Building Solutions for Today’s Challenging Environment

Fortress Home Building Construction

Building high quality homes quickly and at a lower cost may sound like a contradiction, but Fortress Home Building Construction has proven that it can be done.

Based in Canning Vale, near Perth, Fortress Home Building Construction Pty Ltd is a privately owned Australian Company providing innovative building solutions that meet the demands of the fast-growing Western Australia market. The company is known for its flat-pack kit building technique that builds homes from Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) of Expanded Polystyrene Foam (EPS). These panels are bonded with an efficient insulation board and combined with a concealed structural steel frame, giving their buildings an extremely strong, energy efficient, and lightweight design, making them strong and durable.

All buildings are constructed in kit form at Fortress’ facility and delivered to sites in flat pack form, ensuring ease of handling and installation. Builders and developers benefit from this technique by reducing time-consuming and expensive on-site construction.

This building system incorporates new building technology that makes the homes comfortable, energy efficient, and compliant with international standards. Indeed, Fortress’ system can be used for residential, commercial, medical, or community facilities. The company has developed its techniques over two decades, and its homes have withstood the impact of a number of cyclones over the years.

Fortress is involved in every aspect of the building process, from the initial design and fabrication of each building through to construction, project management, and delivery. Fortress works with developers to tailor a build package to meet their specific requirements.

The Fortress team has extensive building experience and has become a leader in the development of flat-pack building systems. Chairman, Brian Jackman, developed the first such building system in 1991 when he built houses in Western Australia; this building system was the predecessor to the SIP system that was later developed. General Manager, Robert Johnston, bought his project management experience to help Jackman further refine, develop, and improve the original housing system to comply with new design standards and requirements.

Today, Fortress provides a number of support services to facilitate the construction process. These services include project management, architectural services, design development, thermal performance assessment, civil and structural engineering, site assembly, site technical assistance, and installer training. The company aims to serve as a one-stop shop so clients have a single point of contact, from concept to handover, for the entire project. This helps avoid the duplication and confusion of roles and responsibilities that can often occur during a construction project.

Fortress’ work with SIPs provides many advantages for builders and developers. SIPs can be installed in much less time than it takes to build a brick and mortar structure, reducing site labour costs and construction times, saving investors and developers time and money. SIPs also provide excellent insulating qualities for the homebuilder. Originally developed for colder climates, the foam core of the panel provides optimal insulation qualities that make it suitable for hot Australian summers. The highly insulated materials are dense and non-permeable, which helps lock out moisture and prevent drafts. By using Fortress’ design, moisture is prevented from penetrating walls, reducing the chance of development of mould spores, dust mites, and other contaminants; this is particularly important for households that have asthma sufferers.

SIPs are good for the environment as well. The panel’s foam core is recyclable, reducing the need for new raw materials. Because construction material waste is a major component in landfill volume, the use of SIPs can help reduce the amount of this waste in landfills.

The system represents an economical choice as well. Fortress Home Building Construction has met the challenges of the slowly recovering economy by providing cost-efficient prefabricated homes for people. Buyers have the option of pre-existing or custom-built designs, which can include such features as granny flats or garden homes.

Granny flats are known for their versatility in design and use and the pre-fabricated designs are cheaper than conventional add-ons. Fortress has become the premier builder of granny flats in Western Australia due to the variety of features the company can offer at a lower cost. Granny flats can be designed with separate entrances, their own kitchen and bathroom, and can be designed and built to be attached or detached from the main house. Older relatives can live independently in a self-contained home, but within proximity to the rest of the family; teenagers can learn how to live on their own, but within the watchful eye of their parents. Granny flats can also be designed to become a home office or even rental property for homeowners who are looking for extra income and increased property values. Teenage retreats can be designed with a small bench with a sink instead of a kitchen and only a bathroom instead of an additional laundry room. These customisable flats can be designed from 39 to 100.8 square metres.

Fortress recently expanded its residential offerings by developing a second-storey extension for a homeowner. The addition was lifted into place in just five hours, reducing the roof open time to a few days instead of a few months. The extensions, of 150 square metres, included a master bedroom with ensuite, a large living and dining area, and kitchen. The extension added significant value to the home at a moderate cost and little inconvenience to the homeowner.

A notable future project for Fortress is the building of 14 holiday chalets at a private vineyard in Western Australia. The chalets will be erected on site from precision kits supplied by Fortress Home Building Construction. A stumped floor frame will support an insulated floor, which will be complemented by Structural Insulated Panel walls and an insulated high span panel ceiling to provide an energy efficient and a quiet environment for guests.

Besides its work in the residential sector, Fortress has also made inroads in the commercial market. The company was recently chosen to supply the Main Control Building for the new Kwinana Power Station in Naval Base, WA. The construction of the Main Control Building represents another step forward in the application of Structural Insulated Panel systems. Sound and thermal insulation properties at the control building are improved by the sandwich construction and heavy duty double glazing, both valuable benefits. The finished building isolates the occupants from turbine noise and provides a comfortable operating environment. Large scale air-conditioning is required to maintain the temperature in the substation that is also housed in the building. As energy costs increase, it has becomes more important to reduce running costs at the facility, so the benefits of the SIP system were an advantage for the building.

In the city of Geraldton, Fortress recently constructed a 1250 square metre Medical Centre called Cityhealth. The facility includes several medical disciplines and a comprehensive pharmacy. The building also includes the first drive-through pharmacy in Western Australia. The building has been designed to maximise the benefits of the Fortress system; the clients were attracted by the energy efficiency, speed of construction, reduced overall cost and the potential to add further services without disruption. The building features a gambrel roof which is designed for thermal efficiency and accessibility to roof services. The site works started in July 2013 and were completed in May 2014. The facilities include two theatres, six treatment areas, two dental surgeries, physio, and podiatry – and there are plans for optometry. A coffee shop in the waiting rooms includes large flat screen TV facilities and a large children’s area.

Additional commercial projects of the company’s include a caravan park amenities room with toilet and shower units, and a surfboard factory in the Perth area.

For two decades, Fortress Construction has designed and developed quality prefabricated residential and commercial projects throughout Western Australia. As the economy continues to recover and the demand for cost-efficient, environmentally friendly housing continues to grow, the company is poised and prepared for success for years to come.

For more information about Fortress Home Building Construction, please visit http://www.fortresshomes.com.au.

Home Automation

Call it ‘domotics,’ and you are likely to receive a blank stare, but refer to it as ‘smart home’ or ‘home automation,’ and you will get a nod of acknowledgement. For the past few years, consumers have heard the word ‘smart’ attached to countless products and services, from food and drink to snacks like popcorn and mobile phones, which no one seems to refer to as a ‘cellphone’ anymore. Yet what, exactly, constitutes ‘smart’?

December 16, 2017, 12:44 AM AEDT

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