The Remote Area PBS home is the first prototype of a wood based prefabricated panel construction developed to address the housing crisis in these areas. The home was assembled using 2 tradespeople and the equivalent of 4-6 high school apprentices from top of foundations to lock-up in just three days. It incorporates innovative timber floor, wall and ceiling panels to speed up construction and reduce the skill level required for assembly. The panels have been engineered to ensure maximum use of the structural properties of the timber elements, including tie-down, bracing and final finish.
Floor panels incorporate LVL joists secured to plywood flooring and interlocking with each other, ensuring fast assembly of the panels onto pre-installed LVL bearers. Wall elements are timber framed closed panels lined both sides with plywood. Bulk insulation is included in external panels to comply with BCA thermal requirements. Header and sill panels are used where openings occur with header panels utilising the plywood linings to create box beams as lintels. Ceiling panels consist of plywood attached to ceiling joists which are connected to a conventional timber trussed roof.
The panel construction and proposed erection process has been developed to allow a simple build to lock-up and give the opportunity for this to be done using local labour. Notwithstanding this, construction speed can increase by up to 40% compared to a conventional on-site build. Timber treatment against termites and rot/fungus, as well as an integrated engineering design ensure that the remote area PBS home can be constructed anywhere in Australia and provide a durable structural alternative which is cost competitive and faster while engaging the local community. Incorporating training into real projects and through the development of long term strategies, construction of remote area PBS homes has the opportunity to leave behind real capacity in communities to be able to supply ongoing work.