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OFFSITE AWARDS 2020 Online and looking good. See the shortlist for this year’s unique virtual showcase event


WILL VARAH Can offsite design improve the nation’s much needed and ambitious infrastructure targets?


SINIAT & PROMAT ROUNDTABLE Build to Rent proves to be stable, resilient and a flexible sector in the face of lifestyle change



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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 www.radar-communications.co.uk 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 www.offsitemagazine.co.uk ADVERTISING ENQUIRIES PLEASE CONTACT: Julie Williams // T: 01743 290001 E: julie.williams@offsitemagazine.co.uk SEND US YOUR NEWS: Gary Ramsay // T: 01743 290001 E: info@offsitemagazine.co.uk BACK ISSUES VISIT: www.offsitemagazine.co.uk FOR OFFSITE ENQUIRIES PLEASE CONTACT: E: info@offsitemagazine.co.uk 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.

WHAT IS THE NEW NORMAL? Welcome to the latest edition of Offsite Magazine and as the COVID-19 pandemic slowly recedes across the UK, we are now entering a new phase of working across the construction industry that has been tasked by Government to pick up the pieces and ‘build build build’. Behind the latest slogan from the Boris Johnson cabinet, there is a pledge of £5billion in fast-tracked infrastructure investment to help rebuild the UK’s economy out of the COVID-19 crisis. Significant investment is earmarked for education, healthcare and housing plus key infrastructure. With the success of offsite methods often underappreciated within infrastructure developments, I caught up with Will Varah from the Infrastructure and Projects Authority. Tasked with exploring the range of ways that offsite methods can improve key infrastructure and focusing on bridging the gap between the strategy and implementation, there are some exciting developments ahead. More on that and P-DfMA inside. Of major recent interest has been the launch of NHBC Accepts – a new service that will help to build ‘further confidence in innovative construction’ and is designed to enable offsite

You will also find inside this issue the freshly minted shortlist for the Offsite Awards 2020. Even in the face of COVID-19 the 2020 Awards has seen over 200 entries vying to win one of the prestigious trophies across the 21 categories. All winners and highly commended will be announced at the first ‘virtual’ Offsite Awards, taking place in September 2020. Hosted online by Mark Durden-Smith – anything can happen and probably will! A final huge thanks to all our contributors, advertisers and supporters in these difficult times. Keep well everyone.

Gary Ramsay

Consultant Editor Email: gary.ramsay@offsitemagazine.co.uk


KEEP IN TOUCH: @ExploreOffsite linkedin.com/groups/7456674 offsitehub offsitehub.co.uk/blog

systems to be fast-tracked for NHBC warranty. Reflective of the huge increase in developers choosing offsite methods to deliver newbuild housing, Mark Farmer, the UK’s Government Champion for MMC in Housebuilding said: “this sees the market leader in warranty and insurance for new homes making its commitment to high quality modern methods of construction clear.” You can find out more inside about what the new logo means for UK housebuilders from NHBC’s Richard Lankshear. Positive in its aims, whether those operating across the offsite landscape have the appetite to achieve yet another quality mark remains to be seen.


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Our OJEU-compliant framework agreements provide public sector organisations with easy access to procure works, products and services for the construction, refurbishment and maintenance of social housing, schools and public buildings. LHC strives for excellence in the services provided to their clients and aims to deliver the best solution to suit every project’s individual needs. Our dedicated Client Support and Project Support teams are on-hand to assist throughout the life of the project. For more information on how our frameworks can work for you, get in touch.








Challenging traditional construction procurement models to deliver clean, safe and competitive projects, Merit has transformed itself into a technology company using innovative ways to design and build bespoke buildings offsite using its Design for Manufacture strategy.

As with many events in 2020, the Offsite Construction Awards has resorted to a special online platform but is happening in a stripped down version. Still under development for September, the virtual event will again reward outstanding examples of offsite products and systems.






With ambitious targets and huge sums of money required to improve the nation’s key infrastructure – can offsite methods provide the answers? Gary Ramsay spoke to Will Varah, Programme Director, Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) at Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) to find out.

As UK society and the construction industry come to terms with the impact of COVID-19, building product specialists Siniat and Promat hosted a roundtable to try and identify how some of those changes may influence the Build to Rent (BTR) sector and type of buildings where we live and work.



08 | Industry News

24 | Driving Quality Homebuilding

News and developments from across the UK offsite industry and wider construction arena including: the CLC’s post-pandemic Roadmap to Recovery, David Harris appointed new MD at Premier Modular, Network Rail and ilke Homes announce a significant investment in a brownfield site and Sovereign Housing Association go Greencore.

Richard Lankshear, NHBC’s Innovation Manager, talks us through the organisation’s new comprehensive review service for innovative products and systems – NHBC Accepts.

40 | Post COVID-19: Insolvency and Survival In the wake of the pandemic and enforced shutdown of the construction industry, what can offsite suppliers do to avoid becoming insolvent or falling victim to an insolvency in the supply chain? Michael Gerard of Michael Gerard Solicitors offers his advice. 46 | New Wave Homes The Homes for Heroes national campaign calls on the government to commit to delivering 100,000 affordable, eco-friendly, factory-built homes for key workers on public land and is backed by an alliance of major housing associations and modular housing manufacturers. 50 | Building the Burrows Wernick has delivered a second modular building for Swansea University. The twostorey, 2,600m² building was constructed with an end-to-end build programme of just 28 weeks. 52 | Designing a Signature Envelope PSP Architectural produced the COR-TEN architectural feature fins for the Anne McLaren Building on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus. 54 | A Barrier to Reaching Net Zero Targets? Andrew Carpenter, Chief Executive of the Structural Timber Association (STA) discusses how any reduction in the use of engineered timber systems may severely inhibit our ability to decarbonise the UK construction industry. 56 | Later Living Housing Design Stuart Carr, Director with architects Inglis & Carr, sees several potential long-term changes to the way housing is designed and delivered as an outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic. 58 | A Sector in Constant Motion The British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom & Bathroom Installation is a government sanctioned, not-for-profit organisation, dedicated to improving standards within the industry. Chief Executive Damian Walters spoke to us about where ‘pod technology’ fits into what they provide. 62 | Transitioning to Offsite Building Materials With the live events industry buckling under the strain of COVID-19, a modular, factoryfinished terrace product could help the sector bring reprofiling and renovation projects to a cost-effective conclusion.

INDUSTRY ENEWS INCLUSIONS Our monthly eNews enables you to keep the offsite sector updated on your product/company developments. Each newsletter features up to eight news stories and can cover a variety of offsite technologies. With a circulation of over 48,000 these monthly communications provide the ideal opportunity for you to reach your target audience. Our offsite portfolio includes an abundance of profile-raising opportunities and this is just one way you can get involved!

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North East offsite specialist, Merit, is challenging traditional construction procurement models to deliver the cleanest, safest and most competitive projects. The company has transformed itself into a technology company using innovation and engineering to design and build bespoke buildings offsite using a unique Design for Manufacture (DfM) strategy.

1 The strategy was developed after the company challenged its own capability in offsite construction, which led to the development of its unique multiservice pre-assembled modules (PAMs) technology. It is an approach that has resulted in significant expansion to meet rapid business growth, with a pipeline of bids now in excess of £100million. Capacity at its factory in Cramlington has recently been doubled again after a previous increase of 40% earlier in the year. Merit has secured an impressive portfolio of new contracts in recent months, particularly in the healthcare and life sciences sectors. 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 new contract is the company’s second project for CGT Catapult. Last year, Merit completed construction of the expansion phase of the manufacturing centre in Stevenage using the offsite PAM approach to deliver offices and six grade-C cleanrooms, with significant cost, programme and quality benefits. Merit has built four turnkey decontamination facilities in the UK for STERIS in recent years and has just been awarded a contract to deliver a fifth new Decontamination Super Centre in Chessington. The new facility will consolidate healthcare services for a number of NHS Trusts including surgical instrument sterilisation, medical device decontamination and surgical instrument repair. The team has also started work on a new sterilisation facility next to the Northumbrian Specialist Emergency Care Hospital at Cramlington for Northumbria Healthcare NHS


Foundation Trust. It will disinfect and sterilise medical equipment for use in surgical and medical procedures for hospitals across the region. “The expansion of our factory is part of our continued investment in a strategy that puts us at the forefront of innovation in construction,” says Tony Wells, Managing Director at Merit Group. “Our proprietary technology combines advanced offsite manufacturing with the technical expertise to deliver complex solutions in significantly shorter build schedules. “We combine the advantage of Design and Build and single point of responsibility for design and cost risk, with self-execution of the technical parts of the project to reduce project schedule and cost. Our expertise in design and offsite manufacture reduces overall project ‘Time to Use’ by half while at the same time achieving improved quality, reliability

COVER STORY MERIT and certainty of validation. We have adopted a zero-carbon strategy that eliminates fossil fuels from our projects, helping clients to address the challenges of climate change by creating sustainable solutions. “We are experts in the design and manufacture of bio-safety and infection control facilities. We’ve used our experience, knowledge and understanding to develop proven designs that achieve MHRA and FDA regulatory approvals, removing significant risk for our clients. The response to COVID-19 illustrated how innovation and offsite expertise can deliver temporary healthcare facilities quickly. But the clearest lesson from the pandemic is the need for greater flexibility in hospitals to accommodate sudden surges in patients while at the same time meeting all the stringent infection control requirements.

“There is no reason why permanent hospital buildings shouldn’t be built using offsite technology and incorporate the necessary ventilation and bio-safety technology to adapt quickly from general medical use to ICU in a surge. We have been working on a range of new solutions specifically designed to meet the needs of the healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors that incorporate our DfM technology.” Since the onset of the Coronavirus crisis, Merit moved quickly to adapt its proven designs to create solutions for mobile COVID-19 testing laboratories, vaccine manufacturing facilities and bio-containment suites that can be constructed in a matter of weeks. Merit’s house specialist design team support the manufacturing process and the company has an established capability in the production of bespoke PAMs for most of its projects at its manufacturing facility. Expert teams work collaboratively with clients to support process layout development so that it can be fixed and the design finalised quickly and efficiently. In the early stages of a project, BIM is used to bring walk through capability allowing clients and immersive experience. Using 3D BIM technology for design and space

2 planning creates the opportunity to integrate M&E services unobtrusively into the space. As technical details progress, we incorporate clash detection and element scheduling techniques to simplify coordination, ensuring smooth progression to site. The PAMs are precision-engineered and tested in a controlled environment before installation on-site reducing the construction programme and associated costs while ensuring consistent high quality. “Our supply chain is made up of a small number of partners who have all worked with each other before and engender a strong sense of trust and understanding,’’ adds Tony Wells. “This collaborative approach ensures the focus is on delivering the best win-win solution for all. The DfM approach typically means that construction layout drawings are entirely unnecessary as PAMs are modelled in an entirely different manner with standard designs. This saves our clients future time and costs in our drive to achieve a 50% reduction for a project ‘Time to Use' compared to the traditional approach.” Merit’s focus on new thinking and innovation also takes on the challenges the traditional approach to climate change and delivering zero carbon emissions. The company has applied the intelligent use of new technologies, renewables, heat pumps and heat recovery systems to create zero carbon emissions in industrial environments, helping clients address

the challenges of climate change. This approach, in parallel with its offsite total solution, eliminates the use of fossil fuels from the buildings it constructs. Its application has already seen one client achieve carbon zero emissions status for a facility designed and built by Merit, reducing energy consumption revenue costs for them by over £1.6million over ten years. This achievement of climate change targets requires different thinking: “All too often the industry sees carbon reduction as something that will cost more money,” says Tony Wells. “But we adopted a starting position of ‘carbon zero’ that made our design teams think differently. The result is invariably the opposite: a carbon neutral environment that adds value by delivering savings over the lifetime of the building.” Merit’s innovative approach combines innovative thinking with a zero carbon emissions 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, Cell Gene Therapy Catapult, GSK, Lifescan and Rolls Royce. For more information visit: www.merit.co.uk Images: 01-02. Offsite PAM technology is delivering massive benefits across the healthcare sector in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic



UK INDUSTRY NEWS Tide Construction Forging Ahead Developer and main contractor Tide Construction has announced 1.7million sq. ft. of its modular developments currently onsite remain on track despite the challenges faced by the construction industry from COVID-19. Along with its 3D volumetric company Vision Modular Systems, Tide Construction have eight Build-toRent, student, hotel and affordable housing projects across London which are due to be delivered with no significant delays due to the safety, speed and efficiencies of offsite manufacturing. This includes over 1,000 residential and Build-to-Rent units, 1,500 student bedrooms and 200 hotel bedrooms. With a significant portion of their developments manufactured in controlled, process driven environments, Tide Construction and Vision Modular Systems, have been able to continue working safely onsite throughout lockdown while fully respecting social distancing and safety rules, and the Construction Leadership Council’s ‘Site Operating Procedures’. 379 much-needed high quality rental homes in west London were also handed over by Tide Construction at the end of the March, just as the UK economy entered into what would be a three-month lockdown. Restrictions introduced in mid-March to slow the rate of coronavirus infections, led to housebuilders downing tools on sites that collectively would deliver

250,000 homes. Knight Frank predicts that the supply of new private homes is set to drop by 35% this year due to reduced onsite activity.

and time-on-site, will see momentum behind offsite manufacturing continue to grow as we enter the recovery phase.”

John Fleming, Chairman at Tide Construction, said: “While we of course didn’t plan for a pandemic, the resilience of modern methods of construction has been demonstrated during the coronavirus crisis, with our 3D volumetric company Vision Modular Systems working with us to ensure that work on all our projects continued safely under lockdown, meaning our schemes will still be delivered with no significant delays. This resiliency, combined with the other benefits of MMC such as faster delivery, better quality, improved building efficiency, reduced waste

All completed projects that roll off Vision Modular Systems’ production line are backed by leading accreditations and warranties, meaning they are fully fundable, mortgageable and insurable. Christy Hayes, CEO of Tide Construction, added: “Building better, building greener and building faster: these are the three key principles by which the government has promised to deliver a housebuilding revolution, and these principles are exactly the foundation of modular construction.”

economic growth. What’s more, all profits generated by Network Rail will be reinvested back into railway.”

Anabel Christmas, Residential Agent, JLL, also said: “By supporting this partnership-led scheme between Network Rail and ilke Homes, we are playing our part in providing much-needed sustainable housing solutions to communities across the UK, while supporting the government’s housing strategy.”

Source: www.tideconstruction.co.uk

Network Rail Unlock Brownfield Site for Offsite Forty sustainable modular homes are set to be created in Nottinghamshire after Network Rail and modular home developer ilke Homes announced a significant investment in a brownfield site next to Beeston station. The deal, which has been brokered by JLL, will see a partnership-led redevelopment of the 2.2-acre site, delivering much-needed housing and car parking around a key transport hub which offers direct transport links into Nottingham city centre. The development will be backed by government funding after ilke Homes secured a £30million investment from Homes England to increase the capacity of its factory, as part of a scheme to boost offsite construction and deliver more modular homes across the UK. David Biggs, Managing Director, Network Rail Property, said: “By joining forces with ilke Homes on the redevelopment of this brownfield site, we are able to deliver sustainable housing in a growing area, with brilliant access to transport. The development not only supports the government’s strategy to accelerate the rollout of modular housing but will also drive local


The partnership with ilke Homes supports Network Rail’s strategy to release land for housing to drive economic growth and help communities to thrive, whilst generating capital to fund rail improvements for the benefit of passengers, taxpayers and the economy. Tom Heathcote, Executive Director, Development, ilke Homes added: “We are proud to partner with Network Rail to create a sustainable development of much-needed family homes for a growing community. Modular homes represent the future of housing and we believe this residential development will be a shining example of what they can deliver for homeowners, communities and the UK economy.”


Network Rail own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure: 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. They also run 20 of Britain’s largest stations. Source: www.ilkehomes.co.uk

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UK INDUSTRY NEWS Building Better Alliance Appoints PfH

Building Better, the National Housing Federationsupported alliance of housing associations working to develop offsite solutions for the social housing sector, has selected Procurement for Housing (PfH) to develop a procurement framework for offsite manufacturing with the aim of building a minimum of 500 homes. Building Better was set up through the National Housing Federation's Greenhouse innovation programme in 2018, which explored the reasons behind the chronic shortage of affordable homes and the quality issues that plague many newbuilds. With a combined stock size of 277,000, the Building Better alliance of 25 housing associations aims to significantly accelerate offsite construction amongst social landlords. PfH was appointed after a competitive tender process and will start work immediately. The offsite construction framework will be informed by Building Better's research, including over 100 interviews with housing associations and their residents, analysis of the latest offsite innovations and learning from previous projects, which all indicate that greater collaboration and standardisation are key to overcoming the offsite supply challenge. PfH will use these research findings, the expertise of Building Better alliance advisers such as construction specialist Cast Consultancy and its own experience of developing complex procurement projects, to create a demand-led framework that will overcome common barriers around offsite construction in social housing. Although some small projects have taken place in social housing, offsite only represents around 3% of the UK construction market and the volume needed to sustain factories and reduce unit prices hasn't yet been achieved. Building Better has appointed PfH to address this and develop a framework with a high degree of standardisation that gathers wide-scale commitment from social landlords. The goal is to develop strong partnerships with the supply chain, create value for


Norbord’s SterlingOSB Holds Green Answers

money for social landlords and offer a high-quality solution which helps housing providers to build properties with high energy efficiency, that are better value for residents to run and for providers to maintain. The offsite manufacturing framework will offer additional construction capacity to social landlords that are already feeling the effects of the ageing construction workforce and a looming skills shortage, made worst by the economic impact of Brexit and the coronavirus crisis. Offsite construction has the ability to help social landlords meet their newbuild targets because it offers a more structured supply chain, less exposure to the fluctuations in the traditional skills workforce, faster delivery and more control over quality and sustainability. Helen Greig, Project Director at Building Better said: “We wanted a procurement partner with a strong understanding of delivering complicated frameworks that also had experience in modern methods of construction. PfH have a loyal membership-base of over 900 housing providers and a strong understanding of the issues facing the sector and how to overcome challenges through collaborative procurement. We're looking forward to working with PfH so we can raise the bar around modern methods of construction in the social housing sector and create a framework that delivers on quality as well as price.” Steve Malone, Managing Director at PfH added: “One of the biggest challenges around offsite construction has been that social landlords often express an interest and there are small developments but you need a regular, consistent flow of work, in a standardised format, to make offsite construction economically viable. We’ve always known that offsite construction has to be demand-led, not framework-led to work in social housing. Our collaboration with Building Better is all about harnessing demand in the sector and shifting modern methods of construction from a cottage industry to the mainstream.” Source: www.procurementforhousing.co.uk


Norbord, the world’s largest manufacturer of OSB and has invested £145million in a new plant in Inverness, Scotland. A new family of products is a development of the most popular OSB brand in the building and interior design arena and comprises SterlingOSB Zero 3, SterlingOSB Zero Tongue and Groove, SterlingOSB Zero SiteCoat, SterlingOSB Zero Fire Solutions and SterlingOSB Zero StrongFix. Manufactured using renewable heat from on-site biomass boilers, Norbord’s SterlingOSB Zero is a sustainable, low-energy product with excellent physical performance characteristics. SterlingOSB Zero is Norbord’s UK manufactured oriented strand board with zero added formaldehyde. It is one of the most widely-used components of UK timber frame systems and with efforts being concentrated to speed up the development of new homes, SterlingOSB Zero is set to be a cost-effective and high quality solution to growing demands. Construction 2025, the joint government and industry strategy, outlines ambitious targets for the UK construction industry. Within the next five years, both construction-related emissions and project delivery times must be halved, while construction costs are required to be reduced by a third. Dan Clarke National Sales Manager said: “Regardless of the construction method, we supply all areas of housebuilding in volume with Norbord products, some through direct partnership agreements but, in the main, by our partners within distribution, merchant, timber engineering and manufacturing. “The lockdown brought about by the Coronavirus pandemic has required us to look at different ways to support our customers and partners and help them plan for additional sales as these businesses get back in the swing of things. We've held digital meetings with the housebuilding, timber frame and modular manufacturing sectors, contributed to CPD events on industry webinars and, of course, we maintained good old-fashioned telephone dialogue.” Source: www.norbord.co.uk

UK INDUSTRY NEWS Premier Modular Appoints New MD Premier Modular, one of the UK’s leading offsite construction specialists, has appointed David Harris as Managing Director. The appointment follows the retirement of Eugenio de Sa after more than 20 years in the business but remains as Executive Chairman until the end of 2020. With over 20 years’ experience in the offsite sector, David has been a Director of Premier since 2011 when he joined to lead its permanent offsite construction division. In 2018 he became Divisional Director with responsibility for Premier’s modular hire business. One of David’s career highlights was leading negotiations to secure the £50million contract for the provision of 38,000m2 of office and welfare accommodation for the Hinkley Point C project. This was awarded to Premier and is the company’s largest project to date, involving the offsite manufacture and installation of 900+ modules. The unions working on the nuclear power station site have since recognised the welfare accommodation as the best in Europe. Commenting on the restructuring, David Harris, said: “Eugenio is leaving a fantastic legacy. His leadership, commitment and passion for the business have made Premier the force it is today. Our financial performance is one of the strongest in the offsite sector. We have achieved significant growth in the last eight years, taking Premier to a £65million turnover

Planning System Under Pressure Warns RTPI

business. We have increased market share in our core sectors – commercial, industrial, education, and healthcare – and are diversifying into new markets such as residential. We are also expanding into new geographical areas, for example building on the success of our hire business in London to supply construction site accommodation to contractors across the UK. We have a clear vision and strategy for the next phase in our growth and have ambitious plans to increase turnover to £100million in three years, providing a healthy return for shareholders.”

business which is one of the longest established and most successful offsite specialists in the UK. David’s appointment gives us fantastic continuity and he brings a wealth of industry and leadership experience to the role. He is supported by an outstanding management team.”

Eugenio de Sa, added: “We are delighted that David is taking full responsibility for leading Premier and for the continued delivery of our strategic growth plan. This is a really exciting phase in the history of the

Pictured: David Harris (L) and Eugenio de Sa (R)

In an open letter to the construction industry, Victoria Hills, Chief Executive of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), says dismantling the planning system will lead to failure of the ‘build, build, build’ agenda. The RTPI has launched its ‘Plan The World We Need’ campaign to ensure that planners are at the centre of a sustainable, resilient and inclusive recovery postCOVID-19. “We must plan, plan, plan the communities we live in,” said Victoria Hills. “The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the huge inequalities in our society and laid bare the profound effect that a decade of austerity has had on local authorities and some of our poorest communities.

but priority must also be given to decarbonisation and climate resilience, design and beauty, connectivity and accessibility, wellbeing and public health, as well as economic growth.

“Planners ensure communities are involved in decisions that directly affect them. They make sure that communities have easy access to open green spaces and public transport links. They are our best hope in the drive to make sure carbon-free material is used to build houses, and energy efficient systems are installed. With limited social housing grants, planners are also a key to ensuring affordable housing is part of any development. “The delays in the planning system are nothing to do with either newts or planners. Housing charity Shelter said 280,000 home were given planning permission in England between 2011 and 2016 but were never built. In 2017-18 382,997 applications were granted – more than enough to meet the government’s target of 300,000 new homes a year. “Our Plan The World We Need campaign calls on the government to harness the expertise of planners to ensure a holistic approach. Housing is a key issue, yes,



Premier manufactures buildings from its head office and production centre in East Yorkshire and is part of Waco International – a highly successful global industrial services business.

Source: www.premiermodular.co.uk

Sweeping away the planning system is not the answer. Planners are not a barrier, they are a facilitator of healthy, happy sustainable communities. That is not to say that efficiencies and improvements cannot be made – the RTPI believes that technology should be harnessed to foster more efficient and inclusive planning, all planning documents should be machine-readable, terminology and processes across government should be standardised and investment in open source tools should be made. A decade of austerity has stripped bare planning departments across the land leaving them underresourced and overwhelmed. I caution the government to consider very carefully the contents of its forthcoming Policy Paper and to remember that failing to plan is planning to fail. Let’s address 21st century issues together with long-term strategic planning to integrate economic, infrastructure and environmental priorities. Let’s plan the world we need and build back better for the benefit of all. To read the letter in full visit: www.rtpi.org.uk

UK INDUSTRY NEWS McAvoy Delivers Raft of Education Projects The McAvoy Group has completed a £3.3million building for Surrey County Council at Sunbury Manor School in Sunbury-on-Thames. Designed in collaboration with TODD Architects, the new teaching and dining block will allow the school to expand capacity by up to 150 children to meet the urgent demand for new secondary places in Surrey. The Group has been awarded building projects under the Southern Modular Building Framework worth around £15million – from nursery blocks to selfcontained primary and secondary school buildings. Its offsite solutions aim to deliver rapid building solutions to meet the rising demand for school places, working to the highest health and safety standards. McAvoy has a proven track record in education, particularly in the South East, having successfully delivered over 50 contracts for Surrey County Council. The school, finished in brick and vertical cedar cladding to complement the academy’s existing buildings, accommodates five general classrooms, a staffroom and new commercial kitchen and dining facilities to cater for around 900 children each day. Delivered on time, it was built offsite and under the Considerate Constructors Scheme, which awarded a high score to the McAvoy project team for best practice.


McAvoy installed 44 steel-framed modules in just five days, complete with 75% of mechanical and electrical services, internal partitioning and brick cladding fitted out in the factory. Following completion of the new building, the team undertook refurbishment works in the main school which included upgrading some classrooms to science laboratories. Neil Reed, Project Manager at Surrey County Council, said: “The school is delighted with the form and function of the building which has been well received and has delivered their vision for the facility. The new hall and kitchen have provided a paradigm leap in the dining experience for the school. Offsite construction

delivers a shorter programme on-site than with traditional build - beneficial to minimising the impact of construction on teaching.” Allan Cottle, Deputy Head of Sunbury Manor School, added: “The school’s relationship with McAvoy from the outset was very positive and we appreciated one point of contact. We were able to have significant input in the project within the budget constraints, and communications were excellent at each stage. We are happy with the end result, the speed of construction and the lack of disruption.” Source: www.mcavoygroup.com

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UK INDUSTRY NEWS CLC Provides Road to Recovery

As the COVID-19 pandemic recedes across the UK and we enter a new phase of working, the construction industry has begun to pick up the pieces and has been tasked by Government to Build Build Build. The Construction Products Association estimates that construction output will fall by 25% in 2020, with the largest falls in activity in private housing (-42%), commercial construction (-36%) and private repair maintenance and improvement (-35%). Hopefully these damaging figures will be improved with Boris Johnson’s pledge of £5billion in fast-tracked infrastructure investment to help rebuild the UK’s economy out of the COVID-19 crisis. This includes investment in new academy schools, homes, green buses and broadband with significant sums of money earmarked for hospital building and new roads. While the Government’s spending plans have been welcomed, bigger questions over whether such a commitment is feasible remain, particularly given the challenges the construction industry has faced as a result of lockdown and the potential uncertain effects of Brexit at the end of 2020. To provide a possible path to wider UK economic recovery, the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) has produced a ‘Roadmap to Recovery’ – a blueprint to drive the recovery of the construction and built environment sectors. The CLC anticipate that recovery from COVID-19 will be gradual with most of the recovery set for 2021. The strategy aims to increase the level of activity across the construction ‘ecosystem’ (a wide set of merchants, manufacturers, contractors, housebuilders and related professions including architecture, engineering and consultancy) to accelerate the process of industry


Timber Frame for Historic Hadrian’s Wall

adjustment to the ‘new normal’ and build capacity in the industry to deliver strategic priorities including: decarbonisation, modernisation through digital and manufacturing technologies, and delivering better, safer buildings. There are three phases to the plan, to be delivered over two years: Restart: increase output, maximise employment and minimise disruption (0-3 months) Reset: drive demand, increase productivity, strengthen capability in the supply chain (3-12 months) Reinvent: transform the industry, deliver better value, collaboration and partnership (12-24 months). The guidance says: “The outcomes will create a more capable, professional, productive and profitable sector, which delivers better value to clients, better performing infrastructure and buildings, and competes successfully in global markets. Failure to act will miss an opportunity to deliver this, and risks the industry lapsing into a longer term recession, which erodes capability and skills and leaves a smaller, weaker sector as a legacy.” “The coronavirus crisis has shown that construction really can do things differently,” said Suzannah Nichol MBE, Chief Executive, Build UK. “The Roadmap provides a clear plan not only to get the industry back on its feet but make change ‘stick’ for the longerterm sustainability of the sector. It is up to each and every one of us to grab this opportunity, lead the infrastructure revolution, and create the legacy of a strong and sustainable industry for the next generation.” For more information on the Roadmap to Recovery visit the CLC website at: https:// bit.ly/2CG42dK


An outstanding small housing development in a picturesque Northumberland Village has been completed. The £1.1million Tulip Mews development at Heddon-on-the-Wall is designed by Sadler Brown Architecture and consists of five, three and four bedroom timber framed homes with stone-built facades. Kapex Construction, part of Newcastle-based Morton Group, where appointed as Principal Contractor by the developer Newminster Properties early last year to deliver the residential scheme which sits on a former brownfield site. Development was halted for almost four months because due to the location of un-recorded foundation stones from Hadrian’s Wall. These were carefully recorded and removed from site allowing the scheme to continue. Partners involved in the Tulip Mews development included Sadler Brown Architecture, Silverstone Building Consultancy (project management), Sanderson Young (selling agents) and Adelphi Consulting Engineers (Structural & Civil Engineers). Chris Nunn, Business Development Director at Kapex Construction, said: “Tulip Mews is a beautiful smallscale residential scheme featuring five high quality three and four bedroom family homes, located in the rural village of Heddon-on-the-Wall. The development has had some challenges, not least due to the site’s proximity to Hadrian’s Wall. The site was fully assessed in advance of building work starting, and the uncovering of a number of archaeological treasures from Hadrian’s Wall itself resulted in delays of a few months. It’s been a pleasure for us to work on such an outstanding residential development and I have absolutely no doubt that these beautiful, large family homes will sell very easily.” Source: www.themortongroup.co.uk


18.11.2020 LONDON

Building high-rise better – using ground-breaking design to realise the world’s most inventive skyscrapers. Tall buildings present unique challenges and innovation is happening at pace. Through detailed case studies and pioneering speakers who are at the cutting-edge of the high-rise sector, construction professionals will be able to gain a deeper understanding of the unprecedented demands of developing mega-structures. Unique design and engineering solutions are being developed to maximise space in city centres where demand is high, requiring elevated solutions to provide more homes and commercial space. The Tall Buildings Conference offers invaluable insight surrounding the challenges associated with transferring engineering principles from low and medium rise to the super-structures that are making headlines across the UK. The conference will provide sector intelligence and expertise together with a discussion forum for all those involved in designing, engineering, and developing tall buildings across the UK and beyond.

BOOK YOUR DELEGATE PLACE FOR £195 + VAT Includes entry into the conference and exhibition, lunch and refreshments.

To book your place visit:


UK INDUSTRY NEWS RWO Win ‘Lego' Inspired Project Engineers RWO Associates is delivering an undisclosed contract to support the construction of the next phase of a multi-million pound digital and creative hub in Middlesbrough, which has been inspired by a popular children’s toy. The Newcastle firm is providing structural and civil engineering services for Boho 8, a £2.5million development of modular stack units supplied by M-AR Modular and based on Lego’s eight piece building block system, which will provide 10,000ft2 of flexible workspace to meet the needs of the North East’s expanding digital and creative services sector. The office complex, which sees on-site construction start in July, is expected to open in late 2020 and comes ahead of Boho 10, a development of three skyscrapers. This forms part of an overall £250million investment project by Middlesbrough Borough Council in a high-profile scheme that is expected to create more than 2,000 jobs and strengthen the region’s position as a commercial centre of excellence. RWO Associates is providing a package of civil and structural engineering design services as part of a tender awarded by the council. This includes completing site investigation work alongside the engineering design of structural foundation and drainage works to support a complex stacking design and build concept. The firm is also being retained by

SES Delivering at M7

the council in a move that will see it provide on-going reviews of plans and advice around the final design and build works as the project unfolds over the summer. Currently employing 19 people, this is the latest success for RWO, which has exceeded its £1.5million turnover target in 2020 as it continues to invest in resources to support a strong order book. RWO’s Managing Director Ross Oakley, said: “This is another prestigious project for north east engineering capability, reflecting the skills and expertise available in the region to support innovative commercial design and build projects. It will see us continuing to develop our commercial offering and comes at a

SES Engineering Services (SES), has completed over £22million of mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) works to two landmark developments in London. The firm has delivered £13.2million worth of mechanical services to Helical’s Barts Square Phase Three project in central London. It marks SES’ second project at Barts Square, where Helical is redeveloping the old site of St Barts Hospital to create a landmark 3.2 acre mixed-use scheme. Full mechanical and electrical (M&E) services were delivered across the 115,000ft2 GIA scheme, including shell and core works and fit out of the development’s 91 high-end apartments across four blocks. SES’ dedicated offsite manufacturing facility Prism, also built 46 MEP cupboards for the apartments, saving around 3,680 manhours in delivery time. A further £9million of building services has also been completed at Unibail-Rodamco – Westfield’s M7 commercial development in Stratford, which is set to become the new regional centre for HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). SES provided all shell and core mechanical works, domestic and major plant services, including a basement district heating plant, water and ventilation systems, across the 28,000m2 12-storey office scheme with roof garden, achieving a BREEAM rating of Excellent.



time when we are tendering for significant civil and structural work for a number of large residential and commercial contracts across the UK.” RWO Associates is working with architects Seymour Architecture. Director Andrew Bowkett said: “We are developing a site that considers the external public realm as much the building itself. That’s why we are working with RWO to meet current needs and deliver our innovative approach. They have the engineering skills, and experience to deliver the highest standards of service and quality.” Source: www.rwogroup

David Jenkins, SES’ Business Director, London and South East said: “By utilising our offsite capacity to reduce manhours on-site, using extensive digital engineering to ensure accuracy, and placing the highest priority on safety, these projects have been delivered efficiently and effectively for our clients. Delivering complex projects like this in the capital can be logistically challenging, but our track record is testament to our teams’ energy and expertise. We’re delighted to have been able to demonstrate this to our highly valued clients with the completion of the third phase of Barts Square and M7.” Both Barts Square Phase Three and M7 Westfield projects demonstrate SES’ expertise in delivering complex commercial and residential builds across the capital. Other projects include Helical’s Barts Square Phase One, Argent’s Gasholders residential scheme, and currently, the firm is working with Canary Wharf Contractors on a dual residential scheme at the New District of Canary Wharf. Source: www.ses-ltd.co.uk

UK INDUSTRY NEWS New Voice for Volumetric Housing Community With the demand for new homes across the UK continuing to rise and government targets pushing for greater efficiency, sustainability, and productivity – the time is right for a new initiative to drive the agenda forward and capitalise on this momentum. As an optimum residential building technique for timber, steel and concrete designs – volumetric modular construction is at the forefront of offsite technology, making up 60-70% of the market. A new membership led entity – the Volumetric Homes Group (VHG) has been launched to influence legislation, regulation, support growth and raise awareness of the performance and productivity benefits of volumetric modular technology for the housing sector. In collaboration with the Modular and Portable Building Association (MPBA) – the VHG is bringing together some of the industry’s leading manufacturers, supply chain, consultants, affiliates and installers. With an objective to create a ‘volumetric housing community’ – the VHG will act as a real ‘central force and information hub’ for the housing industry. Jackie Maginnis, Chief Executive of the MPBA said: “There is currently a huge demand for high quality buildings and volumetric modular construction has

been hailed as one of the most efficient offsite solutions – particularly for the residential sector. The MPBA’s partnership with VHG and the steering group will support the expanding housing sector and respond to technology led demands.” Founder member Trevor Richards from Cogent Consulting added: “We have witnessed first-hand the increase in demand for volumetric housing solutions. But the sector is fragmented – there is more than enough work to go round and we need a collective that can not only promote the benefits of volumetric modular technology but bring the key players together to communicate with one unified voice."

Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis, the VHG will be hosting the Modular Matters conference and exhibition taking place on the October 20th at the NCC Birmingham, Modular Matters will host an impressive speaker line up who will 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. Source: www.volumetrichomesgroup.co.uk

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UK INDUSTRY NEWS Sovereign Go Greencore Sovereign Housing Association’s latest development will see nine affordable carbon-zero homes built in Abingdon that come straight from the factory floor. The stylish homes are set in a rural location at Springfield Meadows in Longworth and are part of 25 being built using Greencore Construction’s carbon zero construction methods. The development is testament to Sovereign’s commitment to building more homes and better places in rural settings. The homes carry the usual Sovereign hallmark for quality – but it’s what lies underneath that marks them out as a little bit different as these modular homes are built in a factory using closed panel walls and a hemp and lime mix insulation – an affordable eco design for the carbon zero home for its lifetime. Construction at Springfield Meadow started in May 2019 and residents have already started moving into their affordable homes. Of the 25 homes at the development, the nine affordable Sovereign homes will consist of six affordable rent and three shared ownership homes. Alex Brooks, Development Manager at Sovereign, said: “Springfield Meadows has been granted the One Planet Living Global Leader Status by specialist environmental charity, Bioregional, who provide sustainability

consultancy to help people live more sustainably. This is Sovereign’s second eco-development using this type of construction, third for Greencore and the second to achieve One Planet Living status. Our first was Kings Lane in Longcot, Oxfordshire. “Following on from the success of Kings Lane, we started this development in Longworth. We’re so proud of our work here at Springfield Meadows. Building in a rural location means that we need good quality design and manufacture to design for the future. We’ve been able to build quality affordable homes here with high environmental performance and lower running costs for our residents.”

Ian Pritchett, Managing Director, Greencore Construction added: “A normal house is responsible for around 50-60 tonnes of carbon in the construction phase, our homes are at, or very close to, carbon zero. A normal home will emit around five tonnes of carbon a year, using this construction, these homes at Springfield Meadows will be carbon zero. If we start building things with bio-based materials that perform better and have low carbon footprints we can start to make a serious difference to climate change.” Source: www.sovereign.org.uk

Volumetric Market Set for Sustained Growth It is forecast that the prefabricated volumetric building systems market will grow by 14% between 2020 and 2024 according to the latest ‘Prefabricated Volumetric Building Systems Market Report by AMA Research. The biggest market for volumetric products is temporary accommodation on construction sites, industrial sites and event hire which is worth around £350-380million annually. Over the next few years to 2024, there are several factors that could well underpin a steady growth in the sector. These include an increasing number of public sector procurement frameworks which include several key modular building contractors, and an increasing use of BIM. More importantly there is now a strong likelihood of an increase in the use of volumetric and other types of offsite construction methods to help meet the chronic housing shortage and cope with the lack of traditional construction skills within the construction industry. Alex Blagden, Editor at AMA Research said: “The outlook for the volumetric building systems market remains difficult to predict given the lack of published data in this sector and the continued uncertainty, not only the construction sector but also the wider UK economy. Steady growth in this market is expected over the next few years to 2024, underpinned by the increasing use of offsite construction methods to help


meet the chronic housing shortage and cope with the lack of traditional construction skills.” Healthcare is a key area of use for volumetric modules, used for applications such as temporary and permanent wards, operating theatres, radiography/X Ray units etc. Health sector output is currently forecast to stabilise at around £2.5billion in 2019-20. However, there is likely to be some shortterm emergency investment to cope with the additional strain on the service as a result of COVID-19. This may also further highlight the under investment in the health sector over the last 10 years and support longer term investment and development programmes.


In the short term, demand will be impacted by the COVID-19 restrictions, resulting in potential delays to some projects, but conversely, some short-term demand from the health and possibly the grocery sector to expand capacity. Assuming some bounce back for the construction sector after the restrictions are lifted, the longer-term outlook for the volumetric sector is more positive. Image: Courtesy Premier Modular Source: www.amaresearch.co.uk

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.

UK INDUSTRY NEWS Print Your Own Home Belgium has seen Kamp C – the Westerlo-based provincial Centre for Sustainability and Innovation in Construction – print a house using the largest 3D concrete printer in Europe. The 90m2 dwelling was printed in one piece with a fixed printer – a world first. The two-storey house is eight metres tall and the 90sq.m floor space is the average size of a terraced house in the region. “What makes this house so unique, is that we printed it with a fixed 3D concrete printer,” says Emiel Ascione, the Project Manager at Kamp C. “Other houses that were printed around the world only have one floor. In many cases, the components were printed in a factory and were assembled on-site. We printed the entire building envelope in one piece on-site.” The house was printed as part of the European C3PO with financing from ERDF (the European Regional Development Fund). With this feat, the project partners hope to raise interest in the building industry about the use of 3D concrete printing as a building technique. Kathleen Helsen, the Provincial Deputy for Housing and the President of Kamp C said: “The building industry has expressed plenty of interest. 3D printing in construction is experiencing an uptick around the world. Several possibilities, including the printing of provisional housing and even complete apartments, are already being implemented.

AIMCH Appoints Simon Dudley as New Chair

“At the same time, the construction industry is facing unprecedented challenges: we must reduce our consumption of materials and energy, reduce CO2 emissions and the waste stream, the demand for high-quality and affordable housing is on the rise. At Kamp C, we believe that new technologies, such as 3D concrete printing, can help provide a response.” Besides the fibres in the concrete, the amount of wire-mesh reinforcement used is extremely limited.

The Advanced Industrialised Methods for the Construction of Homes (AIMCH) project is has welcomed Simon Dudley, Interim Chair of Homes England, as new Chair of the AIMCH Stakeholder Group. The stakeholder group provides vital two way engagement to disseminate project learnings and outcomes with industry stakeholder organisations. The project aims to tackle the UK housing crisis by using cost effective industrialised offsite panelised solutions. Dudley brings a wealth of experience to the role having been involved in major construction projects, including those as part of Maidenhead Borough’s regeneration during his three and a half year tenure as Borough leader. Simon Dudley said: “I’m delighted to join as chair of the AIMCH project. The stakeholder group draws together key interests and views, to share learning and concerns, providing a collective approach and wider market impact to drive the uptake of MMC systems. AIMCH is forward thinking and committed to delivering high quality cost effective housing. The AIMCH project will have an even greater role to play as the construction sector resets from COVID-19. “The clear benefits from Modern Methods of Construction will address the challenges faced in a post-pandemic economy made more complex with



As a result of the printing technology used, formwork was redundant, saving an estimated 60% on material, time and budget. In the future, an entire house could be printed in just under two days. Adding up all the days, it took just three weeks to print the house at Kamp C. The low-energy house includes floor and ceiling heating, special façade solar panels, heat pump and will include a green roof. Source: www.kampc.be/c3po_eng

Brexit and net zero carbon goals. Industrialised offsite panelised solutions will act as a catalyst for a step change in the industry. Capturing all these benefits through this project are key insights for industry going forward.” The three-year AIMCH project, which has been live since early 2019, has been trialling new digital design tools, manufacturing advancements, improved nearto-market offsite systems and lean site processes on live housing projects over the past 18 months. The ultimate goal of the project is to support the sector by delivering the 120,000 target for the same or less cost than traditional methods, are built 30% quicker and have 50% less defects. The project has potential to impact on 35,000 homes being delivered by AIMCH partners across the UK each year. AIMCH is a collaboration between Stewart Milne Group, Barratt Developments PLC, London & Quadrant Housing Trust Ltd, Tarmac Trading Ltd, the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) and Forster Roofing Services Ltd as the SME partner. It is funded by UKRI and project managed by Limberger Associates. Source: www.aimch.co.uk

UK INDUSTRY NEWS BoKlok Steps Up in Bristol BoKlok UK Ltd, the sustainable, quality, and low-cost home provider jointly owned by Skanska and IKEA, is pleased to announce the unanimous decision to grant planning consent for its first UK housing development at Airport Road, Bristol. The new development in Bristol will provide 173 family homes which will be available for market sale as well as support social housing schemes by Bristol City Council and local housing associations. Graeme Culliton, BoKlok UK Managing Director and Country Manager said: “We are delighted that we are able to bring forward our first project in the UK. On 24 June, Bristol City Council’s Planning Committee unanimously approved resolution to grant planning consent for new BoKlok homes at Airport Road, Bristol. We particularly welcome the councillors’ positive comments on the family and child friendly design of our development, as well as their recognition that we strive to build inclusive communities. Throughout the evolution of this project we have partnered with the local community, Bristol City Council, and the Bristol Housing Festival to create quality, sustainable homes at a lower price. We continue to work with the planning officers to ensure that the proposed cycleway is safe for pedestrians and cyclists as they travel alongside our development.”

BoKlok is a residential housing concept providing sustainable, quality and low-cost home ownership. BoKlok is developed and jointly owned by construction company Skanska and home furnishing company IKEA. It currently operates in Sweden, Norway and Finland. To date, BoKlok has developed about 12,000 homes in Sweden, Finland and Norway. BoKlok homes are built primarily from wood, using a smart, industrialised and efficient process that

produces sustainable, high-quality homes at a lower price. Homes are completed offsite in a safe and dry environment using a smart and industrialised process. This enables high quality, low and predictable costs. BoKlok’s first homes are expected to complete in 2021.

us to provide a better service. We were also drawn to EFP for their superior product finish and their product development and innovation. We are looking forward to a positive and productive working relationship with their team.”

process. It’s a testament to the dedication of both teams. We will continue to invest to develop our construction product range capabilities at our four strategically located UK manufacturing sites. This geographical spread means production can be planned and prioritised from the most suitable site to support Forterra.”

Source: www.boklok.com

Engineered Foam Products Team Up with Forterra Engineered Foam Products (EFP), a premier manufacturer of custom-designed foam, has been appointed to supply its expanded polystyrene product to leading building products manufacturer Forterra. Used in conjunction with Forterra’s Bison Precast Jetfloor system, expanded polystyrene improves the thermal performance of the ground floors of newbuild domestic houses. First deliveries of EFP’s product were made to multiple construction sites in June. The partnership marks a significant moment for EFP’s continued expansion into the construction industry. The company has invested close to £3million in new machinery, equipment and warehousing to handle the increase in production volume. EFP’s innovative moulded expanded polystyrene solution offers a higher tolerance and better finish than more traditional hot wire cut systems. Peter Varnsverry, Managing Director of Bison Precast, said of the appointment: “Engineered Foam Products were an obvious strategic partner for us. Their close manufacturing proximity to our Jetfloor customers will inevitably equal shorter lead times and, therefore, help

David Vallance, CEO of Engineered Foam Products, added: “We’re delighted to be working on this new venture with Forterra and the contract award is a major success for EFP. This new partnership comes off the back of a huge amount of effort from team members at both businesses throughout the award

EFP employs 270 people across the UK, with sites in Livingston, Spennymoor, Northampton and Torpoint. Source: www.engineeredfoamproducts.com



UK INDUSTRY NEWS Leading Bristol Partnership Secures Innovate UK Funding Bristol is set to benefit from a £3million grant to help explore innovative housing solutions in the city. A consortium of partners including Bristol City Council, YTKO, BRE, and The Bristol Housing Festival, were awarded an Innovate UK grant for their project, Enabling Housing Innovation for Inclusive Growth. Led by YTKO, the group of 13 partners, including nine leading modular housing companies and two software companies will undertake an extensive programme to deliver major research, development and innovation (R, D&I) in the use of Modern Methods of Construction (MMC). Bristol City Council is increasingly being seen as a national leader in the use of MMC housing solutions to meet the city’s housing needs. As part of this project the Council will be combining social value and productivity by creating jobs for local people, working with communities, reducing the environmental impact of housing and minimising construction waste. Partners include: Arcadis, BoKlok, Knowle West Media Centre, L&G Modular Homes, Modulous, Project Eutopia, Snug Homes, Tempo Housing UK & Ireland, Totally Modular, Unit 9 and Zed Pods Ltd. Bringing together the brightest and best of MMC housing developers, including BoKlok (a joint venture between IKEA and Skanska), Legal & General Modular Homes, and ZEDpods (whose Bristol-based

Kelly Harrison Appointed to TRADA Board

development is soon to be completed) the project will oversee system innovation to examine how MMC can help to cut costs of housing production and increase speed of delivery. The Enabling Housing Innovation for Inclusive Growth project will run for 18 months across nine developments in the city. The project will also deliver a digital toolbox, which other local authorities can use, to help improve the speed of housing delivery across the country. Phil Stott, Head of Construction and Sustainability, YTKO said: “Having the opportunity to lead such an exciting and innovative partnership is very exciting for YTKO. We’ve been delivering construction projects in Bristol for years and working with the Council to unlock MMC innovation is an important step to overcoming the UK housing crisis. Jobs for local people, lower energy

TRADA has announced that Kelly Harrison, Associate and Timber Lead at Heyne Tillett Steel, has joined the TRADA board, after a year on the Advisory Committee. Kelly has over 14 years’ experience in the industry, along with a keen interest in the development of engineered timber to provide viable, sustainable solutions for commercial, public and residential developments. Kelly completed the structural design of a cross laminated timber (CLT) double cranked roof extension to 10 Lower James Street, which was Highly Commended at the Structural Timber Awards and won both an AJ Retrofit Award and a BCO Regional Award in 2017. She was also heavily involved in the development of Republic at East India Dock where existing 1990s RC framed buildings have been extended using glulam and CLT frames and CLT pavilions were installed around a new public realm waterway. Phase 1, the Import Building, also won a Structural Timber Award in 2018. Kelly is currently working on another large-scale glulam framed office development at Old Gramophone Works in Kensal Rise, using CLT floors on a 9x6m grid adjacent to and over an existing RC frame. The project promises to be one of the largest, if not the largest,



costs, quicker builds and more affordable housing are all possible thanks to this finding from Innovate UK.” Jez Sweetland, Project Director, Bristol Housing Festival added: “This project has huge potential working with a range of both national and local partners and exploring nine different housing methodologies – all with an ambition to help Bristol tackle its housing challenge (in the context of the climate crisis and the essential need to build great places and communities). As Bristol builds and learns so it will share the results and process with others to help deliver much needed systemic change.” Source: www.bristolhousingfestival.org.uk

glulam framed office buildings in the UK at 91,000ft2. Several of her other early stage projects are now also looking to timber solutions, particularly hybrid steel and CLT frames, newbuilds and refurbishments/extensions. On her addition to the TRADA board, Kelly said: “I’m delighted to join, having thoroughly enjoyed being part of the Advisory Committee. I lead HTS’ Timber Focus Group where we discuss design issues, develop ideas and research solutions. I am passionate about sharing our aspirations and look forward to continuing this and championing the use of engineered timber across the wider industry in my new role.” TRADA Chairman Nick Milestone added: “On behalf of the TRADA board, I’d like to say that we are delighted and thrilled to welcome Kelly Harrison as a Director. Kelly's enthusiasm and passion for the use of timber in construction is both refreshing and exciting as we guide TRADA through these unprecedented and disruptive times. The board very much look forward to working with Kelly as we seek to ensure business continuity and represent our members' best interests in delivering service and value to the UK timber industry.” Source: www.trada.co.uk



Bateman’s Tower Café, on the severely exposed sea front at Brightlingsea in Essex, has received added protection to its external wall structure thanks to the installation of Protect Thermo Extreme, a low emissivity, insulating breather membrane, offering Class W1 water penetration resistance in conformance to STA Advice Note 18. The Café is housed inside the danger zone of a 50-year flood cycle and was developed by specialist main contractor Eco Pavilions and designed by Hancock Architecture. Scheduled for completion in 2020, the amphibious structure is engineered to float on a terrace above sea level, enabling the building to rise to the height of the top of the sea wall in the event of flooding. With external walls constructed offsite in timber frame by DG Timber Solutions, Protect Thermo Extreme was specified to withstand the harsh climate and also has the added benefit of sustainable aged thermal performance. Combined with the installation of Protect VC Foil Ultra, an internal reflective, air and vapour

control layer fixed on site with an unventilated cavity, an overall low U-value was delivered for the wall build-up, helping to ensure heat retention within the structure. Clive Darrington, Director at DG Timber Solutions commented: “The membranes used from Protect tick all the boxes of performance for this unique café development.”

For more information about Protect’s range of construction membranes, roofing underlays and accessories or to get technical support on thermal efficiency and condensation risk analysis within the building envelope visit www.protectmembranes.com email: info@protectmembranes.com or call: 0161 905 5700, quoting ‘Bateman’s Tower Cafe.’ Follow Glidevale Protect on LinkedIn.

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Richard Lankshear, NHBC’s Innovation Manager, talks us through the organisation’s new comprehensive review service for innovative products and systems – NHBC Accepts.

1 We’ve been helping to improve build quality through NHBC Standards since 1936. We provide warranty and insurance for around 75-80% of the new homes built in the UK each year with around a million on-site inspections carried out each year. We use that scale, expertise and knowledge to help build confidence in innovative construction methods and systems. Over recent years we have seen a growing interest in the use of offsite systems, from lenders and investors to developers, housing associations and the private rental sector which is culminating in the launch of NHBC Accepts. What they all have in common is a desire to build confidence in the quality and benefits of new homes built using offsite components. As a result of the increasing significance of MMC, we have developed a more co-ordinated approach across the business by imbedding an internal system and engaging more closely and more frequently with industry. We have also maintained a healthy profile at many of the major MMC events across the length and breadth of the UK to ensure we are on hand to speak to those interested in learning more and finding out what we can offer them. It is an established expectation amongst homeowners, landlords, investors and mortgage companies that new homes will last a very long time.





3 This means that materials and systems need to be selected and assembled carefully so that at least a 60-year lifespan can be achieved in reality, with the construction of the finished home having the durability and resilience to withstand the vagaries of the UK climate. Now we feel the time is right to offer further support to the industry and wider sector with the launch of NHBC Accepts. NHBC Accepts NHBC Accepts is an all-inclusive, end-to-end service that will help to build further confidence in innovative construction and enable MMC systems to be fast-tracked for NHBC warranty. As part of the new service, detailed and robust technical reviews at key stages will result in provision of a certificate (and acceptance for NHBC warranty), usage licence for a bespoke NHBC Accepts logo and website listing. Over the last two years we have doubled the size of our MMC team. This dedicated team are experts in innovative construction; they’ve already assessed, reviewed and approved nearly 50 systems. Now, with NHBC Accepts, we can review a product and, if it meets our stringent standards, provide a licence to use the NHBC Accepts logo. All accepted products will also be listed in our searchable database as an approved system.

Customers can expect a personalised, professional service. The team will carry out detailed and robust technical reviews at key stages and keep in touch throughout the service. Our assessment processes are transparent and thorough and are published in the service technical documents online. We carry out ongoing reviews of the product design, manufacture and construction and share findings, something that will help to continually improve each and every new product and system.

“NHBC Accepts is a step forward that sees the market leader in warranty and insurance for new homes making its commitment to high quality modern methods of construction clear.” Mark Farmer, Chief Executive, Cast Consultancy & UK Government Champion for MMC in Housebuilding Rigorously assessed In future, when you see the NHBC Accepts logo, you can be sure that we have rigorously assessed that innovative product or system and that we consider it can meet our robust standards, giving confidence to developers, investors, lenders and homeowners. It also demonstrates that, subject to appropriate design and installation, the product can be used in homes covered by Buildmark.

For UK housebuilders, an NHBC Accepts certificate demonstrates that innovative products or systems have already been reviewed by us, reducing the risk of delays on-site and giving confidence to your buyers and lenders. And, you can have confidence that the product or system has undergone our detailed assessment and review before you procure it too. When working with an innovative product, a manufacturer can now easily demonstrate the answer to a common question – does NHBC accept this? As housebuilding resumes post COVID-19 lockdown, the drive to transform construction is accelerated and the case for innovative forms of construction strengthened. It is impossible to predict exactly how the landscape will look in the coming months and years, but we would expect to see more innovative construction solutions emerge over time and NHBC’s thorough and rigorous approach to new MMC systems will help bring benefits to manufacturers, developers and builders. For more information visit: www.nhbc.co.uk/accepts Images: 01. Look out for the NHBC Accepts logo 02-03. As housebuilding resumes post COVID-19 lockdown, the drive to transform construction is accelerated and the case for innovative forms of construction strengthened. Courtesy ilke Homes





Now in its sixth year, the Offsite Awards is constantly growing in size and status. Even in the face of COVID-19 the 2020 Awards has seen over 200 entries vying to win one of the prestigious trophies. The shortlisted finalists below represent those who are at the forefront of the offsite construction sector, developing ground-breaking new technology, innovative products, and landmark projects using factory-based methods. Across the 21 categories, the entrants have been chosen for their outstanding contributions to the sector. All winners and highly commended will be announced at the first online Offsite Awards, taking place on the afternoon of 22 September 2020 – for more information visit: www.offsiteawards.co.uk We would like to take this opportunity to thank our judges who had the onerous task of short listing 200 entries for their time and contribution.



01 Banagher Precast Concrete




02 Interserve Construction

03 Kier Integrated Team



01 Bond Bryan



02 Interserve Construction


03 Mid Group

04 Masonry Frame Systems



04 PCE


05 Setanta



05 PCE

Building confidence in innovative construction NHBC Accepts is our new comprehensive review service for innovative systems and products. It’s the fast-track route to acceptance of innovative systems and products for use on new home developments covered by our Buildmark warranty and insurance. We’re using our scale, expertise and knowledge to help build confidence in innovative construction.

Please contact us on accepts@nhbc.co.uk or visit nhbc.co.uk/nhbc-accepts for more information.

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

R263 07/20












01 Hawkins\Brown 02 Ideal Modular Homes and Property Alliance Group 03 Mac Eye Projects Dido Milne (CSK Architects) and Oliver Wilton (UCL) 05 Mid Group and Innovare 06 Scotframe 08 Studio Ben Allen 09 Wiehag 10 ZED PODS



04 Matthew Barnett Howland with 07 Stride Treglown










01 Caledonian Modular 02 Excelsior Homes 03 Ideal Modular Homes 04 Pocket Living 05 Proctor & Matthews Architects 06 Reds10 07 Tide Construction & Vision Modular Systems 08 Volumetricâ„¢ 09 Wernick Group 10 ZED PODS




01 Alternative Heat



02 Kier Integrated Team



03 Kondor Pods

04 Merit Holdings




01 Austin-Smith:Lord

02 EOS


03 Fusion Building Systems



05 NG Bailey




04 Hadley Steel Framing and Swinhay



05 Sigmat










01 Berkeley Homes (East Thames) 02 CABU 03 Excelsior Homes 04 Hadley Steel Framing and Swinhay 05 Mac Eye Projects 06 Pent Developments 07 Stora Enso, Eurban + Tikari Works 08 TAS Architects 09 Tide Construction, Greystar & Henderson Park 10 House by Urban Splash






01 Alec French Architects 02 Ideal Modular Homes and Shedkm


03 ModPods International


01 B&K Structures


02 Banagher Precast Concrete


03 Farrells


01 AHR 07 PCE



04 Totally Modular


04 WB Timber Innovations


05 Wiehag










02 B&K Structures 03 Innovare Systems 08 Reds10 09 Streif 10 WilkinsonEyre

04 Interserve Construction





05 Lungfish Architects


06 Mid Group

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01 Darwin Group 02 Moduleco Healthcare 05 The McAvoy Group

03 MTX Contracts




04 Stora Enso, Haverstock Architects + Eurban




01 Ares Prism

02 Kier Integrated Team


03 Knight Architects


01 Alternative Heat




02 Banagher Precast Concrete


03 Casas Inhaus SL



04 Entekra



05 Summary



01 Farrells


02 Ideal Modular Home


03 Kier Integrated Team



04 Visilean



05 WHG












01 Akerlof, Kier, Pagabo, Rider Levett Bucknall, Social Profit Calculator 02 Beattie Passive 03 CABU 04 Cormac Solutions 05 EOS 06 Ergodomus Timber Engineering 07 Hawkins\Brown 08 Heat³ (3 Selli Oü) 09 On The Level 10 Tenmat




01 Cardiff Community Housing Association 04 L & Q Production Innovation Team


02 Citizen Housing



03 Department For Education MMC Team

05 Ministry of Justice





01 Boutique Modern



02 James Paul Services


03 Mac Eye Projects



01 Bond Bryan


02 Building Design Group


04 MEB Design



02 Arup


03 Buro Happold & Atelier One



05 Pent Developments


05 Wiehag



03 HTA Design


04 MPB Installations





04 MJH Structural Engineers



05 Peter Dann




01 EE Smith Contracts



02 Interserve Construction

03 Kier


04 Masonry Frame Systems




05 Mid Group










01 Akerlof 02 Caledonian Modular 03 Ilke Homes 04 Kier Integrated Team 05 L&Q Production Innovation Team 06 Melius Homes 07 MJH Structural Engineers 08 NG Bailey 09 House By Urban Splash 10 WB Timber Innovations


Event Brochure:

Reception Sponsors:

Trophy Sponsors:

For sponsorship of the remaining Offsite Awards categories please contact: julie.williams@radar-communications.co.uk or call 01743 290001





With ambitious targets and huge sums of money required to improve the nation’s key infrastructure – can offsite methods provide the answers? Gary Ramsay caught up with Will Varah, Programme Director, Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) at Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) to find out.



Q: For those unfamiliar with the IPA and what it does – can you outline its function and what your role is as Programme Director for MMC at the IPA?

Q: The IPA has a Transforming Infrastructure Performance (TIP) strategy and the platform approach to design for manufacture and assembly (P-DfMA) – what is this set to achieve?

Will Varah (WV): The IPA is the government’s centre of expertise for infrastructure and major projects. We work across the policy environment, support delivery and provide monitoring and assurance. My work on MMC is focused on bridging between the strategy and implementation.

WV: TIP talks about value, rather than just the capital cost, and we need to start applying that thinking across the whole of the system, network and asset - not just within the confines of the project. It’s important that the outcomes we define at the outset will drive sustainable, productive, innovative approaches that support thriving



communities. When we think about those outcomes, it’s clear that platform and manufacturing approaches could be transformative for productivity and enable the creation of jobs in stable manufacturing environments in addition to the current itinerant labour model. Q: How can P-DfMA enable new buildings to be designed and configured to drive whole-life value, lower carbon and energy use, better quality and overall better building performance?

INFRASTRUCTURE & PROJECTS AUTHORITY WV: Too often we adopt models that either procure bespoke solutions, or drive towards an ever shortening menu of options. There is an opportunity, in adopting platform approaches, to see a range of significant improvements. However, this will need us to focus not just on the product, but also the processes for development, validation and production. Rather than designing a product and then asking whether the process can deliver it, we need to start by designing the processes that can deliver the outcomes we want through the whole life. Q: What key points came out of the 2019 consultation on P-DfMA? Did any particular barriers or policy developments get identified for the Government as a construction client? WV: There are certainly some collective challenges that are well recognised. In particular, there is a consistent theme around the need to aggregate demand in a way that enables and incentivises solutions that can be applied in a common way across sectors. This will require rationalisation and greater interoperability, but new commercial models and approaches to defining value will be essential enablers. Q: The scale of work currently being delivered across Government by the IPA to transform public services is huge – what type of projects can benefit the most from an offsite approach – transport improvements are surely a central concern? WV: Certainly there are offsite approaches that have helped enable projects in implementing the CLC’s site operating procedures. The answers may differ across sectors: some linear infrastructure may benefit more from delivery models that incentivise optimised processes, some buildings may benefit from platform approaches, other buildings may suit precast or modular solutions. My view would be that any project in the built environment should be aiming to drive benefits by looking at the range of MMC and considering how best the desired outcomes can be achieved. Q: There is always much talk of harmonising and using digital technology to rationalise construction specifications and standards. Can government aggregate demand

3 to provide a pipeline to support increased manufacturing approaches in the construction industry? WV: There is always more that can be done – but there are signs of good progress on digital and rationalised standards and associated interoperability considerations. For example, through the construction sector deal the government has supported the platform work of the Construction Innovation Hub, and the Gemini principles, Information Management Landscape and UK BIM framework move the wider agenda

forwards. Highways England provides an excellent case study with its refreshed Design Manual for Roads and Bridges (DMRB) which presents rationalised content in machine readable format. Q: A long-term concern – and sometimes a criticism – is how best to understand and define the value of offsite methods in comparison to ‘traditional build’. How do you define value in this regard? WV: The starting point for defining value has to be an understanding




4 of the intended outcomes from any investment. There are certainly challenges, and to support deeper thinking about value across the five capitals we will need to further develop the necessary tools and benchmarks. We also need to apply existing thinking more consistently and improve at the basics – such as data capture. Contracting for the whole life outcomes can help to guard against a misplaced focus on too limited a range of value criteria. Q: What can digital technology truly deliver in addition to the wider benefits of offsite manufacture? The PRISM app that was launched last year for example – do they have a long term value to improve and maximise quality? WV: I think that digital approaches can be transformative across a range of our


approaches to considering, delivering and using our built environment. The PRISM app which automates aspects of the design process for example – these kinds of approaches can enable consideration a far greater range of options. Whether that is looking at thousands of different possible routes for a train line, or many different potential configurations for a building. Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions should increasingly be able to look at the processes as well as the products – enabling more data driven approaches to, say, reducing programme risk. There are plenty of challenges – interoperability being one – but we are still early in the journey. Just like it took time for standardised electricity to flow through into real societal impact, I hope that these technologies can free us to focus on the more meaningful and creative decisions and help us


in challenging our self-imposed limitations and biases. For more information and to keep up with developments at the IPA visit: https://bit.ly/2ZmGFyU You can hear more from Will Varah about Transforming Infrastructure Performance and P-DfMA at the Emerging Realities Conference, Coventry 1-2 December 2020. For more information visit: www.emergingrealities.co.uk Images: 01. Will Varah, Programme Director, MMC, Infrastructure and Projects Authority 02. Hinkley Point C Nuclear Power Station Accommodation Project. Courtesy Caledonian Modular 03. Deephams Wastewater Treatment Plant. Courtesy Kier Construction 04. Knostrop Footbridge, Leeds. Courtesy Mott Macdonald


OFFSITE DELIVERS ACROSS THE SPECTRUM Excelsior Homes are leading the charge for SME developers with Spectrum Apartments – a newbuild block of 42 private apartments for sale – that has been designed and built utilising offsite volumetric modular technology. Known in their home location of North West London for producing outstanding quality homes, the family-owned business has recently transitioned from traditional building methods to volumetric modular technology. Spectrum Apartments is the result of years of in-depth research into offsite technologies, materials and manufacturers. The Excelsior Homes team travelled the length of the UK and beyond to find out if it was possible to match their exceptionally high-build quality for apartments with the use of volumetric modular technology. The development needed to have all the benefits of modular construction and equally overcome the old prejudices and mindset associated with prefab buildings of the past.

Quality was central to every decision. The apartments had to look good and deliver outstanding performance. The scheme sits within a low-rise urban environment and was designed to respond in scale and material to the context in a modern but sympathetic way. The volume was reduced in scale through the use of stepped blocks, inset balconies and the use of a subtly varied brick palette to create a simple modern form that responds to its local context.

Although new to offsite, the Excelsior team understood that the more work that is carried out in the factory, the faster the build process. The apartments were fully factory-fitted with triple glazing, premium quality doors, kitchens, bathrooms, tiles, carpets, underfloor heating and sprinkler systems. Spectrum House is BOPAS-accredited and installation took a matter of weeks, taking 30-50% less time to complete than traditional construction methods.

The frames were manufactured using hot rolled steel and light gauge steel cross members. The steel joists in the floor frames were at closer intervals and the structure was further strengthened using A1 cementitious boards to the floors and the ceilings.

For more information visit: www.excelsiorhomes.co.uk

Our vision is pure and simple. We want to create homes that are beautiful in design, build and finish and beautiful to live in.

+44 (0)20 8343 3338 info@excelsiorhomes.co.uk

Sovereign House / 1 Albert Place Finchley Central / London N3 1QB



In the wake of the pandemic and enforced shutdown of the entire construction industry, what can offsite suppliers do to avoid becoming insolvent or falling victim to an insolvency elsewhere in the supply chain? Michael Gerard of Michael Gerard Solicitors offers his advice. Insolvency & Common Law At common law, insolvency in isolation is not a breach of contract. However, its effect may result in the party becoming insolvent to wrongly repudiate the contract, thus allowing the other party to accept the repudiatory breach and bring the contract to an end. For example, where a timber truss supplier suddenly stops making deliveries to site in accordance with the agreed delivery schedule (because it is having its own supplier problems due to non-payment), it could be said that the timber truss supplier has abandoned the contract.

1 With the havoc and tragedy wrought by COVID-19, very few of us will look back on 2020 with any fondness. Not just because of the deadly nature of the disease, but also because of the impact it will have on the UK and global economy. Although we are now in unchartered territory, it is not a question of if the UK is going to go into a recession, but how deep, how long and how damaging will that recession be? As any good accountant will tell you, when entering a recession, insolvency work will increase. Unfortunately, it is those businesses that are allied to the construction industry, such as offsite suppliers that will be among the most vulnerable. As a result, it is essential in the coming months, that businesses take steps to ensure they are vigilant in managing their contracts and cashflows in order to avoid becoming another insolvency statistic.


Sections 122(1)(f) and 123(1) of the Insolvency Act 1986 define insolvency as where a company is unable to pay its debts when they fall due for payment. This contrasts with standard forms of contract, like the JCT suite, which defines insolvency as when a party has entered into a formal insolvency procedure. The Importance of Cash Flow The age-old adage that profit is sanity, turnover is vanity, but cashflow is king, is just as relevant today as it was when it was first coined. So how does a goods supplier ensure a healthy income stream? Top of the list are advantageous payment terms and the implementation of a range of mitigation measures.

• Ensure that payment terms are favourable. This could include invoicing once delivery has been completed (in lieu of monthly invoicing), and prompt payment, with perhaps a small discount as an incentive • Specify that the T&Cs have a suspension of performance clause


• Ensure that the contract includes a termination clause for party insolvency that also sets out what happens post termination • Incorporate a paid-when-paid clause for insolvency events for downstream payments. This will protect the business in case of an upstream insolvency • Consider including a ‘Romalpa’ clause (retention of title). However, even with a Romalpa clause, it may not be enough to recover goods supplied if those goods are annexed to the structure • Collateral warranties are particularly useful for third party funders and future purchasers of buildings where there are defects in the structure, but the developer may have ceased trading. Collateral warranties can also be good news for specialist suppliers if the warranty includes step-in rights and payment of outstanding sums. The next couple of years are likely to be difficult for construction suppliers, but with good fiscal and commercial management systems in place, businesses will be placing themselves in a stronger position to survive the downturn ahead. For more information visit: www.mg-law.co.uk Images: 01. Michael Gerard is founding partner of Michael Gerard Solicitors, a practising adjudicator and accredited expert in quantum and planning. He is a Fellow of the CIOB, registered adjudicator and vice chair of the East Midlands branch of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and registered adjudicator for RIBA.

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Leading drywall manufacturer Siniat, and fire protection specialists Promat, hosted a roundtable to try and identify how the Build to Rent (BTR) sector can innovate design and construction to increase ROI, as UK society and the construction industry come to terms with the impact of COVID-19.

With the discussion taking place on the Zoom platform, the ‘virtual roundtable’ sought to break the conversation down into key themes surrounding market status, design and innovation, productivity and sustainability. Here are some key soundbites from the session. BTR has been a successful market segment and has evolved quickly with offsite methods bringing improved levels of delivery and cost confidence. But will it continue in a post-COVID-19 climate to be an attractive investment proposition with increasing demands on amenity space? Clare Harrison, Project Director, Grosvenor Group: “We see BTR as one of the more stable sectors at the moment. People are staying at home more than they ever have done, so the emphasis on good quality homes that are well connected with flexible and adaptable amenity space is more acute. We are confident about the BTR sector.”


Tim Phillips, Head of Residential Europe, CA Ventures: “In terms of investment and the size of the market, it’s a good time for BTR to go mainstream. With a loss of value in the office and retail environments, money is going into BTR. Additionally many wider lifestyle decisions are being delayed so people will be in the rental space for a longer period of time.” Adam Challis, Head Of UK Residential Research, JLL: “The sector is quite well suited to adjusting to a new normal. One of the hallmarks of the amenity space in BTR is its flexibility to be used in many different ways. It is important to try and replicate what we miss about being in an office environment without physically having to travel. A more fluid set of choices is something BTR does very well.” Brendan Geraghty, Director, Geraghty Taylor: “There is a third space that exists between work and home: the amenity space. BTR is quite far down the road with this. Flexibility and


connectivity is extremely important and a major requirement plus how that space is consistently managed. We see the workplace turning into a ‘meeting economy’ where people can collaborate easily.” Michelle Hannah, Associate Director, CAST: “What COVID-19 has brought to the front is how critical the construction programme is. Schemes halting have had a significant effect, so how do clients protect the construction programme to deliver their returns when required? Offsite is a great way of doing that.” Karl Wilkinson, Operations Leader, Building, Laing O'Rourke: “Offsite hasn’t been immune to COVID-19 but it does de-risk restrictions. We managed to maintain productivity levels throughout the COVID period and the projects where we were employing a large amount of offsite were completely uninterrupted.”


Facilitator Darren Richards

Michelle Hannah

Clare Harrison

Tim Phillips

Head Of UK Residential Director, Research , JLL Geraghty Taylor

Associate Director, CAST

Project Director, Grosvenor Group

Head of Residential Europe, CA Ventures

Chris Spiceley

Karl Wilkinson

Melanie Davies

Steve Warriner

Simon Scrase

Gary Ramsay

Director Delivery Optimisation, Places for People

Operations Leader, Building, Laing O'Rourke

Market Manager (UK), Building Performance, Etex

Regional Specification Manager (South), Etex

Regional Specification Manager (North), Etex

Editor, Offsite Magazine

Managing Director, Cogent Consulting

Adam Challis

Chris Spiceley, Director Delivery Optimisation, Places for People: “We have taken the COVID-19 pause as an opportunity to revisit how we do things and look at how we approach BTR in urban locations and importantly elsewhere. More area in homes and external space are needed by people not having to travel to an urban location regularly for work. So locations further away become attractive so we need different housing typologies.” With layout flexibility a developing design trend defining BTR tenure types and influencing client briefs, how is the supply chain being engaged with to help influence decisions? And how are operators determining which technology and system to choose to deliver projects? Clare Harrison, Project Director, Grosvenor Group: “There is a whole suite of performance criteria to consider. Tenant safety is hugely important as are achieving green goals surrounding, sustainability, reducing embodied and operational carbon and waste. That is a massive priority for us and finding the optimum balance between all these performance criteria. Add in the ‘golden thread’ of data – these all come into play when we are considering what technology to choose.”

Brendan Geraghty

Karl Wilkinson, Operations Leader, Building, Laing O'Rourke: “You need to look at the whole building and how all the various components come together. You can’t cherry pick one method of offsite. We look at the most efficient mix of elements for the whole building. We also look to ‘standardise the invisible and bespoke the visible’.” Tim Phillips, Head of Residential Europe, CA Ventures: “Speed and certainty of construction is important but we have quite stringent criteria with our design guides for different markets. Our approach to building design is that it’s a ‘science more than an art’. So we are extremely specific on things like window sizes, thermal levels and acoustics, light and location of stairwells. We look at what is going to make a person move home – that is then seen as an investment criteria.” Brendan Geraghty, Director, Geraghty Taylor: “If there is a paradigm shift in BTR and residential more broadly, it is in clients and developers taking more control of the project. You have to define your proposition early and understand what you are taking to the marketplace both as an experience and as a product. Those companies that are very clear about that can align with offsite very well but you have to shift your mindset.”

Chris Spiceley, Director Delivery Optimisation, Places for People: “With our internal teams we have the mantra that we choose the best solution for that particular scheme, so we can attune that solution to our in-house manufacturing to deliver more effectively as we have a diverse portfolio. We try and engage as early as possible so the process is easy – that is where the maturity is starting to come.” Michelle Hannah, Associate Director, CAST: “It isn’t just BTR, but affordable housing and those looking at long term asset ownership that will get the benefit of ‘bulk buying’ from supply chains. The challenge at the moment is finding those clients that want to push on and engage with supply chains early in the process and ask the right questions about construction earlier.” Adam Challis, Head Of UK Residential Research, JLL: “The broader trend across BTR is the stronger connection between the investor and the occupier. Historically, understanding what the customer wants has not always been what the real estate industry has been good at. But offsite is an enabler to more efficient end goals and a more resilient cash flow.”



SINIAT & PROMAT ROUNDTABLE Brendan Geraghty, Director, Geraghty Taylor: “We must control the data. But it should be in the design brief – ‘how do you want your data presented back to you?’ Understanding what the customer wants and how the dwelling will shape-shift to accommodate changes – whether a volumetric or panelised system. We have a lot of the information that can predict these dynamics.”

Darren Richards, Managing Director, Cogent Consulting: “It is clear there is a massive groundswell in client demand in knowledge about offsite, who are on a steep learning curve in understanding the various methods and systems. But productivity is high on the agenda and a ‘new currency’ for selecting main contractors.” Innovation comes in many shapes and sizes. Small incremental changes and streamlining processes can deliver huge outputs. An increasingly important aspect of project planning and lifecycles is the ‘golden thread’ trail of building data and information, alongside the ubiquitous BIM platforms. But is there still a wider misunderstanding and disconnect or even dismissal of digital data and how it can prove offsite value? Adam Challis, Head Of UK Residential Research, JLL: “We need proof points and evidence beyond the qualitative about offsite so it can move from a variant method to mainstream. There is a requirement to track data better so we can understand and future-proof our buildings through the ‘golden thread’ and overlay that onto the building design. Data is a way to create better useability.” Michelle Hannah, Associate Director, CAST: “Data is the key to everything and we don’t harness it enough. We collect it all the time but we don’t use it. The idea that we don’t take the huge amounts of data that we have collected at the end of construction and use it to understand how our buildings operate is just crazy.”


Karl Wilkinson, Operations Leader, Building, Laing O'Rourke: “We put our emphasis on the whole building delivery model not just how quickly we can top out the frame. Once you get to a position where you have a common set of components together, then you should be able to shorten the process and get to site quicker, bring the fit-out start date earlier and complete earlier.” A global challenge for all those operating in the built environment surrounds sustainable design, stricter corporate social responsibility (CSR) requirements, the concept of the circular economy and how to achieve low/zero carbon targets. Certainly there are questions surrounding thermal mass but how and what is sustainability? And how are these decisions being influenced? Clare Harrison, Project Director, Grosvenor Group: “Sustainability and our company green commitments has shifted the dial on the conversations we are having and briefs that we are setting for our design teams. We are focusing very clearly on the carbon targets we have set for 2030. Offsite is one of the ways that we will be using to reach those targets.” Tim Phillips, Head of Residential Europe, CA Ventures: “It’s not just the reduction of waste and improvement of project timescales but the longevity and future-proofing of the building. Smart controls reduce your carbon footprint. We also need to introduce more ‘wellness’ into our buildings but sustainability is very important to our investors. People are happier to move into a greener building and will stay there longer.” Karl Wilkinson, Operations Leader, Building, Laing O'Rourke: “Carbon and sustainability is high on our agenda. There is a material side and a labour flow side of that, but when you look at the whole system of the


building, there are decisions that you can make that are intrinsic to the carbon question. Facades and air leakage for example can have a huge impact on your operational carbon.” Adam Challis, Head Of UK Residential Research, JLL: “One of the real storylines that has accelerated post COVID-19 is the wellbeing and social construct, what we are doing for our tenants and customers and being clear in delivering an end goal of a quality home and quality life. Also, investors/ clients are looking at well governed businesses – a well-run, responsible business is a more investible business.” Suffice to say we are living in a unique period. The BTR market is stable, resilient and seems flexible in the face of ongoing lifestyle changes. What is always clear is that engaging with supply chains earlier and being open and honest about the ultimate customer experience goes a long way in defining the successful delivery of a project and the long term value of the ‘asset’. Certainly the wider value of offsite manufacture is difficult to pin down but as many have pointed out – more must be done with the golden thread of information and the mountains of data that is collected – to learn on how to better drive productivity and quality. Quantifiable data, market experience and factory predictability are the central drivers to increased confidence in offsite methods. A special market report covering many of the issues explored in the roundtable will be available on request, please contact melanie.davies@etexgroup.com Many thanks to Siniat and Promat, part of Etex, for hosting the Virtual Roundtable Event and thanks to all participants for their time and contributions to the online discussion.

For more information on offsite related activity visit: www.offsitehub.co.uk

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The Homes for Heroes national campaign calls on the government to commit to delivering 100,000 affordable, eco-friendly, factory-built homes for key workers on public land and is backed by an alliance of major housing associations and modular housing manufacturers.



The campaign deliberately echoes the Homes for Heroes drive for soldiers after World Wars One and Two but this time is calling for housing for nurses and other key workers who have been on the frontline in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic during lockdown. The campaign wants to deliver 100,000 eco-friendly factory-built homes to repay ‘historic debt’ owed to key workers manufactured in British factories.

As well as building affordable housing for sale and rent, the main societal benefit would be major investment into new modular housing factories likely to come forward if there was a certainty of future demand. Like any manufacturing facility, housing factories such as those in Yorkshire, owned by companies such as Legal and General (L&G) and ilke Homes are capital-intensive and cannot be ‘turned off and on like traditional construction’.

The national campaign urges Government to support investment in modular construction to create homes on public land and create thousands of highly-skilled manufacturing jobs. Homes for Heroes is a national alliance of housing associations, public figures, business leaders and leading hightech manufacturers of modular homes. It wants the government to help fund the initiative alongside private investors and housing associations, using public land and innovative new offsite manufacturing techniques which can ensure homes are finished quickly and surpass current energy performance requirements.

“Modular construction will enable the delivery of high quality homes at a much faster rate than through traditional construction,” says Rosie Toogood, CEO of Legal & General Modular Homes. “In a post COVID-19 crisis environment, the speed of delivery will be more important than ever before. The Homes for Heroes campaign unites several great causes: creating quality homes for genuine heroes, powering innovation and skills right at the time we need to create jobs and pushing the bar upwards when it comes to quality and sustainability. We're delighted to support this initiative.”



“We call on the housing industry and government to collaborate in a national effort to develop a shared and interoperable modular system that will deliver homes fit for heroes. Working together, with speed, scale and precision, this collective effort can deliver a knockout blow to outdated delivery models.” Rory O’Hagan, Director at Assael Architecture Dave Sheridan, Executive Chairman at ilke Homes, adds: “Through our partnerships with placemaking pioneers such as Places for People, our investment with Homes England and our growing pipeline with developers and housing associations, we are seeing growing support for MMC because of the demand for better quality homes where the delivery time and energy use is halved. This is a great initiative to build homes, create jobs and spur on an emerging manufacturing sector that can offer countless benefits to the economy -

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KEY WORKER HOMES heartlands. The campaign says that the UK’s estimated 7.1million key workers deserve homes that are energy efficient, beautifully designed and digitally connected, with access to private outside areas and highquality green space, but that many struggled to afford a decent home in their community. It has called on national and local government to back the campaign with grant funding and other support.


4 not just in housing. This is primarily about supporting key workers but it is also about creating more jobs and cleverly pooling resources together to create economies of scale that can help our country create a new, highlyskilled workforce while repaying the amazing workers who have done so much during this difficult period.” As defined by the UK Government, key workers include NHS workers and carers: people working in education and childcare, those supporting the food chain such as farmers, supermarket workers and delivery drivers, transport workers, those in local and national government and key public services including the fire service, police and armed forces. The additional demand would leverage additional private sector investment in offsite construction, kick-starting a high-tech manufacturing revolution, creating jobs and boosting regional economies.


5 “Essential workers on the frontline of this crisis are often among the lowest paid in society,” said Helen Evans, Chair of the G15 group of London’s largest housing associations and Chief Executive of Network Homes. “Homes for Heroes is about giving these people a safe, secure and genuinely affordable home to live in. With the collaboration of government and the housing sector, both private and social, we can bring forward a once-ina-generation number of new homes for our essential workers, including those not eligible for traditional key worker housing. Homes will be well designed, with private outdoor space, in convenient well-connected locations for healthcare facilities, schools and other employment hubs.” Creating 100,000 new, factory-built homes on public sector and housing association land over the next five years would deliver a wide range of economic benefits to all corners of the country – by allowing factories to be created all across the industrial


“This initiative represents a unique opportunity to create a large scale and tenure diverse housing delivery programme, bringing central and regional government, local authorities, housing associations and private enterprise together in a unique way with a common goal. It can unleash the full potential of the emerging advanced manufacturing modular housing market, delivering quickly at scale, a new generation of homes that are of high design quality, fire safety assured, sustainable and affordable.” Mark Farmer, CEO of Cast Consultancy & UK Government MMC Champion for Homebuilding “We believe placemaking organisations should be proactive in shaping a greener future for homes that creates less waste and prioritises speed and quality,” says David Cowans, Group Chief Executive of Places for People. “The Homes for Heroes campaign brings together institutional investors, housing associations and offsite manufacturers around a fantastic initiative that will help provide high-quality modern homes for our key workers and boost this emerging manufacturing sector.” For more information and to read the full G-15 report ‘Homes for Heroes: Safe, secure and genuinely affordable homes to rent and buy, starting to repay society’s debt to heroic essential workers’ visit: www.g15.london/whatwe-do/homes-for-heroes Images: 01. Homes for Heroes lays out a route forward in delivering housing change for key workers 02-05 ilke Homes factory will be central to how the new wave of modular homes will be created. Courtesy ilke Homes

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

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2 Wernick has delivered a second modular building for Swansea University. The two-storey, 2,600m² building was constructed with an end-to-end build programme of just 28 weeks. Situated on Swansea University’s prestigious Bay Campus, the £4.9million teaching facility is a H-shaped structure offers eight spacious teaching areas for up to 2,000 students, and space for the Student’s Union. The comprehensive interior fit-out includes folding partitions to create flexible spaces, lecture suites, PC labs and quiet zones. The building, officially named ‘Y Twyni’ (meaning The Burrows), was procured through Fusion 21’s Education and Modular Buildings Framework and was built offsite using the latest innovations in modular design and build. Modules were manufactured in a qualitycontrolled factory environment in six weeks, with ground works on campus taking place simultaneously. The modules were then craned into place to form a complete building.


While the principal driver of a modular solution is time, the method presents a range of environmental benefits too. For example, up to 90% fewer vehicles arrive on-site and less waste for landfill is produced at each stage of the build. Concrete and plaster use are significantly reduced, as are CO2 emissions from on-site generators. Wernick utilised their latest modular system – Swiftplan®. As modular construction has gained traction in the UK, Wernick were seeing demand for their services increase. Not only in the quantity of projects, but also the size and complexity of them with more and more clients wanting to access the benefits of offsite construction for a wider variety of applications. Andy King, Deputy Managing Director at Wernick Buildings developed the new system, saying: “As the demands placed upon us changed, we realised we had an opportunity to innovate our approach to manufacturing our buildings. While our existing systems were flexible enough to adapt to nearly any requirement, the solution would not be optimal, and we wanted to develop something entirely new. The result of this endeavour was the Swiftplan® system.”


Much simpler to manufacture and install and with performance improving features, like a fully non-combustible wall construction, and a CLT flooring system that provides performance comparable to concrete. It also provides much greater architectural flexibility, offering some of the tallest ceiling heights on the market at 3.6m to underside of ceiling soffit, able to accept any proprietary cladding system and incorporate large format glazing. “When Swansea approached us to deliver lecture space, both in time for the new school year and in a way that wouldn’t look out of place on campus,” says Andy. “We knew that Swiftplan® would be the answer.” Learning from their previous project at Swansea University, the UK’s first energy positive office – the ‘Active Office’, which was delivered by Wernick in 2018, the University were very aware that to get the most from a modular solution you need to early engage with your modular contractor. This means engaging at RIBA stage 1 or 2 which allows the building to be designed around the modular system, limiting any design issues and maximising manufacture and construction efficiencies. This also results in a reduced build programme when compared to traditional construction methods. Swansea University’s Pro-Vice Chancellor Martin Stringer said: “Y Twyni represents the University’s commitment to developing flexible learning spaces, sustainable building methods and working with local manufacturers.” Stuart Wilkie, Managing Director at Wernick Buildings added: “We are delighted that our local University is embracing modern methods of construction and all that modular buildings have to offer. Higher education institutions such as Swansea University are leading the way by providing innovative and inspiring spaces to enhance the student experience.” For more information visit: www.wernick.co.uk Images: 01-02. Wernick utilised their latest Swiftplan® modular system on Y Twyni

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1 PSP Architectural was commissioned to produce the COR-TEN bespoke modular sub-structure and architectural feature fins for the Anne McLaren Building on the South-Western corner of the Cambridge Biomedical Campus. The Anne McLaren Building is named after the professor who was a leading authority on mammalian genetics and helped to develop techniques that led to the creation of IVF. Located within the largest centre of medical research and health science in Europe – Cambridge Biomedical Campus brings together renowned names such as AstraZeneca, Cancer Research UK, The Stem Cell Institute and Abcam. Consisting 215,000m gross internal area (GIA), the building is dedicated to clinical research, biomedical and biotech developments. 2

PSP Architectural manufactured the bespoke modular sub-structure and architectural feature fins using COR-TEN steel, specified for this project to achieve a strong visual accent for this prominent building which reflects the surrounding landscape. Facades are the outcome of sophisticated technology and advanced manufacturing processes



which means they are highly resistant to the external environment – making them highly resilient and durable. This resistance to temperatures, weathering, and corrosion makes facade systems and increasingly widespread choice across all construction sectors.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system which aided the project team and provided full traceability, materials and real time information of the job within the PSP manufacturing facility which ensured the project was delivered on time and to budget.

PSP Group worked in synergy with the supply chain at the early design stages to assist in achieving a truly outstanding facade solution that realises the aesthetic and technical requirements. The COR-TEN steel was pre-weathered, in which the corrosion expected from the open air in the first three months was artificially induced in controlled conditions before delivery to site. This resulted in a surface which had already passed through the brightest colouring phase to deliver darker warm autumnal tones.

“PSP were the obvious choice,” said Jon Claridge, Laing O’Rourke Facades. “After working with them on several schemes across numerous typologies, we were confident that they could deliver the highly bespoke modular sub-structure and architectural fins which are the signature features of this building. Their ability to provide a single point of procurement for the full bespoke envelope ensured collectively we could achieve a superior finish.”

The COR-TEN cladding was in stark contrast to the reconstituted stone located below the steel and the PSP Aluminium unitised glazing, fabricated curtain walling and aluminium doors. This project presented a number of logistical challenges but the experienced team at PSP utilised state-of-the-art manufacturing and fabrication machinery to produce 7,800m2 of COR-TEN steel and then specialist jigs and trollies were used to assemble the oversized modular units and safely and efficiently transport them around the factory and onsite. PSP utilised the fully integrated


Facade systems at PSP have been tested and approved by the Centre for Window & Cladding Technology (CWCT), ensuring they meet rigorous industry standards. The bespoke rainscreen cladding system and specialist fabrications coupled with unitised glazing, curtain walling and doors demonstrated PSP’s ability to design, manufacture and supply the complete external facade. For more information visit: www.pspuk.com Images: 01-03. PSP Architectural manufactured the bespoke modular sub-structure and architectural feature fins using COR-TEN steel

Offsite Concrete Solutions | Cladding Precast concrete cladding offers opportunities to create high quality facades requiring little maintenance. It provides a weatherproof envelope, while fulfilling architectural, structural and other requirements in terms of fire resistance, thermal performance and sound insulation. Panels can be delivered with windows, insulation, and balcony connections pre-fitted in the factory thus further accelerating the construction programme. For more information on precast concrete cladding, and other offsite concrete applications for building structures, download the free ‘Offsite Concrete Construction’ publication at www.concretecentre.com/publications @concretecentre Images (clockwise from top): Victoria Gate, Leeds; BBC Wales HQ; Burntwood School, London and V&A Dundee.



Andrew Carpenter, Chief Executive of the Structural Timber Association (STA) discusses how any reduction in the use of engineered timber systems may severely inhibit our ability to decarbonise the UK construction industry. ‘road map’ to navigate this journey if the most sustainable and replenishable of all building products, is potentially banned. With as much as 7% of all global CO2 emissions coming from other less sustainable construction technologies, it is difficult to see how these targets will ever be met if these restrictions come into force.

1 The Government’s recent consultation on extending the ban on combustible materials to more building types and lowering the height restriction in England from 18m to 11m closed on 25 May. In late May Roger Harrabin reported on BBC News that the Government is planning to reduce the maximum height of timber framed buildings from six storeys to four to reduce fire risk. Harrabin rightly pointed out that this action would contradict other advice to increase timber construction because trees lock up climate-heating carbon emissions. But this will not only totally contradict other government advice to reduce carbon emissions but flies in the face of the support that it has shown for offsite manufacturing to deliver the much needed housing – the most proven of which are timber based systems. It is clear that the UK is out of step with the approach being taken by leading economies in Europe as evidenced by the actions of President Macron – he has ruled that all new


2 publicly-funded buildings in France should be delivered from at least 50% timber or other natural materials by 2022. Another study from Germany’s Potsdam Institute found that a global boom in wood buildings could lock in up to 700million tons of carbon a year. And I can only agree with the head of the Committee on Climate Change, Chris Stark when he said: “Timber buildings can be tall and safe. Displacing cement, brick and steel with wood means more than double the carbon savings in buildings overall.” The STA and other timber trade bodies say the Government in England has misunderstood the science behind timber construction. A blanket ban that is not based on building physics, test evidence or scientific facts is seen as a quick fix and as a result, the UK could experience far reaching implications for decades to come. Climate change is not some abstract concept, if not dramatically addressed it will be catastrophic and the biggest crisis of our time. The Government’s response to climate change has been to set net zero carbon targets by 2050 but there is no


The blanket banning of products does not address the Hackitt Review findings for more accountability and responsibility of how buildings are constructed. Nor does banning products improve build quality or clarify roles and responsibilities in the decision-making process. I could go on, but the point is made. Height restrictions are not a measurement of safety. Poor design results in inferior and not necessarily safe buildings – regardless of the technology from which they are constructed. The lack of clarity as to what the ban applies to is creating confusion and the STA and our members firmly believe that any extension to the current 18m restriction should focus on the external cladding and not the structural wall itself. We will only support this height restriction on the proviso that Building Regulations replicate the Scottish model where 18m is still acceptable when supported by evidence of non-combustible cladding and welldesigned fire management systems. These views together with robust test evidence has been reflected in the STA’s response to the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) consultation. For more information visit: www.structuraltimber.co.uk/links/ research-documents Images: 01-02. Timber brings a natural and low carbon aspect to any building. Courtesy Waugh Thistleton

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Stuart Carr, Director with architects Inglis & Carr, sees several potential long-term changes to the way housing is designed and delivered as an outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic.

1 In a recent trip to Verona, prior to the majority of the population of the UK being placed under house arrest, I found myself looking up at the balcony which was said to have inspired Shakespeare’s ‘Wherefore art thou, Romeo’ scene. Young couples, and some older, were re-enacting the scene for the benefit of their families and friends and any thought of social distancing amongst the tourists in the courtyard below, myself included, could not have been further from our minds. In a sense the crush and inconvenience of it all was part of the fun of the experience. How ironic that just a few short months later the television pictures of Italy would show deserted streets with not a tourist and barely a local in sight. Before long the pictures from Italy were showing residents on their balconies, observing the social distancing rules but managing still to communicate.


What bearing will all of this have on the design of new communities for older people? Communities that enable residents to rent or own a property and to maintain their privacy and independence, with the reassurance of 24-hour on-site staff, communal facilities, and optional care and support as needed. This is a crucial question for our practice as we are currently designing Future Street’s new mid-market Later Living Villages for rent and part-ownership in various locations throughout England. We have a huge housing gap in the UK and the population is ageing. In August 2019, Property Week declared that Later Living is ‘set to be the next major UK residential asset class’ and Associated Retirement Community Operators (ARCO), the main body representing the sector in the UK, has ambition for 250,000 people to have the opportunity to live in Later Living communities by 2030.


COVID-19 will drive changes of various kinds: legal, fiscal, procedural and physical. There is an inevitable tension between the need for densification and future social distancing. If we try to spread ourselves out more, what effect will this have on our valuable green belt and our dependency on the car to get anywhere in the absence of good, well-connected public transport in more rural areas? It is unlikely that COVID-19 will result in a reconsideration of the Housing our Ageing Population Panel for Innovation (HAPPI) principles which we adopt in our approach to good design for the elderly. The provision of external spaces, both private and communal, opening onto areas of planting, trees and the natural environment are essential. In such responsibly managed living environments it is likely that health, fitness and wellness will improve, leading to increased longevity.

HOUSING A recent report commissioned by the Extra Care Charitable Trust shows that older people benefit from improved physical and mental health in Later Living Villages. The study demonstrated that such communities can delay or reverse the onset of frailty. Later Living Villages, unlike care homes, have experienced a fairly low rate of infection – largely because of less hands-on care and the compartmentalisation of the village into individual homes. This pandemic will act as the catalyst that ignites the need for innovation to enable better care, communications, and management such as video platforms to keep residents connected and interactive robots. Lockdowns may become more frequent in the future if these are seen by successive governments as the best method of avoiding the worst effects of a pandemic but the fundamental advantages of social integration over social isolation will remain the primary driving force. At the first hint of a potential pandemic new management protocols will require that all residents go into lockdown until a comprehensive process of testing has been undertaken. Free movement of staff will be curtailed – at present staff sometimes move between operators which increases the risk of cross infection. In effect, the village operators will have built a virtual wall around their premises. But this will not preclude the strategic coordination of non-human resources and the sharing of information amongst operators The pandemic will require Later Living to enter the digital age and will act as the catalyst that ignites the need for tech innovation to enable better care, communications, and management: from video platforms to keep residents connected to deployed robots to interact with residents. Other construction technologies which are better known, but not yet widespread, will come to the fore. Offsite manufacturing, particularly modular construction, will increasingly demonstrate its ability to comply with social distancing requirements. In this form of construction prefabricated structural boxes fully finished internally are manufactured in factories remote from the site and then craned into


3 position onto a foundation or podium which is constructed on-site. This form of construction reduces the time spent on site overall very substantially. In this process quality control and health and safety issues can be effectively managed within a well-lit and wellregulated, heated factory environment. Bringing innovation to the construction industry is difficult but perhaps now even more imperative. The climatic and quality control advantages of manufacturing in controlled factory conditions are well-established. Health and safety issues can be better managed within a factory environment and when social distancing is required this can also be more easily implemented without having to shut down the factory. COVID-19 may turn out to be the impetus which modular manufacturing needs to get it over the tipping point, where it has been hovering uncertainly in recent years.

or just for relaxation and talking to friends. During the lockdown in Verona the residents compensated for the lack of any street activity by creating their own. I would expect the same phenomenon to occur on an impromptu basis within the courtyards we are creating for Future Street. When it is too cold to sit out on a balcony there will be an option to sit in the rooftop winter garden in an attractive landscape setting. Our immune system is bolstered by healthy eating and micro-gardening, the intensive cultivation of a wide range of vegetables and herbs in small spaces such as balconies, courtyards, and surrounding landscaping, are highly productive. Extending this wellness philosophy further to the boundaries of the plot and we could see small allotments, summer fruit trees and bushes, wildlife gardens and natural wildflower areas.

In possible future outbreaks, the ability of residents to interact with others in a safe environment will be of paramount importance. The provision of balconies, either within a courtyard setting or facing the street, provides an opportunity most of the year round for safe social interaction.

We have an opportunity to respond in a positive and creative way and I look forward to seeing the innovative ideas which the current crisis will generate.

The courtyard will often be a space that is used for various activities, whether recreational or educational

Images: 01. One of the courtyards in the Later Living Village project, Plymouth 02-03. Modular construction provides a key to improving large communal developments

For more information visit: www.inglisandcarr.com





The British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom & Bathroom Installation (BiKBBI) is a government sanctioned, not-for-profit organisation, dedicated to improving standards within the industry. Chief Executive Damian Walters spoke to us about where ‘pod technology‘ fits into what they provide?

1 Launched in 2006, the Institute represents the installation sector in the UK and works with professional installers, retailers and manufacturers, whilst providing consumers access to free practical advice and an informed choice. Representing the largest network of independently accredited kitchen and bathroom installation specialists, BiKBBI delivers across three core pillars – education, standards and support. “Working with enormous volume, with experience working with several retailers, it was clear back in 2006 that there was a need for an association to support the sector,” says Damian. “No barriers to entry, little compliance, no real routes to education – either


for newcomers via apprenticeships or for the time served installer – and an unacceptable level of consumer complaints that rose each year, led me to explore an organisation that could address these topics.” Away from the retail consumer sector, the growth in offsite construction has seen the kitchen and bathroom pod manufacture and supply base expand across a range of sectors from healthcare and education to student accommodation. Arguably, it is currently one of the aspects of offsite manufacture where some of the greatest efficiencies rest. How is the Institute grappling with the changes in production and consumption?


“Simply speaking, the industry has a responsibility to evolve to meet the ever-changing needs of the market and our environment,” says Damian. “We must all explore new ways of working with a view to continually improve the service we deliver, especially considering the environmental impacts that ‘tradition’ brings, coupled with the very real challenge of the widening skills gap crisis we’re experiencing globally. “If we can reduce our carbon footprint, relieve some of the reliance for on-site assembly from a shrinking workforce and do so whilst ensuring quality is maintained, then BiKBBI is more that supportive of the prospect of offsite construction – be that from

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3 a product perspective or bigger still, home construction itself. We’re already working with a housebuilder on the topic of modular build and we’re happy to expand our support to others.”

The strengths and benefits of factory-built bathrooms– compared to traditional fit-out are wide-ranging, including greater certainty of completion on-time and on-budget, reduced time onsite and of course a faster return on investment with all the quality that factory production processes provide. “We live in a ‘plug-and-play’ society these days, and clearly speed of application is something we all strive for, for a number of reasons,” says Damian. “Cost is clearly a factor with pod manufacture and installation, but only if it doesn’t compromise quality.


In the same way that pre-fabricated homes were a ‘cheap and cheerful’ post-war housing solution, pod manufacturing years ago was just that, but the modern consumer demands better quality and in many respects are prepared to pay for it. I believe the opportunity therefore is widespread, with clear wins in the newbuild sector. To reduce the reliance of a subcontracted workforce, first and second fit-outs on-site will be a positive for the industry, the housebuilders, the client and ultimately the economy.” With the interest in bathroom pod technology growing, BiKKBI is making the effort to create a strategy to support the growing number and interest in offsite producers and installers – and attract as members. “This is a fast moving area,” adds Damian. “We’ve already introduced new membership categories to accommodate offsite workers (complimenting existing membership categories that support on-site operatives) and we’re working with a


4 number of agencies on the topic of training, development and assessment of modular workers. Like anything, our focus will be driven by demand, so we invite expressions of interest from anyone wanting to find out more.” One area of note is the possibility that the offsite sector may take work away from the traditional installer supply chains. With issues surrounding system and component reliability and quality – factory-built bathrooms can have enormous benefits compared to site-install. Is there anything the ‘traditional’ supply and install trade can learn from the ‘pod’ delivery model, to improve the way kitchens and bathrooms are installed across all sectors? “The market is big enough to accommodate all (thankfully one of the only benefits associated with a skills gap),” says Damian. “Traditional installers of course have the same opportunities to develop their skills and perhaps enter a new and largely untapped market. I see this as an opportunity to the industry and not a threat. What can be learned? Simple. cost, efficiency and thinking with future proofing of the industry in mind. Whilst this may not work in every setting and situation, it is something that should be explored as an option and if you do – we’re here to help.” For more information visit: www.bikbbi.org.uk

Images: 01-04. Bathroom pods bring a new dimension to a range of sectors and offer a new set of skills to the huge UK bathroom and kitchen market. Courtesy Offsite Solutions




Intelligent Steel Solutions Ltd design, manufacture and install load bearing Light Gauge Steel Framing systems and supply SFS infill and components for the Modular and Construction industry. Working within the guidelines throughout the pandemic, we remained programme focused on multiple live sites that were kept open for numerous clients over the period.

We operate in the following sectors:

To find out more about the new features

Residential including Housing & Apartments

and benefits that Intelligent Steel can offer

Student Accommodation

or if you have a new build scheme that


you’d like to discuss, please contact:

Care Homes & Retirement Living


David on 07800 585245


david.ellison@intelligentsteel.com for LGSF Phil on 07908 788210 philip.reynolds@intelligentsteel.com for SFS

Actively looking to grow the business and to that end, have taken on several key personnel in recent months. FOR NEWS AND INDUSTRY UPDATES FOLLOW US ON: Intelligent Steel Solutions


Intelligent Steel Solutions Ltd 1 Whitehouse Way, Southwest Industrial Estate, Peterlee, Co. Durham SR8 2RA 0191 594 7200 enquiries@intelligentsteel.com




With the live events industry buckling under the strain of COVID-19, a modular, factory-finished terrace product could help the sector bring reprofiling and renovation projects to a cost-effective conclusion, says David Glover, CEO, SPS Technology. can often be used. The structural composite can also be bolted on top of existing structures allowing architects to re-profile stands, with huge cost and time savings.



For many years traditional building materials for stadiums and arenas have been manufactured offsite before being transported to venues for installation at considerable time and expense. With an eradication of revenue from live events, social distancing and new hygiene protocols, delivering a renovation or reprofiling of a stadium or arena while the world continues to grapple with COVID-19 brings challenges of historic proportions.

For many years, reinforced concrete has been synonymous with the construction of stadiums and arenas, acting as the structural building material of choice to create spectator stands, walls, stairs, platforms etc. The components are manufactured offsite and transported to the venue for installation. While an effective process, concrete terraces are very heavy, requiring a large number of trucks for transportation at a high cost, time and carbon footprint.

For those responsible for upgrading facilities, postponing work is undoubtably an option, although for an industry that now expects to operate with squeezed margins for years to come, this is only postponing the inevitable need for work to be carried out. For those that either have to or wish to complete work as soon as possible, taking a fresh look at the building materials used to complete a project may hold the key to keeping renovation and reprofiling projects on track amid scarce resources. Critically, manufacturing a structural composite terrace system offsite before transporting it to the venue could offer a failsafe approach with a predictable schedule that saves time and is cost efficient.

Upon arrival, heavy-duty cranes are also required to manoeuvre units into position, adding further costs due to the high daily rates charged for equipment and operator. In fact, in some cases, bringing large cranes to site may be impossible, preventing improved stadium modification with concrete risers.


Lowering the weight of components by replacing reinforced concrete with structural composite plate terraces has a profound benefits for the overall steel frame of a venue, cutting its weight by 30% – with all the associated cost, time and environmental benefits that come with a lighter supporting structure. In venue renovation projects, the existing foundations


Terrace units arrive on site with factory applied coatings and pre-drilled holes allowing for the rapid installation of seats and attachments. New features, such as disability platforms, balconies and VIP areas can also be added with ease – while seats fitted on rails bolted direct to the structural composite can be easily adjusted, to create space between seats to maintain social distancing. At the end of an event, the same seats can be easily washed down with disinfectant, with the non-porous surface of the structural composite reducing the risk of COVID-19 and other viruses and bacteria lingering on surfaces. Utilising structural composite in the renovation and reprofiling of stadiums and arenas is not only a short-term COVID-19 only solution. With many governments prioritising a green recovery from the pandemic, and new infrastructure projects expected to be at the fore of virus economic recovery plans, the need to re-examine the use of conventional offsite building materials in stadium and arenas construction could not be more timely – even in an inherently conservative industry. For more information visit: www.spstechnology.com Images: 01-02. Offsite manufactured structural composites can bring many benefits to venue renovation projects

Over the past four years, the popularity of pug ownership in the UK has increased in direct correlation with the adoption of offsite solutions in the construction industry. We doubt the two statistics are linked but it does raise questions around fashionable choice.

At Akerlof, we’re not interested by what’s vogue, but what works. We support our clients to shape their adoption of Modern Methods of Construction to realise their business goals and deliver sustainable value.

Experts in Modern Methods of Construction akerlof.co.uk 0845 548 0528 integrator@akerlof.co.uk










3. Packed Contech OÜ modules in Iceland.



Brought to you by Volumetric Homes Group, the Modular Matters Conference & Exhibition demonstrates the application of volumetric modular technology across a range of housing projects including student accommodation, private residential and affordable housing. well-attended events dedicated to the offsite manufacturing and construction industry. 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 postevent to maximise your return on investment. Taking place on 20 October 2020 at NCC Birmingham, the event presents a prime business opportunity to gain insight and network with those who are shaping the future of the volumetric modular industry as it focuses on the latest developments, innovations and investments in the volumetric modular offsite sector. In recent years, the need for faster, leaner, and smarter construction has become essential to meet the rapidly growing demand for affordable housing as a result of Britain’s housing crisis. Volumetric modular construction has been placed at the forefront of offsite techniques due to its remarkable impact on reducing costs whilst increasing quality and safety. In addition to this, advanced modular techniques reduce build times by an astonishing 50-60%. 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. Get Involved Modular Matters is aimed at attracting construction clients: construction professionals, architects, surveyors, engineers, contractors, facilities managers, building product manufacturers and suppliers. Modular Matters provides positive return-oninvestment and will be one of the most

Why Sponsor Modular Matters? Choose from our range of Modular Matters sponsorship packages to secure exposure for your company. Aside from high-level branding, these packages also offer networking, thought leadership, speaker and lead generation opportunities. For more details on exhibitor and sponsorship opportunities go to: www.modularmatters.co.uk/exhibition

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: www.modularmatters.co.uk/book


MODULAR MATTERS demonstrates how to tackle industry challenges through a range of project case studies, innovative architecture and building design, IT and CONFERENCE & EXHIBITION

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.

20.10.2020 NCC, Birmingham

Image courtesy of Peter Dann Architects, Marriott Courtyard Hotel – Luton Airport

Brought to you by

TICKETS ON SALE NOW www.modularmatters.co.uk

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY If you are interested in learning more about offsite construction and the associated manufacturing processes then the following industry events may be of interest: 22 Sep

Offsite Construction Awards


Online Event

The Offsite Construction Awards will take place virtually on 22 September 2020 and will reward outstanding examples of prefabrication and factorybased methods, products, systems and disciplines that increasingly strive to develop a sustainable, streamlined and cost-effective way to deliver a better built environment. 20 Oct

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



18 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. Tall Buildings Conference



Back by popular demand, Tall Buildings Conference will take place on 18 November 2020 in 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. 18 Nov

Tall Buildings Awards

Tall Buildings Awards

01-02 Dec

2020 Tall Buildings Awards

Tall Buildings Awards 2020



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 18 November 2020 in London and will highlight design and building technology innovation in the UK high-rise sector. 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. 2020 Tall Buildings Awards By Boldesign for Radar Communications

Tall Buildings Awards 2020

Tall Buildings Awards 2020





The Offsite Roundtable Events host thought leaders and influencers from; the offsite sector, government departments, private sector clients, leading architects, engineers and contractors. Each roundtable event is attended by our Offsite Magazine Editor, who will capture and present the debate in a special feature that will appear in the following issue of the magazine and online via the unique Offsite Hub Newsroom. PACKAGE INCLUDES: • Event Facilitation by Darren Richards, Managing Director of Cogent Consulting - leading offsite construction consultants. • Recruitment and Management of Experts/ Participants • Issuing Joining Instructions PRICE • Photography • Write-up and Feature in Offsite £4,950* Magazine & Offsite Hub +VAT Newsroom * Venue Hire, Refreshments and any other disbursements will be chargeable at cost - reduced cost if online



For more information or to host your own roundtable debate event, contact Julie Williams on 01743 290001 or email julie.williams@radar-communications.co.uk








21 & 22 SEPTEMBER 2021



800+ SEMINAR SESSION ATTENDEES professional development



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








FREE admission



OUR 2021 FLOORPLAN IS NOW AVAILABLE For more information or to book your stand, contact julie.williams@radar-communications.co.uk or call 01743 290042


Make LIGHT STEEL FRAME ASSOCIATION membership part of your business strategy and join these leading companies:


The collective power of the LIGHT STEEL FRAME ASSOCIATION will drive growth and promote specification of innovative light steel frame systems across all construction sectors – to be part of something bigger, contact the team today:

T: 01743 290 030 E: info@lsf-association.co.uk



Established to influence legislation, regulation and to support the overall objectives and growth of the sector, the LIGHT STEEL FRAME ASSOCIATION (LSFA) is raising awareness of the performance and productivity benefits of steel framing systems. Aimed at Manufacturers, Supply Chain, Consultants, Installers, Affiliates and Clients, LSFA members benefit from: • Direct representation within the wider construction industry • Positive influence and engagement to increase market share • Dedicated marketing and PR campaign • Industry collaboration and knowledge transfer • Speaker, exhibitor and sponsor opportunities at key networking events, trade shows and conferences • Strategic partnerships with other trade bodies • Code of conduct - a standard of operating • Highest quality technical standards, driven by our Technical Partners SCI • Relevant and best-in-class training and education

@LSF Association

Light Steel Frame Association

Light Steel Frame Association


We’d like to pay tribute to all of you skilled tradespeople and companies across the nation, from builders to joiners to fitters, to name a few. You have delivered a valued contribution to critical construction projects, including NHS Nightingale hospitals and temporary isolation units that extended the capacity of GP surgeries. Together we’re building a safer and better future.

The UK’s No 1 producer of engineered wood panels

Profile for Radar Communications

Offsite Magazine - Issue 24 (July/August 2020)  

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