One9, Hall Street Moonee Ponds, 34 apartments, 5 days

Rome may not have been built in a day but One9 Hall Street apartments almost were... oversimplifying it yes, yet locals within visual range of the Moonee Ponds apartment project stood agog as 34 prefabricated apartments were delivered and erected within five days in spectacular fashion.

For those readers unaware the prefabricated apartment system championed by Hickory Group is known as Unitised Building, and "is a structural building technology which accelerates onsite and offsite construction programs by up to 50%, minimising material and energy waste, whilst maximising quality and safety. It brings the best of automotive manufacturing technology, systems and processes into the construction industry.

Further, "Unlike other modular construction products available on the Australian market, Hickory units are not made to a set size or layout. They can adapt to any architectural design and scale, and are factory-finished to completion, including the building façade. They also have no theoretical height limitation."

One9 Hall Street interior. Image © Hickory Group

According to Hickory Group, the key benefits of the modular construction system are:

  • Up to 50% faster construction programme
  • 90% less disruption to local community during construction
  • 60% reduction in transport energy
  • 90% less construction waste than a comparably sized in-situ construction
  • Over 90% of waste produced is then recycled
  • 15% less embodied energy over the lifecycle of the building
  • 75% lighter structure, can be used on ‘unbuildable’ sites that would withstand the weight of a conventional build
  • Safer work environment – facades attached in factory eliminating work at height on the live edge of the building

As evidenced below the inherent beauty of the Unitised Building system is that all modular units are delivered by way of truck to site with near all appointments included. Tiled balconies, split system units, kitchenettes etc are all installed and complete with final plumbing and electrical services required to bring the modular units to occupancy standards. Certain units also carried ancillary materials such as plasterboard to commence internal fitout of the precast concrete structure.

An earth bound modular unit including finishing materials prior to its lift

Under the guidance of head contactor Vaughan Constructions, site preparation works began during May with fabrication of the modular units concurrently occurring offsite within a dedicated Brooklyn line fabrication facility, culminating with a five day onsite assembly which commenced last Thursday. No stranger to Urban Melbourne after lifting train carriages atop the End To End office development in Collingwood, Metcalf Cranes Terex Demag AC350 was once more charged with lifting an unusual load.

As with operations of this magnitude much planning had been placed toward transport and traffic considerations. Cardno Group after discussions with Moonee Valley City Council sectioned off parts of busy Moonee Ponds Junction, acting as a holding bay while FTW Group delivered unit after unit via the path of least resistance, that being suburban Buckley Street, Essendon.

Testament to all parties involved that the delivery and erection of a nine level building over five days occurred in a safe and timely manner, with little fuss and minimal public disruption.

Hickory Group believe Unitised Building to be environmentally friendly, practically sustainable whilst also representing a quantum leap forward in design and delivery methods. And here's a thought to leave you with. Given Hickory Group have identified synergies between the efficiencies of automotive line production and that of Unitised Building's production, should Victoria's ailing automotive industry flatline, could a percentile of automotive industry workers find salvation in some way, shape or form via an expanded Unitised Building assembly line in the future?

But that of course is a topic for another day. See below a sequence of images taken over the five day assembly period.

Thursday - initial unit lowered into place


Chris Peska's picture

Fantastic example of the number of benefits associated with unitised building. For the purposes of comparison, how long would One9 take to build using a conventional construction method?

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Alastair Taylor's picture

Here's a tweet diary of the weekend's events



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