The construction industry is one of the largest producers of greenhouse gases, accounting for 38% of global carbon emissions. Recently, interest in mass timber construction has grown, due to its potential benefits in reducing environmental impact compared to traditional construction methods that use steel and concrete, and in promoting global sustainability and climate agendas, such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and global net-zero emissions by 2050. Despite the slow adoption of mass timber construction (MTC) in Australia, some innovative and iconic projects and initiatives have been realised. The research intends to identify critical challenges and potential for broader adoption of MTC in Australia. The study reviewed selected MTC projects, followed by a perception survey and interviews of the relevant industry stakeholders in Australia to understand the key barriers and enablers for the widespread application of MTC in Australia. Significant challenges identified in the research include a lack of understanding of fire safety, regulations, performance, inherent application, and local manufacturers and suppliers, which are yet to be improved. In addition, it was found that prior experience built confidence in the application of MTC. Furthering widespread adoption of MTC technology in Australia beyond cost competitiveness requires the Australian construction industry to work towards developing suitable regulatory and insurance policies, financing, incentivising clients, and a skilled workforce. The study focuses on an investigation in the context of industry perceptions of MTC in Australia. Based on the analysis of the critical characteristics of MTC projects, and using the empirical data, the study identifies key challenges and opportunities in the widespread application of MTC in Australia.
Limited empirical and qualitative studies focus on the detailed processes and obstacles for coordinating off-site prefabrication between builders and suppliers. This research aims to identify and address the obstacles that currently prevent the further expansion of off-site prefabrication, with a research scope on timber and mechanical/electrical/plumbing (MEP) services in construction projects. The focal point of this research is to highlight their obstacles. A total of forty interviews were conducted and analyzed from four builders’ organizations and four suppliers’ organizations to ascertain their obstacles in coordinating the practice of off-site prefabrication. The results found the builder’s obstacles were sustainability, quality assurance (QA), mass production, CAD/BIM, technological support, commercial arrangements, system building, buffering in supply, schedule monitoring, productivity, flexibility, engagement, risks, and multiple supply arrangements. The supplier’s obstacles were design, financing and subcontracting, coordination, recognized practices, risks, multiple supply arrangements, and constraints. Moreover, the builders and suppliers had identified some ways to harmonize off-site prefabrication of timber. Some examples of timber prefabrication technology include joinery, doors and/or windows, structural floor/wall/roof frames, partitions, trusses, stairs, balustrades, and others. MEP services with in situ construction comprise the use of power sources and working coordination. The most important outcome of this investigation is that these obstacles can be addressed through collaboration and coordination. This is because there is a traditionally a lack of collaboration amongst builders and their suppliers. Furthermore, there is a lack of coordination between them in general. The research contributes to the improved timber and MEP services collaboration and coordination in off-site prefabrication, which can be referred to by other approaches of modular construction.