How can Australia uncover a greater diversity of houses?

What can be done to improve the diversity of housing in Australia?

 

The population of Australia is constantly increasing. According to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there were 24.2 million people in the country as of September 2016, which was about 350,000 more than one year earlier. As a rule, Australia’s population has been steadily rising at a rate of about 1.5 per cent per year. And there’s no hiding from the truth – all those people are going to need places to live.

Not everyone is rich and can afford a mansion; not everyone is poor and wants to live in a small place.

To be more specific, they need a diversity of places. Not everyone is rich and can afford a mansion; not everyone is poor and wants to live in a small, cramped place in a bad neighbourhood. Most people, in fact, are somewhere in the middle. This being the case, it’s important that the nation’s architects work to deliver housing solutions for a wide range of different people with varying tastes, preferences and price ranges in mind.

Making creative architecture choices will absolutely play a role in this effort.

Australia’s current lack of housing diversity

With the population increasing so quickly, the architectural sector is working to crank out livable housing as quickly as possible to accommodate everyone. Given the rise of new building strategies like industrial flooring, it’s now easier than ever to mass-produce houses and get them ready quickly. But according to recent findings in the Parliament of Australia, too many houses are all the same.

There’s a simple formula that’s being followed – a large house, four bedrooms, two bathrooms and a roomy three-car garage – the “McMansion” approach, as it’s known. Professor Terry Burke, from the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute, argued before Parliament that these domiciles won’t be the right fit for enough of the population for the current building model to be sustainable.

“Historically, I do not think we have really built suburbs as lacking in diversity as those we are building at the moment,” Mr Burke said.

This is especially a problem in affluent suburbs of major Australian cities – consider western Sydney, for example. In areas like this, there’s a lot of building, but not enough diversity among the housing projects currently being undertaken.

What can be done about the problem?

So how can this issue be fixed? What will move us toward a future in which families have a range of different housing options available? According to Architecture AU, a lot of it comes down to better planning early in the building process. Ken Maher, president of the Australian Institute of Architects, told the news outlet that real estate developers need to examine demographics carefully as they shape their business strategies.

Australian architects can either build new homes or retrofit new ones.Australian architects can either build new homes or retrofit new ones.

The housing options available in Australia’s cities and suburbs can be modified in one of two ways – either by building different homes in the first place, or by changing existing residences by using inventive retrofitting strategies. In either event, it’s worthwhile to think about the different kinds of architectural products available for these projects and how they might impact the eventual finished products.

Looking carefully at the products used in building

When the time comes to build a new house or modify an existing one, the component pieces used can make all the difference. At Locker Group, we have a wide range of offerings that can play a part in the process. Take curtains, for example. Our wire mesh curtains make an ideal way to add texture or character to a room – for nice, upscale homes, they might be a worthy addition, but they’re also completely optional.

Our vast catalog of construction products makes it easy for builders to customise their projects to whatever specifications they have in mind. Whether you’re constructing a mansion for an upper-class family or a more modest home, we have the building blocks that will be right for you.

Mining companies are looking for new, creative ways to stay competitive.

Companies striving to stay competitive in Australia’s mining industry

 

The work of the mining industry is crucial to the success of Australia’s economy as a whole. Miners work hard to uncover valuable natural resources, which in turn are used to complete a variety of residential and industrial building projects. Without mining, we would be without many of the structures that enable us to live our daily lives.

As prices for certain commodities are falling, mining companies have begun looking for ways to stay competitive.

At the moment, though, the industry has major concerns to deal with. As prices for certain commodities are falling, mining companies have begun looking for ways to stay competitive in the industry, still paying their employees’ wages and other expenses without overstepping their limited budgets.

There are certain places where they can’t cut corners, though. For example, when it comes to keeping employees safe and productive, there are costs involved that are non-negotiable. This only adds to the challenge of running a successful mining business in 2017.

The key economic role of mining in Australia

It’s not hard to see that mining products play a key role in driving economic value in Australia. According to the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, the country is fortunate to have an abundance of natural resources to be mined – these include diamonds, gold, iron ore, lead, nickel, uranium and zinc. Australia ranks in the top five exporters worldwide of all of the above. All told, these valuable products make up a sizable amount of the country’s gross domestic product and export earnings.

With all the products extracted from Australian mines, there should in theory be enough to support both domestic building projects and foreign investment in construction. The markets both here and abroad, however, are subject to fluctuation, which means mining companies must be prepared to adjust to changing forces around them and change their strategies.

Falling commodity prices create revenue pressures

The hope is that the nation’s miners continue to supply builders everywhere with the architectural products they need, and make a pretty penny as a result. Unfortunately though, this can only happen if buyers remain willing to pay premium prices for their natural resources. When demand drops off, the industry can fall on hard times.

As revenues start dropping, mining companies need to adjust.As revenues start dropping, mining companies need to adjust.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that in 2015, revenues in the mining industry began to slip. Industry value added decreased by $9.4 billion to a total of $118.3 billion, a 7.4 per cent drop. Metal ore mining saw the most significant fall, 12.9 per cent. Falling prices for metallurgical coal, thermal coal and iron ore also had an adverse effect.

These market changes may only be temporary, but if they’re not, it will be important in the near future for mining companies to make key changes. It will be harder for them to stay financially viable without losing their competitive edge, which means little changes at the margins – such as using better and more affordable measures to build safe mining facilities – could make all the difference.

Using the right products to foster business success

No matter how the economic climate around your business might look, it’s clear that mining safety remains a top priority. If you want your operation to be viable, it’s non-negotiable that you need your employees to be safe and productive. At Locker Group, we can help with this. We provide Australian mining businesses with dependable tools and solid structures they can use to ensure safe, secure profitable work each day.

We carry everything from screening media to walkway gratings and handrails – all products that serve to strengthen Australia’s mines and make them better places to work. Speak with our experts soon and learn more about how our products can add value to any mining project.

Australia is rich with natural resources for the quarrying industry.

How does quarrying provide value to builders in Australia’s economy?

 

For decades, the Australian building industry has relied upon miners to uncover raw materials that they can use for constructing homes, commercial buildings and industrial facilities. Without mining, builders would have no access to the metals, stones and various other substances they need to do their jobs.

Quarrying work is essential for building many of the structures that keep Australia’s economy thriving.

Quarrying, meanwhile, has quietly emerged as an equally vital industry. It may not get all the same praise or media attention that mining does, but quarrying work is also essential for building many of the structures that keep Australia’s economy thriving.

A closer look at the Australian economy reveals that different regions of the country are rich in varying natural resources, and optimising the work of quarriers has helped in recent years to give the nation’s builders more materials to work with. Read on to discover what comes from where, and the unique value these substances have to offer.

What separates quarrying from mining?

It’s already well known that mining delivers a lot of key building materials to the industry in Australia. So what makes quarry products unique? According to Business Queensland, the distinction is a small one, but it’s important.

Both mining and quarrying are processes that involve extracting raw materials from the earth. The difference is that quarrying occurs at sites that are approved and administered by local government agencies – often with the express written purpose of acquiring sand, gravel and/or quarry rock.

In Australia, most of the main quarrying sites are administered by the Sustainable Planning Act, which was passed in 2009. Anyone who wants to run a quarrying operation in Australia is required to have a development permit – which narrows the field of prospective quarriers and makes the market quite exclusive. This means that building materials obtained through quarrying are premium products.

A variety of products to be found in Australia

What sorts of architectural products can be uncovered through quarrying? Research from The Marble Man found that there are many, and the most plentiful materials tend to vary wildly from state to state.

If you’re mining in Western Australia, you’ll have a wide range of options available to you. Quarriers in that state are able to find marble in Maroonah, granite in the Fraser Ranges and limestone in Moore River, for example. Sandstone is also available to quarriers in some regions.

A wide variety of building materials can be found across Australia.A wide variety of building materials can be found across Australia.

Other states have narrower niches when it comes to the products available via quarrying. Two prime examples include Queensland, where it’s easiest to find sandstone, and South Australia, where granite is most prominent.

Australia has many significant deposits of natural stones and minerals located all over. As quarrying experts continue to find more of them, the market keeps evolving – which in turn, means a wider range of construction materials available for building professionals nationwide.

Locker Group leaves its mark on the construction business

At Locker Group, we are proud to take the products of Australia’s quarrying work and pass them along to you, in the form of superior building products. We have dedicated ourselves to bolstering the quarrying business and uncovering all sorts of resources, from large rocks to sand, that can help people build better homes, storefronts and offices.

Great quarrying work leads to a wide range of superior building products. These include materials to be used in screening media, such as woven wire, and rubber that’s put towards making high-quality tension mats that can support and strengthen all sorts of architectural projects. Contact us today to learn more about how quarrying can add to the building options available to you.

You can create some stunning designs with pic-perf.

How has pic-perf changed the face of perforated metal?

 

At Locker Group, we know that innovation is an essential part of good architecture. This is why we’ve developed pic-perf, a perforated metal that allows you to recreate the most stunning images on to any wall or surface. But, what exactly is pic-perf, and how is it being used by architects all over Australia?

What is pic-perf?

Locker Group’s unique pic-perf technology allows you to create any image by punching hundreds, or even thousands, of holes into a metal surface. It is an excellent addition to balustrades, facades and partitions. It also makes a great sunshade. Not all architecture has to be functional either – our pic-perf can be used simply as a piece of artwork to decorate your building or project.

Other advantages of pic-perf include its added ventilation, wind resistance and security (you can see out but it’s hard to see in).

Even if you can't think of a pic-perf design, Locker Group can help you come up with one. Even if you can’t think of a pic-perf design, Locker Group can help you come up with one.

How has pic-perf been used so far?

Locker Group’s pic-perf has already been used in some fantastic projects around Australia.

For instance, we collaborated with architect firm Hassell to create a wall for Adelaide Zoo. The design did not only include pictures of the animals you might expect to find in the zoo, but also incorporated words associated with the excitement of a day out there. This meant not only was the wall a functional way of partitioning the zoo, it also worked as a long-lasting advert.

If you’ve ever been to the Suncorp Stadium (originally known as Lang Park), you’ll have admired the pic-perf addition there, which shows people playing rugby league. Meanwhile, our work with Rothe Lowman and Sue Hodges Productions produced an incredible design of a horse and carriage to adorn the lobby of an apartment building in Brunswick East.

You’re not just confined to grey and black when you use our pic-perf either. Our work with the John Curtin College of the Arts produced a stunning design that incorporated different shades of blue.

The John Curtin College of the Arts shows you can easily incorporate colour into your pic-perf design.The John Curtin College of the Arts shows you can easily incorporate colour into your pic-perf design.

What do you need to consider when using pic-perf?

You need to think about viewing distance and what colour your background will be when deciding on your design (a darker background requires a lighter surface). You also need to consider the environment in which you intend to place your pic-perf so you can decide on which material will suit your project best.

Here at Locker Group, we work closely with our clients to ensure that all these questions are sorted out as early as possible. Even if you don’t have a design in mind, Locker Group will help you create one, so please don’t hesitate to contact us if you’re interested.

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