Building 4.0 CRC consortium proposal uses new technologies to improve Quarantine solutions

New, fast moving strains of coronavirus are calling for Victoria’s quarantine program to be further strengthened.

As such, the Victorian Government is examining alternative models of mandatory quarantine, including a purpose-built accommodation hub outside of the CBD.

“New, changing strains of the virus mean we need new thinking when it comes to mandatory quarantine and how we bring people home safely,” Premier Daniel Andrews stated.

In collaboration with partner Lendlease Digital and industrial technology giants, Siemens, Building 4.0 CRC has brought that new thinking to the table – submitting a proposal to the government for Q_smart: a healthy, connected and flexible quarantine solution.

Q_smart is modelled for the long-term, using modular construction and the Internet of Things (IoT) to generate a tech-enabled building and service delivery solution. The consortium’s proposal is a comprehensive, integrated system comprising a suite of processes, tools and products that are highly flexible and scalable for use in different locations, nationally and globally.

The building solutions are factory-made and can be assembled to suit a range of site conditions and requirements. For example, where large amounts of land are available the modules can be spread out, but where little land is available, modules can be stacked. The structures are easily dissembled and can be relocated and repurposed for other applications – like bushfire relief or affordable housing, for example.

“Q_smart takes into account the significant advances in building technology and management in recent years. These advances include the use of IoT devices and other building management technologies, along with new building materials, processes and techniques that have enabled purpose-built construction in shorter timeframes, to a higher quality, and with more flexibility than ever before,” said Building 4.0 CRC CEO, Prof. Mathew Aitchison. “The Q_smart system will harness these advances for the benefit of all stakeholders while boosting the local manufacturing and construction industry and developing an exportable solution.”

Placing the health and wellbeing of quarantine occupants at its core, Q-smart’s purpose-built facilities will incorporate the latest knowledge in viral transmission (airborne and surface transmission). The mental health and isolating effect of quarantine have also been deeply considered; Q-smart will enable residents to connect to the external environment through access to fresh air and the social and civic infrastructure provided, and with family, friends and healthcare providers through state-of-the-art digital technologies.

According to Premier Andrews, “Right across the country, governments are examining how to adapt to the changing threat we face – we need to listen to the experts and make the changes necessary to guard against this new challenge.”

As a science and technology-backed solution, Q-smart proposes there are more ways to approach this serious challenge than the traditional “bricks and mortar” quarantine camp approach.

“Q_smart is highly flexible, accommodating a variety of sites and locations, along with a wide range of family sizes and types. It’s a forward-thinking, win-win-win solution for government, industry, and the community alike,” added Prof. Aitchison.

The team, like the rest of Victoria, are awaiting the outcomes of the Government’s review and final decision on the submissions received in the State’s tender.

For more information on the Government’s exploration of quarantine models, read the Premier of Victoria’s media release: https://www.premier.vic.gov.au/exploring-new-quarantine-models-long-term.