YEARS after the Ripley Valley was earmarked as a master-planned community, the first structure in the Sekisui House development is under construction.
The development is expected to be officially launched in May with the first 100 lots to be placed on the market.
Construction is expected to begin on the first homes by the end of the year and the first residents are expected to be calling the Ripley Valley home by early next year.
Ecco Ripley's first building is the sales and information centre, due to be completed by April.
The construction is a major milestone for the development.
The building's frame, made with glue-laminated timber, is engineered offsite at a factory in NSW, which improves building consistency to a higher standard than homes of previous generations.
The building features geo-thermal air-conditioning which reduces energy use by 50 per cent.
Ecco Ripley Development manager Frank Galvin said the highly durable and sustainable frame would last for generations.
"Because of the frame design, it was able to be assembled onsite in just four hours," he said.
"Now that the frame is up, Sekisui House construction team will be spending the next few months completing the remainder of the building.
"The sales and information centre will also feature geo-thermal air-conditioning which aims to reduce air-conditioning energy use by up to 60%, as well as solar power and a rainwater tank.
"We've chosen the triple-electro coated metal joint framing system because of its durability, its sustainability credentials and to demonstrate our Sekisui House innovation."
The Sekisui House development will be home to 4000 dwellings, but home owners will be able to choose between the Japanese design or a traditional bricks and mortar home.
Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale welcomed the achievement.
"It is fantastic to not only have construction under way in the Ripley Valley, but the innovation being used is tremendous," he said.
"This is the first time such technology has been used in Australia and the frame and joints designed by Sekisui House will lead the way in the development of the Ripley Valley growth corridor."
As part of the innovative design, construction materials are pre-engineered off site to allow complete control over the quality of work.
"The highly durable and sustainable frame is not only an innovative way of building new homes in Australia, but will last for generations.
"In just four hours Sekisui House have been able to assemble the timber frame of its Sales and Information Centre, and the building will be completed by April.
"With the commencement of the first building in Ecco Ripley, it won't be long before we see construction ramp up which means more local employment opportunities and more residents ready to call Ipswich home."
In July work began to upgrade Ripley Rd, the main thoroughfare leading to the new development.
Sekisui House has housing developments under way in Sydney and invested $1.3 billion into the Australian housing market.
- Stage 1 of Sekisui House offers lots from 300sqm to 622sqm
- Sekisui House was established in Japan in 1960
- The Sekisui master plan area within Ripley Valley is 194 hectares