Offsite Magazine - Issue 05 - Spring 2017

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SIR EDWARD LISTER The Homes and Communities Agency outline why offsite should boost housing delivery


ACCELERATING CONSTRUCTION We speak to LHC’s John Skivington about public sector procurement


TIMBER & CLT Pioneering architect Andrew Waugh describes his vision of sustainable construction




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.



Welcome to the Spring issue of Offsite and one that arrives hot on the heels of Ecobuild 2017, where the Explore Offsite zone was buzzing with enthusiasm and genuine interest in the ways that offsite manufacture can change the way the built environment is delivered.

As most readers will be aware, the Government’s housing white paper – Fixing our Broken Housing Market – was published in February. Essentially it outlines how the Government hopes to solve a problem that has been generations in the making. It was hugely encouraging to see that offsite construction and factory controlled methods are becoming better understood and grabbing national headlines – although I could do without the constant wider media references to quality issues and dreary post-WW2 ‘prefabs’. We are in 2017 now, the industry has moved on… The white paper is referenced in this issue many times, not least by Sir Edward Lister, Chairman of the Homes and Communities Agency, who outlines why offsite could play a major delivery role through the Home Building Fund and Accelerated Construction scheme plus how to apply for a Fund loan.

It is imperative that local authorities and housing associations get to grips more with what offsite can deliver. Not just the chosen building system, material or product but the entire process of offsite thinking. John Skivington, Director of LHC spoke to me about its valuable work promoting offsite manufacture through its procurement frameworks, and its work with BRE to create an Innovation Centre to develop a better understanding of the offsite ‘storyboard’.

Education is covered in some detail this issue, with the Education Funding Agency’s Project Director and ‘modular champion’ Richard Crosby, taking in part in a Q&A about the Priority School Building Programme (PSBP) and where modular technology sits in this vast spending and construction cycle. A few quick mentions – we have some fantastic case studies and project focus features inside with concrete, steel and timber all covered – and Tim Rook, Technical Director of the Building Engineering Services Association, reminds us that while offsite manufacturing is set to play a critical role in the future of building engineering services – it is not the only game in town. Special thanks to all our contributors, advertisers and supporters including EOS Facades for our cover story. Enjoy.

Gary Ramsay

Consultant Editor Email:

The NEW Offsite Yearbook – due out in September 2017, not only brings news, feature articles, company announcements and industry awards into one document but it also focuses on the challenges the industry faces, the opportunity for growth and features new technology innovations coming into the market.

To request a copy of the Yearbook or to feature your products and services, contact us today on 01743 290001 or email




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34 | Picking up the Pace of Construction The Government’s White Paper – Fixing our Broken Housing Market - was published recently promising ‘radical, lasting reform’ on the ways homes are delivered. These reforms are set to include offsite construction and the use of more reliable and faster building methods.



The UK domestic political agenda has seen housebuilding at its centre for some time – especially with the recent publication of the Government’s Housing White Paper. With the pressures to deliver housing at scale, light gauge steel is ‘futureproof’ and poised to meet construction industry demands.

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) is tasked with helping create successful communities by making more homes and business premises available for those who need them. Sir Edward Lister, Chairman of the HCA outlines why offsite could play a major role in improving delivery.





LHC is leading the way in connecting local authorities, housing associations and registered social landlords to the world of offsite construction from its process of manufacture to systems and products. We spoke to Director John Skivington about exciting times ahead for the organisation.

Everything we do now should be done with our planet in mind – this especially includes our built environment – says leading architect Andrew Waugh whose practice Waugh Thistleton is at the forefront of tall timber design with its pioneering use of cross laminated timber (CLT).



12 | Offsite News News and developments from across the UK & International offsite industries and wider construction arena including: Swan Housing Association’s new modular factory, offsite developments at the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre and London’s colourful pop-up homes.

26 | Build Better – Build Offsite On the day that the Housing White Paper was launched, the BBC reported from the SIG Offsite manufacturing facility and gained an insight into the process behind the hugely successful hoUSe project. Managing Director, Stephen Wightman, explains the rationale behind the creation of SIG Offsite.

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36 | Helping Make the Capital Affordable On behalf of the London Assembly Planning Committee, Nicky Gavron AM, is investigating the role offsite housing can play in achieving the new Mayor of London’s objectives for housing in London. 40 | Beyond brick and block As offsite construction threatens to hit the mainstream, the BSA and several UK lenders and valuers have been vocal in discussing offsite construction with mixed opinions on quality and longevity. 44 | PSBP & Modular Delivery The Government’s Priority School Building Programme (PSBP) is revamping and replacing a swathe of schools across the country. 46 | Establishing Efficient Procurement Routes The Education Funding Agency (EFA) is playing a central role in revitalising schools across the UK. We caught up with Project Director, Richard Crosby who leads the team making it all happen for a quick Q&A on what offsite can deliver. 60 | Modular – sustainability and reliability Matthew Goff, Director of UK operations at Actavo | Building Solutions, outlines some key reasons why modular is overtaking traditional construction methods in the quality and sustainability stakes. 68 | Inspirational Precast for Nottingham One Nottingham One is notable for being one of the largest mixed-use developments delivered in the East Midlands with concrete selected at an early stage as the principal material. 72 | LSF Delivers Student Style Located in central Newcastle, Icarus LSF worked with Carillion Construction to create a large student accommodation scheme of over 280 units. 82 | Offsite Construction Summit The Offsite Summit will host speakers from around the globe and showcase international best-practice in offsite construction and manufacturing technology. 88 | Offsite: only part of the solution While offsite manufacturing is destined to play an increasingly important role in the future of building engineering services, it doesn’t have all the answers yet says Tim Rook, Technical Director of the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA).

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COVER STORY EOS FACADES With the country still facing a crippling housing shortage – triggering demand for one million new homes to be built by 2020 – the need for a revolution in housebuilding edges slowly forward and this has seen the increased call for the greater uptake of offsite construction technology to deliver ‘accelerated housing programmes’. London is at the centre of the housing crisis with experts forecasting that the city will require 60,000 new homes a year – around double the current rate – to meet projections. Innovation in building methods and materials is required for housebuilding in urban areas to hit targets, whilst ensuring a high quality of living, low carbon emissions and a reduction in overall costs.


RISING TO THE CHALLENGES OF URBAN CONSTRUCTION The UK domestic political agenda has seen housebuilding at its centre for some time now – especially over recent weeks with the publication of the Government’s Housing White Paper. With the pressures to deliver housing at scale growing, EOS Facades and light gauge steel frame are poised to meet challenging construction industry demands. 6


Space standards have recently become a focus of urban building. A report conducted by RIBA in 2011 pushed the Government to take action in tackling the shrinking size of houses, particularly in the London area. In October 2015, a new nationally described space standard was implemented, setting out detailed guidance on the minimum size of new homes. The guidance stated that new one-bedroom, one-person flats would have to be a minimum of 37m2, while three-bedroom, five-person homes, should be a minimum of 93m2. By taking advantage of the lightweight structure of steel, developers are able to reduce foundation requirements and significantly improve design capability. Using lightweight steel frame as the primary structure allows developers to construct high-rise buildings that offer a larger number of dwellings at a spacious size.

2 Steel is a robust, rigid and dimensionally stable material that does not suffer from movement created by moisture related issues. As an advanced high performance offsite solution, steel is not susceptible to shrinkage, warping, cracking, rot infestation or moisture absorption. The inherent benefits of steel construction are why it is dominant in shaping our present and future city skylines.

COVER STORY EOS FACADES In order to hit the government’s target of one million new homes by 2020, there is a growing need for highcapacity housebuilding at a rapid rate of construction. There is currently a lot of financial firepower and interest behind the use of offsite construction in residential builds, which is being backed by the Government. And for good reason. Light gauge steel frame plays a fundamental part in offsite construction. Structural panels assembled from cold-formed galvanised steel sections can be used in a wide range of building types and in hybrid situations with concrete and other materials. Light steel framing is typically used for the primary structure of housing and low-to-medium-rise buildings of two to four storeys. For taller buildings, often constructed in highly populated, urban areas, steel framing can be complemented by the use of hot-rolled members at key locations. Light gauge steel framing can be used for a building’s full frame but also for a variety of roofing, volumetric modular options and infill walling applications. Offsite construction allows suppliers and installers to meet tight time requirements set out by developers. Offsite construction also reduces the lag time that is often seen on traditional building sites in which site-work, foundations and building construction occur consecutively. When it comes to residential buildings,

speed of construction is particularly beneficial due to it providing a faster return on capital employed. This is crucial in places such as London where tall apartment buildings dominate the residential sector. Another advantage to building offsite is the added energy efficiency. This is highly applicable to London as it currently has a target of a 60% reduction in carbon emissions by 2025. Homes and workplaces account for around 78% of CO2 emissions in London and with 80% of the existing building stock likely to still be in place in 2025, it is vital to improve the energy performance of new builds in order to cut costs and carbon.

After water, steel is the most recycled product on our planet – research shows that 99% of structural steelwork is reused or recycled, ensuring very little onsite waste. By promoting and developing design solutions that minimise energy use in operation and are climate change resilient, steel framing is playing a significant part in creating quality, energy efficient buildings. By controlling and influencing direct and indirect impact through ongoing strategies, EOS Facades measures all of our own activities and through focused efforts we are aiming to be Carbon Neutral by 2018.

ENDERBY WHARF – DELIVERING FRONTIER DEVELOPMENTS Enderby Wharf, a recent Barratt London development – in which EOS Facades worked closely with Stanmore to manufacture and supply the general infill wall solution – showcases the best in innovative, urban construction. Enderby Wharf has been described as a ‘frontier development’, making up a significant part of the regeneration of Greenwich. The site is based in an ideal position in Greenwich with west-facing views to the City and Canary Wharf and providing over 200m of river frontage. The development comprises one, two and three-bedroom apartments and penthouses, priced from around £425,000 up to £800,000. Apartments included in the later phases feature at least one balcony or terrace – providing both lighting and space, as well as views of either Greenwich, Canary Wharf or towards the O2 Arena. The River Thames runs right past the build – giving some apartments a fantastic view of the water. The development is the first of its kind in the area and is a key aspect of the overall redevelopment of Greenwich. Challenges during construction included issues with insulation specification and the achievement of required envelope robustness. These challenges were overcome by adapting the section size and an engineered solution was maintained by the EOS system. Stanmore received training in EOS systems to enable them to detail and design the works. Due to its location in the heart of London, the key pre-requisite for the build was speed of construction. EOS were able to achieve the manufacturing lead times of less than five days by using offsite construction and utilising their longstanding relationship with Stanmore. This meant that EOS did not have to design the components and instead used call offs only. A fast build programme meant units were able to be turned around quickly, ready for sale. As the need for new homes in urban areas continues, it is up to the construction industry to take the reins on this evergrowing demand and steer it to innovative, forward thinking horizons. The solutions are readily available and it has become clear that offsite steel construction will continue to be at the heart of our thriving cities for years to come.

For more information visit: Images: 01&03. Enderby Wharf 02. Steel frame




A NEW CHAPTER FOR SUSTAINABILITY More than 20,000 construction industry professionals flooded into Ecobuild on 7-9 March to explore the latest innovations from over 450 leading exhibitors. A key area was the Explore Offsite zone which was busy reflecting the growing interest and shift towards offsite manufacture and its key materials.

1 With an overall mantra of Redefining Sustainability, Ecobuild 2017 provided the platform for debate and discussion surrounding the key issues currently facing the built environment. The event took on an immersive cityscape format to reflect the show’s overarching theme of regeneration, featuring a series of destinations – each with a dedicated seminar programme covering a range of speaker-led sessions on industry topics. For the 2017 edition of the show, Ecobuild partnered with the organisers of the Explore Offsite series of events and conferences, Cogent Consulting and Radar Communications to deliver a focused offsite exhibition zone. Explore Offsite at Ecobuild, represented the largest exhibition of offsite construction solutions ever seen 8

in the UK, with more than 50 leading suppliers showcasing the latest products and technologies within the sector. Among these were MEDITE SMARTPLY, Hadley Group, Portakabin, EOS Facades, Metsec, Unilin and Wernick. ZEDpod also presented the next phase of its roll out after launching at Ecobuild 2016 for which £5 million funding has been approved, while long queues formed to view the turnkey solution showhome on a truck from Polish pod company, Diamond Module. Across the three days of the event, visitors were given the opportunity to learn more about the exciting opportunities offered by offsite technologies for the future of


construction, in sessions with leading industry experts. Free CPD-accredited Offsite Technology Masterclasses were also hosted on each day of the show, offering an independent perspective of the offsite construction sector. Volumetric Modular and MEP technologies were the focus of masterclasses on Day One, with panellists including Steve Pridmore, Divisional Manager at Wernick Buildings, Kieran White, Director at Vision Modular Systems UK and Steve Newell, General Manager at Portakabin. On Day Two, Bill Dunster, Principal at ZEDfactory and Pete Blunt, Managing Director at Innovare Systems, took to the stage to discuss structural timber and hybrid technologies.


2 Day Three welcomed Robert Clark, Head of Business Development at Fusion Building Systems, Paul Gott, Practical Team Leader at Atkins and Elaine Toogood, Senior Architect at Concrete Centre, among others. The sessions focused on concrete technologies and light steel frame technology. During the show, Steve Newell, General Manager at Portakabin summed up the appeal of Explore Offsite at Ecobuild, saying: “It’s one of the few events that really brings everybody together, the combination of different exhibition stands together with the talks that people are giving, sharing knowledge and information across the industry leads to a far more collaborative approach for the industry.” Speaking about the company’s time at the event, Stuart Devoil, Head of Marketing and Brand at MEDITE SMARTPLY, commented: “There’s been great footfall throughout the event, and we’ve been able to demo new, innovative products that visitors have been genuinely interested in and intrigued about. We’ve also noticed a big sustainability and low energy construction focus which is what Ecobuild is all about.”

In addition to Explore Offsite at Ecobuild, the Arena was home to the Ecobuild conference programme, and featured sessions from an array of high-profile speakers. In a dedicated panel debate, ‘Is the future of construction really offsite?’ Lucy Homer, Head of Design for Lendlease said the construction industry needs to tackle the ‘stigma’ surrounding prefabricated buildings if modular construction is to be embraced widely in the UK. Lynne Sullivan of the government’s Green Construction Board said modular housing could help to mitigate the growing skills gap by enticing ‘the brightest and best into construction’. She called for a national retrofit programme and a review of where training investment should be focused, saying: “Better build quality is absolutely key. At the moment with traditional construction there’s a lack of rigour and onsite inspection. When you go into mass production you have to iron out every minor little detail.” The Campus was Ecobuild’s destination feature for creative, disruptive thinking and product innovation. Here, visitors were able to explore Future Materials, a product showcase curated by ARCC Network, to preview next-generation materials and processes from leading academic researchers, and explore the Turner Prize winning Granby Workshop regeneration project by Assemble architectural collective.

3 Crowds gathered at The Gateway, where the focus was split across two separate theatres, one dedicated to civil infrastructure and planning, including how technology will revolutionise the way we design, deliver, operate and maintain infrastructure. The other focused on green infrastructure, where speakers including the Landscape Institute, Arup and AECOM delved into the issues around healthy places and why green infrastructure must be central to design. The show’s sustainability hub, City Hall, was home to the Ecobuild’s Lead Partner UK-GBC and hosted a range of seminars focused on sustainability, featuring a number of key speakers, including its Chief Executive Julie Hirigoyen and the World-GBC who announced their plans to launch ‘a





5 ‘Homes Wellbeing Lab’ in the UK. Meanwhile, the destination’s sponsor, Saint-Gobain, unveiled its UK Homes, Health and Wellbeing report. Visitors to the Performance Lab were offered a look into the latest in energy efficiency and building performance. Across the three days, Ecobuild’s Building Performance Partner, CIBSE, hosted daily sessions on indoor health and wellbeing, exploring how the WELL Standard relates to existing sustainability standards. CIBSE also unveiled its Green Infrastructure Design Challenge – a competition that aims to explore the use of green infrastructure as a building service.


Commenting on the success of the event, Martin Hurn, Managing Director of Ecobuild, said: “A lot has changed in the 14 years since Ecobuild began, so it’s important that we maintain a strong focus on updating and refreshing the agenda to meet the latest industry priorities, challenges and developments. From the feedback we’ve received so far, we’ve certainly succeeded in doing that this year. It was inspiring to see so many in-depth conversations about what’s next for sustainability in the built environment, conversations that I’m sure will continue to develop well into the future. “For 2018 we see the Explore Offsite area growing, alongside the addition of dedicated areas for Timber and Concrete. Our objective will be to bring more feature builds, increase content and introduce a dedicated ‘Meet the Buyers’ programme for offsite. I’d like to say a huge thank you to everybody who attended, exhibited, partnered and of course the extensive list of expert speakers.”


All heads are now turned to Ecobuild 2018 which will run 06-08 March 2018 at ExCeL London. For more information, please visit: Images: 01-02. The showhome on a truck from Polish pod company Diamond Module created huge interest 03-05. The Masterclass sessions saw industry experts pass on invaluable knowledge

For more information on exhibiting in March 2018, contact: Ellie Jenkins, Business Development Executive T: +44 (0)20 7560 4469 E:

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OFFSITE NEWS London Pop-up Housing the Homeless

Swan Housing Association Takes Keys to New Factory Swan Housing Association has announced they have officially taken the keys to their new factory in Basildon, as they anticipate the delivery of over 500 new homes and 40 new jobs for the Borough. The factory will produce high quality modular housing. Initially this will be for Beechwood in Basildon as part of Swan’s £100 million regeneration of the former 1960’s Craylands Estate which it is delivering in partnership with Basildon Borough Council and the Homes and Communities Agency. At full capacity the factory will be able to deliver over 300 homes a year. Using cross laminated timber (CLT), Swan will deliver high-quality, new homes under their newly created ‘NU build’ brand. Swan expects construction of the modular housing to launch in early summer with the first homes delivered to Beechwood in the Autumn. John Synnuck, Swan’s Chief Executive, said: “At Swan we understand that the desperate need for quality new homes. We believe that offsite construction methods will enable us to deliver these much needed homes quickly, designed to a high specification and with reduced impact on both local residents and the environment.”

The UK’s first pop-up village in south-east London is set to accommodate 24 formerly homeless families. It is helping tackle Britain’s housing crisis and hopefully serving as a blueprint for factory-made accommodation across the capital and other cities. The 96 residents of the brightly coloured Ladywell development in Lewisham previously lived in B&B or private rented accommodation. The two-bedroom homes are temporary and will stay in Ladywell for up to five years while Lewisham Council finalises its long-term plans for the area. They were designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP), which worked in partnership with the council, the construction company AECOM and SIG Offsite.

well insulated, costing about £500 a year in utility bills. There are shops, a cafe, a community cinema and co-working spaces for small local businesses on the ground floor.

Lewisham Council expects to find the residents permanent accommodation within 18 to 24 months and stresses that no one is going to be homeless when the project ends. RSHP believes its concept for high-quality accommodation, made in factories and designed to last for 60 years, could help achieve the government’s target of building 100,000 modular homes out of a planned 1 million homes over the course of this parliament.

Councils across the country are struggling to get people off their housing lists and into permanent accommodation, faced with rapidly rising property prices and rents and the loss of social housing through the right-to-buy scheme. Lewisham Council is drawing up plans with RSHP for more modular housing in the borough, which will be permanent and another project is at the design stage. The Ladywell scheme has attracted a lot of interest and the company hopes to build similar housing, either temporary or permanent, elsewhere in London and in other cities including Manchester.

Each flat in the £5 million Ladywell development consists of two units, transported and lifted into place by cranes. They can be taken apart and rebuilt elsewhere up to five times. Lewisham Council said each home cost £156,000 to build – about 20% cheaper than a typical council home and are built to last 60 years. The flats are bright, spacious – 77sq m above the London space standard of 75 sq m – and


Roger Harding, Director of Policy at the homelessness charity Shelter, said: “This scheme is a great way of helping homeless families get back on their feet and it’s really positive to see Lewisham Council looking for new ways to tackle the housing crisis. We would encourage other councils to look at this model as a cost-effective way of keeping homeless families in good-quality homes in their local borough, close to friends, family, schools and jobs.”

Geoff Pearce, Executive Director Development and Regeneration, also said: “Swan is truly committed to delivering innovation. Offsite construction is commonly used overseas and the homes are indistinguishable from ones that are built using more traditional methods. We already have our own in-house skilled construction team and so, as both the constructor and developer of the homes, we are perfectly placed to manage the process of building homes offsite efficiently and to the highest standards.” Cllr Phil Turner, Leader of Basildon Council added: “The development of this state-of-the-art factory is great news for the borough for so many reasons. Swan’s investment is creating dozens of jobs for our residents and will help ensure hundreds of high quality homes are built across Basildon borough. This factory demonstrates Swan’s long-term commitment to the borough and we look forward to continued partnership work in the future.” Bala Mahendran, Chief Executive, Basildon Council also said: “Swan’s decision to choose Basildon as the location for this facility is testament to the borough’s growing status as a prime location for growing businesses. Basildon Council is committed to facilitating economic growth in the area and this show of commitment from Swan is a sure sign that we are heading in the right direction. The council has built a successful and longstanding relationship of working with Swan as development partners, which I am sure will continue to thrive in the long term.”




OFFSITE NEWS Actavo Set for Major Growth London Borough of Hounslow has appointed Actavo Building Solutions, to manufacture and deliver a new, modular, early learning facility to care for children aged 2-3 years. This new early year’s provision is being established as part of the Council’s statutory duty to provide sufficient free early learning and childcare places for disadvantaged two-year-old children. The single-storey facility was manufactured and built in just 11 weeks. The new early year’s centre was completed at the end of December 2016. Comprising a large hall, quiet room, kitchen, bathroom, WCs and staff office, the early year’s facility was built to meet BREEAM Very Good. The exterior of Norwood Green’s new facility has been finished in a brick slip with a covered canopy area. Actavo has delivered a perimeter wall around the facility that will have an electronic gate to maximise safety. Additional facilities also include new bike and buggy stores, as well as a large, grasscrete car park. Matthew Goff, Director of UK operations at Actavo said: “Modular building methods are proving popular with educators as they wrestle with how best to accommodate pupil influxes. Using offsite

construction, projects like Norwood Green Early Years Provision can be completed to tight deadlines and on budget. Speed and versatility were essential to Norwood Green. They needed permanent space, fast with many modern innovations, which make it both energy-efficient and a delight to be in.” Actavo has ambitious plans to double the size of its business over the next three years after ramping up manufacturing at its new Yorkshire factory. Actavo, which is part of an international group with a £500m turnover and a UK head office in Wakefield, employs 64 people at a site in Beverley. Plans are already in motion to expand the factory with the purchase of a 322,917sq ft building. This would double the size

of its existing premises. Matthew Goff added: “It’s fantastic that we opened in May (2016) and here we are talking about how we can be more efficient and get more product through. We don’t want to say no to customers.” Goff plans to grow the business across the education and healthcare sectors as well as specialist areas including the petrochemical and student accommodation sectors. His ultimate ambition is for Actavo – currently the eighth largest offsite construction firm in the UK – to be number one. Source:

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OFFSITE NEWS Top-Performing Secondary School Goes Modular

SES Lands Edinburgh University Project

National engineering specialist SES Engineering Services has secured a £5 million mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) contract on Edinburgh University’s £25 million project to establish a worldleading Data Technology Institute. Working alongside main contractor McLaughlin and Harvey, SES will provide full M&E services including lighting, heating, ventilation and an underfloor services interface on the pioneering development designed to position Edinburgh as a global leader in data. The seven-storey 9,000sq m building, positioned at the heart of the University campus, will act as the hub supporting the development of data technologies, data intensive research and data analytics in education across Scotland and internationally. Foremans Relocatable Building Systems – a member of the Portakabin Group and the UK’s largest supplier of refurbished Portakabin buildings – has handed over a purpose-designed sixth form centre at Higham Lane School, Nuneaton, following completion of a £1.6 million contract. Higham Lane is one of the highest-performing state-funded secondary schools in Warwickshire and within the top 100 of all secondary schools in England. The sixth form centre has been constructed by Foremans using 52 recycled and refurbished Portakabin modules – a fast and highly sustainable building solution. The two-storey building was completed less than six months from receipt of order to be open in time for the school’s first intake of sixth form students. Cranage of the refurbished modular structure was timed for the school holidays to minimise any disruption to teaching. This is Foremans’ 11th school project with education construction consultants Surveyors to Education, who were the designers and contract administrators for the scheme. Commenting on the project, Ben Elliott, Director of Corporate Services at Higham Lane School said: “This building is an amazing start to our school year. The centre is both new and modern but in keeping with our existing facilities. Our staff and sixth formers are really delighted to be working and studying in such a high quality learning environment.


The Foremans pre-owned approach gave us significant benefits – it is very cost effective and the building looks brand new. It gave us more certainty to have the new sixth form up and running in time for the start of the new academic year because the majority of fitting out took place offsite.” Martin Hier, Director at Surveyors to Education added: “The school is both a statement building and it blends in well with the existing facilities. It is designed to meet the specific requirements of sixth form learning, which includes teaching spaces to accommodate smaller groups. We would definitely recommend recycled modular buildings to other schools and colleges. The approach is very sustainable because we are re-using an existing building structure – which is still in perfect condition, and at the same time we can reduce lead times and carbon emissions.

The win represents a major milestone for SES’ Scottish operation and is testament to the company’s reputation for delivering innovative, cost and time saving offsite manufacturing solutions to projects. On a confined university campus site, these initiatives delivered through BIM and its use of its Prism prefabrication facility will be critical. Colin Walker, Regional Director for Scotland at SES, said: “On a restricted site like this, the use of our offsite Prism facility to deliver ready-made service modules and risers will be critical. Any ‘live-site’ such as a bustling university campus presents its own challenges and we will be working closely with our project partners and the university to ensure logistical issues are resolved.

The Higham Lane sixth form centre accommodates up to 300 16-19 year-old students and has 17 seminar rooms, an art room, two science laboratories, and common room with café area. Some of the rooms have the flexibility to be divided into two separate rooms for smaller group learning. The building features large amounts of glazing for a high level of natural light, with brick cladding to complement adjacent facilities, and areas of bright red panelling to reflect the school’s colours.

“A key part of this is our ‘just in time’ approach to deliveries which ensures the site is kept as clear and safe as possible. Having already worked on similar projects across the UK, our expert teams have extensive experience in the education sector under their belt and this means we know exactly what Edinburgh University require from the outset. As the UK’s very first M&E contractor to achieve the BRE BIM Level 2 Certification – the standard required by Government to work on Whitehall-procured projects – we’re proud to be at the forefront of how data is changing the engineering industry. Helping to deliver a world-leading Data Technology Institute is a very exciting and fitting project for us.”




OFFSITE NEWS CSIC Prepares to Launch New Facility

The Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) is gearing up for a productive 2017 as it prepares to open the doors to its new innovation and collaboration facility to construction companies across Scotland. The Scottish construction sector employs 170,000 people – 10% of all Scottish jobs – across 31,000 businesses. The new CSIC premises at Hamilton International Technology Park in Lanarkshire will be open to any of those people and businesses to use and is designed to help them to innovate, collaborate and learn. Funded by CSIC, the Scottish Funding Council and Scottish Enterprise, the new industry-led facility will deliver 30,000sq ft of workshop space housing state-of-the-art construction and manufacturing equipment, complete with a five tonne overhead gantry crane for heavy lifting. The equipment which will be available to use at the new facility includes a cross laminated timber (CLT) production table capable of manufacturing 3 x 9m panels and glulam timber components using homegrown timber. There will also be an offsite closed panel ‘cell’ to assist Scottish offsite construction firms in developing higher performing multi-layer construction systems and for training a new generation of offsite operatives to deliver Scotland’s 50,000 new homes. This will work

alongside an industrial robotic ‘cell’ capable of a wide range of applications including concrete 3D printing. The refurbishment and fit-out of the new facility will be undertaken by principal contractor akp Scotland. The project will involve alterations and refurbishment to form new two-storey offices, alterations to the warehouse area, and services installations relating to the warehouse plant equipment and machinery. Completion is scheduled for spring 2017 and the facility will formally open its doors to industry in summer 2017. Stephen Good, Chief Executive of CSIC said: “We are really excited about the potential offered by this new innovation facility for industry. Our delivery team are extremely busy getting everything ready to launch this resource to industry in the summer. It will provide a dynamic environment, away from the conventional building site, where the Scottish construction industry can innovate, take risks, explore and learn, safe in the knowledge that the activity here is protected from the perceived risks of innovating on live construction sites. To find out more about gaining access to the new CSIC facilities email: Source:

Laing O’Rourke Look to Refresh DfMA Laing O’Rourke is in talks with blue-chip clients over long-term orders for projects from its advanced manufacturing facility in Steetley as equity partners also look to invest in a new plant at the East Midlands site. Speaking recently in an exclusive interview with Construction News, Ray O’Rourke revealed two parties were in talks to take an equity stake in a second facility at the contractor’s Explore Industrial Park – a project the company put on hold last year before it revealed a £245.6 million loss last December. Laing O’Rourke is attempting to persuade clients of its Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) 70:60:30 approach to construction, whereby 70% pre-assembly would reduce labour hours by 60% and produce a 30% saving on the programme time. O’Rourke said: “Having a strategy that requires extraordinarily fewer people in the field is a good strategy – everybody can see it but it just has to take effect. Some of our blue-chip clients absolutely want us to deliver DfMA 70:60:30.” In other developments Laing O’Rourke is in talks to sell its Bison factory in Scotland to concrete specialist FP McCann. In a joint statement, the companies said: “The Uddingston business is an attractive asset to an organisation such as FP McCann that wishes to grow its manufacturing business in Scotland, supplying a range of suitable products to the market. The offer from FP McCann will, we believe, allow for future investment and business growth at Uddingston.” Laing O’Rourke has said it would retain the 98-yearold Bison brand and that its facility at Swadlincote in Derbyshire was unaffected by the move to sell the Uddingston plant. Source:



OFFSITE NEWS Caledonian Secures Yorkshire Sports Complex

Caledonian have been appointed as full turnkey contractor on a £2.5 million project to deliver a new Sports Complex for Ashville College in Harrogate. The building benefits from an eye-catching external design and will be constructed to seamlessly link with the surrounding College campus. In addition to the offsite manufacture, delivery and installation of the new building, Caledonian are also providing a full turnkey service including demolition and groundworks.

An existing tower will be demolished and replaced with a new stair tower, and a second tower will be constructed to provide access to the new first floor. These independent sections will be clad in vertical timber cladding to contrast with the existing stonework. The first floor will sit in between the two stair towers, extending over a new main entrance, which will be faced in a striking red cladding. This will create additional accommodation in the form of a new staff office, enlarged gymnasium and two new dance studios.

Ashville College is an HMC independent day and boarding school for girls and boys aged 3-18 years, and the building has been designed to replace an existing sports complex that is used by both pupils and members of the public. With a requirement to site the new complex within a precise footprint between buildings, the accuracy of design and installation were key decisions in the College’s decision to choose offsite construction. The groundfloor comprises a new reception/waiting area, new changing areas, office, treatment room, accessible changing area and additional WCs.

Dean White, Bursar at Ashville College said: “The College has been planning the new sports centre for a couple of years and to finally start on the project is a really exciting time for us. We’re delighted to be working with Caledonian: this is a complex project for many reasons – location, timetable and also working in a live school environment – but Caledonian have given us the confidence they can manage and deliver just what we want.” Paul Lang, Caledonian CEO added: “We are delighted to be working with such a prestigious organisation and the Ashville project is another significant project for us, both in terms of complex offsite manufacture and our ability to deliver full turnkey projects.” Source:

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OFFSITE NEWS Ultra Sustainable Building for Redmoor Academy

Stama Homes Seeks More Offsite

Stama Homes has declared its intentions to play a big part in making offsite manufactured timber frame homes a core element of the UK’s bid to build a million homes by 2020. The Manchester business has launched its search for developer and investor partners with suitable sites. Property Alliance Group (PAG) is a joint venture partner in the Stama Group business, which is headed by Maros Kravec. Stama is currently working up plans for a £32 million scheme at the former police headquarters at Salford Crescent, including 117 apartments and 34 townhouses and has another £11 million scheme in the pipeline.

Redmoor Academy in Hinckley, Leicestershire hosted a grand opening for their new two-storey ultra-efficient Schoolhaus building which forms the academy’s Business and Enterprise Centre. The structural insulted panels (SIPS) and timber floor cassette structure comprises eight classrooms, a meeting space, toilets, offices and a study area for students. Built by UK Energy Partners and Net Zero Buildings, Schoolhaus is an appealing solution for schools with its funding options and minimal ongoing utilities and maintenance costs, in addition to the energy generation from Schoolhaus’ solar PV roof. It also includes a state-of-the-art Mechanical Ventilation and Heat Recovery (MVHR) unit, LED lights and occupancy and motion sensors controlling both lighting and heating – all powered by the building’s solar PV roof. Peter Johnston, Chief Executive Officer, UK Energy Partners said: “My highlight of the day was a presentation given by eight of the school’s students about why everyone should build net zero buildings – real advocates of carbon reduction! It was rewarding that much of the presentation stemmed from our factory visit these pupils undertook back in November and further demonstrated the benefit of that type of engagement.” Andrew Coombs, Redmoor Academy, Principal added: “I would like to thank UK Energy Partners and Net Zero Buildings who have been incredible to


us. We really appreciate the way they have worked with us, especially inviting our students to the factory and helping to get the building open on time. We are really pleased with the building. Students and staff have been blown away by our new facilities. When you compare this to our main school building you cannot compare the technology and reduced running costs. The quality is fantastic – as a teaching area I do not think you can better what we have here with our newbuild.” A Schoolhaus can be installed in 3-5 days onsite, which means that building can take place during term time rather than waiting for school holidays. Source: www.ukenergypartners.


Speaking to Place North West, Kravec said: “Offsite construction of housing is a well-known model in continental Europe, but the UK market tends to be traditional and conservative. I’m aware there are longheld negative feelings dating back to the post-World War Two prefabricated housing, but modern methods ensure comfortable, cost-effective and energyefficient living. While still relatively rare in the UK, it has been used in Europe for over 60 years, notably in Germany, Austria and Sweden. We’re actively looking to work with developers and have had some encouraging conversations.” Kravec said that the method is scalable for any site of ten units upwards and that unlike most recently built modular homes, can be delivered at a price point that brings secondary and tertiary locations into play. Since 2012, sister business Stama Developments has delivered four residential schemes in Greater Manchester with a combined value of £10 million. Kravec added: “Timber-framed homes using offsite construction is something that can work from affordable homes through to luxury homes, and potentially with commercial and industrial property too.” Source: stama-sets-out-stall-on-offsite-built-resi/

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OFFSITE NEWS Springfield Mobile Grow Broad Oak Primary

Springfield Mobile has just completed a £300,000 project for St Helens Council at Broad Oak Community Primary School. The new classrooms for years five and six were needed as the school’s intake has considerably increased over recent years. Alan Cartwright, Service Manager Assets and Buildings for St Helens Council said: “There were three main criteria we had for the tender – cost, minimising disruption to the school and a building that was future proofed and capable of being easily extended. Not only was Springfield the most competitive supplier who tendered, with the brick finish and sloping roof on the new classrooms it blends in perfectly with the existing site and in the words of staff there, they’ve given us the best classrooms in the school.” Springfield Mobile’s Managing Director Lyndsey Duggan added: “I think now across the educational sector it’s very hard to justify dedicated building onsite given we completed this inside 13 weeks from site preparation to handing over the keys. Offsite modular construction makes much more sense and it is great to be involved in projects where we get such good feedback and can provide something which adds so much value to our local community.” The double classroom extension and toilet block has been designed to allow further expansion at a later date and kept the school safe during the build cycle, connecting utilities and services right through to compliance with energy and safety standards such as providing child friendly door hinges and windows. Based in Sutton, St Helens, Springfield Mobile is privately owned and employs 35 staff and has over 40 years’ experience in designing, manufacturing and supplying portable buildings. The company has grown by 140% over the past five years and reached a turnover of £5.8 million in 2016.

Fusion21 Launches Education Modular Buildings Framework Fusion21 has announced the launch of its Education Modular Buildings Framework, offering a potential combined worth of £225 million over a four year period.

Designed specifically to help the education sector provide cost effective and sustainable learning environments, the new framework has four lots including: Lot 1: Hire of Modular Buildings – Temporary Accommodation; Lot 2: Modular Construction with a value of up to £750,000; Lot 3: Modular Construction with a value between £750,000 and £3 million; and Lot 4: Modular Construction worth £3 million and over. Multiple and single supply partners are being sought for appointment and various call-off options are available as a result of the lotting strategy in place – creating a range of benefits including: competitive tension, early supplier engagement, transparency of costs, integrated team working and collaborative working. The framework is now available on the mytenders web portal – – under Notice ID FEB138891.




Nick Verburg, Procurement and Supply Chain Manager at Fusion21, said: “This framework offers a flexible procurement solution to all education providers and local authorities who are under pressure to accommodate growing student numbers and require either permanent or temporary safe learning spaces. Fusion21 members accessing this framework – including local education authorities, academies, colleges and universities – will benefit from significant efficiency savings and social value, and will gain quality modular buildings which are compliant with all building regulations and present lower carbon emissions than traditional builds.” Applications are welcome from interested organisations that meet the criteria set out in the tender documentation. The submission deadline for the Education Modular Buildings Framework is Wednesday 5th April 2017 at 12 noon. Fusion21 provides procurement services and OJEU compliant frameworks to the education, blue light and social housing sectors in addition to working alongside NHS Trusts and local authorities. The firm – which specialises in the procurement of services for property, construction and the built environment – is committed to making a positive difference to its members and their communities and has delivered £147 million savings through the procurement process, created more than 3,700 jobs and generated £63 million of community impact. Source:

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Sweden and South Korea to Increase Global Scope of Modular Housing

New Draft Code for Modular Construction

PrefabAUS – the voice of the Australian offsite industry – Modular Construction Codes Board (MCCB) is developing a new code of practice for modular construction, which aims to remove misconceptions and pave the way for greater adoption of the technology. The draft code covers the key steps in Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA), including endof-life, and encompasses structure, building services, facades, durability, transport, erection, temporary site works, traceability of materials, compliance with codes and standards, inspection and documentation and disassembly and recycling among other topics. DfMA presents several opportunities for sustainable construction including waste minimisation and using factory acceptance testing and airtightness testing within the manufacturing setting, to ensure higher levels of quality and compliance. Swedish modular housing specialists Fleksihus has signed an agreement with South Korea-based S-One, which specialises in the production and installation of accommodation units. The parties have put in place a five-year renewable exclusive agreement to cover Europe, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Fleksihus Managing Director Martin Nilsson said: “We are delighted to have partnered with an experienced and innovative company such as S-One. The Fleksihus vision is to radically change the way the general public view housing by creating eco-friendly, sustainable and comfortable homes which are both affordable and stylish, whilst at the same time offering better value than traditional housing. We feel S-One is the ideal partner to help us realise our vision and we look forward to the journey we are about to embark on together. S-One share our commitment to environmental responsibility and sustainable development of the modular accommodation and housing industry, and we are looking forward to growing this new and exciting industry together along with S-One team.”


Chris Lee of S-One added: “S-One is excited to announce that signing of our strategic agreement with Fleksihus AB. We firmly believe that together, with the Fleksihus team’s expertise and broad vision, we will take the modular housing industry to the next level globally.” The S-One agreement comes on the back of Fleksihus agreeing two major development projects in Sweden based upon their premium Fleklusiv Design product. Also, the Fleksihus management team revealed that advanced discussions are taking place for in pursuit of similar development projects for their mid-range Fleksmart Living and economy Fleksafe Build products. Source:


The development of the code has been supported by Engineers Australia, the Australian Steel Institute and the Victorian Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources. Work on the draft code was initiated by James Murray-Parkes, Head of the Engineering Innovations Group at Multiplex and Professor of Practice in the engineering faculty at Monash University. Key contributors also include associate professor Yu Bai at Monash University and other MCCB founding members from industry as well as Angus McFarlane, Structural Engineering Lead at the Engineering Excellence Group at Laing O’Rourke; George Konstandakos, General Manager of timber building systems and former Chief Executive of Hickory Building Systems, Brendon McNiven, Principal in Arup’s building design team and Dr Ben Forbes from Monash’s Civil Engineering faculty. The draft model code of practice is scheduled to be released for industry comment early in the first half of 2017. Source:

INTERNATIONAL NEWS UAE KEF Holdings Set for Mega-Growth KEF Holdings, the UAE-based multi-national group that specialises in offsite manufacturing technology has announced an annual revenue of INR 450 crore (£53 million) for the year 2016 and added that it plans to raise this to INR 1,730 crore (£204 million) through 2017. The company made the announcement at an exclusive media briefing at its UAE offices, which serves as the headquarters for KEF’s operations that span the UAE, India and Singapore. KEF Holdings’ subsidiary, KEF Infra, marked the official launch of its flagship facility – the KEF Infra One Industrial Park, mooted to be the world’s largest and first-of- its-kind fully integrated offsite manufacturing park – in Krishnagiri, Tamil Nadu in India in December 2016. Developed over a twoyear period since 2014, the new facility is already catering to a growing pipeline of projects. Speaking to the media, Faizal E Kottikollon, Founder and Chairman of KEF Holdings, said: “We are attempting to completely revolutionise the approach to infrastructure development through end-toend offsite manufacturing. KEF Infra One has the capabilities to solve some of the most pressing

developmental needs in markets such as India, the Middle East and Africa, where there is not enough essential infrastructure, such as affordable housing, hospitals and schools, to meet the growing demand. Our proposition is to ‘fast forward’ these markets through an innovative building solution that not only guarantees up to 50% time savings, but significant cost savings as well.

gone into realising KEF Infra, which employs a team of over 1,000 people, including specialists from around the world. Our robust performance also shows that we are gaining the trust and interest of several leading companies that share our vision of sustainable and inclusive development. We hope to grow this vision, and become a billion-dollar revenue company by 2020.”

“Today, KEF Holdings is just over two years old, but we are aiming to surpass the INR 1,000 crore-mark in revenues. This is a result of the hard work that has


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1 The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) is tasked with helping create successful communities by making more homes and business premises available to the residents and businesses who need them. Sir Edward Lister, Chairman of the HCA outlines why offsite could play a major role in improving delivery.



I have been talking a lot recently about modern methods of construction. I believe expanding offsite manufacturing and other advanced construction technologies is essential if we are to address this country’s housing shortage. As the Government’s recentlypublished Housing White Paper set out, we have got to build more homes and build them faster. Since the downturn, construction rates have steadily climbed to around 190,000 homes a year but continuing to rely on volume housebuilders and housing associations won’t give us the sustainable growth in supply we need over the long term, through ‘thick and thin’. We must innovate and my organisation, the Homes and Communities Agency, intends to lead the way in partnership with industry.


GET INVOLVED WITH A HCA LOAN NOW Applying for a loan from the HCA couldn’t be easier – simply visit:

2 We are already actively supporting the use of offsite construction for both social homes and private sale and we want to encourage any construction innovation that speeds up the delivery of new homes, diversifies the supply chain or improves value for money. The Housing White Paper confirmed that the Government is particularly keen to develop capacity for advanced housing manufacture, whether through offsite factories or dedicated onsite facilities. We will support the whole range of techniques, from structural insulated panels (SIPS) through to volumetric components. We are discussing plans for new factories with a number of developers and we will consider taking a direct stake in factories or provide loans for others to build and manage them. We will also put our own land forward for modular construction factories and we have already identified one site on which a factory will be built. In his statement to the House of Commons announcing the Housing White Paper, Secretary of State Sajid Javid said that: “we will make it easier for small and medium-sized builders to compete.” This is crucial because currently about 60% of homes are produced by just 10 builders. So we are also encouraging and supporting SME developers to use modern methods of construction to increase supply and speed up the time it takes to complete a home as well as encouraging new players to enter the industry. Our £3 billion Home Building Fund – which launched in October 2016 – is available to developers that want to use offsite manufacture and we have already had more than 40 enquiries from companies in the sector. We completed the first

deal in February with Skye Homes, a start-up company that is building a five-home development in the North West that will use SIPS provided by Neatwood Construction, another SME based in the Midlands. This is a small site being developed by an SME developer, showing that you can profitably undertake small-scale offsite manufacture and we will actively support small businesses that want to do this with the loan finance they need.

Modern methods of construction aren’t new – as the NHBC Foundation research (see box out) has shown – three quarters of new homes in Scotland use these so it is high time that in England we caught up since we are only using it for 15% of our new homes. The HCA is here to help and we are looking to everyone in the housing sector to take up this challenge and ensure that we build the homes people need.


Answer five questions and we will get in touch – no complicated forms or long documents to read, but real people to talk to. You just need to have a site which can deliver five homes and we would like to talk to you about the funding we can provide for new homes whether built traditionally or using offsite methods.

NHBC & OFFSITE CONSTRUCTION NHBC Foundation published its findings into offsite manufacture in the report: Modern methods of construction (MMC): views from the industry. It reported: • 98% of large and medium-sized housebuilders and housing associations have used or considered at least one form of MMC in the last three years. • The most widely-adopted form of MMC is sub-assemblies and components which include items such as doorsets, timber I-beams, prefabricated chimneys and prefabricated dormers with two-thirds having used them for at least one home during 2015. • The second most popular form of MMC is panelised systems (e.g. timber and steel frame). • Used by 42% of respondents during 2015 for at least one home. • Timber frame accounted for 15% of all NHBC registrations for 2015 in England • In Scotland, where timber frame is used for three-quarters of new homes, it is not regarded as a modern method of construction • Only limited use is being made of volumetric construction (large modules fully fitted out onsite) and pods (room-sized modules normally bathrooms or kitchens) with 6% and 7% of organisations having used these methods respectively one or more times in 2015. To download a copy of the report visit:

Images: 01. Sir Edward Lister, Chairman of the HCA 02. Gavin Barwell (third left) visiting offsite manufactured homes at Naylorsfield Drive, Belle Vale, Liverpool 03. HCA funded LMH Homes at Naylorsfield Drive, Belle Vale Liverpool





On the day that the Housing White Paper was launched, the BBC reported from the SIG Offsite manufacturing facility in Derbyshire, where they took a tour around the manufactured Urban Splash modules and gained insight into the process behind the hugely successful hoUSe project. Managing Director, Stephen Wightman, explains the rationale behind the creation of SIG Offsite. SIG Offsite has been created to address the current shortfall of onsite workers, lack of available housing and the demands to futureproof residential stock. We welcome the Government’s commitment to support the offsite sector, as outlined in the Housing White Paper and the recognition of the key role it has to play in meeting housing demand. We have taken the fundamental tried and tested principles of construction and put them into a controlled factory environment that allows us to build, deliver and install a house for example – in a total of 28 days. This means that in only a matter of months we could finish a street full of new houses, a block of apartments or with our other technology solutions much needed education facilities. In less than two years of investment we are


now a leader in the development and application of pre-engineered offsite manufactured solutions and structural modules. Our range of technologies allows us to offer solutions for new and extension schemes, create complex commercial fit outs and provide innovative solutions that meet the precise demands of the end user. The SIG Offsite range can be fully customised, allowing developers to take an incremental approach to offsite, which could include the development and application of a pre-engineered collection of offsite components, such as bathroom pods or utility cupboards, through to panelised solutions and entire modular buildings.


Incorporating our systems into the build process means contractors have components delivered to site ready for direct installation. Working in this way dramatically reduces the time taken onsite, as components merely need to be ‘installed’ rather than built, improves programme certainty and fundamentally reduces health and safety issues. In the case of whole houses, this can mean entire properties being manufactured under factorycontrolled conditions and being delivered to site ready for installation and finishing – significantly removing several steps found in the ‘traditional’ build process.


INTERESTED AND WANT TO LEARN MORE? If you would like to learn more about the manufacturing process behind the hoUSe modules, SIG Offsite will be opening its factory doors to architects, contractors, developers and clients on the 4 May 2017.


For more information, and to book your free place, please visit:


3 Helping to Create Tomorrow We can work alongside architects and designers to create design concepts and produce virtual reality outputs and 3D BIM models, so each element of a newbuild residential or commercial development can be configured differently, both internally and externally. In addition to this we can assist with programme scheduling and project time lines. Offsite construction in its simplest form can be the prefabrication of just two or three components. We not only build the component offsite, we ensure all the necessary fixtures and fittings are installed such as the wiring, insulation and wall and floor cassettes. In addition, our prefabricated components are manufactured to specification and are suitable for a multitude of sectors.

4 The time is right for the construction industry to embrace innovative offsite manufacturing techniques to develop better buildings at a rapid rate to meet Government targets and produce energy efficient buildings across all sectors – which is of particular importance to public sector and social housing projects. Under the banner of ‘Fixing our Broken Housing Market’ the Government’s White Paper looks to offsite manufacturing as a catalyst for change and we firmly believe offsite modular construction will revolutionise the UK’s attitudes to housing developments. For more information visit: Email:


Quick project turnaround Projects are delivered on budget Quality control is increased Health and safety is greatly improved onsite Site and weather conditions have less of an impact on the project Efficiently insulated buildings to reduce on-going energy costs Faster financial return on investment Improved dimensional accuracy and finishes Meets and often exceeds all current Building Regulations

Images: 01. The hoUSe concept has grabbed headlines everywhere and is a blueprint for future housing delivery. Courtesy Urban Splash 02. SIG Offsite manufacturing facility 03. PLACE/Ladywell working with Lewisham Council and Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners 04. Y:Cube in Mitcham, Surrey which was built for the YMCA





It may not feel like it but procurement specialist LHC has been around for 50 years – stretching all the way back to include 1966 – the last year the UK managed to build 300,000 plus homes.

LHC is leading the way in connecting public sector to the world of offsite construction. Gary Ramsay spoke to Director John Skivington about exciting times ahead for the organisation and why offsite manufacture is high on its list of priorities.

For those unfamiliar with what LHC does, the organisation delivers a ‘simple core service’ that brings buyers and suppliers closer together to streamline the delivery of refurbished and hew housing. “We are a not-forprofit, public procurement consortium that helps local authorities, housing associations and registered social landlords with their procurement activity,” says John. “Our overall aim has always been to improve the quality of housing but our mission today is also to work with our clients to help them procure more efficiently and our procurement frameworks have been designed to streamline the process.” The frameworks develop a best practice specification that allows local authorities and housing associations to access better products and suppliers across the entire construction supply chain. “We establish contracts – or the frameworks – on aggregated demand,” says John. “That large collaborative, volume demand enables us to identify the best solutions and specifications for our clients, so that they can access contractors directly without having to go through the whole exercise themselves.” LHC’s NH1 framework came out in 2014 and is specifically for newbuild offsite housing. After being involved for many years in refurbishment and improving existing housing stock, LHC are working with clients starting to think about increasing their own housing supply. “That’s what lead us to develop the NH1 framework,” adds John. “Local authorities, councils and housing associations all recognised they needed to build more themselves. It was very clear. So we were asked to put together a specific offsite framework so they could access a range of factory-made solutions.”

1 28


Offsite has never seemed so popular. The Government’s housing white paper – Fixing our Broken Housing Market – was published in February, essentially outlining how the Government hopes to solve a problem that has been generations in the making. It was hugely encouraging to see that offsite construction and factory controlled manufacture were

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LHC JOHN SKIVINGTON flagged up as core to solving the housing crisis. Has the time arrived for offsite manufacture to prove what it can do on a grand scale? “I thought the white paper had lots of positive messages,” says John “Offsite is being recognised as an important part of the answer to the UK’s housing problems and the concept of ‘accelerating construction’ that the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) are driving is essential. One big positive from the white paper is that the Government has recognised that speed of delivery is critical and that the building industry really needs to modernise. Offsite methods are a huge contributor to that.” With Government targets of 250,000 new homes a year required to meet demographic demands, these numbers have to be achieved otherwise the housing crisis will continue ad infinitum. “That number is totally demand-driven,” says John. “There are lots of things that need to be done at the same time to achieve those numbers. We can’t solely rely on the major housebuilders to deliver bigger housing numbers. They just can’t build all the homes required. So it is not just about offsite construction or engaging more SMEs or improving the planning system. These all need to happen together at the same time. The housebuilding industry needs to tackle these collectively to modernise the ways things are delivered. It’s a big ask but I think it can be done.” Offsite is often burdened by failures of the past – the stigma of post WW2 temporary ‘prefabs’ seems to still linger for many, but advanced 21st Century offsite manufacture and its many technological advances are here to stay. Do they still persist in public sector circles? “We are way beyond that kind of poor prefabrication and poor quality,” says John. “Councils and local authorities are needing to rethink offsite totally and how it has transformed into advanced manufacturing. Those are the terms we need to start using. We do have a job to do with speaking to councils about the ‘modern’ aspect of offsite and the added qualities it delivers.” Encouraging news for the future is that local authorities and housing associations are approaching LHC more and more wanting to know about offsite manufacture. Here LHC plays an influential educational role. 30

“Clients come to us saying they need to increase housing supply and one of the ways they want to do it is by using offsite but need to understand it more,” says John. “We feel it is our duty to promote the use of offsite generally throughout the whole industry and explain the key values and drivers to better building performance. Our big message is that it’s not just about speeding up the process of housebuilding but it’s also about high quality. Not all local authorities or housing associations are totally tuned into what offsite does. There are some fantastic advocates and champions of offsite peppered around the industry. Scotland of course is a very well developed in understanding panelised timber frame and historically recognises what factory-controlled manufacture can do. So we have to use that network of champions to drive the industry forward and use their experience.” With the housing market seemingly ready – and desperately in need – of offsite methods, LHC is working with BRE to create an Offsite Housing Innovation Centre within the familiar surroundings of the BRE Innovation Park. This will assist with promoting offsite construction and focus exclusively on educating and demonstrating the benefits of offsite to the public sector and hopefully fill some of the gaps in knowledge about how offsite systems, materials and various product suppliers can help. “We want people to really understand what offsite offers,” adds John. “The Innovation Centre is part of our wider promotion of offsite. BRE have a history of supporting offsite so we are working with them on a facility to demonstrate and walk people through the offsite process – a story board – the plan is to build on BRE’s experience and use LHC’s expertise to set up a focal point to learn about offsite. It’s important for us to explain the differences between offsite and ‘traditional’ onsite construction and the implications for the whole housebuilding process – whether it be the identification of land, planning, property design or maintenance schedules – there is a big story to tell. “It is critical for us to impress on our clients that they need to understand the offsite process. If a local authority is trying to drop a modular system into a traditional design and build template



3 it is going to potentially fail, so our view is to educate as much as we can. One problem to overcome is that housebuilding today is often down to the experience and quality of the site managers, who are brilliant at building homes from 20,000 parts over nine months site time, but when those same site managers are faced with installing an offsite system it can be a problem. So that is where we are with the Innovation Centre. Our ultimate aim is to illustrate the best use of offsite as an end-to-end process.” As LHC heads into 2017 and beyond, they are busier than ever. With a national focus on offsite manufacture, the plan is to make sure every social landlord in the UK has knowledge about offsite and to broaden minds when it comes to housebuilding. “Long term we feel that more housebuilding will come prefabricated – there is no doubt about that,” says John. “But it is important that we get more SMEs involved in the housebuilding process. Public sector in particular has many small urban sites – up to 10 units – that are ripe for development and offer a great opportunity for modular construction. In 2017 we have to ensure that we have a procurement vehicle that encourages SMEs to engage with the housing marketplace. Improving supply is critical.” For more information on the work of LHC visit: Images: 01-03. Local authorities and all social landlords can benefit from the advanced manufacturing techniques of offsite construction

New Homes don’t just pop out of nowhere...

Or do they? At LHC, we’re firm believers in keeping our clients ahead of the curve. That’s why our team of technical experts have spent the last year developing the UK’s first procurement framework for off-site construction, exclusively for social landlords. Our framework is focused on delivering new homes through either panelised systems (single panels erected on site) or volumetric systems (three dimensional units delivered to site). Both methods are environmentally friendly and offer efficiency as well as financial savings over traditional build methods.

For more information, call our experts on:

01895 274 850 or visit LHC is a leading provider of free-to-use framework agreements used by local authorities, social landlords and other public sector bodies to procure works, products and services for the construction, refurbishment and maintenance of social housing and public buildings



Late 2016 saw the CBI add its voice to the groundswell of opinion on the reasons the construction industry needs to change the way it works – especially when it comes to housebuilding. In its report ‘No Place Like Home’ the UK’s largest business group advocated an ambitious new way of thinking – matched with action – to tailor the types of houses that are built and the way they are delivered to the needs and aspirations of those who will live in them. If the UK is to meet the Government’s ambitions to build one million new homes by 2020 not only do we need to think differently but importantly build differently. “Delivering new homes at a much greater scale will require a new way of thinking, both in terms of the types of homes we deliver, and how we deliver them,” says Josh Hardie, CBI Deputy Director-General. “Britain is a diverse nation, and we need to make sure we are building a range of different homes in the right places to suit different people’s needs and aspirations and creating vibrant new communities not simply new units. Equally, we must encourage a diverse range of players and new entrants into the market in order to enhance building capacity, underpinned by greater innovation – already evident, for example, in areas like offsite manufacturing – which will be crucial in boosting supply.” To ensure the UK’s housing challenge is adequately met, the CBI wants to see: • A strategic housing plan from the Department for Communities and Local Government, with the forthcoming white paper on housing being integrated and joined up across Whitehall and beyond • Government help for small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) housebuilders through improved release of small sites of public land and making access to finance easier by rolling out its Home Building Fund • Recognising the importance of and improving the attractiveness of the Private Rented Sector. 32

“Solving the UK’s housing shortage has long been a tough nut to crack,” adds Josh Hardie. “For Britain’s businesses, it is far from something confined to the news columns. It’s a problem the impacts of which are seen every day, from high prices barring people moving home and deterring them from applying or staying in a job, to the dent it puts in productivity. A flexible approach, underpinned by government working with business, will enable us to deliver the homes we sorely need, and which will drive productivity, boost growth and increase prosperity in every corner of the country.” Other recommendations in the report include: • Government should give greater flexibility to Housing Associations and increase capital spending on affordable housing • The National Infrastructure Commission include housing as a strand within its forthcoming National Infrastructure Assessment • Exploring the value of broadening the category of new homes that can be built on brownfield sites within the Green Belt • Joint collaboration between new players in the market – from hedge funds to construction contractors – and established industry experts, as well as further support for innovation in the sector, such as offsite manufacturing. The report proposes maintaining the momentum in tackling ‘systemic barriers to delivery’ and the importance of scaling up delivery of new homes and improving the availability of plots to develop on. One way mooted is to increase the pipeline of land released from unused public sector land to developers – an action which has the support of the Government, following its commitment to sell land for more than 160,000 homes by 2020 – something that the


National Audit Office revealed in the first ten months of the government’s programme amounted to only 5-8% of this target – however the Accelerated Construction initiative could improve this. In highlighting offsite manufacture as a key component of the Government’s quest to provide a new generation of housing, Legal & General Homes are highlighted. Last year, Legal & General invested heavily to deliver precisionengineered homes more cheaply and quickly through its huge modular homes construction factory in Selby. The modular cross laminated timber (CLT) units are set to provide a range of homes and living spaces from family homes to student accommodation. “The political will to take action is there, says Josh Hardie. “So with our aspiration clear, what we now need is a plan to achieve it. If we are going to more than double the number of homes built each year, we need a step-change – not just in delivery, but in mind-set. Business as usual isn’t an option.”

For more information and to download a copy of the report, No Place Like Home: Delivering New Homes for a More Prosperous Britain visit: File/2016-Housing-Report(1).pdf

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The Government’s White Paper – Fixing our Broken Housing Market – was published recently promising ‘radical, lasting reform’ on the ways homes are delivered. These reforms are set to include offsite construction and the use of more reliable and faster building methods.

1 On launching the White Paper, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid told the House of Commons. “Our housing market is broken. The symptoms of this broken market are being felt by real people in every community. It’s one of the biggest barriers to social progress this country faces. But its root cause is simple. For far too long, we have not built enough houses. To meet demand, we have to deliver between 225,000 and 275,000 homes every year. In short, we have to build more of the right houses in the right places. And we have to start right now.” Essentially the White Paper outlines how the Government hopes to ease housing delivery problems that have been systemically bad for decades. It intends to resolve the housing crisis through a series of measures including releasing more land, easing planning


2 pressures and increasing productivity levels and types of housing being built. Every local area will need to produce a realistic housing plan and review it at least every five years. Currently 40% of local planning authorities do not have an up-to-date plan that meets the projected growth in households in their area. Fixing this will help make sure enough land is released for new homes to be built in the parts of the country where people want to live and work and ensure developments take heed of local people’s wishes, while continuing with maximum protections for the green belt. Many of the construction ‘radical reforms’ rest in the wider adoption of offsite manufacturing techniques. “The housebuilding industry is less productive than the wider economy,” the Paper states. “Partly because it


has been slow to modernise and make use of more efficient and faster ways of building. By increasing innovation and making greater use of modern methods of construction, we can change this. Industry reports suggest homes constructed offsite can be built up to 30% more quickly than traditional methods and with a potential 25% reduction in costs. They are high quality, reliable, more productive and can be highly energy efficient. They can require fewer people onsite, helping to mitigate the skills shortage. Some firms are increasing their use of these methods, but we need to go further.” The Paper acknowledges the huge potential that the offsite industry has to offer and expects the industry to raise its game and do far more.

HOUSING “The industry has the potential to expand significantly,” the White Paper says. “But a lack of demand from housebuilders means that large firms tend to focus on manufacturing hotels, student accommodation and schools. Firms have told us that the most significant barrier to growth is the lack of a pipeline. A forward view of future orders and more information about the land available for development would allow them to secure investment to scale up production. International evidence suggests that as production increases the cost per unit falls. Scaling up production would allow industry to explore and deliver efficiencies, driving down costs. In turn this will encourage more builders to use these methods as it becomes economically sensible for them to do so. “To underpin the growth of this sector we must ensure that homes built offsite can access finance on the same basis as traditionally built homes. The Buildoffsite Property Assurance Scheme, which provides assurance to lenders on methods of construction, has existed for some time but there is limited take-up among lenders partly because of a lack of data to support them in making decisions.” The Government are proposing they will stimulate growth through their Accelerated Construction programme and the Home Builders’ Fund (see page 24 of this issue for more on this). The fund will help to build more than 25,000 new homes this Parliament and up to 225,000 in the longer term by providing loans for SME builders, custom builders, offsite construction and essential infrastructure, creating thousands of new jobs in the process. This will hopefully create new opportunities for the use of offsite and encourage investors into the housing market.

With the Government’s endorsement of offsite methods – particularly modular units – prefabrication and factorycontrolled manufacture is seemingly perfectly placed to rival and surpass ‘traditional’ building techniques that are in many ways slowing the delivery of the desperately needed levels of homes required to meet the UK’s shifting national demographics.

INDUSTRY VOX POPS “Today’s housing White Paper includes many of the recommendations that I set out in my review into the construction industry. From a capacity building perspective there is a welcome recognition of the challenge of transforming skills development and training as well as strong support for modern, more efficient construction techniques. On a broader front, the central measures to better diversify tenure, especially through affordable housing and build to rent will drive a more resilient a cyclical demand profile for the construction industry which in turn will enable longer term thinking and investment in higher productivity capacity building. It is critically important in my opinion that government has not only looked at increasing supply but is considering the physical means by which that will be delivered ensuring high quality construction.” Mark Farmer, CEO of Cast and author of the Farmer Review

“A quiet revolution is needed to shake up how business and the Government deliver the UK’s housing needs, so this White Paper is a welcome step in the right direction. The intention to deliver a diverse mix of homes – especially affordable homes to rent – is particularly good news. We have called for the “one size fits all” approach to housing to be ditched, and are glad to see a move to building the right homes in the right places that fit the actual needs of people and communities. It’s encouraging the Government is looking at how to make it easier for small and medium-sized businesses to succeed in the market.” Rhian Kelly, CBI Infrastructure Director

“Modular construction has huge potential to help deliver thousands of new homes more quickly. The White Paper emphasises the need to create capacity and we believe that offering stability and certainty to our industry is crucial offsite manufacturing is to become a viable solution. Government support for modular construction must be comprehensive and shouldn’t focus simply on capacity. If modular is to be rolled out across the UK, initiatives need to focus on boosting capacity, while also maintaining a steady rate of demand. The quality of design and materials makes modular housing a viable alternative to traditional construction.” Kieran White, Managing Director, Vision Modular Systems

“However you cut it, we don’t have enough homes in the UK. The causes are complex, so it is good to see a White Paper which recognises this, but we look forward to receiving more detail in the coming weeks and months. It is encouraging to see the Government pledge support in the White Paper for offsite construction. A cross-party approach is needed to practically deliver this. It’s time to turn plans into action. We will continue to work closely with government to help provide more UK homes and ‘fix’ the broken housing market.” Paul Broadhead, Head of Mortgage Policy at the Building Societies Association

“We welcome the government’s commitment to act as a catalyst for change in the wider housing market, through supporting offsite manufacturing techniques. Offsite manufactured structural timber systems have advanced greatly in recent years and can offer housebuilders cost, programme and performance assurances. Shortages in other traditional construction materials will continue to encourage larger builders and specifiers to look to alternatives. Innovation in the structural timber product range has broadened the appeal – the industry is no longer defined simply by the supply of timber frame kits and panelised solutions.” Andrew Carpenter, Chief Executive of the Structural Timber Association

“We welcome this Government’s ambition to tackle our broken housing market. However, what the nation needs now is unwavering political will and courage to see this through. The public backs building more homes — it is time to get on with the job. Land remains a critical barrier; we know that brownfield land alone is not enough. Measures to boost the scale and speed of supply — through planning mechanisms, tougher local targets and relaxed tenure restrictions — are all extremely positive steps towards ending the housing crisis.” David Orr, Chief Executive at the National Housing Federation For more information and to download a copy of the White Paper visit: Images: 01. The White Paper ‘Fixing our Broken Housing Market’ 02. Offsite construction is set play a critical role in housing delivery. Courtesy Portakabin




HELPING MAKE THE CAPITAL AFFORDABLE On behalf of the London Assembly Planning Committee, Nicky Gavron AM, is investigating the role offsite housing can play in achieving the new Mayor of London’s objectives for housing in London.

1 The UK’s housebuilding industry is not meeting current demand and hasn’t been for some time. Every week there is a different news story on the lack of housing and the subsequent problems of affordability. The gap between supply and demand is not a new problem, nor is it just a London problem, but something that affects the whole of the UK. Since 1980 the number of new homes built has fallen by 40%. Offsite housing is increasingly being seen as a way to meet the country’s growing need for homes, while the sector is in crisis. These are not the boxy ‘prefabs’ of the post-war period, or the system building that followed them. At their best, these are precision engineered, ultraenergy efficient and cost effective. 36

Despite the growing support and positives of offsite housing, the sector still appears to be underdeveloped compared to traditional construction. The UK construction industry seems to be lagging behind our European neighbours. In 2015, 20% of new homes in Germany were built using offsite construction. The Farmer Review – published last year and aptly sub-titled ‘Modernise or Die’ – highlighted several issues with the UK’s housebuilding industry. As the title suggests, lack of innovation has held the industry back and many are still reliant on traditional construction methods. The industry is unable to deliver the number of homes needed today, let alone meet the government target of one million new homes by 2020.


The sector also has a shrinking and ageing labour force. Poor levels of labour retention coupled with younger generations not seeing construction as an attractive career choice mean there is a growing construction labour force deficit in the UK. This labour gap has been filled by workers from the European Union. In July 2016, Tony Pidgley, Chairman of the Berkeley Group, told the London Assembly Planning Committee that this can be up to 60% of a large developer’s total workforce. Since the vote to leave the EU last June and the growing prospect of a hard Brexit, many in the industry have raised questions about how they would be able to continue building homes if they could no longer access this pool of labour. According to the Farmer Review, if this labour is not replaced, delivery could reduce by 100,000 – 150,000 homes a year in the medium to long term. The ramifications of the increasing gap between housing supply and demand are most acute in London. Average house prices have soared to £473,073 in Q4 in 2016. This pressure on supply also affects the private rented sector. The average monthly cost of a one-bedroom property in London is £1,133, meaning that many renters are paying over 50% of their income on rent. Buying, and even renting, a home without financial support seems to be increasingly out of reach for many in the capital.



3 The growing gap between supply and demand and the increasing unaffordability of housing in London has prompted my review into the potential of offsite housing as a way to ease the housing crisis in London, and across the UK. The speed of delivery and potential lower costs of homes built using offsite construction, as well as the reduced need for skilled labour, make this form of construction very attractive for the capital. Offsite housing comes in many forms, each of which boast specific positives and is suitable for many different types of housing site. I am particularly pleased that Sadiq Khan, the new Mayor of London, has a vision of a modern sustainable city where people of all backgrounds and income can live: a city of greater density which protects green space and the Green Belt by developing more brownfield land and smaller infill sites. These types of sites appear to be very well suited to offsite construction,

be it a moveable structure temporarily situated on a stalled site, as seen at PLACE/Ladywell in Lewisham, or making previously unviable and heavily constrained sites work – as seen at Bacton Low Rise in Camden. I have been keen to push offsite housing further up the agenda for some time and I sense that the new Mayor of London and central government are moving in the same direction. The publication of the Housing White Paper earlier this year and the Mayor’s new Innovation Fund encourage productivity and innovation in the sector through the use of offsite construction methods. There is also opportunity to influence through the London Plan review. The draft London Plan is due to be published in autumn 2017. The investigation being undertaken by the London Assembly’s Planning Committee is ongoing and is looking to understand the factors that have prevented – and are still preventing – the adoption of this type of housing

more readily, alongside the role the Mayor can play in removing these barriers, and accelerating the use of offsite housing for London’s new homes. I have received written responses from across the sector, from offsite manufacturers, local authorities and architects, to insurance providers. I have also visited best practice from around London and I am currently meeting with a range of experts to really understand what I – and the Mayor – can do to ensure modern offsite housing finally delivers on its potential. For more information visit: Images: 01. Nicky Gavron AM 02. Bacton Low Rise in Camden. Courtesy Camden Council 03. PLACE/Ladywell in Lewisham. Courtesy RSH+P





Paul Cooper, Managing Director of, illustrates why warranty type approval for offsite manufactured systems can leave many in an awkward spot and seeking specialist advice.

1 As a system manufacturer most of you will know that there is a requirement for a 10-year latent defects warranty to satisfy developers, development funders and mortgage lenders. But how can you reassure them in advance of the scheme being built? Warranty providers don’t issue 10year warranties until after practical completion and your client’s funding is unlikely be put in place without confirmation of warranty cover in advance. It’s a classic ‘Catch 22’! Swedish manufacturer Trivselhus had similar concerns for their tried and tested closed timber panel Climate ShieldTM system. Trivselhus have been carefully negotiating the complex and piecemeal process for getting warranties in place for each of their UK builds for over 20 years. The traditional process involves the warranty company’s surveyors inspecting the works during construction and – if everything is satisfactory – issuing the policy at completion. This just wouldn’t work for Trivselhus. The traditional process for the provision of a 10-year new home warranty, where the warranty company surveyors inspect the works during construction and assuming all is okay issue the warranty policy at completion, would not work. The difference with offsite manufactured systems is the uncertainty as to 38

2 whether the system will gain the approval of the warranty provider and therefore whether the 10-year warranty policy will be issued at practical completion. This uncertainty has historically been too big a risk for some developers and for many lenders and funders to accept. A simple but effective solution was delivered through We are one of the new home warranty providers and has developed and operates the only ‘Warranty Type Approval’ scheme for offsite manufactured systems. Once a system achieves Type Approval a certificate is issued which confirms that all units leaving the factory having been constructed in accordance with the system approval and will be automatically eligible for a Checkmate 10-year latent defects warranty. Checkmate worked with Trivselhus to conduct a highly detailed and bespoke assessment of all aspects of their Climate ShieldTM system from design and engineering through material procurement and manufacturing to final site delivery, erection and commissioning. Checkmate’s factory audit team spent three days in Sweden at the manufacturing facility as part of the Type Approval process. Checkmate granted Trivselhus a Type Approval certificate for their Climate ShieldTM system and the system was added to


Checkmate’s Type Approval Register. The full process of Type Approval took a little under six weeks to complete. Paul Armstrong, Director of Trivselhus UK said: “The Type Approval process with Checkmate was very smooth: a professional team delivered the results efficiently and in just over a month. We have enjoyed an excellent relationship with them ever since. Since the Type Approval was put in place approximately six new developments have been completed or are under construction using the Trivselhus Climate ShieldTM system in the UK with several more in the pipeline. Development funding has not been an issue on any of the schemes and mortgages have been readily available for the new homebuyers.”

To date Checkmate has issued Type Approvals on almost twenty systems with more being added to the register every month. For more information visit: Images: 01-02. Trivselhus use a tried and tested closed timber panel system


Swedish manufacturer Trivselhus benefitted from Checkmate’s “Warranty Type Approval” scheme for off-site manufactured systems – the only one of its kind in the marketplace. Checkmate’s factory audit team spent three days at the Trivselhus factory in Sweden; granted Trivselhus a Type Approval certificate for their system and the system was added to Checkmate’s Type Approval Register. The full process took under six weeks to complete.


BEYOND BRICK AND BLOCK Last year the Building Society Association (BSA) came out firmly in supporting offsite construction as a positive way of providing well-designed, quality, affordable homes quickly. The recent Housing White Paper also brought into focus questions surrounding mortgageability and longterm value for banks and lenders for offsite manufactured homes. The amount of newbuild housing required to ease the UK’s residential crisis are well documented. But if the annual target of 250,000 homes a year is to be met, there needs to be a shift in the way that lenders make money available so that it can actually happen. The financial sector has become a more risk averse world in recent years and lenders always operate in a climate where unknown quantities are not overly welcome. At the moment offsite manufacture is one of those – still regarded as a mysterious construction sideline when approached for funding. We live in a world in motion where the technological advances of offsite manufacture have given rise to new materials, new techniques that reduce this element of uncertainty and risk. As the BSA says in its report ‘Laying the foundations for MMC: Expanding the role of Modern Methods of Construction, one potential solution to the UK housing crisis’: “One of the challenges is that as some of these construction methods are so new, there can be little or no historical data demonstrating how they will weather and the likely lifespan they will have. This is clearly a challenge when mortgage terms are 25 years plus and getting longer.”


Housebuilding in the UK is reaching – if not already - an historical tipping point. We are decades behind other parts of Europe in the understanding and adoption of offsite manufacture to any meaningful degree. So the wider understanding of offsite by the lending fraternity is essential for it to really make a difference to increasing housing levels. “We have to explore radical solutions to solve the housing crisis,” says BSA Chairman Dick Jenkins. “To get there we rely on Government to lead the way and break the cycle in relation to new construction technologies. At present supply is so low that lenders can’t routinely lend on these properties because they don’t fully understand the risks and builders won’t build more of this type of home because mortgage lending is in limited supply as is home insurance. For the sake of consumers, these types of building technology must become as conventional and mainstream as brick and block has been for the past 100 years. If we do it could be a gamechanger.” The BSA Report, while using an outdated term in modern methods of construction (MMC) is excellent and outlines a pragmatic approach for lenders to get to grips with offsite methods without being blinkered to historical problems.


Outside of the offsite bubble, many operating within the built environment still need convincing. In some circles the term offsite construction still conjures up images of dreary, postWW2 temporary prefabrication and all the inherent problems of quality and longevity. The BSA report even goes as far to say that the term ‘prefab’ should not be used any longer, as the term is generally associated with the poor quality emergency housing of the past. The recent Housing White Paper (covered across this issue in some depth…) has also prompted several commentators to express reservations. As reported in trade paper Mortgage Introducer, Simon Read, Managing Director of Magellan Homeloans, was quoted saying: “The challenge is whether they’re going to be standing in 25 years and until you’ve gone through 25 years you just don’t know. Workmanship is an issue because it’s all well and good saying it’s created in a workshop and fitted onsite but if the person onsite doesn’t put the right amount of screws in, or insulate or put the cladding on right you end up with a house that rots on the inside and you don’t know it’s happened until it falls down.”


Matthew Wyles, Executive Director of Castle Trust, also added: “I think I’d rather spend 12 months building something that’s going be able to stand for 100 years rather than something that after 10 years will be uninhabitable. I’d like to challenge how many of these good people who come up with these prefabricated schemes want to live in these properties themselves or want their children to live in them. Offsite construction is about speed, and quality and durability should come ahead of speed.” So that is the other side of the coin. Comments based on an entrenched view of ‘traditional’ brick and block construction, or little in-depth understanding of what offsite construction offers? The point is that many lenders hold similar views surrounding quality and longevity. However, advances in factory technology, precision engineering, digital CNC/CAD systems with building information modelling (BIM), improvements in material specification and quality management, means that offsite construction now offers as the BSA aptly point out: “almost unimaginable improvements in performance compared with earlier generations.” The quality differences of a 21st century offsite manufactured building to those rickety prefabs of the 1940s is off the scale. How to make things better and ease concerns? The BSA report outlines 10 key recommendations for the housing industry and its shared responsibility to support new techniques in housebuilding. These include valuers and lenders understanding the multiple different systems of offsite available, the standardisation of terminology and systems with more reliable, independent and factual information developed and made accessible to lenders – provided through a single Governmentapproved page.

BUILDOFFSITE PROPERTY ASSURANCE SCHEME (BOPAS) The Housing White Paper states: “To underpin the growth of this sector we must ensure that homes built offsite can access finance on the same basis as traditionally built homes. The Buildoffsite Property Assurance Scheme (BOPAS), which provides assurance to lenders on methods of construction, has existed for some time but there is limited take-up among lenders, partly because of a lack of data to support them in making decisions.”

Another critical recommendation centres on a newbuild warranty being required by lenders before accepting a newbuild property as suitable security for mortgage purposes. This should see a significant increase in offsite volumes and warranty providers will need the capacity to meet this rising demand. The BSA recommends that the capacity of warranty providers is monitored to ensure policies remain robust enough and readily available without compromising on quality and be continually reviewed.

The housebuilding and construction sectors are striving to modernise and change the ways they do business. It doesn’t take that long to get used to doing things differently. Often those different things are better. If the neverending saga of the UK’s housing crisis is ever to ease, the UK’s banks, building societies, surveyors and valuers need to collectively do something similar.

BOPAS is a durability and maintenance assessment and process accreditation which is carried out solely by Lloyd’s Register and evaluates and facilitates the adoption of best practice by manufacturers and constructors in key performance areas such as risk management, competency management, configuration management, procurement management and process control at each stage of project development, through concept, design, manufacture and construction. A structured and systematic approach at each phase of the project life cycle will ensure consistency and repeatability and the Accreditation Scheme requires this discipline to be adopted by organisations seeking accreditation and their suppliers/ subcontractors. The assurance of repeatability, delivered through the accreditation process, will provide assurance to: Asset valuers, mortgage valuers and surveyors providing for a more consistent through-life performance of the innovative systems/products and therefore reduced variability in asset value. It will also provide latent defect insurance, as any form of variability in the system or product warranted, introduces greater risk for the warrantor. For more information visit:

For more information and to download a copy of the report; Laying the foundations for MMC: Expanding the role of Modern Methods of Construction, one potential solution to the UK housing crisis’, visit:






1 Modular technology has transformed the sector by taking the build offsite into a factory controlled environment. Grand Felda House is an excellent example of just how student living has progressed - not only in terms of the build methods employed but also the quality of lifestyle provided to hundreds of students. The 22,360m2 development in Wembley, North London, consists of 802 student housing units and a two-storey leisure centre containing a 25m swimming pool, exercise rooms and changing facilities. Delivered by Vision Modular Systems using their steel framed modular offsite technology, the student accommodation is arranged in two parallel buildings, one nine storeys on Empire Way and one eighteen storeys at the rear of the site. The buildings deliver a variety of room types including disabled units and shared social spaces including a cinema room, games room, prayer room, an amenity courtyard with trees and seating areas and common rooms on each floor for social interaction and group study. Vision Modular manufacture their systems in a controlled assembly line environment where all internal finishes, M&E installations, windows, external insulation and even some external finishes are applied. The modules are manufactured utilising integrated structural steel framing with solid concrete floors. The cellular nature of student housing makes it ideal for volumetric construction. Each student room at



Grand Felda House was delivered to site complete with an ensuite bathroom and fully finished with even the bed installed! All the services are located on the corridor side of the modules for quick installation and ease of maintenance. Taking the build offsite into a controlled factory environment, delivers a rapid and predictable construction programme. From site clearance to practical completion took just 14 months and in August 2016 the project was finalised ahead of the student intake in September 2016. It was calculated that specifying the Vision Modular’s system saved at least 12 months on the build schedule when compared to traditional methods of construction. The building is clad in a number of materials including prefabricated brick slip panels, aluminium rain screen panels and some areas of render. The podiums are landscaped with green roofs, feature planting, brick and stone paving and seating. The building has been constructed to BREEAM Excellent standards and has been rigorously tested for daylight provision and for the risk of overheating. The overheating risk is managed through the careful design of window opening sizes and external shading elements. The sound tests for the building have achieved a 5dB improvement on Building Regulations for both impact sound and airborne sound. This illustrates the higher performance that can be achieved as standard from prefabrication without the need for special onsite measures.


3 Typically, the use of the Vision Modular system reduces the amount of waste sent to landfill by over 95%. Grand Felda House generated less waste than the target rate of 3.2t/100m2 (with 99% diverted from landfill), which compares with an average for new build residential developments of 16.8t/100m2. Kieran White, Managing Director of Vision Modular commented: “We are committed to quality and the adoption of continuous improvement approaches as part of our lean manufacturing drive. The scale of the completed Grand Felda building is an excellent example of the power of modular construction, allied to collaborative working and integrated teams. Without this approach, the project would not have been delivered successfully in the time available.” For more information visit: Images: 01-03. Grand Felda House

Smarter, faster, quality construction

Market leaders in modular construction

Bedford 01234 845 640


PSBP AND MODULAR DELIVERY The Government’s Priority School Building Programme (PSBP) is revamping and replacing a swathe of schools across the country and with delivery timescales, build quality and overall costs central to success, offsite modular techniques are playing a huge role. But there are a variety of stakeholders who are now so instrumental in all technical aspects, that their importance cannot be ignored if we are to raise quality of teaching standards. Everyone wants schools that look like schools. Not modular buildings.”

1 Driving the funding for this is the Education Funding Agency (EFA) that will manage £54 billion of funding a year to support all state-provided education for eight million children aged 3 to 16 and 1.6 million young people aged 16 to 19. The two phases of the PSBP will cover a total of 537 schools. Under the first phase, PSBP1, 260 schools are being rebuilt and/or refurbished: 214 through capital grant and 46 using PFI. The first school opened in April 2014 and the vast majority of others will be open by the end of 2017 – two years earlier than originally announced. Under the second phase, PSBP2, individual blocks at 277 schools will be rebuilt and refurbished using capital grant. By focusing on individual school buildings rather than just whole schools, the EFA wants to: “maximise the impact of our investment, helping funding go further to help the schools in most need.” The EFA plans for all PSBP2 schools to open their new or refurbished buildings by the end of 2021. 44

Expectations are high. The Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme which was cancelled in 2010 saw many local authorities halt refurbishment maintenance programmes which has exacerbated an already huge problem in building modernisation – many schools are in poor repair and hugely energyinefficient. Schools are being upgraded with an emphasis on quality construction and engineering and aesthetic architectural thinking, to create a new generation of education environments that provide a fresh and healthy learning space for pupils and staff. Speaking last year, Mike Green, Director of Capital at the EFA said: “Modular school structures must look just like normal buildings. But standardisation is still the key. Standard classrooms, and even school halls could be held in stock to be called for a faster build. The architect needs to ensure many things, not just that the form and function of the buildings fits within its local context, vernacular and environment.


A prime example of this was seen at Pyrford Primary School near Woking where modules were craned into position at the new £5.6 million building accommodating 480 children. The project replaces an existing facility which is beyond repair. It is the first of six schools in the Surrey and Kent region being rebuilt under the PSBP by the Portakabin Group in contracts worth in the region of £28 million. Each scheme is being designed in line with stringent Department for Education teaching standards to create outstanding learning environments and will be delivered using advanced offsite construction solutions. The structure for the new Pyrford Primary School was manufactured offsite in York using the latest modular technology. It was craned into position onsite in Woking in just seven days during the school holidays. A large 500-tonne crane was used to lift the steel building modules, weighing up to 20 tonnes, from an adjacent cricket field and over trees. The use of offsite construction halved the programme time for completion and occupation ready for the start of the 2016/17 academic year. The original school building is set to be demolished. The approach has avoided any interruption to teaching on this constrained rural site which is immediately adjacent to the existing school.


3 HEAR THE EFA SPEAK Rachel Stephenson - Programme Director for the government’s £2.4 billion Priority School Building Programme (PSBP) will be delivering the Keynote address at the Explore Offsite Education event in Westminster on 18 May.

2 Kathryn Krynicki, Head Teacher at Pyrford Primary School said: “We were delighted and excited to return from the school holidays to see our new building already in place. This is another key milestone in the project and in the history of the school. Our current facilities are beyond repair so we are really looking forward to having a brand new, purpose-designed school which will transform the learning environment for our children and our staff.” Richard Crosby, Project Director at the Education Funding Agency added: “We are very happy with the new school for Pyrford Primary. The quality of the building is very good and we look forward to the successful delivery of the other Priority School Building Programme projects in the Surrey and Kent batch and to achieving even greater efficiencies with the use of offsite construction.”

The new school is designed to have high levels of natural light to improve concentration levels, and increased access and space for outdoor play and learning. Features included: 16 bright classrooms with dual aspect natural light, a double-height multi-purpose hall and two teaching wings organised around an internal central ‘street’ to allow good passive supervision and provide informal group learning space and break-out zones.

The PSBP is a centrally managed programme set up to address the condition needs of the schools most in need of urgent repair. Through the programme, 261 schools will be rebuilt or have their condition needs met. Rachel has worked in the education sector for 13 years. She is an experienced multi-disciplinary programme and project manager who has managed teams of professionals delivering the Free Schools, Building Schools for the Future (BSF) and Academies programmes, and Group School Private Finance Initiative (PFI) projects. Rachel was previously the Regional Programme Director at Partnerships for Schools (PfS). She was responsible for the management of the BSF programme in the south of England. Book your ticket at:

Images: 01-02. Pyrford Primary School – cranage of modular units. Courtesy Portakabin 03. Neasden Primary School




ESTABLISHING EFFICIENT PROCUREMENT ROUTES The Education Funding Agency (EFA) is playing a central role in revitalising schools across the UK with offsite techniques and modular buildings playing a major part. Blacc Consulting’s Richard Crosby now leads the team making it all happen. He took some time out of his busy schedule for a quick Q&A on what offsite can deliver. Q: How did you become involved with working with the EFA and become its ‘modular champion’? The EFA’s Priority School Building Programme (PSBP) team were struggling to get contractor interest in a number of primary schools through existing procurement routes and needed to explore options to widen the market. I was asked to take a look at what alternatives there were and come up with a procurement strategy. We identified that a volumetric-led approach was one option that could be developed and used not only for immediate requirements but also for the PSBP2 programme which is a more block-based programme. This needed a different type of procurement approach to that used previously by the EFA and had to be adapted to suite the nature of the offsite industry’s business and not just use a procurement process designed for traditional contracting.

Q: What is your day-to-day role for the EFA? I provide consultancy services to help the EFA to build great schools. Part of that is identifying that procurement and design for offsite construction techniques can help hugely, so I am working with procurement and delivery teams to create solutions that enable schools to achieve quality bespoke buildings and ‘drive value’ by identifying the elements behind the offsite building process where efficiencies can be gained. The idea received a rather mixed response when first cited almost three years ago. There had been perception issues with quality of offsite delivery and costs but the EFA fully understood it had needed to develop alternative procurement routes to meet a changing world. Mike Green and Rachel Stephenson from the EFA’s Capital Board have been incredibly supportive in letting me see what these routes can do.

Richard Crosby is Head of the EFA’s modular & offsite construction framework. He will be presenting at the Explore Offsite Education event in Westminster on 18 May. Book your ticket at:




2 Q: How central to the overall PSBP programme are offsite methods and in particular modular construction? The EFA have been using various offsite solutions via their main contractor and regional framework for some time. These were developed in response to Sebastian James’ report Review of Education Capital in 2011, using their baseline design and batched procurements. I have been building on that and designing a procurement strategy to suit the modular and offsite providers to give access directly to them rather than via a main contractor. This is only part of the solution as main contractors will still be needed on refurbishment schemes in particular but they will need to push the boundaries to drive out efficiencies in such a large programme of work. Offsite can help to improve efficiency, cost and quality and importantly in live school environments, it can reduce disruption time and improve H&S management. The industry has banged the drum for a long time on this, but it needs clients to examine how they do things and change how they manage their programmes. The EFA have started to see this and are responding really well.


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 architectural and structural solutions are madeto-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.

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3 Q: Can you say a little about PSBP1 and 2 and the new pilot £95 million frameworks to design and build modular primary schools in England? What percentage of the PSBP will ultimately be modular? The volume of work that the EFA will do in modular or other offsite techniques is largely up to the market and its ability to deliver. We have three £95 million frameworks at present: one for complete Primary Schools due to be awarded this month (March), the second is for Primary Blocks and is designed to bring in some SMEs to open up the market and I have been really pleased with the market response to the PQQ. The third framework will be for Secondary Blocks, which is set to go to market later in the Spring. Q: What is driving the adoption of offsite methods by the Department of Education – have they been ahead of the curve in the recent surge of interest in offsite and really grasped its benefits? The prime driver is need. Funding is tight for the volume of schools that are needed and the construction industry is comparatively inefficient. We cannot keep doing the same thing in a rising market with skill shortages and expect costs to reduce unless we become 48

more efficient. Efficiency is driven by the funding and procurement routes. It was refreshing to read Mark Farmer’s report last year which reaffirmed what I had been working on and helped support my case to the EFA. I suspect the offsite industry contractors already knew this to be the case but clients and their advisors have to understand the market before they procure, not just expect the market to change around them. Q: With standardisation central to cost efficiency and project timescales – can modular schools be architecturally and aesthetically better within those constraints? Absolutely. The EFA want modular schools to look and feel like traditionally-built schools, I still think there is a long way to go in driving further efficiencies from the design and construction process, and I have plenty more ideas on how we can achieve this! It would be great to see some of the costs saved fed back into the building to further enhance the learning environment as well as provide better value for the public purse and help deliver more schools for the same money.


Q: The EFA has a very specific design guide – what does this entail in creating healthier learning environments for staff and pupils – and how do modular buildings fit into this guide? The EFA design guide is critical in setting the outline specification for schools both in terms of minimum sizes and building performance. The building performance is important in providing a comfortable learning and working environment. We had some fun and games dealing with daylighting and thermal mass and the scheduling of areas. We also had to address the issue of the ‘feel of the building’ so we amended the EFA’s standard design guide to counter the fact it was originally written with a traditional build in mind. We learned a huge amount from the first few procurements and are now at the point where we have developed our own baseline design report for Primary schools and we are in in the middle of doing the same for Secondary schools to help inform the market better for future procurements. Q: Finally, what knowledge and project expertise have you brought from Blacc Consulting? We bring what I consider to be true ‘programme management’ expertise and an innovative way of thinking. It’s not just about managing multiple projects, Blacc see it as an opportunity to drive down cost for our clients by creating clear efficiencies. I have had the privilege of working with some of the best project and programme environments with contractors, consultants and clients delivering some amazing, challenging schemes. Blacc has enabled me to pull together some of the best people from those projects and work with them again. One of our first projects was delivering the programme and contract management of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and since then we have branched out not only to the EFA, as well as Network Rail, Transport for Greater Manchester, Calderdale Council and Liverpool John Lennon Airport to name just a few. For more information visit: organisations/education-fundingagency Images: 01-03. Modular technology is providing a real boost to the PSBP new school building programme. Courtesy Portakabin.

A site for sore eyes

Looking at the advantages of BBA Certification As you well know, major construction work on building sites involves a huge amount of product and materials checking, not least to make sure everything meets the exacting requirements of building regulations. This can be stressful at the best of times and a helping hand is always welcome. That’s why more and more people are coming to the BBA for off-site certification of their products. For many years now, our work in the offsite construction sector has brought peace of mind to hundreds of architects and manufacturers alike. BBA Agrément Certificates are widely read and respected by industry decision-makers who want to select innovative products that have been thoroughly assessed by the BBA. Our assessors have decades of experience in evaluating Offsite Construction, and we are currently assessing many new systems, adding to the many already approved including insulated concrete formwork, SIPs and framed systems. Of course, our main focus is on the requirements of Building Regulations — not just in England and Wales, but also in Scotland and Northern Ireland. But we go much further than that. We want to ensure that a system is not only waterproof, warm and structurally sound; it has to be durable, too. No-one wants to buy a system with a short life expectancy, so we seek to ensure that it will last for an appropriate period of time.

Neither are our assessments simply desk exercises. As well as testing, we go out to the factory to check system documentation and control, making sure that the specification we approve is capable of being produced consistently. We also go out on site to see units being offloaded and installed. That’s because we know that what may seem simple when explained in a dry office or factory can turn out to be very different on a building site. Once we have gathered data from testing, factory inspections and site surveillance, we consider how we can use it to establish that the requirements of Building Regulations and other statutory or non-statutory documents have been met. BBA Agrément Certificates are regarded as quite simply the best assurances you can get for your off-site products. With BBA’s 50 years of unrivalled expertise in building and construction certification, it’s easy to see why. 01923 665300




1 Fulfilling the rising demand for new school places and the need to replace tired and unsuitable accommodation is one of the fundamental aims of Government with billions set aside for revamping the education footprint. One hugely successful example can be seen at King’s CofE School. The newly rebuilt King’s CofE School, Kidsgrove welcomed pupils in November 2016 to its state-of-the-art facilities and will support and greatly enhance the educational opportunities of the young people of Kidsgrove and surrounding areas. The school was built using timber-based structural insulated panels (SIPS). King’s is the largest school in the UK constructed using Innovaré’s i-SIP full structure system and was also the final school from a batch of eight delivered by a successful partnership comprising Interserve as main contractor, architects Maber and Innovaré, and has demonstrated the true benefit of collaboration and in turn simplifying the offsite construction process. 50


The £13 million project is a flagship development for Innovaré. The creation of a spacious, triple-height internal atrium, impressive modern auditorium with retractable theatre style seating and a four court sports hall and dance studio, have all highlighted the flexibility of i-SIP system. There are also additional dedicated study spaces and lecture rooms for sixth form students plus a range of facilities opened for the community, including a training bistro and hair and beauty salon. The Innovaré team demonstrated an innovative approach to school design and construction throughout the scheme. It is very distinctive for its size and use of the i-SIP system integrated with steel and precast concrete components, responded directly to the pressures of building to reduced funding, tight site constraints and high performance specification. As the scheme was sizeable, the i-SIP Full Structure system was specified to significantly reduce the risk of settlement in this three-storey mega-


structure. This meant that value engineering of the steel elements managed to remove nearly 70% of steel from the original design and importantly reduced costs. Thermal modelling by Innovaré facilitated the design of key junction details that minimised cold bridging, creating an airtight, thermally efficient building envelope across the entire structure. By designing from an early-stage concept, the construction of King’s benefitted from the speed and cost advantages of using the hybrid, timber-based offsite construction concept and this resulted in simple, effective solutions that rose to the challenge of compliance. Using scaffoldless erection the three-storey school totalled 7,318m² internal floor area and was delivered by Innovaré installers in just 11 weeks with minimal onsite disruption, meeting budget and all quality, performance and sustainability standards. In addition, onsite and offsite elements proceeded in parallel resulting in significant savings in the overall programme timing.



4 Before construction began some of the school’s pupils were given a glimpse of how their new school would look when they visited the Innovaré factory in Coventry to see how the i-SIP panels were made. There they also learned how to use CAD software to design some panelised buildings of their own, creating real identification with their new school by being able to handle and then personally sign some of their classroom panels which they later witnessed being placed onsite. Through i-SIP, Innovaré has proven its capability to address the government’s Facilities Output Specification (FOS) with an offsite built system. The FOS is a stringent standard outlining technical performance covering internal environment, daylighting, acoustics, ventilation and thermal comfort requirements within specific budgetary guidelines. The Education Funding Agency (EFA) has acknowledged that i-SIP is the only offsite system to fully meet its exacting standards without derogation.

The i-SIP system creates highly energy efficient structures to meet client objectives for minimising environmental impact thanks to excellent insulating properties and tight manufacturing tolerances. Sustainability is further improved by the minimal waste created during production and all elements of the system are fully recyclable. This sustainable design choice has recorded a huge saving of 179,000 kg in embodied carbon over the original specification of steel and masonry.

5 SIPS & OFFSITE SPECIALISTS Increasingly recognised as an industry leader in simplifying offsite construction, Innovaré Systems are the UK’s only major SIPs solutions provider to offer complete delivery, maintaining chain of custody through in-house design, manufacture and assembly processes, offering frame infill and complete structure solutions to meet the demands of modern building requirements. Managing Director - Peter Blunt - will present a range of case studies at Explore Offsite Education in Westminster on 18 May.

For more information visit: Images: 01-02. King’s CofE School is a large three-storey building 03-04. The i-SIP system is a time-effective, energy efficient and sustainable timber system 05. Pupils got involved and learned about construction as the project progressed




THE ROAD TO NET ZERO CARBON SCHOOLS With technological advances in clean or renewable energy, construction materials and offsite building methodologies, the net zero benchmark for energy performance in buildings has become achievable. Neil Smith, Chief Executive Officer of Net Zero Buildings (NZB) outlines its energy efficient Schoolhaus design.

1 Since our formation in 2010 NZB has developed inspiring teaching spaces which utilise offsite construction methods and standardised components to deliver permanent buildings incorporating valuable energy saving efficiencies. Our Schoolhaus buildings are impacting on construction within the education sector by making cost-efficient and sustainable buildings accessible, whilst providing state-of-the-art learning environments for 21st century teaching. NZB’s processes maximise offsite construction and minimise onsite disruption – to the extent that a double classroom with facilities can be delivered in as little as three weeks.


Schoolhaus avoids a lifetime of CO2 emissions and eliminates unnecessary energy expenditure and run at a fraction of the cost of alternative methods. Current spaces – built to energy performance best practice – consume around £4,600 of energy spend per m², compared to a net zero building, which generates valuable revenue through saved energy costs. The use of a full solar PV roof also helps deliver a truly net zero building with better than neutral carbon emissions and significant energy cost savings. Through carefully considered material and technology choices, Schoolhaus costs little to run and achieves an EPC rating of A+.




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4 The unique combination of complete 3D volumetric elements and 2D large panel formats are used to create the building in a factory environment. Both the 2D and 3D elements are ‘pre-finished’ in the factory including external cladding, internally plastered walls, fully-fitted windows and significant installation of mechanical, electrical and plumbing services. This approach along with the use of structurally insulated panels (SIPS), enable NZB to complete around 80% of the superstructure offsite. This contributes to a lower environmental impact, improved processes, lowers costs and reduced disruption to student learning as well as surrounding residents and businesses. Influencing design and specification wherever possible and encouraging suppliers and sub-contractors to develop environmental policies is key to improving future projects. Critically, the offsite, 2D and 3D approach results in less construction waste, minimal vehicle movements and a reduction in the need for onsite resources. We have now designed and delivered over 50 Schoolhaus projects across the UK. The buildings are aesthetically pleasing, modern and specifically designed to meet the requirements 54

of the relevant users, i.e. primary or secondary schools, and we are on a mission to raise awareness of energy efficiency and sustainability through offsite construction. There are a wealth of unique educational opportunities that can be presented to students through our approach. The performance of our buildings are measurable and meters are fitted to all electrical circuits. This allows both consumption data and operating hours of mechanical and electrical systems to be accurately captured and remotely monitored. Data captured is of enormous educational value, which provides a clear demonstration of the environmental benefits of net zero buildings – these benefits can be brought to life in the classroom with rich graphical interfaces connected directly to the building’s energy consumption and generation meters. To further promote the benefits of offsite and energy efficient construction, school employees, governors and pupils are all invited to visit the NZB factory whilst their school is being built. They are shown the innovative techniques involved in the manufacturing process and are given a presentation on the benefits of renewable technologies, sustainability


and the impact of inefficient design in construction.

The Schoolhaus concept and the possibilities it already brings to the future of school buildings is exciting. As a company, NZB are enjoying rapid growth in line with the high market demand for energy efficient offsite construction. The need for the transition to the net zero building is one which is becoming increasingly acknowledged. NZB are advocates of sustainable construction and aim to reduce carbon footprint by minimising consumption through the use of sustainable technology and clean, renewable energy. For more information visit: Schoolhaus Images: 01-03. 80% of the building superstructure is created offsite in a factory environment 04. The addition of solar panels increases the net zero approach to energy performance

Delivering efficiency and competitive advantage for offsite manufacturing businesses We develop and improve: • Business strategies • Product & service portfolios • Manufacturing operations • Supply-chain integration • Business processes • Management systems • Marketing strategies • Sales routes to market

Do you want to be more efficient, more competitive and more profitable?

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



CREATIVE, INNOVATIVE AND UNIQUE OFFSITE unique entrance area, not only that but they were ‘chamfered’ in shape to the angle of the roof fin that was installed on top. In the main 4m wide modules were used, together with double height open modules to create the central light-well to reduce the number of enclosed beams that crossed the space.

1 The New Islington School, Manchester is a free school catering for 420 children in a ‘creative, innovative and unique’ atmosphere. To help achieve this Premier Modular delivered a striking modular building and fitted out everything above ground to provide a finished building of 2,170m2, using approximately 60 modules. Formerly the Cardroom Estate, Ancoats, New Islington was once one of Manchester’s most deprived areas and was identified as an important site to be regenerated as one of the UK’s Millennium Communities. Originally planned as a concrete framed building, time constraints and cost increases changed the client’s decision as to how the project was to be delivered and a modular system was chosen. The challenge was to design a modular solution and deliver an eyecatching and innovative building to reflect the planning consent, whilst keeping within the tight programme and budget restriction to meet local authority requirements. The staff and 420 primary students had to be in their new premises by September 2016, as they were in restricted rental accommodation and struggling to meet the new intake. 56

Foundation works started in November 2015 with the modules being delivered in March 2016 for completion by August 2016. Working as a specialist subcontractor to Conlon Construction, with architects Cassidy Ashton & Vaughan – Premier Modular was involved right from the start, working from the initial architect designs to deliver the client’s vision. The new building had to meet the overall objectives of the Regeneration Masterplan, to be inspiring, innovative and fresh but also to meet the visions of the school. These included the preparation of pupils to ‘inspire them for life’, a greater depth of learning, open-mindedness and an enriched school life through arts, sports and enhanced health. The modules utilised were hot rolled steel beam and post engineering – creating large open plan spaces, as no structural support is required from the walls, just the corner posts. Removing posts to accommodate the building design is complex. However, Premier arrived at design solutions to do just that in several areas of the building and create large areas of seamless glazing. Due to some of the complex design features within this building, Premier used wide 4.6m modules to create the


Flat packed modules were utilised to create the double height hall area which were then integrated into the standard modules. With a design and manufacturing period of 14 weeks and an onsite programme of 20 weeks, with overlap from fabrication and site programme, the overall project time was 32 weeks. Nine modules were installed per day, ensuring a weathertight envelope within one week and therefore permitting early access for follow-on trades. All of the complex elements were delivered by advanced module engineering, beyond ‘standard’ module widths and shapes. There were issues within the ground, which meant the original concrete scheme required 20m deep piles. The use of lightweight modular construction meant the piling solution was vastly reduced with only 6m deep piles required – offering both vast cost and time savings. Significant value engineering processes were employed on the New Islington School project, enabling Premier to optimise the design and to standardise details where possible, thereby ensuring that ‘lean manufacturing’ principles could be employed through repetitious module types. Through this careful design detailing and value engineering, Premier offered an optimised construction solution, ensuring a smooth integration for follow-on trades and delivering an environmentally sound, sustainable school project on time and to budget. For more information visit: Images: 01. The New Islington School showcases what modular construction can achieve for newbuild schools


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EXCEEDING BUILDING EXPECTATIONS Brampton Manor Academy was a school that needed extra space. Rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted, the popular sixth form was expanding rapidly and the school needed new classrooms to house their growing pupil numbers. Modular building specialists Wernick had the answers.


1 Having used modular systems before, Brampton Manor Academy knew they wanted to work with a modular provider. The school was seeking more space for its growing sixth form that could blend in with blocks already on campus. With the existing school buildings bedecked with either traditional-looking blockwork and render or more modern rainscreen cladding – whichever provider was chosen would need to ensure the new building could match its stylish cohorts and meet the school’s high design standards. A number of modular providers were contacted for the project – but one tender stood out. The School’s Finance Director, Kit Lam, said: “After undertaking a rigorous and competitive tendering process, not only did Wernick’s provide the most competitive bid but also met our challenging design brief and demonstrated the ability to work to our tight time frame. Wernick’s were the clear winners.” 58

Wernick provided a full turnkey service, seeing the project through from conception to completion. Working with Brampton Manor Academy, the Wernick Buildings team created a design for the building, which would include eight classrooms and four fully-fitted science labs along with toilet facilities and storage space. Wernick also undertook substantial groundworks while onsite, installing piled concrete and ring beam foundations for the new block. The project took a total of 23 weeks from start to finish with the building manufactured at Wernick’s purposebuilt factory in just four weeks. The completed block was BB110-compliant with a standing seam curved roof and an attractive fully-glazed covered walkway. The building provided the required lab and classroom space along with toilet facilities, offices and storage rooms all with a painted interior finish. A blockwork and white render exterior allowed the building to


3 blend seamlessly with other blocks on campus just as the school requested.

The staff and pupils are reported to be pleased with their new building. Kit Lam commented: “Wernick pulled out all the stops to deliver on-time after a number of variations were made to the programme and it’s fair to say that we are extremely proud of what has been achieved. Most importantly our pupils and staff are delighted with the building and its facilities and love spending time in such a wonderful environment.” For more information visit:

Images: 01-03. Brampton Manor Academy has utilised modular construction to exceed everyone’s expectations

Need more teaching space? K C I N R WE It all adds up! Cost savings of up to 50% when compared to a traditional building.

An education in modular buildings To find out more and view education case studies go to:

0800 112 4644



buildings are now being installed with energy-efficient systems such as energy-efficient glass, geothermal systems and solar panels.

Matthew Goff, Director of UK operations at Actavo | Building Solutions, outlines some key reasons why modular is overtaking traditional construction methods in the quality and sustainability stakes.

1 Over the past decade, modular construction has grown substantially. A report by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills has estimated the total value of the offsite construction industry at £1.5 billion, with the potential to grow to £6 billion. Attitudinal changes towards offsite building techniques, as well as their increased sustainability and capabilities as seen on many highprofile jobs, have all contributed to this growth. It is widely recognised that modular has the potential to reduce overall construction programmes. In most cases, while onsite groundworks are being completed, building modules are being manufactured in a controlled, factory environment. This means a large portion of works are completed simultaneously, reducing the building programme from the outset. Once modules are delivered to site – pre-fitted with electrics, plumbing, heating, doors and windows and internal finishes – they are carefully craned into position on prepared foundations.


2 Offsite construction is up to 50% quicker than traditional – buildings can be created onsite in timeframes as short as just four weeks. Offsite construction can reduce up to 90% of waste generated when compared with traditional construction methods. Some modular buildings are now manufactured using recyclable material from other projects.

Offsite construction also impacts on the carbon footprint of a building, as it allows for a reduction of the total number of deliveries to sites by 90%. The key benefit of modular construction is the essential quality benefits which come with working in a controlled factory environment. Buildings are designed and built to the same, higher sustainability standards as traditional construction such as BREEAM, Passivhaus and AECB. Unlike traditional construction, there are many cost savings associated with modular buildings, stemming from a reduction in project timeframes and leading to reductions in overall costs. BIM brings real opportunity to personalise buildings to meet not just sustainability and environmental targets but also the needs of today and the future. BIM achieves higher quality standards more cheaply and when coupled with offsite construction, creates even greater efficiencies. BIM relies heavily on better planning and design an in one model pulls everything together – stakeholders’ opinions, optimising environmental performance, supply chain management and identifying clashes early in the construction process. 3D visualisation of what a newbuild will look like, its environmental performance and savings made throughout a building’s life, enables estates managers to see beyond bricks and mortar and the possibility of modular methods.

Being adaptable and flexible to changing needs, modular buildings are easy to move without disturbing surrounding landscapes. Think of a school campus which needs to evolve as systems develop and additional space is required. Modular allows and, following the introduction of building information modelling (BIM), can plan for any future changes throughout a building’s lifecycle – from concept to demolition.

Although changing views of offsite construction methods are continuing to increase its popularity, traditional methods still account for the largest market share in the building industry. As the construction sector develops and adapts to meet changing Government strategies, I see modular methods being increasingly employed across the industry.

Compared to an equivalent, traditionally-built project, up to 67% less energy is required to produce a modular building. Not only is the actual construction of the building ‘greener’, but the building is also energy-efficient for life. Modular

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Images: 01. Granard Primary School 02. BIM modelling brings massive sustainable and operational benefits to building design

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Although originally due to run between 2015 and 2021, the PSBP scheme was pushed back several times. However, delivery body the EFA has now issued an invitation to tender for a batch of schools in the East Midlands – worth around £80 million to the contractors on its framework. The EFA has also exclusively revealed that they have given local authorities and multiple academy trusts the go-ahead to procure more than 70 school projects directly under the programme. Moving away from the framework in the first phase of the programme it will pilot a local delivery model.

1 The Government has confirmed that investment of around £2 billion is to be allocated to rebuild or refurbish 277 schools across England, marking the second phase of the priority school building programme (PSBP). To find out more, come and meet the Education Funding Agency (EFA) at the Explore Offsite Education being held in London on the 18 May. The EFA have announced that they are now seeking contractors for the first schools to be built under the longawaited second phase of the PSBP. The PSBP came after a warning from the Local Government Association (LGA) that the country is approaching a ‘tipping point’ in the shortage of school places for children. With a projected figure of 878,000 extra pupils required, it is clear that there is a vital requirement for schools to be developed at a rapid pace. 62

One of the most frequently cited benefits of offsite construction is the speed of construction that it offers. Dramatic improvements over conventional techniques of construction are demonstrable, with the time required to construct and commission an offsite building being typically reduced by 60% in cases where large elements can be prefabricated.


As part of the PSBP, the EFA is also seeking contractors for a pilot £95 million framework to design and build modular primary schools in England, in a move to deliver standardised solutions to suit all newbuild primary school blocks and speed up delivery. The pilot framework is split into two lots. Lot One is worth £45 million and covers larger schemes with one primary contractor and one reserve contractor expected to be appointed. Whilst Lot Two is valued at £50 million and comprises smaller jobs with two primary contractors and one reserve contractor set be named.

THE STRATEGY To explain the strategy behind PSBP and the ‘Modular framework’ the EFA will be partnering on the delivery of Explore Offsite Education, taking place on the 18 May in London. This will provide a prime opportunity to discuss your involvement within the PSBP and to understand the EFA’s strategic approach to offsite technology. For full details on the event, speakers and how to register visit:

2 Images: 01. Explore Offsite Education 2015 Audience 02. B&K Structure’s Managing Director, Nick Milestone speaking at Explore Offsite Education 2015

EDUCATION CONFERENCE & EXHIBITION Westminster, London 18 May 2017 This one-day conference and exhibition will create a platform for clients and their professional advisers, contractors and project managers to network with industry experts and discuss the latest offsite construction solutions that will help to deliver the building requirements of the education sector.


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

Bryan Evans - PSBP2 Project Director, Education Funding Agency Cal Bailey - Sustainability Director, NG Bailey Iain Geldard - Product Manager for Sunesis, Willmott Dixon Keith Patrick - Project Director, Graham Construction Keith Waller - Senior Advisor, Infrastructure & Projects Authority Peter Blunt - Managing Director, Innovaré Systems Rachel Stephenson - Programme Director, PSBP Richard Crosby - Head of Modular & Offsite Construction, EFA Stephen Wightman - Managing Director , SIG Offsite Steve Newell - General Manager, Portakabin Wayne Yeomans - Senior Business Development Manager, McAvoy Group

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THE FUTURE’S BRIGHT – THE FUTURE IS OFFSITE Cogent Consulting has established itself as the leading multi-disciplinary consultancy in the field of offsite construction by offering independent advice on successfully exploiting innovative construction processes.

The company has an unparalleled range of skills to manage the practical issues of using offsite construction systems and processes to dramatically improve project delivery performance. Through the application of advanced construction techniques reduced construction times are more predictable and allow scheduled occupancy and early use of key facilities.


Offsite construction techniques are now recognised as some of the most important solutions to many problems facing the construction industry. Our extensive experience of many different offsite construction needs, in many different sectors, means that our clients can turn to a single company to provide an exceptional range of proven design, construction, engineering, project management and supply-chain management skills. Cogent Consulting is able to draw on a wide base of in-house professional expertise, and long-established network of specialists, to provide tailored solutions to meet exact needs, based on a close, first-hand understanding of our clients and their markets.


Skills & experience to match your needs The major issues to consider when exploring construction innovation embrace design, manufacturing, construction, economics and wholelife performance, all of which are inextricably linked in any process employing offsite construction techniques. Cogent will ensure that the benefits of the offsite construction process are communicated to clients, planners, developers and end-users in order to optimise the efficiency of the process and to ensure that they can yield the benefits both during construction and for the in-service performance of the building. Our organisation has the specialist expertise to help you avoid the pitfalls by: • providing help and advice in a rapidly developing market • helping clients choose from manufacturers of varying capabilities and capacities • assisting clients to overcome the challenges of a new market • providing effective design coordination • ensuring design specification matches performance requirements • managing interfaces between offsite construction systems • facilitating smooth commissioning and hand-over • ensuring durability of selected systems. Cogent has close links in the US, Japan and continental Europe, as well as throughout the UK, ensuring that our clients benefit from the widest range of exposure to innovative construction techniques, whilst benefiting from the levels of service associated with a smaller consultancy practice and gaining access to the resources and expertise of one of the most dynamic consultancies in this rapidly advancing sector.

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Increase the Productivity of House Building by Utilising Innovative Modern Methods of Construction. The Governments ‘Fixing our Broken Housing Market’ report states: “The housebuilding industry is less productive than the wider economy, partly because it has been slow to modernise and make use of more efficient and faster ways of building.” Steve Hardy, JMD of offsite specialists SIDEY tells us that “offsite construction is absolutely the way forward in delivering cost effective, long term thermally efficient, and quick to deliver dwellings for future generations. “The Governments ‘Fixing our Broken Housing Market’ report also states: “By increasing innovation and making greater use of modern methods of construction we can change this. Industry reports suggest homes constructed offsite can be built up to 30% more quickly than traditional methods and with a potential 25% reduction in costs. They are high quality, reliable, more productive and can be highly energy efficient. They can require fewer people on site, helping to mitigate the skills shortage. Some firms are increasing their use of these methods, but we need to go further.” This report throws the spotlight on the Scottish housing crisis, we need to be innovative in our delivery and grab Modern Methods of Construction with both hands.


“There is a growing lobby of government agencies, procurement organisations, and individual housing associations all reviewing whether they should directly invest into, or partner with offsite manufacturing factories; they are recognising that the housing crisis which the country faces is being exacerbated by a basic failure in the construction sector – an inability to deliver on time. Offsite is well and truly proven as a construction option and it is the way forward for the housing sector wanting to build better quality homes; cost effectively, and most importantly sure to be delivered on time”.


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Steve Hardy also stated “The solution to some of these problems lies in the growth of offsite construction. Costs are now no more than when building through standard construction methods, but the two huge pluses are the delivery of better buildings by design, and delivery on time”.

OFFSITE CONSULTANCY Exploiting innovative construction processes Our organisation is committed to exploiting innovative processes to deliver sustainable solutions, whether for offsite construction or product manufacturing. Our activities include: • Design Management - ensuring that the use of innovative, costeffective offsite construction techniques is exploited at the design stage • Construction Management guiding the project delivery team to deliver the benefits and added value that clients are looking for with offsite construction • Supply Chain Management providing independent and contemporary advice on the best procurement routes to ensure an integrated procurement process • Product Design - providing the technical competencies to maximise the potential of our clients’ product design and concepts • Product Validation/Certification - ensuring that clients obtain the most comprehensive and exhaustive product approvals - with greater integrity • Manufacturing Logistics - helping to bring the best products to market as quickly as possible using lean manufacturing processes • Management Systems - assisting product manufacturers to guarantee the most effective and efficient operating management systems. • Marketing - delivering the technical and creative vision to provide marketing solutions tailored to our clients’ needs A unique proposition Cogent Consulting has in-depth experience of working in all sectors of the construction industry, including the key public sector markets of education, healthcare and residential accommodation, whilst being active in the retail, leisure, commercial and light industrial sectors also. This unique positioning, and breadth of experience, means that we bring an independent perspective that embraces the whole of the supply chain and range of construction technologies. Our clients benefit from an enhanced and unique range of services assembled to create the leading offsite construction consultancy practice 66

that aims to provide the highest quality services on the most testing of assignments. Our continually expanding consultancy capacity and range of services available ensures that our advice is based on leading-edge information drawn from leading-edge projects. The tailored approach Our multi-disciplined approach delivers more efficient construction systems and processes and ensures that we tackle construction challenges in a way that is focused and flexible, imaginative and yet pragmatic. We offer a bespoke and tailored approach to each client. This means that we arrange our services to fit your requirements and to meet your priorities. Cogent Consulting can improve your business by exploiting innovative construction processes that deliver: • faster construction • earlier return on investment • predictability of build-time • better build quality • use of the latest materials • cost certainty • less site disruption • improved health & safety • enhanced working conditions • lower environmental impact • greater sustainability • risk reduction. Unparalleled range of skills Our unparalleled range of skills means that we are uniquely placed to help clients, architects, contractors and product manufacturers alike. You can be sure of unbiased advice because we have no obligations to any manufacturer or products. We determine solutions according to objective performance criteria. This unique positioning, and breadth of our experience, means that we bring an independent perspective, embracing the whole supply chain and range of construction technologies and products. Cogent Consulting continues to strengthen its team with the highest calibre industry specialists. Our Company has complementary and mutually supportive competencies to provide our clients with a genuinely comprehensive service. We believe that the skills and individual expertise we can bring to bear on each and every project will give our clients the kind of service they have a right to expect.


Maximising the opportunities You may be aware of the potential opportunities presented by adopting offsite construction techniques, but how do you exploit the benefits to their full potential? You need to know… • what elements of offsite construction should be considered – fully volumetric modules, panel systems or hybrid solutions • whether timber frame construction is more suitable that steel frame for your specific application – or should you use a precast solution? • how you can be sure that the preferred product meets the technical performance characteristics required by the project • how you proceed with the design using offsite construction • what effect offsite construction will have on the project sequencing, scheduling and management • whether the benefits of offsite construction can be quantified for a specific project. Cogent Consulting can provide the answers to these and many other commonly posed questions. That is how we have established ourselves as the leading consultancy for offsite construction.

We have unrivalled experience in the everyday, practical design issues of using bathroom pods, bedroom and kitchen modules, framed solutions, floor cassettes, panellised roof constructions, preengineered building services, plant rooms, dry-foundation systems and many more. To find out more about maximising the opportunities that offsite construction presents: Call: 0044-1743-290001 Visit: Email:


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1 Nottingham One is notable for being one of the largest mixed-use developments delivered in the East Midlands in the past ten years. Concrete was selected at an early stage as the principal material for the development and offsite manufacture added a range of project benefits. As part of Nottingham City Council’s strategic vision for the city – initiated by local developer Southreef Developments – the scheme was designed by Levitate, promoted by Nottingham Regeneration Ltd, built by Willmott Dixon and occupied by the Metropolitan Housing Trust. Containing 236 apartments (100 affordable) and 5,000sq m of commercial space, this £40 million mixed-use development is the product of a coherent and singular architectural response to the needs of the city and its individuals.


Much of this success is due to the robust, simple design concepts established at the outset, focusing on simplicity, standardisation and highquality, self-finished materials. These include a post-tensioned concrete frame with a three-storey ‘tree’ that cantilevers the scheme’s tower over the city’s buried district heating pipework and a 160m long terrace building clad in a precast concrete façade. Further efficiencies include post-tensioned concrete slabs throughout (eliminating down-stand beams and simplifying service runs) and a high-quality, modular, precast concrete façade to the street, fabricated locally by Trent Concrete.


The precast used for cladding the building and balconies – Trent Concrete’s Portland mix – was chosen for its similarity to local Nottingham stone. From an aesthetic perspective, its use allowed for refined detailing, long spans and the formation of curves, both in plan and in elevation. On the façades, precast was used in a large-format, multi-storey panel form for external cladding. Rebated joints reflect the building’s structural grid and the module of apartments behind. The precast system allowed innovations such as projecting bay windows, where the bases were cast as part of the cladding, allowing loads to be transferred back to the frame and avoiding complicated waterproofing junctions. Along the south façade the frame opens up, using deep, precast fins with single-element balcony units spanning 6.6m between, drained via downpipes cast inside the vertical fins. Each of the pavilion apartments have thermally broken, cantilevered balcony units, with fixing points, shadow gaps and drips cast in.


The use of precast concrete allowed for early cost certainty on a fundamental and strategic part of the project. High-quality material samples and the excellent reputation of precast as a finished product, assisted with the discharge of planning conditions in a Conservation Area. Very fine tolerance in precast works meant that windows and glazing, which were installed into precast apertures, could also be procured and fabricated offsite in parallel with the precast works. This substantially reduced the construction programme and reduced risk for the project. All of the concrete, both in-situ and precast, was procured through a local supply chain, using batching plants and precast suppliers. This substantially reduced delivery journey times and allowed for efficient dispatch of precast units to site as and when required by the project programme. Where possible, the concrete has been left exposed in the building, providing thermal mass, particularly in commercial spaces where it helps to moderate temperature fluctuations. Use of flat forms, with no down-stand beams in-situ works, allowed for very rapid construction. All the precast concrete was designed, cast and stored offsite, allowing for efficient deliveries when required. Rapid installation – along a busy city centre road – minimised disruption to highways and pedestrians and contributed to a valuable sense of momentum in the project. All the formwork timber moulds for the precast components were made with FSC-certified timber. After multiple castings, these were either recycled for other moulds or chipped for use as biomass fuel to heat the works. Nottingham One is an example of how high-density, urban housing can be provided in the city, hopefully inspiring other regional councils, housing associations, local developers and regeneration agencies to be equally ambitious. The development won a RIBA East Midlands Award 2016 and was shortlisted for the 2016 Building Awards.


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Images: 01. Nottingham One has revitalised part of the city centre 02-05. Precast concrete played a pivotal structural role including balconies and bases for window bays

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1 Combining the best of thermal insulation, concrete technology and offsite thinking, the Spantherm flooring system combines offsite efficiency with energy efficiency to great effect. The discussion around skills shortages, build quality and site efficiency have been front and central to the offsite debate for several years now. However, as more and more plots must now comply with the increased demands of the Part L 2013 Building Regulations it creates an opportunity for the manufacturers of offsite products to showcase their energy efficient benefits. This is where products such as the Spantherm insulated concrete flooring system can deliver real solutions for the designer and builder alike. Designing and building energy efficiency homes capable of achieving the latest regulations can be a complex process but installing an offsite manufactured high performance insulated ground floor is always a good start. The Spantherm thermally efficient floor system is remarkable not just for its ability to deliver improvements within SAP but also because it delivers the benefits of offsite construction. 70

Offsite Installation When assessing any Part L-compliant solution, builders need to consider its impact on the overall build process and factor in any relevant cost issues associated with its use. It is during this costing process that builders appreciate the benefits of the factorybuilt unit’s rapid build features. A typical Spantherm floor is fitted onsite in less than two hours with minimal labour and achieves full structural capability with 72 hours, whilst activity could commence on perimeter walls within 24 hours. Many builders will opt to sub-contract this via a groundworker or may engage us directly in a full supply and fit deal. This represents a programme saving of around one week plus reduced installation labour when compared to other insulated flooring systems which rely on a combination on individual concrete components, insulation boards and poured surfaces. Energy Efficiency Spantherm’s structural reinforced concrete structure has been designed in a way to minimise the thermal bridges at the wall to floor junctions. The unit’s high performance EPS insulation effectively reduces heat loss and both these features are essential for compliance with Part L’s


3 flooring energy performance targets. By introducing Spantherm and its Psi-value and U-value to their energy consultant, builders will be able to evaluate the positive impact made within SAP. It is this excellent thermal efficiency created by the design of the product which gives the builder that good start to their total SAP calculation and is the very basis of a ‘Fabric First’ approach, which seeks to reduce the reliance on the use of expensive addon sustainable technologies in new homes. While the increasing need for compliance with Part L 2013 adds complexity for the builder the good news is that offsite products like Spantherm have been specifically designed to not only meet those regulations but also simplify their build. For more information visit: Images: 01-03. Insulated concrete flooring systems can deliver real benefits for the designer and builder

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LSF DELIVERS STUDENT STYLE Icarus LSF worked with Carillion Construction to create a large student accommodation scheme of over 280 units, located in central Newcastle. This time-critical project with several complex site constraints needed a building solution that would deliver both pace and innovation.

1 Working with Carillion, Icarus designed, manufactured and installed a fully load-bearing light steel frame (LSF) solution to create the 280 unit Vita Student building in Newcastle. As a large city centre scheme, the development faced numerous site constraints, prohibiting the use of traditional construction methods. Furthermore, the timecriticality of student accommodation developments meant that a fast-paced method of construction was required. 72

Using advanced 3D-modelling techniques, Icarus LSF developed an LSF solution that would enable rapid manufacture and a significant reduction in site activities. The use of offsite manufactured, pre-boarded wall frames and floor cassettes, and the installation of pre-assembled bathroom pods, meant not only that the building could be assembled rapidly but that each floor could quickly be made watertight for the progression of follow-on trades.


With safety and site restrictions in mind, Icarus LSF also developed an edge protection system that was fully integrated with the pre-assembled frames, removing the need for any scaffolding on the site. This, along with the provision of just-in-time deliveries, meant that the restrictions posed by the city centre location no longer impacted the client. Using 3D modelling and BIM, a design was created that enabled 95% of

STEEL the structure to be built from coldrolled steel components that could be pre-assembled away from the development site. All walls and floors were designed such that they could be pre-panellised and simply craned into position onsite. Cement particle board was factory-fitted to all wall panels as part of the assembly process and OSB decking was pre-fitted to all floor cassettes. All edge cassettes were designed such that they could accommodate an innovative hand-rail system, specifically developed by Icarus to remove the need for scaffolding. The system was installed prior to components being lifted into position so that

Using light gauge steel as the main building material, Icarus were able to offer a solution that not only benefited from the use of offsite manufacturing, but benefited from the mechanical and material properties of the steel itself. By using S350Nmm2 steel with 275gm2 galvanised coating, Icarus were able to provide a strength/weight ratio that significantly reduced the extent of the required building foundations. The fully galvanized coating provided lifetime corrosion protection and the employment of cold rolled steel delivered a high degree of tolerance and dimensional accuracy. To ensure the highest level of technical achievement and best practice, each stage of the project was measured and controlled to ISO standards with every steel frame uniquely labelled with frame number, weight and GA site references. A bespoke CAD/CAM interface, using CNC technology, was used to ensure every steel component produced using our state-of-the-art roll-forming machines exactly matched the approved design. Further to this, each component was produced to be self-jigging for accurate and fast assembly within the factory, further assuring quality at every step of the process.

Delivered to programme and significantly faster than traditional methods, the project has been a resounding success. Situated in a prominent city centre location, having a significant visual impact whilst being constructed was important as was minimising any disruption within the City. Key stakeholders have commented that the development has re-defined the standards of modern construction in the City, where an enclosed and congested environment has previously limited the delivery of cutting edge architectural briefs.


The speed of LSF installation and ability to reduce the critical path meant the project was delivered 50% faster than would be possible with traditional methods. Added to this, roundthe-clock manufacturing provided programme certainty not seen by our client on similar schemes. Beyond this, the fact that LSF can be installed in wet and inclement conditions enabled further programme acceleration and certainty.

edge protection was in place prior to gaining access to the next level of the build. Each component was designed such that onsite fixing could be done from underneath, further reducing site risks. Because of the pre-assembly and pre-boarding of components, each floor was rapidly watertight meaning follow-on trades could immediately make progress in parallel to the LSF installation.

Finally, because the steel solution provided a rapid dry envelope, follow on trades could commence work in parallel to the LSF install. For onbudget delivery, the solution provided a myriad of cost savings. Preliminary costs were reduced due to the faster programme, foundation costs were reduced due to the low weight of the solution and waste costs were reduced due to the use of a pre-engineered nowaste design. By employing the use of cold-rolled light steel, Icarus was able to deliver a solution that used 100% recyclable materials. Further to this, 98% of all factory waste was recycled and zero site wastage was generated.


4 For more information visit: Images: 01. Construction progress with edge protection system that was fully integrated with the pre-assembled frames 02. Internal light steel frame walls 03. Wall installation 04. BIM was an integral part of the project’s success






1 When leading student accommodation provider Unite announced plans for its latest development in Coventry, light gauge structural steel specialist voestalpine Metsec plc was chosen to provide a bespoke solution for a curved, complex shaped building in a confined location. Light gauge structural steel specialist voestalpine Metsec plc used its Metframe system to meet the building’s design and performance requirements, with the panels manufactured offsite helping streamline the build process and reduce activity on the busy, restricted site. Unite operates over 125 sites across 25 key university cities and towns in the UK. The latest development – known as Gosford Gate – will be home to 286 students and is a key part of a long-term regeneration programme in the Coventry area. The site combines studio living spaces with communal study, social and utility areas and will help satisfy the growing demand for student accommodation with over 20,000 students now enrolled at Coventry University. Led by main contractor Bowmer & Kirkland, the process of constructing a facility to host a large number of students within a restricted urban area required the full design and engineering capabilities of Metsec. In addition to the logistical issues of working in a congested location, the complex design required a number 74

of bespoke elements, to ensure that the framing solution accommodated the number of curves on the building. These challenges were met using Metsec’s innovative framing solution, which combines precision engineering with a concise delivery and installation process. The Metframe system was used to construct the upper levels of the building. Metframe is a lightweight panelised solution, ideal for mediumrise buildings. The panels are manufactured offsite and faceted around the curves on the building. This precision engineering helped to avoid waste onsite and limit the cost to the customer, as well as helping reduce the project’s overall environmental impact. The Metframe system provides a practical solution for this complex and confined development by reducing the amount of work required onsite – with framing delivered in the correct erection sequence for a streamlined installation process. Delivering the project within these challenges required clear collaboration from the supply chain. Angela Mansell, Operations Director at Mansell Finishes commented: “As one of Metsec’s preferred installers, we have benefitted from a close partnership for many years and this was particularly crucial to the success of this installation. This project presented many design and installation challenges. We worked closely with Metsec to ensure that we met the specific requirements of the project - particularly the difficult curved wall and corners of the building.


2 Maintaining clear communication meant that we could ensure a high quality solution was manufactured, delivered and installed efficiently and effectively.” Ryan Simmonds at Metsec commented further on the challenges of the Gosford Gate project: “When designing the framework, we had to consider both pitched and flat areas of the roof. Areas of the framework also needed to be faceted to accommodate the building’s curved corners. The use of BIM was crucial to ensure we could visualise the interfaces and ensure our teams would not face any issues onsite when it came to installation. “From the design and planning phase, we worked collaboratively with the architect, integrating our BIM model into theirs, allowing them to co-ordinate their own model and other following trades. The use of our offsite capabilities was also a significant advantage for the project as our Metframe panels were built with complete accuracy and delivered to site in the correct erection sequence – with no further modification required.” For more information visit: You can also connect at: @MetsecUK or

Images: 01-02. Gosford Gate is a complex shape in a tight urban environment



OFFSITE TRANSFORMATION FOR RIVERSIDE BRIDGE SCHOOL An offsite solution for the curriculum areas of the campus has significantly reduced the programme time for faster completion. This has helped to address the demand for school places in the area as a result of new housing. Offsite construction allowed the structure to be manufactured in York at the same time as the major ground works were progressed on site and created a high quality, watertight structure for fitting out much earlier in the build programme.

1 The Portakabin Group recently handed over the first phase of a £44 million new special educational needs (SEN) school for the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, which will be the UK’s largest free school campus. Constructed by Yorkon, the new SEN school for Riverside Bridge has doubled its capacity in time for the start of the 2016/17 academic year, providing much needed additional places at an earlier stage. The SEN scheme is part of the 23,000sqm Riverside Campus – an innovative new three-school campus which will accommodate 2,645 children. Designed by Surface to Air Architects, it will be operated by the multiacademy trust, Partnership Learning, and will integrate provision for nursery, primary, special needs, secondary, and sixth form pupils. The second and final phase will be handed over in late Spring 2017. Anna Hope, Head of School at Riverside Bridge, said: “The new building already feels very familiar to our children and part of the design was to facilitate the transition as some special needs children are very sensitive to change. The wide corridors, larger classrooms and overall design have created a really calm environment for the children. They love the floor-to-ceiling windows which overlook the outside play area and allow lots of light into the building for a very welcoming feel. 76

2 “We participated in weekly meetings with the construction team which were invaluable and allowed us input into the design. This attention to detail has helped to make this an outstanding building. This is still a live construction site but we are kept fully up-tospeed with how the wider project is progressing so we can maintain safety and reassure parents. The Portakabin team are so mindful of the children’s well-being. They worked around the clock to complete the floor above us as far as possible to avoid noise which could upset the children once we had moved in. And site deliveries have been restricted to avoid the times when our children arrive and leave the school.” The new purpose-designed facility has doubled the capacity of Riverside Bridge School to 64 children and will have space to further expand it to 160 places. Portakabin phased the construction programme to allow the SEN school to open on its new site ahead of the other buildings at Riverside Campus. On completion of the overall development, the SEN school will work very closely with the primary and secondary schools, creating an inclusive educational environment. The teaching areas for the three schools on the Riverside Campus have been constructed from 387 steel-framed modules, craned in over two phases with the largest module 18.75m long and weighed 20 tonnes.


Features of the new SEN school include: • Wider corridors to help children who have mobility or balance issues, giving them a sense of independence which improves their confidence • A large amount of storage space in the classrooms with lockable cupboards to allow as much clear space as possible and maintain a safe learning environment • Hard-wearing solid ceilings as items can be thrown into the air which would damage tiled ceilings • Hygienic, easy-to-clean flooring which is ideal for messy play and painting • A sensory room with specialist lighting • Hygiene rooms located on each floor and equipped with a hoist to assist children in wheelchairs • A specially-designed SEN playground with timber trail ways. The children also have access to a mini outdoor amphitheatre and raised plant beds • An external canopy for each classroom to provide a sheltered outdoor space for learning and play. The scheme is the seventh school building contract awarded to Portakabin by the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham and follows on from two earlier phases at a school near to the Riverside Campus. For more information visit: Images: 01-02. Riverside Bridge School has benefited hugely from offsite methods

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CONSTRUCTION FOR THE POSTINDUSTRIAL AGE Everything we do now should be done with our planet in mind, says leading architect Andrew Waugh – this especially includes our built environment. His practice Waugh Thistleton is at the forefront of tall timber design with its pioneering use of cross laminated timber (CLT) and proving that positive mantra can be achieved. Through the 1980’s and 90’s engineers and scientists in Switzerland and Austria worked with sophisticated harmless new adhesives laminating timber planks in perpendicular layers to form large panels. The genius of these simple panels is to create a building material that is light, adaptable and very strong. Commercial production began in Austria in the late 90’s. By 2008 50,000m3 a year were produced in Austria, Germany and Switzerland and by 2017, more than a 1 million cubic metres will be produced across the world. In 2003 my practice built the first CLT panel building in the UK – a 45sq m, three-storey extension for classical musician Joji Hattori in South London. It was a small but perfect experience. Three carpenters built this accurate little building on a Saturday afternoon, craned directly off the delivery truck. We took the notion of that modest building and extrapolated it. To face the two challenges for contemporary architecture – climate change and urban densification – how can we build up our cities without exacerbating climate change? Through our experience of the Hattori building we contemplated of a city built from 78

timber and of a new timber age for architecture. We drew a lot of timber buildings over the next few years but no one was interested. So we honed our argument. We demonstrated that this a very quick method of construction – very quick. We demonstrated to our clients that we could build buildings in half the time with half the people onsite, less deliveries and less foundations. We got better and better at this argument. Alongside this we got better at politics. Politics with our clients and local politics. We were able to encourage local politicians that by using timber we could build truly sustainable buildings quietly and with half the construction traffic. In April 2007 we presented our ideas to a housing co-op for a building in Shoreditch, East London. We took the principle of the design to the local authority and were permitted two extra storeys – we presented this at the feet of our client and with other facts – it was faster, less expensive and cheaper – they bit. By January 2008 we started construction and by January 2009 the first people were living there. It was a fast ride.


Proposing a nine storey timber building was a challenge in many ways and we had only weeks to demonstrate it was feasible. Between us, the Engineer Techniker, the manufacturer KLH and finally our client, we raced around the UK persuading, encouraging and cajoling people not into immediately signing off the structure but into becoming part of the design team. We could not have built this building without the enthusiasm and passion of everyone involved. The completion of Stadthaus changed the perception of timber construction forever. Our vision to demonstrate that timber is a viable alternative to concrete and steel was built. Every September we give a public talk about timber architecture outside Stadthaus as part of the Open House weekend. Invariably a resident of the building will come down and tell us all what it’s like to live there – that they can’t hear the neighbours or they have never used the heating. Because beyond the fact that we are using this wonderfully renewable carbon based material, is that timber is a beautiful material to build in. Timber builds healthy breathing buildings – buildings fit for people to live in.


Images: 01-02. The ten-storey Dalston Lane. Courtesy Daniel Shearing 03-04. Murray Grove (Stadthaus) changed perceptions of timber construction in the UK. Courtesy Will Pryce


1 We are learning more about how the material works on each building we complete. To meet energy-use codes the envelope of the building must meet a certain thermal resistance. We know that timber has a completely different thermal dynamic to masonry – timber manages a temperature equilibrium, cooler in summer and warmer in winter. In each of our timber buildings the thermal performance outstrips expectation. We shouldn’t be surprised, timber is a natural material, prone to the same climatic conditions that we are. Since 2009 we have built seven more CLT buildings, I now live in one! Our latest project Dalston Lane is 17,000sq m, ten storeys tall and built for a large UK housebuilder. On this project another piece of the puzzle was completed – we were able to transfer the 3D design drawings from our computers directly to the engineer and then the same file was migrated to the CLT factory where the timber panels were cut precisely to size, with window and door openings cut out and recesses routed for services. Prefabrication this precise allowed the panels to be assembled onsite with accuracy unknown to twentieth century

3 construction methods. Prefabrication takes preparation. A little more time spent at the earlier stages of the job ensured that all the pieces were present and correct. Through this digital connection the architect is brought so much closer to the process of construction. We are learning at a faster rate than I thought possible in architecture, we are once again beginning to understand how the materials we build with can influence the architecture we create. We are at the beginning of an evolutionary process, as the first cars resembled carriages, our buildings are very similar in conception to their concrete forebears. The typology developed a hundred years ago through the re-discovery of concrete is deeply embedded in our creative psyche, the visual references that we hold for buildings are concrete ones. Beyond this, the processes of construction are still steeped in concrete and the disciplines, the contracts and the building sites we see around us are those of an ‘industrial age’. Moving rapidly forward into a climate-sensitive culture these processes by necessity must be completely re-configured.

4 We are truly seeing the emergence of a timber age in architecture. We are now working alongside architects such as Richard Rogers in the UK, SHOP in the USA and with Shigeru Ban on a project in London. We have students and professors from around the world knocking on our door every week with bags full of questions.

It is exciting times. For now we need to do two things: we need to quickly learn how to re-build our cities naturally, beautifully and efficiently. And we need to grow more trees. We need to fill our planet full of trees, soak up the carbon and re-fuel the soil. We need to do this now, because although our timber buildings go up quickly trees really do grow very slowly. For more information visit:





in the UK, architects and specifiers are realising the full capabilities of structural timber. Innovations such as CLT are the driving force behind this change and one of the primary reasons why we are seeing the creative and technical boundaries being pushed. For those still unaware and to get a bit technical, CLT is a structural two-way spanning timber panel solution that can be used to form walls, roof and floor panels as well as shear walls and can be supplied as FSC® and PEFCcertified.

1 Structural timber systems including cross laminated timber (CLT) are playing a major role in delivering precision-designed, sustainable construction. Nic Clark, Managing Director of KLH – specialists in CLT – shares his opinions on why this material is becoming so popular. The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in the period from about 1760 to sometime between 1820 and 1840 – fast forward nearly two hundred years and today we are witnessing what the BBC has referred to as a ‘timber revolution’. This is not a new phenomenon, Europe is full of timber framed structures dating back hundreds of years whose architecture and techniques of construction have evolved over the centuries, but in my opinion, some of the greatest innovations have been made over the last decade. To quote an old proverb ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ and I believe fulfilling multiple requirements is the primary driving force behind structural timber technology gaining traction on a global scale. 80

We have been on the cusp of change for some time and now, with such factors as the recently published Housing White Paper and the Government-commissioned Farmer Report calling for the industry to ‘Modernise or Die’ – offsite manufacturing is taking centre stage. Whether we are experiencing a timber revolution is debatable but there is no doubt that structural timber as a primary offsite construction technology, has gone through a period of transformation and as with the Industrial Revolution, it is new manufacturing processes and investment that have brought about this change. Timber technology is becoming the vital component in shaping city skylines. From Canada and the USA to Australia and here


CLT is produced by laminating and finger jointing soft wood timber lamellas at 90° to the layer below, this can encompass between three and seven layers. The structural benefits of CLT include its large bi-axial and flexural loadbearing capacity when used as a wall or slab, together with its superior acoustic and structural performance properties. CLT is five times lighter than concrete and distributes concentrated loads as line loads at foundation level, which reduces the requirement for localised pad foundations. In practice this offers a greater return on investment for developers, as the reduced loading can result in taller timber structures which equates to more storeys offering enhanced profit margins. This is particularly beneficial in city locations with complex underground infrastructures and where land is at a premium. CLT structures of 10 storeys have already been constructed in the UK. Current knowledge supports up to 15-storey designs, but the feasibility of building a timber structure up to 30-storeys tall has been investigated by Canadian architect Michael Green. Structures are typically built using a ‘platform frame’ approach, meaning that walls are temporarily braced with raking props before floor panels are lowered onto them and fixed.


TIMBER and apply. Not only is it a renewable material, it involves very little waste during production and is extremely carbon efficient to transport. When we consider the whole manufacturing processes for the production of each m3 of CLT, -676kg of CO2 will still be stored after the production process.

3 In addition to excellent sustainability credentials, good thermal insulation performance and sound insulation properties – it is speed of construction where CLT is in a class of its own. It is a rapid, robust and reliable offsite manufactured solution, delivers many benefits during the construction process and beyond. Manufactured to exceptional levels of accuracy in factory-controlled conditions ensures minimal defects and improves construction and project delivery time, reducing costs and maximising efficiency on all levels – providing cost and programme certainty.

However, the benefits do not end after the construction phase. Due to the enhanced performance values and robust nature of CLT, the on-going lifecycle costs of the building is vastly reduced through less maintenance requirements and lower energy consumption. We may commonly hear the term ‘carbon sequestration’, which is the process of capturing and long-term storage of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). Solid wood products such as CLT are natural, renewable and are far less energy-intensive to produce

All facts, figures and environmental arguments notwithstanding, a key reason why architects and their clients are turning increasingly to CLT is the sheer design flexibility, adaptability, aesthetic value and all round quality of a modern engineered timber solution. For more information visit: Images: 01. William Perkin Academy 02. Frampton Park Baptist Church 03. Hastings Pier. All images courtesy KLH




GLOBAL OFFSITE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY TO FOCUS ON THE UK The Offsite Construction Summit will take place in London later on in the year and will host speakers from around the globe and showcase international best-practice in offsite construction and manufacturing technology. The Offsite Construction Summit will bring to life some of the most inspirational and ground breaking offsite projects from around the world and profile some of the largest offsite manufacturing facility investments. Covering a range of vertical markets over the two-day programme, the case study-focused presentations will showcase design, engineering, project management, manufacturing investment and technological developments across a range of offsite manufactured systems and material types. These will include: light gauge steel frame, precast concrete, structural timber, pods, volumetric modular, MEP and hybrid solutions. With 20 speakers, including a number from the UK, the range and scale of projects being presented at the Offsite Construction Summit will be truly inspirational. Speakers include clients, architects, engineers, manufacturers, project managers and academics that have been directly involved in designing and delivering some of the world’s largest and most innovative projects across a range of vertical markets, including: private residential and institutional housing, student accommodation, education, healthcare and a range of infrastructure projects.


Delegates will have the opportunity to interact with speakers during panel Q&A sessions, structured networking sessions and the evening drinks reception. Knowledge sharing and knowledge transfer is a prime objective with the potential to identify collaboration opportunities. The Offsite Construction Summit will be supported by an exhibition of offsite manufactured technologies, components, design and software systems, permitting delegates to collate information on a wide range of solutions. Another milestone at the Offsite Construction Summit will be the launch of the first Offsite Yearbook – a new annual publication that will not only bring news, feature articles, company announcements and industry awards into one document, but also focus on the challenges the industry faces, the opportunity for growth and showcase new technology innovations coming into the market. Visit www. to register your interest in receiving a hard copy of the Offsite Yearbook.


TICKETS, SPONSORSHIP & FURTHER INFORMATION Tickets for the Offsite Construction Summit will be on sale from the beginning of June, when the speaker line-up will be announced at the 2017 Offsite Awards in London on 13 June. To pre-register for your Summit ticket and to receive the Early-Bird Discount of 20% on ticket prices please email your details to: If you are interested in exhibition or sponsorship opportunities for the Offsite Construction Summit please email your enquiry to: For further details on the Offsite Construction Summit speaker line up keep an eye on announcements via the: Finally, if you would like to be considered for delivering a presentation at the Offsite Construction Summit please email: with details of the project/innovation/subject matter that you would like to cover.




The OFFSITE CONSTRUCTION SUMMIT will bring to life some of the most inspirational and ground breaking offsite projects from around the world and profile some of the largest offsite manufacturing facility investments.





To pre-register and receive the Early-Bird Discount of 20% on ticket prices, please email your details to: 1. Brooklyn, New York - SHoP Architects, 461 Dean Street. Photo credit - SHoP Architects 2. Manchester, UK - Urban Splash, hoUSe. Photo credit - Urban Splash 3. Hong Kong, China – Lakesmere, Clearance Building for the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge. Photo credit – Lakesmere 4. Melbourne, Australia - Rothelowman Architects, La Trobe Tower. Photo credit - Rothelowman Architects





1 Twelve new affordable, timber framed houses for Winchester City Council where selected and built primarily because of the high levels of airtightness that can be achieved over other construction methods alongside speed of construction. Winchester City Council had not built any new housing stock in the last 25 years, relying only on provision from registered social landlords. In 2013 the Council began a programme of assessing all the land they currently owned to seek opportunities to develop new council housing for affordable rent to those on the local housing need lists. T2 Architects were appointed to assess the development potential of an underused recreation ground and garage court on land to the rear of existing Council properties. A thorough programme of research was undertaken by the council to assess the specific housing need in the area. The result of this exercise was that there was a need for some small one and two-bedroom properties for downsizers, to encourage elderly tenants currently under occupying larger three and four-bedroom family homes to move out to free these up for families. At the same time the need for additional new family housing was also high. The use of timber frame at Symonds Close helped the scheme to easily achieve the Code for Sustainable 84

Homes Level 5 for energy usage. This will mean low energy consumption and in turn benefit the Council’s tenants with lower energy bills. Assembling the frame on site (rather than a panelised system) meant fewer deliveries of materials to the site which is located in a residential area. The site itself was also constrained with little space for storage and manoeuvring materials around. The timber frame solution meant less raw material to move around and store onsite compared to more traditional methods of construction. The site is located between a row of detached bungalows, set at a lower level to the south, and a row of two storey houses, on higher ground to the north. The roof design of the proposed houses mediates between the two adjacent types. In particular the roof design of several plots has been carefully conceived by wrapping the fibre-cement slates used on the roofs down over the first floor walls, creating a visually lower impact. Highlevel rooflights are installed over the stairs, landings bathrooms and the rear facing bedrooms, with no rear facing windows at first floor level on the rear elevation. Projecting bay windows to the side elevations provide ventilation and means of escape via the windows in their sides. The timber frame solution has resulted in very few loadbearing walls internally which means the dwellings have a high degree of flexibility for future


3 internal adaptations. This is especially relevant to this project as a proportion of the dwellings have been designed to accommodate downsizers who tend to be older tenants who are more likely to need adaptions in the future to meet their needs. Each dwelling meets ‘Lifetime Homes’ standards and one unit has been adapted for its first tenants – a family with a severely disabled son. The main contractor had worked with the specialist timber frame supplier on a number of previous projects so already had a good understanding and working knowledge of the system. The timber frame suppliers were appointed at the outset of the detailed design process which meant they were able to inform the design. Their involvement and expertise early in the process allowed interfaces of the frame to be resolved and fully co-ordinated with other elements of the design before any work begun onsite. This smoothed the process and resulted in fewer issues onsite as construction progressed. For more information visit: Images: 01-03. Symonds Close, Winchester is a superb use of timber frame construction on underused land for affordable homes. Courtesy T2 Architects

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1 As the Keystone Group move closer to factory built houses, Keystone Group’s Commercial Director, Sean Og Coyle explains the company’s latest plans for offsite housing. The Government’s determined focus on the need to address the housing crisis has thrown down the gauntlet to the housebuilding industry. Ambitious targets, hampered by the lack of skills and labour shortages, leaves every housebuilder in the country considering how they can join the current ‘offsite revolution’ in our industry. Keystone’s strong reputation in the industry is built upon our award winning innovation across a range of offsite products. We work closely with most major developers and our R&D team is involved in their strategic planning for new building methods. We believe that the future supply of housing will be met by either factory-built modular homes or a more versatile factory-fabricated flatpack system. The Keystone Group’s extensive product range covers all 86

the major components needed to deliver the latter and we are currently partnering developers in delivering this solution. Our ‘Keyhouse’ project draws on the expertise within our timber division including our own roof truss company, our newly acquired timber frame house company and our wellestablished market leader Smartroof. Allied to our IG masonry support and Brickslip systems, Keystone Lintels, Keylite Roof Windows and our Range of GRP dormers, chimneys and decorative door and window surrounds, we have everything needed to deliver or customer needs. Our recent appointment of Chris Hagan to lead the Keyhouse project demonstrates our commitment to this product. Chris’s experience at Space4 – the timber frame division of Persimmon Homes – will help us to serve the market with a factory-built house whilst maintaining the quality, expertise and customer care that customers have come to expect from the Keystone Group.


Keystone’s track record in offsite to date has been strong as we have focused on developing factory-built housing components which enable housebuilders to enjoy the key benefits of offsite, including build quality, enhanced energy efficiency and a reduction of onsite risks to the health and safety of staff. For more information visit: Images: 01. Offsite components are central to delivering faster housebuilding

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OFFSITE: ONLY PART OF THE SOLUTION While offsite manufacturing is destined to play an increasingly important role in the future of building engineering services, it doesn’t have all the answers yet says Tim Rook, Technical Director of the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA). Pioneers Building engineering services specialists understand offsite better than most. After all, ventilation ductwork contractors were the ultimate prefabrication pioneers and have been building their systems offsite since the 19th Century. Today, offsite work includes almost every type of building service from packaged plant rooms and boiler houses to air handling plant and water services. Toilet/ bathroom pods, integrated ceiling modules, pump sets, pre-assembled wiring, HVAC distribution systems and prefabricated window units incorporating trickle ventilation are tried and tested and widely deployed.

1 It is often said that the worst place to build anything is a building site – our industry just happens to do it pretty well. We have adapted well to the uncertainties thrown up by site-based projects and have been able to show flexibility when responding to technical challenges that need to be solved ‘on the spot’. However, the complex logistics, difficult working environments and complicated site management that are all fundamental parts of construction projects can make achieving quality construction difficult and they are not particularly enticing for potential new 88

recruits to the industry. The fact that we can now manufacture and test building engineering systems in factory conditions that are safer and more controlled is delivering huge benefits and driving progress. In some projects, more than 75% of the work is now being carried out offsite and this can deliver significant benefits in terms of time and cost savings. According to a long-term study carried out by the RICS, offsite projects have a 94% on budget success rate compared to 49% for traditional construction and 96% of them are on time compared to 63% for more conventional projects.


The mistake is in thinking it can replace all of our processes and replicate all of the finely honed skills required to ensure all of the components come together onsite to make the finished building work. Offsite is a good way of addressing some of our skills shortages, improving productivity and bearing down on rising costs in our supply chains, but onsite work and re-work will always be part of complex construction projects. Having said that we are not ignoring the government’s growing enthusiasm for offsite. However, it is not easy to get offsite projects right and it is certainly not the panacea that some seem to think. The secret of successful prefabrication is having extremely accurate upfront design, which is still something of a work in progress for the construction industry. The move to Level 3 BIM as part of the ‘Digital Built Britain’ programme could deliver the greater accuracy of design models needed to embed offsite fabrication more successfully into contractors’ way of working, but

BUILDING ENGINEERING SERVICES ASSOCIATION that reality still lies somewhere in the future. More can (and should) be done offsite than is the current norm and it is important to acknowledge that the Government believes reducing the cost of house building is important and that moving production offsite can achieve this – even though it is just one factor hindering expansion of the market. Our industry needs, therefore, to be ready and able to embrace this way of working wherever it makes sense. Prefabrication definitely has merits and creates opportunities to improve efficiency, but it is not – on its own – the answer to all the problems in construction supply chains. Nor is it likely to deliver one million new homes. Images: 01. Offsite work includes almost every type of building service from packaged plant rooms and boiler houses to air handling plant and water services

Excitement For all the excitement around offsite, progress has been slow and only a relatively small number of clients have recognised the importance of establishing direct links with the offsite supply chain. This is particularly important if you are looking to deliver mechanical, electrical and plumbing services offsite because they require early input from specialist engineers to get the designs right. How these services are procured is critical and, if offsite is to increase its market share, the tender process has to include a detailed plan for how many and what type of man-hours are to be transferred from the site to the factory. Change is happening, but it is not universal across all market sectors because many people are struggling to get the financial models right which means they will, inevitably, revert to type and seek to procure in the traditional way. If you attempt that with off-site modules you can get into serious difficulties.

However, the infrastructure and housebuilding sectors at the heart of post-Brexit government strategy are particularly ripe for this change and the building engineering sector is ready to respond. Our technical understanding of the different approaches to offsite fabrication is improving all the time and, at BESA, we have technical guidance (TR/39) produced in partnership with Buildoffsite that can help contractors get this right. It is available here:

As our understanding of this discipline improves, the section of the Guide currently proving most useful to BESA members is the one that explains when to use offsite; which projects are best suited to this approach and importantly, when the traditional site-based system is still the most appropriate. For more information visit:

Can your organisation afford to waste money? Poor workmanship often adds additional costs that in turn affects your bottom line, the answer is simple, use a BESA member for all your building engineering services work. Using a BESA member guarantees the quality of the work carried out.







There is a common illusion that residential projects are generally repetitive, however, the Gasholders project in London tells another story. Set in King’s Cross – one of the largest areas of central London to be developed in the past 150 years – the circular Gasholders project is a pioneering example of cutting-edge offsite manufacturing and prefabrication. Housing 145 luxury apartments, the project is the sixth Mechanical & Electrical (M&E) design and build project for leading national engineering specialist, SES Engineering Services on the King’s Cross site. Its success has been a team effort. Working alongside main contractor Carillion and developer King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership, SES is delivering full M&E works on three ground-breaking circular residential buildings which will sit within the original Grade II-listed, cast-iron gasholder guide frames. Following the success of offsite manufacturing on the revolutionary Plimsoll Building (P1) where SES utilised world-leading offsite manufacturing techniques to design and install 255 service cupboard modules – one for each apartment – containing all essential mechanical and electrical plant and equipment, the team is now applying the same technologies to install more than 300 (due to services being split) cupboard modules at the new Gasholders build. 90



The project presents the additional challenge of ensuring M&E solutions are designed exclusively for a circular building.

has successfully delivered the 3D BIM modelling for prefabricated M&E service risers, full take-offs and cut lists for the basement plant areas and corridors. To date the hours taken offsite on this project are substantial, currently standing at a total of over 5,000.

By creating the cupboard modules offsite, SES has avoided multiple trades onsite working in a congested area, along with the associated logistical and health and safety issues. The cupboards are produced at SES’ dedicated offsite manufacturing facility, Prism, and delivered to site shrinkwrapped in batches of 15 modules per lorry. The frames are fitted with wheels and stiffening bars to prevent any twisting during transportation, so that once hoisted up the building they can be rolled across the concrete floor slabs to the flats. Once in position, they are jacked up, the wheels are removed and they are then lowered and fixed into position. In addition, SES is delivering all the main service risers covering six riser shafts each extending up the three gasholders incorporating 1.7km of finished and tested pipework, ductwork and electrical containment. SES Operations Manager, Will Newman explains: “By using these cupboards and developing them in the factory, we’re taking about eight trades offsite. They only take about a week to make and the finished products are dust free, clean and ready to go.” The project has been set with high offsite manufacturing targets. In addition to the circular modules SES


SES ENGINEERING SERVICES SES Engineering Services benefits from a dedicated offsite manufacturing facility, Prism, which provides an innovative alternative to labour-intensive, time consuming onsite production and assembly. SES Engineering Services is committed to the ‘art of pre-construction’ and is entirely dedicated to improving design and pre-construction activity in the industry. Our design, technical engineering and BIM modelling ability has resulted in award-winning efficiencies. SES Engineering Services was the first mechanical, electrical and plumbing contractor (MEP) to achieve BRE BIM Level 2 Business Certification, one month ahead of the government’s public sector project compliance deadline.

For more information visit: Images: 01. Gasholders London King’s Cross. Courtesy of King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership. 02. 3D image of the GHT prefabricated core 03. Manufacture in the Prism facility

Photo courtesy of: King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership

Creating smarter, better environments

SES Engineering Services is recognised as one of the leading M&E partners in the UK, delivering for a wide range of customers by creating environments where our clients can excel. As a market leader, SES delivers building services that are derived from an exceptional level of technical authority. We deliver bespoke designled solutions and optimise productivity for the whole construction team, by maximising offsite manufacture in our award-winning production facility, Prism.

Above all, it’s about people

To find out more about how we can work together, please call: Paul Newby, Executive Engineering Services Director T: 01904 629151 E: Our locations: York | Birmingham | Bristol | Glasgow | London | Manchester | Newcastle




TRELAWNY GARDENS One example of RendClad’s use is at the Trelawny Gardens scheme (Image 01), where it is helping revolutionise the timber construction industry and challenge out-dated procurement processes and designs. Based in Plymouth, the new Trelawny Gardens housing scheme has breathed new life into the former South Trelawny School site, creating much-needed, vibrant, energy efficient, affordable housing for rent and shared ownership in the North Prospect area of Plymouth. Welcomed by the local community as one of the area’s most important regeneration projects, it is also a development that has challenged every tradition in the building industry from procurement and design, through to materials and construction methods.

1 SPSenvirowall’s RendaClad System is a BBA-accredited rainscreen system being used across the UK to cut build times, save money and create more sustainable homes. RendaClad was developed for applying a seamless rendered rainscreen system to a timber framed structure. It replaces the need to build a blockwork façade, finishing with low performance cementitious renders. RendaClad is a full façade system made up of many carefully selected components which have been rigorously tested and as an entire system makes up one of a very few BBA-approved systems of its type which provides the reassurance that it will perform over the long term. The system ensures a fully-ventilated and drained cavity is maintained within the wall structure, meeting the requirements of the NHBC and TRADA. They system can be applied to any wall structure, including lightweight steel frame or masonry construction. RendaClad replaces the need for the slow cumbersome and traditional methods that come with brick and block laying. It is not reliant on the skillsets where brick work, material and supply are in high demand and where a shortage of skills and labour add to project timescales and costs.


Benefits include: • Speed of Construction – the application of RendaClad panels and the rendering of high performance thin coat renders is far quicker than the laying of traditional bricks and blocks and application of thick monocouche renders. • Testing and Accreditation – the system in fully accredited with BBA and recognised by NHBC, TRADA and the Structural Timber Association (STA). • Value-added Engineering – early engagement with SPS technical team • BIM Format – SPS Envirowall are able to provide details of all its external wall insulation and cladding systems in a BIM format which can be downloaded from our website or accessed through the national BIM Library. • Cost-Effective - highly cost-effective when compared to more traditional methods of construction. • Extensive Track Record – projects in the UK in excess of 10 years old. Accelerated ageing tests undertaken giving a life expectancy in excess of 30 years • Lightweight – savings can be made in the substructure due to the lightweight nature of the system. • Durability – the use of proprietary polymer modified and silicone renders give it weather resistance and durability far beyond traditional finishes.


The innovative materials and technology in SPSenvirowall’s RendaClad system ensured the 47 new homes boasted reduced heat loss and carbon emissions as well as minimising running costs. The system also dramatically reduced build time. As there are no height restrictions per day as with a traditional block and brick finish. It can be fitted in any weather, allowing the scheme to be delivered ahead of schedule, providing early tenancy for those in need and providing Devon and Cornwall Housing with greater income than budgeted.

• Aesthetics – there is an extensive range of finishes including bricks, stone, timber effect claddings and coloured renders. • Crack Resistant – the flexibility of the renders and reinforcing mesh provide resistance to cracking from the movement of the substrate. • Non-Combustible – RendaFlex Lite is classified A1 non-combustible • Guaranteed – RendaClad has a 12 year guarantee. • Low Maintenance – the high performance silicone renders maintain their appearance far longer than traditional monocouche renders and do not spoil easily. • Savings – due to the speed of the application and the reduced depth of the overall system, significant savings can be made in the scaffold costs. • Site Storage – the volume of building materials required is massively reduced so there is no requirement to store bricks or blocks on site. Coverage rates of render is four times greater than that of traditional renders. For more information visit:

At SPSenvirowall, we’re committed to ensuring you spend less time worrying and more time getting the job done.

Less money

Less time

Less tradesmen

Less maintenance

Less storage

Less materials

Less waiting

Less permeable

Less cracks

Less ageing

Less combustible

Less weight

Rendaclad Rendaclad is a high performance, seamless rendered rainscreen system designed for cladding timber frame construction. It is tough, durable and dimensionally stable. With a 12 year guarantee and fully accredited, Rendaclad reduces overall construction time and cost, allowing you to worry less and save more.

Top Coat Primer Mesh Reinforcement Enviromend Base Coat RendaFlex Lite Board Breather Membrane

For a quote or to find out more Call our team on 01443 803086 or visit us at

Connect with us on the following

Timber Batten Timber Frame



SPSenvirowall Ltd


WE WANT YOUR OFFSITE PROJECT - NOW! The increased government and media attention surrounding offsite manufacture is a clear indicator of offsite technologies gaining more traction and becoming regarded as less of a niche sector within the construction industry. Champion offsite and showcase your skills at the Offsite Awards.

1 Are you an architect, project manager, contractor or manufacturer who has utilised offsite manufacture and construction in the past 18 months? If so, we want to celebrate your success by encouraging you to enter the 2017 Offsite Construction Awards. The Offsite Construction Awards in 2017 will be bigger and better than ever – with phenomenal levels of interest. Being shortlisted for an Offsite Construction Award and ultimately winning an award is your chance to significantly enhance the profile of your practise and demonstrate a market-leading position. Categories within the 2017 Offsite Construction Awards include: Best Use of Concrete, Best Use of Timber, Best Use of Steel, Best Hybrid Construction Project, Best Use of Volumetric Technology, Best Use of MEP Prefabrication, Housing Project of the Year, Commercial/Retail Project of the Year, Infrastructure Project of the Year, Product Innovation Award, Offsite Professional of the Year and, four new categories for this year; Healthcare Project of the Year, Education Project of the Year, Project Manager of the Year and International Project of the Year.


The Awards will celebrate outstanding examples of prefabrication and factorybased methods, products, systems and disciplines that increasingly strive to develop a sustainable, streamlined and cost-effective way to deliver a better built environment. If you have an outstanding project, innovative product application and/or dynamic people promoting excellence in offsite construction across the UK (and now overseas), then you should be entering the Offsite Construction Awards and receiving the recognition that you deserve. The reward for doing work successfully is the opportunity to do it again and by winning an award, or being shortlisted, you will be able to highlight your success in embracing and using offsite technology to potential clients. All shortlisted projects, products and people will be profiled throughout 2017 via a comprehensive marketing campaign, which includes feature articles in Offsite Magazine, Explore Offsite speaker opportunities and profiling in the Project Gallery of the Offsite Hub.



13 APRIL 17 Remember entry in to the Offsite Construction Awards is FREE and can be done online by visiting: There is no maximum limit on how many projects or categories you can enter. Each category requires only five questions to be answered, plus supporting information and a range of images – the more striking and descriptive the better – all of which can be easily uploaded via the dedicated Awards website.

Images: 01. The 2016 Offsite Construction Awards Highly Commended 02. Offsite Construction 2016 Winners of Winners Award - B & K Structures and Engenuiti


13.04.2017 The Offsite Construction Awards are returning in a bigger and better capacity for 2017. The awards will celebrate 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.

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 13 April 2017 to receive the recognition you deserve.

Enter by visiting: There is no cost to enter the Offsite Awards, and no limit to the number of entries submitted.


INVEST IN YOUR PEOPLE – SEE OFF THE POACHERS A career is often made up of several different roles and positions. People move around and that is unavoidable. But poaching people is a problem for many employers. Jim Roach, Managing Director of specialist recruiter ARV Solutions explains how an Investors In People award can act as a way to stop it happening.

1 I’m opening myself up to some abusive calls that recruiters are the worst poachers – actually within my recruitment business we rarely take this blunt approach and see it as flawed – but hey, guess what? My staff get poached all the time too. I find it frustrating to have my staff approached, though not surprising, as they are talented valuable people, as are yours.

Image: 01. Jim Roach


So how do we get them to stay? They only stay because we do everything possible to look after our people in every single way. ARV Solutions has flourished in recent years and we have a plan to grow significantly over the next three years. We decided to go through the Investors In People process to benchmark where we are now, against the highest quality measure, to ensure as we move forward we have the most effective leadership and development practices in place. We also want to ensure we have the tools and knowledge to keep improving them – and to help retain our talent who are essential to the process.


Investing in People – a golden moment Towards the end of 2016 I experienced the proudest moment of my career so far. My business, ARV Solutions achieved the Investors In People standard. Not just that, but we achieved Gold accreditation at first attempt. Just 265 organisations have achieved this accolade at first assessment and just 31 recruitment businesses hold Gold accreditation (of over 10,000 in the UK). For a company to achieve this at the first attempt is almost unknown and even the Assessor quoted: “a great achievement with a first time assessment.” We had high hopes but no certainty of gaining accreditation. We believed we demonstrate a strong commitment to training and staff development. We work within a team-oriented culture rarely seen within a recruitment agency business and are committed to improvement wherever we can. We place value on rewarding the team not just the individual. To have the business measured by one of the most recognised standards in the world and achieve the Gold standard is a huge boost to the company and the staff.

SKILLS & RECRUITMENT Happiness, Pride and Loyalty = Retention Training and development is essential. Not just one-off courses, which can be a ‘training pill’ soon forgotten, but ongoing encouragement for selfdevelopment and getting people involved in training and mentoring each other in-house, letting them take charge of meetings, socials planning, and improving their work environment is highly rewarding and valued. There’s also carefully considered employee benefits, some of which don’t cost much though hold significant value. Flexible working, cycle to work schemes, child care vouchers, team building social activities, occasional treats, charity work, and of course one of our office favourites the Friday morning bacon sandwich (always spoken of as our key benefit!).

Continuous Improvement We are fully aware we cannot rest on our laurels. We enter 2017 determined to expand on our accreditation. Continuous improvement is key. Constant attention to improvement breeds enthusiasm, which is infectious – thus gaining loyal employees who take pride in their work – which positively affects overall business performance. Like all things you only get out of it what you put in and the same applies to employees (actually I believe there is a disproportionate benefit when you are getting it all right). Take steps to evaluate company practises, engage and involve your team and identify champions, this can inspire meaningful change. No headhunter ever poached someone kicking and screaming – staff leave of their own volition. Once you have in place all the right actions to reward your talented staff you can see off the poachers, and guess what? You are now a very attractive place to work, and will soon start attracting talent more easily too!

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

ARV Solutions is a small business specialising in offsite construction and manufacturing technical recruitment, so people are at the heart of what we do. It is important we embody brilliant employee values and a strong employer brand in order to both understand and advise employers. It is rewarding to know our company ethos is supported throughout the business. For more information visit:

ARV Solutions are the UK’s leading recruitment consultancy for the offsite construction sector and it’s supply chain. Our valueable relationships with our clients means we have access to unadvertised job opportunities. Each member of our team is a expert in their field they are dedicated to matching candidates from trainee through to management level.

Our team’s specialist knowledge of your industry means they are best placed to offer you specific advice and support within this niche sector. From your job search to writing your CV. Call today for impartial and confidential advice on your career: 0117 959 2008.

Follow us: @arvsolutions SPRING 2017 | WWW.OFFSITEMAGAZINE.CO.UK


DATES FOR YOUR DIARY If you are interested in learning more about offsite construction and the associated manufacturing processes then choose from some of the following offsite events DATE 04-05 April




Explore Offsite Housing


This major event for the housing sector will bring together technology leaders to discuss the growing opportunities that the housing shortage presents for offsite construction solutions. The nation’s media has been reporting on a UK housing crisis for many months, but is there now a climate for change in the industry? 13 April

Inside Offsite Factory Tour: FP McCann

FP McCann Factory, Cheshire

FP McCann are opening their factory doors to construction professionals to allow them to discover more about precast concrete. FP McCann’s specialist precast division manufactures a wide range of high quality precast components to the construction industry. 04 May

Inside Offsite Factory Tour: SIG Offsite

SIG Offsite Factory, Alfreton

SIG Offsite are opening their factory doors to construction professionals to allow them to discover more about panelised and volumetric structural timber solutions. SIG’s specialist offsite division manufactures a wide range of high quality offsite solutions from panelised wall and roofing solutions to bathroom pods and structural volumetric modules. 18 May

Explore Offsite Education


The government has confirmed that an investment of c. £2 billion is to be allocated to rebuild or refurbish 277 schools across England. This integrated conference and exhibition event creates a platform for construction clients, architects, engineers and contractors to come together and discuss the latest offsite solutions in the education sector. 13 June

2017 Offsite Construction Awards


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 cost-effective way to deliver a better built environment. SUBMISSION DEADLINE: 13 APRIL 2017 20 September

Explore Offsite Healthcare


This event will present case studies of projects that have used offsite technology to create a new facility, upgrade or extension in a seamless way, on-time and on-budget working in a sensitive, inclusive and collaborative fashion. Speakers will discuss how they have met the healthcare provider and/or the NHS Trust’s expectations in providing a sustainable, energy efficient and cost-effective contemporary building. 21 September

Inside Offsite Factory Tour: EOS Facades

EOS Factory, County Durham

EOS Facades have launched a series of CPD Factory Tours at their state of the art facility in County Durham. Hosted by the EOS Technical Team together with the Siniat specification team, the tours are completely FREE to attend 10 October

2017 Structural Timber Awards


More than 500 leaders and innovators from across the construction sector will gather at the National Conference Centre, Birmingham, on October 10 for the Structural Timber Awards. The prestigious award ceremony will reward outstanding projects, innovative products and dynamic people promoting excellence in structural timber across the UK.

CONNECTING THE UK OFFSITE INDUSTRY Online information centre offering industry news, project profiles, technical downloads and learning resources tailored to the offsite sector.



In a world of ‘Alternative Facts’, where can you turn for the right answer?

We know how much conflicting information surrounds the timber industry. As industry pioneers, we’ve heard it all, but only speak the truth.

Reassurance across the board MEDITE SMARTPLY manufactures sustainable MDF and OSB panels for the construction market and other associated industries. Our raw material has full FSC® certification and is sourced from our own managed forests in the south of Ireland. Visit for more info.

simplifying offsite

Innovaré is Simplifying Offsite Innovaré makes it easy for clients to achieve the performance criteria, tight programme scheduling and cost saving benefits of offsite construction. Build methods are changing with traditional processes being replaced by offsite construction, for reasons of quality, speed, health & safety and sustainability. As a specialist contractor, Innovaré design, engineer, manufacture and install the i-SIP System giving us the expertise and flexibility to accommodate a more extensive range of project requirements, simplifying offsite construction processes and saving customers both time and money. #Modular #Offsite #Simple

For more information: Telephone 0845 674 0020 Email EDUCATION