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Teenage retreats or parent's sanity spaces...

Sprawled across the sofa, again, with “nothing to do” and “nowhere to go”. There’s a mountain of homework on the desk and a floor-drobe in their room that’s been developing over the last few weeks, which you refuse to clear up for the thousandth time. We all know teenagers can be a bit of a challenge, so it’s no wonder more families are investing in separation space, or ‘teenage retreats’ as they are more popularly known.

Not only do they provide a sometimes welcome buffer zone between harmonious living and “Mum, you’re SO ANNOYING!” but teenage retreats offer youths privacy and their own space. Retreats can also work as a great intermediate step for their independence. Pushing your fledgling off the edge can be a little daunting and scary for all involved, but teen-retreats can make the step to independence a weaning process rather than cutting them off cold turkey.

Although these ‘hang-out spaces’ can seem like a pretty substantial expense when most people are still feeling a little sore from the GFC, stats show that teenage retreats may be more worthwhile than you’d think.

Maturing with a child, teenage retreats often transition from teen hangout, to student house, to temporary lodgings for ‘stay-at-home adults’. They can then be leased as second dwellings, changed into that pool house/guest house, or even converted into a granny flat.

A well-designed teenage retreat with flexible use options is a must for best ‘bang for your buck’, with more and more kids staying at home well into their 20s and even 30s. Although we’d like to think that it’s just a simple matter of teaching independence and maintaining a strong stance when it comes to launching kids at a reasonable age, the truth is of course a little harder to swallow. The fact is it’s getting too expensive to move out. Almost 1 in 3 adults have grown-up children between 21 and 40 still living at home, the majority of which attribute this to financial constraints. And while living at home as a grown-up child does have the benefits of fewer responsibilities, more disposable income, and the added convenience of Mum and Dad, the vast majority don’t want to be stuck under their parents, and likewise parents don’t want to be tripping over grown-up kids.

The Quickshack offers a perfect solution to surly teens and stay-at-home adults. The Quickshack is a 2 bed, 1 bath, pre-fab dwelling of the highest quality. With solid timber flooring, quartz bench-tops and top-grade fittings, the Quickshack is a cut above all the port-a-cabin or demountable alternatives flooding the market.

Architecturally designed, the open plan dwelling is light and functionally flexible, making it a top quality site addition, from teenage retreat, to guest house, to granny flat or studio.

The Quickshack arrives on a truck, fully finished, needing only to be plugged-in to onsite connections – in less than a day from arrival you could have 50sqm of high-spec additional living space, ready to move into.

And with the first batch of Quickshacks already sold, the Sydney display open days are well worth a look.

Blog written by Jessica

The Humble Granny Flat

The humble granny flat takes a running jump into contemporary ideology.

We are heading an era of immediate gratification and convenience; it’s a world where we have the infinite wisdom of the internet in our pockets, and anything we want is only 3 clicks away. Everything is newer, better, faster.

So why is the construction industry so far behind? Why are new technologies shied away from? Why do we still use slow and imprecise methods? And why are delays and budget blow-outs standard?

Pre-fab or offsite construction is pioneering ways to solve these problems with Quicksmart Homes being a world leader.

And yes, pre-fab conjures disturbing images of flimsy port-a-cabins and shoddy demountables, but the reality is offsite construction, and specifically modular buildings, can be high quality and beautifully finished. Demand for all things better and faster has driven this marked shift in offsite construction, and not to be left behind, the granny flat has jumped on board.

While it is true that the granny flat is nothing new to Australia, it is rapidly re-inventing itself from a dodgy garage conversion to a high-specification luxury dwelling. This long overdue image change has the popularity of the granny flat exploding across the housing sector.

Driven by a housing shortage and a market that is becoming increasingly difficult to break into, these not-so-humble additions are the most popular new commodity. With adult children leaving home later and later, and tri-generational living becoming ever more prevalent, the granny flat option provides affordable and much needed breathing space on existing properties and blocks.

Also contributing to the recent popularity of granny flats is the potential investment returns, a fact that almost 70% of granny flat buyers have not failed to notice. Adding habitable space, or a separate dwelling to sub-let can dramatically increase the value of a property.

Additionally local governments here in Australia have special planning designations that allow home owners to avoid protracted and lengthy applications. Through compliant development rules and regulations it is possible to speed up consents. They vary from state to state and council to council but it makes building a granny flat easier and quicker than ever before.

Leading the pre-fab market in luxury granny flats is the Quickshack: a 2 bed, 1 bath dwelling with solid timber flooring throughout and quartz stone bench tops. The Quickshack brings a chic and contemporary dimension to the once humble granny flat.

Architecturally designed to offer the best use of space, the open plan dwelling is light and functionally flexible, making it a top quality site addition, from granny flat, to first home, to teenage retreat or studio.

It arrives on a truck, fully finished, needing only to be plugged in to onsite connections – in less than a day from arrival you could have a 50 square metre high-spec granny flat, ready to move into.

 Construction just got convenient.

 And with the first batch of Quickshacks selling fast, the December open days are one for the calendar.

Go www.quickshack.com.au or www.quicksmarthomes.com for more information.


Blog posted by Jessica

Kainotophobia sufferers unite… the story of my NEW rugby boots.

Hotels & Apartments

Kainotophobia. The term for the fear of change – to be exact – the fear of newness. Kainotophobia.

We probably all suffer from it in some form or another and in our modular business we see acute forms and meet incurable cases daily. The Architecticus and Contractoris strains are particularly virulent, very hard to treat and often terminal.

I used to scoff and scorn at sufferers until last week when I realised the stigma, the pain and suffering they endure on a daily bases.

I needed new rugby boots.

I’m a reasonably open minded and technologically pioneering person. I’m happy to lead and happy to understand new technology – even if I can’t see the real purpose or value (Instagram – I rest my case).

My rugby boots have lasted me a long time but when I dusted them off for their 18th season even I judged them to be (in the offside words of Richie McKaw) “shigged”. Judge for yourself…

Old Technology

My old boots were perfect. Old school – Mizuno Warriors – 8 studs – classics. Duct tape prolonged their life for many years and keeping them on a high shelf away from the dog also helped. They have survived numerous moves, tours, dangerous encounters and are one of the only things I still own that pre-date my wedding day.

I knew what I got with my old boots. Safe, comfortable, easy to put on and stylish too (I certainly thought so). I never twisted my ankle, I never hurt my feet rucking wingers and I was very happy with my old boots. I didn’t need to change. They cost a packet too. $180 in 1995 – which meant they were quality hooves.

So No. 3 and I headed to the shop to replace them. The young man who assisted me told me, with an underlying tone of mockery, that my old rugby boots were no longer the way forward.

My boots are always black, lace up on the front and have nothing bright or fancy to distinguish them to referees in an infringement or difference of opinion with another player.

Having sat down in the shop the young man presented me with one choice. Large feet mean there is little on offer and I was horrified.

He explained about the technological changes, the benefits – blah blah sales blah blah sales. How much technology can you get in a pair of boots? What is this guy talking about? Stop talking please I want to go home… Here they are…

(Warning – players over the age of forty should exercise caution with the following photograph)

New Technology

“Soccer” boots. Not just that – white soccer boots.

Just think of the risks. Twisted ankles, poor posture, hair loss, premature aging, drinking lager (or worse – pilsner), sideline comments or even being called a soccer player.

The technology I was already using worked well enough so why do I need to change? The way my old boots worked was fine – predicable, safe, reassuringly expensive. Why did the technology have to change? I want to do the same thing I was doing 10, 20, 30 years ago. I like safe – even if it’s “shigged”.

I tried on the new boots. Soft, flexible, weird. Don’t like them. They fit but even No.3 at seven years old gave me a ‘proper’ look. No. Too different. Too risky. I will undoubtedly twist my ankle and fall under bus. No. These are wrong.

“$50 sir, on special”.


At fifty bucks they were worth a go – and I really had no alternatives.

Thursday at training they had their first outing. I blocked out the white boot chatter and chaff and let myself loose on the field..

Astonishing. The young man in the shop was right. Technology had moved on in 18 years of footwear design. They were amazing. Comfortable. No more studs through the sole of the foot, no more blisters and I was safe – different but safe.

I’m now 80% faster around the field (as perceived by me), can corner like a train on tracks and can stop quicker than using a fullback as a buffer. I even managed a pre-collision side step into a member of the opposition – a career first make no mistake.

So what’s my point?

New technology sometimes needs a push. Price always helps but trying it out sells another pair of boots.

If you suffer from construction Kainotophobia – give us a call – we understand what you’re going through and we can help you pull through. You no longer have to suffer alone.


(P.S. I couldn’t throw those old ones away – not yet. They’re hidden in a cupboard. Maybe next week I’ll put them in the bin, maybe the week after… Recovery from a bout of severe Kainotophobia can take months I'm told.)

We think New Zealand - and New Zealand does too...

Hotels & Apartments

Quicksmart Homes has been in and out of New Zealand for many years but this year there has been a real uptick in enthusiasm and this is being bolstered by sustainable economic growth.

New Zealand is predicting that it’s construction GDP is going to double, as a conservative estimate, in the next two to three years.

We think their GDP estimate is way wide of the mark – they need to treble it.

Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch are bursting with opportunities, banks and institutions are lending again (or appearing to) and demand trends are climbing fast to match.

Talk to contractors in any of those cities, and house builders further down the South Island or in the outer areas and their biggest concern is resources.

In Christchurch the concern is not having enough accommodation to house the workers. In Auckland there are already skills shortages and Wellington they talk about both issues and the associated cost escalations.

But New Zealand has an advantage over the rest of the world. They believe in change and they believe that construction should lead the world in the application of new technology.

Imagine presenting a 14 storey modular building in one of the world’s top earthquake zones?

What did the local council want? They wanted to help. They want to make it work and be a success.

How refreshing. No over pricing a new technology, no designing out efficiencies and no burying ideas to offload responsibility. No xenophobia, no protectionism, no self interest – just the greater goal.

New Zealand sees modular, prefabrication and modern methods of construction as one major way out of a resources pinch and like their success in sport they push forward towards the same goal – as a team.


(don't forget - Quickshacks (or Quickbach for you Kiwis) are coming first week in October. Book in to come and have a look)

Health and Fitness Continues...

Hospitals & Care Homes

In the week our Quickshacks featured in the Fitness First magazine we had a pretty healthy week all around.

Quicksmart Homes presented to a panel of health analysts at one of the largest global investment banks to discuss innovations that could prime more health sector growth.

As Australia's only provider of scale premium modular health care accommodation we presented our high specification multi-storey solution which we have successfully delivered to private health operators in Australia.

The response was unprecedented from the panel.

With bed space becoming a major growth inhibitor in Australia investors are very concerned with construction industry capacity to fullfil the shortfall at a reasonable and consistent cost in the health sector.

We were questioned at length with the underlying themes being timescale, design flexibility for brown field sites and cost inflation, all substantially solved with modular construction.

If health investors have seen the need for modular then we have a busy time ahead.

If you would like us to come and present to your team or group then drop us a line.

Some architects have said that our presentation has enough relevance and content to qualify for CPD so have think about that (and check it's applicable for you). 

We're based in Sydney, spend a lot of time in Brisbane and visit NZ and Perth frequently so we're happy to travel!

We're in NZ in mid-August so if there is enough interest we can set up a seminar or two.

Quickshacks are coming...

If you're a member of Fitness First then you may have noticed our Quickshack was number 10 in their 2013 Cool List of "coveted threads, toys and gadgets".

The Quickshacks are on the way...

New Quickshacks 2013 

Modular technology in social housing

Hotels & Apartments

Can modular technology help with social housing shortages?

Low cost housing and housing for homeless people has been in the news recently with the local CEO's here in Sydney sleeping out last week to raise awareness of a serious problem effecting all communities. Nearly AUD$2million was raised to support Vinnies and other charities.

Quicksmart Homes are often asked to look at low cost housing and we are often asked to comment on how modular products could help in providing homeless people with accommodation.

The general misconception is that low cost housing is cheap to build. It needs to be cheap to rent for the tenants from flexible family housing through to secure overnight accommodation for people under threat.

Why is it not cheap? Good low cost housing needs to be very durable. That means very high quality.

Properties must be designed and built to stand the test of time and deal with the range of behaviour that non-selective social housing brings. They need to be secure by design and provide a safe environment for the occupants.

Additionally, a major problem with low cost housing is payback on investment dollars. That's why it's left to the charities and social services to provide. Imposing quotas on new development helps but only in certain sectors of the social housing spectrum.

So why not provide medium term relocatable accommodation on fallow sites waiting for other uses or parts of a larger project where the site won't be used for a number of years. The developer provides the site and infrastructure for the building and when the site is ready - after a prescribed time period or trigger point - the building gets moved.

That's where high quality modular buildings could come into play.

Being able to stack multi-storey, relocate or re-task the modules is all easy to achieve. Quicksmart modules can also be leased as capital equipment leaving charities more cash for services.

Food for thought.

If you would like to help Vinnies break the AUD$2,000,000 barrier visit:


The Benefits of Modular Housing

Hybrid Housing

What benefits does our hybrid modular product offer the house builder at large?

Modular (not panels or prefab but volumetric modules - where the whole thing is delivered as one completed part) can be justified in a number of ways.

There can be a major cost benefit but in providing that saving there is often an offset for product inclusions to keep the price down. Quicksmart products are cheaper without discounting quality or fittings - it's not what you do it's how you do it.

Hybrid House2Hybrid House 3

It is undoubtedly faster.

In commercial applications like private health and hotels, where Quicksmart Homes delivers a lot of products, modular offers a big time saving. 6 months additional revenue on a 100 room hotel is certainly a major bump for an operator's bottom line.

Modular offers a potential for a more consistent quality by being built in a factory environment.

But go back to the question. Builders worry about two things - money and cash (and we're being serious - just bear with us on this...)

Money is the bottom line and cash is working capital. A lot of smaller builders, and franchisees of large home builders, are constrained by when they get paid and how much they can stretch the cash in between.

Quicksmart's hybrids save time and save money - about AUD$20,000 on a standard 200-250sqm house. With our innovative payment terms we can also help the builder with his cash flow. So that makes house builders happy.

If you want to know more about how we can help or you want to visit our Sydney hybrid display then click here and send us a form.

Senior Living

Hybrid Housing

Independent living units (ILU's), senior living, sheltered housing - what ever you like to call it there is an ever increasing demand for accommodation in Australia and around the world. Australia's aging population needs somewhere to live and a big gap is opening between demand and supply.

Quicksmart believes that just because you're downsizing out of the family home to more appropriate surroundings doesn't mean you have to compromise on design or quality.

We've been working with a number of providers, the guys who develop, build and operate villages, to improve the quality of the products that are available.

Quicksmart Homes provides high dependency aged care rooms, hybrids and stand alone 2 bed units based on our Quickshacks. Aged care providers in all areas of the care spectrum come to us to deliver high quality complex space very quickly.

Quicksmart's ILU designs incorporate our hybrid technology to allow multiple house layouts around a standardised core module. Quicksmart are also raising the bar on thermal and acoustic performance by providing the modules with very high specification windows and insulation.

In a market driven by cost the Quicksmart ILU's offer a highly superior product which lifts the specification of the whole building to offer residents a better place to live. We also offer savings over multiple projects along with security of supply and a fully supported product range.

We're putting together a specification pack now for the various designs and options so if you are interested in learning more about how we can help improve the living space for the elderly then drop us a line (click here) and we'll send you the information.