Like the line art that Bunnings deploys in their catalogues to convey minimalism and budget prices, everything the uber-dominant hardware chain does is carefully calculated to capture market opportunities and invariably, is the harbinger of sweeping change that can realign an entire industry.
With builders and developers increasingly recognising the dividends of embracing modular construction and prefabricated building solutions, Bunnings’ latest announcement is particularly timely. They have commenced production at a 31,000sqm frame and truss prefabricated manufacturing plant in Truganina, located in Melbourne’s west. Once operating at full capacity, this plant will produce wall frames and roof trusses for up to 2800 homes annually.
This follows the opening of a similar plant in outer Sydney’s Minto in July and precedes another set to open in south-western Brisbane’s Wacol early next year. Bunnings have committed AU$75 million to the venture over the past 24 months.
According to the Frame & Truss Manufacturers Association of Australia (FTMA) there are 287 frame and truss businesses of varying capacity nationally, and a significant proportion of these are small businesses. Bunnings strategy behind selling prefabricated frames and trusses – which make up about 15 percent of the cost of a home – is that it establishes a supplier’s relationship with a builder at the start of construction and makes it easier to sell other products throughout the typical nine-month construction process.
Ben McIntosh, Bunnings Chief Operating Officer – Commercial, said, “We’ve been really open about the potential we see in the frame and truss market, and we’ve made some deliberate investments over the past few years with a focus on our team, systems and equipment. “Builders are time-poor, they need efficiency… Anything you can do to help builders get things up faster, more efficiently…[it’s] what the customer is demanding.”
According to a company statement, their strategic expansion isn’t just about business growth; it’s a timely response to the current market demands. “The Australian residential construction industry is undergoing a period of significant change, with systemic labour shortages and a desire for better efficiency resulting in a growing demand for prefabrication [frame and truss solutions] delivered direct to site.”
For more information visit: bunnings.com.au