What got us here, won't get us there
15 September 2016

Let’s be really up-front here: the word ‘innovation’ gets bandied about a lot – to the point where many people are starting to wonder what it actually means. At Total Construction, we’ve been asking ourselves that very question. According to Simon Hinneberg, our General Manager -Queensland, “It’s only 10 letters but innovation can encompass so many things. We believe innovation is about how we can do things better, and how clients can get the most from their buildings. We already measure our performance against innovation, but we think we can do even more to harness it. To focus on this issue in even greater depth, we are now in the process of forming an innovation committee of reps from across the business.

“Our goals are to tap into IP that’s already in the market - or is about to be – then there’s IP that we create ourselves, or ideas that someone else has had that we want to help prove. We want to partner with people, investigate opportunities to provide research grants, possibly test their ideas on our projects or in our business systems.”

Simon points to a number of industry innovations with the potential to deliver even better outcomes; for example, a robotic bricklaying machine from Fastbrick, called Hadrian X, that offers greater bricklaying speed, accuracy and safety while minimising waste and saving money. In fact, the new technology garnered Fastbrick the award for West Australia’s 2016 Innovator of the Year.

“A lot of the work done in our Renewable Energies division is incredibly innovative as well,” says Simon, “like identifying better solar PVs and battery storage, and utilising renewable hybridisation and plasma gasification, a ground-breaking waste-to-energy system.

“Our project teams also come up with on-site innovations every day, right down to the logistics of getting things in and out of buildings. We’ve discovered you can even employ innovation to challenge the location of pour breaks to avoid cracking in vinyl floors. We recently laid a 7600m2 slab area with no cracking, despite 40-degree-plus days!

“Another innovation that saves a lot of time is to engage a surveyor to mark internal walls on the actual subgrade using pins instead of string lines and measuring tapes. It allows us to rough-in the drainage with perfect accuracy.

“In the F&B sector, too, there are continual breakthroughs in equipment, processing systems and logistics. The builder’s job is to keep their ear to the ground and stay on top of these things.

“It’s important to remember that we’re in the business of servicing our clients. Innovation improves quality, safety, service, value for money, productivity, design and delivery. The fact of the matter is, if you don’t innovate, you become irrelevant.”

 

Heard about any new innovations, lately? Tell us more!