Wollongong-based social entrepreneur, University of Wollongong help develop cyclone-proof housing system

INNOVATION: The design of the new low-cost cyclone-proof housing system, developed with the assistance of the University of Wollongong (UOW) and the NSW Government. Picture: Supplied
INNOVATION: The design of the new low-cost cyclone-proof housing system, developed with the assistance of the University of Wollongong (UOW) and the NSW Government. Picture: Supplied

A Wollongong-based social entrepreneur and the University of Wollongong have helped develop a “social project with global potential”. 

Remote indigenous communities in Australia’s top end and developing countries are set to benefit from a new low-cost cyclone-proof housing system.

The system was developed with the assistance of the University of Wollongong and the NSW Government.

Wollongong-based social entrepreneur Ryan Mullaney of Lifting Point Construction Technologies has developed the ‘BuiltQuik’ housing frame system, with engineering design support from engineering company SMEC.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra Gareth Ward described it as an “absolutely fantastic social project with global potential”.

The BuiltQuik steel frame housing modules have been designed to be easily transported and assembled in remote communities, with other materials and labour sourced locally to support housing, jobs and skills development.

A special database to support the BuiltQuik system has been developed by UOW’s Advantage SME, with the support of the NSW Government’s Boosting Business Innovation Program, which provided a $15,000 TechVoucher grant for the project.

Mr Ward said the database, which was launched on Thursday, will identify suppliers, capabilities and materials in remote communities to help build the cyclone-proof houses.

Mr Mullaney said the BuiltQuik system was designed to provide safe and affordable housing that could withstand Category 5 cyclones with wind speeds up to 255km/hour-plus. 

“Through BuiltQuik we aim to not only provide secure housing to remote indigenous communities, but also train and empower local residents through their construction,” he said. 

“We will trial the BuiltQuik system and database in the Northern Territory from October with SMEC.

“Later we aim to expand it to emerging economies globally.”

University of Wollongong researcher Dr Tillmann Boehme said the complex database project brought together a multi-disciplinary university team with skills in IT, logistics, supply chains, construction management and advanced manufacturing.

“We also co-designed the business and supply chain model to best enable the BuiltQuik system,” Dr Boehme said. 

“Providing housing is wonderful, but we will also empower communities through construction as diverse skills are needed such as fabrication, electricians, plumbers, BQ installers, plaster-boarders, painters and landscapers.”