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Apprentices to build modular homes to ease shortages

Manufacturing News

A new Cairns, Queensland Rapid Accommodation and Apprenticeship Centre (RAAC) is to be a home for QBuild trades and apprentices where apprentices will build modular homes for the state’s north.

Set to open in March, dozens of apprentices will make Cairns’ new rapid accommodation and apprenticeship centre their home – the facility will be used rain, hail or shine to build modular homes as social and government housing, according to an announcement.

Deputy Premier Cameron Dick said: “Ensuring Queenslanders have access to appropriate housing is all about increasing supply, and that’s what this centre at Portsmith will do.

“It ticks all the boxes – building new homes, increasing our skilled workforce, and making our state more resilient in the face of natural disasters.

“QBuild’s first 100 modular homes are just the beginning.”

Modelled on a similar facility at Eagle Farm in Brisbane, the RAAC will see crews get stuck into not only pulling together complete homes, but also bathroom modules, flatpack kitchens and timber frames.

Factory-built modules are built at the same time as site works are carried out, with the finished home then trucked to the site for installation.

The Eagle Farm facility, opened in late 2022, has so far contributed to the delivery of more than 100 modular homes. A second, smaller RAAC operates at Zillmere.

The latest factory is expected to be set up by mid-March 2024 with manufacturing under way by the end of that month.

QBuild is undergoing rapid growth with 300 staff joining the QBuild workforce in a first phase.

Phase two will see up to 500 qualified trades staff and apprentices join the QBuild workforce.

First-year QBuild apprentice carpenter Hunter O’Donnell (17) said he had learned ‘so much’ in only a few weeks at QBuild.

O’Donnell said: “In the past few weeks, we’ve been putting everything in place so we can start manufacturing homes as quickly as possible.

“At the same time as the factory set-up, we’ve also begun preparing one half of a two-apartment duplex that has been built off-site and brought here for fit-out and finish.

“This 2x1br duplex will then be transported to Cooktown to accommodate critical frontline workers, taking pressure off that local rental market.”

Picture: Mick de Brenni MP

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