Offsite Magazine - Issue 23 (May / June 2020)

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BRISTOL HOUSING FESTIVAL We speak to Project Director Jeremy Sweetland about offsite technology and progress so far


OFFSITE READY What will the new programme of collaborative events and online modules seek to achieve?


COVID-19 RESPONSE The offsite sector rises to the occasion with Nightingale Hospitals and modular healthcare facilities


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PUBLISHING FRONT COVER EOS Framing - Sarah Swift Building, University of Lincoln PRINTED ON: PEFC 16-33-576 paper stock by Buxton Press

PUBLISHER: Offsite Magazine is produced and published by Radar Communications: ©Radar Communications Ltd. Radar Communications Ltd, 5 Darwin Court, Oxon Business Park, Shrewsbury, Shropshire. SY3 5AL T: 01743 290001 SUBSCRIBE TO RECEIVE OFFSITE: This magazine is a bimonthly publication and the annual subscription fee for UK postage is £29.70 plus VAT for all six 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.

DESIGN FOR LIFE Welcome to the latest edition of Offsite Magazine and one that has been put together in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hopefully everyone reading this is keeping well and positive under difficult circumstances. Obviously headlines have been dominated by the virus. The impact on society has been profound and the long term implications for the construction industry is difficult to gauge. But the offsite sector has found itself in a position to contribute and respond in a hugely positive way. NG Bailey transformed Harrogate Convention Centre into an NHS Nightingale hospital to serve Yorkshire and Humberside. From a standing start, they prototyped and produced a suite of bespoke solutions, including 500 prefabricated bed-head power units, 440 pipework modules units and 70 prefabricated hot water modules. Plus many Modular and Portable Building Association members have increased their manufacturing capacity to support healthcare providers striving to combat the ongoing situation. What is clear is that COVID-19 is with us for the foreseeable future. As well as the more tangible benefits of speed and quality, the significant and often unsung benefits of offsite manufacture

Amongst the non-COVID-19 developments in this issue we feature a roundtable discussion hosted several weeks ago by the Structural Timber Association, examining the many challenges ahead of reducing the UK’s carbon emissions and creating a safer built environment. Also, as the amount of land available to build on is always a huge bone of contention, Atkins subsidiary EDAROTH have highlighted the scale and opportunity of brownfield sites as a key part in tackling England’s social housing crisis with offsite manufacture an important change element. Brownfield sites offer a significant opportunity for the Government to develop affordable homes using faster, low-cost construction methods, that are suitable for dealing with the unique challenges of building on difficult sites. Thanks to all our contributors, advertisers and supporters. Keep well and stay alert!

Gary Ramsay

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KEEP IN TOUCH: @ExploreOffsite offsitehub

including less labour and social distancing, are already an integral part of manufacturing environments and production lines. More on all this inside. Also remember, Build UK and the Construction Leadership Council have released a guide on Site Operating Procedures to help keep workers safe and minimise the risk of spreading the virus.


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EOS look back with pride at the Sarah Swift Building they completed for the University of Lincoln. The University is playing its part in the fight against COVID-19 by training much-needed nurses and producing safety equipment for local medical professionals.

The Bristol Housing Festival is running over five years to explore the increased use of smart technology and offsite manufacturing with a view to accelerating the delivery of quality, affordable housing. Project Director Jeremy Sweetland talks about progress so far.




The Offsite Ready programme is a series of collaborative events and online modules that will bring offsite skills into focus for a wide audience. Douglas Morrison, Director of Operations and Future Skills, at Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) outlines what it hopes to achieve.


As the UK struggles to combat COVID-19 we hear from a range of offsite providers including Reds10 on how they are rallying to support the NHS and cope with the challenges and changes ahead plus highlight some of the unsung benefits of using offsite delivery.



08 | Industry News

28 | Plotting the Route to Net Zero Carbon

News and developments from across the UK offsite industry and wider construction arena including: Homes England continues to ramp up developments, Merit secures over £18million new orders in a record first quarter, 3.5billion augmented reality users predicted by 2022 and Birmingham and Manchester both celebrate new offsite developments.

The Structural Timber Association (STA) recently hosted a roundtable discussion, gathering industry experts together to examine the challenges ahead of reducing the UK’s carbon emissions and creating a safer built environment.

32 | Reducing Rising Costs Debi Lama, Key Account Manager for Affordable Housing at Stewart Milne Timber Systems, discusses why offsite construction coupled with timber frame is key to reducing fuel poverty across the UK. 40 | Supporting the Healthcare Sector Alongside repurposing existing facilities to create NHS Nightingale Hospitals, offsite construction is also supporting NHS Trusts and healthcare providers to increase capacity. Jackie Maginnis, Chief Executive of the Modular and Portable Building Association (MPBA), explains more. 44 | Brownfield & Offsite Delivery EDAROTH recently highlighted the scale and opportunity of ‘brownfield sites’ as a key part in tackling England’s social housing crisis with offsite manufacture seen as an important element. 48 | The Complete Package PSP Group Chairman, Heath Hindmarch, explains why the company has made a vast investment in providing a single point of procurement for the entire building envelope. 50 | Living with Insulated Precast Concrete With two key projects under the spotlight, we hear more about Spantherm – the innovative insulated precast concrete ground-floor system being adopted by a growing number of housebuilders and developers. 52 | Precast Gets Top Marks in Education Concrete solutions are perfectly positioned to deliver high performance schools. British Precast’s Matt Butcher talks to precast concrete manufacturers to understand why. 56 | Modular Foundations Precast modular foundations offer many advantages in building development and performance and removes the need and risk of site-based technical assessments during construction. Sweden’s Isolergrund offers this new element to UK building design. 60 | Offsite Expo 2020 Offsite Expo continues to develop and expand even in trying times. Check out this year’s Masterclass Programme with a developing roster of speakers, exhibitors and sponsors.

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As the NHS faces unparalleled pressure, the team at EOS can look back with pride at the Sarah Swift Building project they completed for the University of Lincoln. The University is playing its part in the fight against Coronavirus by training much-needed nurses and producing safety equipment for local medical professionals. PROJECT TEAM Architect: BAM Design Main Contractor: BAM Engineer: BuroHappold Steel Framing Systems Supplier: EOS Installer: Brebur Materials/Type of System: SFS Infill & Zed Bars

Named after the founder of the Royal College of Nursing – Lincolnshire-born Dame Sarah Swift – the 5,500m2 £19million Sarah Swift Building brings two of the University’s largest academic departments together under one roof – the School of Health and Social Care and the School of Psychology. The new academic building accommodates a diverse range of learning and research spaces, including teaching areas, offices, laboratories and nurse training facilities which will support the essential growth in the disciplines and enhance the student learning experience. Designed with simplicity, quality and sustainability in mind – the Sarah Swift building provides purpose-built, fully adaptable spaces to support the University of Lincoln’s world class research and development programme. The University was committed to creating sustainable buildings that will further scientific research without compromising the environment.

1 6


To create a sustainable facility, the engineers focused on delivering simple solutions designed for long

COVER STORY EOS up the trophy for Offsite Project of the Year at the Celebrating Construction Awards for the East Midlands.

2 term use. As the five-storey building houses laboratories which include vibration-sensitive equipment – the main contractor had to meet certain design specifications. A key element of the brief for this specialist building was to create spaces that have the right environmental conditions, vibration levels and acoustic separation for their different functions, whilst ensuring the building remains simple to commission, build and operate. In order to achieve the most effective design possible, the engineering team developed 3D models of all rooms at an early stage to ensure the users requirements were clearly captured. This resulted in a flat slab structural design that allowed for a straightforward installation of services to permit for greater flexibility of future use. EOS designed and manufactured a robust steel framing infill panel solution for the Sarah Swift project to meet the design and engineering brief. Bespoke zed bars were developed for overhang and intumescent paint clearance. The restrictive site presented access challenges and storage limitations with offsite technology providing the optimum solution. All deliveries were colourcoded by floor and craned directly into the correct location.

3 Through careful design detailing and value engineering, EOS were able to design and manufacture the highest quality steel framing solutions offsite, to deliver an environmentally sustainable project on time and to budget. The advanced highperformance, rigid and dimensionallystable offsite steel solution will not suffer from movement created by moisture-related issues. The team at EOS carefully considered the building services strategy to ensure it was energy efficient yet robust, devising an overall environmental approach that maximises the use of daylight and natural ventilation, while incorporating mechanical ventilation to ensure the close control environments required in some areas. Professor Mary Stuart, Vice Chancellor of the University of Lincoln said: “The Sarah Swift Building is another significant addition to our campus which will further bolster our ability to teach the next generation of healthcare professionals. We hope that this new ground-breaking facility will encourage future pioneers to follow in Sarah Swift’s footsteps and the values she represented.” Last year, the Sarah Swift Building was crowned Healthcare Project of the Year at the Offsite Awards, as well as picking

Steve Thompson, Managing Director of EOS said of the successes: "Not only is the building outstanding but the pioneering work that is taking place within makes being involved in such a worthwhile project even more rewarding. Through close collaboration with the architects and engineers, we were able to design and offsite manufacture the highest quality steel framing solutions to deliver an environmentally sustainable project, that met the challenging brief.” Light gauge steel framing systems offer unparalleled freedom to construct faster and more accurately. The combination of strength, durability and precision engineering ensures steel framing systems offer broad parameters to explore innovative solutions and optimise value engineering. This offsite construction project was delivered in half the time that could be achieved using traditional methods, accomplishing a radically reduced build time, leading to less time onsite and ultimately, a faster return on investment. A major benefit is the minimised impact on the environment– light gauge steel is perfectly positioned to play a crucial role in meeting and delivering these targets. Steel is renowned for its longevity and ability to be multi-cycled – providing no onsite waste thus enabling a more sustainable future. Factory controlled manufacturing conditions eradicate the risk of onsite variability, delivering safer construction and improved health and safety onsite – all reducing the risk of unexpected delays and costs during the build. For more information visit:

EOS VIDEO VAULT Construction professionals can gain an in-depth insight into how the award-winning team at EOS are shaping the future of steel framing systems and experience a site study tour around one of the company’s high profile developments, as well as view a video case study on the Sarah Swift project by visiting:

Images: 01-03. Designed with simplicity, quality and sustainability in mind – the Sarah Swift building provides purpose-built, fully adaptable spaces to support the University of Lincoln’s world class research and development programme.



UK INDUSTRY NEWS Euramax Steps into Modular Market Leading UK manufacturer of PVCu windows, doors and composite doors, Euramax, has announced that it is supplying modular home manufacturer Ilke Homes with windows and doors for 2,000 modular homes. This collaboration marks a significant step for Euramax, as the business continues to progress in an increasingly valuable construction market. The housing crisis, skills shortage and lack of affordable homes are issues that continue to plague the UK’s housing market. “Euramax is delighted to work with Ilke Homes and partake in the development of its homes”, said Richard Banks (pictured) Commercial Director at Euramax. “Previously, Ilke Homes had been receiving separate deliveries for glass and window frames, which would then be sorted into specific module requirements. This meant that there was double the handling of products, increasing the risk of damage. In addition, transportation of products was also increased as there were multiple stillages of glass and frames that were sent to the production line. “Instead, Euramax has provided Ilke Homes with the glass and window frames in one stillage, ensuring they have everything they need for each module. We understand how important modular construction has become to help deliver the thousands more houses needed to alleviate the UK housing crisis — and we’re dedicated to supporting this in any way we can.”

With skilled workers producing modules at dedicated assembly sites, the construction method reduces the amount of noise and dust onsite to create a more environmentally friendly building process. “Not only did Euramax provide Ilke Homes with quality products, but it also provided us with a solution that streamlines our processes,” added Racheal Kaye, Procurement Manager at Ilke Homes. “Receiving the glass and frames for each module in specific stillages means that we can save time and costs as handling, transport and damage is reduced. This not only optimises our own process, but greatly reduces our impact on the environment, helping us to maintain modular’s greener construction

status. Euramax even provided module identification numbers to help us to identify the correct stillage for the required module, making the process even simpler. Euramax manufactures PVCu windows and PVCu and composite doors for the modular, newbuild, holiday home and home improvement markets. Part of the building and leisure products group OmniMax International Inc, the business offers made to measure products and has a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Barnsley, South Yorkshire. Source:

Housing Forum Urges Market Stimulus The Housing Forum have prepared an extension of their manifesto which in 2019 set out a vision to increase both the supply and quality of new homes. The update sets out immediate, short and mediumterm measures focused on three interlinking objectives: demand-side measures, supply chain resilience and housing delivery continuity. Chair of The Housing Forum, Stephen Teagle said: “The focus of government and the whole of society is on tackling the immediate health crisis posed by COVID-19. As this is brought under control, attention will increasingly turn to recovery and the housing sector has a strong role to play in this. This is a proposal to government to introduce measures to support the housing industry's response to the impact of COVID-19. Its focus is on the known impacts of the virus and proposes interventions which will restore momentum to the delivery of new homes in England.” The paper sets out clear proposals and calls for clarity and support from Government. With many housebuilders and contractors now recommissioning sites, the promotion of construction and housing


delivery as vital infrastructure is key. The Housing Forum welcomes the announcement that construction workers are to be a key group prioritised for testing. Promotion of their legitimate use of public transport and presence on-site is also really important. Addressing ‘Homes for Heroes’, one of the demand side measures calls for the ‘Help to Buy’ programme to offer enhanced terms for key workers with additional government loans and a longer interest free period. Recommendations cover the breadth of the challenges in housing from mortgages, planning, land supply and local authority enabling through to dispute mediation and future procurement


The Housing Forum is the only cross-sector, industrywide organisation that represents the entire housing supply chain. Its primary purpose is to encourage collaborative solutions that increase the supply and delivery of quality homes through partnership. Its member organisations, from both the public and private sectors have a major influence on housing supply and quality, representing over £15billion turnover, 1.1million managed homes and 70,000+ homes in the build pipeline. Source:

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UK INDUSTRY NEWS Homes England Ramps up Development Pipeline

Homes England has revealed that it acquired 19 sites in the last financial year worth £180million, with the land having the capacity for 5,000 new homes across the country. Of these, several major acquisitions were completed in the lead up to financial year-end, demonstrating how the agency is taking a long-term view of housing demand in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and continuing to develop a strong pipeline of projects to support the recovery of the housebuilding sector. Homes England is able to acquire challenging or stalled sites which have been unable to progress without public sector intervention and use its resources and expertise to unlock them for development and bring them back to market, ultimately resulting in muchneeded new homes. The recently acquired sites include the 37-hectare Panshanger Aerodrome in Welwyn Garden City, which will bring forward one of the region’s largest housing developments with the capacity for 815 homes. It is expected that 30% of the new homes will be affordable and the development will also include a new primary school, a community centre and self-build plots. Homes England will deliver the infrastructure on-site before marketing the site to developers in parcels, accelerating the delivery of new homes.


In Birmingham, the agency has acquired a 2.5-hectare parcel of land in Digbeth from Birmingham City Council. The Montague Street site is the final acquisition the agency has made of four land parcels in the area, which will create one of the largest development sites in Birmingham city centre with the total capacity for 1,000 new homes and 25,000sq m of employment space. In Bristol, the 10-hectare Brislington Meadows has been brought into the agency’s ownership from the local authority and private landowners, with the capacity for 300 much-needed new homes. Allocated in Bristol’s Local Plan since 2014, the site had been stalled until Homes England’s intervention to unlock development. The site is expected to deliver a minimum of 30% affordable housing. Additionally, the acquisition of 81 hectares of land in Darlington will see construction of 800 new homes as part of the Burtree Garden Village. Representing just under half of the total proposed Garden Village site, Homes England has entered into a collaboration agreement with lead developer Hellens Group and will work together with adjacent landowners on site-wide infrastructure to enable delivery of the entire scheme. Just south of Rugby, Warwickshire, the agency has acquired land totalling 65 hectares from Warwickshire County Council, which is expected to deliver over 900 homes.


Simon Dudley, interim Homes England Chair, said: “I want to reassure the sector that Homes England is very much open for business and investing in a long-term pipeline of development opportunities to support market recovery. The need for new housing will remain a priority, so we will continue to do business with partners across the sector to create opportunities for future development and support the government’s housebuilding objectives.” Stephen Kinsella, Chief Land and Development Officer at Homes England, added: “As a master developer, it’s crucial that we continue to create development opportunities and provide a pipeline of sites for housebuilders of all sizes, despite the challenging situation the industry is facing. In the long-term we will still have a housing shortage, so by continuing to acquire difficult sites and addressing the barriers which have previously stopped them moving into production, we’re making sure we can deliver on the agency’s mission to accelerate the construction of new homes while addressing the short-term disruption caused by the impact of coronavirus.” Source:

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UK INDUSTRY NEWS Manchester Mansion House Sees Traditional Tree Topping ‘House by Urban Splash’ reignited the ancient tradition of ‘topping out’ and held a traditional tree topping out ceremony at the top of its Mansion House apartments in celebration of the completion of the main structure of its groundbreaking sustainable housing concept – a first for Manchester. The event took place on 10 March at New Islington Marina, Manchester and the topping out ceremony encompassed the age-old tradition of placing a tree on the building and toasting the success with a beer – a nod towards the Netherlands and Flanders builders of old who received beer from the building’s owner upon completion. The new waterside apartments which overlook New Islington Marina have been created offsite in a factory in Bilbao where each building is created as a series of cross laminated timber (CLT) panels. As a much more sustainable material than traditional options like steel and concrete, the panels have been transported to the UK and assembled on site here in Manchester, by a small specialised team and Manchester construction partners Artez. The ceremony welcomed many guests who braved the traditional Manchester rain, enjoyed the amazing views over the city and enjoyed some delicious Basque food and drink.

AR Bringing Construction To Life

As well as using offsite construction, keeping waste to a minimum and ensuring accuracy, the CLT gives the homes a unique look. Providing a stunning aesthetic, the exposed CLT forms the main structure as well as the internal walls and ceilings, whilst importantly providing a highly rated insulation performance throughout the year – keeping the homes cool in the summer and cosy in the winter. From its beginnings in Northern Spain, where the Radiata pine is grown in sustainable forests with PEFC certification, the wood has its own passport which advises which area and year it comes from.

to place a tree on the roof of a new building, followed by a celebratory beer or two and we’re happy we’ve brought this back to Manchester. The tree is symbolic of the incredible design, construction, people and materials that have been used to create these exciting modular homes. The Mansion House apartments boast incredible dual-aspect views, including over the Marina and New Islington’s Cotton Field Park. As with other ‘House by Urban Splash’ homes, the environmentally innovative homes give customers the choice to create the space they desire, with nine flexible apartment options on offer.”

Speaking about why it’s tradition to place a tree on the building Urban Splash’s Jonathan Falkingham explained: “It’s long been a construction convention


SITECH. “With AR-enabled devices at their disposal, site managers can project 3D constructs over existing landscapes and design their projects with more accuracy than ever before. AR provides the ability to conceptualist in-field design that impacts from the planning stages through to the completion phase of a project.

throughout the process so any adjustments to design and build can be made in advance.

“The role of AR in construction begins with the initial planning stages. Whether you’re working on a small commercial design or a large infrastructure scheme, AR can display the project’s impact on the surrounding landscape and provide an accurate view of layers and other installations. With AR technology, designers can plot complex designs and geometries using building information software (BIM) to generate detailed 3D models. For instance, Crossrail began life as a digital 3D model and contractors could access this information to help them with their work. This was particularly useful in the early building stages, once the designs had been finalised.”

There will be 3.5billion augmented reality (AR) users by the year 2022, according to Digi-Capital. Construction is one of the many industries adopting this immersive technology, which is now changing the way that companies design, model and build. “AR is blurring the line between the physical site and virtual design,” says Ian Barnes, Head of Business at


Site inspections are often done manually and usually require more than one person, particularly with larger sites. Inspectors are now using AR technology to compare different structures with pre-prepared BIM models. They can also capture shots of complex structures and retrieve vital information on enabled devices, before sharing this with colleagues on sites elsewhere. AR software enables site managers and engineers to visualise the different phases of construction and highlight any issues that could arise


According to Independent Project Analysis Group, over 35% of construction projects experience a major design change. Although not every project requires extensive alterations, changes can be needed to prevent misalignment and other issues from occurring. With 3D modelling and other interactive software, you can visualise structures to see how features fit in. For instance, BIM software can be used to monitor any issues with the architecture so that you can change the design before materials are ordered and tasks allocated to your workforce. This way, AR technology can help you save money and avoid costly rework rebuilds that put you behind schedule. The three and a half billion AR users in 2022 will include many site managers and project designers, who will be improving their accuracy and making their construction process more efficient. SITECH, leading distributor of Trimble® technology recently supplied its first customer with new augmented reality (AR) and 3D visualisation technology SiteVision™. Civil engineering contractor WM Donald purchased the system to provide clients with a detailed visualisation of projects on site and to remove the need for paper drawings. Source: sitevision/

UK INDUSTRY NEWS Grimshaw Eyes Timber for Birmingham HS2 Station Grimshaw’s design proposals for Birmingham’s new HS2 Curzon Street station have been approved by Birmingham City Council, becoming the first HS2 Phase One station to achieve consented status. This key project milestone represents 24 months of close collaboration with HS2, the city of Birmingham and other key stakeholders. Curzon Street station will form an integral part of a major new transport interchange, bringing together HS2, Moor Street Station, West Midlands Metro tram and new bus facilities. The project will extend the reach of Birmingham city centre eastwards by half a kilometre and help to drive regeneration in the Digbeth area of the city. Two major new public spaces and two station concourses will be created as part of the project, together with new pedestrian and cycle links. Philip Hardwick’s Grade I Listed 1838 London to Birmingham railway terminus building will also be brought back to life as part of the proposals. Grimshaw Partner Neven Sidor describes the design as: “reflecting West Midlands’ industrial heritage through 21st century means, conveying humanity to its public spaces through a finely modulated arched structural frame spanning 70m interspersed with warm soffit”. Sustainability and carbon neutral objectives have guided

design thinking. The roof structure is highly efficient with tie forces carried through the concourse floor. Natural light penetrates both public and back of house areas and surrounding landscape utilising porous surfaces or ‘rain gardens’. Photovoltaic panels offset energy demands. Inclusive design is also at the heart of the proposals, with a clearly laid out progression of intuitive spaces, open and accessible information ’hubs’, quiet zones, children’s play areas and generously sized washroom facilities. Grimshaw’s contribution to HS2’s Station Common Design Elements programme is also embedded in the scheme, which aims to achieve a consistent identity

for repeated components across the national HS2 network. A new multi-function ‘totem’ which clusters lighting, CCTV, customer information, wi-fi and public address speakers in one unit, allows safe and easy maintenance at low-level. The new Curzon Street scheme will be net zero-carbon in operation and have more than 2,800m² of solar panels on platform canopies, as well as the means to capture rainwater. Other features of the design include new grassland and woodland areas being developed around the station and engineered timber roof. Source:

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UK INDUSTRY NEWS Modular Eco-building Finds New Historic Home

Offsite construction company, Green Unit, has installed a 109sq m eco-build at the site of the Roman Vindolanda fort in Northumberland. Green Unit’s entire offsite build process for the stunning, low carbon, modular ARC II building took just a few months. Once virtually complete in early March 2020, the building was transported 300 miles from Green Unit’s Oxfordshire factory to the UNESCO World Heritage Site in five road-transportable sections. The building was installed onsite at Vindolanda in just six days. The building will be used as a multi-purpose space, with an enclosed site office at one end, whilst the rest of the building houses a large open plan space for archaeology work where staff and excavation volunteers will be able to wash, review and catalogue Roman artefacts. At the core of Green Unit’s low carbon buildings is their unique and distinctive modular design, but the archaeology centre has been built bespoke to the Vindolanda Trust’s requirements. The eco-building includes a mechanical heat ventilation recovery system: underfloor heating that will be powered by the Vindolanda site’s solar power, custom-built shelving to fit within the building’s curved walls as well as storage, kitchenette and washing units.


Dr Andrey Birley, CEO and Director of Excavations for the Vindolanda Trust, said: “We’re delighted with our new Archaeology Centre from Green Unit. The building is quite simply spectacular and is perfectly at home within Vindolanda’s natural landscape. As a World Heritage Site, sustainability is incredibly important to the Vindolanda Trust, and we felt that there was a great fit with The ARC’s ethos. “The minimal impact of an offsite build was very attractive too, especially in terms of the relative lack of disruption to day-to-day operations at our Vindolanda site which is normally open 364 days a year. The team at Green Unit did an excellent job in keeping us informed about the progress of the build with weekly updates, often with photos and video of the construction. It was an exciting day when the building was finally delivered to site in early March.” Jonathan Finnerty, Managing Director of Green Unit, said: “On behalf of everyone at Green Unit I wanted to say what a privilege it’s been to work on the new Robin Birley Archaeology Centre for the Vindolanda Trust. This is the first ARC II building that Green Unit has delivered and the whole project has been a real triumph. The building looks idyllic within the Vindolanda landscape.”


The ARC building has a unique curved design, which mimics organic forms found in nature. With its commitment to use sustainable materials it has a very low embodied carbon and has a high energy operational efficiency due to its high levels of insulation and airtightness. The ARC also has an attractive external cladding which is made from locally grown timber. Green Unit’s ARC buildings are available in two building widths (the ARC I and ARC II) which are fixed and are optimally designed as road-transportable sections. The modular design means that all ARC buildings can be built to any length. Internal layouts (e.g. partition walls, kitchenettes, WCs, receptions etc) as well as entrances and glazing can all be configured to individual client requirements. More information about Green Unit’s build process and a time-lapse video for the Vindolanda ARC II build is available at:


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UK INDUSTRY NEWS PropTech Platform Examines Building Performance Twinview – a brand new, digital twin platform – has been launched to change the way buildings are managed and perform, helping to make them safer and more energy-efficient. Twinview is powered by cloud-based, 3D digital twins – digital replicas of physical buildings – which connect the virtual and the physical buildings with real-time analytical data. This allows building owners to manage, monitor and maintain critical construction and operational information. This will enable them to ensure buildings are functioning as safely and efficiently as possible and improve performance over time. The platform has been four years from research and development to go-live. Despite launching recently Twinview is already in discussions with a number of national and international businesses. Initially, the platform is focused on those responsible for estate management, with an emphasis on commercial, universities and social housing sectors. In the long run, it is envisaged Twinview will be used by contractors and designers, and across sectors such as hospitality and hotels, retail, infrastructure, transport, private housing, and schools. Twinview CEO, Rob Charlton (pictured) said: “The original concept for Twinview was very much developed in response to discussions we were having with clients. The problem was that while complex building models were developed through

UK Innovation at Lowest Level Since Credit Crunch

the design and construction process, due to the need for proprietary software, training, and hardware, this information could not be viewed or maintained after building handover. “We’ve worked closely with real estate investment trusts as well as digital specialists in the sector to make sure Twinview will help address a number of issues that have been discussed for some time. While we started work on the platform before the tragedy at Grenfell Tower, it does respond to the recommendations made by Dame Judith Hackitt in her report. Twinview will provide a ‘golden thread’ of information which is easily accessible by anyone, anywhere. “While there are existing solutions that deliver elements of what Twinview offers, very few do everything that we are doing in one environment.

Innovation in the construction sector has fallen 14% in two years as R&D by UK industries fell to the lowest levels since the credit crunch, analysis of the latest ONS data by R&D tax relief specialist Catax has found. The proportion of companies in the construction sector who say they are actively innovating has fallen from 44% to 30% in the last two years, according to figures released last week as part of the UK Innovation Survey. The fall is indicative of the whole of UK industry. Some 38% of UK businesses reported they were ‘innovation active’ in the latest survey, down from 49% between 2014 and 2016. This is the lowest level since 20082010 when 37% reported being ‘innovation active’ as they struggled to recover from the financial meltdown of the credit crunch. The UK Innovation Survey is carried out on behalf of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). The latest 2019 report released on Thursday covers 2016-2018. Bigger businesses are faring better than small firms, with almost half (49%) of large companies engaged in research and development, compared to a third (38%) of SMEs. The highest proportion was found among manufacturers of electrical and optical equipment, with almost two thirds (63%) actively investing in innovation, while the lowest was in accommodation and food



Twinview removes the need for specialist and expensive hardware, software and training. Not only can users view models online using just a web browser, they’ll also be able to update their models and view and access live data right down to individual asset level in milliseconds.” The information Twinview provides can be used to monitor energy performance in real-time and ensures everyone who needs it has the entire building history to ensure safe operation. Initially, Twinview will focus on clients in the commercial, universities and social housing sectors, but ultimately it is intended for use in a far wider range of applications including hospitality and hotels, retail, infrastructure, transport, private housing and schools. Source:

services, where only a quarter (23%) were. The South East was the English region with the most innovation, with 42% of firms engaged in R&D. The area that saw the largest fall was Middlesbrough, where activity fell 14%. Companies cited cost factors as being the biggest barrier to innovation, while a lack of qualified personnel was flagged by 15% in the latest figures, up from 10% in 2014-16. The EU referendum was blamed by 16% of companies, up from 9% in 2014-16. Mark Tighe (pictured) Chief Executive of R&D tax relief specialists Catax, said: “It’s a concern that companies are investing less in innovation at a time when Britain needs to be making the most of its new-found freedom post-Brexit. Research and development is the secret ingredient that will give our businesses a boost now that we’ve left the European Union. Lack of personnel, high cost and Brexit uncertainty will all be, in part, to blame but the number of businesses blaming their lack of research and development on its expense should investigate whether they are eligible for R&D tax credits. Most companies find that innovation pays for itself many times over once they start exploiting the government help available to them.” Source:

UK INDUSTRY NEWS Shower-room Pods Hits 50% of Offsite Pod Market The bathroom and kitchen pods market experienced an 8% increase in value through 2019 and continues to offer significant growth potential as an offsite building solution, says new research from AMA Research in its latest market report: Bathroom and Kitchen Pods Market Report – UK 2020-2024. The report goes on to say: “We have seen much of this growth since around 2015 due to increased requirements for fast-build and quick turnaround times in key construction sectors from hotels, student accommodation to high-rise apartment buildings. This is also combined with the impact from shortages of key construction skills in trades such as roofing, plumbing and bricklaying.

“Shower-room pods account for the largest share of the prefabricated pods market at 50% by volume and are typically used in student and other single-living style accommodation. There is also a growing trend towards having en-suite ‘wet room’ pods in care homes as well as in more up-market apartment buildings.

“Shower-room pods as a definition should invariably include a shower enclosure, instead of a bath, together with toilet, washbasin and other accessories. They are generally specified on works where space is at a premium, such as student accommodation. They are also seen to be used where additional safety features are demanded, for example healthcare facilities and residential care homes.

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“Bathroom pods taken up the next largest share and are typically used in applications that require bathing facilities such as hotels, apartment buildings, hospitals and accommodations where space is not a concern. Kitchen pods take up the smallest share of the pod market, however, with new product developments, there are more opportunities to add value in the kitchen

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“We expect the shower-room and wet room pods sector of the pods market to continue to grow into the long term. This is down to a number of factors, from the expansion of offsite construction in general to the need for new homes to be built within an everdiminishing time frame.” Source: Image: Courtesy Offsite Solutions

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pod sector and this may motivate some market share gain in the future. We must also mention the newest segment being utility pods, which is currently an up and coming development within the pods sector.

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UK INDUSTRY NEWS Unique Modular Prototype Can be Scaled

SMARTPLY OSB has been used to provide sustainable, structural support and flooring in a series of innovative building projects looking to address environmental concerns with a new solution for the modular building industry. Garvan de Bruir, traditionally a furniture maker, has created a series of self-build structures that are now the workshops for his design studio DE BRUIR, in Kildare Town, Ireland. “As a furniture maker, my core skills lie in working with timber,” he explains. “I wanted to see how far these skills would take me when applying it to housebuilding, rather than furniture making, and if I could offer any new or innovative step into timber building. With wood as the common material, it is easy to simply scale up techniques and construction methods from furniture and cabinetmaking into building design.” Using digital design and manufacturing methods, the objective was to design and build a modular building that could be replicated over and over again; a


building that would offer warm, energy efficient living spaces, built from sustainably produced timber that is entirely locally sourced.

offsite advocates. Furthermore, when responsibly managed, timber is one of the few construction materials that can be 100% sustainable.

“Some years ago, I built a small single-story building to try out the technique,” Garvan explained. “After that proved successful, I moved on to building a larger two-storey version and created the first prototype prefabricated building. These buildings only featured SMARTPLY OSB3 as the flooring, but the next selfbuild showroom had a much more comprehensive use of SMARTPLY OSB throughout. This gave me a much better appreciation of its properties. Currently, I’m working on a full-sized, two-bedroom dwelling which is all prefabricated in SMARTPLY OSB3.”

The unique design of each building is inspired by a monocoque: a structural system where heavy loads are able to be supported through an object's external skin, similar to an eggshell. In Garvan’s design, the outer walls curve up and over to become the roof, as a single seamless arch. The word monocoque is derived from a French term meaning ‘single’ and ‘shell’ and is traditionally used in the design of aircrafts.

Optimising the design for offsite manufacturing is another way in which this project is truly optimised for sustainability. The element of control that offsite manufacturing offers, coupled with minimal disruption to construction site surroundings are two vital criteria that have made sustainability advocates become


Their benefits of a monocoque is that they are very lightweight, but extremely rigid and able to bear heavy loads - great design criteria for modular buildings, sections of which would have to be transported from factory to site and craned into place. The intention is to refine the design of these buildings into something suitable for large scale, offsite production. Source:

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UK INDUSTRY NEWS NG Bailey Joined Partners To Deliver Nightingale Hospital NG Bailey continued to play its part supporting national efforts to combat the COVID-19 epidemic as part of the team that has transformed Harrogate Convention Centre into an NHS Nightingale hospital to serve Yorkshire and Humberside. Harrogate Convention Centre housed 500 hospital beds and was the first of the emergency ICU field hospitals created to help deal with the rising number of coronavirus cases, to operate outside a major city. From a standing start, NG Bailey prototyped and produced a suite of bespoke solutions, which included 500 prefabricated bed-head power units, 440 pipework modules units and 70 prefabricated hot water modules. The company used its offsite manufacturing expertise to construct key components for the hospital, which will be completed in less than two weeks. The use of offsite manufacture has been critical to the success of the installation as it has enabled rapid production of equipment whilst maintaining safe social distancing measures. There have also been 150 people working around the clock onsite installing the medical gas, pipework and power equipment. As part of the project NG Bailey has produced and installed more than 19km of pipework, 500 bed-head power modules, 3,500 socket outlets and 70 water heating/ sink modules. Driven from

the company’s offsite manufacture base in Bradford, project logistics have been seamless with items manufactured, delivered and often installed on the same day. The UK’s largest independent engineering and services business has worked closely with the NHS, Ministry of Defence and BAM Construction. David Hurcomb, Chief Executive of NG Bailey, said: “We are proud to be playing our part to help deliver this vital NHS Nightingale Hospital in Harrogate and support the response to coronavirus over such a short period of time. It’s a real collective team effort

with all parties working in partnership to project manage, mobilise supply chains, associated materials and services, and deliver for the benefit of the nation. I’d like to thank our employees and our supply chain partners for their continued efforts and going above and beyond to deliver this at very short notice. These are unprecedented times and as a business NG Bailey is doing what we can, in collaboration with the wider industry, to help support our fantastic NHS and deliver other critical services.” Source:

Legal & General Get Selby Go-ahead Legal & General Modular Homes have announced that it has gained planning consent to deliver 154 homes, using modular construction, at an eight acre site on Portholme Road, Selby in North Yorkshire. From its factory in Sherburn-in-Elmet in Yorkshire, Legal & General Modular Homes has ambitions to build its annual housing delivery to 3,000 modular homes a year in 2024, bringing rapid and disruptive change to the construction industry. It is designing and manufacturing homes in an innovative way in order to transform the way homes are built in the UK. The delivery pipeline continues to grow, with 350 homes added to the pipeline so far this year. Selby is the first scheme, where Legal & General Modular Homes will deliver a full development proposition from buying land, developing the product, achieving planning consent through to delivery. With a standardised approach to manufacturing, quality, efficiency, and productivity is driven up, and costs are driven down. Modular construction offers an impactful solution to the UK housing crisis, supporting UK jobs and helping to meet government’s objective to build more Affordable carbon-friendly housing.


The Selby development will provide up to 130 jobs across the supply chain and will see Legal & General Modular Homes recruit a further 50 employees to support the scheme. They will deliver 76 one and two-bedroom apartments, alongside 78 two and three bedroom-houses, catering for buyers across the housing ladder. Rosie Toogood (pictured) CEO of Legal & General Modular Homes said: “Using modular construction, Legal & General will be able to deliver high quality homes at a much faster rate than through traditional construction. In a post COVID-19 crisis environment, the speed of delivery will be more important than ever before.


“Our journey to revolutionise the UK’s construction industry is well underway, and planning consent at Portholme Road, Selby is testament to this. This scheme, along with our proposals at Bonnington Walk in Bristol, will showcase the benefits of modular construction. Achieving planning permission for this Selby scheme is a fantastic milestone for the business, and a major achievement for the team, particularly set against the current backdrop.” Source:



Offsite manufacturers are continually looking to refine and improve their build process in order to supply better quality product into the market, all the while reducing production time, waste and cost. On The Level (OTL) manufactures and supplies bespoke wet room flooring systems in readiness for either vinyl sheet flooring or tile finishes. OTL’s made to measure shower floors are manufactured to suit any bathroom design, offering complete flexibility on size, shape and gully locations making it easy for design teams working in offsite manufacturing. Early engagement and collaboration with volumetric, bathroom pod and other offsite building manufacturers allows OTL to overcome design challenges in advance of factory production. The company use sustainable Birch Ply materials and keeps the installation process simple for factory-based operatives to install their floors, speeding up workflow.

Made to exacting measurements, complete bathroom floors can be produced with integrated falls in shower areas. Upstands can be added for internal walls boards to be constructed upon ready for floor and wall finishes. For tiled applications – decorative grilles and channels are available in many designs and finishes providing lots of choice for architects and designers.

Established for over 30 years, OTL has a wealth of experience and continues to work with well-known offsite manufacturers, delivering projects in multiple sectors, including hotel, residential, healthcare, student accommodation and MoD projects. For more information phone: 0843 7787 308 or email:

UK INDUSTRY NEWS Merit Boosts Capacity Offsite construction specialist, Merit, has increased capacity of its advanced manufacturing facility in Cramlington by 40% to 140,000sq ft after securing over £18million new orders in a record first quarter. The company is planning continued growth throughout the year with a pipeline of bids in excess of over £50million currently under consideration. The recent new business wins include a contract to deliver the third phase expansion of the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult (CGT Catapult) manufacturing centre in Stevenage, further increasing the capacity of the facility which plays a crucial role in bringing advanced cell and gene therapies to patients. The offsite engineering specialist designs and constructs zero carbon solutions for the bioscience, pharmaceutical, semiconductor, aerospace and nuclear sectors, specialising in complex cleanroom construction and M&E services that require stringent regulatory approvals. Since the onset of the Coronavirus crisis, Merit has moved quickly to adapt its proven designs to create solutions for mobile COVID-19 testing laboratories, vaccine manufacturing facilities and biocontainment suites that can be constructed in a matter of weeks. Tony Wells, Managing Director at Merit, said: “The expansion of our manufacturing facility is part of our continued investment in a strategy that puts us at the forefront of innovation in construction. Our proprietary technology combines advanced offsite manufacturing with the technical expertise to deliver complex solutions in significantly shorter build schedules.

WGBC and BBC StoryWorks Partner for New Film Series

“We are not constrained by traditional construction models which gives us the agility required to adapt quickly to client needs, which has allowed us to develop a range of solutions to meet the challenges of the current Coronavirus crisis. Our design team applies new and existing technologies intelligently to create zero carbon solutions in industrial environments, helping clients address the challenges of climate change.” Last year the company introduced its design for manufacture (DfMA) strategy, manufacturing preassembled modules (PAMS) at its factory which are precision engineered and tested in a controlled

The World Green Building Council (WGBC) is pleased to announce a partnership with BBC StoryWorks to deliver a landmark film series. Buildings have a profound effect on the quality of people’s lives. The aim of this series is to explore ways in which we can design, construct and operate buildings differently to improve our health, and the health of our planet. The series will seek to show the path to a built environment fit for the future. The series will bring to screen building projects from across the globe, charting the innovative ways in which organisations are turning rhetoric into action when it comes to healthy and sustainable buildings. The project aims to galvanise the sector to work collaboratively, aligning stakeholders, and creating the right incentives and support for change. Cristina Gamboa (pictured) CEO, WGBC said: “The WorldGBC is proud to work in partnership with BBC Storyworks to communicate our shared vision for a green and sustainable built environment to a wide global audience. We look forward to sharing this opportunity with our diverse network of members and partners to ensure we convey the opportunities and challenges from the building and construction industry, and its integral role in securing worldwide zero carbon targets and sustainable development goals.”



environment before installation on site. The process uses modern methods of construction to reduce build time on projects by up to 50% compared to the traditional approach, achieving significant cost savings. Merit’s innovative approach combines innovative thinking with a zero carbon commitment to deliver significant capital and running cost savings and is at the heart of the company’s continued success across the UK for clients that include the NHS, Rolls Royce, GSK, Lifescan and Cell Gene Therapy Catapult. Source:

The series will launch in Autumn 2020 as part of multi-channel campaign including audiences across the globe and social amplification to targeted groups. A wide network of professionals, developers, investors and contractors will also be targeted to garner greater exposure whilst also ensuring there is measurable change in the comprehension of green building. BBC StoryWorks will be using proprietary neuroscience techniques, along with other traditional measurement tools to ensure this series has a significant impact for the sector. The World Green Building Council will kick off the work with BBC StoryWorks, the commercial creative arm of BBC Global News, by bringing to screen work being carried out across the continent in selected stories. The World Green Building Council network will be approached with specific information on how to become involved in the project. For more information contact: Catriona Brady, Head of Better Places for People and Strategic Planning Lead, World Green Building Council: Gemma Jennings, Partner Manager, Programme Partnerships, BBC StoryWorks:



The Bristol Housing Festival is running over five years to explore the increased use of smart technology and offsite manufacturing with a view to accelerating the delivery of quality, affordable housing for the area. Gary Ramsay caught up with Project Director Jeremy Sweetland, to talk about progress so far. Q: What are the origins and drivers behind the creation of the Festival and what does it hope to achieve – not just for the communities of Bristol but also as a role model for the wider UK? What are the ambitions of the Festival and those involved?

1 Q: The Festival is an exciting development in UK construction – what is your background, and did you have any knowledge or experience of offsite manufacture and delivery pre-Festival? Jeremy Sweetland (JS): Thanks. We think it’s exciting. My personal background is varied. I started out as a lawyer in corporate finance and then moved into more strategic leadership roles. Most recently my role was CEO of a Barristers’ Chambers in Bristol. Housing is one of the big issues in Bristol, and I am driven to make a difference in the city. Personally, I have explored what ‘home” is through setting up community houses and this has helped to shape the narrative of the Festival, which is to reimagine better ways to live in our cities. Innovation and housebuilding are crucial, but so is place-making and the interconnected services and elements that help create the local culture and community after the house is built.


Q: Can you say more about your role as Project Director? What is a typical day? JS: Every day is different. Our role as the Housing Festival is to enable and support organisations of various types and across different sectors to make use of innovation and help them to navigate some of the barriers they might face in this process. A big part of my day is therefore relationship building and connecting stakeholders that have answers for each other. In particular we are working closely with Bristol City Council on a number of sites and starting to develop ideas with them about required system change to more effectively enable offsite. It’s important to me to carry the broad vision and passion for what is possible amid detailed problem solving on specific projects. We’re focused on telling the story, sharing lessons learnt and enabling the industry and the public to engage in positive conversations on housing and release hope that solutions are within reach.


JS: Our aim is to pilot and test innovation in housebuilding, such as offsite manufacturing, to ‘find a way through’ that enables local authorities to make use of the solutions that already exist, and the ones being developed. We’re looking to create scalable and replicable models that can then be rolled out nationally, and this requires an environment of testing and shared learning. Ultimately, the purpose is not just to build new houses but to explore how housing can contribute to the flourishing of the city and the wellbeing of its residents. Q: With a wide range of partners including Bristol City Council, Bristol and Bath Regional Capital, WECA and The Shaftesbury Partnership – what are their roles in creating new construction and housing models? JS: Enabling successful innovation is only possible through collaboration. If the goal is creating housing that supports human flourishing, it’s about more than simply building units. Pioneering, ‘going first’ requires courageous and strong leadership from our politicians and the organisations we work with such as Bristol City Council and the West of England Combined Authority. Stepping into the unknown, using technology you’ve not used before, procuring companies you’ve not worked with before, presents the potential for more risk, but with clear objectives and strong leadership that

BRISTOL HOUSING FESTIVAL can prove to be a risk worth taking to solve bigger problems facing the region. The data clearly establishes we have a systemic failure within our housing system. Into that space, innovation is required and that requires collaboration and courage. Offsite housing is not a silver bullet to those prevailing challenges, but it does provide a context within which to re-imagine and redesign some of the system. Q: The Festival is an ‘incubator to road-test, in a real-world scenario, both existing concepts and innovative solutions designed to accelerate the delivery of quality, affordable housing’ – how is this being delivered – and importantly – monitored and measured? JS: It’s really encouraging to be working alongside so many organisations and individuals who are committed to finding innovative solutions and learning through successes and failures. This is what will


2 enable these ideas to be replicable and scalable. Different projects are monitored and measured differently. For our ZEDpods project, we are working with Bristol City Council, the University of the West of England and the Centre for Thriving Places to

test the physical builds and monitor the impact on the resident and the community. It’s our intention to work with partners like this on all builds in order to learn and share lessons from each project.

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BRISTOL HOUSING FESTIVAL increase housing supply in the UK, but also how offsite can be a good news story to help address the climate crisis and the construction sector workforce shortages. Q: The ultimate aim is to provide real and lasting positive change for the people of Bristol – what do you envisage that to be? Have any general points or conclusions been identified so far relating to the future of housebuilding?


4 Q: What smart technology and offsite manufacturing systems have been explored so far? The developments with ZEDpods, BoKlok and L&G Modular Homes could be a real game changing proposition? JS: Last October we were delighted to be able to announce the opening of LaunchPad, the first build project completed under the banner of the Housing Festival. You can see a tour of the homes and interviews with a couple of the residents on our YouTube channel. We are expecting the ZEDpods development in Bristol to be next and have more in the pipeline. Our hope is to be able to do different projects with different companies in order to show what is possible and


enable the market to grow. If someone can ‘go first’ it makes it much easier for other local authorities to follow. Bristol City Council announced a Climate Crisis in 2018 and an Ecological Emergency in February this year. As part of the build projects we are involved with we want to be promoting sustainable building and living. We are working with a range of offsite providers – from full volumetric through to local SME suppliers – within each of those methodologies there is innovation to be deployed and tested. As we learn how to work with and support a manufacturing focused build process we are determined to ensure the outcome is not just the Government’s desire to diversify and


JS: For us, this looks like flourishing communities. The Archbishop of Canterbury wrote: “Housing exists as a basis for community and community exists for human flourishing”. We want to see innovation, particularly in the way we build housing, for the flourishing of a city. This isn’t simply about growth in wealth or economic output, but about the inclusive and holistic wellbeing of a city. It’s about creating homes that promote positive outcomes for physical and mental health, for education, for jobs and employment, and the reduction of inequalities. It’s a big aim, but Bristol’s One City Vision includes a specific goal around housing: by 2050, everyone will live in an affordable home that meets their needs within a thriving and safe community. We think it is possible but will require courage and innovation. Q: A new architecture competition was recently launched with Bristol’s Trinity College to find a partner to design student accommodation – how is that progressing and what range of offsite systems have been proposed? What are the next stages? JS: We have been delighted with the interest and quality of the proposals that have been submitted. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 the shortlisting process has been delayed. However, we should know the results of the first round in June. We’ll say more at that stage – follow our social media to stay up to date on this one. Q: Bristol Housing Festival’s showcase fortnight attracted approximately 2,000 visitors and featured a wide range of innovative developments – what feedback have you had from the general public so far? What is the general level of understanding of offsite construction?

BRISTOL HOUSING FESTIVAL JS: We continue on. We are working behind the scenes to support and help bring the physical build projects forward and navigate through the barriers COVID-19 presents. We are still planning to host a large physical expo, although that will now be in 2021. In its place this year we are exploring hosting a virtual expo so watch this space.

5 JS: We’ve held two showcase events now. The first, in October 2018 was the big one that launched the Bristol Housing Festival. It was an opportunity for the public, industry and politicians to come and visit, to see first-hand, some of the offsite technologies on offer. One of the key challenges to enable innovation is how new concepts are socialised and perceived. Feedback from that event was very positive, a lot of people commented

on the sustainability of the products as well as the quality. Our second expo last year focused more on engagement events, most of which sold out. There seems to be real appetite from a wide range of people to understand more about what Bristol’s doing about housing. Q: What is in the pipeline for the Festival for the next 12 months (albeit influenced by COVID-19 fallout)?

The Bristol Housing Festival is an initiative of Bristol One City. For more information on the progress and many project developments of the Bristol Housing Festival visit: Follow on social media: Twitter @Bristol_HF and Facebook @BristolHousingFestival Images: 01. Jeremy Sweetland 02. The Bristol Housing Festival is set to run for five years and reshape local communities 03. LaunchPad was the first build project completed under the banner of the Festival 04. A range of different offsite housing systems are part of the Festivals drive for innovation and quality 05. Bristol’s One City Vision includes specific goals around housing and thriving, safe communities



The Structural Timber Association (STA) recently hosted a roundtable discussion, gathering industry experts together to examine the many challenges ahead of reducing the UK’s carbon emissions and creating a safer built environment. need to be considered. Every aspect of materials used in the built environment ought to be counted and zeroed in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. And we have got a way to go on that front.” Andrew Carpenter, Chief Executive of the STA, gave the example of the French government demanding that within a very short timeframe all new public buildings will have to have a minimum of 50% timber with embodied carbon a key factor. “Obviously, we would suggest that the UK government might want to think along similar lines. Some major contractors are already working with embodied carbon calculators, there is also a disparity between what the industry was proactively trying to achieve and what government had set out.” Delivering quality has always been ‘up front and centre’ for the construction industry. The emphasis is on producing buildings that are well built, using appropriate materials and which are fit-for-purpose. The requirement to reduce net carbon emissions to zero within 30 years is also having a huge impact on the construction sector with the pressure to innovate in better products, better techniques and, ultimately a better society. It was these central themes under consideration during the roundtable discussion event hosted by the STA. Chaired by Thomas Lane, Building Magazine’s Group Technical Editor, the discussion kicked off around the subject of carbon emissions and what people thought of as net zero and what the challenges are in delivering it?


The Road to Zero Carbon Kevin Riley, STA Board member and Sales Director, LVL, Stora Enso, argued that there ought to be some sort of clear definition on offer. “There are so many numbers being bandied around on how we get to this concept but until people understand what it actually means in practice, and have evidence of how it will actually work, it's a tough call.” SustainableBYdesign's Lynne Sullivan, pointed out that talking about net zero encompassed a range of activities and defining the emissions is a massive challenge. “Apart from sorting the offshoring of emissions we need to decarbonise all our processes. That is a lot of renewable energy to get in place that all our factories would require. So, material extraction, material processing, product manufacture, and then the end-of-life side of things


Kevin Riley highlighted what he called a ‘disconnect’ between the government’s green ambitions and the ability to deliver on the UK’s housing demand, with the limitations it was imposing on developers being able to use timber in new buildings. “If you are restricted from using timber in certain applications, then you are in danger of diverting from a very easy way to deliver on both the carbon agenda and housing crisis. If they put restrictions in place, those agenda targets are undeliverable.” Has the client side upped the ante in terms of demanding better and more environmentally friendly materials and are clients seeking net zero commitment from the sector? Christiane Lellig, formerly of Wood for

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STA ROUNDTABLE Good, said: “Apart from wanting to deliver homes that are aiming towards net zero and are also cost effective to run for their residents, the social housing sector in Wales wants to get into forestry as a means of offsetting and therefore becoming net zero as an organisation.” Mark Stevenson, STA Chairman and Managing Director at Kingspan Timber Solutions, said he had been seeing a mixed picture, and it all depended on customer requirements. “The people that are building their own houses to live in, are much more concerned about energy efficiency. But many others are more concerned about how low their build costs are going to be. If you turn to the developers, as customers they are likely to be buying building regulation compliant units.” And while politicians might be expecting the industry to come up with the solutions on how net zero carbon is achieved, there will inevitably be a cost, as Geoff Arnold, Managing Director of Pinewood Structures Ltd explained. “If you want to get to carbon zero, you have got to start adding technology to houses, built into the fabric. But you still need heating and hot water and bringing technology into it will add to the cost. A private sector developer will not be able to afford that because they need to sell houses at a certain market price.” While there is potential for regulation, some fear it could lead to unseen consequences. Andrew Orriss of the STA wondered if there would be an increased risk of slotting embodied carbon into Part L of the Building Regulations that would create a habit of 'plant a tree'. “Part L has been a compromised document for as long as I can remember. It used to be called a trade-off, in that if you did ‘this’ you would not need to do ‘that’. If you introduced embodied carbon into an argument like that, you could shower the entire nation with new trees and people feeling good about their zerocarbon policy.” Alex Goodfellow, Group Managing Director/Strategic Development at Stewart Milne and STA Board member said he did not think changes to regulations were anything to be particularly afraid of. “If we are really serious about this, the government needs to change the regulations,


make the standards better and then the housebuilders will react as long as the regulation is sensible, logical and adequate time is given to comply. Government needs to be brave, sensible and use research, evidence and technical facts to create really good standards going forward. The industry may well complain about it for a short period but will get right behind it relatively quickly and innovation will prevail.” The Combustibles Ban The discussion then turned to the government’s ban on combustible materials being used on buildings taller than 11m and what impact this would have on the structural timber industry.

Kingspan’s Mark Stevenson believed the government was trying to solve the problem by addressing only one element, namely, it was trying to limit how the industry built homes thereby taking a ‘blunt club to performance.’ “There are three parts to what we need to achieve. In the event of a fire there is the integrity of the building, building safety, you have also got to deal with evacuation and how to extinguish it. You have got to look at all these aspects to come up with a solution that provides the outcome we were all after – which is safer buildings. Addressing one aspect will never do it.” Andrew Orriss pointed to standards that apply in Scotland. “Last October, Scotland introduced an 11m height restriction but retained the use of combustible materials up to 18m providing there is sufficient evidence


to demonstrate that building is safe. You can achieve that through various testing regimes and using things like masonry facades as a non-combustible solution. The Scottish standards demonstrate what I would say is a very good common sense approach.” Francesca Berriman, Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologies chipped in on the issue of insurance. “It is a critically important point. Documents are being issued, which professionals are being expected to sign, insurers will not support, and the government has been completely reactive in its response. What is happened north of the border has been absolutely contrary in comparison and Westminster should be following the lead of Scotland.” The question of on-site quality control was raised, not least in the area of cavity barriers and ensuring these were properly installed. But this goes further than installation, according to David Fleming, Technical Director of Walker Timber. “There’s the issue of supervision and insurance. It can come down to the site management team, in conjunction with the principal contractor, to sign that off. What is common practice now is to take photographic evidence for the benefit of the main contractor.” The consultation around using combustible materials on tall buildings was a political gesture, Mark Stevenson added. “It will only ever be short term because you will always come back to the engineering and the science. And when we have done all the engineering and the science, which underpins the STA Assure programme, it will give us the optimism that timber offers the best solution. Not only that, but it offers one of the best answers for dealing with climate change.”

STA ROUNDTABLE ATTENDEES Kevin Riley - STA Board Member and Sales Director, LVL, Stora Enso Lynne Sullivan - Good Homes Alliance Andrew Carpenter - Chief Executive, STA Christiane Lellig - formerly of Wood for Good Mark Stevenson - STA Chair and Managing Director, Kingspan Timber Solutions

Technical Guidance Fire safety in use effects all forms of construction. All buildings must be designed to comply with the functional protocols of the Building Regulations for fire safety requirements, as a minimum standard. The STA has invested in an industry leading fire in use research project to test and prove commonly used timber frame wall, floor and roof make-ups used in the UK marketplace. The output of this research, a pattern book of EN tested systems, is believed to be the first of its kind in the UK timber frame sector.


In addition, it has been identified by the STA that the installation of fire stops and cavity barriers are of equal importance when it comes to building safety – an issue which prevails regardless of the building methodology. The STA have responded by developing a new guidance document on cavity barriers to complement the existing information.

Geoff Arnold - Managing Director, Pinewood Structures Alex Goodfellow - Group Managing Director, Strategic Development, Stewart Milne Group Francesca Berriman - Chief Executive, Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists David Fleming - Technical Director, Walker Timber Group

The fire safety research now forms part of the STA’s best practice guidance and is free to download from:



Debi Lama, Key Account Manager for Affordable Housing at Stewart Milne Timber Systems, discusses why offsite construction coupled with a build fabric such as timber frame is key to reducing fuel poverty across the UK.

1 The rising cost of running a home set against a backdrop of economic uncertainty is a growing issue, now more so than ever before, as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic. It is estimated that approximately 3.5million households in the UK are classed as being in fuel poverty. While these figures from 2017 are the lowest since 2005-06, it is evident there is still more to be done. And with budgets likely to tighten even further over the coming months, it comes as no surprise that household running costs are a key consideration for homebuyers across the country.


Sustainable building used to be the exception rather than the rule, but the fact that buyer attitudes are shifting is forcing housebuilders to act. If they want to attract budget-conscious buyers, housebuilders now need to consider how to appeal to buyers who wish to reduce their overall living costs. In response to calls for more sustainable housing, industry reports are increasingly signalling a move towards modern methods of construction (MMC) in the housebuilding sector. A phrase coined by the UK government, it acts as a


definition and framework to encourage developers to adopt and champion construction practices which will speed up delivery, plug the skills gap, and crucially, be a driving force for a low carbon sustainable economy. As demand for increased production continues to be driven by the government, it is crucial that low carbon sustainability remains frontof-mind – and this is where the build fabric itself becomes just as important as the construction method.

TIMBER In the South of England, Milton Keynes and in Stratford-upon-Avon, the Housing Association L&Q (London & Quadrant) are working with us to build efficiently insulated homes for their homeowners and tenants using the award-winning Sigma® II timber frame build system. Using this system means that building performance is improved with better heat retention and subsequently reduced energy demand, resulting in a fuel-efficient dwelling. The Sigma® II system takes ‘whole life costing’ into account as well as risk and homeowner impact.


3 A natural, renewable, low-carbon material, timber is readily available, economically viable, versatile and is a carbon-neutral building material in itself – for every tree used in a timber frame home, many more are planted. This is in stark contrast to blocks and mortar, which is an energy-intensive and non-renewable method of construction. Offsite timber frame construction provides a building with a superior thermal envelope, requiring minimal maintenance and a ‘fit-and-forget’ solution for the lifetime of the building. For a home to be energy efficient, it must be well insulated and as airtight as possible. With timber construction retaining and reducing heat demand, the resulting building contributes quite considerably to reducing fuel poverty as heating bills tend to be


lower, and the house warmer. Taking a ‘fabric first’ approach and using offsite timber frame construction on new developments is a proven means of ensuring sustainability, with lowcarbon compliance at the very heart of the development, not only in the materials used, but also during the varying construction stages and for the remainder of its lifecycle. Scotland is set to begin working with the construction sector to develop regulations which will ensure new homes consented from 2024, a year ahead of the rest of the UK, are required to use renewable or low carbon heat in a bid to further reduce fuel poverty, in line with the UK’s recent legislation to tackle the root causes of fuel poverty by 2040.


When building with timber frame, a home can be designed as one integrated system with a fabric first approach and energy efficiency locked into the home’s core: reducing the need for renewables, or wider newer technologies to be added on at a later date. Ultimately, this will save the homeowners money and gives them peace of mind in delivery of energy performance. Timber frame homes have a track record of superior energy efficiency and low embodied carbon. The homes are naturally warm in winter and yet cool in the summer, allowing residents to enjoy significantly lower heating bills overall. The introduction of the Future Homes Standard by 2025 will help ensure newbuild homes are future-proofed with low-carbon heat and power as well as world-leading levels of energy efficiency – thus, tying in with the Chancellor’s pledge to reduce the use of fossil fuel in homes by 2025. As we look to the future, building in timber frame, combined with a fabric first approach, will be the most effective means of meeting major housebuilding and net-zero carbon targets sustainably. Not only is it affordable, but it also reduces longterm maintenance, while positively impacting the social agenda with more efficient homes, reducing energy bills for tenants and thereby contributing to housing associations drive to decrease fuel poverty. For more information visit: Images: 01-03. Timber frame homes are a well-understood way to achieve a fabric first approach and high energy efficiency








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The Offsite Ready project is a series of collaborative events and online modules that will bring offsite skills into focus for a wide audience. Douglas Morrison, Director of Operations and Future Skills, at Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) outlines what the programme hopes to achieve.

1 As the construction industry is facing unprecedented challenges during the current coronavirus crisis, we are all having to rapidly adapt our way of working in order to mitigate the impacts of this universal threat. Our response to this immediate threat is to ensure the health of our workforces, reduce the financial impact on businesses, many of them SMEs, and also to protect the future delivery and operation of the nation’s critical infrastructure, housing and wider built environment assets. But I also think we have an opportunity to learn during this time and take note of just how quickly our abilities to change and adapt can help us to tackle more longstanding challenges.


The construction industry has been facing a period of significant change for some time now. CSIC is here to support industry, look to the future and do things better to build resilience – and that includes tackling our housing shortage through cleaner, safer and more productive building techniques, like offsite construction. By embracing new techniques in controlled factory environments offsite, or near-site, we can enhance pre-manufactured value. Moving more to offsite construction can also deliver financial and sustainable improvements that lead to longer term inclusive growth. Offsite offers the opportunity to build stronger collaborative partnerships between clients and contractors, where


2 risk and reward is shared, innovation is encouraged and we build flexible, capable teams who can together, deliver a sustainable built environment that meets customer demand and needs. We have been somewhat slower than other countries to adopt offsite techniques, with only 5% of construction in the UK using this method compared to 12-15% in Japan and 20% in Sweden. However, the good news is that, with nearly half of construction industry employers expecting to use offsite techniques within the next five years, we have a unique opportunity to harness the UK’s innovation capacity in this respect.



3 That is why together with an expert UK-wide network of project partners, we have launched a major training programme to help grow best practice and skills in offsite construction. The Offsite Ready programme, which is being led by CSIC and delivered in partnership with MOBIE (Ministry of Building and Education), CWIC (Construction Wales Innovation Centre), Edinburgh Napier University, COGC (City of Glasgow College) and COYO (Class of Your Own), was developed in response to research which has shown that offsite construction can increase productivity and reduce costs and timescales compared with traditional methods. Key to this is improving the quality and consistency of training in offsite construction and a skilled workforce that can deliver the required change. The Offsite Ready project, which is funded by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), offers a range of free-to-access online learning resources and training events intended to build capacity in the UK education and skills system, and ensure colleges, universities and training providers are well placed to respond to the growth in offsite construction in the UK. A series of collaborative events and online modules, aimed at employers, training providers, contractors and educational bodies, will be delivered by MOBIE across England, by Construction Wales Innovation Centre (CWIC) in Wales, and by CSIC in Scotland. Providing a recognised CPD opportunity, the programme delivers the latest resources to

best teach the practice of offsite construction, for both those new entrants who are currently studying and will enter the industry, and also for existing employees and will provide opportunities for them to upskill. The flexible training modules will ensure the project outputs are accessible ‘anytime, anywhere’ and are available to book and download from the Offsite Ready project website. The range of topics covered in the programme include: design functions, procurement functions, cost management, project and site management, onsite logistics and assembly, and follow-on and upstream trades. We have set ambitious targets to help drive the change needed in the built environment and our aim is that as many as 500 training professionals will receive the accredited training across the UK through the train-thetrainer programme. With the demand for offsite set to increase, the Offsite Ready skills programme is an enabler for the change we need. It will help to deliver a skilled workforce that is innovative, dynamic and globally competitive by increasing our capacity, delivering cost savings, offer greater efficiency and support the industry to get to net zero carbon emission. Offsite will strengthen our industry. The time to embrace it is now. Offsite Ready is an online training portal and the training events will take place in England, Scotland and Wales. For further information on the training events and how to sign up visit:

The Offsite Ready project will offer a range of free-to-access online learning resources and face-to-face training events intended to build capacity in the UK education and skills system, and ensure colleges, universities and training providers are well placed to respond to the growth in offsite construction in the UK. Offsite Ready will directly engage with employers, training providers, contractors, educational bodies and leading innovation organisations across the construction industry. A comprehensive suite of online flexible training modules will ensure the project outputs are accessible ‘anytime, anywhere’ and will be available to book and download from the Offsite Ready project website. “The construction industry is facing a period of significant change, says Stephen Good, Chief Executive of CSIC. “At CSIC, we want everyone involved in the construction industry to look to the future and do things better – and that includes tackling our housing shortage through modern, more efficient building techniques, like offsite construction. Key to this is improving the quality and consistency of training in offsite construction. “The Offsite Ready project was developed in response to research which has shown that offsite construction can increase productivity and reduce costs and timescales compared with traditional methods, with nearly half of construction industry employers expecting to use offsite techniques within the next five years.”

Images: 01-02. Douglas Morrison and CSIC are driving change in offsite skills provisions 03. Automation and factory manufacture are at the centre of offsite delivery





Reds10 Chairman Matt Bennion picks out some of the unsung benefits of using offsite delivery, as the UK struggles to combat COVID-19 and changes in how construction sites are staffed and managed.

1 Shorter programmes, earlier revenue streams, better quality, just three of the well-rehearsed benefits that advocates of offsite modular construction talk of. All are true, but COVID-19 has shone a light on a raft of other benefits, which to date have seemed intangible or have simply not been valued.

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The press has been alive with good news stories of how the offsite industry has provided temporary space solutions for hospitals, prisons, mobile testing centres and sadly mortuaries, quickly meeting the demand that traditional approaches cannot fulfil.


This is not new news. What is new is the criticism of working practices on traditional construction sites and the pushback of members of the public, unions and workers alike who object to images of construction workers breaching social distancing measures on overcrowded sites and hundreds of workers crammed into tube trains trying to reach their place of work. It is criticism that is hard to argue with because despite huge improvements that have been made in health and safety and wellbeing on construction sites generally, the simple truth is that


3 physical constraints and the use of conventional building materials and methods render social distancing virtually impossible on many traditional sites. This was reaffirmed by the likes of Mace reporting between 30-60% output in the first few weeks of reopening its sites and an aspiration to grow this to 80% in the coming months. In late April we saw Redrow restarting its sites with additional COVID-19 supervisors and representatives from Build UK were in talks with the Local Government Association to facilitate the extension of permitted working hours for construction sites across the country. At the same time, contractors were calling for parking restrictions to be relaxed in London to make it easier for construction workers to travel to sites by car.

What is clear is that the COVID-19 issue will stay with us for the foreseeable future, so as well as the more tangible benefits of speed and quality we should also be talking up the very significant and often unsung benefits of offsite volumetric modular. For a start, offsite manufacture and assembly is controlled, process driven, follows a flow and is increasingly automated. Pre-assembly and assembly lines require less labour and social distancing is already an integral part of the production line. Working at height and the need for operatives to collectively handle materials into position has all but been designed out and materials are held in stock which reduces the number of deliveries and help to reduce the embodied carbon in buildings.

4 Volumetric buildings are now completed with 90% pre-manufactured value and so largely complete buildings are lifted precisely into position and completed on-site with minimal labour, far fewer deliveries, less materials that reduce much needed circulation space piled up onsite and much, much less waste. The outcome is construction sites that not only have less operative hours spent working on high risk activities but also bring safe working distances by design and have a much lower impact on local communities. In an offsite construction factory, labour is drawn from local communities and travel that could cause the ongoing spread of infection are significantly less. Factory labour tends to be on the books and therefore less susceptible to the uncertainties that have beset self-employed workers.

That is not to pretend that offsite construction would have avoided all disruption, but the truth is that offsite factories and contractors were still producing buildings and working onsite while traditional construction sites were closed. The impact of site closures will affect society long after current social distancing measures are removed. But let us take this time that COVID-19 has enforced upon us, to reflect on the benefits of offsite modular construction and reinforce it benefits to clients and genuinely transform our industry for the good. For more information visit: Images: 01-04. Green Park Village Primary School is a two storey, steel framed volumetric school building, including double storey height main hall and feature reception area.





Alongside repurposing existing facilities to create NHS Nightingale Hospitals, offsite construction is also supporting NHS Trusts and healthcare providers to increase capacity. Jackie Maginnis, Chief Executive of the Modular and Portable Building Association (MPBA), explains more.

1 The approach to coping with the COVID-19 healthcare crisis has been vastly different across the globe. China used the might of 7,000 workers and 1,000 construction machines, operating 24 hours a day to build hospitals but the strategy here in the UK is very different. MPBA members are rallying to support this unparalleled situation. Both volumetric modular companies and those involved in the manufacture and hire of portable buildings are ramping up to meet demand. Temporary and volumetric modular buildings are now firmly in evidence at hospitals nationally. Given the critical nature of the healthcare industry, the necessity to quickly source low cost, modern and fully functional buildings is an imperative. Because these structures are manufactured offsite, they can also be installed without causing disruption to daily routines.


In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, many MPBA members are increasing their manufacturing capacity to support healthcare providers planning for increased resilience as a result of the ongoing situation. More than 1,300 people answered an advert for carpenters, labourers, joiners and fitters to help Darwin Group manufacture emergency hospital units to help combat the virus. From the company’s manufacturing centre, wards for more than 150 new beds are being built using their advanced modular design system. The manufacturing centre will be working virtually 24 hours a day, seven days a week to get the buildings delivered in the shortest possible time. The buildings will be going to three NHS trusts in the North West, Midlands and Home Counties regions. The volumetric modules will be transported to the three sites, from their Shropshire manufacturing centre, where the installation and site completion teams will commission the wards for use.


Just three weeks after receiving the instruction, the McAvoy Group team pulled out all the stops to configure, deliver and install a Primary Care COVID-19 Centre at Causeway Hospital in Coleraine for the Northern Health and Social Care Trust. The new 12 section building was installed in just one day and has created much needed additional facilities and capacity for staff to assess and care for additional patients. The assessment unit provides 14 consulting rooms, office, utility room, separate exits for patients and staff, reception and staff welfare facilities. Another company ramping up to meet demand is modular and portable building manufacturer Thurston Group, who, was given a brief by Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust. The project is being managed at the firm’s production facility in West Yorkshire. Construction work started on March 30. Flattened steel has been used to create seven box units, each one around 10m long


2 and 3m metres wide. They will be hoisted onto a low-loader and driven to the hospital, where a 200-tonne crane will lift the units into position so they can be joined together like a giant jigsaw. Mechanical and electrical items will be fitted on-site before the hospital’s own facilities management team work to install medical equipment such as gas and air together with ventilators. MTX, specialists in innovative healthcare construction solutions bring together development, design, construction and funding expertise for fast-track building projects throughout the UK. The company has multiple building projects underway – some contracts were awarded prior to the current COVID-19 crisis but are due for completion in the coming week. From a state-of-the-art laboratory fitout for client at Hall Analytical to a rooftop ward extension at Glenfield Hospital and a three storey modular building creating 72 new beds within three wards at Hereford County Hospital – MTX’s range of ongoing and recently completed projects are vast and diverse. Many modular building specialists are prioritising work for healthcare providers. Elite Systems is manufacturing a 20-bed isolation ward for Royal Surrey County Hospital within an eight-week timeframe. Royal Surrey County Hospital was looking to increase its capacity and following an enquiry in March, the modular building team is now on-site and has already commenced groundworks with a view to the new unit being in place in June. In total the consultation period, from initial contact to groundworks commencing, took just seven working days. While groundworks continue at the hospital, Elite Systems’ factory team will construct the 20-bed

3 isolation ward in controlled conditions before delivering the modular building to the hospital and completing the final fix on-site, ready for the ward to become fully operational and start receiving patients. The ward will feature 20 individual patient rooms, each with an en-suite bathroom. The central space on the ward will be occupied by a nurses’ station as well as storage space for cleaning supplies and linen, a series of treatment rooms, relatives’ rooms, and additional WCs. As well as increasing capacity, manufacturers such as Elliott are providing buildings for additional services. Changing rooms and showers, as well as a range of furniture from the firm’s 360° service are being delivered to hospitals across Greater Manchester to help nurses follow social distancing guidelines. But it is not only the manufacturing and portable building hire companies that are stepping to the fore, our membership includes those involved in the supply chain and there are a multitude of companies involved in the provision of materials, sanitary ware, M&E and logistics together with installation teams that are working around the clock to ensure volumetric modular and portable buildings are delivered in record time. Portable buildings can be manufactured with ultra-quick lead times and supplied as an extension or ‘add-on’ to an existing facility. Healthcare managers may not be aware that these structures are available as permanent or temporary options. When a fast-temporary building solution is required, hiring a portable building can provide the ideal solution for healthcare, testing or isolation facilities. With visitors being presently restricted,

valuable carparking space can be commandeered to accommodate these units. Construction clients such as the NHS Trusts, appreciate the cuttingedge building techniques and the short lead times which are a muchneeded benefit. In addition, modular and portable buildings are energy efficient, fully compliant with building regulations and can be tailored to meet the requirements of new healthcare buildings or used to extend existing facilities. As patient-led demand grows due to the COVID-19 crisis, the healthcare sector does not have the time or resources to commission lengthy construction programmes. The team here at the MPBA can help those in need by putting them in touch with their nearest modular manufacturer or those who have portable buildings in stock and available for hire. We appreciate the excellent work the NHS and healthcare providers are doing, and we are keen to help. Given the critical nature of this crisis, the necessity to quickly source modern and fully functional buildings is an imperative. The MPBA can help and by putting calls out to our extensive network, saving healthcare providers valuable time and resources. Government Departments, NHS teams and those involved in social care can quickly engage with portable building providers or modular manufacturers by calling Jackie Maginnis, Chief Executive of the MPBA: 01686 430400 or emailing: Images: 01-03. The modular sector has stepped up to provide a range of quality healthcare facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic and for the future






1 Fusion Building Systems has been able to complete the installation of its offsite light steel frame system for Jehu Group’s Orchard House social housing scheme in Swansea during the Coronavirus outbreak, thanks to it requiring only a handful of personnel to be on-site. Fusion started on-site in early March, installing two storeys of its lightweight system for residential accommodation over existing units at Kingsway in central Swansea. With a six-week build programme ahead of it, site works ran through the Government’s lockdown period for COVID-19, meaning that social distancing requirements needed to be adhered to if work was to continue. But, because the installation of Fusion’s offsite panellised system requires only a handful of personnel to be on-site at any one time, the build was able to continue. In addition to requiring only minimal personnel on-site, in accordance with guidance from Public Health England, Fusion and Jehu revised their site health and safety procedures and staff welfare management to ensure all could work safely. For example, Fusion ensured all vehicles were equipped with hand sanitisers and disinfectant sprays; breaks for site installers were


rotated to have fewer staff present at any one time: a one-way system was implemented for stair use and 2m intervals were marked throughout the construction site, to help personnel maintain appropriate distancing. Jehu also reviewed its build programme to ensure a minimum number of trades would be on-site at any one time – groundworks were complete prior to Fusion’s arrival and while scaffolders were on site at the same time, they were always working one level above Fusion’s installers. Fusion Project Manager, Tony Ball, said: “We’ve completed our works for Jehu Group at Orchard House ahead of schedule, while protecting the health and wellbeing of our employees and others on-site. This has only been made possible through the positive relationship we have with Jehu – we worked together well and also experienced a high level of respect from other trades involved in the project. “Speed of build and the number of personnel on-site have always been promoted as benefits of offsite construction, but never did we imagine they might be of use in the situation we’re all currently facing. We’re pleased we’ve been able to help Jehu Group continue its works, regenerating this part of Swansea city centre.”


2 Gary King, Jehu Site Manager, added: “Working under such challenging circumstances I cannot recommend Fusion highly enough. They worked to all our social distancing requirements, their health and safety was spot on and their deliveries to site were always on time. Added to this, their quality of workmanship and the accuracy of their light steel panellised system meant the build was able to progress at pace, which saw them complete ahead of programme.” Following its completion of Orchard House, Fusion will soon start on site for another Jehu Group contract – an extra care facility in Pontypridd. Defined as an ‘essential construction project’ the build will provide accommodation for up to 80 residents. Jehu Group is one of Wales’ largest independently-owned property and construction companies with a tradition of building excellence since 1935. Over the last 20 years, Fusion has delivered more light steel residential structures than any other producer in Europe. For more information visit: Images: 01. Fusion team adheres to social distancing guidelines to complete Jehu contract 02. Fusion team hand sanitises whilst working on Jehu site

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EDAROTH, a subsidiary of engineering, design and project management consultancy Atkins recently highlighted the scale and opportunity of ‘brownfield sites’ as a key part in tackling England’s social housing crisis with offsite manufacture an important element.

1 The white paper report ‘Unlocking Brownfield Land - A Social Housing First Policy’, found that there are almost 18,000 sites across the country, with the capacity to support the development of at least one million dwellings. With the most recent social housing waiting lists suggesting there is a need for about 1,114,000 homes, brownfield sites clearly offer a significant opportunity for the Government to develop affordable homes using faster, lowcost construction methods which are suitable for dealing with the unique challenges of building on brownfield sites. With a driving ambition of Everybody Deserves A Roof Over Their Head (EDAROTH), it is offering a new way to tackle the social and affordable housing challenge by developing offsite manufacturing techniques to deliver sustainable homes that also enhance communities and boost longterm living. “Due to the advances in modern methods of construction,” says


EDAROTH Managing Director Mark Powell. “Brownfield land previously deemed too difficult to develop presents a unique opportunity to deliver social housing within existing communities. This will provide truly affordable homes with access to education, employment and opportunity, allowing people to live their lives in communities where they can prosper. To meet the challenge to provide the social housing that is needed across the UK, central and local government need to continue to embrace new ways to tackle the social housing crisis and innovative approaches including modern methods of construction and offsite manufacturing.” Often located within existing communities where low-to-median income households struggle to find truly affordable homes, redeveloping brownfield land for social housing provides an opportunity to provide improved access to local amenities, education, employment, healthcare and opportunity for residents.


EDAROTH’s report calls for In 2018 around 169,000 homes were built, of which only 17% (29,000) were delivered for social housing. In the same year there were 1,114,477 households on housing waiting lists, representing 4.04% of England’s households. Research carried out by Heriot-Watt University on behalf of the National Housing Federation ‘State of the nation’ report, published in September 2019, estimated 8.4 million people in England are living in unaffordable, insecure or unsuitable homes. ‘accelerated growth in social housing and a renewed focus on brownfield land development’, including: the adoption of offsite manufacturing techniques to accelerate the delivery of new homes across the UK and enable the development of brownfield land previously deemed too difficult to develop. The report picks out offsite construction in particular as a key tool to providing new communities quickly, noting that offsite developments unlock small parcels of brownfield land that traditional developers often find too difficult and expensive to consider. “In England alone it has been estimated that we need to deliver at least 300,000 new homes a year – a target not achieved in almost half a century,” adds Mark Powell, Managing Director, EDAROTH. “In addition, England needs to deliver 90,000 new homes every year for social/affordable rent – levels not achieved since 1980. We believe brownfield sites offer the potential to tackle social housing waiting lists across the country, providing development space for affordable homes in the places people and families originate, work and want to live.”


2 EDAROTH is currently delivering a pilot scheme with Lambeth London Borough Council. The four modern and spacious family homes that are in close proximity to transport links and local services, have unlocked a parcel of brownfield land previously deemed unsuitable for housing. The Hillside Gardens development in Streatham Hill was delivered as a pilot scheme using EDAROTH’s MetroHome housing product. The Hillside Gardens development – which is situated at the rear of existing council-owned properties on the Hillside Gardens Estate – was previously occupied by a derelict garage block but now adds four new homes to Lambeth Council’s housing stock which will be rented at council level rents. Cllr Matthew Bennett, Cabinet Member for Planning, Investment and New Homes, said: “Lambeth Council is committed to delivering a new generation of social housing in the borough, to tackle Lambeth’s housing crisis and support the thousands of families on our waiting list. I’m delighted to see the completion of this latest project which contributes to meeting that goal.” MetroHome is part of a suite of EDAROTH products which includes houses and apartments of different typologies designed to suit varying client requirements. EDAROTH also provides end-to-end development solutions which focus on delivering social and affordable housing at the point of need. This approach prioritises brownfield and under-utilised land within existing communities sees the landowner typically retain the land, assets and ongoing rental income.

EDAROTH has also recently become part of a £1billion housing framework in Wales. Under the four-year agreement, EDAROTH will work with local authorities and housing associations to help meet housing targets through the provision of design and engineering expertise and the use of offsite construction. “There is a pressing need for affordable homes in the UK and elsewhere – this global challenge is a long-standing problem which will only be solved through innovation and new ways of working," says Philip Hoare, President, Atkins, Engineering, Design & Project Management, SNC-Lavalin. “Our place on this framework is a significant

3 milestone for EDAROTH as we look to work with in partnership with clients to deliver carefully considered, sustainable housing developments which benefit from cutting edge digital design, offsite manufacture and assembly.” For more information and to download a copy of ‘Unlocking Brownfield Land - A Social Housing First Policy’ visit: Images: 01. EDAROTH’s Unlocking Brownfield Land A Social Housing white paper 02-03. Hillside Gardens development. Courtesy Lambeth Council

UNLOCKING BROWNFIELD LAND The EDAROTH white paper calls for accelerated growth in social housing and a renewed focus on brownfield land development including: • Central and local government to build new social homes where they retain the land and asset to ensure the delivery of social housing and provide income through an increase in gross domestic value (GDV) and subsequent rental incomes • ‘Social housing first’ policy for the development of brownfield land, providing truly affordable homes in the places people and families originate, work and want to live • Urgent prioritisation of brownfield land, supported by existing infrastructure, which demonstrates clear societal and economic value • Incentives for local authorities and developers to develop brownfield land with 100% delivery of social housing • Increased central government funding and assistance to reduce the cost of land remediation which reduces risk and encourages new entrants • Adoption of modern methods of construction including offsite manufacturing techniques to accelerate the delivery of new homes across the UK and enable the development of brownfield land previously deemed too difficult to develop • Procurement reform to create innovative and dynamic frameworks which encourage new entrants and support new and emerging housebuilding solutions which can accelerate the delivery of new homes across the UK • Collaboration across central government, government agencies, local authorities, professional bodies and the housing industry – to create shared value ambition and goals to meet the social housing challenge and build.





Based in County Durham with state-of-the-art-framing and fabrication machines, Intelligent Steel Solutions (ISS) operate nationwide to design for manufacture and assembly (DfMA) principles offering high quality structural steel to the offsite and wider construction industry.

1 The key benefits of a light steel frame solution are fast build speeds, quickly achieving a watertight shell, enabling access for follow-on trades and a sustainable, safe and cost-effective construction method – all allied to a fully BIM-capable 3D model. The benefits of light steel framing is only fully delivered through effective collaboration by all key stakeholders and to truly harness the benefits of offsite manufacture, the process of engagement and collaboration is best considered as early as possible in the design process – preferably at planning stage to gain maximum benefit. This allows buildings to be designed with the engineered solution of light steel frame in clear focus. With over 15 years’ track record of medium and large offsite loadbearing construction across all sectors, including load-bearing multi-storey frames, façade infill (SFS) and modular construction, a recent project that saw ISS showcasing the best of steel and offsite delivery, was seen at the Brent House scheme in London for client Henley Homes.


2 This development is in partnership with Genesis Housing Association and consists of demolition of the existing building (a former council office building sited in Brent between Wembley Stadium and Wembley High Road on a 1.9 acre site) and construction of 248 apartments and approx. 6,000sq ft of retail space, situated around a new landscaped public plaza. The seven to ten-storey mixed-use scheme is spread across five blocks. Working with Henley Homes as architect and structural engineers Fairhurst, the £76million scheme has seen ISS provide load-bearing panelised construction with lattice joist flooring, alongside co-ordinated services, stairs, and balconies off the podium deck. Design co-ordination direct with the Henley architectural team allowed for improved information flow and also allowed for early design freeze. An extremely tight site on a busy thoroughfare to the famous national stadium meant fully co-ordinated deliveries were the only option without disruption to neighbours and businesses alike.


Approaching modular construction, ISS has extensive experience of supply chain partnering with manufacturers in the creation of volumetric solutions and are regularly part of ‘just in time’ supply chains, getting custom components to other manufacturing facilities for integration. Modular construction can also be designed so that complete modules can be removed without the building becoming unstable. All modular supply is quality-assured and can be engineered and designed as required taking into account lifting, M&E co-ordination and value engineering. There is also added value from an extensive network of lifting and transport specialists, engineers and materials suppliers as well as in-house experience that can assist in a service which goes beyond traditional steel supply. For more information visit: Images: 01-02. Brent House, London

Intelligent Steel Solutions are a member of the Light Steel Frame Association (LSFA). The LSFA works with light steel framing members to raise awareness of the performance and productivity benefits of steel frame and is the representative body for forward-thinking light steel frame manufacturers, providing access to industry contacts, technical expertise and market knowledge. For more details on how to join visit:

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

and fully automated fastening solutions. • Using industry leading quality controls, BeA meet or

exceed standards such as Eurocode 5. Reliable products, competitive prices and the kind of service and delivery you can depend on from BeA. 01482 889 911 visit our new website




PSP Group is one of the UK’s leading providers of rainscreen systems, metal fabrications and bespoke full envelope solutions. Chairman, Heath Hindmarch, explains why the company has made a vast investment in providing a single point of procurement for the entire building envelope. There are numerous supply-chainrelated challenges facing the construction industry today, from various points of contact and complex financial arrangements to lack of communication and trust. These problems can jeopardise construction schedules, creating delays and costly overruns. Structures are the sum of many parts and 3D Modelling is now extensively used to bring disparate elements together and avoid issues throughout the manufacturing and installation process. But detecting clashes before products reach construction sites is only part of the equation. Yes, we use the latest design software integrated with 3D Modelling and manufacturing technology, but it goes much deeper than that. Only by utilising the skills, products and services within our own group of companies combined with outstanding communications, can we enhanced productivity and deliver the best possible outcomes.

1 From small quick turnaround developments to extensive multi-million pound schemes, all construction projects benefit from a single point of procurement. Achieving value creation through supply chain rationalisation can be complex. Collaborative supplier frameworks are


good but using one delivery partner is even better. Dealing with just one company to design, manufacture and deliver a range of bespoke products to achieve a full building envelope, complete with doors and windows – eliminates hassle and creates measurable value.


As the leading manufacturers in our field, we work closely with our clients to build long-lasting working relationships. We invest in the latest technology and cutting-edge software to optimise design for manufacture and assembly (DfMA) protocols to eliminate waste and value engineer our products to offer practical yet aesthetically appealing solutions. PSP’s manufacturing processes take place in our precision-controlled advanced factories in County Durham. Our architectural and aluminium manufacturing teams also collaborate with our experienced designers to maintain premium quality throughout all processes, from design to manufacture, to transportation of finished systems.


2 Our Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system supports quality procedures to consistently provide up-to-date information and a single point of contact. This facilitates full traceability of materials and provides real time updates on the project’s status. Our systems have been CWCT tested to ensure they meet rigorous industry standards and are resilient against extreme weather conditions.

We acknowledge that all clients require bespoke facade solutions, tailored to individual needs. By offering design as well as manufacturing services for the entire facade, are we able to minimise risk by obtaining full control and responsibility from point of design. PSP offers a range of rainscreen cladding, rainwater goods, ventilation systems, solar shading, flashings, pressings and facade support systems. We also design, manufacture and supply specialist fabrications to meet individual needs, using materials such as aluminium, brass, copper, COR-TEN, galvanised steel, pre-coated steel, stainless steel, zinc and composite materials. During the final construction phase, add-ons such as curtain walling, windows and doors can also be

3 supplied. Working in close synergy, the PSP Group of companies offer a coherent sequence of operations which enables seamless integration of the design, manufacture and delivery process to improve quality and client satisfaction.

4 Images: 01. Solent University Sport Complex 02. Caxton Works, Canning Town 03. Union Wharf, Greenwich 04. 1 Finsbury Avenue, London

PSP GROUP PSP Group’s cohesive three-part system is ideal for architects, customers and suppliers who require high-quality rain-protection products and an all-in-one service for frictionless design and manufacture. The company manufactures all products using state-of-the-art fabrication equipment and a range of metals that are suited to an array of customer requirements. With a design-driven strategy at the core of the company’s culture, each rainscreen protection product is tailored to individual customer specifications. The systems are paired with a forward-thinking approach and consideration of the construction industry’s time-sensitive nature. All products and services are examined against their Environmental Management Programme and Quality Management System, which runs in accordance with ISO 9001:2015. For more information visit:






1 With two key projects under the spotlight, we hear more about Spantherm – the innovative insulated precast concrete ground-floor system which is being adopted by a growing number of housebuilders and developers. Spantherm is an insulated, precast concrete flooring system designed specifically for residential and commercial ground-floors. By producing high performance insulated structural concrete units offsite Creagh 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. Creagh’s Spantherm thermally efficient flooring has been utilised at a housing development in Warmington, Peterborough. The 11 new homes development is being built by NRI Civils and will be ready by the end of 2019. NRI Civils choose Spantherm insulated precast concrete flooring system as it is designed specifically for use at ground-floor level in residential and small-medium sized commercial projects. They opted for the work to be completed by Creagh’s expert fitting team, requiring no labour from them and saving them time onsite.


Adam Moody, Contracts Manager for NRI Civils said: “We chose Spantherm because one of the things that we are looking for as a business is to improve efficiencies, reduce costs, reduce labour and time onsite and when you’ve got a difficult site, where you’re struggling for storage, that’s exactly where Spantherm is perfect.” Housebuilders are increasingly exploring the opportunities for new ideas to reduce labour onsite and boost efficiency in the build and it makes sense that they start with the ground-floor. Spantherm is installed in just minutes – not days. By producing high performance insulated concrete units offsite Creagh have redefined the speed of installing a fully-insulated floor. The initial appeal of Spantherm is clear, as a typical floor on a detached house or a pair of semi-detached homes is fitted onsite in less than two hours. Once in place and grouted, the floor achieves its full structural capability within 72 hours, however building activity can commence on perimeter walls within 24 hours. “The team have been absolutely fantastic with the support we get,” adds Adam. “Anything that we need to discuss with them, they are always on hand, so we have a great relationship. We will definitely be using Spantherm again to help our optimum goal of achieving better efficiency and reducing costs and labour times.”


2 Creagh’s Spantherm thermally efficient flooring has also been used to great effect being at a housing development in North Muskham, Nottinghamshire, where a 16 new homes development is being built by Geda Construction. With no additional site works or laying out required, a typical 90m². A Spantherm ground-floor can be installed in just 90 minutes and provides level base without camber for timber frame or block construction. Installation is not affected by adverse weather conditions and secondary screeds with extended drying times are not required. Spantherm is designed to reduce cold bridging at wall/ floor junctions making an important contribution to Part L performance. Spantherm is available in three performance options designed to boost your building’s performance within SA and an achieve U-value as low as 0.12W/m2K. It is also a fabric first solution, integrating structural concrete with expanded polystyrene insulation. The tightly butted units lock in the thermal performance efficiently across the slab. For more information visit: or email: Images: 01. Spantherm being installed at Warmington, Peterborough 02. Creagh Concrete use offsite methods to improve project efficiencies

BENEFITS • Efficient alternative to beam and block • 90m² floor installed in 90 minutes • Labour radically reduced • Zero waste & storage on-site • Efficient & cost effective • Use with a membrane for effective ground gas protection

HASSLE-FREE INSULATED PRECAST CONCRETE FLOORING 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 fully compliant flooring systems designed as the efficient alternative to the labour intensive beam and block installations. With exceptional Psi and U values, Spantherm reduces cold-bridging at the wall/floor junctions providing a cost effective route for all build types including timber frame.

• Install in any weather • Reduces CO2 emissions, requiring less energy to heat the building

England & Wales: PART L 2010 Scotland: Section 6 2004 Northern Ireland: PART F1 & F2 2012 Republic of Ireland: PART L 2007 NZEB Compliant 2019

13/4974 products/spantherm

ENGLAND Hoveringham Nottinghamshire

IRELAND Toomebridge Co. Antrim

SCOTLAND Newbridge Edinburgh

Tel: 01636 552 212

Tel: 028 7965 0500

Tel: 0131 333 5405



With strong government backing for offsite construction methods in the education sector, and numerous operational efficiencies, concrete solutions are perfectly positioned to deliver high performance schools. British Precast’s Matt Butcher talks to precast concrete manufacturers to understand why.

1 State support for offsite construction methods has never been stronger. Leading the way among public clients is education. The university sector is embracing offsite for faculty buildings and student accommodation, while the Department for Education (DfE) announced the winners of a £3billion offsite schools framework in January. In the schools sector, precast concrete undoubtedly scores highly when compared to other offsite construction methods. Robust, with strong acoustic and thermal insulation properties, and quickly assembled on-site, it is little surprise that schools are drawn to concretes many advantages. Fire safety, a particular issue for schools who have to plan for accidental as well as intentional damage such


as arson, is an area where precast outperforms its rivals. Concrete offsite construction solutions are classified non-combustible, A1 fire-rated. Precast concrete manufacturers have experience of supplying school projects. “The use of precast concrete as a material for schools has been increasing over recent years, with the benefits realised by both the client and end-users alike,” says Richard Wilks, Technical Manager at Sterling Services. Derek Russell, Head of Engineering at Techrete, notes that the nature of schools lend themselves to high levels of repeatability. “A significant advantage of precast concrete in education projects is the economy of design that can be achieved


when the modular nature, in terms of classroom layouts, is considered. Exposed concrete also offers a durable and hard-wearing surface. This is a significant benefit in terms of both maintenance costs for internal surfaces and energy efficiency, especially when these are extrapolated over the working life of the structure.” Acoustic performance – vital in the noisy corridors and classrooms of a school building – also gives precast an edge over other materials. “Due to the durability and density of the concrete used in our façade panels,” adds Richard Wilks. “Excellent noise reduction properties are achieved, important for buildings located near busy main roads with heavy traffic.”




With windows, service channels and finishes invariably taken care of in the factory, site installation of precast panels has become increasingly efficient and quick, says Steve Morgan, Technical Sales Manager for Thorp Precast Limited. “There are no external scaffolding requirements and no wet trades required on-site,” he says. “Safety is increased through reduced numbers on-site, with significantly less site traffic and supervision required. Small teams of specialist erection gangs – typically four men and a crane operator.” With current site operating guidelines due to COVID-19, needing less people on-site this is even more important. No site storage is required. Panels are lifted from our specially adapted delivery vehicles directly onto the building. It all helps to minimise disruption for schools during construction work. One key advantage of precast and the manufacturing process is the ability to create a highquality finished surface to both the internal and external faces, subject to the architectural requirements. “All manufacturing is undertaken in factory-controlled conditions and the completed panels can be viewed offsite by the client and design team prior to delivery to site,” adds Steve Morgan. Within the precasting process it is possible to incorporate bespoke project specific detailing. For example, to replicate coats of arms, crests, school names, patterns and even photographic representations within the finished concrete surface. Concrete offsite solutions are proven to achieve top marks on performance and aesthetics. For more information visit: and to download Offsite Concrete Construction guidance visit: Images: 01-02. Loxford School, Ilford, London. The project consisted of approx. 5000m2 made up of 500 panels. The main building’s façade was brick-faced precast concrete cladding, with the pod elements clad in recon stone panels. Courtesy of Thorp Precast 03. Student accommodation at University Locks, Birmingham. © Paul Miller Photography

3 54


Offsite Concrete Solutions | Crosswall Crosswall construction is an effective and efficient method of offsite construction that employs factory-produced, precision engineered, concrete structural components, with load-bearing walls suitable for a range of building types. Being concrete, the structural elements are durable, non-combustible and virtually maintenance free, with inherent resistance to water. These are all benefits available during construction but also over the life of the building. The concrete offers excellent acoustic performance, security, airtightness and thermal mass. For more information on crosswall construction, and other offsite concrete applications for building structures, download the free ‘Offsite Concrete Construction’ publication at @concretecentre Images (clockwise from top): Selly Oak student accommodation, Birmingham; Arena Central, Birmingham; Hill Top House, Oxford; Marriott Hotel, Manchester.



A precast modular foundation system offers many advantages in building development and performance, but also removes the need and risk of site-based technical assessments during construction. Sweden’s Isolergrund offers this new element to building design. Reduced emissions foundation Through the utilisation of high strength, micro-fibre reinforcement, in lieu of steel, close structural design phase co-ordination and precisely-controlled production dimensioning, the Isolergrund modular foundation system dramatically cuts embodied CO2 emissions and those associated with site construction and waste.


Modular foundations also improve thermal performance of the building development by reducing heat loss to the ground. The CONTACT: Office: 01244 568 948. DD Sales: 07870 269345. Isolergrund foundation system introduces rund Ltd: Supplying LABC Certified, Pre-Cast Modular Foundations an additional thermally insulated subomplete, Warranted environmentally protective system. structure lining, avoiding all cold bridging Individual, pre-cast, insulated beams also and preventing unwanted cold air transfer ACT: Office: 01244 568 948. DD Sales: 07870 269345. available to our customers’ specifications floors and building joints, particularly (Fibre-reinforced, precision cast, 3rdto party important structural endorsed beams delivered direct to site) when building in modular formation. They also solve inherent air Individual, pre-cast, insulated beams also permeability issues associated with available to our customers’ specifications (Fibre-reinforced, precision cast, 3rd party building on traditional foundations. Isolergrund Ltd: Supplying LABC Certified, Pre-Cast Modular Foundations as a complete, Warranted environmentally protective system.



structural endorsed beams delivered direct to site)

Modular foundations can incorporate a

Isolergrund Ltd, Thornton Science Park, Ince, Cheshire. CH2 4NU. crawl space which gives rise to several

Isolergrund Ltd, Thornton Science Park, Ince, Cheshire. CH2 4NU.

The foundation’s structural design integrity, its dimensions and constituency have been assessed and formulated in the factory – all that remains is for it to be positioned and assembled correctly on site, following numbered directions and certified complete by testing. Although modular foundations are not suitable in all cases they offer a rapid, standardised and guaranteed solution that compliments both traditional and modular building techniques offering significant cost savings, reduced environmental impact and a certified foundation solution. Unlike traditional foundation formation, issues such as damp penetration, cold bridging or land contamination issues can all be designed out by correctly specifying an offsite modular foundation system. This leaves the building designer free to focus on building development rather than foundation construction risks. Modular foundations provide:


Rapid, ‘right-first-time’ construction Modular foundation assembly on-site is far quicker than by traditional methods and as the product is ‘dry’ there is no waiting time for moisture levels and product stabilisation to occur. Typical construction time savings in excess of 70% are further benefited from the fact the modular foundation assembly is unaffected by inclement weather. BS5250 compliance As property thermal performance increases the temperature differential between the internal building environment and the foundation increases , leading to a propensity for high and saturated humidity levels at the underside surfaces of the ground floor structure. BS5250 calls for a value no greater than 80% RH. This can currently only be guaranteed by introducing a negative pressure void system as provided by the Isolergrund system.


key advantages: freedom to add or alter ground penetrating services positions in the future, ability to introduce negative pressure zone to guarantee compliance with BS5250, facilitates pre-casting service entries for district energy networks, offers the ability to measure temperature and humidity beneath the building ground floor. Precast reinforcement inherent within modular foundations designed specific to the building development, negates the requirement for any site-based technical assessment. A site investigation is usually needed for the engineer to understand what the ground is like. Very poor ground may mean you need to augment the modular system with a piled sub-structure. The modular foundation needs a hardcore sub-base to level the ground and this stone should be mechanically compacted and designed to be freely drained. For more information visit: Images: 01. The Isolergrund modular foundation system is now widely available in the UK


LIFTED TO NEW HEIGHTS Britlift lifting equipment is being utilised across the construction sector and providing an invaluable service specifically to the offsite construction sector. Having recently supplied the likes of Vision Modular, ESS Solutions, Ideal Modular Homes, Offsite Solutions, Modular-AR, Dandara Homes, Galliford Try and many more, Britlift are the partner of choice for bespoke lifting equipment to the offsite and traditional construction sectors. As specialists in lifting engineering Britlift can design, manufacture, test and certify the perfect solution for your lifting requirement. Britlift also offer and off-the-shelf modular spreader beam range which can be dispatched within 24 hours and can be configured in a multitude of ways to offer between 2-10 points of lift – see With a the recently announced new global distribution partnership

with Unique Group (Water Weights), Britlift modular spreader beams (offthe-shelf) will be sold across the world within a matter of months, taking the Britlift brand, products and services to Canada, India, Netherlands, Singapore, UAE and USA. Britlift will also be increasing modular spreader beam manufacturing, stock and capacities. During the current COVID-19 pandemic, Britlift is utilising any spare manufacturing capacity to pro-actively manufacture modular spreader beam stock to treble the original stock holding levels (preCOVID-19), whilst also increasing stocked beam sizes – incorporating 100, 110, 170 and 250 tonne capacities. Britlift will now be able to supply modular spreader beams

(off-the-shelf) in capacities ranging from four tonne to 250 tonne on a next day service. For more information visit: Images: 01. Britlift can design, manufacture, test and certify the perfect solution for your lifting requirements

IN N O VAT I O N IN L IF T IN G Britlift are a designer and manufacturer of lifting equipment, specialising in the lifting of modular homes, bathroom pods, commercial modules, containerised structures and pre-cast components. With a wealth of experience in the design and manufacture of lifting frames and lifting systems to the Offsite Construction sector, Britlift are the Offsite sector partner of choice.




2019 WINNER Sponsors: 23

offsite module lifting equipment

+44 (0)1305 236123 / /



Returning for its third year, the Modular Matters Conference & Exhibition will take place on 20 October 2020 at NCC, Birmingham and will explore the latest offsite construction solutions. Why Exhibit at Modular Matters? • Raise your company and product profile through direct interaction with key target audiences generating highly qualified leads • Take advantage of the event’s extensive digital marketing campaign • Relax in the knowledge that our dedicated team will guide you through every step of the process starting pre-event, onsite and post-event to maximise your return on investment. For more details on exhibitor and promotional opportunities go to: Brought to you by the Volumetric Homes Group, Modular Matters focuses 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.

Modular Matters demonstrates how to tackle industry challenges through a range of project case studies, innovative architecture and building design, IT and software development, as well as presenting what the future of manufacturing may look like with presentations from a collection of the UK’s leading offsite manufacturers.

With the growing housing crisis becoming a national emergency, particularly in these challenging COVID-19 times, the need for faster, leaner and smarter construction is becoming more and more needed in the UK to meet the demand for affordable housing. Traditional construction methods are failing to meet the major challenges facing the built environment today, with only 63% of site-based developments completed on time and an even lower 49% delivered on budget.

Get Involved Modular Matters is aimed at attracting construction clients and construction professionals plus: architects, surveyors, engineers, contractors, facilities managers, building product manufacturers and suppliers. Modular Matters provides positive return-oninvestment and has been one of the most well-attended events dedicated to the offsite manufacturing and construction industry.

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 such as education, leisure, student accommodation, private residential, affordable housing and specialist applications.


Call for Papers Modular Matters shines a spotlight on pioneering projects through informative case studies presented by those who conceived and developed the buildings that are gaining global attention. This event presents a great opportunity to gain insight and network with those who are shaping the future of the volumetric modular industry. If you would like to be considered to present at Modular Matters, please email your name, company and proposed presentation title and description to: jessica.holland Deadline for Call for Papers: 12 June 2020

BOOK Modular Matters Conference & Exhibition presents a prime opportunity for construction clients and their professional advisers to network with industry experts and discuss the latest developments, innovations and investments in the volumetric modular offsite sector, within the UK and internationally. • Date: 20 October 2020 • Venue: National Conference Centre (NCC), Solihull, Birmingham B92 0EJ • Tickets: £145 +VAT this includes entry into the conference and exhibition, access to the speaker presentations post-event, printed delegate list on arrival, parking, lunch and refreshments throughout. To book your place visit:




MODULAR MATTERS conference and exhibition presents a prime opportunity for construction clients and their professional advisers to network with industry experts and discuss the latest developments, innovations and investments in the volumetric modular offsite sector, within the UK and internationally.

Brought to you by

NCC, Birmingham CALL FOR PAPERS MODULAR MATTERS shines a spotlight on pioneering projects through informative case studies presented by those who conceived and developed the buildings that are gaining global attention. This event presents a great opportunity to gain insight and network with those who are shaping the future of the Volumetric Modular industry. If you would like to be considered to present at MODULAR MATTERS, please email your name, company and proposed presentation title and description to Deadline: 12 JUNE 2020



The construction sector is at a critical crossroads with offsite technology now recognised as providing a hugely important solution to overcome many of the challenges facing the industry today. This specialist offsite technology event is destined to become Europe’s largest dedicated event, providing direct access to explore this innovative and fast-moving sector. Get to grips with the latest offsite methods and smart digital technology – OFFSITE EXPO showcases the widest and most comprehensive display within the built environment including but not limited to: • Framing Solutions in Concrete, Timber and Steel • Modular Volumetric Systems • Bathroom and Kitchen Pods • Pre-engineered MEP Building Services • Prefabricated Building Components • Digital/ BIM/Augmented Reality (AR)/ Virtual Reality (VR) Bringing together the sector’s most influential innovators who are driving change in the construction industry, OFFSITE EXPO provides fast and efficient access to a wealth of knowledge and offsite innovation. By attending this one highly focused event, construction professionals can gain a broad spectrum of offsite industry intelligence and practical insight – all under one roof. Taking place at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry on 22 and 23 September 2020 – OFFSITE EXPO is the focalpoint of innovative building and digital construction technologies. Presenting a compelling proposition, Offsite Expo will feature a combination of advanced manufacturing approaches and smart digital construction technologies. With innovative displays, live demonstrations, and pioneering speakers – the event will play host to leading experts, offsite manufacturers and component suppliers showcasing a broad spectrum of panelised, volumetric modular systems, pod and prefabricated MEP solutions.


In 2019 OFFSITE EXPO exceeded expectations attracting 2,874 unique visitors, over 100 professionals with purchasing power participated in the Offsite Connect Buyers and Specifiers Forum, in excess of 100 exhibiting companies promoted offsite solutions and smart technologies and more than 40 hours of CPD Accredited presentations took place. The feedback was universal - Offsite Expo was acknowledged as featuring the most informative and inspiring content.

CPD Accredited Masterclasses Presenting the optimum personal development opportunity – rapid and efficient access to the latest information is crucial to success. Advanced offsite approaches and innovative technologies are changing the face of construction, the Offsite Masterclass Theatre provides over 40 hours of CPD Accredited presentations in a dynamic and interactive format for those looking to learn direct from eminent offsite industry experts.

Offsite Technologies The case is unequivocal – offsite technology challenges outmoded construction practices and is a progressive and productive step that is set to revolutionise the way buildings are designed and assembled. Every major review of the construction industry has in some way recommended a move towards advanced factory-based construction methods.

For full details of the Offsite Masterclass Programme go to page 62


Call for Papers Speaker opportunities are now very limited, however if you have a ground-breaking project that you would like to present at OFFSITE EXPO, email Rhian Hassall, Event Manager: Rhian.Hassall@ to find out how you can get involved.

OFFSITE EXPO Business Development Opportunities

Offsite Awards

The Offsite Event of the Year

It is not only the exhibition that has exciting development plans, for the first time OFFSITE EXPO 2020 will host the dynamic and innovative Offsite Construction Awards at this new high-profile location. Taking centre stage the Offsite Construction Awards will take place at OFFSITE EXPO on 22 September 2020. Since inception six years ago, the Awards have been on an upward trajectory presenting professionals operating in the sector with outstanding opportunities to showcase excellence and network with those who are gaining industry recognition.

Showcasing the greatest display of offsite building and digital construction technologies under one roof, OFFSITE EXPO will attract circa 5,000 delegates and is geared towards creating the ultimate visitor experience. New for 2020 and hosted by Cogent Consulting the ‘Ask the Expert’ guided technical tours will allow OFFSITE EXPO VIP visitors the opportunity to meet one-to-one with leading industry experts and discuss live projects and explore design efficiencies, engineering challenges and supplychain development opportunities. OFFSITE EXPO is the place for people to engage with key industry contacts, acquire new knowledge and network in vibrant surroundings.


The Offsite Connect Forum is the most dynamic ‘meet the buyer’ business development opportunity of the year. Offsite Expo exhibitors can gain access to key industry professionals with a buying or specifying remit. This Forum offers a structured, highly effective way for new and existing offsite industry suppliers to connect with potential customers easily and cost effectively in highly focused meetings. The greatest success of the 2019 event for many, were the business development opportunities secured in the Offsite Connect Buyers and Specifiers Forum, which was a hive of activity and open exclusively to exhibitors. With over 100 buyers and specifiers participating from high profile construction companies such as Mace, Willmott Dixon, Kier, Balfour Beatty, Galliford Try and the NHS – over 330 business meetings took place and feedback from both the buyers and exhibitors has been outstanding. Participating buyer, Julian Humphreys, Programme Manager at Community Health Partnerships said: ‘Offsite Connect was a very useful forum that enabled contact with organisations associated with the offsite market, and I established a number of new connections. The offsite market is expanding, and the event provided the ability to explore new opportunities and new products at a single location, making Offsite Expo a very efficient and cost-effective method of networking.’ If you would like to take part in structured, highly effective meetings with new and existing offsite industry suppliers, email Jessica Holland on: jessica.holland@ Get Connected To join the offsite conversation, become a member of the Explore Offsite Linkedin Group Or to stay up to date with the latest announcements – follow #OffsiteExpo on Twitter at @ExploreOffsite

It is not only the venue that is changing with three new categories, the Offsite Awards is expanding its reach and reflecting the wider adoption of offsite technology. These new categories include Building Performance Pioneer Award which focuses on the importance of energy efficiency post build and International Offsite Project of the Year – opening the Awards to worldwide entries. The Housing Project of the Year has also been split into two sectors – Private Housing and Social Housing. The deadline for submissions is the 29 May 2020, with the finalists being announced ahead of the Award ceremony which will take place at OFFSITE EXPO on the 22 September 2020. For more information or to enter the Offsite Construction Awards, visit:

Health and Wellbeing The health and wellbeing of all attendees, speakers, exhibitors and staff are the event organisers top priority. Measures are being put in place so that the exhibition and Offsite Awards can take place in a safe and controlled manner. The event will be following strict social distancing and hygiene protocols. Hand sanitisers will be available at show entrances and exits, plus areas across the exhibition together with additional washrooms. Directional marked aisles will allow visitors to travel through the show in a controlled flow. Masterclass theatres will have spaced seating and clear marked staging to keep multiple delegates and speakers at a safe distance.

GET INVOLVED AS AN EXHIBITOR OR SPONSOR With over 75% of the inaugural exhibitors and sponsors rebooking for the 2020 event, construction businesses are advised not to leave it too late to book promotional packages to ensure they maximise this highly targeted business opportunity. Here is just what one exhibitor had to say about the Offsite Expo: “We had an excellent couple of days exhibiting at Offsite Expo. The quality of visitors and the seminars were outstanding. Great to make so many new contacts and what a way to showcase our Thrubuild® range of complete walling solutions. It was a thoroughly productive couple of days.’ Steve Thompson, Managing Director, EOS. For more information on getting involved in OFFSITE EXPO 2020 as an Exhibitor or Sponsor contact Julie Williams on 01743 290042 or email:








DAY ONE 22.09.2020 STRUCTURAL TIMBER SESSION CHAIR - Andrew Carpenter Chief Executive, Structural Timber Association Andy Goodwin Managing Director, B&K Structures Stewart Dalgarno Director of Product Development, Stewart Milne Timber Systems Peter Blunt Managing Director, Innovare Systems

HYBRID SESSION CHAIR - Tim Snelson Associate, Arup Greg Cooper Managing Director, Hybrid Structures Gavin White Director, Ramboll Simon Harold Business Development Director, PCE

ROOFING SESSION Image Courtesy Stewart Milne Timber Systems


CHAIR - Richard Miller INVITED Head of Qualification and Standards, NFRC Justin Ransted Regional Manager UK & Ireland, Tilcor David Padmore Regional Sales Manager, Metrotile

CHAIR - Yvonne Kelly INVITED Board Member, CITB A Representative from BRE Group Daniel Leech Group CEO, Technical Design Services Group

VOLUMETRIC MODULAR SESSION CHAIR - Bob Mears Marketing Committee, MPBA Geoff Fawkes Business Development Director, The McAvoy Group Ben Treleaven Managing Director, ISO Spaces Chris Spiceley Methods of Construction Director, Places for People



Geoff Fawkes Business Development Director The McAvoy Group


All Explore Offsite Masterclasses at Offsite Expo are CPD Certification Services accredited and qualify for Continuing Professional Development points


DAY ONE 22.09.2020 PRECAST CONCRETE SESSION CHAIR - Elaine Toogood Head of Architecture, Concrete Centre


Xavier Van der Wee Sales Engineer, Kerkstoel 2000+

CHAIR - Darren Richards Steering Group Member, Light Steel Frame Association

James Donington Commercial Manager, FP McCann

Brian Alborough Technical Director, Richard Hopkins Architects


Joanne Booth Business Manager: Construction, Lucideon

CHAIR - Colin Goodwin Technical Director, BSRIA Dan Wilkinson Specification Engineer, Taplanes


Nick Casiero Sales Engineer, Taplanes

CHAIR - Diana Montgomery INVITED Chief Operating Officer, Construction Products Association (CPA)

Mark Watkins General Manager, NG Bailey

Peter Burchill Business Development Manager, EOS


Bill Robertson Architectural Advisor, Smart Architectural Aluminium

CHAIR - Alison Nicholl INVITED Head of Constructing Excellence, BRE Alberto Jena Managing Director, hsbcad Steve Insley National Sales Manager: Structures Division, Trimble


Joanne Booth Image Courtesy Trimble

Business Manager: Construction Lucideon








DAY TWO 23.09.2020 STRUCTURAL TIMBER SESSION CHAIR - Sarah Virgo INVITED Campaign Manager, Wood for Good Rory Doak Business Development Manager: UK, Stora Enso Darren Jarman Managing Director, Lowfield Timber Frame

VOLUMETRIC MODULAR SESSION CHAIR - Andy King Deputy Managing Director, Wernick Buildings Richard Whittaker Director of Development, Citizen Neel Khiroya Managing Director, Excelsior Homes

Bryan Woodley Director, Val-U-Therm


CHAIR - David Emery Director, Virtechs Steve Insley National Sales Manager: Structures Division, Trimble James Smith Director, Majenta Solutions Sam Stacey Challenge Director: Transforming Construction, UKRI

FIRE PROTECTION SESSION CHAIR - Jim Glockling INVITED Technical Director, Fire Protection Association Bart Goossens Technical & Business Development Manager, Etex Group Tom Mason Associate Director, International Fire Consultants



Sam Stacey

Richard Whittaker

Challenge Director: Transforming Construction UKRI

Director of Development Citizen



All Explore Offsite Masterclasses at Offsite Expo are CPD Certification Services accredited and qualify for Continuing Professional Development points



DAY TWO 23.09.2020

CHAIR - Andrew Way Associate Director, Steel Construction Institute Peter Burchill Business Development Manager, EOS


David Ellison Head of Business Development, Sigmat

CHAIR - Jenny Burridge Head of Structural Engineering, Concrete Centre

Robert Clark Head of Business Development, Fusion Building Systems

Bernard Graham Sales Estimator, Creagh Concrete Gavin Finnan Associate Director, Maccreanor Lavington

Image Courtesy EOS


CHAIR - Ian Heptonstall Director, Offsite Management School

HYBRID SESSION CHAIR - Andrew Carpenter Chief Executive, Constructing Excellence Midlands Ricardo Baptista Design Director, AKTII Emily King Client Solutions Director, Mid Group

Kaye Keenan Future Skills Manager, Construction Scotland Innovation Centre Trudi Sully Associate Director, Manufacturing Technology Centre Dr Emmanuel Daniel Senior Lecturer in Construction Management, University of Wolverhampton: Construction Futures Research Centre



Emily King

Trudi Sully

Client Solutions Director Mid Group

Impact Director: Manufacturing Construction Innovation Hub



DATES FOR YOUR DIARY IN 2020 If you are interested in learning more about offsite construction and the associated manufacturing processes then the following industry events may be of interest: 15 Sep

Tall Buildings Conference

99 City Road, London

Back by popular demand, Tall Buildings Conference will take place on 15 September 2020 at 99 City Road, London and will assist engineers in understanding the common challenges associated with transferring standard engineering principles and knowledge from low-rise structures to tall buildings. 15 Sep

Tall Buildings Awards

Tall Buildings Awards

22-23 Sept


Tall Buildings Awards 2020


2020 Tall Buildings

99 City Road, London

Tall buildings present unique challenges in terms of both design and construction. Their sheer scale demands that particular attention is paid simultaneously to strategic and detailed issues. NEW FOR 2020 - Tall Buildings Awards is taking place on 15 September 2020 at 99 City Road, London and will highlight design and building technology innovation in the UK high-rise sector. Offsite Expo

Ricoh Arena, Coventry

Taking place on 22 & 23 September, Offsite Expo brings together those who are driving change in the construction sector – the event will play host to the leading UK and international offsite manufacturers and component suppliers showcasing a broad spectrum of panelised, volumetric modular solutions, pod and prefabricated MEP solutions, as well as the latest in Digital and BIM technology.




22 Sept

2020 Tall Buildings Awards

07 October Tall Buildings Awards 2020

Tall Buildings Awards 2020

20 October

Offsite Construction Awards

Ricoh Arena, Coventry

Relocated as part of Offsite Expo, the Offsite Construction Awards will take place on 22 September 2020 at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry and will reward outstanding examples of prefabrication and factory-based methods, products, systems and disciplines that increasingly strive to develop a sustainable, streamlined and cost-effective way to deliver a better built environment. ENTRY DEADLINE: 29.05.20 Structural Timber Awards

NCC, Birmingham

Returning for its sixth year on 07 October 2020 in Birmingham, there has already been a large amount of attention focused on the 2020 Structural Timber Awards. The Awards once again will reward excellence, celebrate expertise in timber technology and the ways it contributes to an attractive, energy efficient and sustainable built environment. ENTRY DEADLINE: 12.06.20 Modular Matters

NCC, Birmingham

Returning to Birmingham on 20 October 2020, Modular Matters – in partnership with Volumetric Homes Group (VHG) - 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 ground-breaking clients. 12 Nov

Focus on Framing



24 Nov


The Focus on Framing seminar will feature high-profile speakers from market leading companies, discussing the significant role that light steel frame plays in the UK’s major developments. From numerous sectors, residential to commercial, education, retail and leisure delegates will hear about the newest innovations and developments in this fast-changing sector. Construction Productivity Conference

99 City Road, London

Taking place on 24 November 2020 in London - this event will gather together those who have the skills to define a roadmap to create a climate for change. With statistics finding only 64% of the hours worked deemed to be productive - the event will focus on new technologies, logistics, supply chains and materials management together with developing human resources to establish a workforce that is fit for the future. 01-02 Dec

Emerging Realities Conference

MTC, Coventry

Taking place on the 01 & 02 December at the MTC, Coventry, the Emerging Realities Conference will bring together those with the insight and insider information to evaluate transformative innovations and explore how they can be used in a real-world context to radically advance how buildings are designed, developed and delivered. All event information and schedules correct at the time of going to print - please check relevant websites for latest details.

By Boldesign for Radar Communications




FREE TO ATTEND Offsite Expo is the place for people to engage with key industry contacts, network in vibrant surroundings and acquire new knowledge.



22 & 23 SEPTEMBER 2020


VISITORS targeted



800+ SEMINAR SESSION ATTENDEES professional development










FREE admission


Situated in the heart of England, the Ricoh Arena is within









Yes, you can have all your eggs in one basket! BUILDING CONTROL



G I V E U S A C A L L TO D I S C U S S YO U R N E X T P R OJ E CT 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.