Building a future for sustainable housing on the Great South Coast

by Regional Development Victoria |  12 Dec 2022  

For Dr Matt Dingle, Managing Director and Co-Founder of FormFlow, the company’s purpose is simple.

“Our vision is a world where everyone has a bright future, and a home they love,” he said. “People are at the heart of everything we do,” he added.

The company, which started in 2016, has invented a world-first process for bending corrugated iron. Known as the FormFlow Bend, the process is helping them build affordable, sustainable and relocatable modular homes.

Matt Dingle and Matthias Weiss

Matt Dingle (L) and Matthias Weiss showcasing the FormFlow Bend

Currently based in Geelong, Matt and his team are keen to take production out to regional areas where the need for housing is high. Thanks in part to $800,000 from the Victorian Government’s Portland Diversification Fund, this goal is becoming a reality, with FormFlow preparing to establish a manufacturing facility at Portland Airport.

Like many regions, Portland and the Great South Coast are facing housing and accommodation shortages. These shortages have flow-on effects for the economy. They can result in locals not being able to get into the housing market, or businesses struggling to get workers because there’s not enough accommodation in the region.

It can also mean fewer opportunities to host tourists for longer stays and less support for people living with disabilities. Matt is confident the new FormFlow manufacturing facility can address these issues.

Once operational in 2023, the Portland facility will be able to produce up to 200 one-bedroom houses each year. Two, three and four-bedroom modules will also be available. With the houses designed for adaptability, it is not just key workers who will benefit.

Matt and his team want their houses to be available for a range of people and purposes.

These include social and affordable housing, homes for National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants, tourism accommodation and emergency response housing.

“Ideally, we want to have communities where there is social and affordable housing, and accommodation for people with any needs,” said Matt.

“We want places where you get a good blend of people, which is what a community should look like,” he added.

With the manufacturing hub expected to create 50 full-time jobs and around 150 indirect jobs with local businesses, the economic benefits will also extend beyond providing housing.

Matt is excited for FormFlow to become part of the Portland community and looks forward to being a regional employer.

“Rather than building a massive factory in a capital city and then transporting the houses around the country, we want to bring our systems and processes to smaller manufacturing facilities, closer to where the need is,” he said.

“This means we can employ local people, contribute directly to the regional economy, and help ease the housing crisis, all with one project,” he added.

“I’m hoping that five years up the track, we’re going to see lots of very happy people who are loving living in the houses we build.”

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