16 Dec 2021
Set up in a Melbourne garage 7 years ago, iBuild is answering the call for affordable accommodation and community housing solutions.
iBuild Building Solutions has fast become one of Australia’s leading kit home providers. The company has enjoyed a compound annual growth rate of 816% since its launch.
Current iBuild products include kit homes, granny flats, modular buildings, containers and steel structures. The company is recognised for its outstanding design, research and development, and manufacturing capabilities.
‘Our mission is to create affordable housing,’ says Jackson Yin, Managing Director for iBuild. ‘We also want to innovate the workspace to be stronger, smarter, faster and more affordable.’
Global operations enable growth
iBuild was founded in a garage only 7 years ago. The 40-strong team now operates across 3 countries. That includes a 5,000 square-metre factory in Melbourne.
iBuild delivers its certified Australian-made kit homes and modular buildings to customers across the globe. So far, the company has exported to South Pacific and West African nations including the Cook Islands, Tonga and Senegal.
‘As a small business starting out, we need to seek out revenue income,’ says Yin. ‘Exporting is one of the important components that has allowed us to grow.’
Digital innovation leads to contract in Africa
iBuild boosted its digital efforts in the face of the global pandemic. This included piloting virtual reality walkthroughs of iBuild showrooms. The strategy led to a $2 million export contract to Senegal through a German foreign aid project.
‘To our delight, an organisation working on a German foreign aid project in Senegal found us through Google,’ says Yin.
‘We are thrilled that 11 prefabricated homes will be made in Melbourne and shipped to Senegal in 40 containers. This has also opened a new market for us, with much potential in other African nations.
‘Our client is very excited. They’re looking forward to assembling and showcasing these unique Australian-style villas in Africa.’
Home success on home soil
iBuild co-founders Jackson Yin and Michael Zeng moved to Australia in the late 1990s. The Australian-Chinese engineers quickly saw a need for fast and cost-effective housing solutions.
Soon after its launch, iBuild began delivering its innovative flatpack home kits to its first customers. Many initial homes went to regional Australia, to locals who would otherwise not have been able to afford building their own homes.
iBuild is now an Approved Tender Supplier of prefabricated buildings to the Victorian Government and the United Nations. This has seen the company delivering important social housing and aged care projects across Australia.
iBuild has also worked on major infrastructure projects in partnership with leading builders like John Holland and Lendlease. This included the buildings at the new Reservoir Station in Melbourne. This was the first Australian railway station awarded a 5 Star rating from the Green Building Council Australia.
Exporting for expansion
Yin’s eyes are firmly set on building a strong exporting future for his company. ‘As the export business grows, we will need bigger space,’ he says.
‘We want to expand our fabrication capacity. We need more equipment; we need more skilled people. We might need to expand our offices to other parts of the world. So, there’s quite a lot of things on our mind!’