In Summary

A collaborative initiative that is improving structural fastening practices in the Australian construction industry has earned Swinburne University of Technology the industry engagement prize at the inaugural Australian Financial Review Higher Education awards.

The initiative is transforming the selection, design and installation of structural anchors and fasteners in the construction industry, improving safety during construction and under extreme events, while also increasing cost-effectiveness.

In 2012 Swinburne, in conjunction with  six other industry Founding Members, formed the Australian Engineered Fasteners and Anchors Council (AEFAC). In three years the AEFAC’s work has resulted in:

  • new and unique testing and assessment procedures for various products;
  • the development of technical specifications to cover the design of fastenings (first in Australia).
  • an AEFAC Installer Certification Program;
  • freely available technical literature;
  • nationwide education events for engineers on design and installation;

“Our motivations are to enhance safety for construction workers, safeguard people against failures and develop optimal solutions for the construction industry to make our structures more affordable,” Swinburne Professor Emad Gad, who chairs the AEFAC Board, said.

“We are honoured to receive this industry engagement award.”

By introducing minimum standards, the AEFAC is safeguarding performance standards, encouraging innovation and providing opportunities for growth within the Australian construction industry.

“This is a wonderful example of university and industry collaboration to achieve a common outcome with great research impact. Congratulations to all colleagues and partners involved,” Executive Dean of Swinburne's Faculty of Science, Engineering and Technology, Professor John Wilson, said.

The Australian Financial Review Higher Education Awards recognise the achievements of universities and other higher education providers and focus on the impact of initiatives, innovation, value for money and sustainability.

They were judged by a panel of individuals who have served at the top levels of higher education in universities, business, private education providers, peak bodies and policymaking bodies including former Swinburne Chancellor Bill Scales.

The winners were announced at the AFR Higher Education Reform Summit in Sydney on 27 October 2015. The industry engagement award was presented by Terry Hogan, Industry Manager Higher Education, Technology One, sponsors of this award.

About the AEFAC

AEFAC was initiated in 2012 at Swinburne and formed with the support of the Founding Board Members: Swinburne University, Ancon Building Products, Hilti (Australia), Hobson Engineering Co, ITW Construction Systems, Stanley Black & Decker (Powers) and Wurth Australia. It was later joined by Supporting Members: Allthread Industries and Simpson Strong-Tie.