Part of JV Global, a public company listed on the Australian stock exchange, Component Homes has been producing steel frame kitset houses for around 20 years.
Before the arrival of FRAMECAD, the company produced about one completed steel frame kitset every two weeks using the labour-intensive ‘cut and weld’ system.
Several factors are driving up demand for kitset housing in Western Australia.
Real estate prices have been rocketing up, so many people are looking to get more house for their money by building their own homes. Also, registered builders are struggling to keep up – wait time for a professionally-built home is up to two years, while most ‘Ma and Pa’ owner-builder teams get to lock up within four months. And in the mining boom towns of the far north it’s a case of ‘too many blokes, not enough bedrooms’, so investors are building homes as quickly as possible to capitalise on the urgent need for rental properties. Confronted with this huge opportunity, Component Homes made the decision to boost production by enabling their factory with a FRAMECAD turnkey solution.
The FRAMECAD team took less than 2 weeks to get a turnkey FRAMECAD solution up and running at Component Homes. The package included FRAMECAD software, the FRAMECAD machine, installation, testing and full training for Component Homes’ staff.
“The FRAMECAD team worked with us to resolve engineering issues that are unique to Western Australia. I liked the feeling of partnership during the installation and setup stage – a really positive thing between two companies”, said Mike Hutson, General Manager for Component Homes.
The FRAMECAD system has the ability to adapt to local building codes, standards and practices.
For example, Component Homes kitsets that are destined for the tropical northern regions of Western Australia are engineered to survive cyclonic conditions – winds of up to 310kph.
In the first 12 months, Component Homes’ production went from 37 homes to more than 100. Many of the homes made in the factory are modifications of standard plans, so production levels are limited only by how quickly the modified plans can be produced by the CAD draughting team. Component Homes is looking to update their range of standard plans so that less modification is necessary. With fewer one-offs in the pipeline, the company will be able to get full benefit of the Steel FrameMaster’s high output abilities.
Mike Hutson says that the key difference between a house produced with FRAMECAD and one produced the traditional way is that the intelligence is contained at the drafting end of the process. Manufacturing is automated and assembly has ‘meccano set’ simplicity. “My son was on school holidays recently and did some work experience at Component Homes. Within a day or so, he and his mate were assembling wall frames. These are 15 year-old kids! All they had to do was learn to read the plans.”
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