GMC member CMTP is expanding its successful pallet and crate manufacturing business to embrace the growing modular housing sector.
Founded in 1976, CMTP is headquartered in Colac and employs around 270 staff across eleven manufacturing sites Across Australia. The family-run business also manufactures produce bins, cases, specialty air freight crates for live animals, and offers machinery packing and relocation services, as well as supplying cardboard and general packaging.
MD Travis Meade tells GMC a new foray into modular housing is underway.
“We’ve just started on a venture to expand into the modular housing space. We intend on building high end modular prefab homes, starting in our Colac site. It’s something we’ve just started to launch,” Mr Meade says.
“We’re already in the business of mass manufacture and we thought why not optimise some of our equipment and look at mass manufacturing housing.”
CMTP is recruiting carpenters and says there is opportunity for existing staff to further develop their careers, with apprenticeship opportunities also possible in the future.
Almost five decades ago, the business began when Mr Meade’s builder father Chris – CMTP stands for Chris and Marilyn’s timber and packaging – was asked to make some pallets.
“They started in the backyard and it really grew from there. He made a couple and then ran a few costings and thought this sounded like a bit of a business opportunity. It grew pretty quickly from there, he eventually gave away the building and concentrated on the pallet supply. You grab an opportunity when they arise.”
Today, the pallet manufacturing is largely automated. Original site Colac is still the biggest operation, predominantly supplying Melbourne, as well as produce bins to Ballarat, the Otways and to Gippsland for potatoes.
“There is barely an industry we don’t supply. Any manufacturer generally has to have a pallet to move their product,” says Mr Meade.
CMTP will build housing modules that are transportable, taken to site and connected to form the finished building, built from a number of different materials with a focus on sustainable, energy efficient housing.
A lot of CMTP automated equipment on site in Colac — timber docking lines and timber processing equipment– can be utilised to produce the modules. Construction is expected to start in the next month or so, and there are already several customers in the pipeline, and architectural plans are being developed for a number of different designs.
“It is a trend that we see starting to take off in Australia, factory-built homes that are more efficient to build and quicker to get to site. You’re not held up with weather delays and site access, and they are just quicker to manufacture in a factory rather than on site.
“It’s certainly in the early stages but it is something we have already seen plenty of inquiry for. Given some shortages, particularly of affordable housing, we see plenty of opportunity moving forward,” Mr Meade said.