Offsite Magazine - Issue 29 (August/ September 2021)

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INNA LIM Wates Construction Group’s Strategy and Integration Director on building back better and smarter


PRE-MANUFACTURED VALUE What does PMV mean for affordable housing and how is it calculated across the built environment?


DECARBONISING PRECAST CONCRETE More from the UK team looking to achieve 40% reduction in embodied carbon emissions










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ARE YOU CARBON COMMITTED? Welcome to the latest edition of Offsite Magazine. As the construction industry continues to recover postpandemic, this is another bumper edition covering a busy last few months as the offsite sector continues to thrive.

FRONT COVER EOS Framing - Riverside Quarter PRINTED ON: PEFC 16-33-576 paper stock by Buxton Press PUBLISHER:

Offsite Magazine is produced and published by Radar Communications: ©Radar Communications Ltd.

As many minds focus on net zero carbon and the upcoming COP26 event in Glasgow, the reduction of carbon emissions is a thread that runs through several articles this issue. Not least in the world of precast concrete – one of the mainstays of offsite construction.

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The Decarbonising Precast Concrete pilot study, funded by Innovate UK’s Sustainable Innovation Fund and supported by the Ministry of Justice, has reported on its initial findings. Set to understand how to deliver a ‘net reduction of 40% in structural precast concrete’s embodied carbon emissions, when benchmarked against the ICE database’, the study demonstrates how important it is for everyone in the construction supply chain to collaborate to develop innovative low carbon answers to one of the planet’s more pressing problems. More on this important development inside.

SUBSCRIBE TO RECEIVE OFFSITE: This quarterly magazine has an annual subscription fee for UK postage of £19.80 plus VAT for all four issues (£4.95 per copy). Visit ADVERTISING ENQUIRIES PLEASE CONTACT: Julie Williams // T: 01743 290001 E: SEND US YOUR NEWS: Gary Ramsay // T: 01743 290001 E: BACK ISSUES VISIT: 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.

We also hear more about the ambitious £45million Net-Zero Carbon Accommodation Programme – a ‘vital breakthrough move from project to

As we went to press a new iteration of the DfMA Overlay to the RIBA Plan of Work was about to be unveiled. First published five years ago, it has now been revamped to include various changes reflecting the accelerating speed that offsite manufacture is travelling. This will no doubt reflect the wider understanding and acceptance of ‘pre-manufactured value’ – the complexities of calculating what this actually means – especially for affordable housing is discussed in more detail by the LHC’s Tony Woods inside. Finally, if you are reading this as a printed magazine at Offsite Expo 2021 – a real live trade show – I hope the show is a successful one for you. There are more details inside on what is happening and what to expect and remember the show will see the winners of the Offsite Awards 2021 crowned. Don’t miss it. Thanks as ever to all our contributors, advertisers and supporters.

Gary Ramsay

Consultant Editor Email:


KEEP IN TOUCH: @ExploreOffsite offsitehub

programme thinking’ by the Ministry of Defence. This is set to improve living facilities for military personnel and use modular manufacture to ensure the buildings are kept carbon negative through a series of sustainability measures.


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Carbon negative. Positive future. At West Fraser (formerly known as Norbord) all our engineered wood panels have been certified as being net carbon negative. We lock up more carbon in our products than we emit making them, helping the UK construction sector comply with net zero targets.



32 | New Ways of Working with MMC







Riverside Quarter in Wandsworth is a £250million mixed use development located on the south bank of the River Thames. Delivered in four phases, it comprises six buildings ranging from 11 to 15 storeys, as well as commercial accommodation and leisure spaces.

Wates Construction Group recently appointed Inna Lim as its new Strategy and Integration Director. We caught up with her to find out more about emerging technologies, innovation and championing more offsite manufacture.



34 | Collaboration is Key

A roundtable hosted by ITW Construction Products, teased out some key industry themes surrounding the offsite supply chain and how to better understand customer and supplier needs.

40 | Creating a Pathway for Offsite

John Miles, Technical Manager at Assent Building Control believes it’s time for Building Control to back offsite construction.

42 | Placemaking with Purpose


A new iteration of the DfMA Overlay to the RIBA Plan of Work has been unveiled. Nigel Ostime, Partner at Hawkins\Brown explains what has changed and why it is so important to adopt its principles.


How can offsite methods create green jobs in order to help meet sustainability targets and improve the built environment? Rory O’Hagan, Director at Assael Architecture, explains more.

52 | Lifting Problems Solved



The new Affordable Homes Programme from Homes England requires all projects funded by them to have at least 25% of the units delivered through MMC and a calculated Pre-Manufactured Value (PMV) of 55% - but what does Pre-Manufactured Value mean for affordable housing?

Following on from last issue, the Decarbonising Precast Concrete programme has now published its report on the UK team developing processes to achieve 40% reduction in embodied carbon emissions from precast concrete across construction.



62 | Mass Timber Insurance: a stock take

News and developments from across the UK offsite industry and wider construction arena including: Wolverhampton becomes the first English city to sign the European Circular Cities Declaration, a new ‘Deploying Modular Housing’ report is published and NHBC marks the first anniversary of its NHBC Accepts mark.

28 | The Future of Homebuilding & Meeting New Standards A lot has happened since January 2021 when the government published the outcome of the Future Homes Standard consultation. Trevor Richards, Operations Director of VOLUMETRIC™ outlines the many challenges involved.

Joe Giddings, Projects & Campaigns Director at the ASBP’s new Timber Accelerator Hub, explains how some of the complexities surrounding timber and insurance can be addressed.

70 | Offsite: an upward trend

Gary Parker, Managing Director of modular specialists Integra Buildings, had little doubt that the offsite sector is leading the way to the UK’s construction recovery.

74 | Military Aiming for Net Zero Living

08 | Industry News

An innovative mini-crane model employed by Masonry Frame Systems is bringing massive efficiency and health and safety benefits – plus in a pandemic world offers natural social distancing.

Paul Ruddick, Chairman at Reds10, explains more about the landmark defence accommodation project aiming for high levels of sustainability and speedy, quality construction.

80 | Shaping a Sustainable Future

As the world demands more low carbon living, the MPBA makes the case for the adoption of more modular construction.

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Riverside Quarter in Wandsworth is a £250million mixed use development located on the south bank of the River Thames. Delivered in four phases, it comprises six buildings ranging from 11 to 15 storeys, as well as commercial accommodation and leisure spaces. CONSTRUCTION PARTNERS Client: Frasers Property Main Contractor: Galliford Try Architect: Carey Jones Chapman Tolcher Steel Framing Systems Supplier: EOS Materials / Type of System: Pre-Assembled Frames (PAF)

compromising on safety, quality, or performance – crucial cost and time benefits make programme savings of up to 30% realistically achievable.

1 Galliford Try has been working with Frasers Property to deliver the prestigious project with construction works starting in 2014 and finishing in January 2020. The project has created over 750 new apartments, including 197 affordable homes. The geotechnical challenges of building so close to the Thames required considerable innovation from the engineering teams to prevent landslip during the basement creation process and the inevitable water ingress throughout the six-year building process. Delivering Certified and Predictable Performance Innovation was central to this scheme. Pioneering a new systems approach, the final phase of Riverside Quarter was the first development in the UK to specify pre-assembled frames (PAF) – a non-loadbearing infill system custommanufactured by EOS for the concrete


main frame encapsulating light steel framing and external Siniat Weather Defence sheathing. Current regulations typically deal with individual products and how they perform in laboratory tests. However, EOS believe material providers should have full-scale testing regimes that study the performance of products working together to see how they interact in ‘real’ circumstances, like under fire conditions or when exposed to wind and rain. In close collaboration with Etex Group partners, Siniat, Promat and FSi, EOS has taken offsite manufacture, prefabrication and preassembly to another level. After a rigorous testing regime PAF systems offer 60-minute fire resistance and a product and performance Etex warranty. This revolutionary next generation system increases the speed of build without

Benefits of a Systems Approach Eliminating uncertainty, the manufacturer-backed systems approach helps to design out the complexities surrounding individual components and covers a comprehensive list of performance elements. Testing regimes were designed to ensure that PAF give specifiers complete peace of mind knowing that the custom manufactured systems have been subjected to relevant testing for fire, acoustic, weathering, energy efficiency, airtightness, durability and mechanical performance. Meeting building performance requirements in a unitised solution, the non-loadbearing infill systems were delivered to the Riverside Quarter site as assembled panelised units. The system performance balance was achieved through tested configurations of factory prefabricated light steel frame and Siniat Weather Defence external sheathing together with site applied glass mineral wool insulation at a minimum thickness of 100mm and Siniat internal wall lining.






PRE-ASSEMBLED FRAMES Developed to eliminate uncertainty surrounding the design and specification of the external envelopes – Pre-Assembled Frames have been created to meet industry demands. Pre-cut, prefabricated and preassembled offsite in controlled factory conditions, these custom-manufactured non-loadbearing infill systems are delivered to site as an assembled panelised unit encapsulating EOS light steel framing and external Siniat Weather Defence boarding, ready for glass mineral wool insulation and Siniat internal wall linings to be fitted onsite. • 30-year product and performance Etex warranty • Rigorously tested for certified performance • Eliminates uncertainty of the design and specification of external envelopes • Fire tested to 60 minutes (integrity and insulation) to EN1364-1 in both directions • Suitable for buildings with a height of more than 18m • Acoustically tested according to ISO 10140-2 • Delivers crucial time benefits making programme savings of up to 30% • Offers the best strength-to-weight ratio to improve efficiencies • Installation from inside the structure reduces working externally at height • Reduces mast climber and scaffolding requirements offering vast costs saving • Just in time deliveries save space on site storage • Site waste is virtually eliminated saving disposal costs • Preassembly and prefabrication takes months off construction schedules • Delivers faster return on investment. PERFORMANCE ASSURED FRAMING The success of Pre-Assembled Frame systems has seen developers report direct and indirect savings of up to 30%. To find out more about how these advanced systems can benefit your project and deliver a better return on investment – watch the EOS PAF video and download the brochure here:

All components and products were rigorously tested together as a complete system to ensure compatibility, enabling Etex to award the technical performance of the PAF range with a 30-year warranty which was available following a specification and validation process in which system components could not be substituted. Just in time deliveries reduced the requirement for site storage and the systems approach reduced cutting and reworks onsite. Installation from inside the concrete mainframe enhanced Health and Safety by reducing working externally at height and also offered vast savings for the Riverside Quarter development by reducing mast climber and scaffolding requirements. The prefabrication of the individual steel elements took place under controlled, highly regulated and safe factory conditions. With so much work completed offsite, the onsite construction schedule for Riverside Quarter was reduced – delivering a faster return on investment for Frasers Property. For more information visit: Images: 01-04. The final phase of Riverside Quarter was the first development in the UK to specify pre-assembled frames.



UK INDUSTRY NEWS Castleoak and Pobl Bring Low-carbon Homes to Newport Wales-based organisations, Pobl and Castleoak are partnering to bring sustainable homes supported by Welsh Government funding. The timber frames for the homes will be prefabricated at Castleoak’s offsite manufacturing facility in Ebbw Vale before being assembled on-site. Alway in Newport will gain 39 low-carbon affordable homes as Castleoak and Pobl partner on a project at the former site of the Ladyhill Day Centre and Seven Stiles pub. Castleoak specialises in later living and social housing, has partnered with Pobl, a not-for-profit housing organisation, to bring 20 two-bedroom and 19 three-bedroom homes to the one-hectare site. The project is partly funded by the Welsh Government’s £155million Innovative Housing Programme, which seeks to use offsite construction to bring low-carbon affordable homes to Wales. The frames of the homes will be made at Castleoak’s offsite manufacturing facility in Ebbw Vale, including pre-fitted windows and insulation, and adapted to house specialist mechanical and electric solutions and smart water cylinders, aiming to maximise energy efficiency. The homes will also have roof solar panels and storage batteries, further minimising the homes’ lifetime carbon footprint and energy costs.

Former Crest Nicholson Boss Joins ilke Homes

Once created, they will be assembled at the site by Castleoak’s construction team. Andrew Duggan, Managing Director of Offsite Manufacturing at Castleoak said: “Our homes can help us live happier and more fulfilling lives. Increasingly that means buildings which can give us good conscience and reduce the pull on our pursestrings through lower energy costs. That’s what we’re going to bring to Alway. It’s fantastic to be working with Pobl to bring truly low-carbon, affordable homes to people in Newport, not just through the fabric of the buildings, but also through innovative energy solutions which will help to keep costs low for future residents.”

The former boss of one of the country’s largest listed housebuilders has been appointed as Chief Financial Officer at ilke Homes. Former Crest Nicholson Chief Executive, Patrick Bergin is joining the modular housebuilder following three years of rapid growth, in which it has grown its order book to over £200million – putting it on par with some of the UK’s largest developers. Bergin, who joins with 15 years’ of experience in housebuilding, rose through the ranks at Crest Nicholson where he held numerous senior roles, including the company’s Chief Operating Officer from 2016 to 2018. In his role as Chief Financial Officer at the FTSE250 housebuilder between 2011 and 2016, Bergin was instrumental in Crest Nicholson’s successful initial public offering in 2013. Bergin successfully grew revenue by 90% in the three years that followed the company’s stock market launch. Bergin, backed by his years of experience at a volume housebuilder and in public markets, has been brought in to contribute to the strategic management of the business as it enters this period of rapid growth and ensure that management processes and controls are appropriate for the enlarged operation.

Gavin Howells, Senior Project Manager at Pobl Group added: “Pobl has a growing reputation for delivering forward thinking housing solutions, and we are excited to be working with Castleoak on this project that will deliver much needed affordable and truly sustainable homes for Newport. We’re grateful for the support of the Welsh Government & Newport City Council on this project and we share their ambitions to create high quality places to live – and we look forward to working with the Alway community on this new venture.” Source:

Bergin’s appointment comes at a time when an increasing number of investors, developers, housing associations and councils are turning to offsite manufacturing to deliver greener homes at pace. Changing building regulations, a worsening housing crisis and pressure from policymakers to reduce emissions produced by the UK’s housing stock, mean many in the housebuilding industry are being forced to innovate at a pace they are incapable of. Patrick Bergin said: “To successfully transition to a net zero economy by 2050, there requires a significant step change in the way the UK builds homes. Regulatory pressures, challenges to traditional models of delivery and the urgent need to decarbonise housing mean that there has never been a more crucial time for UK house building to innovate and adopt more modern methods of construction. Following several years of intense research and development, I believe ilke Homes’ lowcarbon, energy-efficient solution to housing makes the company a firm market-leader. I expect the company’s strong growth trajectory to be maintained in the years to come as more investors look to go green quickly.” Source:




F I RE SAF E T Y F OR ST E E L F RA ME SYSTEMS SIDERISE is a market leader in the design and development of specialist passive fire protection solutions for the construction, façades and interiors sectors suitable for use with Steel Frame Systems. We have developed a wide range of firestopping products and systems that meet the requirements of current national building regulations for applications including ceilings and floor and wall compartmentation – with at least an equal fire performance rating to that of our Cavity Barrier or Fire Stop. Our fire safe insulation products provide the following benefits: • Proven in use with market-leading fire performance • Unique construction provides unrivalled movement performance • Third-party ‘Certifire’ approvals • Expert Technical support • Simple and quick to install with comprehensive training available.

Find out more about Siderise and our products at We’re proud to be new members of the LSFA

UK INDUSTRY NEWS Construction Groups Unite to Hit Net Zero Targets

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), working as part of an international coalition of built environment professional groups seeking to drive the industry in measuring carbon has jointly published for consultation the world’s first international standard for reporting carbon emissions across all areas of construction.

Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE), Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and The Carbon Trust, the new built environment carbon emissions database will allow professionals to log construction projects – whether that’s new homes, offices, or infrastructure – when ready later this year.

Following the consultation, the final ICMS standards are expected to be published in November 2021 followed by updated RICS guidance on carbon assessment – which sets out a universal methodology for calculating carbon emissions. This will form a toolkit to enable decision makers to minimise the carbon footprint of all construction projects.

The consultation will seek input from industry on how to make sure carbon emissions factor directly into the extensive decision making that goes behind planning construction projects. This is to be followed shortly, by new RICS guidance for professionals on how to assess ‘embodied carbon’.

The database will give an indication of how much carbon has been emitted during the manufacturing and construction process (the upfront 'embodied carbon’), along with future maintenance, energy use and demolition, and enable designers to identify and avoid carbon-intensive products in favour of more sustainable materials that will help the UK get to net-zero by 2050.

Alan Muse, Head of Construction Standards at RICS and ICMS lead, added: “This update to ICMS and subsequent RICS standards which our professionals follow when completing any construction project will see the construction sector making a large and measurable impact when it comes to leading from the front and combatting climate change. Supported by the latest tech, such as the built environment carbon database, these new standards provide a professional toolkit to measure and consistently report on carbon and influence the most basic design and construction decisions.”

With construction contributing around 40% of the world’s carbon emissions, it’s crucial for the built environment to move towards more sustainable practices if communities are to realise their net-zero ambitions in time for 2050. Under development by RICS in partnership with Building Research Establishment (BRE), Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE), The Environment Agency, UK Green Building Council (UKGBC),


Commenting on the database James Fiske, Director of RICS’ Building Cost Information Service, said: “It’s not every day that an entire industry comes together in agreement over climate change. The new database – coupled with the ICMS consultation - are real examples of the construction sector uniting in its mission to tackle carbon emissions and meet its commitment to net zero.”



Stewart Milne

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National House-Building Council is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. National House-Building Council is registered in England & Wales under company number 00320784. National House-Building Council’s registered address is NHBC House, Davy Avenue, Knowlhill, Milton Keynes, Bucks MK5 8FP. Image credit: ilke Homes S223h 08/21

UK INDUSTRY NEWS Senior Politicians View HMflex at Wernick Factory Wernick Buildings’ factory in Port Talbot welcomed local senior politicians to receive a demonstration of its latest modular building system – HMflex. The four-bed hospital ward allows visitors to experience the same high-quality environment that healthcare professionals and patients will experience. Visitors included Stephen Kinnock, Member of Parliament for Aberavon, Edward Latham, Leader of Neath Port Talbot Council, Julie Davies, Business Development Coordinator at Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council, Andrew Collins, Regeneration & Economic Development Manager at Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council and Susanne Renkes, Caseworker for Stephen Kinnock MP. Commenting on the unit, Aberavon MP, Stephen Kinnock, said: “I was honoured to be able to see first-hand the incredible hi-tech work of one of Port Talbot’s major employers. It is fantastic that our constituency is home to such well-established firms leading the way on the national stage. I was also thrilled to hear about Wernick’s plans for expansion and long-term career opportunities companies like theirs are providing for the people of our community.” The HMflex building system is specifically designed with the healthcare sector in mind, providing ward

Thurston Group Lands Place on NHS Framework Yorkshire-based modular and portable building manufacturer, Thurston Group, is pleased to announce that it has secured a place on the £1.6billion NHS Shared Business Services Framework. The business has secured its position across four core lots for ‘Building Purchase’ covering healthcare, education, residential and bespoke buildings up to the value of £25million+ per scheme.


and clinical spaces via standardised layouts. The new system adopts a fast-paced, quality solution to fit the needs and requirements of the sector as the system is designed to deliver a fully fitted HBN and HTM compliant four-bed ward in just two units. This means that a four-bed ward can be delivered, installed and ready for fit-out in as little as 24 hours. Carl Curtis, Operations Manager at Wernick Buildings, commented: “From compliancy to speed, HMflex is specifically designed with the needs and requirements of the healthcare sector in mind. The demonstration ward presents and emphasises the benefits modular construction can offer the NHS and other healthcare providers.”

Wernick Group also recently announced a new Chief Executive with the appointment of Jonathan Wernick. From Yard Operative to Chief Executive, Jonathan has worked his way through many roles within the Wernick Group. He replaces Simon Doran following Simon’s retirement on 30 June. Jonathan believes that it is the people that make his job enjoyable: “We have the privilege of employing the best people in our sector who bring with them an abundance of skills, experience, and more importantly, personality to make every day a pleasure. It’s exciting to be the fourth generation of the family to be leading the company and I look forward to the challenge of continuing its success.”

Following the closure of the demonstration ward, the units will be transported to Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth where they will complete a new 78 ward building.


Set to run from July 18th for an initial two years, the framework has an expected spend of £180million per annum for the lots secured. Securing a place on the four framework lots through a competitive tendering process will further support Thurston’s ever-growing Projects division, whilst underpinning the growth strategy set out by its shareholders and executive leadership team.

corporate services including IT, legal, estates & facilities and business services.

The purpose of the framework aims to complement the speed of modular and offsite construction by providing an equally quick, easy and compliant procurement route for a range of NHS and public sector clients across the education, healthcare and residential sectors. The framework contracts cover health and

From consultancy and design to finance and build, Thurston’s offers turnkey building solutions for every sector. With Three factories across Yorkshire, Thurston’s has the capacity to deliver over 5000 units per year. Managing Director, Matthew Goff, was delighted after landing a place on the framework, saying: “A huge well done to the business development team for securing our place on the framework. This is a fantastic achievement by the team and accelerates our position ‘to be the provider of choice’.” Source:


UK INDUSTRY NEWS United Welsh Group Developing Timber Frame Factory With over £2million of investment from Welsh Government’s Innovative Housing Programme, the factory will be delivered by Celtic Offsite, a new social enterprise within the Caerphilly-based United Welsh Group. The factory, which is due to open this autumn, will manufacture high quality, sustainable timber frame structures complete with factory-fitted insulation and windows to build up to 250 low carbon homes per annum. Using over 28,000sq ft of manufacturing facilities, Celtic Offsite will provide affordable housing for contractors and developers using a Welsh supply chain, including Welsh timber and local partners. There will also be a training suite on-site to provide skills development and apprenticeships for green construction jobs, training the next generation of workers to deliver more energy efficient homes. Richard Mann, Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Operations for United Welsh Group said: “The Welsh Government Innovative Housing Programme funding has been vital in enabling us to develop the new Celtic Offsite factory in Caerphilly. The factory will create community benefits at every stage of production, designed on the principles of developing the foundational economy and doing better by working together. “It will support the United Welsh Group, Local Authorities and other partners to realise our shared ambitions of achieving net zero carbon through

the provision of new energy efficient homes, while supporting Welsh business growth and tackling fuel poverty. The factory opening will also create up to 28 new jobs, with investment planned for green construction training opportunities for local people year on year. All profits from the enterprise will be reinvested into our social purpose of providing more affordable homes and community services, including our decarbonisation programme to become carbon neutral by 2035.” The Celtic Offsite factory will be located at Pontygwindy Industrial Estate near Caerphilly town centre. The project is a positive step in Welsh Government’s commitment to build more high quality homes in factories here in Wales.

The three-year AIMCH project, whose goal is to support the sector to tackle the UK housing crisis by building new homes quicker, more efficiently and to a higher standard, is encouraging innovation and collaboration from across all parts of the industry. There are three challenge areas for suppliers to submit their technically and commercially promising products and systems – advanced MMC solutions, with a particular focus on scaffoldless erect: standardised solutions, including modular stairs, bathroom pods, and preformed windows and doors: zero carbon solutions, with a particular interest in heat pumps, underfloor heating, convection heaters, battery storage, and lower lambda mineral wool.

AIMCH Calls for Game-Changing Housing Solutions

Advanced Industrialised Methods for the Construction of Homes (AIMCH) is inviting suppliers to enter the sandpit challenge to showcase their innovative products or services, demonstrating how they can deliver industrialised offsite solutions required to meet current and future housebuilding demands.

Julie James, the Welsh Government’s Minister for Climate Change, added: “This is a very exciting project that we are very proud to have been able to support. We have already started work on implementing our manifesto commitment to develop a timber industrial strategy and create a stronger wood economy for Wales. 80% of the timber used in the UK is imported, and only 4% of the 1.5 million tonnes of harvested timber is processed to be used as construction-grade timber in Wales. There’s a real opportunity for timber processors and manufacturers in Wales to contribute to this wood economy, creating new jobs in rural Wales as well as building an innovative supply chain for high value added, longer life uses.” Source:

of new product and system trials during the first two years of the AMICH project and we know that there are many more companies out there who are innovating and can play their part in helping to transform the sector. We need to find more sustainable ways of building quality new homes and achieving a net zero carbon built environment, and we need gamechangers who can support this transformation.”

Successful partners could see their products and services trialled on live housing projects, with successful methods subsequently being commercialised and brought to market in volume.

The AIMCH project aims to develop know how that supports the key sector stakeholders deliver 120,000 homes for the same or less cost than traditional methods, built 30% quicker and has the potential to impact on 35,000 homes being delivered by AIMCH partners across the UK each year. Successful applicants will be invited to participate in a workshop hosted by one of three AIMCH partners, L&Q, Stewart Milne Group or Barratt Developments Plc.

Daniel Shea, AIMCH Partner and Technical Innovation Co-ordinator, Barratt Developments Plc, said: “What we are looking for from the sandpit challenge is for suppliers to bring forward truly innovative and unique near to market solutions that have the potential to be scalable. Already we have witnessed the success

Innovators who can play their part in delivering the project aims are encouraged to submit their proposals by completing the application form on the AIMCH website at:



UK INDUSTRY NEWS Vision for ‘Deploying Modular Housing’

A new report has called on the government and housebuilders to come together and pave the way to create more UK homes using modular construction. The ‘Deploying Modular Housing in the UK’ report is the work of affordable homes-led placemaker Places for People and the University of Cambridge’s Centre for Housing and Planning Research. Together, they have outlined a joint vision for viably accelerating the use of modular construction in the UK market. Among the recommendations within the report are calls for government support – both financially through grants and subsidies for developers using modular technologies, and through planning policy incentives. It also calls for industry standards and warranties akin to traditional builds, something the authors say will ‘provide certainty and confidence’ not only for housebuilders, but for end users and for traditional lenders who are sometimes cautious of loaning on modular homes. The answer, the report says, lies in systematic data capture and evidence collection by housebuilders to create a strong evidence base of the benefits of offsite housing construction and MMC – something which would help to combat customers’ mistrust, overcome risk aversion, and boost confidence among lenders. Scott Black, Group Executive Director of Development at Places for People, explained: “There are so many potential benefits to creating homes using modular technologies, but there are a host of current barriers and constraints that need addressing. Issues such as regulatory and approval barriers, skills shortages in the factories and a lack of cross-sector support are hindering the growth of modular construction – slowing down the take up. “As an industry, we have the vision and the capabilities, but we need to pull together to address the barriers outlined in this report, and pave the way for a sustainable, modular future, one underpinned by an adequately skilled workforce who can drive the


technology forward – helping establish it as a credible building practice for future consumers.” The report also addresses the skills shortage in the UK sector, with traditional and modular building skills varying greatly. Gemma Burgess, Director of the Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research at The University of Cambridge, co-authored the piece and added: “Another important factor is the need for investment in the development of a different set of skills than those used on traditional sites. This can be achieved by equipping the industry’s labour force with the necessary tools – including digital literacy and the use of new software and knowledge in offsite manufacture. This will all go hand in hand with retraining schemes and education programmes in collaboration with national and local government, education providers, industry bodies and the housebuilding industry.” The report also proposes the idea of ‘innovation champions’ among housebuilders and developers – individuals and companies who actively use modular and offsite approaches and MMC, in order to boost their efforts and promote the benefits of innovation. Other recommendations include proposals for the standardisation of materials, and having a ‘kit of parts’ to be used across the industry by different manufacturers – something which Scott Black again says will come through collaboration: “The more we share, the more we will learn. There do however need to be initiatives to promote this within the housebuilding industry – the Building Better group (NHF 2020) for example. Such plans would provide structures for effective communication, synthesise learning, and help to build networks and collaboration opportunities.” The report ‘Deploying Modular Housing in the UK’ can be downloaded and read at: publications

DC Timber Systems Receives STA Assure Silver Status

DC Timber Systems, timber frame kit specialists, a division of The JR Group, has been acknowledged with a silver status accreditation by the Structural Timber Association (STA), through its STA Assure scheme. This marks the first award to collected by the Ayrshire-based firm. The STA Assure membership and quality standards scheme, is designed to benefit both customers and members alike, promoting the differing specialisms and quality standards held by STA members. This is the first accreditation assigned to DC Timber from the STA since its creation in 2020. Based in Dundonald in Ayrshire it specialises in the design, manufacture and erection of structural and full timber frame kits throughout Scotland and the UK. Ian Samson, Managing Director of DC Timber Systems, said: “We are delighted to be awarded silver status from the STA, and it reflects the hard work of the team in-house in delivering quality procedures, management systems and product performance as well as external accreditations held by STA members, offering clients complete transparency. As a relatively new business, we are thrilled to further demonstrate our exceptionally high standards to the market and offer complete reassurance for our customers.” The JR Group, including DC Timber Systems, employs around 200 staff and was founded in Govan in 1995. It started as a scaffolding business and is now one of the largest building and construction firms in Scotland. The business operates throughout Scotland and Northern England working on behalf of a number of the UK’s leading housebuilders, registered social landlords and private clients. Source:


Building greener homes safely

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UK INDUSTRY NEWS Wolverhampton Set to Accelerate Sustainable Industries Wolverhampton has become the first English city to sign the European Circular Cities Declaration – a major environmental agreement designed to accelerate the adoption of circular economies across the continent. The certification of Wolverhampton as a Europe-leading centre of green growth is spearheaded by the city’s expertise in sustainable and offsite construction. Part of the University of Wolverhampton, its Springfield Campus will be Europe’s largest specialist academic centre for architecture and built environment, offering world-class teaching, research and training in modern methods of construction (MMC) and revolutionary remediation techniques to unlock brownfield development. Firmly establishing the city’s offsite expertise is the arrival of a new £17.5million National Brownfield Institute (NBI), created to help the construction industry unlock disused land for greener, safer and cheaper building projects. Cllr Ian Brookfield, Leader of City of Wolverhampton Council and Portfolio Holder for Economy and Innovation at the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) said: “Our city is at the helm of the sustainable revolution in construction, with the National Brownfield institute (NBI) and best-in-class research from the University of Wolverhampton putting us on the map as a unique centre of excellence for environmental development and regeneration. These strengths form a critical lever for

NHBC Accepts Celebrates First Year in Operation

The UK’s leading warranty and insurance provider for newbuild homes marked the first anniversary of its service for innovative products and systems – NHBC Accepts. Launched in July 2020, the service has now accepted a range of products and systems, which over the course of the year have helped in the delivery of more than 5,000 innovative high quality new homes across the UK.


enhancing our economy post-pandemic, opening up opportunities to unlock new investments, create jobs and boost skills training for local people in a sector that is becoming increasingly vital to achieving a Green Industrial Revolution.” The city is also driving forward the UK Government’s agenda to expedite the delivery of homes built using offsite, as the formal base for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s new MMC Taskforce. This follows the Department’s earlier decision in February 2021 to house a second ministerial headquarters in Wolverhampton, in acknowledgement of the Black Country’s rising influence in sustainable housebuilding. Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “We are already taking bold strides here in the West

NHBC Accepts – endorsed by the Government’s Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) Champion, Mark Farmer and recognised by Homes England and UK Finance – enables quicker assessment of a home for warranty and reduces the risk to the builder of delays in their project. Any product or system with the NHBC Accepts logo will have been rigorously assessed to ensure it can meet NHBC’s robust standards, giving confidence to developers, investors, lenders and homeowners. NHBC Innovation Manager Richard Lankshear said: “We know from feedback that once a product or system is given the NHBC Accepts green light that this creates confidence in quality, long-term durability and traceability. We actively assess construction quality both on-site and offsite to verify that each product is suitable and acceptable to meet the standards set to obtain our ten-year NHBC Buildmark warranty. “With the demands on the industry to increase the volume of new homes and the simultaneous challenges around materials and skills, we are at a critical stage in the development of MMC. We are proud to be using our scale, expertise

Midlands to protect our environment and provide the good ‘green jobs’ of the future. Just as we were the home of the industrial revolution in the past, this commitment by Wolverhampton City Council helps demonstrate we’re now the home of the ‘green’ industrial revolution of the future. It means using modern methods of construction which are friendlier on the environment, while providing new highly skilled, well paid job opportunities. It means taking advantage of new digital technologies, and training local people with the skills we’ll need to seize these opportunities. And it means helping people access new job opportunities through improved public transport connectivity, helping increase the size of our economy, whilst reducing carbon emissions and our impact on air quality.” Source:

and knowledge of house building to work with manufacturers to provide the confidence that innovative products and systems can meet and sometimes exceed the same high standards of quality and durability as traditionally-built homes.”    Once accepted, NHBC’s Innovation team continue to review quality through factory and site inspections and seek feedback from those working with the product on-site. This knowledge is shared with the system owners to help continually improve their product.  Ultraframe’s panelised roof and gable wall system was one of the products added to the NHBC Accepts portal earlier this year. The firm’s Design and Development Director Andrew Thomson, explained: For us, an NHBC Accepts certificate demonstrates that our product has been thoroughly reviewed by the team, in turn giving confidence to prospective buyers.” Source:


UK INDUSTRY NEWS Premier Modular Awarded HS2 Contracts Premier Modular has been awarded multi-millionpound contracts to provide project offices and welfare facilities for 15 sites that form part of the first phase of HS2 – the high-speed rail line. Awarded by Skanska Costain STRABAG Joint Venture (SCS JV), the contracts are for sites along the final 26.4km of HS2 to the southern terminus at London Euston. Premier is delivering more than 15,000sq m of buildings made up of over 500 modules configured to SCS’s precise requirements and specification. The facilities will accommodate open plan offices, meeting rooms, break-out spaces, showers, drying room, toilets, first aid room, and canteen. Each building is being installed complete with lighting, air conditioning, fire and security alarms, toilets, partitions, and doors. The buildings will be in use for at least five years and have a number of sustainability features to minimise impact on the environment, including rainwater harvesting to provide water for site operations such as dust suppression, low energy lighting, PIR lighting sensors, low water consumption showers, dual flush toilets, and effluent tanks to minimise discharge into local drainage systems. Some of the sites are in close proximity to existing railway lines requiring liaison with teams at Network

Courtesy: Absolute Photography

Rail and careful logistical planning particularly for the building installation phases. Commenting on the contract awards, John Harrison, Section Lead Construction Manager at SCS JV, said: “Premier has developed the most cost-effective building solutions that met our requirements and budget. Their team has been very flexible, adapting the designs to our changing needs, and with a strong emphasis on customer care.” David Harris, Managing Director of Premier Modular added: “We are delighted to be contributing to this important infrastructure project. As a Yorkshire business we know just how critical HS2 is to rail projects in the North and how it will help to rebalance the UK economy. Our aim is to provide the best quality office and welfare facilities in the construction sector. We were able to offer building solutions to SCS to suit a wide range of sites, in compliance with Building Regulations

As the united voice representing the sector, the Modular and Portable Building Association (MPBA) offers valuable industry insight, guidance and ongoing research to significantly improve the volumetric modular building process.

Part L and to stringent fire ratings because the facilities will be in use for at least five years. “On each project we are working to short programmes and on some highly constrained sites near to live railway lines. We have invested £12million in our hire fleet in the last 12 months and have expanded our workforce with an additional 100 people in the same period to meet the rising demand for our building services. The scale of the HS2 projects for Premier is a significant factor in that investment.” HS2 is designed to be the new high-speed railway linking up London, the Midlands, the North and Scotland, serving over 25 stations, including eight of Britain’s 10 largest cities, and connecting around 30 million people.


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UK INDUSTRY NEWS Canvas and Beyond Housing Create Eco-friendly Modular Development

Beyond Housing is investing £19.5million into a new housing development of 117 family-ready and ecofriendly homes in Stockton-on-Tees. Beyond Housing, in partnership with Canvas Homes, is constructing 51 homes for affordable rent, 34 for shared ownership and 32 for rent to buy on the Princeton Drive development site, which will become the largest modular housing scheme in the North of England. Situated on a large brownfield site between Durham University’s Queen’s Campus and the Tees Barrage, Princeton Gardens will offer fantastic waterside views of the River Tees and Stockton’s iconic Infinity Bridge. The newbuilds will include two, three and fourbedroom homes with each floor precision-engineered offsite under controlled factory conditions and then transported and craned into position. Canvas’ modular homes use high quality materials with high thermal performance that exceed regulatory requirements. By constructing the homes offsite, Canvas is able to reduce energy use, materials, waste, noise pollution and disruption, making it an environmentally friendly and efficient way to build homes.


Harrogate-based Canvas Homes is pushing the envelope to reduce waste as part of this development by using recycled steel piles from de-commissioned North Sea oil platforms and by pioneering precast foundations which are also made offsite. Situated on a large brownfield site between Durham University’s Queen’s Campus and the Tees Barrage, Princeton Gardens will offer fantastic waterside views of the River Tees and Stockton’s iconic Infinity Bridge. Frances Barlow, Development Manager at Beyond Housing, said: “We are committed to building quality homes in desirable neighbourhoods and we are sure that these new family homes in Stockton will be highly sought-after additions to the area. We are pleased to be working with Canvas Homes to deliver these eco-friendly modular homes, and as they are largely constructed offsite, we can minimise site disruption and reduce waste while keeping a focus on sustainability.” James Mottram, CEO of Canvas Homes, said: “We are proud to be working with Beyond Housing and Homes England to bring forward the 117 high-quality, eco-friendly homes in Stockton as part of the largest modular housing scheme in the North of England. This partnership creates an opportunity to deliver a true mix

of tenure on sites, enabling the people of Stockton to live in a high-quality home through rent to buy, shared ownership or affordable rent. “The development of Princeton Gardens is a hugely important milestone for Canvas Homes ahead of the launch of our new BTR REIT which will create a portfolio of accessible high-quality family homes to rent across the UK, which will significantly increase affordability and consumer choice. We passionately believe this new development of high-quality homes will complement the exceptional regeneration work being delivered in Stockton town centre.” Ian Hall, Senior Development Manager at Homes England, said: “As the Government’s housing accelerator we are excited to work with Canvas Homes and Beyond Housing to unlock a site where they are bringing forward the largest modular housing scheme in the north. We’re passionate supporters of MMC and the sustainability benefits that they bring. As such we’re excited to see Canvas Homes’ plans to go the extra mile and bring these high-quality, eco-friendly homes come to life.” Source:


UK INDUSTRY NEWS Leeds Hospitals Look to DfMA The latest concept designs for two new state-ofthe-art hospitals in Leeds – inspired by the Yorkshire landscape – have been unveiled. The event took place on the site of Leeds General Infirmary, parts of which are being demolished to make way for the two new hospitals – one for children and one for adults. Interdisciplinary practice, BDP, has been appointed by Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (LTHT) to lead the architectural design of its Hospitals of the Future programme, part of its long-term vision to transform healthcare facilities for patients and staff in Leeds and the wider region. The future-proofed plan uses BDP’s knowledge in designing clinical and patient pathflows, using digital design and offsite construction including significant integration of Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) techniques. This will create an innovative and flexible hospital that meets the demands of modern clinical requirements and future medical developments. Andrew Smith, head of healthcare at BDP, said: “By applying our experience in designing the best healthcare facilities around the globe we are delivering a healthy and thoughtful hospital design for Leeds that looks to the future of best practice and innovation. BDP has proposed a hospital structure that is shaped like the contours of the Yorkshire fells and dales, with a

large island garden and play deck at its centre. Outdoor space and play areas were some of the facilities that children and young patients suggested in a design competition, held last year, which have inspired the architects with their latest concept. The development of a new adults’ hospital, along with a new home for Leeds Children’s Hospital, is set to be one of the most significant healthcare projects in the UK. Julian Hartley, Chief Executive of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “The building of our two new hospitals is the most important development in Leeds city centre for a generation. And, in terms of hospitalbased healthcare, it’s the most important development in the city centre since 1868, when Leeds General Infirmary was first built.

Dame Linda Pollard, Chair of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, added: “Digital technology and worldleading innovative techniques will be central to the services provided in the new hospitals whilst the old hospital estate will be redeveloped as part of the City’s Innovation District, bringing about direct and wider economic benefits of up to £11.2billion in net present value terms and more than 3,000 jobs. This redevelopment of the old LGI site will also help us to preserve some beautiful buildings with significant history to their former glory.” Source:

UK INDUSTRY NEWS Major Investment Boosts SO Modular Production Capacity by 700%

CITB Welcomes New Chief Executive

Tim Balcon is the new Chief Executive of the CITB – a former apprentice who brings a strong track record in skills, training and organisational development. Tim has led professional and membership bodies, the most notable being as Chief Executive at the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment, where he transformed its vision and performance, leading to year-on-year growth. “As a former apprentice I know how much having the right skills at a young age can transform your whole career and support your employer,” said Tim Balcon. “That’s why I’m so passionate about skills and am thrilled to be joining the team at CITB to help many more people join the construction sector and to have long and fulfilling careers within it.”

SO Modular, the timber frame construction specialist, has increased its production capacity by 700% thanks to a significant six-figure investment in new machinery at its new 350,000sq ft timber and modular manufacturing facility in Neath, South Wales. The development of the facility began in April 2020 and is set for an official launch at the end of summer 2021. Once completed, with all the new machinery installed and running, the site will immediately be able to expand from its current production capacity of 500 homes per year to 3,500 homes per year on a single shift. The timber and modular manufacturing facility will also be a zero-carbon, sustainable site, creating a number of skilled employment opportunities in the local area. SO Modular has been able to fund the purchase of its new machinery through an Innovative Housing Programme (IHP) loan with Tai Tarian – one of the largest social landlords in Wales. The new machinery is considerably more efficient – both in terms of speed and energy usage – than that currently being employed by the company. It will also produce less waste and will contribute towards the company sustainably manufacturing low carbon homes. The new machinery includes a treatment tank, production lines, a biomass boiler, a Hundegger TURBO-Drive II Saw, a vertical saw and a factory blow insulation machine.


The Hundegger TURBO-Drive II Saw will speed up timber processes, increase accuracy and reduce waste with the use of computer software technology. The saw’s optimisation software means that any offcuts it produces are automatically cut into smaller standardised pieces, which can then be used as other functional aspects of modular joist and cassette manufacture. The new treatment tank will allow highand low-pressure treatments, meaning SO Modular will be able to treat not only standard timber but also timbers that require a higher level of treatment such as sole plates. This makes it far more cost effective than imported pre-treated timber, helping the company to achieve its affordable homes target. Charlotte Hale, Operations Director at SO Modular, said: “We’re very excited to announce the purchasing and acquirement of new machinery, with the help of the IHP Tai Tarian loan. These new, efficient machines will go a long will in aiding us to establish a state-of-the-art, sustainable manufacturing facility in Wales. Furthermore, this acquirement will allow us to create new jobs in the area and provide even more affordable, low carbon homes to help the UK meet zero-carbon targets, protect the environment and address the country’s need for affordable housing.” Source:

Tim’s knowledge of education and skills was reflected in his previous appointment to the board of Ofqual at a time of major education reform, and prior to this he was also a member of the UK Vocational Qualifications Reform Board. Tim started his CEO journey back in 1999 as CEO of The Gas and Water National Training Organisation, leading a fledgling organisation from £400k turnover to over £7m in three years. He started out from a mining town in South Yorkshire as an apprentice service engineer with British Gas in the early 1980s, where he spent his early career. Peter Lauener, CITB Chair, said: “I’d like to welcome Tim to CITB, an outstanding candidate for the post of CEO. He brings considerable experience in skills and training and strong leadership qualities. This is a crucial time for construction skills across Britain, and the Board is looking forward to working with him to drive forward our strategy to meet the skills needs of employers.” Mark Reynolds, CEO of Mace Group and co-lead of the Construction Leadership Council skills workstream, added: “I am looking forward to working closely with Tim as we address the huge skills challenges we face in construction. Tim’s journey from apprentice to Chief Executive is one that will resonate with the industry and will inspire others to follow in his footsteps.” Tim takes over from outgoing CITB Chief Executive Sarah Beale, who will relinquish her post at the end of September 2021. Source:


UK INDUSTRY NEWS MEDITE SMARTPLY Playing Key Role at COP26 MEDITE SMARTPLY will play a crucial role in the construction of the COP26 House, a zero carbon, timber frame building built by Beyond Zero Homes. The project will showcase low carbon, circular solutions in building and living during the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow this October. Chris King, Managing Director at MEDITE SMARTPLY said: “We are delighted to be part of this project that will help demonstrate the boundless opportunities for sustainable timber based solutions in construction. Actions speak louder than words, and this building encapsulates MEDITE SMARTPLY’s commitment to building a more sustainable future. The products and systems for fighting the climate emergency are already available. We in the construction industry have not only the opportunity but the responsibility to put theories into action and show the world how we can build and live sustainably, using timber and ecologically responsible solutions.” The members of Beyond Zero Homes are united by a common goal that goes beyond zero carbon: to demonstrate how beautiful, affordable, healthy homes can be developed with minimal impact on the environment, throughout their lifecycle.

The one-bedroom house will be built on a 10m x 5m footprint. It has been specifically designed to use homegrown C16 Spruce to avoid the need for imported timber, and the construction is based on a 1.2m grid to be easily panelised and prefabricated. These elements lend themselves perfectly to the specification of SMARTPLY OSB, sustainably produced in Ireland and already stored across the UK. As part of the Coillte Group, the company prides itself

on its sustainable supply chain and manufacturing processes, meaning the company’s products are as environmentally conscious in their make up as they are in their application. The build is due to commence soon. Find out more and follow its progress at:



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UK INDUSTRY NEWS Airspace Developers Launch New Association Four of the UK’s leading airspace developers recently joined forces to launch the Association of Rooftop and Airspace Development (ARAD) to champion the sector and act as a unified voice for developers and associated stakeholders involved in the development of airspace. The independent, non-profit organisation will promote learning, innovation and development of good practice, while lobbying for its members’ interests and helping to unlock much needed housing at both a local and national level. The founding partners are Apex Airspace, Click Above, Fruition Properties and Upspace. Collectively, they have secured and developed numerous airspace homes and have been directly involved with the 2020 Permitted Development for Upwards Extensions, helping to lay the foundations for future growth and innovation. Airspace and rooftop development refers to the ability to build on top of existing buildings, whether residential, commercial or industrial, to deliver new homes by typically adding one or two storeys. It is particularly effective in densely populated areas and is a sustainable way to meet increasing demand for housing while preserving existing architecture, aligned to ever evolving innovations and offsite construction. This means that such developments can now be

produced with greater ease, precision and efficiency. A spokesperson for ARAD, said: “Airspace is part of the future of housing – it has vast potential across London and the UK to help unlock much needed homes in a non-invasive way. ARAD aims to bring together organisations who want to and have the expertise to work in airspace - whether investors, architects, developers, local authorities or consultants - to learn from each other and champion airspace so that rooftop development can flourish while maintaining high standards for the betterment of all stakeholders. “Rooftop development is not the same as ground-up development. In order to effectively deliver homes or office space, there are many more pitfalls to overcome, including the legal aspects, fire safety considerations, and resident engagement through to the actual build itself. ARAD will act as a forum to help

ensure the sector is better understood and that there is a clear Code of Conduct to ensure that the sector can grow in a professional manner.” Over the last ten years London has delivered an average of 28,000 new homes per year and between 2018-2019, this figure reached 36,000 – only 55% of the 66,000 needed. Research conducted by global property consultancy Knight Frank has found that as many as 41,000 new dwellings could be built in central London using rooftop development space alone, providing a clear part of the solution to alleviating the housing shortage. Pictured: ARAD founders, left to right - Laith Mubarak (Director, Click Above), Andrew Powell (FD, Apex Airspace), Mani Khiroya (CEO, Fruition Properties), Richard Taube (MD, Upspace) Source:

Kier Appointed to Build New £43m Surgical Centre Kier has been appointed by NHS Golden Jubilee to deliver a new £43million surgical centre at its hospital in Clydebank. This latest award follows Kier’s successful completion of the eye centre for the hospital and is part of the hospital’s expansion programme. Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care, Humza Yousaf visited the hospital to officially mark the start of this new project. Procured through Frameworks Scotland 2, the surgical centre will provide a range of first-class facilities, including theatre suites, a surgical admissions and recovery unit (SARU), a surgical administration space, central sterilising and processing department facilities, endoscopy unit, orthopaedic amenities, outpatient and pre-operative spaces, as well as staff wellbeing spaces. When complete, this building will support the hospital to provide over 9,400 new outpatient consultations, more than 4,400 pre-operative assessments and over 13,900 other procedures. Kier will utilise modern methods of construction (MMC) throughout the build, including a hybrid


precast concrete frame, the envelope of the building being precast with windows and brickwork completed offsite. The project is due to be complete by June 2023 and as part of Kier’s commitment to leaving a lasting legacy in the areas in which it builds, at least 65% of its supply chain will come from a 30-mile radius of the hospital. Kier will also provide a range of opportunities to the local community including at least ten apprenticeships, work placements, job opportunities and career talks at schools. Phil McDowell, Regional Director at Kier Regional Building North & Scotland, said: “Following on from our recent success with NHS Golden Jubilee delivering its new eye centre, we are proud to have been given the opportunity to continue to deliver for patients and the local community with this prestigious

scheme. We have extensive experience delivering healthcare schemes and we will utilise our skill and technical excellence to deliver a first-class facility for the hospital and people of West Scotland.” Chief Executive of NHS Golden Jubilee, Jann Gardner, added: “We recently marked the completion of Phase 1 of our expansion with the opening of our new, state-of-the-art, eye centre: the first of the National Treatment Centres. This started treating patients in November 2020 and this year is estimated to carry out over 12,000 cataract procedures. We now look forward to benefiting patients across Scotland with our new surgical centre.” Source:


Windows – Doors



Wates Construction Group recently appointed Inna Lim as its new Strategy and Integration Director. We caught up with her to find out more about emerging technologies, innovation and championing more offsite manufacture.

1 Q: As new Strategy and Integration Director at Wates, can you say more about the role and what you want to achieve with it?

So, starting with the customers and end users in mind and then working backwards to our pre-construction and operational activities.

Inna Lim (IL): I am accountable for driving a new integrated business across the Wates Construction Group. This a new role and together with key members from our engineering and specialist businesses – SES Engineering Services, Wates Building Services, Wates Dry Lining Services and Prism Offsite Manufacturing – we aim to create a unique market offering that gives Wates Group a competitive advantage across a number of sectors. Most importantly, I want to help our organisation offer construction and engineering solutions that are built around our customers’ needs.

Q: What are the benefits of integrating the four businesses and what do you hope to achieve?


IL: Ultimately, this is about delivering efficiencies and adding value for our clients and business. But it’s also responding to a range of challenges UK construction companies face today – be it pandemic-related or age-old problems relating to efficiency and quality. Our primary objective here is to share the technical expertise, capabilities and thinking from our four specialist businesses within the Wates Construction Group. Our industry

peers continue to approach offsite manufacturing as an isolated concept, but we plan to dominate this space by enhancing our existing offsite facility, Prism, and developing a fully integrated in-house capability of smart offsite solutions. This will provide our customers with rapid and optimum solutions and support during the project’s life cycle. Q: Prism has been hugely successful in delivering prefabricated MEP with a modular approach – will the facility be developed further and is offsite MEP still not fully understood by the wider construction industry? IL: We’re putting a lot of energy into enhancing the capabilities and capacity of our Prism facility –



2 particularly around enhancing our offer through a more standardised approach. Currently our solutions are quite bespoke, so we’re heading towards a more ‘kit of parts’ approach, where at a project’s inception our construction partners, both internally and externally, could select a product that could drive the design and architecture of the rest of the building. This would naturally lead to upgrades within the factory in terms of the products we deliver. In terms of whether offsite MEP is fully understood, I’d say most understand its importance but conveying value for money vs a traditional approach can sometimes prove difficult, since the comparison doesn’t happen across the entire value chain of the project delivery. Q: The use of technology and digital tools within factory environments is central to offsite manufacture – is this the future of offsite’s successful wider adoption and how is the Construction Group and the wider business driving this? IL: Technology and digital tools are crucial to any industry but for offsite they aren’t central to future adoption. Though very important, the success of

offsite depends on industry players – especially our customers’ mandating offsite as the only delivery option for their projects. The construction industry must also understand how to integrate offsite early on, and digital tech will play a massive role in supporting that early engagement. For example, if we had a standardised ‘kit of parts’, we would have digital information held on each of our products. If we were then engaged early, we would be able to freely share that digital information with our construction partners as part of the design process, giving our clients a rich source of project information from day one. Q: The type of skills required in the modern construction industry is changing rapidly – not least in the use of digital tools (BIM/AI/VR) being more important than ever – is that a fair assessment? IL: Yes! Certainly, from an offsite, building services and digital perspective. Part of the challenge is that the broad range of skills required are extraordinarily high and hard to come by. You could, for example, have a skilled digital engineer, who knows little about the intricacies of building

service installation, and this is where our integrated offer comes back in because we have all those different skill sets within the four businesses. By aligning those capabilities there’s a clear route for those skilled staff members to work together to find the best solution for a job. Q: The construction industry is under huge pressure to reduce energy consumption and change material use to meet the UK’s net zero targets. How will the integrated businesses deliver a more energy-efficient built environment? IL: An exciting part of the integrated business is the sustainability experts we have on offer – from smart building specialists to environmental engineers and sustainability specialists – who can work together to engineer the most efficient building from a building services perspective. By working alongside our construction colleagues early on, our integrated team can run models and come up with an optimum solution to help support energy efficiency on projects. For example, we might be able to advise on certain tweaks that could benefit the running of a building, such as altering the G-value of its windows, which could




3 reduce the need for excessive air conditioning and heating systems, which is hugely important from an energy-efficiency standpoint. Q: The built environment is going through a huge period of change – not least with issues surrounding boosting quality and productivity. What other forces are driving change and what role will the integrated businesses play in solving these issues? IL: The built environment has been going through a period of change for quite some time now. Issues around quality and productivity were identified as early as 1934 by Alfred Bossom, who said UK construction was a wasteful industry where construction took too long, was too expensive and was not satisfactory for its clients. Wates Construction’s solution to this is to focus on our people, productivity, and partners. We’re 100% dedicated


to our people and passionate about helping them grow and advance. We’re currently going through a productivity revolution, looking at our processes and delivery, including – of course – a huge focus on offsite. And, lastly, we always strive to understand exactly what our partners and client base want, working with them to deliver. Q: In a post-pandemic world encouraged to ‘Build Back Better’ – how do you see the offsite sector contributing over the next 18 months and what technologies and innovation do you see emerging? IL: There are numerous ways offsite will contribute to ‘Build Back Better’, with technology playing a key role. Post-pandemic, the impacts of supply chain constraints and product supply, for example, will be challenging, but offsite takes away a lot of those risks

since we’re not exposed to the same labour and resource constraints as traditional builds. Collaboration will also be critical, and we’ve invested heavily in digital collaboration tools, such as building a 360-degree immersive workspace, for our customers, supply chain partners and internal teams to work together to thoroughly understand a project, from design and efficiency to logistics and engineering. Looking ahead, there’s a whole host of future applications for this tech such as virtual training or creating digital twins of buildings. For more information visit: Images: 01. Inna Lim, Strategy and Integration Director, Wates Construction 02-03. The Prism facility has been instrumental in bringing precision offsite methods to the UK built environment


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A lot has happened since January 2021 when the government published the outcome of the Future Homes Standard consultation. But with changes imminent, Trevor Richards, Operations Director of VOLUMETRIC™ outlines the challenges involved and what is coming down the track.

1 The Future Homes Standard outlines changes to Building Regulations Part L (conservation of fuel and power) and F (ventilation) that will ultimately come into effect in 2025, to ensure that all new homes in England are future-proofed with low-carbon heating systems and high levels of energy efficiency. These standards should ensure that all new homes will produce 75-80% less carbon emissions than houses delivered under current regulations. As an interim step, announcements surrounding changes to Part L are expected later this year, which will come into force next year to ensure new homes built from 2022 will produce 31% less carbon emissions. Full technical specification for the Future Homes Standard will be consulted on in 2023, with the necessary legislation introduced ahead of implementation in 2025. So, change is happening and happening at pace. Here at VOLUMETRIC™ we adopt a partnership approach and have


worked in close collaboration with Foundation200, a charity established by housing developer Hill Group to gift 200 interim homes for rough sleepers to homeless charities and local authorities to mark the company’s 20th anniversary. The team behind Foundation200 required specialist support to design and manufacture a bespoke solution – MODULHAUS™ was the outcome of much research and an extensive testing regime. Right from the initial concept stages, the decision was reached to develop a modular solution that would exceed the Future Homes Standard to relieve the burden on local authorities of ongoing expenses associated with traditional temporary accommodation. As ever, the devil is in the detailing, and there is a lot more to achieving the Future Homes Standard than we initially considered. Not willing to compromise on our client’s expected performance for the intended application, our team modelled and remodelled our designs, with countless

2 materials and technologies assessed and evaluated to ensure we achieved our optimum position. Achieving the right balance was challenging. Sometimes the benefits of one solution counter-act the benefits of another, making you feel like it was one step forward, and one back. Whether it is insulating our lightweight structure to ensure the best envelope was attained, whilst arresting any potential overheating that the relative lack of thermal mass in the same lightweight structure brings, or understanding which renewable technologies to use given the variability of potential site locations and restrictions. It was essential that we invested time up front to resolve these issues. At all stages of the MODULHAUS™ system development these criteria have been assessed for the forecast 60-year whole-life embodied carbon, along with system energy use and full SAP calculations. This analysis has also considered ‘cradle to factory gate’





raw material extraction, transport and processing into product, ‘construction’ processes and in-use raw material extraction maintenance. We are currently also assessing the potential for carbon offsetting or balancing to achieve our zero carbon target by the beginning of 2022.

The embodied carbon assessment for MODULHAUS™ has been undertaken based on RICS and British Standard guidance and includes information from relevant Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) and publicly available carbon data.

A RAPID & AFFORDABLE SOLUTION TO THE HOMELESS CRISIS To meet the needs of local authorities battling to find a cost-effective solution to address rough sleeping, the MODULHAUS™ single person interim housing solution has been developed and launched after a rigorous 18-month Research and Development Programme. A finalist in the Offsite Awards in the Best Building Performance – MODULHAUS™ will be on show at Offsite Expo on the 21-22 September at Coventry Building Society Arena. Offsite Expo delegates will have the opportunity to meet the design, engineering and manufacturing team on stand B7 and see the MODULHAUS™ two-storey feature build. Reducing ongoing energy costs to circa £5 per week, this solution provides greater dignity and independence to the most vulnerable members of society whilst also relieving the burden on local authorities of ongoing expenses associated with traditional temporary accommodation. MODULHAUSTM Design Features • BOPAS accredited structure with 60-year design life • LABC Assured Building Control approval • Fully non-combustible, fire tested to exceed Building Regulations • Robust and thermally efficient • Galvanised steel external walls and double lined internal walls • Renewable energy technology via a shared energy centre • External air source heat pump • Mechanical ventilation and heat recovery • Stackable to two storeys with a range of cladding and colours • Installed on just six low impact foundation pads to minimise groundworks. For more information or to register for Offsite Expo to see MODULHAUS™ first hand visit: or

5 The futureproof energy strategy for MODULHAUS™ is designed to exceed the Future Homes Standard with Environment B and A rating and emissions as low as 229.5KG CO2/ year. Modules are factory-fitted with sustainable technologies, low energy lighting and white goods together with controlled flow shower mixers and dual flush cisterns to minimise energy and water consumption. Renewable energy technology is built into every module including air source heat pumps (ASHP), and mechanical ventilation and heat recovery (MVHR) systems. Combined with a highly airtight and well insulated structure, U-values as low as 0.09W/m²K are achieved. In addition, the airtightness achieved in using a volumetric modular approach enhances in-use energy efficiency and reduces carbon emissions for the lifetime of the building. Results of 3m³/hr/m² air loss at a 50 Pa are being routinely achieved during factory testing as part of our QA procedures. This has been a massive learning curve and reaching the Future Homes Standard is simply not just a case of adding more insulation. It is far more complex than that. So, although 2025 may seem a way off, after experiencing the challenges involved first-hand, it is better to take time now and get your design and testing protocols right, than taking a risk and failing to meet the complexities involved. For more information visit: Images: 01-05. MODULHAUS™ was the outcome of much research and an extensive testing regime to provide a modular solution to the UK’s rough sleeping problems





We asked Shaun Weston, Managing Director of British Offsite, about what underpins the solutions his team creates and how they deliver occupiable properties faster.

1 Q: You were established by Weston Homes, how has that influenced your MMC solutions? “It’s a different way of thinking that gives people more choice about how they build, easing their transition to modern methods of construction (MMC). Very simply we were developers first, so we fully appreciate traditional methods of construction and just like our customers were born to build. We’re here to give the construction industry more choice – on top of the speed, safety, efficiency and environmental gains of our UNI System. Our hybrid solutions integrate with traditional construction, so people have the option of an evolution or revolution in how they build.” Q: What choices does the UNI System offer? “We’re excited about our UNI System product range. It’s the most technically advanced light gauge steel panel system in the marketplace, suitable for house, mid-rise and high-rise developments. UNI System lets you consolidate the work of up to five trades into one panel. 30

Insulation, fire stopping, external cladding, windows, doors and vents can all be pre-installed, matching your design specifications exactly. Customers have complete control over architectural features and how much we pre-manufacture for them.” Q: You’ve got a second factory coming in 2022 that quadruples your production capacity. What do people need to know about this big change? “Our second factory in Braintree is 137,000sq ft, double the size of our first one and the largest steel panel factory in the UK. We’ll have the capacity to serve many more customers and ease their transition to offsite construction. The factory is being built to just-in-time automotive manufacturing standards, to deliver our products exactly when you need them, how you need them. Our technical design process, state-ofthe-art machinery, robotics capability and quality control systems guarantee a consistent quality across each and every product and we have a full set of accreditations to meet today’s homebuilding standards.”

2 Q: What are the biggest benefits of choosing British Offsite? “We’re part of the new high-tech manufacturing sector in the UK – bringing new capabilities to the construction industry, taking the best from automotive manufacturing and the logistics industry – and are champions of precision in everything we do. That’s across our design and manufacturing processes, but also logistics, supporting site managers with sequencing and improving first fork in the ground to first keys handover time by 15-20%. With our ability to consolidate the work of multiple trades, we radically reduce the risks and delays in construction – protect our customers from skills shortages, delivery delays, site waste, and health and safety challenges – and deliver occupiable properties faster.” For more information visit: Images: 01-02. The UNI System lets you consolidate the work of up to five trades into one panel.


A DIFFERENT WAY OF THINKING BRITISH OFFSITE’S HYBRID SOLUTIONS ARE DESIGNED TO EASE YOUR TRANSITION FROM TRADITIONAL TO MODERN METHODS OF CONSTRUCTION, WHETHER YOU’RE SEEKING AN EVOLUTION OF REVOLUTION IN HOW YOU BUILD. Developers before we became manufacturers, we: • Understand the needs and challenges of the design and construction industry • Reduce the risks and delays in construction to deliver your occupiable properties faster • Consolidate the work of up to five trades in our flexible UNI System • Produce the architecture you need with precision, in the most efficient way possible

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Think British Offsite from the offset



A new iteration of the DfMA Overlay to the RIBA Plan of Work has been unveiled. Nigel Ostime, Partner at Hawkins\Brown explains what has changed and why it is so important to adopt its principles.

1 The DfMA (Design for Manufacture and Assembly) Overlay to the RIBA Plan of Work was first published five years ago. It corresponded to the 2013 Plan of Work (we now have the 2020 version) and, whilst providing essential thought-leadership, needed updating. Since the first edition the seven MMC categories have been established, Platform DfMA has become a reality and, under certain circumstances, government departments are mandating the use of offsite. There has always been a degree of scepticism around offsite – haven’t we tried this before? – but its time has surely come. The construction industry moves slowly, weighed down by fragmentation, flat lining productivity and a lack of investment. So, whilst parts of the industry get it, others are dragging their heels.


As sci-fi author William Gibson said: “The future is already here — it's just not very evenly distributed.” The overlay and accompanying report seek to help level up the industry. The report sets out the current ‘state of the nation’ for offsite and provides links to the many publications that provide authoritative, in depth material on the subject. It sets out the drivers for change towards a manufacturing mindset, an exploration of market readiness, the critical process of optioneering – choosing the right solution, the impact of DfMA on traditional skills and roles, and an exploration of what the near future might look like. It concludes with a handy glossary – there is as much jargon in offsite as anywhere in the construction industry.

Getting it right at the start In his preface Mark Farmer notes: “… the process of delivering a different outcome starts at the beginning with the client and their advisory team … How clients and their teams set their projects up from Strategic Definition stage onwards has massive impact on the success or otherwise of adopting manufacturing principles and then deploying effectively the various modern methods of construction (MMC) that are starting to really take hold in the UK construction industry.” The report explains that, to realise the outcomes our industry needs to achieve, DfMA must become established as the default approach, so that the systems and processes that underpin it are better understood by clients and become second nature to everyone involved.


RIBA DFMA OVERLAY From the outset of the project the design team should follow a robust optioneering process. The report outlines a series of questions which should be answered at each RIBA work stage to frame the discussion. This is important as, for example, the technical design stage deliverables may need to be brought forward to as early as RIBA Stage 2. MMC Adviser The report introduces a new role of MMC Adviser who will initially facilitate the optioneering process to assess which construction method or system best suits the desired outcomes for the project. Their role is to challenge and provide support, as well as advising on the most appropriate supply chain for the project. This can be undertaken by the architect, if they have the necessary knowledge, or by a separate, specialist consultant. It could also be an inhouse function by the client if they have the capability. The MMC Adviser can be involved in all RIBA stages but their most important contribution is prior to appointing a manufacturer or contractor. DfMA ≠ boring buildings The consultees to the overlay were keen to dispel the myth that DfMA is a barrier to great architecture, provided the systems used are considered early enough. As the case studies in the report show, DfMA can produce award-winning architecture with buildings that are responsive to place and perform well functionally and environmentally. Standardisation scares some architects who fear it will constrain their creativity and ability to respond to the site’s context. But a large part of the value that comes from DfMA derives from efficiency gains from making the same or similar components and assemblies repeatedly, especially if it uses a standardised process to achieve economies of scale. Much of this standardisation is hidden within the building (think bathroom pods or precast concrete for example) and an offsite building can be largely undiscernible from a traditionally built one. By avoiding reinventing the wheel, standardisation has the potential to speed up the design and assembly phases of projects and improve productivity, giving designers more time for the very necessary value-adding, iterative and creative processes.

MMC windows of opportunity RIBA Stage MMC category
















Role MMC adviser Architect Engineers Contractor Manufacturer MMC adviser Architect Engineers Contractor Manufacturer MMC adviser Architect Engineers Contractor Manufacturer MMC adviser Architect Engineers Contractor Manufacturer MMC advisor Architect Engineers Contractor Manufacturer MMC adviser Architect Engineers Contractor Manufacturer MMC adviser Architect Engineers Contractor Manufacturer


Organised by MMC category and RIBA Plan of Work stage, the blue sections on this matrix show, from earliest to latest, the recommended windows of opportunity for the appointment of members of the project team. Pre-manufactured value as parties’ late as RIBA Stage 4, but Category The green sections represent the typical duration of different appointments.

A proxy measure of the success 1 solutions will need to be considered windows of opportunity vary depending on the category of MMC being considered. For example, it may ofThe DfMA is the project’s prefrom RIBA Stage 2 to prevent costly rebe possible to decide on large-format cladding systems (Category 6) as late as RIBA Stage 4, but Category 1 manufactured value (PMV), which andredesign programme delays. solutions will need to be considered from RIBA Stage 2 to design prevent costly and programme delays. expresses the amount of money The pink dotted line running through Stage 3 represents the town planning application, which may in practice spent offsite as a percentage of the The PINK dotted line running through be submitted at any time during Stage 3. The yellow dotted line represents design freeze, which is essential for total project budget. The higher the Stage 3 represents the town planning deriving optimum value from using offsite solutions. This is shown in each case as the latest time for fixing the PMV, theisproportion of value. application, which may/ in practice be designthe and smaller fixing it earlier likely to bring greater the capital cost spent on prelims and submitted at any time during Stage 3. on-site labour. A higher percentage The YELLOW dotted line represents is therefore an indicator of efficiency. design freeze, which is essential for Project teams need to start measuring deriving optimum value from using DfMA Overlay to the RIBA Plan of Work | 4. Choosing the best option and publishing PMV and the industry offsite solutions. This is in each case 39 needs to use this data to assess where shown as the latest time to fix the we are on the journey toward greater design and fixing it earlier is likely to implementation of offsite. bring greater the value. MMC Procurement Organised by MMC category and RIBA Work Stage, the BLUE sections on this matrix show, from earliest to latest, the recommended windows of opportunity for the appointment of members of the project team. The GREEN sections represent the typical duration of different parties’ appointment. The windows of opportunity vary depending on the category of MMC being considered. For example, it may be possible to decide on largeformat cladding systems (Category 6)

The overlay and accompanying report can be downloaded free of charge from: and search ‘DfMA Overlay’.

Images: 01. Offsite manufacture is about changing the way we think about construction 02. The DfMA Overlay has been updated to reflect the changing design thinking landscape





With a focus on understanding customer and supplier needs across the offsite manufacturing ‘eco-system’, a roundtable hosted by ITW Construction Products Offsite, teased out some key industry themes to understand how the offsite supply chain can improve.

Any process developing unique systems and products should start with understanding its customers – what they do, how they operate and listen to where the bottlenecks and frustrations are in their specific operations. With the offsite industry changing and growing quickly, businesses working and collaborating together will evolve faster and be better placed to meet industry challenges and enjoy sustainable and organic growth. As the offsite construction industry moves from a project to a more production-based approach – how can that business model be transformed to capture greater value and what important factors need to be understood when developing and delivering product innovation within the offsite sector? Unlike a traditional construction site where products can be lost or damaged, items entering a factory facility can be easily tracked, with stock levels and locations carefully managed with cutting edge technology. This enables a business to know at the ‘press of a button’ where a particular component or product is at all times. “Purchasing for manufacturing is quite different to purchasing for a traditional


site,” says Paul Bilbie, Factory Director, Countryside Properties. “We need justin-time deliveries and more control of the materials. We need things as and when we require them. It is important to have relationships with suppliers with agreements in place and for them to be able to understand what we are doing now but also in the future.” The factory environment has long been seen as a perfect location for prototyping and testing products – even down to creating a completed house within the factory. This delivers a greater degree of product and supplier confidence, and enables an organisation’s design and maintenance teams to understand exactly what they are going to be making, and how it will eventually be delivered and put together onsite. This is also where mistakes can be made on a smaller scale and design processes can be changed to respond to new regulations. A key benefit from a manufacturing environment is continuous improvement and the speed of feedback from the shop floor to the design team and from the building site back to design. “The ability to continuously improve is what sets

offsite construction apart from the traditional route,” says Nigel Banks, Special Projects Director, Ilke Homes. “Also, everyone operating in the industry is at a different stage of the journey and has different needs. What concerns us now will have changed in 12 months, or conversely a solution that we don’t need now, we may need in 12 months’ time.” Changes in regulatory environment requirements post-Grenfell is driving many changes in product safety with additional focus on fire testing in particular. But across the built environment, the severe lack of accredited test facilities is often picked out as a major hindrance to introducing innovative products into the marketplace. “One of the issues that our industry has is the lack of accredited testing facilities both in the UK and Europe to do the tests with long timescales to get approval and certification,” says Scott McAndrew, R&D Manager, ITW Construction Products Offsite. To a certain degree, there is also still a lack of maturity in buying decisions – although there is a sense that offsite systems and products are the ‘right solution for projects, there is not a lot of certainty of performance’,




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OFFSITE ROUNDTABLE so instilling that certainty with performance data will boost client confidence and market maturity.

Courtesy of AIMCH

Creating the Right Eco-system In its wider sense, offsite manufacture versus traditional construction can be boiled down to a straight choice between predictable and unpredictable results. “Recent research on why developers would choose offsite over a traditional route picked out cost, quality, speed but also sustainability and carbon performance becoming important drivers,” says Jeff Endean, Director, Cast. “What connects all four of those is that clients are looking for an overall solution that they can be confident in and that the performance standards are visible and provide answers to the problems they face.” Certainly improvements are required in the supplier and buyer ecosystem to bring higher levels of efficiency and success but what kind of changes need to me made now and in the future? “Innovation can be very expensive and if you do it on your own all the time it becomes too expensive,” says Ola Magnusson, Project Manager at Lindbäcks – a leading Swedish timber frame home provider. “So by collaborating more you can lower the cost. More transparency is needed between companies to solve problems with material flow within the supply chain – this can advance the supply chain and benefit both partners in the long term.” Understanding what happens inside the factory environment is a critical element in building an effective supplier/manufacturer relationship. This can develop a better, open way to collaborate and find ways and opportunities to do things better and faster. “Getting to see your supplier and their factory is really important to change the culture within which you want to operate,” says Paul Bilbie. “It feels alien not to want to be closer to the supplier and teams involved in it.” Nigel Banks agrees: “Seeing the factory, that is how you can innovate with the supply chain. If you can understand the factory and technology and understand what the capabilities are and where the costs and drivers are, then you can understand the problems that may be coming up or down the production lines.”


Some elements of the construction industry and its component suppliers, still have a long way to go in understanding what manufacturing businesses want and need. There is a general feeling that manufacturers need to understand what product developers are doing and what they are working on for the future – what systems and processes are in motion to aid an overall learning process. Ideally, there should be an open flow of communication and ability for suppliers and manufacturers to understand everyone’s respective capabilities. Challenges and Successes Facing the Offsite Manufacturing Industry “Improving the culture of collaboration and learning what manufacturers need is key but barriers remain in the procurement and business models,” says Jeff Endean. “Creating a route to scalable delivery is really important. You can’t design a scheme from scratch every time and expect to get efficient solutions out the other end. We need to see a pre-approved kit of parts with a procurement solution built around them, that enables the supply chain to have certainty.”

What do we do first? Collaborative and shared learning is an ‘interesting first step’. The Advanced Industrialised Methods for the Construction of Homes (AIMCH) project, funded by Innovate UK, is two years into its investigations in to homebuilding and has done a lot of good work around standardising and harmonisation/ specification of design, rather than ‘everyone doing things differently at different times’. It is clear that the volume of homes needed across the UK to meet Government building targets are not possible to achieve through the traditional supply chain easily. It will be even more tough with additional zero carbon targets factored in. Of course, with offsite manufacture there is a vast array of products on the market ranging from sub-assemblies to full turnkey solutions and ‘all points between’. Future success will rest in many ways on the wider use of digitisation and more integrated ‘operator and machine automation’, the changing of skillsets and how to upscale overall productivity.


OFFSITE ROUNDTABLE “While there is an emphasis on newbuild,” says Professor Robert Hairstans at Edinburgh Napier University and Founding Director at the New Model Institute for Technology and Engineering, Centre For Advanced Timber Technology. “There is a massive challenge for retrofit, especially around net zero carbon and embodied energy, the disassembly of structures and the circular economy. We need to understand factory capabilities and what products can be brought together, so you can standardise with a view to mass customisation, all relative to the context where they are used.”

“What is perfect is to approach a supplier to buy a function, not a product, material or tool, but a solution to a problem.” Ola Magnusson, Project Manager, Lindbäcks The advent of ‘digital twins’ and the widespread use of BIM can play a major role in enhancing energy performance and predicting performance degradation over time. “We need to capture a wide range of stuff such as human capital, social value and productivity data, adds Robert. “Envisaging the ‘built environment as a living lab’ can help validate performance and make offsite more palatable to a wider audience.” The offsite sector has seen many new entrants, especially as housing providers, all trying to secure a share of a burgeoning market and the external challenges surround securing a pipeline of projects is commonly raised. Internally, every organisation has its own shifting pressures depending on where it is in the development cycle of its own business – whether it be start-up, attaining factory accreditation, or expanding the size of development from several pilot homes to multiple units on several sites across the country. “One of the big challenges once you get going and established is prioritising where to focus next,” says Nigel Banks. “Also, is the supply chain limiting the developments of your innovation? It’s good to look outside of construction sometimes for inspiration. Innovation and change occurs best when manufacturers and suppliers interests are aligned for common goals and needs.”

Facilitator: Trudi Stewart Customer Back Innovation Manager, ITW Construction Products Offsite

Prof. Robert Hairstans Edinburgh Napier University

Nigel Banks

Paul Bilbie

Jeff Endean

Factory Director, Countryside Properties

Director, Cast

Ola Magnusson

Scott McAndrew

Gary Ramsay

Project Manager, Lindbäcks

R&D Manager, ITW Construction Products Offsite

Editor, Offsite Magazine

Special Projects Director, Ilke Homes

For Ola Magnusson, the benefits of offsite manufacture can be maximised by reusing a solution between projects and still make it attractive to the customer. “The more you can standardise the better but higher quality does come at a price, so how do you balance between customisation and standardisation? It should be choosing from a menu, not from a blank page.”

Delivering the right product, at the right time and at the right quality, can be tough. But the overarching theme is having a supplier that can join you on a journey of continuous improvement, with the desire to go through the testing and redesign with you. This results in higher levels of understanding – it is identifying that ‘getting a product into the factory is just step one in a long process’.

Improving Supplier Services What ideally is a manufacturer looking for? Core performance needs – durability, safety and appropriate industry accreditation – plus the correct price point, and crucially, the capacity to deliver the volumes required. “Quality products arriving at the facility ready for use is key,” says Paul Bilbie. “Especially when it is in line with our ‘just-in-time’ process and delivery lines. We don’t want something that is going to be used in two/three days’ time and has to go back out to be remanufactured. It needs to right when it arrives.”

Where next? The offsite manufacturing industry has been going through an intense period of development and acceptance over the last five years with interest in offsite methods at an all-time high – where could it be heading over the next five years?

“It is also very important for the supplier to have the willingness to adapt to the offsite manufacturer,” adds Ola Magnusson “They have to adapt to delivery times or packaging needs and understand that our requirements are different to a traditional construction company.

“A selection of low carbon and sustainable products will be a big driver to change,” says Jeff Endean. “Delivery platforms that aggregate demand and enable clients to come together and harmonise specification is also a way forward – there needs to be more innovation around delivery.” Certainly energy efficiency and changes to Part L and F of Building Regulations and the implementation of the Future Homes Standard, will mean a massive shift. Traditional builders will ‘struggle to achieve those standards’. “Our fabric is already at the new Part L,” says Nigel Banks. “So we are excellently placed. Zero carbon sites




and integrating those technologies into the manufacturing line is key. There is also an opportunity for some of the solutions that have worked well in newbuild to be transferred to retrofit.” The wide scale decarbonisation of the built environment will be a major change. Certainly with timber, the pressure on the supply chain is intense and the wider adoption of ‘homegrown resource’ and introduction of ‘timber first’ policies will become more popular. “There will also be more hybrid build,” says Robert Hairstans. “Timber with concrete, light steel frame with OSB cladding etc. It’s about bringing the right materials together in the right context. Add to this more circularity in material use and better carbon capture. The end point for me, would be a new educational model, so we innovate within that and change some of the silo mentality that exists of those that just understand traditional processes.” With more digital tools, advanced technology and machinery predicted to be in use over the next decade, this will propel the wider automation of home production and result in more predictability and productivity. “There will be more integration between machine and materials,” adds Ola Magnusson. “Also we could see better test environments within businesses, rather than waiting several months for a test facility. This will improve innovation. More testing through digital twins will reduce disruption with on-going production. Don’t buy what’s on the market – but specify and


LESSONS & OUTCOMES Testing – investing in testing and accreditation of a product for one manufacturer but making it available for others in the market is effective. Think Widely – solutions can often be found in other industries – don’t be afraid to look outside construction for inspiration. Capacity & Reliability – don’t underestimate the importance of contracts and agreements between suppliers and manufacturers – volume and capacity can be ‘king’. Zero Carbon – be clear on what net zero means and how to respond with valuable long term low carbon products. Core Thinking – suppliers need to engage with the market more strategically when addressing issues surrounding risk, delivery models, scale and efficiency. Customer Care – be flexible, contactable and listen to what your customer needs. Have a service that responds quickly to customer queries. Skills Shortages – innovation needs to focus on dealing with skill shortages across the construction sector – e.g. developing technologies such as brick slips and facades in a post-Grenfell era. Supplying Outcomes – present an ‘outcome’ with appropriate specifications rather than ‘a bit of kit’. Industry Collaboration – a constructive supplier/manufacturer relationship is critical. Be clear about what you are trying to achieve and be open to different ways of doing things – each party may have a solution that has not occurred to you.

buy what you need to deliver your solution.” As the offsite ‘eco-system’ continues to develop and mature, the supplier/ manufacturer relationship will benefit from greater clarity around demand, improved procurement models and design harmonisation. But the core overriding theme is of collaboration – both as a way of making working processes more efficient and reliable but also as a way to introduce and maintain higher levels openness, innovation and quality.

Many thanks to ITW Construction Products Offsite for hosting the Virtual Roundtable Event and thanks to all participants for their time and contributions to the online discussion. For more information on ITW Construction Products Offsite visit: For more information on offsite related activity visit:


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John Miles, Technical Manager at Assent Building Control believes it’s time for Building Control to back offsite construction.

1 During my sixteen years working in building control, I’ve had enough time to see the sector evolve many of its practices and processes in a range of ways. However, the sector seems a step behind when it comes to accommodating offsite construction. It is clear that offsite construction is shaping the future for much of the built environment. In recent years we have seen government initiatives such as the DfE offsite framework, as well as pressure from the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee for ministers to centre offsite at the core of its ambitious housing targets, making it clear that leading forces are understanding the benefits of speed, sustainability and precision that modern methods of construction have to offer. Realising the benefits of offsite construction Building control needs to catch up. Not only to enable the offsite construction


sector to thrive to its fullest potential but also because so many of the advantages that offsite construction brings to the table directly compliment the work that we do as Approved Inspectors (AI’s). The nature of working from a factory means that offsite manufacturers rely heavily on both consistency and precision – both aspects that the inspection process benefits from. Offsite manufacturers will often use the same team for almost all builds, giving AI’s the opportunity to create longstanding relationships and therefore allowing us to fully understand the systems and processes, before building an approval procedure around them. And because of the emphasis on precision, AI’s need to be involved from the beginning of the design process. This offers a huge advantage, as it means we are able to have a full understanding of the project, from start to finish and it provides an audit trail that isn’t

possible with traditional builds. Assessing and enforcing energy efficiency and carbon levels of a building is a vital part of the inspection process. When it comes to offsite buildings, the designs that I see time and again always exceed the minimum requirements for thermal efficiency. This assurance and quality control makes the process considerably easier, as we’re not having to request alterations later down the line. The same goes for safety – the offsite process offers considerably more control, making it easier to ensure fire safety measures from the factory, ready for when the structure is transported to site. Changing approaches to the inspection process The issue in all of this, is that current building regulations are generally written for traditional builds and for years, offsite has had to work around with this. That’s not to say that there is no relevance to offsite construction



2 within the current regulations because there is, but the way that Building Control approaches these regulations needs to be revisited. Unlike traditional builds, regulations around fire resistance, acoustics and energy efficiency are all dealt with from within a factory, so by the foundation stage, all of these checks have already been completed. It is crucial therefore, for comprehensive inspections to be carried out at the factory stage, as the structure is already assembled by the time it gets to site, so if something is missed by that point it’s too late. And while site inspections are still a part of the process, AI’s must take careful consideration during factory audits and carry out QA checks during the manufacturing stages in order to fully interrogate the building. These audits provide a holistic view of the build – during just one visit AI’s can see the building frame of one unit, at the same time as seeing another that is ready to be delivered to site. This means changing focus to frontload input at the design stages as early as the original proposal which can take up to five meetings before even reaching the manufacturing stage. Building skills with offsite construction As with every sector of the built environment, skills will play a big in Building Control’s adoption of offsite construction. This needs to come as part of the overall rallying cry for new talent as well as being a focus of

3 development for the existing Building Control workforce. There is so much potential for knowledge sharing between the two industries and it’s up to Building Control to ensure we are listening and learning in order to nurture skills and specialisms to deliver the highest quality buildings. AI’s should be accumulating knowledge from each offsite project that they work on and funnelling it to the manufacturer. As an understanding of the systems and processes grows, AI’s are able to advise more holistically on schemes. The challenge with offsite is the need to understand its methodology and how it all comes together. Once this is established, AI’s have the opportunity to improve the service and focus more tentatively on what is needed.

4 there is a need for Building Control to create more dynamic approach that allow freedom in the design process and ultimately improve it. The approach to the current inspection process is rigid and linear, responding to the needs of traditional methods of construction. And while offsite is still a relatively small section of the construction industry, the accelerated growth that it’s seen over the past 12-18 months strongly indicates the upward trajectory where it’s heading. For more information visit: Images: 01-04. Assent recently worked with Portakabin, to deliver a new primary school under the DfE MMC1 framework in Somerset. Courtesy Portakabin

While offsite continues to calve out its place within the built environment,





How can offsite methods create green jobs in order to help meet sustainability targets and improve the built environment? Rory O’Hagan, Director at Assael Architecture, explains what can be done to help in the race to net zero.


2 Building energy-efficient homes and retrofitting existing housing stock is a vital puzzle piece in improving the built environment's impact on carbon emissions and reaching a net zero future. Offsite manufacturing is a key part of this, and the latest figures from the Green Jobs Task Force are


a stark reminder that not enough is being done to support this part of the housing and construction sector. To significantly reduce the impact of buildings and ‘build back better', the government must place more emphasis on, and invest in, green jobs.

According to a recent report from the Green Jobs Taskforce, every UK job has the potential to be ‘green’. The Government’s vision is an investment drive in skills that will see an industrial revolution carried by low carbon, reducing our dependence on unsustainable practices. This transition to make sustainable skills ‘second nature’ is no more urgent than in the built environment sector, which contributes up to 40% of the country’s total carbon footprint. Green jobs in architecture, development and construction are as necessary as they are transformative. The Office for Budgetary Responsibility (OBR) has forecasted that retrofitting existing stock could cost as much as £400billion, identifying a critical ‘skills gap’ which will need to be filled to meet legislated targets. The Future Homes Standard, too, sets expectations on the carbon neutrality of new homes, which will only intensify over time. While the transition may seem daunting, much of the infrastructure we need to lower emissions is already in place. Through tried and tested modern methods of construction (MMC) such as offsite modular housing and timber frame construction, the property industry has a real opportunity to make a difference and meet this target in the race to net zero in 2050. Innovation also serves to promote ‘green’ skills as the bi-product of more environmentally sustainable and progressive approaches to traditional housebuilding methods, accelerating that change. In practice, the adoption of sustainable methods starts with a fresh perspective. If the UK is to truly become net zero by 2050, we can no longer afford to look at sustainability as a tick box exercise. As architects, we must rise to the challenge of designing sustainable buildings on a holistic




4 cradle-to-grave system, putting whole life carbon into the picture, enabling us to begin from day one and see it carried right through to completion. If the architecture and construction sectors are going to decarbonise and bolster the creation of ‘green’ jobs, then the Government must also emphasise investment in MMC and sustainable practice within the associated real estate sector. Expediting our transition to a low carbon economy relies on this enduring support, shedding the reluctance across the industry to embrace the methods already available to meet our carbon neutral commitments. Increasing the uptake of existing methods with proven results and making them better is an intuitive solution to the pressing requirements of climate change. It’s not advocating for a complete departure to what we see as common practice, and it is in this emerging corner of cutting-edge innovation that ‘green’ skills are already born. Modular construction is a near perfect solution to achieve net zero, with both embodied and operational carbon lessened, and the ability to produce buildings in half the time of

traditional construction. Having the ability to manage the materials from its creation to the destination of end use is a transformative way of building with a responsible conscious. This will also have a positive knock-on effect for developers and investors who will be able understand the origins of the products used in specific assets. Modular manufacturing in the UK still carries some negative connotations as many architects are afraid of the concept, feeling as though it infringes on their creativity. There is a false sentiment that ‘modular’ means restrictive, standardised design – the new Lego block-by-block communities of tomorrow. The reality couldn’t be any different: factory built homes can offer desirable versatility, supported by a suite of common components, and are designed through a vigorous process that drills down into the detail early on to achieve optimised housing solutions. An excellent example of innovation using MMC to produce resilient and contextually sensitive designs is Assael’s work at Meridian Water, a new masterplanned development in north London. As part of the masterplan, after winning Meridian Water’s Placemaking with Purpose

Competition in 2020, Assael is creating a flexible and sustainable construction system designed for disassembly and reassembly, allowing reconfiguration and optionality that seeks to extend building longevity. With the key system components of the superstructure already established, architects and designers can focus more on aesthetics and the creation of unique building identities. By taking advantage of technology and saying goodbye to outdated building methods, we have a great opportunity on our hands and one that I would encourage architects to embrace. From a financial, sustainable and environmental perspective, if we can meet the pledge towards contributing to the Green Jobs Taskforce for the housing sector, then it’s certainly worth investing in. For more information visit: Images: 01. Rory O’Hagan, Director, Assael Architecture 02-04. Meridian Water RightSizer concept – a flexible and sustainable construction system designed for disassembly and reassembly




WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES AS M-AR TREBLES TURNOVER It’s been an exceptional year for the construction industry as a whole but for off-site contractor, M-AR, it’s been exceptional for all the right reasons – with record-breaking sales and turnover reported. And now the company has its sights set on breaking even more records this year and beyond.

2 1 The Hull-based off-site contractor, which is still privately owned today, was founded in 2007 and has gone from strength to strength ever since. It primarily operates across the residential sector, both private and social housing, as well as education and the commercial sectors. M-AR: the 2020 results are in Following a period of unprecedented growth, M-AR has reported an increase in turnover of more than 300 per cent up on the previous year. This makes the year ending March 2021 truly exceptional – especially in the face of industry-wide challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent national lockdowns. M-AR has reported annual turnover in excess of £20 million for 2020/2021 and, with a clear strategy is on track to increase turnover by a further 50% in 2021/2022. Moreover, the company’s profitability also increased significantly, making it M-AR’s most successful year to date and the sign of things to come as it makes a name for itself as a trusted offsite contractor.


What’s the secret to M-AR’s success? M-AR works in partnership with customers and supply chain partners to find the right solution for each project brief, using its expertise to tackle any challenge to create and deliver schemes without compromise. The company primarily focuses on volumetric schemes but has the ability to provide alternative construction solutions, making its offering truly unique. M-AR also owes its success to its continued commitment to selfinvestment in all areas of the business with the latest period of growth fuelled by large-scale company-wide investment. M-AR was early to the housing market and is now part of the Buildoffsite Property Assurance scheme (BOPAS) and has invested significantly in its technology to allow it to increase its offering within the housing market. In the last year the company has appointed 35 new members of staff, moved to a brand-new dedicated 100,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility and invested over £2m in new machinery and equipment.

This ongoing investment will continue to reduce the cost base for its customers and lay the foundations for M-AR’s ambitious five-year growth plans, allowing it to increase the volume of projects it can deliver sustainably and without impacting on quality or customer service. What’s next for M-AR? Ryan Geldard, Operations Director at M-AR commented: “We’re delighted that our novel approach is working well for our customers, and that is reflected in our financial results and forward order book. We’re entirely focussed on creating better project outcomes and lowering costs for our customers through our holistic assessments of their needs and by aligning our people and technology, merging the gaps between traditional contracting and manufacturing. “Our management team is committed to making M-AR a happy and healthy place to work and also supporting our peers in industry to drive better collaboration. We’re first in line on many great initiatives that are breaking the mould of how high quality housing is delivered.” For more information visit: Images: 01-02. Modular construction is going to play a vital role in the UK’s ‘Build Back Better’ drive thanks to its speed and efficiency.


Simply M-ARvellous At M-AR we do modular differently. And we’re proud of that.

As your off-site construction partner we work with our clients to create the building space you want in the residential, commercial and education sectors. Turnkey D&B solutions, engaged communication and an innovative problem-solving approach.

So what are you waiting for, why not get in touch with us and see how the M-AR approach will maximise your investment.

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Fastening technology specialist EJOT has upgraded its range of ETA-approved through-bolts with the launch of its new BA Plus range of Option 1 anchors, suitable for both cracked and non-cracked concrete applications. The M10 and M12 options are available in two different anchorage depths for extra versatility.

1 The EJOT BA Plus range is a new generation of higher performing through-bolts. This builds on the strengths of its established BA range to deliver additional performance benefits and new application potential. And, in addition to concrete, these torque-controlled expansion anchors are also suitable for installation in other hard base materials including natural stone. The innovative design of BA Plus allows the required installation torque to be achieved with 30-50% fewer revolutions than previously, and new M8 and M10 through-bolts can now be used for anchoring in to concrete which is up to 20mm thinner. The risk of on-site errors is also further minimised with a setting depth clearly marked to the thread and anchor length letter coding marked on every bolt head.


The BA Plus range provides throughbolts for all the most typical cracked and non-cracked concrete applications ≥ C20/25 up to the seismic Option 1 performance. Backed with the independent assurance of European Technical Assessments (ETAs), the range offers a dependable solution for numerous applications including steel structures, column base plates, heavy duty racking, cable racks, handrails and facades. Zinc plated, hot dip galvanized, and A4 stainless steel through-bolts are available, providing a solution for a wide range of applications including harbours and tunnels where the highest level of resistance to corrosion is required. Their design ensures easy installation, with no risk of damage to the thread when the bolt is hammered into position and an embedded sleeve that expands reliably as the bolt is tightened to the required torque.

Richard Bowhay, Sales Manager for Building Fasteners at EJOT UK says: “BA Plus represents an important enhancement in the performance capabilities of our through-bolts and gives installers a reliable and highly secure anchor solution for every type of concrete application – backed by the third-party assurance of ETA approval. It demonstrates collectively, the objectives of our technical teams worldwide in their capacity to regularly assess if and how we can advance the performance of construction fixings to give architects and building owners total peace of mind, as well as improving efficiency for installers.” The BA Plus range is complemented by EJOT’s new range of through-bolts for Option 7 non-cracked concrete applications, BA-C NC, which provides a class-leading anchor for many other applications including warehouse racking and stadium seating, backed by the third party assurance of an ETA. EJOT UK’s team offers a wealth of technical support and specialist guidance to specifiers and installers to ensure they can achieve the right result when anchoring into cracked and noncracked concrete every time. Full details about the Option 1 BA Plus range and the Option 7 BA-C NC through-bolt are available at: Images: 01. EJOT's BA-Plus range covers indoor, outdoor and industrial environments.


EJOT® the quality connection

Performance-driven through-bolts for solutions-driven engineers. EJOT has upgraded its BA through-bolt range to provide designers and engineers with a fully comprehensive choice of ETA Option One high performance anchors, ready and available for the most demanding applications in cracked and non-cracked concrete.

BA-Plus through-bolt range


Option One approval for cracked / non-cracked concrete • TECHNICAL range for total performance • M8 and M10: Offer installation into thinner concrete • M10 and M12: Provide dual anchorage depths • NEW Coloured depth-setting added to thread • NEW Anchor length ID code added to head • FEWER TURNS to reach specified installation torque • CORROSION RESISTANT for harsh environments • INCLUDES safety-critical, fire and seismic options

ETA-18/0219 Option One Cracked / Non-cracked concrete

BA-E PLUS A4 Stainless Steel

BA-V PLUS Zinc Plated Carbon Steel


Carbon Steel Hot Dip Galv.

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LIEBIG® is part of the EJOT® anchoring range.




The Premier Guarantee system acceptance process has been developed to help manufacturers gain accreditation under our technical requirements, allowing them to be promoted as an accepted system provider.

As part of our warranty application process, developers and builders must ensure that the systems they use onsite are accepted by us in line with the requirements of our Technical Manual. System acceptance from Premier Guarantee would:

• Enable your system to be accepted for use by our registered developers and builders throughout the UK • Provide assurance to our clients and lenders that your system performs to a consistent standard and will remain durable in line with our warranty requirements • Provide you with a certificate of acceptance • Include your accepted system on the Premier Guarantee system listing section of our website. How to get accepted An initial triage of the design package would be undertaken to ascertain whether the system broadly meets our performance standards. If it does not, we will provide feedback. If the system is considered suitable to proceed as an application, a detailed review of the submitted system/documentation can commence, subject to the fee being paid. Our internal technical team will undertake a design audit of your system, making sure it meets the requirements of our Technical Manual. 48

The auditors will ask for: • Design details – drawings, plans, sections, elevations and specifications of the construction (including structural and weatherproof elements) • Copies of independent/thirdparty assessment certificates of products and component of the system e.g. BBA, BM TRADA, BRE, Europe Technical Approval (ETA) or conformity to International, European and British Standards where applicable • Third-party manufacturers’ warranties.

Issue system acceptance An initial trial site will be assessed, once registered with Premier Guarantee for warranty purposes. The developer will need to demonstrate that the system can be constructed to meet our technical requirements. Once this has been demonstrated, the system will gain a full system acceptance. This will be limited to one year and require annual renewal (due to changes in technical requirements and legislation we have to ensure that the system design intent is maintained and meets current legislation).

Meeting and factory inspection If the design review is successful, a factory inspection will take place. If we are satisfied with your system it will be issued with a provisional acceptance for an initial test site. Our technical auditors will contact you to arrange a meeting and factory inspection. The factory inspection will assess: • Quality control system • Manufacturing/assembly process • Storage of materials and components • Protection of modules during transportation • Method of onsite connection of modules • Manufacturing aligns with the design.

Once accepted you will receive a system acceptance document, certificate and logo. The assessment process we provide is purely for our warranty purposes and is not a thirdparty approval such as a European Technical Assessment Certificate or a BBA (British Board of Agreement approval) nor is it recognition that it meets the requirements of other structural warranty providers or Building Regulations. To apply for or enquire about system acceptance, contact our innovations team on 0800 107 8446 or



Busting warranty and building control myths M YT H

Premier Guarantee don’t approve modern methods of construction.


We’ve been approving numerous innovative and modern methods of construction under our system acceptance scheme for a number of years. Our team work closely with manufacturers to ensure that any systems we accept are in line with our technical requirements.

Visit our website to learn more:

P R E M I E R G UA R A N T E E . C O M | 0800 107 8446 MD Insurance Services Ltd is the Scheme Administrator for the Premier Guarantee range of structural warranties. MD Insurance Services Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. © Premier Guarantee 2021 MK-3005-1.00-150621




Quality craftsmanship has long been recognised as a hallmark of good building, but in the past it was a slow, painstaking process. Sapphire Balconies have made huge strides in saving time and money on-site.

1 In modern construction, speed is of the essence – but it’s not the only challenge for architects and developers. Using MMC processes, Sapphire Balconies delivers balconies embodying quality craftsmanship and time-saving processes to today’s construction sites. It’s often said that balconies add visual and lifestyle value to high-rise residential buildings. But because balconies are either built in-situ or bolted on to the main structure – rather than being an integral part of it – they have tended to be at the centre of cost, timing and safety issues on some building sites. With the high demand for new residential accommodation driving demand for faster building, architects and developers have welcomed the new materials and methods now available for use within modern regulatory standards. However, balconies still challenge designers to reduce installation time and costs – as well as contributing to increased site safety. It would be a tough challenge without Sapphire’s own offsite solution. Sapphire Balconies is a specialist offsite manufacturer of balcony systems which complement MMC processes on building sites – as well as meeting the aesthetic and economic requirements of architects


2 and developers and providing valuable ‘outdoor’ space for residents. Sapphire’s Glide-On™ Cassette® balconies are delivered fully assembled, including balustrades. They are then simply craned into position and glide on to steel support arms for final attachment. Minimal further finishing is required, making this time-saving installation so fast that it is possible to fit 44 balconies in a single day. There’s no requirement for on-site storage, which is a great help on inner-city building sites where space is invariably very limited. Sapphire’s balconies are delivered by third party logistics specialists who collect and store balconies in line with site programmes and crane availability. This flexibility gives contractors a faster and more reliable flow than the alternative ‘just in time’ approach. On delivery, the prefinished balconies can go virtually straight from lorry to lift. Building on specialist factory production lines adds real quality to Sapphire’s craftsmanship. There is a high degree of quality control at each stage of the process, ensuring not only that each balcony is sized for a perfect fit, but also that it provides ample rigidity to overcome any risk of a ‘bouncy balcony’. In fact, building in this way ensure levels of quality that are almost impossible to achieve with on-site construction.

3 The offsite approach also saves money. For example, because the balconies are fixed by installers from inside the building, external scaffolding can be removed prior to balcony installation. In practice, these two processes can even be simultaneous as Sapphire’s Glide-On™ Cassette® balconies can be installed top-down. This is possible with Sapphire’s counterbalanced lifting system, which offsets the crane hook. Sapphire’s offsite process also helps to reduce overall costs through the time and material efficiencies that can be enabled in a dedicated factory environment. When installing Sapphire’s balconies there is minimal risk of health and safety issues. There are no hot works and installers work from behind a special safety barrier inside the doorway until the balcony is guided on to its arms and bolted into place. The balustrades and decking are factory fitted, so once the balcony is secured, the installers can remove their safety barrier and complete further finishing that may be necessary. For more information visit: Images: 01-03. Sapphire’s Glide-On™ Cassette® balconies are delivered fully assembled and are then simply craned into position and glide on to steel support arms for final attachment.


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2 60-80 bricks and takes only six minutes to lay with thin joint mortar which sets within 2hrs and at temperatures down to -3degrees.

1 An innovative mini-crane model employed by Masonry Frame Systems (MFS) is bringing massive efficiency and health and safety benefits – plus in a pandemic world offers natural social distancing. Use of mini-cranes radically reduces manual handling and eliminates repetitive heavy lifting. This results in less fatigue, less risk and less dependency on physical fitness in the workforce. As well and the enhanced health and safety and wellbeing advantages it also fosters diversity, as this way of working is less dependent on physical strength and fitness so is open to workers at any stage of their career in construction. The introduction of the remote controlled models in 2020 enables MFS’s core teams of two to work more productively. The ‘labour light’ approach also helps to address the UK skills shortage as well as delivering 200% faster than traditional build methods. MFS have partnered with Lissmac for 16 years, employing their mini-cranes for all its P-DfMA construction projects. Collaborating over the years they have


worked together to develop a 110v version of their crane, making it UKcompliant, and have been instrumental in the development of the new generation remote controlled cranes. The mini cranes are the vehicle MFS use to manoeuvre its very large-format blocks safely into position, with minimal physical effort or stress. The large format blocks, positioned with the mini-cranes are all manufactured and cut to size offsite, resulting in no harmful dust onsite and with zero waste to landfill. The benefits of this offsite ‘manufacture led’ technology would not be possible without the mini cranes to assemble these large scale components once on-site. The blocks weigh up to 400kg and are a minimum of 20N/mm2 strength, >1m wide, >650mm high and typically 214mm thick. Equivalent in volume to approx. 60-80 standard bricks. One gang of two MFS operatives work with one mini-crane, which will allow them to carry out construction in a safe and controlled manner, reducing manual handling and physical strain to almost zero. MFS have tested the productivity levels achieved in terms of volume per day and conclude that they are roughly equivalent to the output of six/ eight traditional bricklayers. Primarily because each block equals about

In 2020 MFS introduced the next generation Lissmac LMK 400 TFE/DK Remote Controlled Cranes, which has further increased speed and efficiency and enhanced the team’s health, safety and wellbeing. With one operative in control of the crane, the second worker simply needs to guide the element effortlessly into place. By using the mini-cranes they have minimised the risk of working with large and very heavy elements. The cranes do all the hard work and only release the block once in position and completely secure. Because MFS operate in teams of just two, labour on-site can be reduced by over 80%, meaning that social distancing is much easier to manage. Operating from a single remote-control means you can have two people working as normal, but they can comfortably maintain the advised two metre distance from co-workers. The first mini-cranes were deployed at a 59 apartment extra care housing scheme in Tonbridge and resulted in 17 weeks being saved in the overall build programme and facilitating early weathertightness and in turn earlier occupancy. The mini-cranes can be used where any large elements require precision placement and can also be used to free up time for tower cranes on larger sites. For more information visit: Images: 01-02. Use of mini-cranes improves productivity and radically reduces manual handling and eliminates repetitive heavy lifting.


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Setting the standards for offsite fastening BeA your partner for offsite timber and light gauge steel frame construction Across Europe and worldwide, BeA’s fastening technology, tools and consumables are the trusted choice for some of the biggest and best known names in offsite timber and light gauge steel frame manufacturing. BeA manufacture an extensive range of market leading choice of fasteners, nails, staples and tools. We offer customers: • An unrivalled range of manual, semi-automatic

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What does Pre-Manufactured Value mean for affordable housing? Tony Woods, Group Technical Manager at LHC, explains more. To do this, you will need to look at alternative substructure solutions (Category 3b prefabricated piles caps/ ring beams) and Category 5l doorsets (pre-hung, finished with ironmongery), which brings you to a PMV of 55.38% and meets the Homes England target. Alternatively, you could also use Category 1b – 3D structural systems – with structural chassis and internal fit out, which will mean you can immediately hit 69.74% PMV. So from this set of calculations we can see the clear direction of travel is in favour of the MMC Category 1 approach to delivery and easily achieving the minimum PMV targets.

1 The new Affordable Homes Programme from Homes England requires all projects funded by them to have at least 25% of the units delivered through MMC and a calculated Pre-Manufactured Value (PMV) of 55%. This represents a significant push to get social housing providers to adopt offsite construction.

a PMV of 39.74%. So straightaway we can see why Homes England set the bar at 55% to push us to innovate – as doing nothing different achieves almost 40% PMV. If we then select just a basic structural framing system such as timber frame (MMC Category 2a), the PMV is pushed up to 44.74%, still falling short of the required 55%.

Earlier this year, Cast published its PMV Technical Manual explaining how the calculations are carried out. The manual also provides an online calculator tool, which gives us a simple and quick way to assess how choices from across the seven categories of MMC alter a build’s PMV, providing an opportunity to evaluate what impact the build combination has in achieving the required 55% PMV level.

For a 2D structural element to raise this even further, clients and contractors will have to look at the top end of the market for those manufacturers that can provide a Category 2c product with insulation, linings, windows, doors and external cladding. There are currently a few manufacturers in the UK that provide such systems (such as C-C-G in Scotland or Local Homes in England, both of which have been supplying these types of products for the past four years through an LHC framework), however this alone will still not get you to 55%.

The baseline for the calculator (if you want to build ‘traditional’ houses with a traditional substructure without any additional MMC elements) provides


The Affordable Homes Programme will run from 2021 to 2026 with the aim of delivering 130,000 homes outside London, with a budget of £7.67billion. All sites must be started by 31 March 2026 and completed by 31 March 2028. The programme allows for 10% of units to be delivered through stock acquisition, which means a minimum 117,000 units delivered through newbuild, of which 25% must be built using MMC. This gives a minimum number of 29,250 units, needing a PMV of 55%, over a five-year period. Based on this, the estimate is around 5,850 MMC units per year, which is certainly within the capacity of current manufacturers in the UK market. The question is: how many different organisations will be on the Homes England dynamic purchasing system (DPS) for delivery of housing, and thus how spread-out will the MMC units be across different organisations? How will manufacturers engage with enough housing providers in order that they can achieve aggregated demand at their factories to improve efficiencies? A DPS means the programme will be open throughout its life for the addition of new suppliers, so the potential for real engagement is further reduced for smaller MMC manufacturers over time.



2 PMV TECHNICAL MANUAL Pre-Manufactured Value (PMV) was first set out in The Farmer Review in 2016 as a metric to measure the proportion of manufactured components within an overall construction project cost. The metric, expressed as a percentage, is intended to identify how far projects are implementing innovative construction techniques that result in reduced site labour and preliminaries intensity. This can be achieved through a combination of offsite, near site and on-site manufacturing techniques as well as through materials innovation and site based process improvement and technology use. The reason for measuring PMV is to act as a simple proxy for multiple other outcomes that are often more difficult to visualise or measure. The metric was established as a hard, measurable and often physically visible parameter to be used by the industry to chart progress in a journey towards modernisation. A higher PMV signifies a different process has been adopted compared to traditional construction rebalancing the relative proportions of labour, plant and manufactured materials.

For public sector procurement specialists like LHC, which puts a lot of emphasis on supporting the success of local SMEs into social housing frameworks, this is frustrating, as we know there are many MMC specialists out there who could deliver a genuinely impressive result for registered housing providers. For example, for many housing associations and local councils starting their MMC journey, or for those looking for solutions for existing projects, LHC and its regional teams offer the Offsite Construction of New Homes (NH2) framework, which provides volumetric and panelised solutions. Our clients in the public sector are looking for a diverse supply chain and opportunities to work closely with local manufacturers and installation teams. We must continue to work closely with clients and suppliers to bring this to fruition – MMC for all. For more information visit: Images: 01. Tony Woods, Group Technical Manager, LHC 02. The Affordable Homes Programme requires all projects funded by them to have at least 25% of the units delivered through MMC 03. Cast’s PMV Technical Manual explains how PMV calculations are carried out and provides an online calculator tool, giving a simple way to assess how choices from across seven categories of MMC alter a build’s PMV. Courtesy Cast Consultancy





Metsä Wood aims to be the global forerunner in sustainable construction through its innovative wood products, resource efficiency and effective use of renewable materials.

1 Construction alone uses 50% of the world’s resources and causes 30% of all carbon emissions. We are dedicated to finding ways to use more wood without disrupting the construction process. So that nothing has to change but the material. All construction materials have their benefits and together we can make concrete, steel and timber work as one. But wood is the only material that stores carbon. We need to use more, and we need to find ways to support construction companies to use more wood, while maintaining their efficiency. The Metsä Pavilion, Tokyo The Metsä Pavilion, placed on the grounds of the Finnish embassy in Tokyo, was built for serving as a meeting place for Finland’s Olympic team during the Summer Olympic Games. It is a multifunctional facility for many kinds of events: exhibitions, seminars, meetings and concerts. The Pavilion is a joint effort of Metsä Group and Business Finland. Now after the Olympics companies can use the pavilion in their business meetings. It took only two weeks to assemble the load-bearing wooden structure of the Pavilion. This is due to the prefabricated Kerto® LVL elements which make construction fast, light and green.


The Metsä Pavilion is an example of innovative Finnish design based on industrially manufactured timber elements. Similar elements can also be used in buildings of larger scale. The wood for the Metsä Pavilion comes from sustainably managed Finnish forests, that grow more than they are used. In this case the wood comes from a forest in Punkaharju, owned by Jukka Heikkonen. “It is fun to imagine how the spruce logs first made their way to Metsä Wood’s mill, only some 24 kilometers from our forest,” says Heikkonen. “At the mill, the logs were turned into Kerto® LVL and then delivered to the element manufacturer. The readymade elements were then shipped to Tokyo. This great building really emphasises the long-term work we have done in managing the forest.” Sustainable living in Verksbyen – floors and structure built with Kerto® LVL The whole Verksbyen area in Norway presents the future of sustainable living. Prefabricated Kerto® LVL elements are used in the construction of a block of ecological apartment buildings. Verksbyen will become home for 5,000 people within the next 10 years. It aims to be Norway’s most innovative housing project.

2 “We have managed to reduce CO2 emissions in a variety of ways,” says Ruben D. Hansen, CEO of Arca Nova Bolig, part of the Arca Nova Group. “The houses are built with timber elements according to the Passivhaus standard, and electricity is produced with solar energy and heating with solar thermal energy.” In the first three floors, the load bearing structure consists of wall elements, which are made with 67 mm thick Kerto® LVL Q-panels. In addition, Kerto® LVL S-beams have been glued and screwed on the outside of the elements to stiffen and stabilise the construction. The S-beams are also used for installing an insulation layer. In the two top floors, there is a traditional timber frame construction reinforced with cross laminated timber (CLT) plates to take up the loads. For more information visit: Images: 01-02. The Metsä Pavilion, placed on the grounds of the Finnish embassy in Tokyo for the Summer Olympic Games



Enhance your floor’s performance with Finnjoist I-beams (FJIs) from Metsä Wood. Whether used as floor beams or roof rafters, you’ll need fewer Finnjoists than traditional softwood timber beams. For strong, lightweight, efficient construction, combine them with our Kerto® LVL (laminated veneer lumber) and panel products, then finish off your project with our machined softwood and MDF. Find out more at

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The New Model Institute for Technology and Engineering (NMITE) and its Centre For Advanced Timber Technology (CATT) is set to be a timber technology and offsite disrupter. Founding Director, Professor Robert Hairstans outlines what it hopes to achieve. continues to face barriers to uptake as a result of misinformation and lack of available skills. Further to this, digital transformation is unlocking the potential of these products and is also considered a game changer in the construction sector. With timber, the opportunity is a digital thread from built assets back to the forest floor implementing a virtual factory environment capable of improving overall productivity, maximising resource utilisation, unlocking investment and creating sustainable growth. Providing learners with access to the trifecta of timber, factory and digital based approaches via industry collaboration locally and nationally, creates the enabling conditions for something that can create scalable change. Further to this NMITE is situated in the West Midlands and close to the border of Wales, an area vibrant in low carbon construction and advanced timber technologies.


NMITE is a start-up Higher Education Institute based in Hereford that is responding to some of the key challenges of higher education today – taking the best practice and innovations from around the world and combining them into an authentic, integrated and challenge-based approach that addresses needs of both students and employers.


Timber engineering was identified by NMITE as something that aligns directly with the ethos of the organisation. A sustainable material that can respond to the varying needs of the construction sector from restoration, retrofit to newbuild infrastructure solutions with a vast array of products and systems available. However, timber

In addition to CATT, NMITE will also host the Centre for Automated Manufacturing (CAM) and Centre for Future Skills (CFS). CATT and CAM will be co-located at Skylon Park with a City Centre Campus offering an MEng in Integrated Engineering. This offers another unique opportunity, the symbiosis of automated manufacturing and advanced timber technologies combined with a workforce skilled for the future. In this regard the educational approach will apply a student-centric learning methodology with a curriculum fuelled by realworld challenges, meaning that the educational offering will be distinctive in the marketplace and will attract a different sort of engineering learner. The degrees to be delivered will be conceived and taught via a partnership



2 approach working with external stakeholders, industry practitioners and academic collaborators. The partnership approach is core to the NMITE ethos and critically important to ensure those that are educated create value return to the sector and the community. The consensus from a series of roundtable partnerships meetings with the industry was that the need for CATT to: “stimulate collaboration across the industry both vertically (seed to end product) and horizontally (architecture, construction, digitalisation) as a common theme together with showing a wider audience how rewarding a career in timber can be.” Building on this theme, CATT is being established in partnership with Edinburgh Napier University (ENU), where I still retain a role as Head of the Centre for Offsite Construction + Innovative Structures. ENU is recognised internationally for its work in timber construction and wood science. An extension of this collaboration is developing a collaboration with the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC). Working with ENU and CSIC facilitates access to their advanced timber technology testing and manufacturing facilities respectively as well as a Trimble Technology Lab at ENU for digital built environment research and education. CATT has also established a five-year relationship with German based Dietrich’s, the 3D CAD/ CAM-software specialists for wood construction. The opportunity here is compelling, a connected ecosystem of industry and academic partners to enable an approach whereby research,

innovation, commercialisation and education can operate in concert for the sustainable delivery of the built environment. This is at a time when the construction sector is having a skills crisis requiring an additional 350,000 FTE workers over the next decade to deliver the volume of work needed to reach net zero by 2050. What is being set out is the creation of a collaborative culture to achieve this. Increasing the use of environmentally sound bio-genic and ecological construction materials such as timber will need to be based on a holistic value proposition (productivity, environmental and social impact, cost and building performance over time). Imperative to this are the skills necessary for responsible design and delivery providing a platform for environmentally efficient systems that can be realised optimally whilst ensuring longevity. The first intake of CATT learners is scheduled for September 2022 and they will be hosted in a purpose built 2,500sq m building co-located with CAM which will have studio and breakout spaces as well as two 700sq m workshop areas. The building will be a hybrid structure demonstrating advanced timber technologies and is to act as an exemplar in the region aspiring to net zero carbon targets. The building will encourage active education in timber technologies by showcasing them and incorporating biophilic design principles. The workshop space is to host the necessary equipment for challengebased learning to take place but will not unnecessarily duplicate the resources accessible by other means taking cognisance of partner facilities and framework approaches.

3 The building itself is to be a ‘Living Lab’ creating the necessary conditions for research to be undertaken and innovations created and validated collaboratively in multi-contextual, empirical real-world environments enabled by digital technologies. This concept, including connectivity to other partner living lab projects, will ensure the curriculum is continually enriched and validated content is available for knowledge exchange. To realise the full potential of NMITECATT, a Strategic Action Plan for CATT is under development and was recently presented at a series of three outreach workshops for industry feedback. The proposition is to work with the sector in response to the COVID-19 recovery, Brexit, the declared climate emergency and UN Sustainable Development Goals. So far this has been roundly endorsed but we absolutely value opinions so please get in touch as we want to get this right. For more information and details on the NMITE-CATT Strategic Action Plan and how it will help establish CATT as a centre of timber engineering and better educate built environment professionals please get in touch with: and Images: 01. Seed to building value chain, design process and standard procurement model 02-03. CATT will provide learners with access to timber, factory and digital based approaches via industry collaboration locally and nationally





Joe Giddings, Projects & Campaigns Director at the Alliance for Sustainable Building Products (ASBP) new Timber Accelerator Hub, explains how some of the complexities surrounding timber and insurance can be addressed.

1 Despite its many well-known advantages in terms of carbon, waste, speed and quality of construction, mass timber faces multiple challenges that are preventing it being adopted as the primary structural material for most medium and high-rise commercial and residential developments. Unfavorable changes to regulation have combined with high costs or lack of availability of insurance. With widely held doubts and misconceptions around fire performance persisting amongst insurers, many developers are reluctantly reverting back to concrete or steel – so what’s the solution? The Timber Accelerator Hub (TAH) was launched earlier this year by the Alliance for Sustainable Building Products (ASBP), in partnership with the Laudes Foundation, to help develop solutions to these complex challenges alongside timber industry partners including Swedish Wood & Timber Development UK.


The TAH’s steering group brings together expertise from insurance, fire engineering, cost consultancy and sustainability, and couples this with timber industry knowledge. This collaborative approach is the starting point to developing initiatives to not only increase the uptake of mass timber but do this in a way that helps improve building safety and durability. I was brought in as Projects and Campaigns Director for the TAH in April, drawing upon my experience from establishing another collaborative network, the Architects Climate Action Network (ACAN). Since April we’ve been building connections and developing a number of working groups in order to scope out the issue from different perspectives. We’ve been speaking to developers, brokers, insurers and architects amongst others to understand exactly what the problems are and to begin to address them.

Insurance providers’ reluctance to provide cover rests upon the relative lack of data in terms of premiums and claims specific to mass timber buildings. Data from the 1,000 or so mass timber buildings that have been completed in the UK exists in silos within different insurance companies, with no obvious solution as to how to pool this. One broker pointed out that: “insurers’ data is their intellectual property – their datasets are what gives them the edge over competitors”. Set this against the backdrop of a ‘hardening’ insurance market in recent years, where the cost and availability of insurance has been increasing across the board, and construction materials such as CLT, DLT, glulam and LVL begin to look unattractive for insurance providers, leading to huge hikes in premiums or cover being removed completely over a certain threshold, as the risk appetite of insurers decreases. Chase Underwriting International have responded to this situation with the announcement of a UK Mass Timber Construction Insurance Facility, which will fill the gap in the UK construction insurance market with a viable policy that matches the needs of developers wanting to utilise mass timber products in their projects. Through the facility, commercial projects between £10-60million in value can be covered, supported by multiple insurers each taking on just a small slice of the risk, with Chase Underwriting managing that spread of risk. Chase’s facility is a smart solution that patches over part of the problem, and we encourage interested clients, developers and contractors to get in touch to learn more. Construction insurance is however only half the picture. Beyond this, a further challenge awaits the UK property insurance market. Amongst property


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STRUCTURAL TIMBER insurers there is clearly a need for an increase in understanding regarding the performance of mass timber structures when exposed to fire and water during their lifetimes, as well as a need to pool any existing claims data on the UK’s existing mass timber buildings. Together with Dominic Lion, a broker at AJG, we’re convening a forum to communicate the latest in fire engineering, testing and best practice to a large group of the UK’s leading property insurers, to assuage doubts, provide reassurance, and address concerns. We have a number of sessions planned for the coming months which we hope will begin to turn the tide in property insurance for mass timber buildings.

2 STRUCTURAL TIMBER: FOCUSING ON THE FACTS The Time for Timber campaign has released a white paper that aims to help insurance companies understand the vital role they play in supporting the construction industry to achieve net zero status by 2050. Founded with the ambition of challenging misconceptions in the insurance and financial sectors about structural timber, the Time for Timber campaign seeks to highlight the material’s numerous sustainable benefits and underlines the need to increase its use if we are to stand any chance of preventing the environmental crisis that we face today. Recently, there has been an increasing reluctance to back timber projects by some insurers – yet, as the long-term impacts of climate change become more widely felt, insurers are increasingly realising the value in supporting such low carbon construction methods. Unfortunately, some uncertainties still remain – and the white paper is an attempt to address this balance by providing a credible source of factual information and research. Reiterating the environmental, economic, health and wellbeing benefits that structural timber has to offer, the white paper also expresses a real desire to work with the UK’s insurance sector to further its understanding, using international examples to demonstrate that timber is a widely recognised and viable structural material. Andrew Orriss, Chief Operating Officer at the Structural Timber Association (STA), says: “While we still feel that the Government’s net zero targets are achievable, we are rapidly running out of time. We have spoken to many insurance companies and there is a genuine interest in supporting timber projects, but the lack of clear and reliable information is hampering this effort. The hope is that this white paper will help us to engage with insurance companies, so that we can close the gap between misinformation and the facts before it is too late.” For more information and to download the white paper visit:


Ideas abound for longer term systemic solutions: from the achievable aim of mass timber specific regulation to more imaginative solutions such as a structural timber ‘captive’ insurer (an association of large developers providing coverage for themselves to allow for greater flexibility) and even a Government-backed reinsurer. We’ll be looking to other countries such as France, Austria and Canada to understand how policy instruments can support the adoption of mass timber, and we’re closely watching the development of innovative concepts such as Waugh Thistleton’s ‘new model home’. There’s a lot of work being undertaken right now by proponents of mass timber in the UK to demonstrate its safety, sustainability, quality and performance. Our role at the TAH is to bring this together to unlock the use of mass timber in construction. If you’d like to contribute your thoughts, we’d be delighted to hear from you. You can contact Joe Giddings at: For more information on Chase Underwriting International’s UK Mass Timber Construction Insurance Facility contact Philip Callow at or Brad Green at Images: 01-02. Timber’s role in construction is constantly under scrutiny. Courtesy Urban Splash Maccreanor Lavington


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1 Cross laminated timber (CLT) is at the heart of the Cyber Quarter – a newbuild multi-purpose centre of excellence in the field of cyber security and a flagship scheme for the University of Wolverhampton.

The 2000sq m building, with the main building comprising three storeys, was constructed using CLT floor and wall panels and glulam elements, to create a highly sustainable and functional superstructure solution and produce a stunning natural aesthetic.

The newbuild CLT frame centre provides facilities for research and development across three cyber laboratories as part of the Wolverhampton Cyber Research Institute and provides tenanted office space for up to twenty cyber companies. A full height glass atrium acts as a dual break-out space and function hall, alongside the main threestorey building that houses business suites, innovation rooms, IT workshops and a ‘Cyber Range’ – a cutting edge facility to defend against the global rise of hacking.

Utilising the inherent airtightness of CLT frames and employing a ‘fabric first’ approach resulted in a high energy efficiency and a reduction in operational energy requirements, leading to a subsequent reduction in future operational carbon emissions to complement the low embodied carbon contained within the building itself. The Cyber Quarter achieved a rating of BREEAM ‘Very Good’ and an EPC ‘A’ rating, highlighting the long-term benefits of a ‘fabric first’ approach in both an environmental and commercial sense. The final structural form’s use of CLT panels and glulam meant that the structure stored 30 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) through carbon sequestration when constructed. An equivalent steel or concrete building would have emitted 563 tonnes of CO2e, showcasing the tangible environmental impact that sustainable design can achieve when implemented. The prefabricated nature of the CLT panels ensured that on-site construction waste was kept to a minimum. The CLT panels were manufactured offsite using computeraided manufacturing. Builders work holes were also preformed offsite, which required early stage

The superstructure mainly comprises CLT wall and floor panels, as well as glulam columns and beams. The ground floor provides the principal training spaces for the facility. Each wing is an open area to facilitate break-out meetings. The upper floors are restricted access and contain most of the tenant units, giving them greater security, away from the open areas on the ground floor. The first floor comprises the cyber tenant units with enlarged corridors to provide break-out seating areas. The third floor houses the cyber range, a facility that generates real-time hacking scenarios.



4 coordination and clash detection across the multidisciplinary team to ensure a co-ordinated design and a smooth construction and installation process. The lightweight nature of CLT and glulam compared to traditional steel or concrete buildings meant that a relatively thin ground-bearing raft foundation could be used to support the structure. Using a smaller volume of materials in the foundations led to material cost savings and embodied carbon reductions when compared to a more traditional superstructure frame option. For more information visit: Images: 01-04. The use of CLT panels and glulam meant that the structure stored 30 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) through carbon sequestration when constructed. Courtesy Cundall



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1 Paul Aulton, Regional Director of Engineering at NG Bailey, explains how offsite manufacturing is transforming the construction industry and resulting in substantial environmental benefits. Although NG Bailey has been pioneering offsite construction since the late 1990s, adoption of these techniques has been the exception rather than the norm. But a new focus on increasing efficiency in construction means that is changing. With its many benefits including improved environmental performance, increased programme certainty and reduction in safety risks, the adoption of offsite techniques is set to grow. Traditionally, most buildings in the UK are procured individually, designed conventionally, and constructed on-site, using traditional skills and materials. But the new Construction Sector Deal, published in 2018 through the UK Research & Innovation’s Transforming Construction Challenge programme, aims to create a more sustainable and productive sector. Additionally, the government-funded Construction Innovation Hub is also playing a key role in transforming the UK construction industry by targeting a built environment with better whole life performance. As an advocate for modern methods of construction (MMC), it made perfect sense for the company to become a partner in the Platform Design Programme – the largest ever Government-backed research and development programme in the



industry. By working alongside partners from the Construction Innovation Hub and the Manufacturing Hub, we are volunteering time and expertise to support the development of solutions aimed at transforming the construction industry. NG Bailey is supporting the construction of The Forge using offsite methods. The Forge is an innovative office development for Landsec, based in Southwark, London. After securing the tender for the project in December 2019, we were chosen to work with multi-disciplinary design consultants, Bryden Wood Technology, to develop, manufacture and install a mechanical and electrical (M&E) kit of parts. The development is the world’s first large scale office building to be designed and constructed using a ‘kit of parts’ led solution, built on a platform design for manufacturing and assembly structural frame. Landsec has ambitious targets for The Forge – with aims for the construction and operation of the 139,000sq ft development of two nine-storey office buildings to be net zero carbon – a first for the UK, setting the benchmark for future developments. Offsite manufacturing has many benefits compared to traditional onsite techniques, including saving on build costs, labour costs, time and reducing waste. However, one of the most crucial benefits is the environmental impact. Sustainability and improving the environmental performance of construction is extremely important to us at NG Bailey. By manufacturing offsite, the local impact of a build is improved by greatly reducing noise

3 and traffic levels from deliveries and people onsite. By reducing traffic levels, this has a positive effect on the environmental outcomes of a project by minimising deliveries to site, therefore reducing carbon emissions. Naturally, there is less waste as materials can be more accurately calculated for a build. The approach taken on The Forge will remove around 20,000 operative hours from the project. This in turn will deliver substantial carbon benefits by avoiding 35,600km of vehicle movements, which alone saves six tonnes of carbon from entering the atmosphere. This is the equivalent to the carbon dioxide removal from 276 tree seedlings grown for 10 years. It is clear to see that there is still work to do within the construction and manufacturing sector to ensure offsite becomes the preferred option, but we will continue to champion for this change by consistently looking for new techniques to transform the industry. For more information visit: Images: 01-03. The offsite approach taken on The Forge will remove around 20,000 operative hours from the project.



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When Boris Johnson pledged to ‘build, build, build’ to drive Britain’s recovery from the economic shock of the COVID crisis, Gary Parker, Managing Director of modular specialists Integra Buildings, had little doubt that the offsite sector would be leading the way.

1 As the Prime Minister set out his vision last summer, we were already witnessing sky-high demand from within the public sector, including hospitals wanting to rapidly increase capacity to cope with the pandemic and growing schools in urgent need of upgrades. What he did not expect was for the Prime Minister to check up progress personally. He visited two of the projects we’ve worked on over the past year, which I think goes to show how important modular is to deliver on the Government’s infrastructure plans. The first of the PM’s visits was to Hereford County Hospital, where we are working for client MTX Contracts, and installed modular elements for a state-of-the-


art, 72-bed extension, as part of the Government’s ‘Project Speed’ initiative, which is injecting £3billion into NHS facilities. The second development, a major training academy for Severn Trent Water, is benefiting 500 trainees from the Government’s Kickstart scheme for young people at risk of long-term unemployment. The success of such high-profile projects is evidence of how the modular building sector has ‘come of age’ over recent years and is now playing a major role in delivering transformative benefits to communities and businesses as they recover from the pandemic. It’s not that long ago that modular buildings were thought of as a cheap, temporary

solution. Now, more and more bluechip companies and public sector organisations are recognising modular as the progressive option. It’s not just that we can deliver at pace, it’s the exceptional quality of the product – as good as anything traditional construction can offer – with added benefits such as sustainability, flexibility and considerate construction. Indeed, with offsite construction reducing build time by up to 50% and waste by as much as 60&, the Prime Minister’s promise to: “build back better, build back greener and build back faster” seems perfectly designed to promote the modular sector.


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It’s a far cry from 1997 when I founded Integra with a handful of colleagues. The business, which can act either as principal contractor or a modular specialist sub-contractor, now has a turnover of nearly £40million and employs more than 120 people. As a mark of how far the sector has come, look to a project at a secondary school in Stockport, Greater Manchester. The teachers were taking classes in worn-out prefabs from the 1990s – the sort of make-do cabins that modular was once associated with. We knocked them down and installed a state-of-the-art, two-storey teaching block. The materials and cladding systems are so good now that we were able to replicate the look of the school’s traditional brick buildings, which date back 80 years. I’ve no doubt our building will still be performing well 80 years from now. Government-backed initiatives such as the Crown Commercial Service modular framework, have sent a signal to the private sector that modular is a trusted alternative to traditional construction, but with client expectations soaring, manufacturers will have to continue to innovate in order to compete. The days of producing a standard modular build to a template are over. Everything is bespoke now. You have to break the mould if you want to survive. Significantly, designers have innovated their way out of the constraints put in place by the need to transport modular bays by road. A prime example is the Severn Trent Academy, which was opened by the PM in May. The building required high ceilings and robust concrete floors, so we designed bespoke roof units featuring extendable frames, allowing the height 72

4 to be increased in situ. Meanwhile, modular pods were installed without floors, allowing concrete to be poured in the traditional way. We’re increasingly mixing and matching offsite and traditional techniques and pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved with a modular build. The modular sector is not without its challenges. As orders have boomed, so too has demand for skilled workers, with many manufacturers finding recruitment increasingly difficult. Here, the answer lies in developing homegrown talent. With Brexit and the pandemic, some skilled foreign workers have returned to the continent, but I think we’re also seeing the effects of a historic lack of investment in apprenticeships. I started out as an apprentice and many of our senior people have worked their way up, so we’re keen help the next generation follow in our footsteps. Integra has invested in high-quality training facilities and teamed up with a local FE college to create a school of

excellence. As the UK emerges from the pandemic, I believe the offsite sector is well placed to help meet the challenges faced by society and to build a more sustainable future. The pandemic has highlighted the need for more innovative solutions to the problems we face as a nation. I think modular building will be at the forefront of those efforts. For more information visit: Images: 01. Prime Minister Boris Johnson officially opened the Severn Trent Academy in May this year. Courtesy Severn Trent Water 02. Training on pressurised pipes at the Severn Trent Academy, where innovative modular methods where mixed with traditional construction techniques to create robust operational training facilities. Courtesy Severn Trent Water 03. Springhead Park Primary School, Northfleet, Kent. Courtesy Kier Construction/Carlos Dominguez Photography 04. Launchpad – modular studio flats in Bristol. Courtesy United Communities


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Paul Ruddick, Chairman at Reds10, describes more about the landmark defence accommodation project aiming for high levels of sustainability and speedy, quality construction.

1 Last year, the intense pressures prompted by COVID-19 gave rise to a renewed focus on fast, efficient, and sustainable building – and the industry rose to the challenge. Propelled by the ambition to build back greener, smarter, and faster as the economy begins to rally, we’re seeing a new approach to building based firmly around the principle of net-zero carbon. As a result of the pandemic, just over the year ago the Government began pushing forward a new initiative, ‘Project Speed’, to tackle Government public investment projects more efficiently. The vision focuses on applying the principles used during the pandemic, notably the Nightingale hospitals, to all public projects. The Government’s Construction Industry Playbook set out policies and guidance for how public works projects and programmes should be assessed, procured, and delivered according to the new principles. Crucially, the playbook highlights how



the industry can drive the change needed to deliver green projects and programmes at speed, their implementation in the public sector based on a clear ‘comply or explain why’ approach.

been impressive – just 13 weeks for each building, compared to at least eight months if traditional construction methods had been used – while the quality of the blocks has been exceptional.

This new approach has already begun to yield benefits. The ambitious £45million Net-Zero Carbon Accommodation Programme (NetCAP) is one example. The nationwide programme will improve facilities for troops while they are training away from their permanent barracks. Modular construction specialists Reds10 have teamed up with Landmarc Support Services (Landmarc) and the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) to deliver 40 carbon-efficient accommodation blocks and more than 1,900 bed spaces – over just 21 months.

Ensuring the buildings are carbon negative – generating more power than they use and reducing electricity costs as a result of features such as air source heat pumps, rooftop solar panels and other eco-friendly features – has been a top focus. Most have achieved an A+ Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), while to date all buildings have achieved Defence Related Environmental Assessment Methodology (DREAM) Excellent ratings. In fact, the latest iteration at Westdown Camp represents a 22-point improvement in EPC rating and a 130-tonne reduction in embodied carbon (tCO2) from the original proof of concept.

Only 10 months into the programme and already 18 buildings have been installed on-site, with a further seven completed in factory and six in production. The pace of delivery has

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DEFENCE ACCOMMODATION the programme is that they come at no extra cost. Reds10’s SMART building technology has enabled remote monitoring that generates data insights on how the building is being used. These insights then directly inform each subsequent design, so that every new block is an improved version of the previous one, engineered to further reduce energy use and embodied carbon. As a result, the new buildings are highly adaptable, creating new and more agile ways of addressing everchanging requirements around both accommodation and functionality. The ability to make changes to the existing buildings remotely, generates substantial cost savings, along with a significant reduction in logistical time and energy.


The NetCAP programme will continue throughout 2021 and into early 2022, and with more innovations such as thermal and power storage and building system automation to be implemented further down the line. All of this has – surprisingly – been achieved during a pandemic with several lockdowns and the resulting materials shortages. There are many reasons for the programme’s success. A vital breakthrough was the move from project to programme thinking in the Ministry of Defence (MoD), providing clarity of long-term objectives and in turn enabling all parties to invest in innovations and challenge the status quo. This mindset has allowed for a programme where continual learning and improvement can deliver better results each time. Top-down leadership on the carbon agenda has also provided a new lens through which project success can be measured. The intelligent use of a UK-based volumetric offsite manufacturing capability has meant that standard details can be used, which drives up quality (airtightness being just one example) and efficiency. This enables the supply chain to plan ahead of working restrictions and material shortages. The key ingredient has, however, been the transparent relationship between all parties. The MoD has remained open throughout the process, embracing the knowledge


4 and creativity of industry experts, as they push forward changes and innovations. These recent projects are evidence that, using progressive businesses, technology, and a UKbased manufacturing capability, we are able to deliver cost-efficient, timely, world-class, net-zero carbon buildings. As the Government’s commitment to a new approach to construction continues to strengthen, we’re at an exciting point of change for the industry. The scope and potential for a construction industry built around solid environmental and ecological principles is huge. The same dynamic methods and technologies could be applied to transform the delivery of all public buildings, including hospitals,

treatment centres, schools, and key worker accommodation, while at the same time fulfilling the Government’s long-term carbon reduction goals. For more information visit: Images: 01. Aerial view of Nesscliff site 02. Paul Ruddick, Chairman, Reds10 03. Buildings being replaced as part of NetCAP at Nesscliff Training Area. Courtesy Landmarc Support Services 04. Official opening of NetCAP accommodation at Nesscliff Training Area. Courtesy Landmarc Support Services


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ESS Modular recently completed an exclusive new development of 1, 2- & 3-bedroom luxury apartments in Hendon, London on behalf of Excelsior Homes.


4 Spectrum consists of 42 highend apartments which were manufactured and fitted out up to 80% in ESS Modular’s state-ofthe-art manufacturing facility. The architecturally designed private development spans four storeys and is complete with gardens, balconies and underground parking. Speaking about the project, Neel Khiroya of Excelsior said: “Excelsior stands for excellence and when it comes to building luxury new homes, we’re perfectionists. We were excited to deliver this development using modular construction which we knew would allow for absolute precision and quality control, shorter production times and the least possible disruption to the local community and environment. We were also encouraged by the fact that modular methods allow for better efficiencies and enhanced sustainability.


2 “The fact that the building is BOPAS accredited was also a huge advantage for us as it provides the assurance that lenders require, i.e. that the construction method is fully approved for integrity, durability and performance. It provides the highest levels of quality assurance for mortgage lenders as well as surveyors undertaking valuations. Banks and building societies can be confident that any innovatively constructed, BOPAS-accredited home they’re asked to lend against has been built to the standards already professionally recognised as mortgageable.” The development was built using 3D volumetric modular construction

3 with a hot rolled steel ring and light gauge steel frame. The entire building was designed to be structurally selfsupporting with the lift and stair core manufactured offsite and dropped into position on-site. Spectrum show apartments are now available for viewing by appointment only. To book a viewing or to find out more about the development including floor plans and videos visit: Images: 01-04. Spectrum consists of 42 high-end apartments which were manufactured and fitted out up to 80% in the ESS Modular manufacturing facility.

STRATEGIC GROWTH ESS Modular Group, recently announced eight new strategic appointments to support the continued growth of the group across the UK and Ireland. The appointments bolster the existing management team in its drive towards continued product innovation and sustainable construction. The company is also moving to a new UK Headquarters in Trafford Park, Manchester to support its continued growth. Paul Tierney, CEO, ESS Modular Group said: “Our business has experienced a period of rapid growth driven in part by the increased awareness of MMC and the significant benefits it can deliver and in part due to the public sector demand for more healthcare, residential and education facilities. We have strategically reviewed our organisation and, combined with adding 80 new staff over the last 12 months, these eight key appointments will further support our vision for operational excellence and product innovation. Their combined expertise will ensure our organisation is strongly positioned to support the next phase of our growth and we would like to warmly welcome them all on board.”




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As the world demands more low carbon living, Jackie Maginnis, Chief Executive of the Modular and Portable Building Association (MPBA), makes the case for the adoption of more modular construction.

1 According to the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) around 400 million tonnes of materials are used by the UK construction industry each year. New eco-friendly building techniques such as modular construction are predicted to play a key role in reducing the carbon footprint of the sector and improving its sustainability credentials. The modular industry has recently been making national news headlines and has received universal acclaim for bringing much needed medical facilities onstream in record time. This has not only shone a spotlight on the sector, but we are witnessing a seismic shift to offsite technology which is becoming an increasingly dominant force in the construction industry. At the forefront of offsite techniques, volumetric modular approaches are a game changer – reducing build times by an impressive 50-60% whilst increasing quality, productivity and safety. But enhanced quality, speed and productivity are not the only benefits. In an industry where according to Transparency Market Research, annual construction waste is expected to reach 2.2 billion tonnes globally by 2025 – reducing landfill waste has to be a priority and modular construction provides a solution. Individual modules are produced in factory settings, which allows better control over optimising material use. 80

2 The surplus materials are recycled or reused for future projects, reducing the construction waste that ends up in landfill. Materials are protected from moisture and extreme weather conditions, reducing the risk of disposal through water ingress and damage. It is widely recognised that modular has the potential to reduce overall construction programmes, but it is not often acknowledged this approach can reduce up to 90% of waste generated when compared with traditional construction methods. At the core of offsite manufacture, Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) protocols and Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology empowers optimal configuration of modular solutions by digitally connecting multi-discipline teams from the beginning of the concept design right through to the development process and beyond. DfMA means buildings are conceived for offsite manufacture and assembly onsite. Whilst BIM facilitates early design detail and three-dimensional design information, minimising the risk of errors by eliminating the timeconsuming process of translating engineers’ information into cutting lists and assembly drawings. Modular builds are less susceptible to poorly specified manufacturers’ products as time can be taken upfront to validate the correct specification of materials. This allows clients to have confidence in the quality and

performance that they can expect from their new building. Designs are digitally constructed and virtually tested before they move onto the manufacturing phase. This process eliminates waste and achieves highly accurate and airtight building envelopes designed and built to higher sustainability requirements such as BREEAM and Passivhaus standards. Not only is the actual construction of the building ‘greener’ but the modules are also more energy efficient – reducing heating requirements and in-use carbon emissions for the lifetime of the building. Modular technology brings a host of benefits to the construction industry, contributing to healthier, safer and more cost-efficient environments but often the sustainability gains are overlooked. The modular way limits the amount of concrete in the ground, which is a significant issue for traditional builders. Eco-friendly materials are often specified and each individual component can be selected specifically for its performance characteristics, tailoring every inch of a modular build. As the construction sector develops and adapts to meet changing Government strategies, I firmly believe the upward trajectory of modular will continue and although currently not making the headlines, climate change is a major crisis, and we need to act now to help mitigate the impact for future generation to come. For more information visit: Images: Modular construction’s speed and reliability can deliver many sustainable benefits. 01. Courtesy Premier Modular 02. Courtesy MTX




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Following on from last issue, the Decarbonising Precast Concrete programme has now published its report on the UK team developing processes to achieve 40% reduction in embodied carbon emissions from precast concrete across construction.

1 The pilot, funded by Innovate UK’s Sustainable Innovation Fund and supported by Ministry of Justice’s (MOJ) future capital programmes, has developed an optimised design and mix technical specification that delivers a net reduction of 40% in structural precast concrete’s embodied carbon emissions when benchmarked against the ICE database. The significant carbon reduction from the baseline figure provides a solution that is a technically ready and commercially viable in both price and risk, that can be applied across the construction supply chain, as well as a meaningful new starting point for future embodied carbon reductions within the precast industry. Precast concrete is one of the most widely adopted modern methods of construction, with the UK’s precast concrete sector forecast to grow by 18% to £2.3billion by 2024. Its fuel


and carbon intensiveness will prove problematic for many designers and specifiers of new buildings, as whole-life emissions calculations become more intrinsic to the UK’s built environment. Focused research and innovation is therefore essential to ensure viable alternatives are conceived, tested and scaled in order to deliver planned infrastructure in a way that does not compromise the UK’s clean growth strategy. “This study demonstrates how collaboration through the supply chain can bring subject matter experts together to develop innovative solutions for decarbonising,” says Gareth Jones, Head of MMC & Technical Services, Ministry of Justice. “We look forward to utilising and embedding such solutions in the Ministry of Justice’s New Prison Programme.’’

The Decarbonising Precast Concrete (DPC) project brought together design-for-manufacture experts Akerlof, materials manufacturer Forterra, and façade construction specialist PCE, along with 30 other expert contributors, to examine every decision in the traditional method of building with precast materials through the lens of carbon and develop a new, whole-process approach. “Our sector’s pathway relies on a holistic approach to new buildings,” says John Handscomb, Founding Partner, Akerlof. “Combining intelligent design that minimises material use without affecting a structure’s integrity with an understanding of construction, transport and installation emissions. Importantly, suggested solutions must be commercially viable. Innovation even on a seemingly small scale has to be supported and encouraged to help us move along the roadmap to our biggest goal – net zero carbon construction.”




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3 Today, due to the risk management and commercial agreements in place in supply chains for projects, a traditional approach to carbon reduction is sub-optimal – it happens only within its constituent parts, rather than collaboratively, allowing iterative learning. Taking a holistic approach, the DPC team started with operational activity mapping to create detailed measurements of all partners’ activities, used benchmarking calculations to identify carbon quantums in the structure, then optioneered and optimised different solutions for each stage – design (including geometry, loading, strength and working life analyses), manufacturing mix, and install – at all times within commercial and design code constraints.

The improvements made at each stage of our journey to carbon reduction are cumulative, with a net saving of 40% from the baseline ICE database scenario of 779,156kgCO2e per houseblock. By collaborating across the entire built environment value chain and calibrating current industry practises the DPC team have delivered an optimal carbon solution to the industry that is now well placed to become


a base case for future innovation to reach the UKs net zero targets. The project outcomes are intended to be transferable to other sectors and development types, including student and rental housing, and major health and education infrastructure. The pilot’s process could also apply to a wider scope of products and services, including cladding, mechanical services, electrical services and insulation and drive embodied carbon reduction studies across different building materials. Simon Harold, Business Development Director, PCE, says: “For us, this project exemplifies the value in true collaboration within construction. Through taking a holistic approach to each stage of the construction process and considering the benefits and impacts of the decisions we make which affect the solution as a whole, significant gains in reducing embodied carbon can be realised without detriment to the specification and commercial viability of the solution.” Interdependencies between each stage were interrogated to challenge preconceptions: for example, specifying concrete with higher strength (and more carbon) in some areas allowed less to be used, or less reinforcement (such as steel and

rebar), to be used overall leading to a greater reduction in embodied carbon in those areas. Some areas of accepted design standards were questioned; floor loading, for example, was interrogated in the light of room sizes and of logical content weight. Because exact loads were specified, the correct strength mix of concrete could be produced – improving carbon reduction further. The results were achieved through improved design using analysis of multiple factors of real-life use, improved mix design with increased concrete strength, and optimised design to new concrete strengths. Image 1 shows the carbon reduction per houseblock by reducing carbon within the sourcing, transportation, fabrication and construction of all materials and products. The improvements made at each stage of our journey to carbon reduction are cumulative, with a net saving of 40% from the baseline ICE database scenario of 779,156 kgCO2e per houseblock. Mike Nelson, Bison Precast Commercial Director, says: “With the UK committed to net zero carbon by 2050, it’s important for businesses to look for opportunities to innovate and collaborate with others to develop practical sustainable solutions that can be industrialised. Our involvement in the pilot was a natural and important step for us as we look to decarbonise our entire business. It’s important to emphasise that the positive results achieved in this pilot scheme can be replicated across all construction sectors using precast concrete.” For more information and to download the Decarbonising Precast Concrete report visit: Images: 01: The Decarbonising Precast Concrete report outlines huge progress in addressing questions surrounding concrete and carbon reduction 02: Graphic showing the carbon reduction per houseblock by reducing carbon within the sourcing, transportation, fabrication and construction of all materials and products 03: Kingston University Town House. Courtesy PCE Ltd


Guidance from The Concrete Centre Concrete is inherently suited to all buildings, including tall construction, with the many benefits that concrete can provide including fire resistance, thermal mass, acoustic separation and robustness. These benefits assist with the construction of buildings that are safe, cost-effective and easy to maintain or accept change-of-use. The Concrete Centre provides published guidance, webinars, seminars, courses, online resources and industry research to the design community. For more information on how The Concrete Centre can help you achieve the aims of your project visit

Download these titles and more from @concretecentre Image: 24-25 storey towers at Hoola development, London. © Jack Hobhouse



Knauf have a range of products suitable for all forms of construction with several perfectly placed to bring many benefits to the offsite sector.

2 robust floor that does not hold up the rest of the factory assembly and GIFA is proving a popular choice.

1 To become a ‘must have’ for modular construction, product solutions need to be fast, lightweight, clean and flexible. They do not necessarily need to have been developed specifically for offsite situations, but there will be performance characteristics that make them particularly suitable for the challenges of modern building methods. Knauf, best known for its plasterboard products, has a range of such solutions, and a good example is GIFA dry screed flooring. Consisting of tongue-and-groove interlocking panels, GIFA was originally developed as a solution for access floors in commercial buildings. Building modules destined for use in commercial or public buildings need a very robust floor. First choice for traditional build would have been poured concrete, but this is impractical for factory build modules because of the time needed for the concrete to cure. Using a high-density dry screed panel allows for quick installation of a


Just as important, factory-built modules will need to be moved to site and products used in the interior must not be so movement-sensitive that they crack during this process. The Knauf Airless Finishes range is a great solution for the interior finish of modules. As its name implies, this product is sprayed directly onto plasterboard, replacing traditional plaster and giving a fine finish ready for painting. Increasingly popular on traditional sites for its speed (and for the fact that operatives do not need to be skilled plasterers), Knauf Airless Finish also ticks the boxes for use in a factory environment. The product is very clean and quick with the overriding advantage that it retains a degree of flexibility even when fully dried – removing the problem of surface cracking when the module is moved. When it comes to exterior walls, lightweight panel systems are always going to win over heavy masonry constructions, but the specifier will be looking for system performance warranties that give reassurance of the specified performance for the exterior wall constructions. For this application, the Knauf ThroughWall exterior infill panel system provides the key integral parts

3 of an exterior wall system, designed to meet required building performances, while allowing the flexibility of finishes such as rainscreen cladding and brickwork to be applied. The products, all from Knauf, include plasterboards, steel framing components (SFS), internal insulation, sheathing board and external sheathing insulation. Knauf has a BBA certification for the ThroughWall system recognising the system’s quality and reliability for the application within the built environment. In terms of the façade, and to meet specific requirements, Knauf do offer AQUAPANEL® Cement Board Outdoor which acts as a render carrier board, allowing the application of Knauf Renders. These products allow for thinner, lighter construction. Knauf is one manufacturer that can stand to one side in the debate about whether offsite or traditional methods produce better quality buildings. Its product range has been developed to provide fast, lightweight solutions for multi-skilled tradespeople. It is a happy coincidence that these are precisely the requirements of the rapidly growing offsite sector. For more information visit: Images: 01-03. For offsite construction, product solutions need to be fast, lightweight, clean and flexible




With over 40 years’ experience, Smart Architectural Aluminium has grown to become the UK’s leading supplier of aluminium window and door systems and its products delivered huge plus points at a new holiday village in Ireland.

1 Based in South West England, Smart operates from a modern, purposebuilt 60,000sq m manufacturing plant, which is home to the company’s three extrusion presses and three stateof-the-art paint lines, as well as its logistics and distribution hub. The company has earned an enviable reputation not only for the quality, breadth and depth of its product range, but also for its innovation, design, technical expertise and customer-focused support services. The company’s product portfolio has a range of high-performance, highquality window, door, roofing and framing systems providing solutions for a wide range of offsite construction projects, both commercial and residential. The systems are capable of being manufactured and assembled in factory-controlled conditions to enable more consistent quality control and quality assurance, as well as a much safer working environment. Smart’s Alitherm Heritage range of windows and doors in particular are suited to offsite construction methods, having been designed and developed for a wide range of applications. The ranges all feature slim profiles and sight lines to not only provide timelessly elegant aesthetics,


2 but also to deliver outstanding, long-life thermal performance. Featuring slim, thermally-broken profiles, Alitherm Heritage windows are available in a number of formats, with the complementary door range offering both single and double door application, as well as balcony doors. As with all Smart’s ranges, Alitherm Heritage products are available with a full suite of hardware options, with the window and door systems, hardware and accessories all able to be supplied in any colour from the company’s extensive palette. Several of its products were on show at the Killykeen Holiday Village, set in 74 acres of forest parkland and located on the shores of Lough Oughter in County Cavan Ireland. Killykeen Holiday Village provides 28 luxury log cabins for guests, as well as range of leisure facilities. The site was acquired by Silvertown Properties Limited in 2016 and a year later the planning for a full refurbishment of the park’s log cabins began. Keen to work with local suppliers, Silvertown selected one of Smart Aluminium Systems’ specialist partners, Super Seal Window Systems Ltd, to deliver the window and door systems.

Smart’s Alitherm Heritage window and French door systems were chosen for the project, the range providing the perfect solution to meet both the project’s refurbishment and offsite modular construction requirements. Designed to meet the aesthetic and performance needs of this prestigious project, the Alitherm Heritage system features the slim profiles and sight lines that are associated with traditional steel products, its timeless elegance being accompanied by outstanding thermal performance, durability and longevity. Commenting on the completion of the work, Kenneth Taylor, Managing Director of Super Seal, said: “We are delighted to have been involved in such a great project, with these new and refurbished log cabins looking magnificent in such a spectacular setting. We worked closely with the teams at Silvertown and Smart to meet the specific requirements of the project, as well as with the construction teams both on and off site to deliver our work. The high quality Alitherm Heritage range provided the perfect solution to meet all the design requirements, and we now look forward to working with Silvertown on future stages of the park’s development.” Smart’s experienced team will be available throughout Offsite Expo to discuss the company’s broad portfolio and the opportunities its products present for offsite and modular construction programmes. For more information visit: Images: 01-02. Smart’s ranges are available with a full suite of hardware options and are all able to be supplied in any colour from the company’s extensive palette


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The Modular Matters conference and exhibition, taking place at the National Conference Centre, Birmingham on 30 November & 01 December 2021, will focus on the latest developments, innovations and investments in the volumetric modular sector and outline the continuing evolution of offsite construction.

1 Volumetric modular construction has gained considerable momentum over the past five years in the UK due to its positive impact on cost, programme, quality and safety. The critical success factors for ‘modularisation’ have recently highlighted the need for engineering, procurement and construction project delivery systems to be developed to support optimal use of volumetric modular technology. The advantages have been known for decades and yet ‘modularisation’ at scale, has only recently been realised. New methodologies need to address the lack of knowledge about the limitations of the manufacturing process of modules, as well as considering a set of practical constraints and factors that affect module configuration such as,


transportation and weight restraints together with onsite connection and crane cost limitations. The need for faster, leaner and smarter construction is becoming more and more apparent in the UK. With only 63% of site-based developments completed on time and an even lower 49% delivered on budget, it is clear that traditional construction methods are failing to meet the major challenges facing the built environment today. This presents the opportunity for offsite construction to play a major role in the coming years across a range of sectors. Offsite construction has not only advanced the housing industry but has also gained traction within mainstream sectors requiring rapid, reliable and high performing building solutions.

However, the offsite construction industry is still facing significant challenges in order to be considered ‘conventional’ instead of ‘specialist’. MODULAR MATTERS will demonstrate how to tackle industry challenges through a range of project case studies, innovative architecture and building design together with software developments. The conference and exhibition will explore what the future holds for volumetric modular construction – technology trends, interoperability, capacity constraints, manufacturing - with presentations from a collection of the UK’s pioneering offsite designers, engineers and manufacturers. Volumetric modular solutions are becoming increasingly commercially viable - structural engineers and



2 architects are now designing and engineering for high rise modular buildings. It is clear that economies of scale are being realised and modular construction is becoming a truly viable alternative to traditional construction techniques. There can be no doubt that there is a groundswell of activity in respect of offsite construction and there is a growing sense that the time is now to embrace the latest technology on offer. MODULAR MATTERS will demonstrate the application of volumetric modular technology across a range of vertical markets. The event will focus on the latest developments, innovations and investments in the volumetric modular offsite sector and aims to engage with industry pioneers from within the offsite supply-chain, leading designers, specifiers, engineers and groundbreaking clients.

3 Organised in partnership with the Modular & Portable Building Association (MPBA) and the Volumetric Homes Group (VHG), this two-day conference will create a platform for engineers and architects to learn directly from specialist counterparts on

4 how use to apply volumetric modular technology and breaking the myths on design restraints. The event, which will focus around technology knowledge transfer - provides a dynamic and interactive learning experience for all visitors through presentations and the wide array of exhibitors. This is an excellent opportunity for construction clients and their professional advisers to network with industry experts and discuss the latest advances in volumetric modular technology.

Tickets cost £125+VAT for one-day or £225+VAT for two-days. Day 1 (30 November 2021) will focus on Residential Projects, whilst Day 2 (01 December 2021) will focus on other vertical markets including Education, Healthcare, Commercial. For more information, or to book your place, visit:

Images: 01 & 02. Modular Matters 2019 03. MODULHAUS™ - VOLUMETRIC™ solution to the UK’s rough sleeping problems 04. Offsite Awards 2021 Best Use of Volumetric Technology finalist - Bond Bryan, Springhead Primary School





The Focus on Framing seminar at Birmingham’s NEC on 11 November 2021 will provide construction professionals with insight into the latest compliant light steel frame systems and showcase best practice through informative case studies.

Created for specifiers, engineers, architects, contractors, housebuilders, developers and manufacturers, the Focus on Framing event will highlight steel framing solutions to overcome the challenges presented by new protocols whilst accomplished professionals will present informative case studies on buildings that are gaining global attention.

frame systems are a fundamentally important offsite technologies that are used in so many building types and applications. With the recent Building Regulations limitations placed on the use of timber technology in terms of building storey heights, I can see steel framing technology becoming even more integral to the future of construction.”

potential technology developments and business opportunities.

Sponsored and hosted by the Light Steel Frame Association (LSFA), the event will bring together professionals from across the industry to gain insights and network with those who are shaping the future of light steel framing.

The FOCUS ON FRAMING seminar will feature high-profile speakers discussing the significant role that light steel frame plays in the UK’s major developments across all sectors – from residential to commercial, education, retail and leisure.

Darren Richards Managing Director of Cogent Consulting and member of the LSFA steering group said: “Light steel

The event is set to be a ‘must attend’ for professionals in the construction industry who want to stay abreast of

Mike Fairey, Chairman of the LSFA said: “The aim of the Light Steel Frame Association is to raise the profile of the steel framing industry, and what better way to do that than a dedicated steel technology event where manufacturers and supply chain members can network with construction industry professionals and share our specialist expertise?”


The Light Steel Frame Association aims to market the light steel industry frame in a way that engages and positively influences stakeholders, government departments, ministers and relevant industry bodies to influence legislation and industry regulations.




You can book your tickets for the Focus on Framing event at Tickets are £95.00 + VAT and include entry into the seminar and exhibition, parking, as well as lunch and refreshments. LSFA members are entitled to discounted tickets at £65.00+VAT. There are still a small number of exhibition and sponsorship opportunities available at Focus on Framing. Contact for more information and to secure your space.

Light Steel Frame Association was launched in March 2019. Representing the light steel technology sector, the association raises the profile of steel technology and engages with construction industry stakeholders. The LSFA’s remit will focus on industry marketing initiatives and engagement with architects, engineers and contractors to ensure greater use of light steel framing technology. For more information please visit the website: Focus on Framing, hosted by the LSFA, will shine a spotlight on pioneering projects using innovative light steel framing solutions. A fundamentally important offsite construction solution, light steel frames are used in a range of building and applications, from hotels to hospitals and housing to commercial offices. With prominent speakers in the steel industry, the seminar and exhibition present a great opportunity to gain insight and network with those who are shaping the future of the light steel frame industry. The event will be taking place on 11 November at the NEC in Birmingham. More information can be found here:



OFFSITE EXPO EXHIBITORS Offsite Expo will play host to over 100 leading UK and international offsite manufacturers and component suppliers showcasing a broad spectrum of panelised, volumetric modular solutions, pod and prefabricated MEP solutions. Here is a sample of companies that will be at the Coventry Building Society Arena in Coventry on 21 & 22 September 2021...

AWARD-WINNING FIRE SUPPRESSION SYSTEM A contemporary alternative to traditional sprinklers, Automist detects fire earlier and activates faster, delivering better outcomes for people and property; from improved life safety, to reduced post-activation water damage. Using ten times less water than a traditional sprinkler, Automist connects to the normal domestic water supply. It needs just eight litres per minute, removing water supply uncertainty on site. There’s no need for a tank or pump room, saving valuable space too.

For factory-built homes, Automist offers a number of benefits over traditional suppression systems. As a pre-engineered, modular system, more of the installation work can be completed in the factory, reducing costs and the need for specialist contractors. On site connection and commissioning are easy too, as Automist is a dry pipe system using flexible hoses, so joins between modules can be installed seamlessly.

This system has been shown to operate up to two minutes before a traditional sprinkler for some fires minimising the build-up of toxic smoke and tackling fires before they can grow. Effective at tackling gas, oil and electrical fires, Automist can even tackle difficult concealed fires. Electronically activated by multi-sensor detectors, Automist can detect slow growing smouldering fires before they generate the heat required to activate a traditional frangible bulb sprinkler.

Early activation and the unique properties of wateriest, help to maintain survivable conditions, reducing the build-up of toxic gas and smoke, the biggest killers in domestic fires, and giving occupants valuable extra time to escape or be rescued. Automist is already trusted in more than 10,000 properties, from individual homes to large social and sheltered housing schemes. Independently tested to confirm it meets the fire performance requirements of BS 8458, Automist is LABC Assured and is suitable for use as an alternative to sprinklers in a range of domestic and residential applications. For more information visit: STAND NO: F10

PORCELANOSA Group is a global leader in the innovation, design, manufacture and distribution of interior design furniture, trend setting its cutting-edge designs. With more than 45 years’ experience, production diversification has played a key role in the growth of the business group that started off with the production of a single product: ceramic tiles. Today, the Group’s eight companies offer a wide product range that includes lifestyle, kitchen and bathroom equipment as well as advanced building solutions for contemporary architecture. Butech® was created as part of PORCELANOSA Group to facilitate the work of tile laying professionals and develop high-quality materials for the installation of ceramic floors, wall surfaces and fully warranted facade systems as well as the prefabricated construction solutions, UNIT SYSTEMS. Providing quick and effective onsite installation, the modules are designed to be assembled as part of the overall construction of a building, with finishes adapted to the space without affecting it in any way. For more information visit: STAND NO: J13



The fire suppression solution ideal for modular homes Automist is a pre-engineered, LABC Assured alternative to sprinklers, designed with modular home building in mind




A modular system that enables more of the installation work to be completed off site, helping to reduce spend on specialist contractors Flexible hosing means joins between modules can be installed seamlessly Connects to the normal domestic water supply, needing only 8 litres per minute – no tank or water supply upgrade required

For more information contact Hadrian Garner, Business Development Manager T: 020 7871 3899 E: W:


We are a privately owned specialist logistics provider operating across a range of market sectors including offsite construction and modular buildings transportation, considering ourselves a highquality supply chain partner for this industry, and are experienced in helping to plan, project manage and deliver (on time) across the installation.

We are one of the UK’s largest producers of concrete products for a diverse range of market sectors. Creagh is leading the market with innovation in concrete, providing new solutions across the construction industry.

As part of an international award-winning road transport and logistics group, we are able to call upon nearly 100 years of innovation and experience to meet your needs and requirements. Operating a range of specialist equipment to meet your evolving needs and requirements, we have a large pool of highly skilled and experienced drivers to ensure your load reaches its destination on time and undamaged. Quality, Compliance and Safety are core principles of our operations and we strive to build honest, open and long-term relationships with our customers and supply partners. For more information visit: STAND NO: J23 & Z40

We are changing the way people think about concrete, bringing new levels of efficiency and performance to our products, with Spantherm thermally efficient flooring and Rapidres, an offsite fastrack build system. Spantherm is an insulated, precast concrete flooring system designed specifically for residential and commercial ground floors. By producing high performance insulated structural concrete units off-site we have redefined the speed of installing a fully insulated ground floor. This is the next generation of structural flooring systems designed as the efficient alternative to labour intensive beam and block installations. Rapidres is a fast track offsite crosswall build system that delivers robust traditional style construction with the speed of a modular build for program savings, with a fast weather tight build which allows for early access for follow on trades. Rapidres is ideally suited to multi-storey projects where the layout is replicated consistently across each floor. It is a high performance precast insulated sandwich panel built offsite for high quality factory internal finishes with a wide range of external finishes that can match that of virtually any other build type. For more information visit: STAND NO: F07




BuildWright offer a long-lasting and sustainable solution for 3D Volumetric, Modular Construction. We combine the well understood benefits of a concrete structure with the fast, convenient and predictable nature of modular construction. This means BuildWright can deliver high-quality buildings together with the ultimate consumer experience. The majority of work takes place within a controlled factory environment so that buildings can arrive in separate, enclosed concrete modules. Homes and Buildings of the highest thermal and quality standards can be erected and handed over within weeks.

Cogent Consulting – the UK’s leading offsite construction consultancy - is an offsite manufacturing expert with 25 years of world-wide experience developing offsite businesses, processes and products. Cogent is a specialist building technologies consultancy focused on new construction product/system development, manufacturing strategy, lean manufacturing and process improvement within the offsite manufacturing and offsite construction arenas.

Many manufacturers experience challenges within the manufacturing process leading to high manufacturing costs, poor quality products, an inefficient workforce, and an order book that can’t be fulfilled. Ultimately, waste in the process will have an impact on your profits, growth, and reputation. We’re a specialist performance improvement consultancy who provides practical guidance to find, understand, and then solve real operational issues, resulting in improved efficiency, productivity, and profitability of your business - typically with a 5:1 return on investment.

For more information visit:

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For more information visit:



Bespoke precision-made material handling equipment and systems. Using our extensive engineering experience, we design and install custom-made material handling systems to provide the precise engineering capabilities you require to solve highly complex material handling problems. Dodd Engineering provides in-house design, project management, automation/process control and full site installation in collaboration with you to provide an end-to-end project management and implementation solution. We remain in control of your project from start to finish ensuring reliability, flexibility and delivery against your timescale. For more information visit: STAND NO: F22

Fosroc delivers cutting-edge and innovative constructive solutions globally, backed by over 80 years of manufacturing heritage experience. As a single-source manufacturer for off-site building components, we offer a superior level of quality assurance, knowledge, continuity and technical support. Working closely alongside architects, structural engineers, contractors and owners, bespoke solutions are developed using our range of long-lasting and low maintenance products for a rapid return to service. Solutions for precast include concrete admixtures, concrete repair, joint sealants, waterproofing, protective coatings and grouts. For more information visit:

An offsite construction company that designs, manufactures, and installs light gauge steel frame structures for use in residential and commercial projects throughout Ireland and the UK. We use innovative modern methods of construction and the latest technology in BIM software to supply premium offsite solutions to the construction industry. We have a team of dedicated, highly skilled people passionate about driving the growth of our company and our role in leading the development of offsite construction in Ireland and the UK. For more information visit: STAND NO: G16





Kingspan Insulation is a market leading manufacturer & supplier of optimum, premium and highperformance insulation products and insulated systems for building fabric and building services applications. The products are used in the housing, commercial, industrial, retail, leisure, education and healthcare sectors, and are distributed worldwide. Through the 10-year Planet Passionate sustainability programme, Kingspan is driving energy and carbon out of its global business operation and supply chain, promoting responsible rainwater use and supporting the move to a circular economy. For more information visit:

The Konnekt range is a fully modular balustrade that can be installed offsite saving over 80% of installation times. An innovative, cost effective, continuous vertical bar system built with maximum adjustment. Delta Balustrades have over 35 years of in-house expertise and we’ve developed Konnekt in response to the drive towards MMC and offsite construction. Time on site is money, and this range dramatically reduces H&S risks by eliminating temporary edge protection and requires no hot works or drilling on site. For more information visit: STAND NO: J02

Our patented Window Bracket allows fully glazed windows to be factory fitted on the timber frame. The bracket allows the windows to be transported while being protected within the external wall panel, therefore taking up no additional space on the lorry. Once the panels have been erected on site, the window is simply pushed out to its final position. Reducing your construction programme by 3 weeks. The Window Bracket reduces site prelim costs and manual handling, increases security and reduces the risk of theft. For more information visit: STAND NO: Z08


PIPEKIT is a leading independent supplier of premium pipework and drainage brands to the construction sector throughout the UK and overseas. Supplying well known brands including Geberit, Marley, George Fischer, Floplast, Durapipe, Albion Valves, Flamco and many more, PIPEKIT prides itself on the personal and professional service it offers its customers backed up by extensive product knowledge and technical support. For more information visit: STAND NO: Z02

Automist by Plumis is an awardwinning fire suppression system, ideal for factory-built homes. As Automist is a pre-engineered, modular system, more of the installation work can be completed in the factory, reducing costs and the need for specialist contractors. Onsite connection and commissioning are easy too, as Automist is a dry pipe system using flexible hoses, so joins between modules can be installed seamlessly. Using 90% less water than traditional sprinklers, Automist needs just 8 litres per minute and connects to the normal domestic water supply. There’s no need for a tank or pump room, saving valuable space. For more information visit:

Totally Modular are a manufacturer of residential housing solutions based in the West Midlands producing volumetric modular homes to near carbon zero standards for the muchneeded affordable housing crisis. The homes are manufactured within our factory, starting as a steel frame and achieve a build status of up to 95% completion before they’re delivered to site. We offer a range of solutions; houses, bungalows, apartments, including airspace developments and offer bespoke designed emergency accommodation to support homeless individuals and families.

For more information visit: STAND NO: C10






A Member Of:

Offsite Alliance

RELY ON A STRONG LINK IN YOUR SUPPLY CHAIN Would you benefit from rationalising your supply chain partners? At Sika, we have a team dedicated to MMC, that can help you do just that. We have a range of construction solutions in sealing and bonding, roofing, building finishing, passive fire protection, damping and reinforcing, concrete, flooring and wall finishes to help you: n n n n n n n

Speed up application times Make application much easier Take more processes off site Easily repair accidental damage Improve air tightness Improve aesthetics Improve fire performance

We are here and focused on helping you. If you require assistance with enhancing your production facility with a wide range of solutions, or looking to specify products on a modular build project, call... MMC Division: 07803 667225 or send an online enquiry to