Driving The Adoption of Technology in the Construction Sector

The Austrade Project and Elevator Initiative will lead the way for integrating emerging technology expertise within Industry and Research collaborations.

The launch featured an important panel discussion around the urgency of creating clear collaborative channels between the building industry, academic research and emerging technology solutions to create sustainable, long-term impact for our industry.

Introduced by Professor Mathew Aitchison CEO Building 4.0 CRC, and hosted by Isaac Coonan Building 4.0 CRC Industry Lead ; the panel discussion included: Gavin Tonnet, Director Donovan Group; Iain Stewart, Co-Founder and CEO Energenics; Dr Niharika Garud Senior Lecturer Melbourne University and Dr Ivana Kuzmanovska, Postdoctoral Researcher Monash University.

The Austrade Project

Building 4.0 CRC has recently been awarded a project by Austrade focused on promoting the capabilities and opportunities for future building technology solutions in Australia. Through this project Austrade is seeing to understand the technologies, materials and services that are driving improvements within the built environment. This will be done by undertaking research that identifies capabilities, companies and emerging technologies in Australia, the ecosystems that supports them and identify where international companies could leverage these assets.

The Elevator Initiative

Like many in the building industry, Building 4.0 CRC is seeking validated, leading solutions to streamline business processes, remove inefficiencies, increase value proposition for customers, and support global ESG standards – all with a vision to help lead the future industry. Through our Elevator Initiative, we’re bringing together leading research, industry, and emerging property and construction technology businesses/SMEs through a consortium approach, providing opportunity to collaborate, and accelerate the validation process.


Professor Mathew Aitchison, CEO, Building 4.0 CRC

Mathew was previously Professor of Architecture at Monash University, before his secondment to the role of CEO. At Monash, he led the bid and establishment phases of the CRC where he also directed the Future Building Initiative. He was previously Professor of Architecture at the University of Sydney and Director of the Innovation in Applied Design Lab (IAD Lab). He is a researcher, teacher and designer with extensive international experience. Leading up to his current role as CEO of Building 4.0 CRC, Mathew directed a series of large, collaborative research projects exploring industrialised building funded by industry and government.

Isaac J Coonan, Industry Lead, Building 4.0 CRC

Isaac has extensive global experience in building innovative technology clusters aiming to solve some of the world’s largest issues. Over the past five years, he has focused on building the Australian, Southeast Asian property technology cluster, working for global venture capital firms to leading accelerator programs designed to be the conduit between the emerging technology cluster and industry. Most recently, Isaac developed and delivered Australia’s only “City Lead” proptech initiative on behalf of Brisbane City Council, working as the Industry Development Manager for Technology at the Brisbane Economic Development Agency. Isaac currently holds a number of board positions for both peak industry associations and emerging technology companies all within the property sector, and is passionate about technology being an enabler for the future of the property economy.

Gavin Tonnet, Director, Donovan Group

Gavin is a creative technology and property business leader with a deep passion for building a better future – informing, enriching and influencing lives with richer and smarter cities, places and homes – while learning in a global marketplace. Gavin has created and led businesses for Mirvac, Leighton, Stockland and Japanese giant, Sekisui House and was responsible for many significant city-changing urban renewal projects. He has developed, re-organised and led strategic plans, businesses and organisational brand strategies focussed on technology, innovation, CX design and sustainability, from start-up to maturity, that resulted in billion dollar forward pipelines and accountability for hundred million dollar cashflows. By shifting culture from IQ to ‘WeQ’ mode, his teams consistently deliver exceptional people engagement and diversity scores.

Iain Stewart, Co-Founder & CEO of Exergenics

Iain has been named one of Australia’s Most Innovative Engineers by Engineers Australia and a Future Leader by AIRAH for his work with Exergenics. Exergenics uses cloud-based AI engine to analyse existing BMS data to enable building operators to transparently optimise their chilled plants, improving building efficiency and extending equipment life. Before founding Exergenics, Iain was involved in techno-economic decarbonisation pathways modelling, helping some of Australia’s largest companies and governments plan for the coming technological disruption through the net-zero transition.

Dr Niharika Garud, Senior Lecturer in Management at the Faculty of Business & Economics, University of Melbourne & Theme Co-ordinator: Change Management for Building 4.0 CRC

Using her engineering and technical background with expertise in management research, Niharika extensively conducts research, teaching and consulting work in collaborations with industry partners. Her research and consulting interests are in the areas of organisational psychology, technology & innovation management with support and sponsorships from multiple international clients, industry partners and government agencies in the US, Asia and Australia. She is currently working on collaborative research projects in multiple industries funded by industry partners, including manufacturing, hi-tech, utility service providers, and medical organisations, along with conducting engaged research for several industry associations.

Dr Ivana Kuzmanovska, Postdoctoral Researcher Future Building Initiative, Monash University & Theme Co-ordinator: Building Design and DFMA for Building 4.0 CRC

Ivana is currently leading three research projects funded by the Building 4.0 CRC, alongside a number of industry partners committed to seeing change in the way we design and deliver buildings in the future. Ivana is architecturally trained and has been involved in a number of collaborative architectural pavilion and art installation projects, from design right through to installation. These projects have provided deep insights to the complexities and challenges of making (often using digital fabrication techniques) and have only served to strengthen her curiosity around how to better respond through design. Her recently completed doctoral thesis gathers inspiration from manufacturing-derived design methods to propose a framework which prompts building designers to consider and respond to the web of downstream production parameters.

This event was held between on 27th April 2022 at Melbourne Connect, The University of Melbourne.