building products and construction services
  • Creating new highly-skilled jobs and creating new opportunities for apprenticeships
  • Connecting and supporting education and skills development for the construction workforce
  • Fostering a culture of innovation, inclusivity, and collaboration.


Providing insight into construction industry innovation, Coates Hire recently reported on developments in the sustainability of concrete. The SmartCrete CRC’s recent allocation of funds puts this important building material back in the spotlight once again.

As the population grows, so does need for infrastructure, commercial and residential buildings, transport facilities, and utilities – all of which rely on a steady, quality, and cost-effective supply of concrete. The SmartCrete CRC is another industry-led research collaboration focused on driving innovation, enabling industry competitiveness, and ensuring the viability of concrete infrastructure in Australia. 

By bringing together academia, engineers, producers, and end-users, SmartCrete aims to:

  • Improve the cost, application, and durability of concrete;
  • Create a step-change in the whole of life asset management via remote monitoring of concrete structures;
  • Improve the productivity and sustainability of the supply chain; and
  • Reduce the carbon footprint of concrete and cement.

As the most consumed material on earth, even small-scale innovation can quickly amount to considerable improvements in concrete technology and application worldwide. To date, over 50 institutions have contributed to this initiative.

Source: Coates Hire