Offsite Magazine - Issue 02 - Summer 2016

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STEEL FOR LIFE How valuable an asset is steel frame and prefabrication in today’s circular economy?


MODULAR MATTERS Umbrellahaus, volumetric construction and thinking in and around the ‘box’.


BIM PROGRESS Understanding the significant steps on the road to Level 2 compliance.


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PUBLISHER: Offsite Magazine is produced and published by Radar Communications: ©Radar Communications Ltd. Radar Communications Ltd, 5 Darwin Court, Oxon Business Park, Shrewsbury, Shropshire. SY3 5AL T: 01743 290001 For offsite enquiries please contact: E: DISCLAIMER: The content of Offsite Magazine does not necessarily reflect the views of the editor or publishers and are the views of its contributors and advertisers. The digital edition may include hyperlinks to third-party content, advertising, or websites, provided for the sake of convenience and interest. The publishers accept no legal responsibility for loss arising from information in this publication and do not endorse any advertising or products available from external sources. No part of this publication may be reproduced or stored in a retrieval system without the written consent of the publishers. All rights reserved.

BOX CLEVER Welcome to the second edition of Offsite and firstly many thanks to everyone who has been in touch with us recently. The first issue went down a treat and it’s heartening to be complemented on producing a stylish, focused publication catering for the burgeoning interest in offsite manufacture in all its forms. Of course, there is nothing ‘new’ about offsite construction. Even though in some quarters it is still viewed with some suspicion and regarded as a mysterious way to produce buildings. A change in construction culture is happening and a new demographic of construction worker is entering the industry. Also, the last wave of offsite excitement (mid-2000s) happened in a largely pre-digital and social media world before being crushed by a recession. So the surge of interest and upswing in fortunes may have less to do with the cyclical nature of fads and trends but as a more sustainably attuned, cost-conscious and digitally connected world, we can now share knowledge on offsite manufacture and its merits can be catapulted far and wide at the press of a button. As we went to press, the NHBC Foundation published its findings on surveying UK housebuilders on the use of – an outdated phrase and misnomer – ‘modern methods of construction’. The three year research: “captures the degree to which different methods and systems have been

adopted and assesses the appetite for more extensive application of specific approaches.” Interestingly, it found that few admitted to using full volumetric construction or pods? A large part of this issue is dedicated to modular and moveable buildings, including several volumetric and pod specialists busy changing the perception of what modular construction and pod systems can do – and not just for housing. We also cover the innovative ‘factory in a box’ prototype created by Bryden Wood and GSK alongside the Umbrellahaus concept for modern living, via new entrants to the UK market such as the timber-based Cubicco as well as industry stalwarts Foremans, who are still raising the sustainability bar with their longstanding recycling of volumetric units. Each of these are taking a ‘very simple box’ and proving you can do all sorts with it. As ever there is lots to appeal in the following pages and I could point you in many directions. We have some exceptional examples of concrete and steel usage, guidance on supply chain management and the Offsite Management School and BSI provide some timely ‘de-baffling’ and advice on BIM! Enjoy.

Gary Ramsay

Consultant Editor Email: gary.ramsay



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32 | Concrete Excellence Using some recent offsite examples of concrete use, Richard Day, Head of Technical Advisory at the Concrete Society, shows how fully precast or hybrid concrete construction can create landmark buildings in a range of sectors.




Following their acquisition by Siniat, Managing Director of EOS Facades, Steve Thompson, shares his thoughts with Offsite Magazine on why the collaboration and integration of construction teams is essential in delivering successful projects.

Section dedicated to a range of volumetric providers changing perceptions about modular building design, including Pocket Living the Umbrellahaus and cross laminated timber cubes.





British Constructional Steelwork Association (BCSA) Director General, Sarah McCann-Bartlett discusses the key benefits of steel within offsite construction, BIM, service integration and the wider circular economy.

As BIM becomes the standard for the construction industry, both the Offsite Management School and BSI hand out some timely advice and guidance on what organisations need to know about this pivotal digital platform.



10 | Offsite News News and developments from across the UK & International offsite industries and wider construction arena.

24 | Explore Offsite – Housing A round-up of the first of 2016’s Explore Offsite events that concentrated on how offsite manufacture can help ease the UK’s housing issues. Across both days, delegates heard varying approaches and perspectives on offsite technology.

40 | Residential Buildings in Light Steel Framing Mark Lawson and Andrew Way of the Steel Construction Institute (SCI), review some of the latest developments in light steel framing for a variety of different living environments. 46 | A Perfectly Timed Solution? Ian Loughnane, Business Unit Director, Kingspan Timber Solutions, offers his perspective on offsite construction and timber’s role in the housing industry. 50 | CLT – a truly versatile material The rise in use of cross laminated timber (CLT) has been well documented in recent years with the material increasingly being specified. We hear from Stora Enso about some key UK projects. 54 | Offsite Manufacture: Onsite Certainty Bathroom pods are one of the unsung heroes of the offsite sector offering a defect-free way to install an essential element of any living space. Richard Tonkinson, Commercial Director of Offsite Solutions, explains more about their pod technology. 64 | Set Your Sites on a Specialist Andrew Orriss, Head of Business Development at SIG360 Technical Centre, explains how using a specialist distributor to provide advice on a variety of products, from a range of manufacturers can help maximise the benefits of offsite construction. 66 | BIM or not to BIM? Shaun McCarthy OBE, Director, Action Sustainability, clears some of the confusion surrounding the standards, protocols and systems connected to Building Information Modelling (BIM). 68 | Can OSC Solve the Skills Shortage? Jim Roach, Managing Director of specialist recruiter ARV Solutions, highlights some important areas that need addressing before offsite can successfully rise to the challenge of the construction sector’s skills crisis.

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COLLABORATION AND INTEGRATION THE KEY TO SUCCESS Celebrating their tenth anniversary this year, EOS Facades is a leading innovator in light gauge steel construction, specialising in the design, manufacture and supply of a wide range of light gauge steel frame solutions for the SFS facades and offsite construction sectors. This approach is paying off not only in delivering highly prestigious projects, such as the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, which is part of a £27 million state-of-the-art genome-sequencing hub for Genomics England and the David Attenborough Building at Cambridge University but also other projects that are smaller in scale where time restrictions are a factor and a critical path can be identified. Our ambition to become the leading player in light gauge steel frame technology has recently been accelerated following the announcement that our company has been acquired by the prominent dry construction solutions company - Siniat. Siniat manufactures drywall products and systems for partitions, ceilings, wall linings and external sheathing purposes – so there is a natural synergy between our product portfolios. Managing Director Steve Thompson shares his thoughts with Offsite Magazine on why a partnership approach is essential in delivering successful projects. “We are very much into partnering – we like to get involved right from the beginning, providing advice and guidance throughout the process. Partnerships are a core part of our business and our team strive to build excellent working relationships. Our philosophy is plain and simple - ‘do what you say you are going to do’ which ensures we meet expectations. We offer a comprehensive expert partnering service, for conceiving, designing and manufacturing light gauge steel frame solutions for the exacting requirements of construction industry. 6

Working in such a project-based industry can be challenging due to the interactions taking place between many unfamiliar teams for a relatively short period of time. This can complicate an already demanding environment when it comes to communication, in which technical language and mixed skillsets are so prominent. Failure to establish clear and efficient procedures and collaborative practices across the teams can be problematic. However, when executed well, it is a great incentive for main contractors to retain project teams across numerous builds. By forming strategic alliances and good working practices - seamless collaboration can be achieved across the wider construction teams.


Our collaboration provides an outstanding opportunity to combine EOS Facades’ technical expertise and specialist knowledge with those of Siniat to create innovative new ‘through wall’ solutions for specifiers, designers, engineers and installers. It is clear that there is an imperative to improve industry performance, with increasing requirements to design and construct in a more detailed manner and at a rapid pace – these processes are reliant upon effective communication. Construction professionals must work together to steer the industry towards a more collaborative culture and through adopting a partnership approach, it can be mutually beneficial to all those involved.”

COVER STORY EOS FACADES EOS Facades - Strategic Alliances Through collaborative working and by forming strategic alliances, EOS Facades provide specialist services to businesses large and small, including some of the most prominent companies in construction.

Working with Siniat Siniat manufactures drywall products and systems for partitions, ceilings, wall linings and external sheathing purposes. Their products are used by small builders through to some of the most acclaimed architects and construction companies in the country. Now part of the Siniat Group, EOS Facades have worked in partnership with Siniat on the Llandeilo School project on behalf of Bouygues UK.

Llandeilo School Project Part of a £23.5m investment by Carmarthenshire Council, EOS Facades and Siniat were appointed on behalf of Bouygues UK to deliver this fast track project which saw the merger of two schools on to a single site. This project accommodates 1200 pupils, along with a sixth form centre, specialist ASD unit and additional leisure and learning opportunities for the wider community. EOS were appointed by M & P Contractors Wales to carry out the design, supply and installation of EOS’ steel frame system together with Siniat’s weather defence board. One of the main challenges for EOS involved the large windows with tight head spaces. The team were able to resolve this through bespoke lintel details which supported the large wind-posts. The EOS ‘lump sum’ pricing structure provided cost certainty and combined with advanced offsite manufacturing processes were able to deliver this project within the projected time and budget.

Working with BAM BAM is responsible for the implementation of thousands of projects every year. EOS Facades has formed a strategic alliance and worked on the North West Cambridge Development, Sandwell UTC and WMG Academy. Here is just a snapshot of one these collaborative projects:

North West Cambridge Dvelopment The vision for the £80m North West Cambridge Development was to create a new district within the City. EOS Facades provided SFS façade solutions which were installed by SCL on critical phases of the build which encompasses residential and commercial buildings on this prestigious project.

Working with KIER Kier Group operates across a range of sectors and through a strategic alliance with Kier; EOS Facades has worked on some prestigious projects including the Sanger Institute, the Flying High Academy and the Wainwright Academy - both educational facilities based in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire.

Sanger Institute EOS Facades were appointed on behalf of Kier on this highly prestigious build, providing SFS Infill Panels for the new laboratory building – part of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute - which was then installed by SCL. EOS Facades also delivered the next phase of the development – the Biodata Innovation Centre, by designing unique sections that were used as canopy joists alongside standard infill studs. An innovative detail was implemented to maintain structural stability and satisfied the cladding requirements.

Working with BARRATT LONDON With over 30 years’ experience leading developer Barratt London have literally helped to shape one of the world’s most exciting, diverse and dynamic cities. EOS Facades partnership projects with Barratt London include the Kiddepore Green development in Hampstead and Sterling Court in, Edgware Green together with:

Fulham Wharf Transforming a large derelict wharf building, carpark and a Sainsbury’s store, EOS Facades were appointed by Stanmore on behalf of Barratt London to design and manufacture a nonstandard gable end SFS system in to the town houses which form part of Fulham Wharf development. The regeneration of this site transforms this vast warehouse space into shops and homes, as well as restaurants and cafes - playing an important role in the local community and providing a new shopping and living experience, unique to this area of London.

If you want to collaborate with us on your next project, our team will be happy to assist. Contact: Sean Tarling - UK Business Development & Customer Relationship Manager at:




A LONGER REACH FOR OFFSITE Legal & General (L&G) have grabbed the headlines in recent months with its strategic £55 million investment in offsite manufacture. With cross-laminated timber (CLT) at the heart of its volumetric plans for new housing, what can we expect from this possibly game changing development?

1 As one of the largest UK property investors, L&G has identified ‘high quality housing stock as a key asset for society’ and is looking to work with Government, local authorities and housing developers to help ease the UK housing shortage. This is on top of the £600m Build to Rent partnership with Dutch firm PGGM, that is seeking to drive more, purpose-built private rental housing across the UK. 8

Under chief executive Tom Ground, L&G Homes is the new company set to use the best of precision engineering and offsite manufacture to deliver 3,000 high quality homes across a number of sectors ranging from Build to Rent and affordable housing to student accommodation and commercial property.


With the creation of what is touted to be the largest offsite manufacturing site in Europe, L&G also has made an ‘in principle commitment’ to invest a further £500 million in replicating the facility across the UK. The 12.6 acre site in Sherburn-in-Elmet, between Leeds and Selby, will initially employ 400 to 500 people.


2 Speaking at the Explore Offsite: Housing event in Birmingham in March, Tom Ground explained some of the reasons behind the L&G investment and the plans to shake up the UK housing sector, where the new factory has the potential to significantly alter the ways homes are delivered in the UK, especially for the Build to Rent market. “We did look at buying an existing site and scaling it up but we wanted to create a new facility to match our aspirations and manufacture to the depth of scale required,” said Tom Ground. “Looking at the German market for example – they are taking six months to build the kind of residential developments that here in the UK can take two to three years. The UK is considerably slower and considerably more expensive. This has to change. “In the UK we are wasting a lot of material, time and skills just through the inefficient processes in which we are building. What we have decided at L&G is to build at scale, significantly quicker and at a significantly higher quality standard. We also wanted to build in a way where we could predict accurately what the cost base is, so when making a residential investment we know with a high degree of certainty what the costs of everything will be.” The offsite process that L&G are embarking on rests on a volumetric module with an engineered timber structural frame made from CLT. The L&G module will arrive onsite almost complete and is set to include everything a home requires including – kitchens, bathrooms, doors, ironmongery, carpets, white goods and even the television – all factoryfitted, quality assured and certified as defect free. Bathrooms and kitchens will feature ‘solid state’ stone panels instead of tiles reducing the need for grouting and long-term maintenance.

3 The use of offsite manufacture is expected to reduce the time spent building onsite by 70%, compared to ‘traditional’ site-based methods.

“We want to take a house and make it into a kit of parts that can be easily assembled,” said Tom. “CLT is a very versatile, flexible and sustainable material with panels that can be 6m x 20m long. The precision factory environment is all CAD-controlled with 14 different cutting machines working at a 10th of a millimetre tolerance. The plan is to have 14 work stations with eight lines running 24 hours a day, producing 16 houses a day.” The L&G home will come with an industry-standard 10-year structural warranty and through a fabric first approach L&G Homes hope to achieve Passivhaus levels of energy efficiency. “We’re committed to the environment,” said Tom. ”Our homes will use less energy to run and will use less energy to build. All the units are not a set pattern, you can have any design you wish. What we’re looking to do is have a design suite where tenants and residents can come and almost design their own homes.” The strength of offsite manufacture and its many benefits rest in the designing out of the typical defects that effect modern housing – shrinkage, cracking, poor detailing, variable quality of wet trades – so the investment in automation and technology will improve levels of productivity and quality.

4 On the announcement of the L&G plans in February this year, L&G Capital managing director Paul Stanworth said: “Sustainable, durable modern materials and proven technology will enable us to create high-quality homes meeting a wide range of housing needs and help solve the UK’s housing crisis. Modern modular housing in the UK has so far been restricted to the top end of the market: the scale of our Sherburn facility will enable many more people to benefit from new, environmentally-friendly construction techniques which have already become mainstream in Europe.” It is early days for L&G Homes but the time is ripe for a major investor to take offsite manufacture and to a different level. The shortage of affordable housing – whether private or social – will never be solved using the time and material-intensive methods of traditional build. The need for new sustainable, energy efficient homes has never been greater and the move by a blue-chip name such as L&G will hopefully go a long way to proving to architects, developers and contractors, that the opportunity to create quality homes with fixed production costs can only be achieved by adopting an offsite mindset. For more information visit: Images Courtesy L & G Homes: 01. The Sherburn facility will be one of the biggest of its kind in Europe. 02-04. Panel Manufacturing process.

STOP PRESS: As Offsite went to print, it was announced that Tom Ground had left his position as Chief Executive of L&G Homes voluntarily and will be replaced for an interim period by Paul Stanworth.



OFFSITE NEWS Willmott Dixon Future-Proof with Timber & Steel

Willmott Dixon is future-proofing its residential construction business against future skills shortages by building up to half of the 2,000 homes it delivers each year using factory-manufactured systems. The company has signed three-year strategic agreements with leading suppliers of timber frame and light-gauge steel frame systems, which it hopes will reduce reliance on onsite trades as costs continue to rise with demand outstripping supply. To help provide economics of scale for its nationwide residential building capability, Willmott Dixon has signed agreements with Robertson Timber Engineering as sole supplier of timber frame products, while Fusion Building Systems will beproviding lightgauge steel frames.

The benefits of sole supplier arrangements, including design standardisation, greater quality of product and more efficient construction timeframes, make these important long-term strategic deals for Willmott Dixon. Tim Carey, product director for Willmott Dixon, said: “If we are to address the significant capacity gap that currently exists in the construction sector, we need to think strategically about our supply chain. The

Willmott Dixon’s residential construction chief operating officer Charlie Scherer explained: “This is an important step in our strategy to provide a high quality product that utilises all the benefits of factory-made systems while also reducing our exposure to the labour price escalation we’ve seen in recent years. We aim to be building 1,000 homes a year by 2017 using systems provided by Robertson and Fusion, with the consistent quality also aiding our zero defects strategy. “These two deals are the cornerstone of our ‘Capacity Building’ strategy. This is our people, engineering and technology programme that is central to counterweight the resource challenges in industry, and deliver cost-effective, sustainable build solutions for our clients.”



selection of Robertson and Fusion will help maximise efficiencies across our projects, enabling us to deliver as many high-quality homes in as short a time frame as possible whilst ensuring they are delivered to the quality our clients deserve.” Source:

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OFFSITE NEWS UK Housebuilders Embracing Offsite Says NHBC Research

GLA Urges ‘Spearhead’ for Modular Housing

Key findings also show that the most used methods are sub-assemblies and components, installed by about three-quarters of the housebuilders and just under half of the housing associations in 2015. Panelised systems, such as timber and steel frame are the next most used MMC type. It also found that few have used full volumetric construction or pods but many organisations are considering them for future use.

The vast majority of housebuilders have used or have considered using ‘modern methods of construction’ (MMC) in the last three years, according to new research from the NHBC Foundation. The NHBC Foundation report ‘Modern methods of construction: views from the industry’ surveyed 135 housebuilders and housing associations and explores attitudes towards MMC. The research found that one of the key attractions to MMC is the perceived ability to build more quickly and there is some evidence that MMC can lead to a reduction in costs.

Most of those surveyed expect the role of MMC to grow (45%) or remain static (51%) over the next 3 years. Neil Smith, Head of Research and Innovation at NHBC said: “Attention has focused on modern methods of construction many times since the Second World War as a means of boosting housing output and improving the quality of new homes. “This report shows the high hopes invested in MMC, as a means of delivering transformational change to the housebuilding industry, have not yet been realised on the scale anticipated by its champions. It also illustrates that although cautious about over-commitment, the industry is nevertheless embracing MMC in many guises and stands ready to explore new options and innovations.” Source:

Siniat Acquires EOS Facades EOS Facades, a leading innovator in light gauge steel construction has announced that the company has been acquired by the prominent dry construction solutions company Siniat. Siniat, Promat and EOS facades will join forces to create Etex Building Performance UK, as part of a long-term initiative to become the construction sector’s leading provider of dry construction solutions. Promat is a leading specialist in passive fire protection. At the heart of Etex Building Performance’s strategy will be the creation of innovative new solutions aimed at reducing installation times and meeting specifiers’ performance requirements in the most efficient way. The acquisition follows a decade of significant investment in developing the EOS Facades product and service range, underpinned by investment in state-of-the-art design and manufacturing technology, coming together to deliver award winning steel framing systems across a wide range of construction sectors. Significant investment has resulted in EOS experiencing considerable growth through forming strategic alliances with some major players in the


construction industry, including Kier, Bam and Barratt London. EOS has been directly involved with such high profile projects as the £80m North West Cambridge Development, Fulham Wharf, Enderby Wharf and the Education Funding Agency project to deliver six schools, worth £44m across the Midlands. In January 2016 EOS announced investment in the company’s fifth Howick machine – the only FRAMA machine in the UK – which is providing unique sections and pre-assembled elements for the offsite and volumetric modular building sector. Steve Thompson, Managing Director of EOS Facades said: “This as an investment for the future and for manufacturing jobs here in County Durham. EOS Facades is an ambitious company and this deal will open up further opportunities for investment and innovation to ensure we remain at the forefront of research and development and to meet the exacting demands of the construction industry. As recognised and successful brands in their own right, each will continue to trade separately in the UK as Siniat, Promat and EOS Facades.

The Greater London Authority (GLA) Conservative group has urged the Mayor to ‘spearhead’ modular housing developments across the capital in order to reduce rents. A report by Andrew Boff, leader of the GLA Conservative housing group, claimed offsite modular housing could cut the price of renting by a third. Boff champions offsite methods as ‘cheap and flexible’ for small developers and self-builders. One example of where modular housing has been successfully delivered in London is the Y: Cube housing scheme for the homeless in Mitcham, which was designed in collaboration with the YMCA London South West and part-funded by the Mayor. This 36-unit project was manufactured in a Derbyshire factory and then transported onsite. The whole process took five weeks to build, including four days onsite at an average cost of £50,000 per unit. Boff says modern ‘pop-up’ homes were often indistinguishable from standard homes and can take a third of the time to construct. “This realistic and sustainable housing solution is an un-tapped goldmine,” he added. “The London Land Commission recently identified space for 130,000 new homes on public land and previous reports have shown there is potential for at least 10,000 homes on small disused sites across the capital. Why not utilise these spaces now by erecting high-quality, desirable homes that are genuinely affordable? I will be pressing the mayor of London to work with local authorities to spearhead the adoption of pop-up housing across London.” The report goes onto say: “Modular homes can be constructed within a street of traditionally-constructed homes and be similar enough in appearance such that you would not know the difference and are significantly cheaper to build, therefore providing a viable option for renting or home ownership for people on ordinary salaries, such as the London median of around £30,000 a year. Given the high cost of renting in many parts of London “Pop-Up” homes could be particularly useful as an affordable solution for the private rented sector, rapidly providing much-needed new supply at lower cost.




OFFSITE NEWS ZED Pods Ready to Maximise Space Zero carbon design pioneer Bill Dunster and his ZED Factory recently unveiled the latest elements of the ZED-mix. The Zero Bills Home and ZED Pods are offsite manufactured, hybrid timber and steel frame housing units aimed at a new generation of homeowner. The Zero Bills Home (ZBH) is an extension of its award-winning BedZED scheme and represents 10 years of innovation and supply chain development that has been simplified to an easily assembled system or ‘kit of parts’. The system also promotes the use of local labour trained using the ZBH technical manual and the ZBH house kit ordering process creates a “fully scalable system from single homes to volume developments.” Relying on a low cost, building-integrated photovoltaic roof, ZBH aims to make home energy bills obsolete. With a design that minimises energy requirements, the very low energy needs of the household are met by a roof-integrated PV and energy storage system which can also generate enough power to service a small electric vehicle. “SME builders are key to delivering the 250,000 homes per annum we need across the UK,” says Bill Dunster. “The Zero Bills system is an off-the-shelf solution for SMEs that could

really drive the market in the right direction. With its integrated energy generation facility it shows how we could actually reduce the investment needed for centralised national infrastructure by becoming net exporters of renewable energy.” The system is affordable at £1350 per square metre and ZBH is aiming to be one of the first homes assessed under BRE’s new Home Quality Mark. The ZED Pod is a small, low cost energy efficient starter home intended for housing young people within city boundaries over existing areas of parking

or garages. It is an offsite manufactured, flat pack home that allows for increased efficiency in the usage of space. A ZED Pod avoids having to purchase land to create an affordable home. Although planned as permanent, it can easily be relocated at low cost and with minimal wastage if a site is redeveloped in future. Single ZED Pods are expected to go on the market for £35,000 with double pods costing £65,000. Dunster estimates the construction cost will be between £35,000 and £45,000 per pod. Source:

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OFFSITE NEWS World-Class Sixth Form Centre Uses Offsite

The Sunday Times’ International Baccalaureate school of 2014 has been working with offsite construction specialists, Actavo to create a sixth form study centre to meet the school’s need for a world-class facility. Tonbridge Grammar School in Deakin Leas, Tonbridge, gained access to its modular building after just 26 weeks onsite, to meet the demand for pupil places quickly and efficiently. Designed to inspire and motivate pupils, Actavo created the ‘IBarn’ – a brand new, two-storey, sixth-form hub created to improve pupil facilities and respond to rapid student growth. The ground floor of the new sixth form includes a café, collaborative learning areas and changing rooms

while the first floor comprises an ICT suite alongside two large spaces that can be used as classrooms, independent study, seminar areas or opened up for lectures and presentations. Matthew Goff, UK operations director at Actavo, said: “Perhaps the popularity offsite construction has in the education sector is due to its speed, versatility and cost-effective nature. The competitive funding mechanisms and demand for school places at Tonbridge Grammar School meant tight deadlines enhancing the school’s need for speed.” “As one of the UK’s top performing international baccalaureate schools, it was imperative we had a

sixth-form study centre that met the needs of the internationally minded curriculum,” says Rosemary Joyce, Tonbridge Grammar School’s Head Teacher. “Actavo has helped us achieve this with the creation of the IBarn. As well as being architecturally attractive, our new modular facility is an aspirational space to both work and study. Proving the cost-effective and speedy solutions offsite construction offers in no way takes away from the quality of the final building.” To view an exclusive walk-through and video testimonial from Head Teacher Rosemary Joyce, visit:

BIM First for McAvoy The McAvoy Group has become the first offsite modular construction company in the UK to achieve BRE BIM (Building Information Modelling) Level 2 certification (PAS 1192-2:2013). The certification means McAvoy is able to meet the UK Government’s new BIM Level 2 requirements for centrally procured construction projects that came into effect on 4 April 2016. “By harnessing BIM we can ensure all aspects of design and planning is shared and all team members are working to the same standards,” says McAvoy’s Design Manager, David Clark. “Our specialist design teams have been using BIM software to develop virtual models of our building spaces and construction processes thereby providing our clients with a full understanding of their building concept as the design progresses since April 2006. “Becoming the first offsite modular company in the UK to achieve this certification reinforces our position as a leading provider of construction services within the education, health, leisure / accommodation and commercial / infrastructure sectors. It also follows hot on the heels of our becoming the first offsite modular construction company to be included within the UK’s Offsite Management School’s leadership team.” McAvoy’s BIM success comes in the wake of a recent survey that found 71% of respondents believed the industry would not be ready by 2016 with the main reason cited being a lack of understanding throughout the entire supply chain. As part of its BIM strategy McAvoy is committed to integrating its sub-contractor training programme with its internal training programme. Source:



OFFSITE NEWS Premier Modular Delivering Cost-effective Sustainable Homes

Significant time benefits are achieved with the houses manufactured on a flow line, so there is no risk of late delivery and houses and apartments can be manufactured at a rate of twenty per week with no more than a four week construction time. The steel frames are thermally efficient. The product meets the Code 5 main elements to achieve a BRE Green Guide Rating of B or above. The structure achieves a fire rating of 1 hour and the dwellings meet the requirements for Lifetime homes.

Despite some upturn in housebuilding output last year, many analysts believe that the industry remains at least 100,000 houses a year short to meet demand. To answer this gap in the market Premier Modular has developed an innovative factory-engineered light gauge steel frame modular housing system. Director, David Harris, says the modular houses are assembled not by traditionally skilled tradesmen but rather by manufacturing and engineering trained

factory operatives. This opens the possibility of significantly contributing to the housing shortage without the need for finding more scarce traditional resource. The offsite product offers significant advantages in many areas. The modules are manufactured to exacting quality levels in controlled factories. As much as 75% of a house is manufactured offsite - significantly reducing the risk of accidents on site.

Premier ensures houses are fully mortgageable by offering an insurance-backed warranty package through Checkmate comparable to NHBC, which is accepted by 98.5% of lenders. Premier Modular has completed their first Code 5 sustainable housing development in Hull, is nearing completion on a mews style apartment development and has several other projects underway. In a market where an increased rate of build is required, building standards are increasing, sustainability is of growing importance and we have a diminishing pool of skilled tradesman – offsite construction can be the only answer. Source:

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OFFSITE NEWS DfMA Milestones for Laing O’Rourke

Berkeley Homes Unveils Customisable Home At a time when demand for three and four-bedroom homes in London sees 13 prospective buyers for every available house, Berkeley’s Urban House adapts to a range of different lifestyles. The Urban House maximises usable space and is efficient to run. Environmentally, it outperforms standard housing, cutting up to 25% off utility bills through innovative use of building materials and enabling residents to save over 80% on gas and 30% on water bills. Based on a modular offsite system the plan is to transport the homes to site – speeding up delivery times to just 14 weeks. The Urban House boasts spacious, airy interiors and offers low-maintenance living. It has a roof terrace with 360 degree views, off-street parking with electric car charging points and provides covered cycle storage. The first set of 22 homes have already been built at Kidbrooke Village, providing much sought after family homes in the heart of one of London’s newest villages. Karl Whiteman, Divisional Managing Director at Berkeley Homes, said: “The Urban House offers you a home that is flexible, economical and beautifully designed. It has light, space and character. It can be adapted to meet people’s needs as their lives change - whether that’s caring for an elderly relative or downsizing once the kids have flown the nest. And that stability means you can form long-term friendships in the neighbourhood and really feel a part of your community.” Source:

Laing O’Rourke has reached financial close on the Yorkshire Batch of the Government’s Priority Schools Building Programme (PSBP). With a value of £120m the project involves the financing, and design and construction of seven secondary schools in the West and North Yorkshire areas. The schools will benefit in excess of 7,000 students, providing them with a carefully designed new environment in which to learn. The school buildings are designed around double and triple height spaces for communal areas such as the halls and dining areas, giving the students an abundance of natural daylighting. Each school will also have its own standalone sports centre with integral changing facilities. The project will be financed under the PF2 model, by a consortium of lenders secured through an Aggregator Vehicle. Yorkshire Learning Partnership, a special purpose vehicle formed by Laing O’Rourke Group, Equitix and IUK Investments Limited, has been appointed to deliver the project, and has contracted with Laing O’Rourke Construction to design and build the schools, and to provide the FM services.


The milestone of financial close had been delayed due to a late application to award listed building status to one of the existing school buildings that was due to be demolished. Although this led to some disruption to the works, this has been largely mitigated by Laing O’Rourke’s Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) approach, as this has enabled works to progress as planned through the second wettest winter on record. This has allowed the parties to agree revised service availability dates which significantly reduce the impact of the delay on teaching and learning.

Newton Steeled for Action

The first three schools will move into the new buildings in the early part of 2017, a further three schools following in September 2017, with the largest school becoming available in the spring of 2018.

Newton Steel Framing has recently commenced production near Edinburgh using Howick machinery. Newton is introducing light gauge steel (LGS) to the housebuilding sector, extensions and small standalone buildings as well as providing LGS for larger buildings. Newton is owned and run by Richard Webb, and experienced Architect Nathan Ward. Richard Webb, says that advances in IT and machinery technology mean that Newton can economically design and manufacture much smaller buildings than has traditionally been the case for LGS. Increasingly they have seen experienced developers looking to move away from traditional construction but that light steel frame is perceived as being too expensive, too slow to get designed and delivered to site, or not suitable for smaller buildings. “We plan to change that,” says Richard Webb. “Our commitment to transparent pricing is not just the right thing to do – it makes prices predictable for our customers and it avoids protracted quotation processes that add overhead adding delays and cost which customers don’t want.”



The DfMA approach will also offer benefits in the delivery of quality and compliance, with factory standards of quality control being applied to major components such as external wall panels. This will achieve a consistently high standard of installation which has resulted in the FM service charges, being some of the lowest seen in comparison to similar projects.






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OFFSITE NEWS Hilton Develops Modular Hotel at Bristol Airport

New Offsite Recruitment Portal Live Bristol-based recruitment company ARV Solutions, has teamed up with the Offsite Hub to support the drive to attract much needed skills and fresh talent to the construction industry. Sponsored by ARV Solutions, the newly launched recruitment portal has been designed to provide easy access for companies to advertise their current offsite related vacancies and provide job seekers with a platform to upload and showcase their CVs. The portal includes search and filtering capabilities, so candidates can easily browse through relevant jobs and apply for them online. ARV Solutions was established as a specialist recruitment agency in 2003 with Managing Director, Jim Roach saying: “Our partnership approach with the Offsite Hub is just one of many initiatives we are implementing across this specialist market sector. Our primary aim is to promote vacancies far and wide in order to find the most suitable candidate for the role. If the whole industry use independent portals like the Offsite Hub it will help towards increasing activity in the sector and assist reducing the skills gap.” Source:

Saint-Gobain Launch Offsite Range

Hilton Worldwide has partnered with modular building provider CIMC to develop the first hotel at Bristol Airport under its economy Hampton by Hilton brand. Financed and owned by CIMC, the hotel will be managed by Hilton Worldwide, drawing on its extensive experience of operating airport hotels at many of the world’s top transport hubs. The announcement marks a strategic partnership between Hilton Worldwide and CIMC. CIMC’s innovative modular technique significantly reduces the time taken for construction by manufacturing and assembling portions of the hotel, including guest rooms and hallways in China, before transporting them to the final site for assembly. The model helps ensure consistent quality and accelerates the build schedule on site, a benefit for developers and investors in mature and emerging markets alike. Patrick Fitzgibbon, senior vice president, development, Europe & Africa, Hilton Worldwide said, “CIMC’s capacity to deliver modular sections of the building to the final hotel site offers an incredible opportunity to overcome many of the challenges faced during construction. Alongside potential time and cost efficiencies, CIMC’s ability to provide senior debt to developers using its modular building technique underpins its robust growth model, and we are seeing more and more opportunity for this structure in mature markets such as the UK, and developing economies, most notably in Africa.”


Robert Sinclair, Chief Executive Officer at Bristol Airport said: “The development of a high quality on-site hotel to be operated under such a worldrenowned brand will be a very welcome addition to our facilities for the growing number of passengers choosing to fly to and from Bristol Airport. Alongside the terminal extension currently under construction, this is another statement of our ambition to be a world class regional airport serving the South West of the UK.” Bristol is the only top ten UK airport to see passenger growth every year since 2009 and saw record volumes last year when 6.7 million people passed through the terminal, making it the UK’s ninth busiest passenger airport. CIMC MBS is the modular division of parent company CIMC Group, the $12 billion USD turnover Chinese PLC. The funding for the scheme will be coming from the Internal Financing Division, CIMC Capital. CIMC have capabilities to own, develop, fund and supply modular units to hotel projects and are actively pursuing development opportunities with Hilton Worldwide in multiple countries. Source:


Saint-Gobain’s introduced its new panelised steel frame external wall solutions to the market at the Chartered Institute of Housing’s (CIH) Housing 2016 Conference & Exhibition in Manchester. A team of experts were on hand to demonstrate the range with showcase system models, giving visitors the opportunity to discuss the system’s suitability for medium-rise multi-occupancy buildings up to 18 metres. Saint-Gobain also brought its ‘great places to live – Multi-Occupancy building solutions’ to CIH. The new literature details the latest building regulations, tailored specifically for medium-rise multi-occupancy buildings including student accommodation, care homes and apartments. Saint-Gobain experts explained how its products can be combined to offer: Fabric First solutions – prioritising improvements to a building’s fabric and services, Closer to Comfort – solutions that go beyond regulation levels, allowing improvements to be made in the comfort of buildings and Multi-Comfort – a holistic building standard to design and build with the comfort, health and wellbeing of the user at the forefront. Prior to the show, Stacey Temprell, Habitat Marketing Director for Saint-Gobain in the UK & Ireland, said: “This is the first time Saint-Gobain exhibited at CIH and we are excited to be launching our new solutions there. We’re looking forward to speaking to visitors at the show about our new steel frame external wall solutions, and launch ‘great places to live – MultiOccupancy building solutions’, which shows how our solutions can be used for multi-occupancy projects.” Source:

SIDEY KitFix® System Unique Innovative Solution for offsite Installed Fenestration

WDH - Awake to the benefits of building offsite Building infrastructure in the UK is under review once again – the recently created National Infrastructure Commission is due to deliver its first report shortly – and better insulation of homes is one of the areas it could address as a part of its wider remit. Mike Stevenson Development Director of offsite fenestration specialist Sidey tells us about their work with WDH in Wakefield through its in-house construction team, Homebuilder, which has already delivered greater thermal efficiency for its residents on a new-build site in the town as just one of the realisable benefits of building offsite. For WDH there was a desire to deliver truly energy efficient social housing in its most traditional sense – not just properties for rent but genuine social housing delivered for long term residents. Homes with a true social value. The 39 dwellings built at Ripley Court are in fact a case study of how to access all the benefits that can be achieved through building offsite. “It was clear that WDH had a real understanding of the value to their residents of building to a high specification and that they understood how building offsite could deliver this for them cost effectively and in line with their time-scales”. “Our involvement with the scheme at Ripley Court came out of long term discussions we had been having with the Homebuilder team about the many benefits to be had from installing high specification windows in the factories of offsite manufacturers with the time and costs savings and the efficiencies in process which installing windows this way would bring”. “Ripley Court is an ‘exemplar’ of what can be achieved when the client/developer drives a collaborative agenda and commits to an offsite agenda”. “WDH is clearly awake to the benefits of building offsite – others should follow their lead”.

Mike Stevenson Development Director - Sidey

OFFSITE NEWS Prefab Façade for Elephant & Castle

STA Launches New QS Timber Frame Estimating Guide The Structural Timber Association (STA) has published a new Timber Frame Estimating Guide for quantity surveyors and those preparing construction budgets. The STA identified that while many estimators consider structural timber, they faced sourcing and pricing challenges, as timber does not appear in any industry recognised estimating guides. The guide was a direct result of a construction think-tank set up by the STA to ensure better two-way communication between the timber sector and the wider UK industry and involved the collaboration of clients, contractors, architects, engineers, housebuilders, quantity surveyors and many more construction professionals. The new estimating guide is designed to act as an authoritative source of information for Quantity Surveyors, providing costings for timber products and raising awareness of the fundamental benefits associated with using different types of timber.

McMullen Facades is set to embark on a unique partnership with main contractor Laing O’Rourke as part of a £15m contract to provide the full prefabricated facade for Two Fifty One, a new 41-storey residential development in London.

Andrew Carpenter, Chief Executive of the STA, said: “As the leading timber organisation in the UK, the STA

is committed to providing a solution to help solve the perennial housing crisis and as such this document is a valuable and informative resource for Quantity Surveyors in today’s construction market. “The publication of this estimating guide is the result of a great deal of hard work and professionalism from our members and comes at a very pertinent time, as block and brick supply and skilled labour shortages amongst bricklayers, continue to plague the rate of growth in the housing sector. As an alternative to common construction methods, timber frame presents a sustainable, energy efficient and cost effective substitute to concrete or brick and block. Additionally, the use of timber frame housing can help the UK construction industry to meet and potentially exceed, the Government’s target of building 400,000 affordable homes by 2020.” To download the STA’s Timber Estimating Guide, please visit: information-centre/

Developed by Oakmayne Properties and designed by architects Allies & Morrison, the striking new high-rise scheme is a key part of the wider regeneration of the Elephant and Castle area of the city. The development phase of the contract has seen close collaboration between McMullen and Laing O’Rourke to create a joint manufacturing approach to the project. The two companies have worked together to develop an offsite modular solution that is anticipated to bring numerous cost, quality and time benefits to the project. The manufacturing of the glazed modules has already commenced at the McMullen factory in Moira and soon they will be transported to Laing O’Rourke‘s manufacturing facility in Steetley, Nottingham where they will be incorporated into pre-cast concrete cladding panels. The complete pre-fabricated panels will then be delivered to the London site using a ‘just in time’ approach. As the panels will be installed without the need for external access for the installation teams, the process is expected to be both quicker and significantly safer. As well as the design, manufacture and installation of the glazing modules, McMullen’s contract includes the door systems, stylish glazed winter gardens and sliding screens. On the top 10 floors McMullen are designing and installing a bespoke sloped unitised facade system incorporating photovoltaic panels. The team from McMullen Facades will be on site from March 2016 and will also deliver a unitised facade system to the new eight-storey commercial office block that forms part of the same development. Source:


Recticel Launch Modular Roof System A next-generation, self-supporting, room-in-a-roof system for pitched roofs has been launched by leading PIR manufacturer Recticel Insulation. The new product L-Ments®, comprises cable gap, breather membrane, counter battens and integral structural timber in one PIR insulation panel as a single lightweight cost-effective modular roofing element, making it exceptionally quick and easy to install. The underlay felt is pre-glued and vapour permeable with self-adhesive overlaps, the counter battens are already fixed to the panel, the multi-layered facings act as a vapour and air barrier on the inside, the PIR insulation core performs thermally to 0.023 W/mK, and the timber stiffeners incorporated within the PIR core provide sufficient strength for self-support.


The future-proof system has been designed for ultimate thermal performance, with U-Values of between 0.13 and 0.19, as well as fast installation and reduced construction costs, with maximum savings on space and energy usage. Using L-Ments® in conjunction with Recticel’s full-fill cavity wall insulation Eurowall + and high performance floor insulation Eurothane GP provides specifiers and contractors with a holistic building solution for the complete building envelope that showcases a fabric first approach to construction via the use of fewer materials and speedier installation. Source:

OFFSITE NEWS Citu Look to Leeds for Low Carbon Homes Leeds-based sustainable developer Citu is set to build a £3 million factory in the city that will make lowcarbon houses and create 40 jobs. Work has started on site to create Citu Works, a new facility located on a 3.5-acre brownfield site in Leeds city centre. The plant will produce the Citu House, a product of a focused innovation grant from national government via Innovate UK in collaboration with Leeds Beckett University. The new system is in the final stages of research and development and uses an energy efficient timber frame that is designed to perform to the highest environmental standards including Passivhaus principles. Citu, which has an ambition to accelerate the development of zero carbon buildings and neighbourhoods, will initially use the factory to serve demand from its own developments. The 60,000 sq ft facility has the capacity to produce up to 750 lowcarbon homes each year. The developer is investing £3m into the new facility, in addition to a £400,000 grant from the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

Chris Thompson, managing director and founder of Citu, said: “Factory-built homes represent the future of house building in the UK. I’ve seen the finished product, as well as the manufacturing process, first-hand in Europe and we are excited to be one of the first to introduce the technology to the UK. This technique means less waste and less carbon emissions produced in the building process so, not only does it offer buyers an opportunity to live a low-carbon lifestyle, it reduces our carbon footprint as a developer.” Chris Gorse, professor of construction and project management and director of Leeds Sustainability Institute at Leeds Beckett University, added: “The innovation in the advanced manufacturing process that Chris Thompson and his team have developed is visionary. Work in the area is creating local employment opportunities and benefitting from the expertise in low carbon engineering that exists within the region.” Source:

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NEW JOBS SECTION ON THE OFFSITE HUB Considered as the ‘go-to’ place for the latest developments in offsite construction, the Offsite Hub has developed a new jobs section in partnership with Bristol based recruitment specialist ARV Solutions. This new collaboration between ARV Solutions and the Offsite Hub has been formed to support the drive to attract much needed skills and fresh talent to the construction industry. UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) state that employers are facing ‘talent poverty’ - with skills shortages across UK industry rising by 130% since 2011. Nearly a quarter of vacancies are directly linked to those shortages, with employers unable to recruit sufficient numbers of competent people with the required skills, knowledge, training and experience to fill them. The skills crisis within the construction industry has been well documented and it is not set to be resolved any time soon but this newly launched recruitment portal has been designed to provide easy access for companies to advertise their current construction vacancies and provide job seekers with a platform to upload and showcase their CVs. With built-in search and filtering capabilities, candidates can easily browse through relevant jobs and apply for them online at the click of a button. The use of independent portals like this will help towards increasing activity in the sector and assist reducing the skills gap.


Connect with new talent using the new Offsite Jobs online portal

The Offsite Hub has been created as a simple, user-friendly way to connect construction professionals interested in working with the specialist offsite supply chain and exploiting the range of benefits that offsite technologies can deliver. The Hub is free to use and as well as this jobs section, contains an archive of offsite-related research reports and strategy documents, a project gallery which displays innovative examples of best practice, a newsroom which reports on latest news and industry opinions, and a supplier directory which is designed to connects architects, specifiers, contractors and clients with manufacturers across the offsite sector.


The Hub also offers the latest information and updates on the Explore Offsite conference programme, the dynamic Offsite Awards and the exciting Inside Offsite factory tour programme.

The Offsite Hub hosts the most comprehensive directory of offsite system suppliers and product manufacturers in the UK and this upgraded feature of the Hub website will be going live in July 2016.

You can view the Offsite Hub now by visiting: and here you can register to receive monthly e-newsletters and offsite bulletins.

If you want to promote your products and services to a highly targeted audience, contact Julie Richards today to enhance your listing:


Tel: 01743 290001 or Email: julie.richards@


OFFSITE HOUSING SET TO THRIVE The first of 2016’s Explore Offsite events took place in March at the Birmingham NEC and concentrated on how offsite manufacture can help ease the UK’s housing issues. Across both days, delegates heard varying approaches and perspectives on how offsite is set to flourish. we need to make sure the process is meeting the needs of the actual market and not forcing a solution.” Huge interest and anticipation surrounded Tom Ground from Legal & General (L&G), the chief executive of the new L&G Homes. Delegates were keen to hear more about L&G’s £55 million investment into a new cross laminated timber (CLT) production facility near Leeds. The new factory has the potential to significantly alter the ways homes are delivered in the UK, especially for the Build to Rent market.

1 Explore Offsite in the Housing Sector was declared a huge success by over 400 construction clients, architects, engineers and contractors who attended the event. Industry experts gathered to share their views on how offsite construction and associated technology can play a vital role in the delivery of a new generation of living and help combat the current housing crisis.


Across both days speakers concentrated on advocating more creative thinking on material use as well as the improved quality and costeffectiveness that ‘offsite manufacture for onsite assembly’ offers. A common theme revolved around how offsite can make a real difference as ‘part of the package of solutions’ when approaching the housing crisis and the ever-present skills shortage. Rory Bergin, Partner, Sustainable Futures at HTA Design LLP, summed up saying: “In terms of quality, quantity and capability offsite works well but


“We did look at buying an existing site and scaling it up but we wanted create a new facility to match our aspirations and manufacture to the depth of scale required,” said Tom Ground. “Looking at the German market for example – they are taking six months to build the kind of residential developments that here in the UK can take two to three years. The UK is considerably slower and considerably more expensive. This has to change.” Calum Murray from CCG-Scotland Ltd said: “Innovation and change are our focus.” He emphasised that the sector needs to modernise its methods, saying: “Offsite can make the difference and is part of the package of solutions when addressing the housing crisis and the skills shortage.”


2 Tony Woods Offsite Construction Specialist, LHC and Stephen Wightman Managing Director, Caledonian Modular, both discussed the methods behind offsite and how best to approach the skills shortage. Woods considered the 2004 Barker Report, which analysed the number of houses required to manage the increasing population. “If the government wants to achieve its targets it needs to look at other methods because the skills shortages are just going to carry on.” One of the most popular presentations came from Simon Tanner, Y:Cube Development Consultant at YMCA. He spoke about the huge impact offsite has made to people living in South London. Offsite thinking and design has been key to the development and delivery of the 36-apartment Y:Cube development in Mitcham. YMCA London South West developed Y:Cube to provide self-contained and affordable starter accommodation for people unable to either gain a first step on the housing ladder or pay the high costs of private rent. The volumetric units are designed as ‘move-on’ accommodation for people leaving hostels and supported housing schemes. The apartments are being rented out at 65% of the market rate in the area. Simon told the audience that these savings are made possible due to offsite construction, which in turn has led to a far quicker build programme. The construction methodology and speed of installation meant each unit cost significantly less than a conventionally built equivalent. The units provide 26sq m of internal living space and came in at a construction cost of approximately £50,000 a ‘cube’. Simon said: “There are now eight similar projects in development across the YMCA with a large amount of interest and demand from social backers.”



TOP SPEAKERS AT EXPLORE OFFSITE - HOUSING INCLUDED: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Tom Bloxham MBE – Chairman, Urban Splash Rory Bergin – Partner, Sustainable Futures, HTA Design LLP Oliver Novakovic – Technical & Innovation Director, Barratt Developments Alex Goodfellow – Managing Director,Stewart Milne Timber Systems Andy von Bradsky – Chair, Housing Forum & PRP Architects Stephen Wightman – Managing Director, Caledonian Modular Calum Murray – Director, CCG (Scotland) Jerry Harkness – Regional Development Director, Circle Housing Jeremy Kape – Director of Property Investment, Affinity Sutton Jeff Maxted – Director of Technical Consultancy, BLP Insurance Peter Andrew – Deputy Chairman, HBF Tom Ground – CEO, Legal & General Homes James Pickard – Director, Cartwright Pickard Ian Heptonstall – Director, Offsite Management School Stuart Carr – Director, Chapman Taylor Architects Andrew Orgorzalek – Partner, PCKO Architects Richard Jones – Partner, Arcadis LLP & Deputy Chair, Housing Forum Simon Tanner – Y: Cube Development Consultant, YMCA Greg Cooper – Pre-Construction Manager, B & K Structures Jay Shaw MBE – Head of Business Development, Snoozebox Steve Reid – Chief Technical Officer, Enviga Geothermal Tony Woods – Offsite Construction Specialist, LHC

The conference left delegates keen to know more about offsite manufacture, with many saying that they will be sure to attend the other Explore Offsite events later in the year. Two documentary film makers from the BBC also attended the event, saying: “Thanks to all on the Explore Offsite team for letting us attend. It was brilliant for us and we also managed to have a very constructive meeting alongside the conference. Highest praise to all for organising such an excellent event.”

EXPLORE OFFSITE FUTURES A two-part series of two-day conferences and exhibitions, presented by Radar Communications, providing platforms for construction clients and their professional advisers to explore the latest offsite construction solutions, providing a dynamic interactive learning experience and networking opportunities. Explore Offsite Futures, will take place in Birmingham, 24 November 2016. For more information contact:

SPEAKERS INCLUDE: • Sam Stacey - Skanska • Jason Whittall - One Creative

For more information visit: Images: 01. Explore Offsite Housing Event 02. Alex Goodfellow - Stewart Milne & Barratt Developments – The Journey So Far. 03. Tom Bloxham presents Urban Splash’s new residential concept 04. Stuart Carr – Umbrellahaus – A Constructive Approach to the Housing Crisis

• • • • •

Environments Jaimie Johnston - Bryden Wood Ken Davie - Carillion Building Stephen Bradbury - Wates Group Chris Foad - Whitbread Tim Houghton - Heathrow Airport




OPTIMISING OFFSITE DELIVERY What can the offsite industry do to address issues of quality assurance and provide confidence in the use of new technologies? Darren Richards, Managing Director, Cogent Consulting, sees valuable answers in better supply chain education and understanding of third-party assessments. be used to trace faulty components or materials in the event of a latent defect issue or premature failure. There is no reason why the visions that are regularly portrayed in the automotive sector should not become commonplace in the building sector. Robot manufacture of complete building elements is a plausible reality where the human interface is limited to material input and product takeoff. The quality in this production environment should be exemplary and make zero defects a real possibility.

1 For some the vision of factorymanufactured buildings, where completed elements glide along a robot-controlled production assembly line and are transported effortlessly to site – devoid of all the angst and quality issues associated with traditional building – is seen as the ideal modern construction method. Others see this rose-tinted view of the ‘offsite’ initiative of moving the construction process from the ‘exposed to all elements’ construction site, to the safe and predictable modern factory environment as anything but the case. We can all be seduced by the proposition advanced manufactured building systems offer with their many claims. Most of us, faced with the normal vagaries of the construction site find this particularly appealing, with a vision of perfect control over the weather, deliveries, materials, labour, skills availability and work instructions. 26

But how feasible is it for the factory to deliver these specific repeated procedures where practice can really make perfect? Robots and Optimised Manufacture After construction site issues surrounding the cold and wet of winter, or the overheating of summer, factories can provide the sort of environment that the average construction site can only dream of. Add to this the use of sophisticated jigs and fixtures that are routine in the modern factory process and operatives can achieve repeat procedures that are accurate and fault free. In the more advanced factories this is translated into semi-automated assembly production processes where the operator is assisted by mechanisation that further enhances the quality of output. This machinery can be computercontrolled to record set-up data, detail work instructions specific to the task and traceability information that can


All factory operations in a modern production environment are now controlled by an encompassing quality management system such as ISO9001. This ensures that the complete manufacturing process is in harmony with the customer expectations for consistent, high levels of quality with continuous improvement at the heart of their culture. This should extend down the manufacturers supply chain with all second and key third tier suppliers demonstrating similar control over their manufacturing processes. This highly integrated and quality conscious supply group is enhanced by e-commerce capabilities with electronic demand scheduling, capacity requirements forecasting and instant fault reporting. Unique Every Time For most of us involved in ‘traditional’ construction it is accepted, and in some cases actually preferred, that the building will be unique, adopting designs or features that effectively make it a ‘prototype’ building. This readiness in the construction industry to accept unproven designs and



CONFERENCE & EXHIBITION NEC, Birmingham 24 November 2016 The need for faster, leaner and smarter construction is becoming more and more apparent in the UK and with only 63% of site based developments completed on time and an even smaller 49% delivered on budget, it is clear that traditional build fails to meet the major challenges facing construction today. This presents the opportunity for offsite construction to play a major role in the coming years across a range of sectors.

WHO SHOULD ATTEND? The event is aimed at attracting construction clients; construction professionals: architects, surveyors, engineers; facilities managers; building product manufacturers and suppliers.

BOOK Ticket prices for the event are listed below:




To book your place go to

Sam Stacey - Skanska Jason Whittall - One Creative Environments Jaimie Johnston - Bryden Wood Ken Davie - Carillion Building Stephen Bradbury - Wates Group Chris Foad - Whitbread Tim Houghton - Heathrow Airport

QUALITY ASSURANCE building methods is in stark contrast to normal manufacturing industry where product development coupled with rigorous testing and evaluation of one or more ‘prototypes’ takes place before the final product is offered into the market place. So why is it that for some, the experience has proved to be far short of this ideal picture of an advanced production process? There are sadly many examples of less than perfect construction projects that didn’t achieve the quality and performance benefits that should be automatic with offsite construction. As we might expect it is not a single issue that is the difference between the successful and the not so successful. It is essential that the design and construction teams are experienced in the adoption of offsite technology and appreciate the need to integrate the specialist manufacturers with the design team at the earliest possible stage. This will ensure that the design teams understand the scope and capability of the systems they wish to exploit. Knowing what these new products cannot do is as important as knowing the details of the manufacturers’ claims of performance and durability. Third Party Approvals It is also critical for the design team to be aware of the scope and integrity of the product testing and evaluation that has been undertaken, ensuring that the product is being used within the scope of this assessment is vital to avoid premature durability failures or under performance. Perhaps the biggest issue here is to use offsite products and systems that have sound thirdparty certification such as the British Board of Agrèment (BBA) Certificate, BM TRADA (Exova) or the Buildoffsite Property Assurance Scheme (BOPAS) – other forms of certification are available. These third-party assessments are typically rigorous and seek to quantify and validate the manufacturers’ claims of durability and performance. Offsite systems typically involve innovative materials or novel jointing approaches that need to be thoroughly proven. In the past some offsite manufacturers have not invested in the extensive product evaluation and testing that is essential to verify the product in use and this is where the benefits of third-party approvals can really pay 28

2 dividends. Because offsite systems typically involve novel processes and techniques it follows that the methods for verifying the product take this into account. Different approaches and methodology to product testing are needed, and this is where organisations such as the Vinci Technology Centre at Leighton Buzzard are so important to this relatively new industry. The Challenge of Change Perhaps one of the biggest hurdles we have to overcome in the offsite manufacturing sector is the ‘cottage industry’ feel that the majority of manufacturers still exhibit. Much of the offsite industry is still very much in its infancy, even after some 25 years of producing bathroom pods in the UK for instance. Many manufacturers are SME’s and have limited funds for product testing, prototyping and third -party accreditation. This expert knowledge of the many different offsite systems, and some say plethora, that are available to the construction industry can also provide valuable advice on how best to integrate the alternative techniques both within the traditional build element and in the use of multiple offsite systems within the one project i.e. the hybrid approach. Many past problems with the adoption of offsite techniques were created because an inappropriate system was employed or the different offsite products were


mismatched on the one project. While this knowledge will one day be common place and a standard tool within the design team’s armoury, at present this expertise generally needs to be brought into the design team at an early stage to ensure that a suitable and project-wide offsite strategy is in place and is followed. Where Next? So what does the future hold for this still fledgling offsite industry? For certain we will see the manufacturing supply base continuing to grow to meet the quite incredible demand for these factory based building methods. This growth in supply will bring with it some manufacturing companies that have the problems we have experienced in the past, but in the majority case we should see those professional organisations already serving the industry growing both their capacity and their capability to offer a quality and proven product. These companies will continue to invest in sophisticated manufacturing plant and advanced quality management systems that are essential to deliver 21st century standards of product performance. The future is construction in the factory and it is bright. For more information visit:

Images: 01-02. Courtesy Kingspan Timber Solutions

As news of rising pupil numbers unfold…

…here’s a second storey from Wernick! Rising pupil numbers mean many schools face a classroom shortfall putting pressure on them to provide more space quickly and economically. Modular buildings from Wernick provide a modern, spacious, energy efficient environment for pupils and staff. What’s more, while the building is being manufactured, the foundation is being prepared on-site. This makes it possible for us to deliver a building of exceptional quality very quickly and with a saving of up to 50% when compared to a traditional building. A story of less room, more space Modular buildings can be sited where space is limited and can be multi-storey. They can form permanent buildings with traditional features such as a brick finish and a pitched roof or temporary so that if your student numbers fall in the future the building can be relocated.

Why Wernick Modular Buildings?

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Speedy completion Lower cost than traditional build More dependable build programme 25 year structural warranty Planning and building regulation service Full project management Sustainable form of building Choice of traditional or contemporary finishes HIRE and LEASE options available

Sustainable construction without compromise For additional information visit

0800 18 18 22


BETA BUILDING With a major client – GSK – setting the challenging target of a ‘zero incident, zero defect, zero waste’ approach to the delivery of an ambitious Factory in a Box building design programme, Bryden Wood Technology and offsite construction had many of the answers.

1 The Factory in a Box design was created to allow the GSK products to reach 80% of the African population by 2020. In addition to the challenging construction programme in difficult, varied and often underdeveloped markets, GSK required best practice, a minimal cost footprint and delivery in an unprecedented time frame. The Beta Building is a prototype of the construction system developed to deliver this brief. The Factory in a Box construction system is designed around the principles of rapid, safe construction by a low-skilled team delivered through composite Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) components that can be shipped out of Europe or procured locally as required. The concept of mass customisation and future-flexibility were incorporated and tuned to GSK’s specific business requirements. Best practice operation and maintenance was provided via standardised materials, operation and infrastructure and the design extended into a tailored BIM solution enabling rapid optioneering with early cost control and allows all components to be tracked through design, manufacture, logistics, construction, operation and maintenance via an integrated QR code asset management system.


2 The prototype is the first built example of the GSK Factory in a Box system, so it was important to test the complex mechanical principles and train the multi-skilled workforce who will deliver the real facilities. The prototype demonstrates quality and compliance, providing detailed understanding of cost, time and supply chain metrics and showcasing the programme to other parts of the GSK business. The system is specifically designed and optimised to deliver benefits over traditional construction. The challenge with the Beta Building was to gain as much value with as small a cost as possible. This meant incorporating all complex junctions, building a full 15m x 15m serviced ceiling to test lifting, build a small volumetric change module and the minimum amount of envelope and demonstrate all finishes relevant from a quality perspective. Initially a full mini-facility was proposed with working services, however it quickly became apparent that greater benefit could be achieved by separating the various elements. The internal superstructure including the serviced lifting ceiling and cleanroom spaces were built in an existing warehouse. The volumetric change module was plugged into this externally and the envelope built as standalone element. Once assembled, various testing was undertaken including proving maintenance and repair strategies and resilience, as well as testing alternative construction methods and supplier engagement.


3 The Beta Building was shown as an exemplar at a series of open days to collect feedback from all parts of the GSK business. It acted as a demonstration of what has been achieved and an exemplar of offsite construction and its benefits moving forward. Other interested parties from various parts of the construction world also visited and left feedback, thoughts and opportunities for consideration. The prototype has now been disassembled stored in shipping containers before it is ultimately converted into a GSK training facility. The design has been undertaken by the Front End Factory, a collaboration between GSK and the R&D side of Bryden Wood (Bryden Wood Technology). The Factory in a Box solution is a complementary part of the work undertaken by the Front End Factory that focuses on a number of areas from strategic brief development to analytical and process modelling, architectural consultancy and engineering solutions. The same system can be used for a range of other applications from pop up, relocatable hospitals in disaster and conflict zones to multi-storey configurations for data centres. For more information visit: Images Courtesy Bryden Wood: 01-03. The GSK Factory in a Box system can be easily transported and assembled in a range of locations.


CONCRETE EXCELLENCE Using some recent offsite examples of concrete use, Richard Day, Head of Technical Advisory at The Concrete Society, shows how fully precast or hybrid concrete construction can create landmark buildings in a range of sectors.

There are many positives and negatives said about concrete but it cannot be denied that it is part of the fabric of our global society. Whatever material is used for a building’s superstructure – be it concrete, steel, timber or hybrid composite – the chances are that below-ground works, including basements, are of concrete construction. Where visible it’s difficult to get away from the flexibility of the material to fashion both utilitarian buildings and world-class architectural statements. Apart from the properties of concrete (strength, its ability to be cast into any shape, durability, elegance), a major benefit is it can be cast in-situ and cast offsite for assembly at the project site depending on the prevailing construction logistics.

1 The Mint Hotel (now Double Tree) Near the Tower of London, this is a 583-bedroom hotel and the largest in London’s Square Mile. The building has been designed to complement the surrounding urban fabric, align with the medieval street patterns, enliven the streetscape and maximise rooftop public access. The level 1 transfer slab, designed to create a vast open double-height lobby/reception with glazed roof, and the two basement levels below were of reinforced in-situ concrete walls, beams, columns and floor slabs. The piles incorporated ground-source heat pumps. The stair cores were cast using an in-situ concrete jump-form system. The nine levels above the transfer slab were of precast cross-wall construction using a hybrid system of twin walls and lattice slab with a structural topping. The twin wall was developed from a standard range of wall thicknesses to a bespoke system, to maximise the lettable bedroom space. This system, together with unitising the external cladding, enabled the contract period to be reduced by ten weeks. The external façade was formed with a series of Jura limestone mullions, reconstituted concrete band and spandrel panels with a zinc rainscreen. These panels were cast offsite and supplied with the windows preinstalled. The heavily constrained site in the City of London, with little space for onsite storage, leant itself to scheduled precast panel delivery. The combination of in-situ concrete to create the below-ground and lobby space, and modular precast elements for accommodation is a perfect example of a hybrid solution minimising construction traffic disruption to the narrow London streets.



2 Burntwood School, London The 2015 Stirling Prize winner, echoes the modernist heritage of the existing 1950s buildings and the new development increases the school’s capacity by 200. The curriculum buildings comprise internally exposed in-situ concrete frame, stair core walls and flat slab. Faceted cladding panels create a visually interesting façade and provide solar shading, with acidetched mica-fleck black-base panels against acid-etched off-white upper panels. The striking load-bearing precast panels are cleverly optimised to give a pleasing pattern rather than rigid repartition. The self-supporting cladding (just tied to the in-situ concrete frame rather than hung from it) meant that the frame could be more slender and cost effective. The powder-coated aluminium windows were factory installed with waterproofing and external sill flashings to minimise site time. This is an excellent example of a contractor and an architectural practice working together to create a building that exceeded the client’s expectations.

It goes without saying that all the projects featured were constructed with sustainability in mind, meeting the exacting standards of BREEAM. Offsite manufacturing has the potential for reducing overall CO2 emissions by reducing wastage, vehicle movements onand offsite. Structures benefit greatly from the exploitation of concrete’s thermal mass, durability and low-maintenance.

Images: 01. Mint Hotel – entrance foyer with glazed roof. 02. Burntwood School – installation or precast façade.

Modular Building Solutions | At FP McCann, we believe in working with you as a partner from the start, which means offering our expertise in designing and manufacturing rooms to suit every individual project. Far from being an off-the-shelf solution, our modular building solutions are made-to-measure, whilst maintaining our design philosophies and standard details. Our precast concrete crosswall construction is a fast and convenient way to produce multi-unit structures such as hotels, education, student, secure and health accommodation, private and social housing in a fraction of the time of traditionally built structures.

Alma Park Road Grantham Lincolnshire NG31 9SE

Tel. 01476 562277

King’s Lane Byley Middlewich Cheshire CW10 9NB

Tel. 01606 843500

Precast Concrete Off-Site Solutions


3 THE CONCRETE SOCIETY The Concrete Society celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, being founded in 1966. It remains an independent technical organisation with a broad membership base that includes professional engineers and designers, the contracting and material supply industry, academia and client bodies from over 60 countries. The Society offers a comprehensive portfolio of products and services to the industry including its highly regarded advisory service, which offers prompt and impartial support to industry clients either on-site or by telephone and e-mail. For more information visit:

HMP Featherstone (now HMP Oakwood), Wolverhampton A complete self-contained newbuild Category B prison built on a brownfield site adjacent to an existing prison. Buildings in the prison complex are constructed almost entirely in precast concrete, making the project the largest recent precast offsite fabricated contract in the UK. The scale of the project was vast, with 11 substantial buildings to provide 1620 cells in three four-storey house blocks, along with support accommodation including hospital, reception and segregation units. The 18-month contract required some 13,500 precast components to be designed, manufactured and erected. This major logistical challenge included innovative design and, importantly, quality control across a supply chain of six precast manufacturers. With security of the prison being paramount, precast was identified as the optimum solution within the project time frame, giving affordable and low-maintenance construction. The ability to ‘build-in’ integral and tamper-proof services could only be achieved with precast. The whole process took offsite construction to a new level.

1 Day Technical Seminar

Join us for a full programme of talks covering:


Beckton Sewage Treatment Works This is an innovative Design for Manufacture and Assembly approach for two aeration tanks 120m × 90m × 8.5m deep, divided into three lanes, and 16 conical-floored 45m-diameter final settlement tanks (FSTs). Aeration tanks consist of precast twin-wall system, the first use in this application. FST walls consist of post-tensioned precast panels with in-situ ring beams. This unique system was the first use of twin-wall concrete panels in tank application and on such a large scale for water-retaining structures. The innovative system gave savings in cost and programme time with minimal on-site labour requirements. Offsite manufacture introduced greater quality control, the low permeability of good-quality concrete being exploited by using thinner walls compared to in-situ concrete. Importantly there were safety benefits to the project, with operatives’ exposure to working at height, plant movements and lifting operations significantly reduced.

Images: 03. HMP Featherstone – lifting precast panels with integral grille. 04. Beckton STW – erection of final settlement tank prestressed, precast walls.

20th October 2016 Royal Berkshire Conference Centre Madejski Stadium, Reading, Berkshire, RG2 0FL




KEYNOTE SPEAKERS Stephen Hodder Immediate Past President RIBA Alan Crossman Current President of IStructE For up-to-date details and to book your place visit: 34




PRECAST PANELS LIFT LONDON Precast concrete is central to Phase 1 of the London City Island development in East London, where specialist Dutch precast manufacturer Hurks and their UK business partners Precast Concrete Structures (PCS) are creating a landmark residential scheme containing over 1700 apartments.

The London City Island project is a residential development which will ultimately comprise of 10 apartment buildings containing over 1700 apartments and up to 27-storeys on a peninsular of land where the River Lea meets the Thames. The project is being delivered on behalf of the Ballymore Group and the Eco World Development Group. The superstructure to the apartments are formed of an entirely precast concrete frame. The internal 200mm thick precast walls support 200mm thick pre-stressed concrete planks. However it is the external brick sandwich panels which form the most striking feature. The panels, manufactured by Hurks in their Dutch factory are a bold new form of precast construction not seen before in the residential market in the UK. They comprise an internal element of 220mm thick grey loadbearing concrete with insulation and a full width cavity, finished externally with 100mm wide brickwork (produced with a full brick).



CONCRETE It is the presence of the cavity within the panel which gives this product its unique selling point as it removes long standing issues in high rise precast construction associated with rain water penetration. Furthermore the cavity varies in width from 25mm to 300mm in order to accommodate the deep reveals required by the architects Glen Howells Associates, around the external windows and balcony doors. Hurks in association with their company Hurks Facades manufactured and pre-installed all external windows and doors into the external brickwork panels before leaving the factory. This collaborative association removed numerous design and interface issues and has provided the client with a unique opportunity to ensure a fullycertificated external envelope with a single point of responsibility. The London City Island project marks Hurks first serious move into the UK residential market. Precast Concrete Structures (PCS) were responsible for onsite erection works and also sourced the floor and stair components from their Irish supplier Flood Flooring Ltd. The London City Island project is not only an architecturally distinctive designed group of buildings but the sheer size of the project will create a new community neighbourhood on this small peninsular of land encircled by the river Lea. All 10 of the proposed buildings have been inventively designed to maximise each buildings river frontage on the elongated site footprint. The selected use of different coloured bricks to each building creates a homage to the historic original docklands structures. The use of Hurks brickwork sandwich panels has ensured that the architect’s vision of high quality brickwork elevations with distinctive deep reveals and crisp edging to fenestration details has been bought to life. The use of offsite manufacture as a means of construction provides a unique opportunity to significantly reduce the risks of accidents associated in building high rise structures. Although there was no external scaffold erected on the project the unique way in which PCS installed the temporary edge protection meant that no operatives worked at any time without a perimeter barrier in place. The high levels of accuracy in brick placement within factory-controlled 36

2 conditions resulted in an appearance which could not be matched using traditional forms of installation. The success of the installation phase of this project has been a testament to the organisational and management skills of the PCS site team. The sheer number of deliveries to site per day during peak erection sequence could easily have threatened the success of the planned erection programme. The rapid installation process which plays a key part in the selection of any offsite construction systems allows the main contractor to significantly shorten the overall build programme. Any breakdown in the process from design to manufacture and eventual installation will compromise the benefits which this provides. The


seamless way in which the project was turned from a more conventional form of construction into a precast concrete solution is testament to the dedication of the design team, the key suppliers and the onsite team.

There is little doubt that no other form of construction could have resulted in the project being so successfully completed in such a short space of time. For more information visit: Images: 01-02. London City Island construction phase.

From design to reality

Woonzorgcentrum De Polbeek (Holland)

Tekla Structures is intelligent 3D modelling software designed to help you deliver all types of precast concrete elements at the right time to the right place. Integrating design and detailing with manufacture, project management and efficient information sharing Tekla Structures can do it all. Together we are shaping a smarter future for construction. TRANSFORMING THE WAY THE WORLD WORKS



1 British Constructional Steelwork Association (BCSA) Director General, Sarah McCann-Bartlett discusses the key benefits of steel in respect to offsite construction, BIM, service integration and steel’s contribution to the circular economy.



Structural steelwork has been confirmed as the leading market choice for building frames, according to the latest independently produced market share survey. In the key multistorey offices market, steel commands a 68% share of the market. There is no sign of this market preference changing. While steelmaking has been buffeted by global economic forces, the UK’s structural steel supply chain remains in good shape to continue its worldleading service to the construction market. Our efficient steel distribution sector has always had a balance of UK and high quality imported steels, and we welcome the news of the sale of Tata Steel’s Long Products Europe business to Greybull Capital. An ongoing UK supply of high quality steel creates a competitive and efficient market, and supports the UK economy.

STEEL We have recently launched Steel for Life – an invigorated version of previous market development strategies which over the past 30 years have helped steel’s market share rise in sectors like multi-storey buildings. Steel for Life is sponsored by over 20 BCSA industry members and its focus and activities are managed by an advisory board which is made up of representatives from across the constructional steelwork supply chain ensuring a broad industry input into the programme.

The key aim of Steel for Life is to support and educate specifiers, particularly about the benefits of using steel. Steel for Life will be supported by in-depth technical studies to demonstrate steel’s suitability across a range of construction sectors, quantifying its benefits compared to other materials. So why are so many multi-storey office buildings being built with steel frames? Clearly cost is the main factor, but offsite prefabrication and service integration are also significant advantages for steel construction. Fabrication of the individual steel elements takes place offsite under controlled, highly regulated and safe factory conditions where the use of leading edge fabrication systems delivers precision-engineered components with minimum waste. With so much work carried out offsite, the onsite construction programme is reduced and the build programme is relatively unaffected by adverse weather conditions. Steel components can be further pre-assembled or fabricated into modules either offsite or at low level, which reduces the need for working at height, and steel can be delivered to site as and when it is required, reducing the need for onsite storage. This factory-based manufacture allows full integration and lends itself quite naturally to BIM. Steelwork contractors have been working with 3D models for decades and BCSA members who have worked on BIM projects report positive feedback from main contractors who say how easy it is to work with steel fabricators. The sector is ready for BIM Level 2 with BCSA recently launching its new BIM charter. The benefits of BIM are enhanced by involving steelwork contractors

earlier. It’s not rocket science that if steelwork contractors are involved earlier, they can speed up production and delivery through design certainty, which makes sense commercially and is in line with government construction targets supporting lean construction principals. Offsite fabrication also ensures quality. Under the Construction Products Regulations (CPR), all products used in construction must now have CE Marking to demonstrate compliance where either a harmonised standard or European Technical Assessment is in force. The BCSA has made CE Marking compliance a condition of membership of the Association, so selection of any BCSA Member company guarantees that the steelwork contractor has the necessary certification to comply with the CPR requirements. Clients and main contractors can therefore have confidence in the complete supply chain for steel construction from manufacture of the steel sections through distribution to offsite fabrication and erection onsite. Steel frames offer many solutions to integrate building services within the structural floor zone, with composite long-span cellular beams featuring in many recent city centre projects. The long column-free spans provide future flexibility for the building owner, and the cellular beams engineered offsite allow flexibility in service distribution onsite. Such service integration leads to economies in the construction by reducing the floor-to-floor height, which either reduces the overall building height and cladding costs, or allows more floors to be provided within the same overall building height - increasing the net lettable area. The offsite fabrication of structural steelwork also offers a broad range of benefits addressing the economic, environmental, and social priorities of the ‘triple bottom line’ of sustainability. I have already mentioned the economic aspects, and it is well known that steel can be recycled indefinitely without any loss of property or performance. However, steel structures are inherently reusable in full or part at the end of their life. Whole buildings can be taken down and rebuilt elsewhere or individual elements can be reused. Buildings are now being designed with this in mind. A steelframed building really is a valuable asset in today’s circular economy.

From a social perspective, the factorybased production of steel frames provides jobs for a workforce close to where they live, in contrast to an itinerant site-based workforce. This benefits family life and promotes stable communities. Continuous investment in new plant and machinery, and the stable long-term nature of jobs in a steel fabrication factory, assist in the training of a specialist workforce. Such skills development both motivates the workforce and increases the efficiency of offsite steel construction.

STEEL FOR LIFE Sarah has been the BCSA Director General for the last five years leading not only the BCSA, but also a steel certification scheme and a steel construction market development programme in a joint venture (JV) with Tata Steel. This programme has delivered a broad range of steel design and construction resources including Steel – the free encyclopaedia for UK steel construction information. Steel for Life is a new constructional steelwork supply chain initiative to ensure that architects, engineers and cost consultants continue to find designing in steel as straightforward as it can be by having all the design and cost advice they need, and have become used to, within easy reach. For more information visit:

Image: 01. Nova, Victoria





The option to use composite floors slabs supported by the light steel walls is popular in some sectors. In this case, the floor slab is typically 150 to 180mm deep using 80mm deep decking and spans up to 5.5m when propped temporarily during construction. Not only is the self-weight half of that of a concrete flat slab but it is shallower and provides for routing of ducts suspended from the decking. Both joisted and composite floors often use slim floor beams that are integrated within the floor zone to create more open plan space, which is particularly useful in care homes and in lobby areas. Concrete and steel stairs are generally delivered as part of the light steel package and are integrated into the Building Information Model (BIM) provided by the light steel supplier.

Mark Lawson and Andrew Way of the Steel Construction Institute (SCI), review some of the latest developments in light steel framing for a variety of different living environments.

2 1 Housing and residential buildings are important markets for light steel framing that are driven by speed of construction, improved quality and the high level of sustainability that is achieved through offsite manufacture. The use of light steel framing in housing is an active sector, particularly in town houses. Increasingly important applications are in four to eightstorey residential buildings and in mixed use buildings comprising commercial space and car parking at the lower levels. In these cases, the weight of the construction system is crucial to minimising the loads on the supporting structure.


Forms of Construction Light steel framing comprises galvanised cold rolled C-sections of 70 to 100mm depth in the wall panels, and 150 to 300mm deep C-sections or lattice joists in the floors. Spans of up to 6m can be achieved which can eliminate internal load-bearing walls and therefore leads to flexibility in internal space planning. The pre-fabricated wall panels are typically single storey-height – 2.7 to 3.2m – and up to 8m long, depending on transportation and lifting. A house can be constructed from as little as 12 wall panels and up to four houses or large apartments can be delivered per lorry. The floors can be installed in the form of prefabricated floor cassettes, or as individual joists.


Urban Developments The benefits of offsite manufacture and of light steel framing in particular come to the fore in urban residential projects that often involve a mixture of town houses and larger apartment buildings. The advantages that are sought by the client and contractor are: • A packaged construction system in which all the structural components are designed, delivered and installed by one supplier • An integrated BIM model is prepared by the supplier which links to the architect’s model and can be used and added to by the main contractor and client • Minimising deliveries and storage space in congested inner city sites. This is achieved by ‘just in time delivery’ site. Panels are colourcoded or labelled so they can be identified easily • Minimising loads on the foundations and any supporting structure, and also when constructing over tunnels or on brownfield sites


3 • A versatile construction system that is efficient for housing and for residential buildings up to 10-storey buildings. • High quality in terms of geometrical accuracy and freedom from any long term movements due to creep and shrinkage, so eliminating ’call backs’ • Good sustainability rating based on a range of environmental criteria. Light steel framing can be designed for low U-Values and scores A+ or A under the BRE Green Guide. All steel components can be recycled and building extensions can be made easily in the future.

Many large urban projects are underway in light steel framing, such as the one in south London, shown in Image 2. In this case, the brickwork façade is laterally supported by the light steel framing over 15m height. Mixed-use Developments Mixed use developments generally comprise commercial or retail space at the lower levels and residential units above. A good example is where three or four-storey housing is constructed over retail space, such as supermarkets in urban areas. The mixed nature of the project may be required for planning reasons or to maximise the return from the land use. The key requirement is the light weight of the super-structure and its ability to span between the transfer beams and to be sufficiently robust to not be affected by the differential deflections of the supports. Light steel framing has proved to be the perfect solution as it weighs less than 100 kg/m2 per floor whilst achieving spans of up to 6m between beams.


4 Building Information Modelling (BIM) The light steel framing industry is leading the way in BIM, which is essential to the manufacturing process and it eliminates problems onsite, especially with interfaces to other components. In light steel framing, a 3D-model of the structure of the building is created in IFC format and is shared with the project architect during the formative stages of design. It is important that the light steel supplier is appointed early in order to be able to maximise the benefits of an integrated BIM model, as shown in Image 4. From this, the light steel supplier produces panel drawings for manufacture and also the other components such as steel beams and posts and stairs are integrated into the model to obtain a consistent geometry and interfaces with other key parts of the building, such as facades and lifts. Clashes are identified and solved at this stage. The main contractor or project architect would often take on the BIM model and manage subsequent updates so that it is available to the client and facilities manager. Design Guidance The SCI has worked for 20 years through the Light Steel Forum to prepare design guidance on structure, acoustics, fire resistance, thermal issues and sustainability and has now published 13 technical information sheets to provide information in these fields. The influential ‘Building Design using Cold Formed Steel Sections: Residential Buildings (SCI P-402)’ has been updated to provide the latest guidance. Structural design was formerly done to BS 5950-5, which was important in establishing this technology in the 1990s and now designs are prepared to Eurocode 3 Part 1.3. The design approaches are similar although partial factors for loads are slightly different.


A light steel C-section of only 1.5mm thickness can support up to 50 kN in compression. Bracing is integrated into the walls as shown in Image 1 so that medium-rise buildings do not require additional cores. By using a range of steel thickness from 1.2 to 3mm and by using pairs of Cs in heavily loaded walls, the design can be made very efficient in steel use.

It is clear from the marketplace that the future for light steel framing is based on the value benefits offered by single point procurement and integrated design and on responding to client drivers for rapid-build, lightweight and adaptable buildings.


Ayrshire Metals BW Industries Fusion Building Systems Hadley Steel Framing Kingspan Steel Building Solutions Metek UK Saint-Gobain Sigmat Ltd voestalpine Metsec plc.

For more information visit: Images: 01. Load-bearing separating walls with X bracing for stability 02. Five-storey residential building in south London constructed using light steel framing with a brick facade 03. One lorry delivery supplies the braced wall panels sufficient for 4 apartments in a medium-rise residential building 04. Integrated light steel package combined with steel posts, balconies, concrete stair cores and timer roof all produced in one BIM model


For far too long, light gauge steel frames have been thought of as expensive, limited to large scale projects and subject to long lead times. Which is why, for the past 20 years or so, light gauge steel has been used primarily on larger multi-unit projects. Newton is here to reshape the building industry by bringing steel framing to the house building sector, as well.

having assembled panels ready to leave the factory. One day. Putting it together is just as fast and easy. Given the shortage of skilled labour in the UK, this is a huge benefit. The other question is cost. We’re competitive with timber frames, but much faster. As an example, we aim to provide a rectangular two storey

For so many reasons, from cost, to reliability, to sustainability,

house, with external walls, pitched roof, first floor joists and all

light gauge steel frames are the ideal solution for virtually any

internal walls for £10 per square foot. You’ll know up front what

size building. From garden offices to large developments.

the costs are and they don’t change.

But just as important as the steel is the technology behind it. Our search led us to Howick in New Zealand where we found the most advanced engineering technology available today.

And there’s no warping, twisting or settling. So you can get on with the job as soon as the frame is up. We’re challenging the way the building industry works by

The big advantage of this technology is

providing outstanding steel frames for virtually

speed. Newton typically takes under 24 hours

every need. Which means with Newton, the

from starting manufacturing of a house, to

possibilities are now infinite.

Newton Steel Framing Ltd 01620 694040 Richard Webb 07990 598000 Nathan Ward 07970 037664



1 The UK Government has set out some ambitious targets for housebuilding. Can offsite construction and timber systems make major contributions to hitting them? Alex Goodfellow, Group Managing Director of Stewart Milne Timber Systems, outlines some reasons how. Housing statistics are a bit like buses: you wait for one set to come along and then a few arrive all at once. That was the experience late in 2015 at least, with the UK Government announcing plans to deliver a million homes in England by 2020 through the Housing Bill. Then the Government reaffirmed its commitment to housebuilding by announcing plans to build more than 400,000 new affordable homes by the same year – dubbed the largest such programme since the 1970s. So far, so good. Then some data followed in early 2016, giving us a snapshot of how things actually looked on the ground. The National House Building Council (NHBC), which monitors around 80% of the market, found that in 2015, 156,140 new homes were registered – suggesting the overall number was just shy of 200,000 – a 7% rise on 2014. 44

A Challenging Landscape The targets are encouraging, and the number of houses delivered in 2015 was the best for some time. However, many experts believe we need go further and build a quarter of a million homes per year to alleviate the UK’s perennial housing shortage – a fact underlined by the 2020 target of a million new homes. Clearly action is required to escalate the speed at which we’re delivering housing. We also need to increase the number being built by finding, or creating, extra capacity in the market. But the challenge doesn’t end there. House prices continue to rise and the need to keep them affordable is of major concern – while maintaining quality, desirability, energy efficiency and sustainability targets.


Making things even more challenging is a lack of relevant skills and materials. Shortages in the construction sector have been hitting the headlines and according to a recent Federation of Master Builders (FMB) survey, almost two-thirds of small builders reported last year that they were forced to turn away work. The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) also said construction wages rose by 6% in 2015, well ahead of the 2% UK average, because of a dearth in qualified labour.

TIMBER Image: 01-03. Precision offsite manufacture at the SMTS Witney facility

Education, Education, Education Education is a critical way to enable people to understand what’s possible with offsite construction. For our part, we offer a range of workshops, seminars and factory tours to industry professionals at our facility in Witney, Oxfordshire. It is one of the most advanced facilities of its kind, with designers, technical teams and project management work in partnership with clients from the initial design concept and development through to manufacture, delivery and construction.

2 Why Offsite? The UK needs to find a way of delivering these aspirational targets in this testing environment. And it is my firm belief that, for a number of reasons, offsite construction is the best way of meeting the challenge. Firstly, it guarantees quality through precision engineering. Modern and automated manufacturing processes and robust ISO procedures ensure the highest quality systems are manufactured and transported to sites, ready to erect. The performance standards are guaranteed to meet current building regulations and specific client performance standards. Secondly, the combination of timber systems and offsite construction methods enables faster build programmes, with timber systems arriving on site ready to be erected by experienced teams. The systems are erected efficiently and ready to hand over to follow-on trades seamlessly for earlier access. A project of 10 blocks of terraced houses can be completed five weeks earlier than if building with masonry and traditional onsite methods. The build is also simplified, with fabric performance assured and the structure can be watertight in a matter of days.

Offsite construction can also significantly reduce both labour and material costs. There is less reliance on trade skills and onsite supervision, and the faster build of the main structures reduces the management required to supervise and co-ordinate onsite trades. The accelerated build time provides a quicker return on capital outlay and site prelim expenditure can be reduced by up to 30%. Joinery costs are also reduced, as windows and door frames can be factory-fitted if required. Fourth, waste is also reduced, giving further cost savings in addition to the prelim savings. With early client engagement, projects can be valueengineered to design out cost in each phase of the project from manufacture through to construction. Material wastage onsite is reduced, as precision-engineered build systems are delivered from the factory ‘just in time’ for construction. Timber waste can be controlled easily with 100% of the leftover material produced in our factories recycled.

The events are created to encourage housebuilders and their quantity surveyors, construction teams, technical and finance to learn how to realise the benefits of timber systems and, more importantly, to understand how to drive those benefits to the bottom line. It enables potential clients to get a first-hand look at the latest developments in offsite construction and how they can meet market demands.

3 The housing targets set out last year were ambitious – and rightfully so – but there’s no reason they can’t be met, provided we take the right approach. Offsite manufacture, combined with timber systems, are the perfect way to do that in a speedy and cost effective way – all the while ensuring the homes are costeffective and built to last. For more information visit:




A PERFECTLY TIMED SOLUTION? By 2030 we will be looking at a shortage of around two million homes in the UK, if current factors such as population growth remain the same. In order to prevent this and rectify the current shortfalls, modern and innovative methods of construction must be adopted to provide quick, sustainable and energy-efficient homes. Back in February 2013, the Offsite Housing Review was published by the Construction Industry Council (CIC) with the help of research partners from across the sector and Government. The most striking aspect of the investigation was the broad level of agreement amongst experts that the solution to the shortfall in housing stock would require the extensive use of prefabricated building techniques. The timber frame industry can certainly answer that call when it comes, which surely it must. The impetus required will undoubtedly be Government led but it’s not just about the numbers. As a nation we need affordable, welldesigned and energy efficient homes that address the significant issues of fuel poverty and climate change. This combination of requirements plays to the strengths of timber frame and structural insulated panels (SIPS), which deliver the sustainable solution.

1 Ian Loughnane, Business Unit Director, Kingspan Timber Solutions, offers his perspective on offsite construction in the housing industry and how timber could provide a quick and sustainable solution to the current housing shortage. 46


Energy efficiency doesn’t mean an explosion of high tech, expensive and ultimately obsolete eco-bling. The industry has invested heavily in getting fabric solutions that deliver high performance without the future maintenance costs that non-fabric solutions entail. This approach, synonymous with offsite construction, focuses on the delivery of an airtight building envelope to achieve sustainable and energy efficient new homes, reducing CO2 emissions, energy consumption and associated costs. With Government targets for reducing CO2 emissions fast approaching, the importance of developing energy efficient and low carbon homes is becoming a central concern, particularly to providers of social housing, housebuilders and homeowners across the UK.

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TIMBER trajectory of regulation sends a clear message to developers, investors and housebuilders that the homes of tomorrow must be sustainable.

2 In the two years since the publication of this report we have come a long way. Offsite construction technology delivers a predictable performance level, with fewer construction defects or wasted materials. We are able to provide a marked decrease in the build time with a marked increase in the standard of build. This combination of requirements plays to the strengths of timber technology which offers a low-energy design as standard. The construction of a house maximising offsite technology typically takes four to six weeks, which is nearly a quarter of the time taken by traditional methods with an average timescale of around twenty weeks, providing weather conditions permit. Offsite methods reduce the potential impact of bad weather on buildtimes and swift weather-proofing of the structures diminishes delays for follow on trades. This makes offsite construction the most viable option when working to meet the recommended increase from 100,000 homes per annum to 230,000. From a cash flow perspective shortening the cycle from outlay to sale means that ramping up volume can be achieved without the same capital employed as traditional means.


The compounded problem of lack of delivery of housing stock during the recession is now reversing to a large pipeline of activity where the pressure is building and the tap is about to be opened. Research finds that there are no regulatory barriers to the increased use of offsite methods and it is predicted by industry professionals that at some point there will be a sea-change that will see offsite components increasingly being used in place of traditional site-based construction methods. Housebuilders have concerns over the declining levels of traditional skills, however as a timber frame manufacturer and supplier, I recognise that new skills are required for offsite construction and gaining the right skills will offer employment opportunities for many. Currently the majority of housebuilders see no commercial reason to build in energy performance beyond meeting Part L of the Building Regulations. Indeed there is always a flurry of plot registrations to avoid the next round of increased Part L performance. Many purchasers have no clue that their new home may be five years out of date as far as energy performance is concerned. The sooner the house buying public begins to look at home energy running costs in the same way as car buyers look at MPG the better. Yet to deliver improved levels of thermal performance and associated airtightness is cost effective with offsite construction and offer the potential of commercial benefits to those who wish to promote the advantages to the market. Nevertheless the


It is not just the housing sector that is looking to exploit the benefits of offsite construction to meet current demands. The education sector is also facing a shortage of almost 900,000 school places and the government has pledged an investment of circa ÂŁ2 billion to refurbish and rebuild 277 schools. The speed and ease that offsite construction provides is crucial to fitting in with the timeline demands that are unique to schools and the academic year. That is why offsite is becoming the choice method of building in the education sector, matching similar requirements to the housing industry.

3 The market is definitely showing higher levels of optimism amongst the timber offsite solution suppliers, with more positive signs of investment and an increase in activity levels. The transition to a low-carbon economy presents our industry with great opportunities for growth. I believe that we are now on the cusp of the predicted sea-change and that the time is right for the construction industry to embrace innovative timber technology and offsite techniques to develop better buildings at a rapid rate to enhance lives, minimise the environmental impact and reduce energy costs for occupants for many years to come. For more information visit:

Images: 01-03. Courtesy Kingspan Timber Solutions

Gaujas Koks Ltd is well known in the UK’s timber market as a supplier of top quality structural timber, decking and the other types of products. With over 25 years of experience, Gaujas Koks is today a company with 60m EUR of annual turnover - owning two sawmills located in Latvia with a total annual output of circa 300,000m3 of finished product. As a latest development we have launched our first CLT production site at one of our sawmills. Our second CLT full cycle mill project is currently under construction and we forecast to get this launched within next three years.

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CLT – A TRULY VERSATILE MATERIAL The rise in use of cross laminated timber (CLT) has been well documented in recent years with the material increasingly specified for its sustainability benefits, inherent structural qualities plus its airtightness and fire resistance characteristics. Stora Enso have been at the forefront of a number of UK projects driving the use of engineered timber. CLT has become synonymous with multistorey residential, schools and large public access buildings, however CLT is an extremely versatile material suitable for use across a wide range of applications and challenging conditions and it offers a great deal of scope for creative design and architecture. “I’m pleased that specifiers are recognising the benefits and versatility of CLT” says Petri Perttula, Head of Building Solutions at Stora Enso. “We’re seeing a real variety in the type of projects, applications and conditions where CLT is being specified, from large scale and multistorey projects to bespoke one-off family homes and projects that address specific issues and conditions.”


One area of growth Stora Enso is seeing in the UK is in the modular build sector where CLT offers strong benefits for modularisation. They are working across a range of large and smaller scale projects in this sector including the recently completed Kendall Court in Alness – Scotland’s first modular social and affordable housing. The project uses a highly innovative hybrid system of Stora Enso PEFC-certified CLT, homegrown timber and blown woodfibre insulation developed by modular specialists Carbon Dynamic. “Alness is the first time Carbon Dynamic has used CLT and the team is increasingly understanding the benefits the material offers for modularisation” says architect David Rhind. “CLT is the ideal material for modularisation because it allows for large openings while retaining the dimensional stability needed to move it around and crane it onto site.” 50

2 Comprising eight one-bedroom apartments designed for limited mobility, Kendall Court meets many of the key requirements for social housing including speed and accuracy of construction and suitability for building on tight urban sites with


minimum disruption to surrounding properties. The new homes exceed technical requirements for acoustics and achieve almost passivhaus standards for airtightness at 0.7m3/ m2.h@50Pa.

TIMBER Stora Enso is also working widely across the high-end residential sector including Lendlease’s 2016 RIBA Award winning Cobalt Place in Battersea where Stora Enso FSCcertified CLT has been used for the superstructure of the buildings. Designed by AHMM Architects with timber engineering and installation by Eurban, Cobalt Place was built on an extremely tight site and to tight deadlines. The project consists of two carbon neutral town houses and two five and six-storey residential blocks providing 102 one, two and threebedroom apartments developed with reference to London Housing Design Guide (LHDG) requirements and Lifetime Homes standards.


It is the first time that AHMM has used CLT and Associate Architect, Peter Mayhew has been impressed by the benefits the material has brought to the project: “By building with CLT you start from a good place because of the accuracy provided by the factory fabrication” he says. “Also, the use of CLT requires early coordination: the benefit of which is that it requires the design team to engage together earlier in resolving detailed design and coordination” In addition to the structural benefits and programme efficiencies provided by CLT, the material also provides scope for architectural design and many designers are crafting the material to create valuable contemporary architecture. At the recently completed 142 Bermondsey Street by Hampson Williams Architects, CLT has allowed for a stunning design aesthetic at the same time as meeting the challenges of an extremely tight urban site in the archaeologically sensitive riverside conservation area of Bermondsey in London. The high end mixed-use development involved the extension and refurbishment of an existing post-war steel frame building and comprises a small apartment, a penthouse and retail unit at ground floor with a separate live-work unit that has been built to the rear which wraps around the existing building. A striking cantilevered glass box at penthouse level projects over Lamb’s Walk and is lined internally by a CLT box which frames the view south.

4 “Our aim was to maximise the size of the building on the existing site whilst creating something that is both urban and beautifully crafted and designed,” explains architect Chris Hampson. “I like the urban honesty of CLT and it worked for Bermondsey Street where the material is exposed throughout the building. We were familiar with CLT having used it several times for past projects and we always liked the way it goes together – the structural dynamics and thermal properties. “Also speed and ease of construction was crucial for this project as there was no space on the site for the team to work. Weight was also a consideration in the specification, as CLT transfers its load well and this was important, firstly because the project is located in an archaeologically sensitive area and secondly, because part of the construction is on top of the existing building and this required minimal loading to the existing footings.”

Stora Enso is Europe’s largest manufacturer of CLT with a total production capacity of 140,000 m3 of PEFC and FSC-certified material at two bespoke mills and adjacent sawmills in Austria. The Company, which provides a full service of supply, engineering and installation working with UK partners, specialist engineers Eurban Ltd and G-frame Ltd, works across the full range of building types from education and healthcare, to mid and high-rise residential, commercial and one-off award winning buildings. For more information visit: For Stora’s Building Systems, visit: Images: 01-02. Cobalt Place © Lendlease 03-04. Bermondsey Street © Agnese Sanvito





Images: 01-03. High-quality modular homes by Cubicco

We are all aware of the housing shortage the UK faces. The reasons behind this are many and debatable. Solutions are available but how many offer a truly sustainable approach and challenge the existing norms in terms of materials, approach and delivery time? One modular housing company with a focus on creating contemporary volumetric engineered housing at the highest level is Cubicco. The company’s belief is that everyone should have access to a safe, sustainable and secure place to call home. A Cubicco community is born from a profound respect for the longterm conservation of natural resources, an energy-conscious building design and ‘pedestrian-oriented’ urban design. With comfort, beauty and a connection to nature as vital elements that help us live a healthy existence within our communities – something Cubicco define as ‘Immune Urbanism’. Using the latest CNC technology, accurate to within +/- 2mm, Cubicco are able to supply homes, pre-engineered, coming complete with assembly manuals for CAP’s (Certified Assembly Partners) worldwide. Observing extreme natural conditions worldwide and designing and engineering its product to surpass global building codes, each engineered home can resist two metres of wet Austrian snow on the roof, stand an earthquake to 5.4 on the Richter scale, and is the only timber framed home in the USA to achieve the coveted Florida High Velocity Hurricane Zone certification for winds up to 180mph. Available on stilts, the modules can be placed easily in any flood zone area. These units are now available in the UK and can offer offsite solutions for schools and commercial buildings where they can be stacked on tight parcels of land up to three storeys high. Through offsite construction in 52


a controlled environment, the units are quality-assurance guaranteed, regardless of external weather factors. Sustainable Construction Cubicco use as many renewable materials as possible including structural plywood and pre-treated cellulose insulation from recycled newspapers. This ensures the 300mm walls, floors and roofs are insulated to the highest standard. Spray cork gives the external facade an extra insulation factor and assists in acoustic control. In Cubicco’s 65 square metre unit, net-zero energy efficiency is achieved with six PV panels on the roof. The estimated cost to run and heat a homes is just £83 per year. Due to the lightweight construction, low carbon footprint, point load system, the foundations are kept to a minimum and can be adapted to any terrain. No concrete slabs or beams are required. Each module comes pre-fitted with lifting brackets, so if the owner wants to move, they can literally take the home with them. The Cubicco aim is to work with local councils that have parcels of land available and with the help of housing and community orientated lenders, to help realise communities where a 65 square metre, two-bedroom, fully-fitted modular home can be sold under £100,000. With offices in the Netherlands, USA and now the UK, Cubicco are aiming to show that quality is something that everyone can achieve at an affordable price and that offsite manufacture in a controlled environment is the future for the building industry.



3 THE FUTURE OF HOUSING “Reverse the system. Design and deliver homes and communities that replenish instead of deplete resources, like water, energy, clean air and even food. We call it ‘homes that give back’ and in fact our industry isn’t that far away from achieving it. It’s just in pieces now, waiting to be assembled Michael Dickens, Partner, IBACOS

For more information visit: |





Bathroom pods are one of the unsung heroes of the offsite sector offering a defect-free way to install an essential element of any living space. Gary Ramsay spoke to Richard Tonkinson, Commercial Director of Offsite Solutions, about their pod technology. Much of what goes into the construction of a steel framed pod will be familiar to those who are used to traditional onsite construction methods: steel framing, plasterboard, ceramic or porcelain tiles, sanitary ware and brassware. However when it comes to the final product the lightweight steel pod offers significant advantages over its traditionally built counterpart. Image: 01. Bathroom Pods in production 02. The first of 650 Healthcare Pods from Offsite Solutions arriving at Southmead Hospital 03. Pod prepared for onsite installation


“The cold-rolled steel frame section cut and formed at Offsite Solutions provides a degree of accuracy (+/-5mm) far greater than in onsite construction, says Richard. “This degree of precision allows for consistency and quality of finish throughout the build allowing repetition of fitting out and setting-out of tiles to an agreed grid. Our GRP composite pods borrow much from the marine/boat building industry resulting in a pod that is robust, low maintenance and cost effective – qualities which make the GRP composite unit a perfect solution for student accommodation. Unlike some other GRP pods, our GRP composite units are manufactured in panels. This method creates plumb/vertical pod walls and also allows the pods to be demountable – ideal for refurbishment projects. This allows for tile effects (with very convincing grout lines) and other features to be introduced.


3 Factory-finished bathroom pods arrive onsite ready to be integrated into the building. Internally the pod is completely fitted out with tiles, sanitary ware, brassware, lighting and other electrics. This can include underfloor heating and mirror de-mister pads. “Bathroom pods are extremely robust, says Richard. “We offer a 50-year guarantee on every GRP composite pod – although terms and conditions do apply – and all components fitted within the pod are backed up by their original suppliers guarantee. Steel framed pod walls are typically made of plywood and plasterboard meaning that finishes can be stripped back and retiled as per any ‘traditional’ bathroom. “Panels have been developed which can be configured to produce flat-pack kits. Following a detailed site survey these kits are fully assembled in the factory, then broken down into components and delivered to site. Panel sizes are carefully selected to ensure full access is achievable even via standard door openings and stairways. In particular flat-pack pods have proven extremely well-suited to office to residential conversion buildings.” Currently operating 12 final assembly lines, each project is allocated a dedicated line and team for consistency and quality, with manufacturing time depending on the complexity of the pods. A ‘standard’ GRP composite pod for a student accommodation scheme will run at a rate of 25 pods per week

BATHROOM PODS per line whereas a more complex build (high-end residential or 5* Hotel) may run at 10 pods per week. The company’s annual output is currently in the region of 10,000 pods – roughly one every 10 minutes of the working day. With traditional building, a multitude of trades need to be co-ordinated to produce a good quality end product. This requires a high degree of supervision and management onsite to ensure correct sequencing of work and materials from plumbers, electricians, tilers, floor layers, sealant applicators, decorators, glaziers, carpenters and other specialists. “Early engagement of the pod supplier in the design process is crucial to ensure that the full value of the use of pods can be realised,” adds Richard. “Different structures require particular solutions but in general terms all building types can accommodate pods. Connection to services need early consideration, as does an allowance within the design of the building for pod walls and a consideration on how this will impact on space planning.

“We pay particular attention to material efficiency and optimisation throughout the production process using specialist software combined with a computer controlled beamsaw to ensure that waste material is kept to a minimum. In addition our factories are largely powered by solar and all waste materials are recycled wherever possible. Bathrooms are an ideal candidate for prefabrication, being relatively small, transportable, complex self-contained units. Bathrooms typically account for 6-10% of the capital cost of a hotel, so prefabricating them can mean significant savings. Offsite construction is just inherently more efficient and sustainable than its onsite alternatives.” For more information visit:


• • • • •

Reduced construction time Cost certainty Programme certainty Access to industry leading bathroom design and manufacturing specialists Access to industry leading procurement and purchasing specialists Reduced requirement for skilled labour and supervision onsite Reduced onsite material sequencing and co-ordination Reduced deliveries Reduced waste Reduced onsite theft Factory-built consistent high quality Single point of contact for any snagging or after sales support.

Offsite Solutions is the premier bathroom pod manufacturer in the UK supplying over 8,000 pod units every year to leading main-contractors and developers. We offer a comprehensive range of high-quality bathroom pods to suit all budgets, from cost effective GRP composite units, to premium 5 star steel framed pods.

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THE VOLUME DEALERS Volumetric modular construction is increasingly being accepted as a viable building method that addresses the most common challenges of traditional construction. How does this method of building reduce time, cost and waste in construction projects without compromising on quality, strength or performance? The linear framework of the traditional construction industry is not only labour- and cost-intensive but also presents multiple risks in terms of project deliverability, safety, productivity and supply chain efficiencies. Advances in volumetric modular construction have led to the introduction of disruptive technologies and practices with architects demanding larger modules – longer and wider – that are engineered to stack higher and that push the engineering boundaries traditionally placed on volumetric modular technology. With assured advantages such as shorter onsite build times, and reduced labour and construction costs, volumetric modular construction is evolving into a preferred method of building in education, healthcare, commercial and residential projects. Especially so in education developments, which must balance shrinking budgets and green design objectives with the constant demand to deliver new facilities faster, to meet the growing need for teaching facilities. Volumetric modular construction is particularly relevant to the commercial sector – student accommodation, hotels and care homes – due to the need for repeatable units in volume numbers featuring integrated, adaptable and sustainable design, and delivered in a time- and cost-effective manner. The same can be said for the high-density PRS sector and apartment schemes but the technology is not as easily applied to ‘conventional’ housebuilding. Building professionals who have employed volumetric modular construction techniques in their projects have achieved substantial gains.


Results from a recent survey of 800 architects, engineers and contracting professionals reveal the significant advantages of volumetric modular construction, including shorter project schedules (66%) lower out-turn costs (65%) and reduced construction waste (77%).

Benefits of Volumetric Modular Construction Reduced construction schedule – volumetric modular construction improves a project’s speed-to-market by synchronising offsite and onsite work. While prefabrication and module assembly are carried out in a controlled offsite environment, onsite work progresses at the same time, helping complete the building typically 5% faster than traditional construction processes. Volumetric modular construction projects can help to remove up to 80% of the building construction activity from the site, minimising the impact of site disruptions and inclement weather, maximising safety and ensuring guaranteed timelines. Reduced labour and construction costs - with a major segment of volumetric modular construction work executed offsite, labour requirement onsite is minimised. This can help the project to achieve substantial cost savings from these shorter build times, less labour costs and minimal waste generation. Consistency in construction – manufacturing the volumetric modular units and components offsite in a controlled environment ensures a high level of quality as well as consistency in construction to meet performance and compliance requirements.


Reduced waste generation – madeto-measure buildings and factorymanufactured volumetric modular buildings ensure waste generation is minimised on the construction site. Construction and demolition waste from traditional building processes accounts for more than 40% of total waste sent to landfill. Over the long-term, volumetric modules can be recycled and re-used due to the inherent adaptability of the structural frames. So what is required to make use of volumetric modules in the construction process? As with any ‘new’ technology the identification and definition of the interfaces and the needs of the technology in the construction process must be understood to ensure that the benefits are realised. The process of installation must be understood and the sequence of installation may affect the programme of follow-on trades. Success usually lies in the planning. Generally the construction process sees the most advantages from volumetric modular technology when there is a repeatability of design. The module manufacturing process, whether concrete, steel framing or timber requires volume to make it economically viable. The design costs, set-up costs, jigging and transportation involved tends to be cost prohibitive for low volume or large variations from repeat footprints within a scheme. Whilst volumetric modular technology can reproduce virtually all ‘traditional’ layouts and specification requirements that clients and architects can require, minor design variations can make volumetric modular solutions cost prohibitive. The move towards offsite manufacture requires architects, designers and engineers to understand the needs of the manufacturing process.

MODULAR MATTERS But it is not all plain sailing. A major criticism often levelled at the manufacturers of volumetric modules is the overall lack of capacity available in the market, and the increasing leadtimes for products due to production programmes being filled many months in advance. The industry is in danger of shooting itself in the foot, as lead times extend because manufacturers cannot meet demand.

years, with increased investment in the leisure/hotel market, education sector and social and private residential applications being the key drivers for demand. The volumetric modular industry must invest in itself to meet this demand. Visit for the latest volumetric modular projects in the Project Gallery.

A recent market investigation carried out by Cogent Consulting suggests that there is a huge opportunity for the volumetric modular industry to grow at an incredible rate over the next five


1 A new modular housing scheme from affordable housing developer, Pocket, is part of the effort to regenerate Lambeth’s Mountearl Gardens Estate with 32 homes replacing an area formerly occupied by disused garages. It is the first time that Pocket has used factory-built homes in one of its developments. If successful they believe similar schemes could enable them to upscale their pipeline and regenerate more infill sites across London’s inner-city housing estates.

Images: 01-02. Volumetric modules installation process


As such, the need to involve the supply chain at the design stage is a key component to the success of volumetric modular technology utilisation. Too often contractors claim that offsite solutions were uncompetitive for a specific project, when the consultation of the supply chain took place after the design and layout of the building had been established. Simple changes often go a long way to reducing layout variation and increasing standardisation, whilst manufacturers are able to utilise their established supply chains to achieve variation through fit-out specification and choice of internal components.

2 With significantly less disruption for local residents – 60% fewer trucks coming to the site and 90% less waste, it also potentially opens up many more sites on existing housing estates, which can be delivered quicker than a ‘traditional’ approach. Pocket estimates that going offsite shaved six months off the Mountearl Gardens project time, without any adverse impact on quality. Currently, Pocket is planning to deliver over 100 new homes across Lambeth in the next year on sites in Lambeth North and Brixton.

Marc Vlessing, CEO of Pocket, said: “Pocket is always looking for new and innovative ways to help house London’s first time buyers. What we are doing at Mountearl Gardens is hugely exciting as it will significantly speed up the delivery of affordable homes for local people, whilst at the same time reducing the disruption to local residents. We are incredibly grateful for the ongoing support of Lambeth Council whose commitment to working with Pocket will help local people stay in their communities.”

Pocket is on track to deliver 4,000 homes by 2023. Pocket is also able to draw on the experience and resources of related companies, the U.S’s largest developer of affordable housing, who recently made a strategic investment in Pocket.

Photographs of the units being installed and a CGI of the completed scheme are available here:





1 Offsite construction has changed a lot since the ‘prefab’ projects of the post-war years. Contractors and developers are now regularly talking about the merits of modular construction and offsite is fast becoming a key component of future growth strategies. Stuart Carr, Director and UK Residential Sector Head at Chapman Taylor, explains more… The problem with offsite construction until recently has been one of scale. Until the major developers and contractors – including Laing O’Rourke and now Legal & General – start producing their offsite housing products in large enough quantities the market will be limited in its ability to expand. Innovative ‘Just in Time’ processes similar to those employed across the automotive industry are key to the success of offsite manufacture. 58

Products ‘prefinished’ to a high standard under controlled factory assembly conditions offer huge quality control advantages where even relatively unskilled people can be trained easily to become ‘multi-skilled’ and carry out production tasks to a high standard.


A Solution for Build to Rent The private house building industry currently accounts for 79% of all homes built. In the past there has been too much reliance on the volume housebuilders to solve the shortage even though their business models limit their ability to respond. Currently we are building around 120,000 homes a year, with the government and other independent housing experts advising that we need to be building at a rate of 240,000 homes per year for the next ten years simply to meet demand. With modular construction methods at scale becoming a reality, the opportunities which lie ahead for the PRS – or what is now increasingly referred to as Build to Rent – housing developments to benefit from offsite construction are huge. The Build to Rent sector is much more mature in the USA where they have gold, silver and bronze categories depending on location, numbers of apartments and facilities provided. The Build to Rent sector – by force of necessity – will gradually mature in the UK as well. It is the predictability of the design criteria within a Build to Rent project which point towards modular production at scale as the optimum solution. Ideally a contemporary Build to Rent community should be based on courtyard design principles where possible, with a soft glassy centre and a more robust exterior responding to the context. Typically the target demographic would be ‘Generation Rent’ – the 25-35 age group – particularly people in employment but who will take ten years to save for a deposit to buy a house. In this respect it is somewhat akin to student housing given its emphasis on friends, family and facilities. It responds to a ground shift in people’s perceptions of what makes for a happy and welcoming living environment.


2 Planning Cost & Size An offsite construction product can’t be created on the cheap. It requires meticulous pre-planning before it goes into manufacture. It becomes more economical at large scale which is why the market for modular housing will not begin to prosper until the big development companies have established their production facilities. The perception in the market at present is still that offsite construction is expensive but the counter-argument is that any perceived additional cost relating to the modules are mitigated by time savings onsite, earlier receipt of rent, reduced risk, and reduced maintenance cost over the cost plan period. Working throughout the UK we find that slightly smaller apartment sizes are favoured by different local markets. This is the approach taken in Manchester, Leeds, Exeter, Plymouth and other locations where we are currently working on Build to Rent projects. The communal sitting and eating areas within a Build to Rent community more than compensate for this adjustment. A Build to Rent investment must have a degree of certainty over ‘size’ for at least a ten year period. Ensuring that the size provision will meet with local market approval well into the future is essential and raises a question over the suitability of some of the very small apartment sizes which we have seen being built recently. It is possible to design in a compact and efficient manner but there are limits where layouts become so compromised that the quality of the living environment becomes less than desirable. In the UK, optimum module room sizes will take account of the London Plan or Nationally Described space standards. The task is to find the optimum box size to transport that suits the

mandatory living areas without the need for any road escort or police notification during transportation from factory to site. Providing some balcony areas within the boxes can help to ensure that the correct net internal area for compliance is achieved. Such a system would not necessarily be restricted to the Build to Rent market. The same design criteria apply whether the apartments are privatefor-sale, social affordable for rent or shared ownership. Build-to Rent – the right brand I believe that the stigma attached to ‘prefab’ housing is a thing of the past and that modular Build to Rent is where the future lies for mass housing in city centres. In the UK, we are fast reaching a tipping point where a shortage of construction skills and an increased need for quality, speed and scale for housing will shift construction from site into factories. The dominant method at present requires us, in effect, to build every new building as a prototype with all the attendant problems of fitness for purpose which that entails. Surely for mass housing in the future the answer must lie in the processes which the car industry has adopted which enable rigorous testing of the prototype before it goes into production. The predictability of branded Build to Rent layouts and finishes ensure that all the major decisions about structure, services, specification and finishes can be taken early on in the design process. This is why Build to Rent housing is ideally suited to the modular offsite process and a viable solution for the housing crisis. For more information visit:

Images: 01-02. Future cityscapes could be transformed by developments such as Umbrellahaus

UMBRELLAHAUS – EVERYONE NEEDS A ROOF OVER THEIR HEAD Umbrellahaus is Chapman Taylor’s offsite design solution. It is an affordable and sustainable offsite housing system, which can be constructed at scale and speed to provide housing for communities around the UK. The concept provides a holistic solution to fund, construct and deliver affordable, sustainable modular homes that can be seamlessly integrated into the existing city fabric. It will be possible to build up to 22-storeys high. Umbrellahaus housing modules range from 1 bed to 3 bed family units. The modules are thermally efficient, maximise daylight, minimise maintenance costs and encourage recycling. They are constructed from highly insulated sustainably sourced materials and designed to match Passivhaus standards. Modules are scaled for easy transport to site, with offsite construction providing factory conditions encouraging clean, energy-efficient and accurate assembly. They will have LABC type approval to fast track through building regulation approval procedures and be backed by the Building Offsite Property Assurance Scheme (BOPAS).




RECYCLING MODULAR BUILDINGS – NEW HEIGHTS FOR SUSTAINABLE CONSTRUCTION Mike Williams, Managing Director of Foremans Relocatable Building Systems, assesses why demand for recycled and refurbished modular buildings continues to rise. The sustainability features of advanced offsite construction solutions have been well documented – significantly less waste, improved thermal efficiency and life cycle costing benefits. But recycled and refurbished modular buildings take sustainable construction to a completely new level. Why is the Approach so Sustainable? Our approach is to recycle the steel structure of the building. The bulk of the embodied energy in any modular building is in the steel structure and steel components used in its manufacture. By preserving these elements, you can create a building without manufacturing new steel or a new building structure, which is vastly more sustainable. It reduces carbon emissions and is an environmentallysound alternative to demolishing and disposing of buildings in landfill sites when the facilities are no longer required. When we re-use a modular building, we generate less than 10% of the carbon emissions compared to a newly manufactured building of equivalent size. This dramatically improves a building’s carbon footprint that is increasingly important to many construction clients, particularly in the public sector. We then refurbish the recycled building with new fixtures and fittings, doors, windows, wall linings and cladding. Many of our customers tell us that you would never know our buildings are modular – let alone recycled. The result is a highly thermally-efficient building with lower running costs. Image: 01. Module craned into position, Hull Royal Infirmary


Cost-effective Construction and up to 70% Faster Recycling also means we can offer exceptional cost efficiency. This can allow construction clients to benefit from larger buildings or a higher specification for the same budget as new build. The approach is also up to 70% faster than site-based construction and lead times are reduced by up to 30% compared to new modular construction. This speed of delivery is very important to customers who need to work to even shorter programmes than other building solutions can offer for permanent facilities. And the other benefits of modular construction still apply – less time on site so there is less disruption – constrained and inaccessible sites can be developed with ease and site safety is improved because work offsite is maximised. Investment to Meet Demand We have recently invested £1.5 million in our building stocks to meet the increasing demand for our services. Foremans buildings are widely used in both public and private sectors – from teaching blocks and health centres to transport depots, ancillary accommodation for hospitals, amenity buildings in the energy sector and office schemes. As budgets become ever tighter, specifiers need to look for alternative accommodation solutions that provide best value and yet maintain quality. This is an area we really excel in, with the resources and on time, on budget, quality and service commitments from being part of market leader as strong as Portakabin. It is a very compelling offer but it is not without its challenges.


A Hugely Disparate Market The challenge for specifiers and building customers is that the market is hugely disparate. This is a very diverse sector of the modular industry and the extent of refurbishment and the level of quality and service offered lacks consistency and is very varied. Customers should take the time to understand the differences between suppliers – will the recycled building have just a coat of paint to freshen up the interior or will it be completely refurbished to create a high quality, highly energy-efficient scheme? We strongly advise customers considering a recycled solution to: • Visit completed buildings • Talk to other customers • Meet the suppliers – never make a buying decision just on the basis of a tender or quotation • Visit production facilities to assess the level of ‘refurbishment’. The Perception Issue We still have to respond to preconceptions about recycled modular buildings. The reality is that a refurbished modular building can be better quality than a newbuild modular solution in terms of building performance and the quality of internal fixtures and fittings – depending on the supplier. This goes back to the huge disparity of modular companies and not all offer technically advanced, highly engineered solutions. The focus should always be on the quality of the finished building – and not whether it is new or recycled. That is why it is so important to encourage customers to visit completed buildings to assess quality at first hand. But we are in no doubt that there is room in the modular market for another type of solution and which takes sustainable construction to a new level whilst offering customers exceptional value. For more information visit:

Providing impartial product advice to improve process efficiency Support and services include: • U-Value calculations • Condensation risk analysis • Guidance on building regulation compliance • Energy performance certificates • Thermal modelling • Impartial product advice • Reduce WIP with just in time deliveries • Fully integrated supply chain • Process improvement through careful product selection For guidance you can trust call 0844 443 9959 email or visit

Talk to the SIG360 Technical Centre at the start of your project for a 360o view of cost effective and energy efficient home building


THE REWARD FOR WELL DONE WORK IS THE OPPORTUNITY TO DO MORE! There are so many ‘glittering’ reasons for entering awards but having a good night out is not top of the list when it comes to business imperatives! With the deadline looming for entering the Offsite Awards on the 31st July 2016 – here are just five reasons why entering these awards is a sound business decision. Celebrate the best in precision building design and delivery at the Offsite Construction Awards. The Awards will reward outstanding examples of prefabrication and factory-based methods, products, systems and disciplines that increasingly strive to develop a sustainable, streamlined and costeffective way to deliver a better built environment.


Taking centre stage at such a high profile event showcases your outstanding projects, innovative products or dynamic people at a national level - maximising industry exposure and creating new business opportunities.


Winning awards is great PR – it is the highest form of endorsement from an independent, knowledgeable and well respected peer group. Ultimately awards help shape perceptions and publically position your business as an industry innovator.


Reaching the finals increases credibility and through strategic selection of categories, awards can draw attention to areas of the business in which you excel.



Awards can open the doors to new clients, finding new supply chains and entering new markets. They are an ideal networking opportunity and by being involved, can act as a springboard to forming new business relationships.


Winning such an award can have a hugely positive impact on staff morale and productivity – award success is testament to good work and innovation. A big ‘pat on the back’ for all those involved and the potential to attract new talent to your business!




If you have an outstanding project, innovative product and/ or dynamic people promoting excellence in offsite construction across the UK, then enter the Offsite Awards by 31 July 2016 to receive the recognition you deserve! Enter here: Or if you are interested in sponsoring this prestigious event please contact Amy Pryce on: Tel: 01743 290011 or Email: amy.pryce@




12 Categories available to enter or sponsor Book your sponsorship package now

Call: 01743 290001



1 Andrew Orriss, Head of Business Development at SIG360 Technical Centre, explains how using a specialist distributor to provide advice on a variety of products, from a range of manufacturers can help maximise the benefits of offsite construction. The demand for housing has been dominating the headlines for months, yet the industry is still battling to meet the government’s targets. The latest target, set in the March 2016 National Infrastructure Delivery Plan, is to deliver 400,000 new homes by 2021. While this is certainly ambitious, the government has pledged to double its housing budget in 2018-19 to help, but if this target is to be met construction times will need to speed up.


Although one of Construction 2025’s aims is to reduce overall building times by 50%, the government’s lack of direction on how this can be achieved has left the construction industry having to come up with the answers itself. However, with leading figures such as the Housing Minister, Brandon Lewis, supporting offsite construction, calling it a fast and effective method of building at this year’s Explore Offsite Housing conference, more builders are turning to this factory-based type of construction.


Offsite construction is leading the way in challenging ‘traditional’ methods of building, with the potential to quickly deliver high quality, low-carbon homes and is arguably the key solution to reducing construction times and contributing towards easing the housing crisis. For the procurement of materials used in offsite manufacturing, there are a variety of routes an offsite manufacture company can take which can impact construction costs and times. The most common route is to go directly to a product manufacturer for the supplies, and while this may be the obvious option, the benefits of using a highquality distributor can be far greater. Distributors are often bypassed as it seems there is no perceived value in buying from them. While this may be true of a generalist distributor, specialist distributors can offer a variety of benefits to the offsite construction sector.

SUPPLY CHAIN INTEGRATION In order to provide the highest level of service, leading distributors are able to keep their specialisms separate. By doing so, they can ensure each specialist department consists of highly-trained staff who are able to provide assistance and knowledge for each product sector, guaranteeing the most appropriate products are used for each individual application. Another way in which specialist distributors can lower project expenditure is through their ability to supply products in small quantities from local distribution points on a ‘just in time’ basis. This reduces the amount of money tied up in stock waiting to be used, while also freeing up space on the shop floor which could be utilised for more value-added processes. Although buying directly from a manufacturer does provide a high level of product knowledge, specialist distributors can advise on a variety of products from a range of manufacturers. This unbiased advice can provide substantial cost savings to a process that might not be available when purchasing directly from a manufacturer.

2 Of course, it’s not only housing that benefits from the offsite construction market. Along with many other sectors, education has also adopted this efficient way of building. Along with the Government pledging to make make every school in England an academy or free school in its 2016 Budget, the need to build new schools will only increase. As with any project using offsite technology, it’s imperative for these government-funded projects that their thermal and acoustic performance meet both Approved Document Part L and Part E of the Building Regulations, as well as government targets – this has led to a sharp rise in highly efficient products. In order to guarantee the most suitable products are used to ensure all of the relevant Building Regulations are met, some leading distributors now provide an additional offering where a designated trained, technical team is on hand to give advice on the most appropriate products for each project.

By offering a range of services such as thermal and acoustic performance calculations – such as U-value calculations, thermal modelling and sound and air testing – these distributors are able to guarantee that the offsite manufacturer’s building’s actual performance will its desired performance. These technical teams can also provide specialist training on how certain products are used and give advice on the integration and assembly methods for those products in an assembly line context. For government-funded projects where costs must be kept to a minimum, these additional services from specialist distributors have the potential to significantly reduce the overall manufacturing costs.

In an era where building quickly is becoming a requirement rather than a desire, more people are turning to offsite manufacturing. As the demand increases, it’s vital that offsite manufacturers are able to keep costs to a minimum whilst still ensuring the highest quality – an attribute the offsite industry is well-known for – by making sure the most appropriate products are used for each individual project.

SIG360 TECHNICAL CENTRE The SIG360 Technical Centre is a service offering from building products distributor SIG, that focuses on helping customers deliver manufacturing and building performance by offering unbiased advice on product selection. For more information visit:

Images courtesy SIG360: 01.SIG consolidation and distribution facility 02. Urban Splash hoUSe modules in production





Shaun McCarthy OBE, Director, Action Sustainability, clears some of the confusion surrounding the standards, protocols and systems connected to Building Information Modelling (BIM).

BIM or not to BIM? That is the question – or is it? Apparently not if you are bidding for Government work: BIM Level 2 has been mandatory for ‘all centrally funded public projects’ by April 2016. So that would be now then. Of course the devil is in the detail, firstly ‘centrally funded public projects’ usually means work commissioned by central Government departments but often not Government agencies, Government-owned companies or local authorities. However, the message is clear, the built environment sector is being dragged into the digital age. Of course it makes sense at a strategic level to have digital platforms that includes all relevant resources necessary to design, construct and maintain a building or piece of infrastructure. The benefits in terms of efficiency, reliability and durability of the asset are potentially huge. But is this policy being implemented in a joined-up manner and in a way everybody can understand? Possibly not. The policy calls on a baffling number of standards: PAS 1192-2 – this identifies how BIM should be used for the delivery (design and construction) of a project. The underlying standard for PAS 1192-2 is BS 1192:2007 (British Standard 1192, issued in 2007), which defines the collaborative production of architectural, engineering and construction information and establishes project team roles and responsibilities as well as rules for naming, classifying, layering, and exchanging project data. 66

1 PAS 1192-3 – this is similar to PAS 1192-2, but deals with the operational phase of a project. The PAS describes how an Asset Information Model (AIM) should be created from the Project Information Model (or PIM, which is developed during design and construction), including the establishment of data requirements from the very beginning of a project. PAS 1192-5 – this provides technical security considerations for UK government owners and project stakeholders regarding vulnerability issues and the controls required to help ensure that information is being shared in a security minded fashion. The BIM Protocol – is a legal addendum to design and construction contracts, allowing parties to share data within a contract when working to BIM Level 2. It establishes specific obligations, liabilities, and limitations on the use of project models. The Government Soft Landings (GSL) is a policy of graduated handover for government projects. This policy requires project teams to stay with their government clients for several years to assist them in learning how to operate their asset effectively. In support of its construction strategy, the UK government commissioned the development of a Unified Classification System that provides a ‘common language’ for all team members who are designing, constructing, and managing a government asset. BS 11000 – is a standard that helps to facilitate collaborative working in all sectors but contains some important principles, some major infrastructure clients are asking for this.


So, you need seven complex standards to make a start and many clients and contractors are coming up with something slightly different in terms of their requirements and an array of training courses are available at various prices.

The construction sector has up to 200,000 businesses, the vast majority of which are SMEs. Cascading this message down the supply chain to achieve full compliance is very challenging. Furthermore it does not seem to be clear exactly what makes a company ‘BIM Level 2 Compliant’. There seems to be no simple diagnostic or benchmarking tool to use. At the Offsite Construction School we see BIM as an essential element of the process to transform construction to an industrialised one, where buildings are created in factories with the minimum of work on site. We offer free learning resources to everybody in the supply chain to support the skills and knowledge needed to achieve this transformation, including information about BIM. However, although the number of companies participating since the School launched in 2016 is impressive, we are still scratching the surface of the industry. So, will all public contracts be BIM Level 2 compliant in 2016? I doubt it. For more information visit: Image: 01. Prefabricated plant rooms can be a massive boost to a range of projects

What is the School? The Offsite Management School is an initiative of leading contractors and clients including Skanska, Laing O’Rourke, Costain, Carillion, United Utilities, Prater, Saint Gobain and McAvoy alongside leading knowledge based organisations such as BRE, Build Offsite, Exelin and Total Flow who are committed to helping their supply chain develop to meet the big challenges that we will face over the next five years. The School builds upon the success of the multi-award winning Supply Chain Sustainability School.

Why should I join the School? The School is completely free of charge and we provide advice tailored to Offsite Management processes and skills. With more than 1,000 members the school provides: • • • • •

Free practical support in the form of e-learning modules, videos, workshops and tools Tailored self-assessment and action plans Offsite, Management and Sustainability training Networking opportunities Management skills Forthcoming events: 13th July Carillion hosts BIM – Understanding its use and benefits, London 14th July Leading Innovation and Change, London 14th Sept Assessing your own Leadership Capability & Performance, London

All these events are free of charge as is the Offsite Management School to find out more email, call the team on 020 7697 1977 or go to


BIM: IMPROVING COLLABORATION IN THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY As BIM becomes the standard for the construction industry, what are the benefits and what do organisations need to know? Andrew Butterfield, Product Certification Director of Built Environment, BSI, reveals more. BIM is the management of information throughout the lifecycle of a built asset, from initial design through to construction, facility maintenance and de-commissioning. Whether it is for a new building or a rail infrastructure, it focuses on collaboration and is underpinned by digital technologies. These technologies allow for more efficient methods of designing, delivering and maintaining physical built assets throughout their entire lifecycle. BIM enables design and construction teams – engineers, owners, architects, contractors to collaborate across each discipline at a level that has been unseen before. As BIM is being adopted increasingly throughout the construction industry, it’s crucial that CEOs are aware of this opportunity and what it may mean for their organisation.


Change the Way you Work The information shared between design and construction teams remains with a project, from start to finish. It also helps to analyse any potential impacts. The use of BIM goes beyond the planning and design phase of the project, extending throughout the building lifecycle, supporting processes including cost management, construction management, project management and facility operation. The adoption of BIM requires organisations and individuals to change the way they work. They must accept that traditional roles within the supply chain and client organisations may need to be redefined to successfully implement the new processes and information management requirements of BIM.


Some of the benefits include: • Reduction in CAPEX, delivery and operational costs • Reduced risk • Improved carbon performance • Predictable planning • Faster and efficient processes • Increased productivity and speeds up delivery • Reduced uncertainty • Controlled whole-life costs and environmental data • Avoidance of rework costs • Improved safety • Opportunity to secure Government contracts and meet BIM Level 2 • Reduced onsite waste • Prevention of errors.

Delivering growth and competitive advantage for offsite manufacturing businesses We develop and improve: • Business strategies

• Manufacturing operations

• Products & services

• Business processes

• Marketing strategies

• Management systems

• Sales routes to market

• Product certification

Call us on 01743 290001, email us at or visit our website at

Adding Real Value in Recruitment Specialist recruitment in offsite manufacturing, construction and supply chain

Call us now on

0117 9592008 ARV Solutions are the UK’s leading recruitment consultancy for the offsite construction sector, and it’s supply chain. We are your trusted recruitment partner for permanent, contract and interim staffing needs in all forms of structural timber, timber supply, modular build and wider offsite manufacturing and construction sectors, throughout the UK and internationally.


 Cad | Draughting | Design | Process  Manufacturing | Production | Operations  Site | Project | Contracts Management  Estimators | Quantity Surveyors | Buying  Sales & Marketing | Business Development  Graduate to Executive / Director level Please contact our team for a confidential discussion on career opportunities for you. WWW.ARVSOLUTIONS.CO.UK


What to Do Now From 2016, the government requires construction suppliers tendering for centrally-procured government projects to be working at BIM Level 2. This supports the UK Government’s Construction Strategy published in May 2011, which aimed to reduce the cost of public sector assets by up to 20%. As a minimum, organisations require fully collaborative 3D BIM (with all project and asset information, documentation and data being electronic). The requirement has been introduced to drive the adoption of BIM processes throughout the public and private sector. Whilst this requirement was introduced initially for government projects, the benefits of utilising BIM Level 2 processes and information management practices can also be realised by private sector clients and projects within the construction industry. How is BSI supporting this requirement? Standards and guidance are a crucial part of understanding BIM. The suite of standards to support industry in the adoption of BIM Level 2 outline the processes and information management practices required to perform at this maturity level. Some of these free standards are available to download. Our verification scheme for PAS 1192-2 ‘Information management for the capital/delivery phase of construction projects’ was 70

launched in December 2015. This has been developed in order to provide contractors and their supply chain with evidence that they have the capability to deliver projects using BIM. PAS 1192-2 was designed with input from influential industry experts. The consensus-based standard sets out how to share information on BIM projects and lists the requirements for BIM Level 2. It makes recommendations for the adoption of industry conventions, challenges project complacency and promotes consistency and transparency of work processes between parties. PAS 1192-2 is one of the series of standards designed to drive cost savings and efficiencies through waste reduction and improved collaboration. In order to achieve verification from BSI of their BIM capability, contractors have to demonstrate that they adhere to the requirements of the PAS 1192-2 standard through an independent assessment. The assessment involves an onsite audit which will assess the documented procedures and systems for all processes in PAS 1192-2, which also includes compliance with BS 1192 and BS 1192-4 and the competency of staff. BSI worked closely with VolkerFitzpatrick, one of the first organisations to achieve verification, to ensure they met the requirements of the standard. Rob Dingwall, Head of


Planning and Design, VolkerFitzpatrick saying: “VolkerFitzpatrick were pleased to collaborate closely with BSI to achieve our Level 2 certification for Design & Construction and to be at the very forefront of BIM in the UK. As a world class contractor, we wanted to partner with a world class standards organisation. We found the experience very thorough but practical and we’d recommend working with BSI for certification.”

The BIM Level 2 website has also been developed as a point of reference for clients, designers, contractors, trade suppliers, manufacturers, maintainers, operators and users to understand how to use BIM and data to improve productivity and reduce waste. Work has been undertaken over the past four years in a joint Government – Industry Working Group or BIM Task Group, including BSI to provide Standards, guides, case studies and shared experiences to help all stakeholders with their BIM adoption journey. For more information about BSI’s verification scheme visit: Building-Information-Modelling-BIM Or:


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The construction sector has an overall skills crisis. One widely repeated solution is to turn to offsite manufacture with its improved efficiencies and reduced need for people to complete the same work.

For the latest job opportunities in the offsite sector visit:



Jim Roach, Managing Director of specialist recruiter ARV Solutions highlights some important areas that need addressing before offsite can really successfully rise to the challenge. Offsite has its own skills shortage Whilst offsite reduces the need for large quantities of people, it has a skills shortage itself. In addition, while some manufacturing jobs may be lower skilled and are popular with many available job seekers (permanent, steady, indoors, secure), we also need to further increase efficiencies, which can lead to new skill requirements. We need many more and different, skills.

SKILLS AND RECRUITMENT Low pay Our experience is that skilled candidates don’t come knocking for jobs in offsite construction from other sectors very often. If anything, people tend to leave for better pay and conditions elsewhere within construction (with deeper pocketed developers and major contractors realising the need to increase pay faster than offsite). We have seen substantial pay increases in the last year or so, but this is only beginning to make up for the past and still playing ‘catch-up’. Resistance to attract from other sectors As recruiters, we are still rarely asked to source skills from other sectors, even if they wanted to move. The default is to ask for specific sector experience thus getting what we always had. We find some of the very best candidates and clients are the few who have successfully made moves from automotive or aerospace and adapted to manufacturing for construction. The level of skill in other sectors could bring great advances to offsite but a significant number of our clients are still insisting on construction experience – this is despite constant comparisons with automotive and aerospace where we are told we need to be more like these industries. Lag in education and training Internal training is now really increasing and we see many more trainees and apprentices. Is it enough and is there enough funding? As an industry largely made up of SMEs it is inevitably difficult to invest as heavily as one would like. Higher education establishments can be rather traditional like construction. They teach traditional construction methods and materials and would help the sector greatly, if they taught more about offsite manufacturing as a method of construction too. A far wider awareness of the high-quality permanent construction capabilities of offsite construction is still needed from school level up.

Adversarial nature of construction Offsite providers focus on manufacturing and are inevitably less familiar with adversarial contractual arrangements. Too many manufacturers have gone out of business recently (long since the recession) for falling down on contract conditions. Whilst we are delighted to help place candidates caught in these circumstances in new careers, inevitably there is a skills fallout away from the industry in each case. We are beginning to see organisations working outside the traditional contracting form which gives me some hope – otherwise hire better QSs and Commercial Managers than your clients. Low margins At the recent Explore Offsite Housing event not a single hand went up when the speaker asked if this was a high margin sector. How are we to attract the best talent without changing this mentality? Many other sectors strive for productivity improvements and innovations to the ‘nth degree’ to gain cost reductions and quality improvements – not just insisting on price cuts. They do it by working collaboratively with their supply chain to the benefit of all. Traditional mindset – in offsite too The offsite sector rightly bemoans traditional construction for resistance to change, though offsite needs to look at itself too. There is still plenty of potential for improvement in technology and efficiencies, particularly in areas such as lean, continuous improvement and BIM. The industry can too easily be accused of just building under cover, where it needs to truly demonstrate it has become a manufacturing process. Acronyms and phrases like JIT, TQM, TPS, DfM, DfMA, 3D printing, virtual reality, continuous improvement, automation, robotisation, digitisation, six sigma and world-class manufacturing are rarely heard still. The best would admit to being just part way down the journey compared to other industries. To really attract the best skills in manufacturing we need these to become more commonplace.

Attracting ‘Millennials’? They are hard to find and are not desperately looking for you. We need to learn how and where to make young people aware of the career potential within offsite construction. Yes, I agree: too much is spoken about what so called ‘Millennials’ are or how to deal with them. What is indisputable, is they have grown up surrounded with technology and the digital world at their fingertips. Construction is just about getting to grips with BIM Level 2 while our kids are playing games based in highly-rendered virtual 3D cities, or even designing them online and everything can be learnt through Google (apparently..). The good news is young people are likely to be more attracted to advanced 3D and 4D-design and automated manufacturing than sawing wood or stacking clay blocks in a muddy field in all weathers – so offsite will win if we can reach out.

I am convinced offsite is a significant part of solving the skills crisis and in moving the construction industry into the 21st Century proper. Writing articles (and reading them) won’t solve it – we need to take all the actions we can to see offsite take its fullest role in building the future.

For more information visit:

1 Image: 01. Jim Roach




DON’T COMPROMISE…OPTIMISE! As the leading innovator in the development and application of offsite technology - Kingspan Timber Solutions is a pioneer in high performance building envelopes. By using the ultimate combination - Kingspan Timber Solutions design, manufacture, install and project manage, award winning hybrid structural solutions - optimised in terms of cost and performance.

EOS FACADES LAUNCH CPD FACTORY TOURS Following the recent acquisition of EOS Facades by leading dry construction solutions company Siniat, EOS will be hosting a series of unique CPD Factory Tour events in 2016. EOS will showcase their state-of-the-art design and manufacturing technology - including their most recent investment in the first FRAMA machine in the UK to complement their four other rollformers.

Factory Tours Kingspan Timber Solutions are opening their factory doors to construction professionals to allow them to discover more about their advanced SIPs building system sold under the brand name of Kingspan TEK®. Attendees will be able to explore the many benefits of using TEK® from accuracy, energy performance and efficient wall thicknesses on the Kingspan Timber Solutions factory tour.

The sessions will take place on: • 28 September 2016 9.00am-12.00pm OR 1.00pm-4.00pm • 29 September 2016 9.00am-12.00pm OR 1.00pm-4.00pm

The factory tours will be held at the Kingspan TEK® factory in Selby on the following dates: • 14 July 2016 • 29 September 2016 • 10 November 2016 For more information or to book a CPD or factory tour please: Call: 01767 676400 Email: Visit:

EXPLORE OFFSITE FUTURES With an industry boasting a worth of up to £3 billion per year and accounting for over 5% of today’s new build construction market it is not hard to see why now is the time to become involved with offsite construction. Explore Offsite will see approximately 200 delegates and an exhibition of up to 30 companies, all from a range sectors that incorporate offsite construction in their construction practice, using timber frame, light steel frame, precast concrete, bathroom pods, volumetric buildings, prefabricated building services plus CLT, glulam and a variety of hybrid technologies. Explore Offsite Futures is taking place on 24 November 2016 at the NEC, Birmingham and will include speakers from pioneering companies in the offsite construction industry. Speakers include: • Sam Stacey - Skanska • Jason Whittall - One Creative Environments • Jaimie Johnston - Bryden Wood • Ken Davie - Carillion Building • Stephen Bradbury - Wates Group • Chris Foad - Whitbread • Tim Houghton - Heathrow Airport

Following a tour of the manufacturing facilities, the EOS technical team will present a CPD session covering the following topics: • Cold Formed Section technology • SFS Infill Systems, stud & track, offsite pre-assembled panels/cassettes • Non-loadbearing & loadbearing solutions • Lattice joists & floor cassettes • Design & value engineering • Examples of best practice technology applications

POTTON PASSIVHAUS SHOWHOUSE Passivhaus is a low energy construction standard where the building requires very little energy for heating or cooling. To achieve this, the building must have excellent thermal performance with exceptional airtightness. The UKs first permanent Passivhaus show house, has been built by Potton using the Kingspan TEK® Building System. It joins four existing show homes at their Self Build Show Centre in St Neots and utilises Wraptite-SA (Self-Adhered) air barrier membrane, supplied by the A. Proctor Group. Wraptite-SA is both vapour permeable and airtight, combining two important properties in one BBA certified solution for wall and roof applications. It’s unique vapour permeability allows the air barrier to be positioned externally, leading to a faster and more robust installation, with fewer penetrations for building services and structural elements. As a Passivhaus standard show house, this project required a very low level of air leakage, making Wraptite-SA the ideal choice. This membrane significantly improves the building’s thermal performance by preventing lateral air movement, while ensuring a healthy building and living environment due to its high degree of vapour permeability.

These tours are FREE to attend and are suitable for architects, contractors, engineers and clients. To book your place: Email:

For further information on the Wraptite-SA membrane call or visit our website. Call: 01250 872 261

CPD CERTIFICATION SERVICE “Established in 1996, The CPD Certification Service is the leading independent CPD accreditation centre working across all sectors of industry. Our unique experience and history working with training providers, professional bodies, academic institutions and corporate organisations enables us to support organisations seeking authoritative accreditation for their CPD activities.

OFFSITE AWARDS Offsite Awards go from Strength to Strength The Offsite Awards reward outstanding examples of prefabrication and factory-based methods, products, systems and disciplines that increasingly strive to develop a sustainable, streamlined and cost-effective way to deliver a better built environment.

Thousands of CPD training courses, events, e-learning programs, conferences, workshops and seminars are formally accredited by us every year adding significant value for audiences and providers alike. Organisations of all disciplines actively access CPD activities from The Construction CPD Certification Service. These include client bodies across all disciplines of the construction industry, such as Architects, Engineers, Charted Surveyors, in both the public and private sectors. For more information contact Roy Spurgeon. Email:




Across key sectors of UK construction, the Awards will showcase innovation, celebrate best practice and recognise overall expertise in offsite construction through landmark projects, influential people and material and manufacturing excellence in this dynamic arena. There are 12 categories available to enter at no cost, including: Best Use of Timber, Housing Project of the Year and Commercial Project of the Year. Submission Deadline: 31 July 2016. Full details of the 2015 Offsite Awards winners are available online. Tel: 01743 290001 Visit:



As pioneers of light gauge steel construction, EOS Facades specialise in the design, manufacture and supply of a wide range of steel sections for panelised or volumetric offsite solutions The combination of strength, durability and precision engineering enables innovative solutions and optimises value engineering, resulting in reduced cost and superior quality. The EOS range of sections and systems ensure there is a product to suit most offsite and SFS requirements. If you have a project in mind then why not challenge EOS Facades to help value engineer the most efficient solution for you?

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EOS Facades




Saint-Gobain Frame System SGFS

Loadbearing wall panels comprising lightweight Hadley Steel Framing ready enveloped in market-leading Saint-Gobain products giving a total warranted through the wall performance.

(*) (**) Conditions apply. See