Offsite Magazine - Issue 25 (September/October 2020)

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DATA & DIGITALISATION Understanding the power of data-centricity across the offsite construction industry


VALUE TOOLKIT The Construction Innovation Hub and developing a new industrywide definition of project value


SILVER SERVICE Our 25th edition of the magazine looks back on some memorable moments and roundtable opinions


Using offsite construction? A s p a r t o f o u r wa r ra nt y p ro c e s s P re m i e r G u a ra nt e e h a s d eve l o p e d o n e o f t h e m o s t ro b u s t p ro d u c t a p p rova l p ro c e s s e s i n t h e m a r ke t . I f yo u wa nt c o n f i d e n c e i n t h e p ro d u c t s yo u c h o o s e s p e a k t o u s .

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ST R U CTU R A L WA R R A N T Y A N D B U I L D I N G C O N T R O L 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.



SILVER MACHINE: 25 & COUNTING Welcome to the latest edition of Offsite Magazine. And as you will see from our sleek and silver front cover – the 25th edition of the publication since we launched in (what feels like 10 minutes ago…) March 2016.

FRONT COVER NHBC. Courtesy ilke Homes PRINTED ON: PEFC 16-33-576 paper stock by Buxton Press PUBLISHER:

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

Over 25 magazines we have attempted to provide a detailed overview of the offsite sector in all its many facets, materials, systems and industry developments – which on behalf of the team here isn’t as easy as we may make it look.

Radar Communications Ltd, 5 Darwin Court, Oxon Business Park, Shrewsbury, Shropshire. SY3 5AL T: 01743 290001 SUBSCRIBE TO RECEIVE OFFSITE: This magazine is a bimonthly publication and the annual subscription fee for UK postage is £29.70 plus VAT for all six issues (£4.95 per copy). Visit ADVERTISING ENQUIRIES PLEASE CONTACT: Julie Williams // T: 01743 290001 E: SEND US YOUR NEWS: Gary Ramsay // T: 01743 290001 E: BACK ISSUES VISIT: FOR OFFSITE ENQUIRIES PLEASE CONTACT: E: DISCLAIMER: The content of Offsite Magazine does not necessarily reflect the views of the editor or publishers and are the views of its contributors and advertisers. The digital edition may include hyperlinks to third-party content, advertising, or websites, provided for the sake of convenience and interest. The publishers accept no legal responsibility for loss arising from information in this publication and do not endorse any advertising or products available from external sources. No part of this publication may be reproduced or stored in a retrieval system without the written consent of the publishers. All rights reserved.

Outside of the offsite bubble you can be easily forgiven for not quite understanding what makes the sector tick and how it can excel beyond ‘traditional’ construction and the daily murk of the building site. I hope over all those issues that we have succeeded in explaining the reasons why that is the case more than we’ve failed. It is sometimes the Editor’s burden to decide what to include and what to leave out. Later in this issue we have picked out some memorable moments from across the back catalogue plus plucked some salient comments and takeaway messages from our roundtable events.

A shout out to the winners and highly commended projects from the first ‘virtual’ Offsite Awards – especially all at Kier Integrated Team for the New Build Prison at Wellingborough: the 2020 multi-award winner that also picked up the coveted ‘winner of winners’ gong for its consistently high scores across board. Hosted online by the ‘humungous’ Mark Durden-Smith, it obviously wasn’t what was originally planned but you can see the winners in all their glory in the enclosed Awards brochure. You will also be able to read about many of the projects in more detail in future issues of the magazine of course. As one of the judges it is always amazing to see the awesome work being delivered across the UK. A final personal thanks to all our contributors, advertisers and supporters in these seemingly endless difficult times – and that’s across 25 issues – we couldn’t have got here without you.

Gary Ramsay

Consultant Editor Email:


KEEP IN TOUCH: @ExploreOffsite offsitehub

As we went to press, the COVID-19 pandemic had sadly recorded a resurgence, rather than receded across the UK. Hopefully this will not impact further on the construction industry and the many livelihoods it supports.


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06 NHBC provide warranty and insurance for around 75-80% of the new homes built in the UK each year. With NHBC Accepts, they now bring decades of expertise and knowledge to the offsite world. We spoke to Richard Lankshear, NHBC’s Innovation Manager, about the new service.



Graham Cleland, Managing Director of Berkeley Modular, sees digitalisation as an enabler to scale and a way to leverage productivity. With the landscape of the UK’s offsite sector becoming increasingly populated, what developments should we be looking out for?





The need for value-based decision-making and a momentum for change in the construction industry is growing steadily. Ron Lang, Impact Director for Value at the Construction Innovation Hub, illustrates how a new tool will help accelerate change and a shift towards adopting offsite methods.


As you will have noticed from the silver feel to the front cover – this edition is our 25th Offsite Magazine. We picked out a few memorable moments from each issue since our launch in Spring 2016 plus a snapshot of some of our many expert roundtable opinions.



08 | Industry News

26 | Navigating the World of Designing Healthcare Spaces

News and developments from across the UK offsite industry and wider construction arena including: £2.9million funding for Seismic II, Fusion Building Systems celebrates 20 years of offsite construction, Wates Construction win £16million contract to build Whitehaven Academy School and L&Q use timber frame at Saxon Reach.

Philip Ruffle, Director at Munday + Cramer, outlines the wide scope of considerations on how healthcare architecture and space is used and why offsite thinking can help.

30 | Modular – A Route to Improving Education It is crucially important that school building programmes get back on track as soon as possible, with many concerned about the impact COVID-19 will have on education. MPBA Chief Executive Jackie Maginnis, considers how offsite construction can help. 32 | Building Homes: Building Efficiency Bollo Lane is a landmark mixed-use development in Ealing, comprising 112 homes, two communal roof terraces and flexible office space that benefited from a volumetric modular solution. 38 | Pushing the Limits Schooner Wharf is a mixed tenure housing scheme that has adopted passive solar design principles and is built to high environmental performance standards using the MetFrame system. 40 | Offsite & Lean Technology Offsite construction can become the ‘new normal’ says Stewart Dalgarno, Advanced Industrialised Methods for the Construction of Homes (AIMCH) Project Director and Director of Product Development at Stewart Milne Group. 46 | A Sign of the Times Bristol’s Hope Rise housing project, will see ZED Pods provide a revolutionary cost-effective, eco-friendly and affordable housing solution, using timber volumetric offsite manufacturing technology. 54 | Solid Performance for Ballet Home The English National Ballet is one of the most famous touring companies in Europe and has a new home in the shape of a five-storey building located on London City Island and a shining example of concrete elegance and functionality. 62 | AI: The Future Of Digital Construction Richard Fletcher, Regional Business Director at Trimble Buildings, explores the future potential of artificial intelligence (AI) within the world of BIM and construction. 64 | Evolving the Wheel With decades of offsite experience to draw on Cogent Consulting is busy advising on a wide range of offsite delivery issues across the UK. We asked Managing Director, Darren Richards, about the present state of the market.

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NHBC provide warranty and insurance for around 75-80% of the new homes built in the UK each year. With the recent launch of NHBC Accepts, they now bring decades of expertise and knowledge to the offsite world. We spoke to Richard Lankshear, NHBC’s Innovation Manager, about the new service.


1 Q: How will NHBC Accepts drive forward and secure build quality in new homes regarding offsite methods and innovative systems? Richard Lankshear (RL): 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. We ask manufacturers to demonstrate that their modern methods of construction (MMC) system meets NHBC Standards through a detailed review of the design, method of


manufacture, quality controls and onsite construction. We are transparent in our requirements so that all those who live in, lend to and build with MMC systems can be confident in the quality of their homes. Q: How difficult has it been to develop NHBC Accepts and a more ‘co-ordinated approach’ across the business when dealing with the myriad offsite systems on the market? RL: The MHCLG definition framework for MMC highlights the broad nature of the products and systems that we review. From fully-fitted volumetric

units, to panelised systems to site-based products and building components. However, the principle question remains the same – how can you demonstrate that your product meets our technical requirements? But while the question remains the same, it has meant that we need to be able to interrogate systems built from all common structural materials (and some less common), above and below the ground and manufactured both in the UK and abroad. To do so, I have a team with a broad background (architects, engineers, surveyors and inspectors) and the great strength of NHBC means that we can also draw on the specialisms of others where required. Q: What feedback have you had so far on the scope of NHBC Accepts from industry? RL: Since the launch in July we have had over 80 new enquiries which shows the value that this brings to manufacturers. However, what has been really telling are the messages of support from developers, lenders, property lawyers, agents and consultants. There was clearly a pent up demand for NHBC to pin its flag to the mast and declare that we do have


COVER STORY NHBC confidence in certain systems but only with our detailed and ongoing review. Q: Building confidence in offsite systems is essential for the wider client and specifier base – in what areas have you seen a lack of confidence? RL: NHBC Accepts is intended to build confidence in innovative construction and we do this through a rigorous and robust review. Importantly, though, we are transparent in the way that we do our work, publishing our technical documents and sharing details on our continued inspection once a system is inspected. In this way, we can demonstrate that any system with an NHBC Accepts certificate can meet NHBC Standards and is subject to ongoing review – so homeowners, lenders, developers and investors are confident in the quality of the home using an accepted system. In reviewing systems, we have seen three common themes that are overlooked. First that design should follow established principles. We know how to design timber, steel, concrete buildings – what works and what goes wrong. So just because a home is manufactured offsite, it doesn’t mean we should ignore the lessons of the past. The second area is in manufacturing production controls. To achieve quality, we often see people underestimate the level of detail required for manufacturing production controls, and there needs to be significant time and investment in the design for manufacture and assembly. And finally, the interfaces on-site need to be addressed. We require a clear installation manual for each accepted system that sets out the method of transportation and erection, detailing all interfaces and ensuring that tolerances and quality checks are clearly set out. Q: Many offsite systems have been around for quite a while – have you been surprised by the interest and growth of offsite systems in the last 2-3 years in particular to solve housing supply issues? RL: A couple of years ago we saw a real uptick in MMC systems, which led us to set up a team looking specifically at MMC systems. Although there have been levels of interest in the past, we saw this as different to previous

3 times with the strength of government support, housing developers investing in their own facilities as well as growing interest from housebuilders. This team has been strengthened and forms the backbone of our NHBC Accepts service. There has been growing demand for and an increase in the use of MMC – last year we saw 1 to 1.5% of schemes being registered as MMC; now it’s over 2.5%. What is interesting is the mix of different systems – some are volumetric, but there are many panelised systems as well as site-based and other components. So I’d say the clear lesson is that one size does not fit all – different systems will be suitable for different buildings, location, topography, sizes, ground conditions etc. For us, though it is simple as our only measure is one of quality – does this meet NHBC Standards? Q: How long does it take to carry out your technical reviews and what steps do you take in assessing suitability of product design and manufacture? RL: We require all manufacturers to provide a system manual – a comprehensive document that sets out the scope of the system, the construction details and specification and, importantly, the evidence of performance. We also require a fully audited and certified quality management system to be in place that we also interrogate to give us confidence in the product. And after acceptance, we continue to carry out checks, both in the factory and on-site, sharing learnings with manufacturers to help them continually improve.

4 Q: A recent MoU was signed between NHBC, BLP and MDIS? How can this bring a new level of understanding to insurers, lenders and financial markets? Does there need to be a greater co-ordination between industry competitors for the benefit of a better built environment? RL: A key tenet of the MoU is a drive towards greater transparency so that those who are working with MMC can understand how decisions are made. NHBC goes a long way to deliver that and we were pleased to have Mark Farmer recognised this. It helps no-one for different warranty bodies to have a different set of technical standards – particularly in the world of offsite manufacture and MMC. It is imperative that these standards can be shown to address potential concerns. Our standards have been developed over 80-plus years and based on extensive data from the UK and abroad and have helped to drive the continued improvement in construction quality of new homes. We are wholly committed to building confidence in MMC and believe that it has an important role in helping the industry and Government to deliver safe, sustainable places to live over the long-term. The MOU will help us all to achieve this and hopefully lead to a more collaborative approach. For more detailed information on what NHBC Accepts can do visit: Images: 01. Richard Lankshear, Innovation Manager, NHBC 02. Look out for the NHBC Accepts logo 03-04. NHBC Accepts is intended to build confidence in innovative construction through a rigorous and robust review. Courtesy ilke Homes



UK INDUSTRY NEWS Offsite Ready Challenge Delivers New Visitor Hub

Students from Edinburgh Napier University and the City of Glasgow College have linked up to design a new visitor hub for Beecraigs Country Park, Linlithgow. Two teams from the Scottish institutions were tasked with creating an ecologically sustainable, environmentally friendly and inclusive focal point to the vibrant country park. The aim was to layout a proposed building that could be constructed and deconstructed away from the intended site and was part of the ‘Are you Offsite Ready? Online design challenge’ sponsored by Stora Enso. ‘Team 2’ won the first prize, designing a hub which would cater for cyclists, with open and accessible areas. ‘Team 1’ delivered their presentation on a centre which would withstand the elements, including a mezzanine complemented by the carefully considered path of the sun. The challenge was originally conceptualised by Edinburgh Napier lecturer Dr Mila Duncheva and research assistant for the Centre for Offsite Construction and Innovative Structures, Louise


Rogers, with Catriona Jordan, from City of Glasgow College, as a way of giving students an opportunity to gain some industry experience out with the university curriculum and in lieu of the international internships usually available to students from Edinburgh Napier’s School of Engineering & the Built Environment. Rory Doak, Business Development Manager at Stora Enso UK & Ireland said: “Stora Enso were thrilled to support a student-led design project, showcasing the abilities of students to adapt to new working conditions and produce manufacturable, sustainable and inclusive designs. I hope that we will see more competitions emerge, like this, that equip students with strong fundamental knowledge of BIM, inclusivity, and sustainable construction with timber. I am sure these principles will be key industry drivers in the future, and these students will continue to champion these design principles as they build their careers.” Dr Mila Duncheva added: “This challenge was designed to develop students’ transferable skills including teamworking, problem solving, working to tight deadlines and collaborative digital workflows using building information modelling (BIM). I was

astounded by both teams’ intricate technical solutions and striking visual presentations and am delighted we provided a positive experience for them during the worst of the pandemic.” The project spanned 12 weeks and presented challenges for the students as they learned to work together remotely, whilst figuring out how to get the best from their designs and cater for the park’s one million yearly visitors. The Offsite Ready challenge teams collaborated with West Lothian Council to provide accurate geographical plans of the proposed sites and engineering consultant firm SWECO, who did an analysis of the project’s factors. This challenge was part of the wider Offsite Ready project funded by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and led by the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) in collaboration with Edinburgh Napier University, City of Glasgow College, Construction Wales Innovation Centre, Ministry of Building Innovation and Education and Class of Your Own. Source:



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UK INDUSTRY NEWS New FR OSB Product Launched

MEDITE SMARTPLY has launched SMARTPLY MAX FR B into the market. SMARTPLY MAX FR B brings an increased reaction to fire rating, up from Euroclass C offered by the current SMARTPLY MAX FR product and is the first Euroclass B board manufactured in the UK and Ireland to feature wood flakes treated with flame retardant solution before pressing. SMARTPLY MAX FR B replaces SMARTPLY MAX FR, building on the success of its reputation as one of the go-to boards for applications where strength, moisture resistance and flame retardance are paramount. “We are extremely excited to introduce SMARTPLY MAX FR B to the marketplace, expanding our extensive SMARTPLY OSB range,” says Richard Allen, Sales Director at MEDITE SMARTPLY. “In SMARTPLY MAX FR B, customers can expect all the fantastic benefits of a SMARTPLY OSB board, with the addition of ZeroIgnition® solution, a water-based and environmentally friendly flame retardant which is added during panel production, before the wood flakes are pressed. “This ensures that SMARTPLY MAX FR B’s flame retardance is integral and maintains its structural integrity, unlike many post-treated alternatives. Customers can rest assured that this boards flame retardance will hold to Euroclass B standard, even when cut to size, which makes it different to other FR boards out there.

“At MEDITE SMARTPLY, we want to support a safer, wider future for timber buildings, that will enable the wider construction industry to work more sustainably and more efficiently, truly building for the future. This has been one of our main motivations in developing SMARTPLY MAX FR B.” Manufactured using advanced resin technology that results in a high performance, no added formaldehyde panel, SMARTPLY MAX FR B can help specifying architects, contractors and fabricators contribute to the creation of safer, healthier environments. This includes not only the built environments actively created but the natural environments left behind: SMARTPLY MAX FR B is sustainably produced using timber from sustainably managed Irish forests. SMARTPLY MAX FR B meets with the requirements of European Standards EN 300 and EN 13986, while also complying with the European reaction to fire class B-s2,d0 and Bfl-s1. The panel also complies with the FR/FR Build performance requirements in accordance with Structural Timber Association’s Design Guide to Separating Distances During Construction for timber frame buildings above 600m² total floor area. Boards can be manufactured in largescale formats of up to 2.8m wide by 7.5m long, making it ideal for offsite manufacturing, alongside traditional building. Source:

Integra Buildings Announce Major Expansion Plans Fast-growing modular construction business Integra Buildings has announced plans for a major expansion of its Yorkshire base. Integra is in the final stages of acquiring six acres of land next to its site in Paull, East Yorkshire, and has submitted plans to East Riding of Yorkshire Council to incorporate this area into its operations. The development of the land will increase the Integra site footprint to over 14 acres and create room to meet the award-winning company’s current and future needs. The expansion will create 20 new jobs and is key to the Integra management team’s ambitions to double revenues to £60million within three years. The land has been earmarked for a new production facility as well as storage, loading and dispatch areas. Pending planning permission, Integra intends to begin work integrating the land into its site in six months. Managing Director Gary Parker said: “We need more room to deliver our current projects, service our very healthy order book and continue our growth. We’re already bursting at the seams much of the time. It’s also absolutely essential to maintain operations on a single site, for operational efficiency and to maintain our competitiveness. The expansion of our current site,


where we have already invested millions in facilities, is the perfect solution. This is great news for our employees and our supply chain, the vast majority of which is within East Yorkshire, as well as creating 20 new skilled and semi-skilled production jobs for local people. This is a landmark moment in the development of the company and we’re very excited by the opportunity to move to the next level.” The expansion will mark the latest chapter in Integra’s remarkable growth, which has accelerated following the consolidation of operations at the Paull site. Integra has invested more than £3million transforming its

operations at Paull, including a state-of-the-art office building, which was self-built on-site using cuttingedge modular construction techniques and serves as a showcase for the quality of facilities the business creates for clients. Integra’s turnover has grown significantly in recent years with revenues rising from £18.6million in 2016, before the investments at the Paull site, to a projected £30million-plus in the current year. Source:


UK INDUSTRY NEWS CSIC Wants You to Change the World

Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) has called on students with a passion for innovation and disruption to help lead the charge for change in the construction sector. CSIC is looking to galvanise forward-thinking attitudes by launching its Built Environment Innovation MSc Fund 2020-21, calling on prospective students who want to play a part in tackling climate change, to take the lead on significant technical advancements in the construction world and to be involved in finding that one simple creative idea that can completely transform the way the sector operates.

“Some of the most important solutions and innovative ideas come from those on the ground,” said Stephen Good, Chief Executive at CSIC. “Creating this opportunity for the future innovators of the construction world to develop their ideas is key to changing the sector. This is an exciting opportunity for students to be part of real transformational change together with industry, helping to set a new direction post lockdown as we build back better to create a built environment that works effectively for people, business and our economy.

From the rise of 3D printing, allowing companies to print out entire buildings, to virtual reality software being used in the planning stages of construction, the opportunities for creative and disruptive thinking students are endless and successful innovation enables businesses to punch above their weight.

“Construction and the built environment are changing, and the skills needed are wide ranging, including digital, climate change logistics, engineering, design and robotics. The demand for skilled professionals in the industry sector remains high and the opportunities are countless. The MSc funding offers people a real opportunity to create a career that positively impacts everyone through the physical spaces we inhabit.”

The grant will encourage new talent into Scotland’s construction landscape and to apply, CSIC is asking that students have an interest in bringing a creative thinking solution to the built environment sector and that they can support and work on a research project during their programme of study that can be applied directly to the industry.

Dale Johnstone, who benefited from CSIC’s MSc grant in 2016/17, said: “I would encourage anyone interested in developing their skills and prospects of a career in the built environment sector to apply for the MSc Grant on offer from CSIC. The access to industry experts within the sector was incredible. I was partnered with the Scottish Borders Council as part


of their Engineering and Design department and after the programme secured a full-time role at the Council. This new role allowed me to be a part of several civil engineering projects across the Borders, from the design stage right up to construction. I take great pride in being able to provide projects which have significant benefits to the local community and which continue to improve and shape the world we live in.” There are up to 20 places, each with £6,530 funding available, to help support candidates who are looking to carve a career and look to change the future of the built environment sector. Students can apply with an industry partner already in mind or CSIC can help find a partner from the wide network of contacts the Innovation Centre already has. During the programme, students will work closely with their chosen industry partner and have access to a number of skilled mentors, workshops and the chance to connect with experts across the sector. Source:


UK INDUSTRY NEWS £16m Whitehaven Academy Win for Wates Wates Construction has been awarded a £16million contract to build the new state-of-the-art Whitehaven Academy School, its second educational facility in the area after completing Campus Whitehaven last year. The development will replace the existing Whitehaven Academy School, which will be demolished to make way for a new three-storey education facility and sports hall, together with associated parking and landscaping. The main school building will contain a mixture of general teaching spaces for 900 pupils aged 11-16, with a focus on specialist teaching spaces for subjects as science, PE, design and technology. It has also been designed with flexibility and future expansion in mind, with plans to accommodate a 150-pupil sixth form centre in the next five years. Wates is carefully phasing the works and strictly adhering to social distancing guidelines to help minimise any disruption and protect workers and pupils at the school. Government mandated BIM 4D modelling will also be used to foster greater collaborative planning, design co-ordination, and clash detection. Work started on site in late June, with handover of the new school set to take place in early 2022. It will be delivered in partnership with supply chain partners SES Engineering Services, Cubby Construction and Elland Structures.

Dave Saville, Business Unit Director for Wates Construction in the North West, said: “We’re looking forward to delivering another outstanding educational facility to the people of Whitehaven, after completing Campus Whitehaven last year. After years of collaboration, we fully share the Department of Education and Cumbria Education Trust’s vision for what schools could and should be like – world-class educational spaces and facilities that inspire both pupils and teachers, promoting the learning process at every stage and future-proofed for the next generation. “As with any live school construction site, there will always be challenges when it comes to building close by to current school buildings. However, by making use of our offsite facilities and with decades of experience in the education sector, we have the skillset and capability to minimise disruption to the school – which was crucial to us gaining a place on the framework.”

Nick Polmear, Operations Director at Cumbria Education Trust, added: “It’s time to replace the Whitehaven school buildings, with a new, modern design that is fitfor-purpose, provides the best learning environment for students, and can be adapted to accommodate further expansion in time.” The Whitehaven Academy School has been procured by the Department for Education via its Construction Framework, further bolstering Wates’ already expansive education portfolio in the North West, with the firm also delivering Maghull High School and the Star Academies Eden schools in Blackburn and Manchester. The project is the latest for Wates Construction in the North West, with the team currently delivering St. Helens Fire Station, Sands Leisure Centre in Carlisle, and a new leisure hub in Widnes. Source:

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UK INDUSTRY NEWS Darwin Group Reaches Completion of STEM Modular Build

LSFA Announces the Appointment of Inaugural Chair

Mike Fairey has been unanimously voted in as the Association’s new Chair. Mike is Joint Director and Owner of Salvesen Insulated Frames Ltd and back in 2010 with his partner Tom Salvesen, bought the assets of Fusion Building Systems with the objective of firmly establishing the business as a UK leader in the offsite manufacturing of light steel frame super-structures.

Modular construction specialists, Darwin Group has delivered a new multi-use block for Gretton School in Cambridge. The brand-new STEM block will provide the school with two science labs, a design and technology workshop, art studio and associated services. Part of the Cavendish Education Group, Gretton is an independent specialist school in Girton for students aged 5 to 19 years old – offering a safe and secure learning environment for all. By utilising Darwin’s modern approach to design and turnkey solutions, the block was completed in three and a half months and arrived on-site with fully-fitted science labs, gas facilities, prep-room and desk space providing a functional space for experiential and theory lessons. After receiving expensive designs from other companies, the school began to consider that it’s grand vision may have to be compromised. Darwin Group, in conjunction with LXA Projects Ltd, were able to streamline the process and provide a more cost-effective solution for the school thanks to its skilled in-house team of education construction experts. Specially designed using modular methods, the block has been built with the future in mind with high-quality materials. As it was constructed offsite at Darwin Group’s Shrewsbury-based facility, disturbance to the rest of the school was kept to a minimum. Charles Pierce, Managing Director at Darwin Group, said: “As a proud British company we are thrilled to be able to offer an innovative solution that has bought this project to fruition. Our modern techniques and unique


turnkey service allows us to redefine what is realistically achievable within tight timescales and limited budgets making us the perfect fit for projects of this nature.” Ian Thorsteinsson, Principle at Gretton School, added: “Our smart new block is a fantastic addition to our school. Darwin Group were true professionals and considered the needs of our staff and students at every stage of the project, from start to finish. It was a great relief that the majority of the construction work could be completed offsite without disturbing the school and we were amazed at how fast it was assembled. “Many of our students get lots of enjoyment from the creativity that science, technology and art provide so I think this space is going to become their favourite place to work. We aim to make our students school life structured, fun and enjoyable and the new teaching environment will allow us to enhance their learning whilst providing the secure space that they need to grow. We can’t wait to show our students when we welcome them back in September.” Richard Parton, Director of LXA Projects Ltd (Project Managers, Quantity Surveyors and Interior Designers), added: “It was a pleasure to deliver this new academic facility in conjunction with Darwin Group. The team were flexible and responsive throughout the project and the end product is a fantastic new addition to Gretton School.’’ Source:

Since its introduction at the Focus on Framing conference in June 2019, the Light Steel Frame Association (LSFA) has grown in stature and numbers – now including some of the most prominent names operating in the sector. As the construction industry looks to raise the bar to meet building regulations banning the use of combustible materials on and within external walls of specific residential sectors above 18m – the light steel frame industry has witnessed unprecedented demand for non-combustible panelised and volumetric modular systems. Mike’s engineering career began in the early 1980s when he completed a five-year engineering apprenticeship in prototype automotive design and testing. Later in his career as an informed and respected member of the light steel frame industry, Mike was appointed to the Board of The Housing Forum in 2016 to provide insight and become the voice of offsite construction. He now uses his extensive expertise to champion offsite construction methods, helping to educate and transform approaches for housebuilding in the UK. Mike Fairey said of his appointment: “It is a real opportunity to chair such a forward-thinking group of construction professionals. My primary objective is to agree formal collaborations with other key industry associations and bodies such as The Housing Forum. We are galvanising the sector as we’re on the cusp of a major opportunity which has been driven by building regulations and the potential to further reduce the restriction of non-combustible materials in external walls to 11m. The sustainability and longevity benefits combined with the fire resistant properties mean that light steel framing systems are a vital offsite technology that can be used in so many building types and applications.” Source:


UK INDUSTRY NEWS Seismic II Takes MMC Schools to the Next Level

A £6million project to transform the way schools and healthcare facilities are built has been granted £2.9million of funding to showcase the future of modern methods of construction (MMC) in the UK. The consortium-led Seismic II project is working on the future of construction. Among a range of outcomes, the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) funded project via the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, will create a set of standardised reconfigurable components, working closely with the Construction Innovation Hub to align platform interface standards. These components will reduce waste, cost and carbon dioxide emissions while increasing speed of delivery. The consortium is conscious of the need to align and harmonise its work with the outputs of the Construction Innovation Hub and will be working with them throughout to ensure maximum impact. Government procurement is already set to shift from traditional construction methods to MMC. Seismic II will show how this shift can happen while meeting the government’s own ‘Construction 2025’ vision of lower costs and emissions, faster delivery and an increase in exports from the industry.


Seismic II builds on the success of the Seismic I project, which showed how a standardised light steel frame could change the way new schools were designed and constructed. With the new award from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, the system will encompass the production of wall, floor, ceiling and roof components that are all completely interoperable with the standardised light steel frame. “The Seismic system is already proving the benefits of offsite construction in the schools sector and our componentised offsite schools solution has saved the country tens of millions,” said Richard Crosby, Director, blacc Ltd. “Unsurprisingly, we are gaining interest from many other sectors too, including housing and healthcare. With this additional investment we’re through to a whole new level of productivity, efficiency and materials innovation.” Along with improving the offsite production processes for projects using MMC, Seismic II will also look at the whole life performance of the buildings produced that way. The government’s industrial strategy aims to reduce the construction costs and whole life costs of buildings by a third, while seeing those same buildings delivered in half the time and with a 50% reduction in carbon emissions from the sector.

Graeme Jeremy, Head of Construction & Infrastructure, NCC said: “Using advanced materials in construction is still relatively novel, and through the Seismic II project, we’ll be investigating areas where composites can add the most value to modular buildings, taking advantage of the increasing uptake in manufacturing.” Originally intended for school construction, Seismic II has drawn interest from the healthcare, commercial and residential sectors. The completed demonstrator building will be a template for high performance buildings of all types, delivered using high quality, reliable, standardised components. Phil Clements, UK Technical Director at Tata Steel added: “This project will allow thousands of children to have access to education in buildings which have been designed using the latest technology, constructed offsite to lower emissions and can be repurposed and recycled.” Source:


UK INDUSTRY NEWS Manufacturers Urged to Digitise Product Data to Reduce Risk A new initiative aims to get manufacturers in the construction industry to take ownership of their product information. The project is producing a Plain Language Guide for manufacturers setting out why digital product data is important and how manufacturers can benefit by taking simple low-cost steps. The project is supported by the Institution of Engineering and Technology, Construction Products Europe and the UK BIM Alliance. “Structured product data has many benefits”, says Paul Surin of IBM, a member of the project editorial team. “By structuring data and taking advantage of the new standards, manufacturers can start treating their information as an asset, monetise their data, save considerably on marketing costs and reduce risk.” The risks to manufacturers of analogue methods of handling data are considerable, Patricia Massey of Electrium explains: “The Grenfell tragedy has showed our industry that knowing where your products are is essential to public safety, but it also protects manufacturers. The new Building Safety Bill requires building owners to certify their buildings are safe, and that requires knowing what is in them. We are also seeing increasing instances of construction companies being prosecuted for product related failure.

“Manufacturers will need to conform to the market need for standardised, traceable product information soon, if only to protect their business interests. New international standards published this year make it possible for information to be provided in a standardised, interoperable way, and the project team believe that a simple process will allow manufacturers to make their products traceable and protect against fraud and incompatible product substitution.” Christophe Sykes of Construction Products Europe (CPE) said: “One of the characteristics of the European industry is that we have the Construction Products Regulation (CPR). It lays down harmonised rules for the Single Market of construction products in the EU. The Regulation offers a common technical language, allowing the assessment of the performance of

construction products, and ensuring the delivery of reliable technical data to the market. More recently, our Smart CE marking initiative allows this regulated data to be delivered in a harmonised digital format. We welcome this initiative to help manufacturers understand how digitisation can help compliance.” Blane Judd, Chair of IET Built Environment Panel, added: “One of the goals of the IET’s Built Environment Panel is to support the digitalisation of the built environment sector. This still has a long way to go and a better understanding and management of product data will make a significant contribution to this journey. Delivering built as designed buildings which will perform better and are safer can be a reality.” Source:

UK INDUSTRY NEWS Rollalong and Magna Housing Agree New Modular Contract Two Dorset businesses have strengthened their relationship by agreeing a contract to manufacture 50 more sustainable modular homes for communities in the South West. Rollalong the largest permanent offsite manufacturer in the south of England, will manufacture the homes offsite at its factory in Wimborne for Dorchester-based Magna Housing before installing them on several sites across Dorset and Somerset. The new contract marks the start of a decade in which Magna will invest £400million into new and existing homes across Dorset and Somerset. Fortyfive homes have already been manufactured and earmarked for sites across Dorset. The Magna homes range by Rollalong are built offsite in a factorycontrolled setting. Rollalong has over 50 years of experience in the rapid and risk-free delivery of quality, bespoke and modular buildings for all market sectors. “This is tremendously exciting and we’re delighted to continue working with Magna Housing,” said Steve Chivers, Managing Director of Rollalong. “Our ongoing collaboration will ensure that high-quality, precisionengineered homes continue to be manufactured in the local area by local people.”

Magna Housing owns 9,000 properties and has a workforce of about 450 people aiming to build over 500 more homes over the next three years. They are in discussion with other clients in the region to open up the long-term supply of homes built offsite to complement existing capabilities in on-site delivery Paul Read, Head of Development and Sales at Magna Housing, added: “This is great news for both our organisations, which have been working together very successfully for the past 18 months. Magna’s partnership with Rollalong and its continued

commitment are securing jobs in the local area, generating social returns for the local economy and building a sustainable future in the South West.” Rollalong has a factory capacity of 2,000 homes per annum and is well placed to support central Government and play its part in solving the current housing crisis. The new homes will be manufactured from the newly designed 2020/21 range and have been designed to fully comply with the Higher Fabric First approach in the Future Homes Standard. Source:

Saxon Reach Gets Offsite Boost L&Q is delivering 225 new homes at Saxon Reach in Milton Keynes using offsite manufactured timber frame. All properties at Saxon Reach – ranging from onebedroom apartments to five-bedroom homes – are being constructed with Stewart Milne Timber Systems (SMTS), promising a more energy efficient build and significantly lower running costs for new residents. Setting the benchmark for future homes, Saxon Reach’s timber frame properties form part of L&Q’s New-Build Homes: Quality Standard promise, a commitment to delivering premium fixtures, fittings and appliances as standard at no additional cost to the buyer. All apartments at Saxon Reach come with private outdoor space. Debi Lama, National Account Manager at Stewart Milne Timber Systems, said: “Our ambitious partnership with L&Q is not only reducing build costs for the Housing Association, meaning that the charitable organisation has more money to re-invest back into existing communities and other new homes, but is also delivering the highest standard of construction for buyers. We believe that L&Q are setting the standard for housebuilding in the UK and look forward to seeing happy new residents on site at Saxon Reach.”


Saxon Reach is part of the wider Glebe Farm development area, a growing new residential quarter for Milton Keynes, which will meet the demands of the budding town. Glebe Farm will deliver new retail and commercial facilities, a doctor’s surgery and sports and leisure facilities, as well as an extension of the Milton Keynes Redway system – a 200 mile network of shared use paths for cyclists and pedestrians. The site will also be home to a new school – welcoming children from primary age up to the end of secondary school.

be partnering with SMTS to deliver innovative new homes for our buyers in Milton Keynes. As well as significantly reducing household bills, offsite timber solutions are vital in addressing housing shortfalls in the area – allowing us to deliver homes up to 30% quicker, particularly important in an area like Milton Keynes that has seen significant population and employment growth over recent years. We are pleased to be offering local residents the opportunity to purchase a high quality new homes in this thriving new district, paving the way for future newbuilds in the area.”

Christine Osborne, Sales and Customer Services Director (Counties) at L&Q, added: “We are proud to



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UK INDUSTRY NEWS McAvoy Tops Out in Croydon With construction nearing completion at the new Timebridge Community Centre in New Addington, a topping out ceremony was held by The McAvoy Group and their client Croydon Borough Council to mark the milestone recently. A key part of Croydon Borough Council’s extensive regeneration programme for New Addington the new two-storey purpose built centre combines the Fieldway Family Centre, the Timebridge Community Centre and includes a food bank, the Learning Tree nursery and a youth centre. There are also several flexible spaces to hire, including a multi-purpose hall, two studio spaces, conference and meeting rooms and social space. The event was held with safe distancing measures being followed by all attendees. Guests included Croydon’s Madam Mayor, Maddie Henson, local ward councillors and representatives of local community groups. Gavin Ward, Project Manager at The McAvoy Group, said: “By incorporating the most advanced offsite construction techniques, we have been able to turn this project around in under a year, despite COVIDrelated delays – it’s a high-quality, intuitively designed building and I’ve no doubt it will continue adding huge value to the local community for many years to come.”

Cllr Simon Hall, Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources, Councillor for New Addington North Ward addressed the attendees saying: “The new centre will provide much needed enhanced facilities enabling local groups to continue with their excellent work in serving the local community. This new community centre follows on from the completion of the all new leisure centre on central parade. The Council has also commenced with works on the Timebridge fields for an all new SEN school which will be completed in Sept 2021.”

The McAvoy Group has also announced that it is to close its factory in Co Tyrone and centralise all operations in Lisburn. The 91,350sq ft headquarters near Coalisland is up for sale for £2.5million. McAvoy Managing Director Mark Lowry described the sale as: “The final part of a post-COVID restructuring strategy to ensure that the business is in the best possible shape for the future.”

on the boards and steering committees for a number of influential Government and industry bodies.

project for Balfour Beatty at The University of Sussex believed to be one of the largest light steel frame projects undertaken.


Fusion Celebrates 20 years in Offsite Fusion Building Systems is celebrating 20 years of offsite construction excellence, building more light steel frame superstructures over the past two decades than probably any other supplier. Fusion was founded in Ireland in 2000 when a construction entrepreneur wanted to find a way of delivering high quality housing at speed, with less reliance on labour and the weather. In 2010, the Company was acquired by Salvesen Insulated Frames Ltd, relocated to Northampton and since then, has retained its position at the forefront of the offsite construction sector. Over the past two decades Fusion has designed, engineered, manufactured and built light steel frame superstructures for more than 25 schools, 2,000 care home beds, 3,000 residential housing units, 4,000 apartments and 12,000 student beds. Its client portfolio has also grown exponentially, and its offsite excellence has been recognised by such prestigious award programmes as Construction News and the Offsite Construction Awards. Now as the construction industry begins to embrace a digital future and the more widespread adoption of MMC and design for manufacturing principles, Fusion continues to drive change. Its Directors are proud to sit


Fusion Director Mike Fairey, said: “I’m proud of our legacy in the offsite sector. We’ve built numerous structures across many sectors and continue to use the knowledge we’ve gained to improve our products and processes. We’ve seen a lot of change over the past 20 years, though it’s probably only since around 2015 that we’ve seen offsite methods of construction really begin to push towards centre stage for the construction industry as a whole.” Fusion’s work over the past 20 years has included urban regeneration projects, historical renovations, off-the-shelf school construction system and product focused ‘brand’ solutions for some of the UK’s largest contractors and developers. Most recently, Fusion has completed a 2,000 bed student accommodation

“This is an extremely exciting time to be in the offsite sector, adds Mike. “We’re now talking about the role technology has to play as part of the ‘Golden Thread’ for MMC, and the prospect of shifting the construction industry’s mindset from a project-led approach to one which is centred on the product. These are changes I think we’ll be seeing accelerate over the next five years, paving the way for our next 20 years in the industry.” Source:


UK INDUSTRY NEWS Housing First for Bristol A UK first took place in a car park in Bristol recently as 11 innovative zero carbon ZED Pods apartments were craned into place. The development, designed by award-winning modular housing company ZED Pods will see the one and two bedroom apartments built on a podium above the car park in Chalks Road, St George. This ground-breaking development is being delivered in partnership with Bristol City Council, Bristol Housing Festival, YMCA and Bristol and Bath Regional Capital. The factory-built modular units can be erected within days and are designed to be zero carbon, energy neutral and have the lowest possible running costs. Each unit is precision-made in a factory environment to high environmental standards and comes with full BOPAS (Build Off-site Property Assurance Scheme) accreditation.

ZED Pods Operations Director Dr Rehan Khodabuccus said: “We wanted to address key worker and affordable housing issues without compromising on our values of sustainability and quality. We are very pleased that Bristol City Council has had the foresight to partner with us direct and are so enthusiastic about the potential for more developments like this.”

Because the development takes advantage of the air rights above a council-owned car park, the land cost has been removed thus making the development extremely affordable. This is also the first 100% socially rented development of its kind in the country. This environmental and socially-focused development will deliver necessary council housing in St George for young people in need of affordable housing and those at risk of housing crisis, including NHS workers.

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, added: “I am really pleased to see this development come to fruition. It’s an exciting and yet practical approach to addressing some of the housing challenges we have in the city and I hope we can see more of these sort of projects delivered in the near future. We have to be thinking creatively about how we best use the space we have in the city and not keep pushing people further and further out because they can’t afford city house prices.”


Jez Sweetland, Bristol Housing Festival Project Director, said: “This was one of the projects that came about as a result of our five year Bristol Housing Festival that started in 2018 which is all about trying out new ideas and re-imagining better ways to live in our cities. Our aim has always been to deliver tangible projects and so I am thrilled that the ZED Pods project is now actually a reality and that there are other projects in the pipeline.” You can read more about this project on p48 of this issue. Source:

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UK INDUSTRY NEWS Timber Boost for Maidenhead Office Park Hutchison Kivotos Architects recently completed a two-storey cross laminated timber (CLT) and glulam office extension at No. 2 Maidenhead Office Park. The extension connects the two existing wings of a 38,000sq ft office building by creating a welcoming, contemporary ‘heart space’ opening out to a generous landscaped courtyard. The new building was designed, supplied and installed by mass timber and hybrid specialist G-frame Structures with the two-storey block formed of PEFC-certified HEXAPLI CLT with glulam columns and beams from French supplier Piveteaubois. “It was important to create a building that would provide a differentiating factor for our client in the highly competitive commercial lettings market,” says James Johnson, Director at Hutchison Kivotos. “Prior to COVID-19 there was a strong market at Maidenhead Office Park and creating a unique, contemporary and flexible office space was vital to meet the growing demand – particularly from young, tech and start-up companies. We felt that a contemporary timber structure would achieve this.” It sits on a simple, four-sided ‘doughnut’ shaped plan with accommodation housed in a three-sided horseshoe shaped section. The original layout of the building was awkward, requiring people wanting to cross from east to west wing to pass through the reception area: the new structure squares this off, linking the two original wings of the building and improving the connection to the courtyard.

New Report Urges Modular Acceleration

Internally, the CLT and glulam have been left exposed providing a complement to the original office space and resulting in a light-filled, calm atmosphere. The use of timber also helped to overcome the constraints of building within an internal courtyard, allowing prefabricated elements to be lifted into the middle of the ‘doughnut’ using a mobile crane placed at the front of the building. “It’s really good to see the growing awareness in the commercial lettings sector of the benefits of building with wood,” said Lee Murphy, Managing Director at

A new report has been published – jointly authored by Cast CEO, Mark Farmer and HTA Architects partner, Mike De’Ath. Both are long-term industry colleagues and passionate advocates of modernising homebuilding through use of offsite construction including modular techniques. The new report sets out a bold ambition to seize on the opportunities presented by COVID-19 recovery planning to accelerate the role modular homebuilding plays in the future as part of a much more strategic approach to nurturing and mainstreaming the manufactured housing market. The vision in the report sets out the potential to create a sector capable of delivering 75,000 newbuild homes every year within a decade through a series of interlinked, long-term interventions by Government and its agencies coordinating demand stimulation alongside responsible capacity building. At its heart is the call for more tenure diversity to allow deeper market absorption combined with a new modular homebuilding national integration platform capable of aggregating and co-ordinating the market at scale such that clients and manufacturers can combine and collaborate in one place in a move towards more unified design and technical standards, quicker and larger data and evidence collection and the building of confidence in underwriting markets.


G-frame Structures. “For developers of commercial portfolios, it is a savvy investment to transform an average office building of standard décor into a desirable and healthy workspace by the addition of a mass timber extension. No. 2 is now an environment to which incoming tenants are likely to respond well and settle in for a long time in the certain knowledge that the building meets their social distancing needs and is adaptable and future-proofed.” Source:

The report says: “In writing this paper we have sought to place modular housing delivery at the heart of the Government’s post-pandemic industrial strategy and hopefully influence building blocks that might be laid in the Spending Review, due to be announced in the Autumn. Our asks, derived from our experience as practitioners as well as from research with consultees, are rooted in greater collaboration to re-shape the market to face the challenges ahead. We need a plan that joins up Government and its agencies with housing procurers and deliverers at an unprecedented scale. A strategy that also calls for targeted Government subsidy, investment, land release, planning reform and tenure diversification. This will promote the manufacture of great housing to meet both latent current and future demand whilst creating new jobs and building a green recovery. “Much of the great work we have discovered in our research is fuelled by local or business level ambition with similar thinking replicated throughout the country. Some are more advanced than others, many have not yet commenced, however the need for homes has never been greater. We call on those with this ambition to embrace modular and wider MMC delivery, to share and support each other and collaborate to come together at an unprecedented scale." You can download or read ‘Build Homes, Build Jobs, Build Innovation’ at:


UK INDUSTRY NEWS PM Visits Hereford MTX Fast-track Ward Project After declaring the UK government’s intention to deliver ‘Project Speed’, including a £3billion capital investment into the NHS, healthcare construction company MTX, welcomed the Prime Minister to their latest £12million, 72-bed, fast-track ward project at Hereford County Hospital. The Prime Minister visited the construction site in August keen to see for himself near completed ward project, that aims to deliver the NHS a total of 72 extra beds across three state-of-the-art wards – all in just 11 months. All part of the government initiative to ‘to build better, to build greener, to build faster’ the new ward extension is being delivered using MTX’s fast-track construction methods that reduce the build time by up to 50%. Talking on the PM’s twitter feed whilst on -site, Boris described the project as: “The beginnings of a new series of wards for Hereford County Hospital… The first of the 20 new hospital upgrades that this government has embarked on… The beginning of a record programme of investment in our NHS.” David Hartley, Managing Director of MTX said: “The site team were excited to welcome the PM to our latest project and talk him through the clear benefits

of these rapid construction methods. For this project, the building is largely built offsite in a factory, then transported and craned into position. This not only means we can deliver buildings much faster, but we can produce 60% less waste, ensure safer construction sites and all to the same standard and quality as a traditionally built hospital.” With the Government’s ‘Project Speed’ well underway and described as:

“the most radical reforms of our planning system since the end of the second world war,” there is also attempts to offset the economic impact of the Coronavirus pandemic with the MTX offsite method of construction leading the way on delivering Boris’s promises. Source:



Graham Cleland, Managing Director of Berkeley Modular, sees digitalisation as an enabler to scale and a way to leverage productivity. With the landscape of the UK’s offsite sector becoming increasingly populated over the last few years, what developments should we be looking out for? Many new entrants – mostly concentrated on residential development – joining a host of longer-established players are embracing business models based on the manufacture of volumetric modular residential product, rather than other forms of offsite solution such as panellised product. The investment profile of these new entrants suggests that the success or otherwise of their business models directly relates to an ability to operate at scale and achieve high levels of productivity. Digitalisation and the power of datacentricity across the wider construction industry is somewhat misunderstood. Most often, parties tend to think that the creation of 3D models using common software platforms in order that information can be easily shared and the likes of clash detection carried out constitutes all that is required for the building of an information model. Indeed, over the last 10-15 years, new roles such as BIM Manager and BIM Co-ordinator have emerged across the industry which tend to reflect this limited understanding. Yet the creation of a geometric digital twin in a virtual modelling environment does not really constitute the building of an information model that digitally captures both the product and the process needed to be executed to create the physical entity. The newer entrants to offsite who are focused on the manufacture of volumetric modular product for the residential sector appear to lack understanding of digitalisation and the power of data-centricity. For such manufacturing-based enterprises, it is not to say that their utilisation of sophisticated software to foster collaborative working to help the

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efficient development of a geometric digital twin is not beneficial, rather that in itself it is not adequate for the purpose of facilitating scalability and high levels of productivity. The digitalisation (or digital engineering) of product and process implies a more wide ranging set of activities than just the collaborative development of a geometric digital twin. Whether these enterprises have implemented rigid manufacturing workflow to support the production of a limited range of standard product, or a more flexible manufacturing workflow to support production of mass-customised products, a datacentric logic which facilitates control of the value chain and supports data-driven decision making is a pre-requisite to success. Plainly, an expansive notion of digitalisation and the power of data-centricity reflects something more than the simple idea of building information modelling, and whilst not widely appreciated it really does hold the key to an enterprise realising scale and high levels of productivity. In order to comprehend the power of data-centricity, enterprises must secure a deep understanding of what data it needs and how it must flow to efficiently operate. Most enterprises do not invest the time and effort to secure the necessary insight regarding data creation and flow. Without this understanding, they are unable to determine the nature of the technology platform needed to support the effective digital engineering of product and process. As a result, they typically default to a technology strategy incorporating a set of software packages which cannot be fully integrated, and so


DATA-CENTRIC OFFSITE ultimately thwart the enterprise’s ability to exploit the power of data. Furthermore, these enterprises tend to recruit resource into their businesses which reflect the conventional skill sets mentioned earlier, which further limits the enterprise’s potential digital engineering and data-centricity prowess. Of course, for those construction and offsite enterprises who have made relatively low levels of investment to help harness data, such a technology strategy might not be overly constraining because their direct competition might operate in a similar way realising similar mediocre levels of performance. However, for those newer enterprises that will be manufacturing volumetric modular product for the residential sector and who possess an appetite to operate at scale and leverage productivity, it is likely these will encounter serious challenges and such a technology strategy will ultimately prove to represent a weak link. The true power of data is still largely unknown. This is not necessarily a criticism, rather just a statement of reality and if something does not appear to be a problem then resource is not usually allocated to resolving it. And yet, for a manufacturing-based enterprise that wants to operate at scale and with high levels of productivity, a data-centric focus is imperative.

2 The power of data-centricity can only be realised if an enterprise has a true, granular understanding of what data is important. An enterprise must seek to understand what data it needs and how it must flow to efficiently operate, and crucially how the same should be authored, configured, manipulated and managed. It is only when an enterprise develops a profound insight that it can also start to consider how the authoring, configuring, manipulating and managing of data can be automated. Indeed, for those newer entrants to the offsite sector who want to operate at scale and achieve high levels of productivity, one option often used to compensate for not comprehending the power of datacentricity is to simply employ more resource.

Accordingly, whilst there is additional investment involved in acquiring the necessary talent into a business and affording the same the time to evolve the appropriate process logic and identify the associated technology platform to fully secure control of the value chain and facilitate datadriven decision making, the longterm benefits are enormous. This requirement for investment can be perceived as a leap of faith compared to capital expenditure on machinery, because the power of data-centricity is not readily understood, and often technology projects fail to get delivered.

Given the fragmented, skills-scarce climate that such businesses might currently be operating in, this sort of compensatory mechanism ultimately remains a limiting factor to achieving scale and high levels of productivity. The rationale behind this is straightforward enough: the skill sets of many of the sorts of people operating across the construction and offsite sectors are not sufficiently broad to properly understand the full idea that lies behind digitalisation. Whilst some of these enterprises might have a fairly advanced understanding of what to build, they are characteristically lacking in terms of their understanding of how something should be built.

Nonetheless, the infographic opposite contains some examples of the sort of automated data capture / flow that are required in an enterprise that aspires to be a profitable, high-volume manufacturer of volumetric modular product for the residential sector.

The true power of data-centricity can only be realised if data is discretised, that is the packets of data that are shared between two actors (e.g. from person-to-person, or person-tomachine) only contain information that

is relevant to that particular transaction. Any exchange of data which involves surplus, superfluous, imprecise or erroneous information only gives rise to inefficient working because process time is wasted stripping out the unnecessary components of the communication and validating that the remainder is adequate and accurate to facilitate processing. Furthermore, it is crucial to comprehend the importance of data purity and data integrity, so it is essential to create process logic that affords management and maintenance of data sets to avert risk of data pollution. Where data is discretised, such process logic is easier to identify and implement because the size of data packets can be configured to be easier to handle. So, an offsite providers that can secure control of the value chain and facilitate data-driven decisions is likely to become a sector lead. To summarise, the value to any enterprise of acquiring a granular understanding of the power of data-centricity, including what data is important and how it must flow, is the essence of digitalisation and it is this knowledge that will enable scale and realisation of high levels of productivity. For more information visit: Images: 01. The power of data-centricity can only be realised if an enterprise has a true, granular understanding of what data is important 02. Large scale modular developments can be driven to high scales of efficiency through improved data harnessing





The demands of healthcare architecture are entirely unique to its own regulations, needs and complexities. Philip Ruffle, Director at Munday + Cramer, outlines the wide scope of considerations on how space is used and why offsite thinking can help.

1 Over the past few months the pandemic has changed the way people interact with healthcare spaces. It has forced design and architecture to accommodate these changes at a rapid pace, but this could prove to be a positive shift as it better prepares facilities moving forward. There is no other sector that requires such intricate planning and consideration than healthcare, especially when it comes to health and safety. Architecture and design plays a huge part in helping healthcare spaces prioritising patient well-being and being able to do their jobs as efficiently as possible. A poorly planned space can have detrimental effects on the success of a facility as it can become disjointed and not fit for purpose.


The pandemic in particular has highlighted the importance of meticulous planning as well as collaborating across different sectors. From design and construction to technology and hygiene these all need to work in unison with one another – architecture is not the only part at play. When it comes to patient health and wellbeing there is essentially no margin for error. Everything must flow seamlessly to relieve strain on our system and for patients to receive the best care. There are set regulations that we can use as guidelines when starting a plan. They must be adhered to throughout the whole process and are checked regularly by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). The body oversee the entire healthcare sector

from the day to day running and processes, right down to the most intricate architecture. There are many sources we use for finding out the key principals set out by the body, but by providing guidance they actually simplify some of the complexities we deal with in the design process. Some examples of the requirements that have to be adhered to can be found in regulation 15, for instance. It’s outlined that healthcare premises should: • • • •

Provide ease of access. Include adequate support facilities and amenities. Be large enough to accommodate the proposed number of patients. Be appropriately located.


HEALTHCARE DESIGN Similar guidance can also be found in the Government’s ‘Health Technical Memorandum’ and the Department of Health’s ‘Health Building Notes’. These documents offer clear suggestions to architects on effective practices for designing healthcare facilities. The term ‘healthcare facilities’, covers a very broad area, involving a lot of different services, from hospitals and GP Surgeries to cosmetic clinics and private practices. Each of these have their own unique set of demands. However, what is consistent across them all, is of course the need to prioritise patient welfare, but also to be flexible. The past few months especially has highlighted the need for spaces to be versatile. During the pandemic, many healthcare spaces have had to become dual purpose in many instances, having to adapt what the facility was built for to accommodate the demand and pressures. Modular design and builds can be hugely beneficial in this instance. Not only do they allow for a quick turnaround, but they also allow greater flexibility than a traditional build. A great example of how this came into play recently was with the COVID-19 response facility. The project integrated site-ready modular spaces, which made building a fully functioning facility possible in such a short space of time. This type of build can have huge benefits in a time like this when there is increased pressure and over stretched resources. These include and are not limited to, being more cost effective, reducing time spent on-site and not having to store materials on site. Equally, there is the potential that as we see more of this moving forward, there will be huge health and safety management benefits due to the reduced hours spent on-site. Hygiene and social distancing are two of the most talked about things at the moment and this isn’t set to change any time soon. One of the main elements that has changed in terms of design across the board is the need for space. There has had to be a huge focus on spatial planning, ensuring things are set up in a way that allows people to keep their distances. This applies to facilities across all sectors but is particularly vital for healthcare.

2 With a heavy footfall and large concentration of people with infectious diseases and spreadable viruses passing through the doors, permanent social distancing may be a positive move for the sector. However, when the pandemic is over and people become less mindful, the design of a facility can encourage this by including more spacious rooms laid out to encourage distancing or even separate rooms where possible. Ultimately this is a good way to improve both patient wellbeing and experience as places feel less crowded and overwhelming. One of the key players tying spacious design and modular builds together in healthcare design is augmented reality. As mentioned, many pre-fabricated components for modular builds can be manufactured offsite. These include roof trusses, wall sections (such as SIPS), cladding systems and brick slips, which are often used on prefabricated buildings to give the illusion of a 'traditional' finish such as brickwork. With this in mind, made to measure techniques are often key, which is assisted hugely by the improvements to CAD/BIM and modelling, but augmented reality systems also aid visualisation”. COVID-19 has shaken things up for the architectural design industry and forced change to happen quickly. It’s changed everyone’s behaviour, including the way people interact both with healthcare spaces. Architects have had to adapt at the same pace to accommodate new demands. It’s

3 likely encouraged improvements that healthcare will benefit from for years to come as the shifts prioritise hygiene, act to minimise the spread of germs and provides flexibility. We have also now seen how versatile healthcare spaces can be, with modular and prefabricated buildings coming into play now more than ever. Overall, design in this sector is constantly evolving. We have seen how technology such as AR and even 3D printing have aided rapid improvements over the past few years, helping modular design and builds to take place. There has been a lot learnt with a greater emphasis on patient experience paired with its primary function of prioritising welfare. For more information visit: Images: 01-03. Modular manufacture can provide healthcare environments with expertly designed and speedily delivered facilities




ESS MODULAR STRENGTHENS EDUCATION OFFERING WITH SPATIAL INITIATIVE ACQUISITION ESS Modular recently announced that Spatial Initiative is now a fully-owned subsidiary of the ESS Modular Group, after the business acquired an additional 50% share in the UK school building company. The move is an investment in the continued growth of the educational arm of the business, which will continue to support the DfE’s ambitious school building programmes.

2 1 Spatial Initiative is on a number of Department for Education (DfE) frameworks and to date has completed eight new schools and is currently onsite and in contract for a further nine new projects throughout the country. In January of this year the company was appointed to the £3billion DfE Offsite Framework MMC I and joined a panel of contractors which will help deliver the DfE’s new school build programme for new primary and secondary schools across the UK over the next four years. This framework highlights a continued shift in government preference towards modern methods of construction (MMC). Paul Tierney, CEO, ESS Modular said: “Spatial Initiative boasts a specialist team of construction professionals who are experts in delivering education projects. We are delighted to be able to announce that we have acquired the business in full which will further strengthen the ESS Modular Group. This investment will allow us to continue to grow our education offering in the coming years.”


Sarah Morton, Director, Spatial Initiative added: “It has been a really exciting number of years for Spatial Initiative as we see MMC being increasingly recognised as the preferred solution to deliver the country’s school building programme. We are really looking forward to continuing our work with the DfE as part of the ESS Modular Group in delivering these important schemes.” Spatial Initiative was founded in 2016 as a joint venture between ESS Modular and Styles & Wood. The company specialises in delivering education projects utilising MMC. It has become a leading school builder in the UK having secured 17 projects with a combined value of over £100million over the last two years. ESS Modular is a leading modular construction company specialising in precision manufacturing. Founded in 1989, ESS Modular has more than three decades of experience in providing building solutions to the market and has grown to become an industry leader in modular construction in the UK and Ireland. ESS Modular directly employs over


4 200 people across four sites and two manufacturing facilities in London, Manchester, Dublin and Belfast. For more information visit: Images: 01. Pound Hill Primary School, Crawley 02. Highcliffe Primary School, Leicester 03. Paul Tierney, CEO, ESS Modular 04. Sarah Morton, Director, Spatial Initiative


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It is crucially important that school building programmes get back on track as soon as possible, with many concerned about the impact COVID-19 will have on education. Modular & Portable Building Association (MPBA) Chief Executive Jackie Maginnis, considers how offsite construction can help. complete with offices, catering facilities and welfare accommodation for some time.


2 Back in January 2020 the Department for Education (DfE) revealed the offsite schools framework ‘to cultivate innovation and modernise the industry by increasing the adoption of modern methods of construction.’ The DfE programme will deliver some 30 offsite schools a year with a projected pipeline of up to £3billion over the next four years. I am gratified that some of our members have been appointed to bring their expertise in


volumetric modular technology to the fore, to help deliver these schools as swiftly as possible. Although many think volumetric modular construction is a new thing – numerous companies have remarkable histories, in some case between 55 to 80-plus years. They have been providing the highest-quality modular buildings, from temporary classrooms to multi-storey teaching blocks

The modular industry has had a remarkable impact on reducing costs while increasing quality and safety. Having gained considerable momentum over the past few years, advanced modular techniques reduce build times by an impressive 50-60%. The demand for customisation has led the industry to develop methods for adaptation during the mass production process to meet individual school’s requirements. Innovations in volumetric modular technology augment the construction industry with a multitude of benefits that span from greener, healthier environments to maximised sustainability, heavily reduced costs in many cases and faster build times. Doors, windows, heating, plumbing and even washrooms can be factoryfitted together with internal and external finishes. Construction on a working school site is disruptive and presents many health and safety concerns. The noise and dust associated with traditional construction methods can hinder effective teaching and learning together with reducing outdoor space. Modular approaches are revolutionising the construction industry. While traditional build processes are laced with pitfalls, hidden costs and are highly disruptive – volumetric modular buildings offer predictability of costs and building programmes. They are easy to plan, budget, and are quick to erect. Modular technology brings a host of benefits to the education sector, for example, extensions to schools can


MPBA be manufactured in well-managed factories and craned into position during holiday periods, so there is no disruption. Offsite technology offers benefits that have had a huge positive impact on the construction industry, bringing longstanding traditional practices up-to-date. The first key shift away from traditional methods is that build processes take place in controlled factory conditions which requires a change of mind-set and approach. Historically, manufacturing operations have been considered extensions to construction processes, instead of an integral and important part. This perception is changing. As offsite has become an increasingly dominant force that utilises high levels of technology, the lines between manufacturing, engineering and construction have become blurred, creating a need for new skills and redefining existing ones.


As units are factory manufactured, stringent quality control processes can be undertaken within these well-managed environments. These in-house conditions also prevent weather from inhibiting the construction process, guaranteeing efficiency. In addition, modular construction enables site work and building processes to be completed simultaneously, reducing labour costs and build times. Modular builds used to mean ‘prefab cabins’ but today contemporary modular designs are very different. They are fully compliant with building regulations and conceived especially for use as an education space based on current research on how children can learn effectively. They are light and airy and add to the aesthetic of the school. Modular build classrooms can last for decades and many are designed in such a way that they can be moved. Space can be deconstructed and then reconstructed in a new place. Many contemporary architects are embracing volumetric modular to achieve striking facades with bespoke designs. Public sector clients appreciate cutting-edge building techniques, particularly with the short lead times of modular construction. Modular buildings are energy efficient – reducing ongoing costs for schools, freeing up much needed funds.

4 With students becoming more conscious of climate change, it is no small thing for a head teacher to introduce the concept of sustainable construction approaches and how their new building will mitigate environmental impact. The modular way limits the amount of concrete, which is a significant issue for traditional builders. There is also minimal waste, as the classrooms are built to exacting designed specifications and any cut-offs can be reused or recycled – reducing waste to landfill. Transportation rarely poses issues, as pre-constructed, self-contained units can be shipped to virtually any location. As modules are designed to withstand long-distance transportation and craning onto foundations, they are structurally stronger than most traditionally constructed building materials. This approach reduces

traffic to site also decreasing carbon emissions and disruption. Each individual material can be selected specifically for its performance characteristics, tailoring every inch of a modular build. Ecofriendly materials are often specified, and waste is recycled for future projects wherever possible. Not only this, but components are also available in a range of sizes for expansions whenever necessary. For more information visit: Images: 01-02. Modular methods can transform education buildings through a wide range of efficiency benefits. Courtesy. Wernick 03. Riverside School. Courtesy Portakabin 04. Factory-fitted components drive quality. Courtesy Premier Modular






1 Bollo Lane is a landmark mixeduse development in Ealing, comprising 112 homes, two communal roof terraces and flexible office space that benefited from a volumetric modular solution. Built on a challenging site previously occupied by a redundant warehouse and bound on three sides by railway lines, the difficult site context and the quality and time benefits led Pocket Living to utilise modular construction to deliver the development. This increased the speed of delivery, allowing first time buyers to move into their homes more quickly. This development was completed in 21 months from site clearance to handover. Bollo Lane comprises 112 homes, of which 84 are sold at a 20% discount to the local market to first time buyers who live or work in Ealing. The discounted Pocket homes are 100% owned by the purchaser and remain affordable in perpetuity. The Vision Modular System was chosen as the preferred approach for Bollo Lane, enabling Pocket Living to overcome the site’s challenges and save five months on typical construction. 500 volumetric 3D structural modules were manufactured on a controlled assembly line in a factory in Bedford for this development. The automated production lines, manned by skilled operatives, transferred the modules through the manufacturing process. The Vision Modular System extended from manufacturing to delivery of the modules to site, where the process


continued with the module installation, followed by final connections and commissioning being carried out under strictly monitored procedures by Vision site-based personnel. Pocket homes are well suited to modular construction as they are a standard layout. Each one-bedroom Pocket home is ergonomically designed withing two modules: the kitchen/living space make up one module and the bathroom and bedroom the other. High ceilings and large windows make for light-filled spaces that offer views and bring the outside in, and there is plentiful builtin storage. This development shows the flexibility of modular construction methodology as it also provides one, two and three-bedroom Pocket Edition homes with balconies. The use of volumetric technology at Bollo Lane has improved building efficiencies, optimising what part of the build is constructed traditionally (substructure and cores) and what is delivered as modular construction. By reducing the number of apartment typologies and completing a minimum of 80% of the apartment fit-out offsite, Pocket Living significantly reduced the complexity in the build whilst enhancing construction precision, simplifying procurement of goods and materials and improving the design of the homes through consistency and quality of workmanship in the modular element of the build. Consistency in build quality and process is due to factory processes, as it is easier to spot trends in products used if one is found to be performing well or not performing. There is easier assessment for maintenance, so if an item is

2 failing, it is easy to isolate and remedy. Finally, logs of the factory process are significantly better than the on-site build process. Completing much of the apartment fitout within the modular factory helped reduce both material waste and carbon emissions, contributing greatly to the build achieving a BREEAM Very Good certification. The ecological aspect of the site has been addressed by introducing green spaces in the form of planting beds on the two communal roof terraces provided. The drainage strategy was carefully designed to reduce and delay the discharge of rainfall to public sewers to minimise the risk of localised flooring and environmental damage. The majority of materials used in the building also hold a third-party verified responsible sourcing certificate to help reduce carbon emissions. Additionally, all homes are supplied with the latest technology: smart meters, remote control of heating and lighting through smart phone and a special secure parcel drop off storage system within the communal areas. Bollo Lane illustrates why modular construction has won the support of both government and industry, showing high-quality, energy efficient homes can be built quickly and why modular techniques will play an increasingly important role in delivering more housing. For more information visit: Images: 01-02. Pocket homes are well suited to modular construction as they are a standard layout. Courtesy Pocket Living


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Brought to you by Volumetric Homes Group (VHG), the Modular and Portable Building Association (MPBA); MODULAR MATTERS ONLINE CONFERENCE & EXHIBITION demonstrates the application of volumetric modular technology across a range of housing projects including; student accommodation, private residential and affordable housing. 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%. Whilst historically offsite construction has been considered a novelty, as we enter a time where rapid, reliable, and high performing building solutions are required, could this be the beginning of a more modern method of construction? 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.

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It is a fundamental of good design that buildings and structures should be safe and that measures to enhance their environmental performance should not compromise this essential requirement. Here Steve Thompson, Managing Director for specialist steel framing manufacturer EOS, adds longevity and building performance to the safety versus sustainability debate.

1 Buildings should not only be inherently safe but should also be constructed to last a long time and therefore be inherently sustainable. Buildings are responsible for almost half of the UK’s carbon emissions and around a third of its landfill waste. This means that the UK’s sustainable development targets cannot be met without a major change to the way in which buildings are designed, constructed and operated. National targets for carbon emission reductions and the drive for buildings that are ‘low carbon’ in operation present a huge challenge to the construction industry – a challenge which the steel construction sector is playing a major part in overcoming.


Steel can be recycled or reused endlessly without detriment to its properties. This unique characteristic gives steel a high value at all stages of its life cycle. The recovery infrastructure for steel recycling is highly developed and extremely efficient and has been in place for decades. Current recovery rates from demolition sites in the UK are 99% for structural steelwork and 96% for all steel construction products – figures that far exceed those for any other construction material. Steel’s material properties make it the ultimate sustainable construction material both in terms of its longevity, material properties and enhancing the safety credentials of steel-framed

buildings. Its superior strength-toweight ratio means a little steel goes a long way, giving architects complete flexibility to innovate and create new and exciting buildings. Low and zero carbon buildings and buildings with high BREEAM ratings are readily achievable using steel construction. An excellent example of this is a project EOS were involved in to create a prestigious £25million flagship Travelodge hotel in London that was developed as a declaration of renewed confidence in the brand following substantial investment. The aim was to deliver a fully clad offsite manufactured panelised steel frame system, complete with the sub frame of SFS



2 infill panels, pre-fixed to a lightweight innovative stone cladding solution which not only looks outstanding but also achieves a highly energy efficient, non-combustible building envelope. Once delivered, the fully-formed panels were craned in and fixed back to the substrate. The impressive eight storey, 395room property is built to BREEAM excellent standards and delivered through innovative engineering combined with technically advanced offsite manufacturing. The greater efficiency and quality associated with sustainability is also helping to make this Travelodge more commercially successful. There is growing evidence that BREEAM Excellent buildings provide increased rates of return for hotel operators. BIM Level 2 technology combined with design for manufacture and assembly protocols reduced errors onsite and snagging – as well as enhancing the energy performance throughout the lifecycle of the building. When the cost of operating a building for 30 years can be four times greater than that of designing and building it, it is no surprise that those who own and maintain buildings are keen to find in-use savings. Now we have more sophisticated research available, the equation of ‘build them high build them cheap’ – simply does not stack up from an owner operator’s perspective. And this is why steel framing systems are favoured by the build-to-rent, education, healthcare and other public sector buildings.

3 The UK leads the world in steel construction both commercially, technically and in terms of quality. The industry has made dramatic improvements in technology, productivity and efficiency. According to research carried out by independent consultants Construction Markets – steel continues to be overwhelmingly the structural framing material of choice with their survey showing that steel now has a 72.5% share of the multi-storey office market and a 60.9% share in the ‘other multi-storey buildings’ which includes retail, education, leisure and healthcare sectors. Quality, safety and sustainability are at the very core of our organisation, it is therefore with great pride that I share that EOS has just successfully completed three quality badge audits with 100% success and zero nonconformances. This is an outstanding achievement and testament to the work that went in to ensuring all procedures, records and management systems were in first-class order providing the auditors with all the necessary information to award EOS total compliance with zero non-conformances. We successfully passed the five-day re-certification audit against ISO 9001:2015 quality management systems, ISO14001:2015 environmental management systems and ISO45001:2018 health and safety management with no nonconformance issues or even any opportunities for improvement or areas of concern. I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank

4 my team for their hard work and dedication to achieving the ultimate standard. Partnerships are central to our business. We have a wealth of experience and our specialist teams strive to support our clients throughout the design and construction phase. EOS has the capability and capacity to meet the exacting demands of the construction industry and guarantee a very competitive price structure with no hidden costs for deflection heads or transport and we can provide a lump sum total cost which will not alter, providing the specification remains unchanged. For more information visit: and to view video case studies including the Travelodge Hotel and client testimonials visit: Images: 01-04. Steel's superior strength-to-weight ratio means a little steel goes a long way, giving architects complete flexibility to innovate and create new and exciting buildings






1 Schooner Wharf is a mixed tenure housing scheme commissioned by Cardiff Community Housing Association that adopted passive solar design principles and is built to high environmental performance standards using the MetFrame system. In response to affordable housing priority needs, Austin-Smith:Lord were commissioned by Cardiff Community Housing Association to design a newbuild mixed tenure housing development in a prominent waterside location in Cardiff Bay. The houses and townhouses are contemporary in design and utilise a combination of traditional and contemporary materials. This creates a development that has a readily identifiable and fresh, modern character whilst also providing the sense of solidity and reassurance that comes from the recognisable layout and scale. The apartment block is constructed using light gauge steel offsite manufacture whilst the houses utilise timber frame kits. The Metsec loadbearing walls consist of 100mm wide vertical C section studs at max 600mm centres. Metsec components are rolled from pre-galvanised steel. All sections are cut to length and have holes punched to allow bolted connections. Walls are detailed in panels typically up to eight metres long by one storey tall that are pre-assembled offsite by Atkin Trade Specialists. The external face of the MetFrame external panels is clad with a 12mm cement particle board over which the external insulation


is installed. Structural steelwork is integrated into the MetFrame system where required. Cantilever balconies and projecting bays are constructed from a hot rolled steel frame with galvanised finish and thermally broken from the MetFrame structure. These are installed when their supporting external walls are installed. The balconies are designed to allow a lightweight floor to be installed by others. Stairs are offsite assembled/fully welded units with in-situ concrete filled steel treads. They are fitted as each storey of MetFrame is installed. Lift shafts are included in the MetFrame. They have horizontal Metstrut channels bolted into the two side walls of the shafts for the lift manufacturer to fix to. Roof systems use Metsec joists typically 200mm deep at 600mm centres. This project follows on from a previous six-storey apartment block, delivered by the same contractor and design team, which was completed eight weeks ahead of programme by using the same MetFrame system. Lessons learnt from the previous project including a knowledge transfer partnership (KTP) with Cardiff Met University led to improved thermal performance of construction interfaces. The findings of this KTP led to better interface details for Schooner Wharf which in turn led to enhanced thermal efficiency and performance. The design adopted passive solar design principles and is built to high environmental performance standards which will reduce in-use costs. Fuel poverty is addressed through a highly efficient building fabric and energy strategy including use of renewables.

2 MetFrame was chosen as part of the wider environmental benefits it provides in addition to its cost and speed benefits. The offsite construction and detailed co-ordination prior to fabrication meant there was effectively zero waste and a low carbon footprint for the structural frame. The speed of erection led to cost savings and allowed other trades to commence work simultaneously. An average of five Atkin Trade operatives was required on site taking just 21 weeks to install the structure of the seven-storey apartment block. Given the site was constricted between a quiet residential development and offices, the speed of construction and offsite construction minimised noise, disturbance and disruption to the local community. Offsite construction generates up to 90% less waste than site-based building methods and achieves up to 90% fewer vehicle movements on site, compared to a traditional construction project – reducing noise, dust, congestion and carbon emissions. This project pushed the limits of the MetFrame system and required thinking outside the box to overcome the technical challenges of the design. For more information visit: Images: 01-02. The apartment block is constructed using a well-understood offsite light gauge steel system. Courtesy Austin-Smith:Lord/Metsec





Intelligent Steel Solutions design manufacture and install their own load bearing Light Gauge Steel Framing system and supply SFS infill and components for the Modular and Construction industry. To find out more about the new features and benefits that Intelligent Steel can offer or if you have a new build scheme that you’d like to discuss either in person (safe & socially distanced) or via TEAMS/ Zoom, please contact David:


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Offsite construction can become the ‘new normal’ says Stewart Dalgarno, Advanced Industrialised Methods for the Construction of Homes (AIMCH) Project Director and Director of Product Development at Stewart Milne Group.

1 The global pandemic will have a wide-reaching impact on us all. It is difficult to see how any industry sector will come through this unscathed and without re-examining how to do things differently. What will be important is that we emerge stronger and more resilient, and open to new innovative ways of working. As the housebuilding industry begins to return to work, sites re-open, and companies re-examine their business strategies and models, it will become even more important to embrace new technologies and processes to ensure the restart and future development of the sector is done in a way that it can thrive long term. With most construction sites having been on pause, efficient delivery will be vital as the industry restarts and


grows. Particularly as the demand for more high quality, cost-effective housing, that can be quickly and efficiently built, has never been more acute and will only build going forward. During this global health crisis, our homes have provided a safe haven, a place to work and for many, a place of education. The need to deliver more homes, quickly and cost effectively will be essential in tackling the growing UK housing crisis, but it is vital that we are not simply back building, but instead building better homes. Key to this will be to embrace modern methods of construction (MMC), such as panelised offsite construction systems and lean construction, in a more integrated way capitalising on digital technologies and advanced manufacturing.

The Advanced Industrialised Methods for the Construction of Homes (AIMCH) project started 18 months ago to trial solutions that could help to tackle the UK housing crisis by mainstreaming the use of these methods and lean technologies. At that time, the consortium set out to transform how the construction industry builds homes to meet current and future demands. Today we are almost halfway through the three-year project, and more than ever, we are convinced that modern methods of construction, such as offsite panelised systems and digital working, offer unrivalled benefits, especially as we find our way through and out of this current crisis. The fast delivery of much-needed housing is critical. However as the industry reopens, construction sites


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3 face operational restrictions. With less labour resource onsite, the potential reduction in the supply of materials, coupled with the physical challenges of getting them onsite, and maintaining social distancing safety measures, it will be some time before productivity is at the level is was pre-lockdown, never mind the level it needs to be at to tackle the growing UK housing crisis. Offsite panelised construction offers a way forward and a viable solution, which is less labour intensive, with fewer personnel on site, unlike traditional building methods. As part of the AIMCH project preCOVID-19, partners have been undertaking productivity measurement studies, using time and motion and more innovative blue-tooth enabled tracking of operatives to monitor site efficiency or traditional and a variety of offsite systems. This technology has potential to monitor safe social distancing, providing useful data on


worker compliance social distancing and site operating guidelines. Bringing panelised offsite systems on to sites can also aid a quicker and more efficient delivery of homes. AIMCH has been assessing the benefits of standardisation. Through research studies, the partners are now developing a suite of standardised product families, that can be configured and used within future housing pattern books. Providing a digitally enabled, efficient and costeffective home designs that can be built fast to higher quality standards with less labour input. Homes can be externally finished using conventional materials, to provide robust, durable and beautiful homes, to suit any planning or aesthetic requirement. Offsite panelised building systems, helps business recover through securing a more integrated and robust supply chain, by adopting a manufacturing led approach, which can be scaled up quickly to meet demand.

The AIMCH project has utilised automotive learning from around the world, to develop advanced manufacturing approaches, such as simulation, to build a model of the ‘future offsite factory’ where digital technology and automation, such as robotics, drives productivity lowering production costs and increasing capacity. The mathematical model and simulation program under development, will enable robust assessment and validation of future MMC investments, which will be crucial as the industry, housebuilders and businesses reset, recover and re-plan the future, during these uncertain economic times post-COVID-19. Through industrialising housing, embracing modern methods of construction, the AIMCH solution will help attract new talent with digital, logistics, engineering, design, robotics and project management skills, making the sector more appealing to a wider employee pool. With more automation in a factory setting, digital working, integrated supply chains, lean construction assembly and with staff collaborating with onsite teams, the greater efficiencies achieved will support the construction of the additional 120,000 homes needed each year to address the UK housing shortage. That’s a challenge that the housebuilding sector simply can’t meet using traditional construction methods alone. Offering integrated supply chain solutions, increased efficiencies, greater collaboration, increased productivity and commercially competitive mainstream offsite panelised construction methods, the AIMCH project has a significant role to play in the post-COVID recovery, with offsite construction becoming the ‘new normal’ in the sector. For more information visit:

Images: 01-03. Developers and clients need to embrace more advanced methods of construction such as panelised offsite construction systems and lean construction and capitalise on digital technologies


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Wood for Good has played a huge role in promoting timber to the wider built environment for many years now. Campaign Manager, Sarah Virgo spoke to us about the plans ahead including the new Wood CO2ts less campaign. Structural Timber Association (STA). We began with a generic launch of the message to engage the timber industry and influencers within the construction and sustainability sectors. Now, we are widening the campaign’s message to focus on the construction industry and policymakers.

1 Not everyone realises the full extent of wood’s benefits and that is what I have set out to address as the new Wood for Good Campaign Manager. We need to collaborate as an industry and communicate the benefits of building with wood to the construction industry and beyond. I was prepared for a challenge when I took on the role six months ago, but along with the rest of the world, I was not prepared for a global pandemic. However, lockdown has not stopped me from setting out what I want to achieve, and I have been overwhelmed by the positivity, passion and dedication within the industry and its desire to provide solutions that work. Despite not being able to attend industry events and meet with those pushing for change, we have bonded over virtual meetings and established what we need to do to drive the agenda forward. Climate change has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember and my interest in sustainability and nature runs deep. It is what made me seek out a career in marketing and communications for the third sector and how I became a member of the 2050 Climate Group in Scotland. I hope to use these connections to increase exposure for the timber


industry and inform those responsible for the design and construction of buildings about the benefits wood products can bring. The timber industry is perfectly placed to take centre stage in discussions around how we can work towards zero carbon. It is not the only solution to climate change, but it is the best natural solution available to us, critical to building a circular economy. In addition to capturing carbon, we can’t ignore the inherent beauty of wood’s aesthetics, its flexibility and adaptability as a material, and its contribution to health and wellbeing as a product. Wood for Good’s supporters have continued to share this message throughout the pandemic, despite the challenges they have faced. However, lockdown, if anything, has made our message stronger, highlighting the urgency and importance of combating climate change. We must embrace a green recovery and we will continue to do so through the Wood CO2ts less campaign. Launched in the middle of July, Wood CO2ts less is an industry-wide campaign developed by Wood for Good, Swedish Wood, Confor, the Timber Trade Federation (TTF) and the

The campaign has been a great success so far. In addition to backing from the main supporters, the timber industry is pledging its allegiance to the campaign. Södra, Vastern Timber, James Latham, James Jones, BSW and Scottish Forestry have all shown their support and through the campaign’s visibility, we have also seen new supporters join Wood for Good. Planning for the future feels complicated right now. The pandemic’s long-term effects on industry, society and the environment will impact us for years to come. Yet, with the announcement that we have plunged into another recession, now is not the time to stand still. Despite some positive reports on the reduction of CO2 emissions while the world was on lockdown, they are on the rise again and will continue to plague us if we do not act. We must continue campaigning for wood as a natural solution to achieving net zero into 2021 and encourage those in the entire supply chain to help communicate this message. Together we will see the wood for the trees. For more information visit: Images: 01. Wood has a huge role to play in sustainable construction and low carbon buildings. Courtesy Södra Wood


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1 The Hope Rise housing project in Bristol will see ZED Pods provide a revolutionary cost-effective, eco-friendly and affordable housing solution using timber volumetric offsite manufacturing technology. In collaboration with Bristol City Council and Bristol Housing Festival (BHF) the project is designed to be the first 100% affordable and lowcarbon housing development aimed at creating a mixed tenure affordable housing scheme over the Chalks Road car park, adjacent to St. George Park, Bristol. It is a pioneering environmental and socially-focused development which will deliver much needed social housing for young people in need of affordable housing. The project site is currently used as a car park which serves St George’s Park and the nearby retail area. The proposed development seeks to retain the site’s existing use as a car park in conjunction with a residential use comprising 11 duplex apartments. The homes have been optimised for energy efficiency and lowest possible energy costs, with PV panels to generate electricity in the day, quiet running heat pumps for low energy heating, controlled ventilation which recovers usable heat from inside the building whilst bringing in fresh air, triple glazing, LED lighting and energyefficient appliances. The apartments have been made from cross laminated timber (CLT) panels. The building fabric is further optimised



using offsite fabrication with superinsulated walls and roofs to achieve high level of airtightness (1.3 ach at 50 pascals), heat recovery ventilation, high standards of draught proofing, and low heat loss – circa 90% improvement over building regulations. The scheme aims to improve the fabric efficiency of the building beyond the 97% fabric energy improvements in the Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP). This development is capable of offsetting all regulated energy demands and the A-rated Preliminary Energy Assessment (PEA) shows that negative carbon emissions are possible across the site. Airtightness membrane in between CLT panels and insulation ensures that the airtightness layer will be untouched for the life of the building.

could offset both the carbon footprint of the original construction, plus the annual maintenance and annual energy needed to run the homes.

The client agreed on timeframe and budget with a ‘not to exceed’ price point. Because units are prefabricated in a factory, construction time is shorter without affecting the building safety and durability of the apartments. By monitoring and using regular supply chain products, the cost of production was optimised whilst minimising construction risks.

Using timber as a structural component also gives flexibility to adapt for individual designs and offers end users an open plan to use with solid floors, walls and ceilings to amend internal layouts as required - e.g. hoists can be installed in ceilings for disabled users. This innovative development will rethink existing land use in central locations, demonstrating new thinking to help solve housing crisis whilst providing beautiful, low carbon housing and is the UK’s first CLT residential development to be built above a carpark.

This project was deemed as a Bristol MMC pilot project with the opportunity of scaling up and replicating the scheme to other sites. ZED Pods was chosen by the council based on superior energy performance measures and help them achieve ultra-low carbon and ultra-low energy consumption – a complete sustainable development. Over the lifetime of the project the scheme is expected to have no net carbon footprint and

There is minimised concrete and aggregate use by using screw pile foundations. Wet trades are minimised to save energy and water. Gas is eliminated from the scheme and buildings are all electric. The scheme is air quality neutral with reduced impacts on local air pollution, noise and dust levels. The scheme creates living spaces above large carpark in urban centre, with easy access to local amenities and public transport networks. It is a direct and innovative response to the challenge of a sustainable transport future

For more information visit: Images: 01-02. The timber homes will be a trailblazer for affordable low carbon living. Courtesy ZED Pods











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Ron Lang, Impact Director for Value at the Construction Innovation Hub, illustrates why value-based decision-making will accelerate the shift towards adopting an offsite methodology.

1 Whether you work in offsite or the more traditional side of the industry, 2020 has been momentous for all of us in construction. The lockdown, which at times felt endless, saw a whopping 60% of building activity grind to a screeching halt, leaving our sector staring at the greatest period of uncertainty in its very long history. Even as I write this, we are once again faced with another period of uncertainty which is bound to leave many of us feeling just as concerned as we did back in March.


Despite the bleakness that has characterised much of 2020, something else has been happening this year which has given me a genuine sense of optimism. My role as the Hub’s Value Impact Director gives me a unique and privileged insight into what construction professionals in all corners of the sector are thinking and feeling. COVID-19 is naturally preying on everyone’s minds – not least with the recent rise in infection rates – but what is also unmistakably clear from the conversations I’ve been having, is a

growing consensus that construction’s future needs to look very different. Building Momentum for Change While the momentum for change in construction has been growing steadily for some time, what has become more noticeable in recent months, is the growing sense of urgency. Those long lockdown months have undoubtedly provided us all with a rare opportunity to pause and reflect on what kind of future we want for our sector. In truth, we’ve all recognised for some time that


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2 the wasteful, unproductive, inefficient practices which have long been the modus operandi of our sector need to give way to new and better ways of doing things. With a comprehensive Roadmap to Recovery now in place and supportive measures provided by Government, we have a unique opportunity to come together as never before and ensure that the slow march towards a transformed sector becomes a full-on charge. The stimulus for this will be getting to grips with value. Value is one of those deceptively simple concepts which is in fact frustratingly nebulous and difficult to define. All too often, value is seen through the narrow prism of pounds and pence. But if we are serious about accelerating that charge towards new and better ways of doing things, then we really need to get to grips with value in broader terms. We must agree on a consistent approach to defining, articulating and measuring value in the context of what we deliver and how we deliver it. Only then, can we consistently drive positive social, environmental and economic outcomes. Laying the Groundwork This may seem at first like a tall order, not least in the present climate we face, but the good news is that the groundwork is already proceeding apace. In recent months, I’ve had the privilege to work together with some of the best and brightest minds across construction, leveraging the networks of the likes of CLC, ACE, Constructing Excellence, CECA, UKGBC, Social Value UK, CIOB, RIBA and RICS (to name just a few) to develop the ‘Value Toolkit’. The Toolkit will help clients and project teams embed valuebased decision making throughout


the investment lifecycle from business case through to procurement and delivery and operation improving overall sector performance in line with key policy objectives such as driving modern methods of construction (MMC), delivering social impact and accelerating the path towards net zero. Grasping the Opportunity: the critical role of offsite Value-based decision-making is particularly crucial for the offsite sector. By embedding this new model at scale, it will be far easier to demonstrate clearly and systematically that offsite construction and the emerging platform approach can deliver the social and environmental outcomes we are striving for as a sector and as a nation. To give an example, by setting clearly understood, value-based expectations right at the outset of a build project, the offsite market would have a far

greater opportunity to demonstrate close alignment with those key drivers. If value-based decision-making were to become the new modus operandi, then it would become increasingly difficult to justify why MMC such as offsite, were not being embedded right from the outset, rather than part-way through a project as happens all too often at the moment. For the offsite sector therefore, being at the forefront of the movement for valuebased decision-making is very much a ‘win-win’. It’s difficult to predict in any meaningful way what the next few months has in store for construction and indeed the country. What we can say however, with a reasonably degree of certainty, is that the demand for housing, schools, hospitals and other vital buildings will only continue to grow. Against this backdrop, we are at a unique crossroads as a sector. We could take the safe route and go back to the way things were, but we all know that’s simply not sustainable. I’m confident – now more than ever – that we will choose the latter and embrace this once in a lifetime opportunity to embed real change. Be in no doubt however, we will not get there without the offsite sector at the forefront of the movement for change. For more information visit: Images: 01. Value is measured in more than ‘pounds and pence’ 02 Ron Lang, Impact Director for Value, Construction Innovation Hub

THE COMPLETE TOOLKIT WILL HELP CLIENTS TO: Establish a balanced value profile for each project or programme, shaped by both strategic policy ambitions (e.g. net zero, MMC) and specific client, local and user needs, with a baseline Investment Value Index, based on established metrics and benchmarks, against which decisions and options can be assessed in the development and procurement phases Select the best Delivery Model and Commercial Strategy to maximise realisation of value, based on value needs and considering the market context, risk and capability specific to the project Use a new Procure for Value tool allowing procurement choices to be made on delivery of best whole-life value, not simply cheapest capital cost Monitor and benchmark value throughout delivery and operational phases to ensure benefits are being delivered, to optimise value throughout operation and to inform future decision-making on similar projects and programmes.



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Jenny Burridge, Head of Structural Engineering, The Concrete Centre talks us through the use of long-lasting precast concrete as a perfect offsite construction for tall buildings design.

1 The use of precast concrete elements is a well-established construction method and provides solutions with a great variety of use, location, shape and finish. Taking the concreting work into the factory provides benefits of tight tolerances, excellent finishes not reliant on weather and provides a safer location for most of the work. The core of a tall building is arguably the most fundamental and important element under consideration during the design process. For most tall structures, the core forms the main backbone of the building and plays a significant role in carrying a large proportion of vertical loading and, frequently, the majority of lateral loading. Many offsite tall buildings use a slip form core as the stability system as the slip forming can be done before any other superstructure work proceeds and is sometimes started as a top down system where the core is supported by temporary piles while the basement is excavated below. Cores can also be formed from volumetric precast concrete core elements bolted together to form a full core. These are normally half a storey height tall and sized to be able


to be transported. These were used on the Kingston University Townhouse project, which is a predominately precast building. Precast cores can be formed from crosswall elements or from twin wall elements. Crosswall elements are flat panels of precast concrete connected using ties at the corners and joints. Twin wall elements are formed from two skins of precast concrete fixed apart with a latticework of reinforcement. The space between the skins of precast concrete is filled with in situ concrete making a hybrid concrete solution. Ties between the panels of twin wall and connections to the horizontal elements are made using reinforcement through the in-situ section. Precast concrete has inherent fireresistance characteristics, with the concrete cover providing insulation to the reinforcement. Fire-resistance periods of two hours can be easily achieved, which is the typical requirement for tall buildings. As a non-combustible structural material, concrete does not burn and can be used to meet and exceed stringent requirements for the fire safety of people and property.

Another aspect of design that is becoming ever more urgent is sustainability, in particular the embodied carbon in buildings. Tall buildings are inherently higher in embodied carbon per square metre of usable space than low rise buildings whether these are built on-site or offsite. However, this can be offset to a certain extent by the reduction in travel distances for high-density urban spaces. The design of the concrete mix can reduce the embodied carbon of the structure but needs to be considered together with the other aspects of the design. To enable the fast demoulding of precast concrete elements from their formwork, cement replacement rates in precast concrete are typically lower than that of in-situ concrete. However, designers should discuss with their precast manufacturer lower carbon concrete options, accepting that this may slow the production process. Factory casting of elements means they can be lean and material efficient, which will reduce the overall embodied carbon of a precast concrete frame. Early design and contractor involvement is key to producing safe, durable, resilient tall buildings designed for manufacture and assembly, taking the work into the factory and off the construction site. Only by working together can the optimum solution be reached. Tall buildings are a vital part of our city landscape and should be designed to last many years so that the full benefit can be realised for us and future generations. The Concrete Centre has hosted a webinar, where members of the Town House, Kingston project team discuss the construction methods used. Watch at: Images: 01. Kingston University Townhouse. Courtesy PCE Ltd


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



The English National Ballet (ENB) is one of the most famous touring companies in Europe and now has a new home in the shape of a five-storey building located on London City Island and a shining example of concrete elegance and functionality. design for this sustainable and striking structure. This contemporary building demonstrates and celebrates the raw beauty and idiosyncrasies of exposed concrete finishes in a modern setting. Without the use of offsite manufactured precast beams the Glen Howell Architects (GHA) & ENB’s design could not have been achieved, by combining traditional construction methods with offsite construction the brief for long span studios was made feasible. Precast concrete also offered the added advantages of quick installation, enhanced site safety, low reverberations, lower carbon footprint, enhanced fire resistance and a zero maintenance structure. In order to realise the architect’s design and to provide the optimum space for the dancers the studios needed to measure 15x15x5.5m, however standard floor systems could not provide sufficient stiffness so the challenge arose for the designers to find an offsite system which could span 15 metres, without central supports and offer low reverberations for dancing. Precast concrete achieved the structural demands for the spaces with one metre-deep prestressed Banagher double and single tee concrete beams.

1 The client’s brief was to design a creative space for dancing that would serve as a new focal point for ballet in London. The main challenge was providing the required extensive range of flexible, state-of-the-art facilities on a narrow site, with a comparatively challenging budget. This was achieved


by creating something that is both pared-back and elegant, but also hardworking, with its character defined by a celebration of exposed raw materials. Capitalising on the use of offsite manufactured precast concrete and prestressed bridge beams for long span studios, were key to realising the

The company’s ‘Green Room’ provided another unique challenge as it required a 17.5 metre span solution with a depth of just one metre, double tees can be used for longer spans but the depth of the units would’ve had to increase. Engineers commonly use prestressed beams in bridges so often their use in buildings is over-looked as a solution. In this instance Banagher provided three prestressed ‘W’ beams for the project, each measuring 17.5 metres and weighing 30 tonnes.




2 Along with providing the structural flooring solutions for this iconic structure Banagher Precast Concrete also designed and manufactured reinforced beams, stairs and landings offsite for enhanced site safety and efficiency. “It was a very tight budget, so every material had to do several jobs,” says GHA Studio Director, Dan Mulligan. “The great thing about concrete is that it’s one product that does multiple things – long spans, thermal mass, fire protection, robustness – as well as providing the aesthetic. This, combined with its inherent longevity, gives it a stronger sustainability story too. If we’d used steel, we’d have had to wrap it in plasterboard and add on more to attain the relevant codes.

comparison with similar arts buildings that average £5,000 per sqm. The liberal use of in-situ and offsite precast concrete with exposed finishes resulted in cost savings for the project. Built on a site sandwiched between two residential towers and with access to the Island via a single bridge open collaboration between project partners was key to sequencing the precast installations correctly. Precast is highly durable and provides one of the safest and most efficient building methods available today, in this instance using an offsite precast solution has eliminated ongoing maintenance while providing the added benefits of increased thermal mass and fire protection.

“The thermal mass was particularly important too in a dance context since the dancers need a stable, warm environment without temperature fluctuation for optimum performance. The double tee’s look great – they were a key feature of the design and we were very happy with the aesthetic. The robust nature of the building meets the client’s requirements for low maintenance costs. It’s inherently robust. It’s a very, very, lean industrialtype building that reflects, in terms of how it’s put together, the nature of the ENB itself.”

The sheer size of the precast units created many logistical constraints as there was no place to store the precast on-site, so loads had to be co-ordinated for immediate installation with a 500 tonne mobile crane. Installation of the beams occurred out of hours and throughout the night in order to minimise disruption which meant it was vital for loads to arrive just-in-time. The units were successfully and safely installed on site by PCE Ltd, providing economically viable precast with high specification finishes ensured reduced costs and installation times for the client.

Construction commenced in September 2016 and the building opened in 2019 at a cost of £36million, just over £3,000 per sqm – low by

Utilising offsite construction reduced the projects carbon footprint by reducing deliveries to site and the number of people required on site.

4 Self-compacting concrete (SCC) was chosen for precast units as it does not require external vibration for compaction making it a safer, more efficient and more carbon friendly process. Precise modelling of the precast units also ensured right-firsttime on site and quick installation so there were zero rejections/waste from site. The co-ordination of just-in-time deliveries meant that units did not have to be unloaded and reloaded unnecessarily which was also more carbon friendly. Along with the precast elements this project boasts a vast amount of exposed in-situ concrete from the polished concrete floors, to the soaring elevator core and ceilings. This contemporary building demonstrates the raw beauty and idiosyncrasies of exposed concrete finishes in a modern setting, the result is an exemplary showpiece for the industry. The exposed concrete finish in this project demonstrates that offsite factory-finished products are very striking and that the desired aesthetic can be successfully achieved to create an iconic building. Tamara Rojo CBE, Artistic Director of the ENB said: “I truly believe that this is the best ballet centre in the world.” For more information visit: Images: 01-04. Precast concrete, offsite methods and innovative design have created an iconic new building in a tight urban site. Courtesy Banagher Precast Concrete





Modern methods of construction deserve the most modern range of products. Trust Benx to deliver.


3 Delivering product solutions that not only meet the most demanding specifications of the modular industry, but also improving your manufacturing efficiency and quality. That’s the Benx commitment to offsite manufacturers. Benx (SPSEnvirowall and RCM) has a long track record of success as a product solution provider on many construction projects. With extensive technical expertise and solid practical experience, Benx is a highly qualified and reliable partner for all of your offsite manufacturing needs. Benx products have been developed to be incorporated into most forms of offsite construction, be it volumetric, modular or panellised. However, we go beyond the supply of materials – we can assist with your product design, product testing and all the way through to supporting your build process.



4 The Benx Difference As a key UK cladding supplier, the Benx portfolio is continuously adapted in line with changing legislation, new material technologies and increasingly sophisticated offsite building designs. All of this, of course, will assist you in delivering your projects more efficiently, achieving the highest specification, and with Benx as your partner, you will be ready to meet the increasing demands associated with modern methods of construction. The Benx Group of companies offers the UK’s widest range of façade products and solutions that enhance, protect and add value to buildings through innovation, technology and know-how. Our portfolio includes sheathing boards, facades, airtight solutions, support frames, cavity barriers and insulation. Furthermore, we operate a national branch network and provide technical support, with value-added cutting and fabrication services.

More than just products Each of our companies is successful in its own right – however, as a group, we have a uniquely broad range of building facade systems with solutions for any substrate or structure. Our joined-up approach negates the need for you to reach out to numerous component and system suppliers: we offer you a simple, strong supply chain which can connect directly to your offsite manufacturing process. Our technical services and certification process are fundamental to our success. Over decades of product and system development we have worked, and continue to work, with industry-leading accreditation bodies to ensure we offer the best products and systems. We are constantly striving to enhance the technical services we provide to our customers and clients and have been leading the development of technology solutions to support our offering. We believe it to be the most extensive and farreaching certification and accreditation process in the industry. That’s why you can trust Benx to partner you on your next offsite project. For more information visit: Images: 01-04. Benx products have been developed to be incorporated into most forms of offsite construction, be it volumetric, modular or panellised


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ICW Group works in partnership with property developers and construction clients across the UK, providing structural warranties and approved building control inspection services to the construction industry – ensuring quality is built into every stage of a project. In a drive to improve the sustainability, quality and affordability of construction projects, the industry has seen a move towards the use of modern methods of construction (MMC) and it is predicted that there will be more widespread use over the next few years. ICW offers an approval process to support MMC which combines both warranty and building control requirements. From inception and design through to build and completion, our nationwide team of experienced surveyors supports clients in the successful delivery of residential and commercial projects. With decades of knowledge and experience, our team offers a unique blend of expertise as warranty and

building control inspection providers. We’ve been told this combination of talents uniquely supports our clients’ needs, but we also believe our handson knowledge of the build process along with high levels of customer service are the solid foundations for the specialised services we offer. “We are one of the UK’s leading building warranty providers, with a strong reputation for being a reliable partner that our clients depend on,” says Aaron McCarten, Chief Operating Officer of ICW Group. “We have embraced the move towards MMC and now offer a service that will smooth the way for innovative products and systems to be used on projects.”

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Building products manufacturer Glidevale Protect has launched Viking Air, an independently certified air and vapour permeable (LR) roofing underlay for cold and warm pitched roofs. This next generation roofing underlay offers superior air permeability and strong wind uplift resistance. By delivering class-leading air and vapour permeability, Viking Air ensures a high level of airflow and ventilation is provided into the roof space, reducing condensation risk in line with BS 5250. The product can be used without additional ventilation, which is acceptable to the NHBC for a cold roof construction. The product is suitable for use in wind zones 1-4 at 345mm batten gauge to BS 5534, with no need to tape laps or use additional counter battens. When the membrane is installed at 310mm batten gauge or on sarking, it also meets wind zone 1-5 requirements, ensuring unrestricted use across the UK and Ireland. Viking Air forms an integral part of Glidevale Protect’s roofing


membrane family, which includes LR vapour permeable and airtight options, impermeable HR underlays together with ventilation products and accessories, giving specifiers and contractors a single source solution, whatever their pitched roof challenges.

For more details visit: email: or call 0161 905 5700 quoting ‘Viking Air’. Follow our Glidevale Protect LinkedIn page for the latest news.


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1 Making BIM processes mandatory on all high-rise buildings is one of the proposals put forward by the Government following the Hackitt Review – and a digital model could be hugely beneficial as affordable homes provider whg have shown. In anticipation of new regulations, whg decided to spearhead an innovative BIM programme that would build computerised 3D models of all 17 of its high-rise buildings. The housing association worked with digital design and engineering group Deeo to create Twinned It, a digital twin platform, to create accurate datasets of its property portfolio – including virtual reality (VR) walkthroughs and interactive 3D models. whg decided to initially create digital assets of Hamilton and Woodall House, two blocks of seven storeys. These blocks were about to undergo extensive refurbishment, creating the perfect opportunity for BIM to be used on a real-time project, capturing the building pre-refurbishment, and highlighting building safety specific data. This could then be updated with refurbishments completed and heating changes: a tool that will support the building safety case. To create a true digital representation of the physical buildings, Deeo completed drone scans of the exterior 60

of the buildings, their grounds and garage blocks and then internal scans of communal areas, void flats and stairwells. From this data accurate and true 3D BIM models were created. In addition, they completed a further internal scan to produce a photorealistic ‘Dolls House’ of the communal and stairwell areas. This allows virtual visitors to explore the building, as if they were there. Within this immersive environment the viewer can also select Tags that give access to: • • • • • •

The building Fire Risk Assessment Compartmentation plans Fire evacuation plans and PEEPS Service cupboard, to open a photograph of the internals All fire and safety related items defining what it is, and any other specific data agreed CCTV feed if current whg infrastructure allowed.

Accessible from any connected device, the live data contains key up-to-date documentation and data, including external and internal drawings, interactive walkthroughs of communal areas and maintenance works. Most high rise stock owned and managed by housing associations and local authorities across the UK were built before the advent of the use of computers and 3D modelling. The documentation of these buildings – drawings, plans, its past modification record and materials/solutions used

– would historically be in paper form and may not be easily accessible or even exist accurately today. The project is still in its infancy, and in practice, but has already been applauded by the fire service, who have commented that the technology will save them time in assessing incidents and help them make early decisions. This digital transformation of whg’s stock portfolio has had a key focus on building safety, with the new technology utilised to support fire safety management. The app, which can be accessed by the fire service, contains information on building safety specific data, including evacuation diagrams, compartmentalisation points and key equipment locations. The data enables firefighters to assess incidents and put together a plan of action in advance, helping them to decide whether to follow a Stay Safe or Stay Put policy in advance. West Midlands Fire Service have been heavily involved in the development of the app from the beginning. Their input was therefore vital to ensure the platform contained relevant information that they would need that was available instantly. The project clearly meets the ’golden thread’ of information that will be required by the new building safety regulator on safety changes. whg is also keen to use this programme as a starting point to build on with other housing associations, as the sector works towards implementing the recommendations of the Hackitt Review. For more information visit:

Images: 01-02. A digital twin platform can create accurate datasets of its property portfolio including VR walkthroughs and interactive 3D models. Courtesy whg/Deeo


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It is clear that the construction industry has become more open to the adoption of new technology and methods. The question is – what is next? Richard Fletcher, Regional Business Director at Trimble Buildings, explores the future potential of artificial intelligence (AI) within the world of BIM and construction.

1 As is the case with all technology, BIM is an area of constant development. We are all continually looking for ways in which we can further push the efficiency and productivity benefits that technology can offer to our detailing, engineering, fabrication and construction workflows. Parametric design, or data driven design as it is also known, is perhaps one of the most recent developments, with an increasing number of detailers and engineers adopting this way of working. Used in conjunction with modelling software, parametric design tools allow designers to input their required rules, parameters and design algorithm and have the computer then generate the design output. Perhaps a natural progression of this is the idea of computer-driven design. Here, you can push technology further. By inputting the required parameters and allowing the computer to automatically


generate various different design iterations, the technology can be used to help determine and identify the most optimum and efficient design solution. With an increasing number of people now adopting parametric design within their BIM workflows, allowing the software and technology to have more power while still remaining in control of the inputs and outputs, the question is: what’s next? While not necessarily new, cloudbased software, such as Trimble Connect, continues to be a great and effective way of enabling a connected workflow, facilitating collaboration and communication between project teams. Essentially acting as a huge data storage facility, a project’s BIM model, and all its associated drawings, schedules and documentation, can be stored in the cloud, ready for people to access, review and individually work

on. However, what happens to this mass amount of valuable data once a project has been completed? Often, the majority will remain in the cloud, un-used and un-utilised by its owner. Yet, this could all be changed by the rise of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Put simply, AI is a form of machinelearning, whereby existing information and data is used to develop its own intelligence system; to learn and to think in a similar way to humans and provide its own solutions. Typically, the more data a machine is exposed to, the better it will become at detecting and internalising patterns in said data and understanding and providing insights. Within the BIM and construction industry, AI has the potential to successfully harness and utilise the significant amount of past project data currently unused, in turn helping



2 to further improve and enhance our productivity and efficiency levels. While every building and structure is itself unique, detailing and modelling tasks can often be repetitive by way of nature and design. For example, different concrete panels, steel beams and columns and their various connection solutions can all be commonly found within a design project. It is these similarities in data where the potential for automation arises; enabling a company to utilise its experience and known good design choices from past projects to help automate, design and optimise the new. For example, consider the task of detailing a complex steel connection. Through the use of AI and machine learning, it is possible that BIM software (in the future) may be able to detect patterns and similarities between a user’s new model and their previously completed designs, automatically suggesting and recommending design solutions based on these past projects. In this case, the optimum design could feature fewer welds, fewer bolts or even less steel, saving money and materials, as well as being quicker and easier to fabricate offsite and assemble on site. It is clear that such automated technology could deliver very real time-savings, both in terms of the initial detailing work and also

3 improved accuracy, resulting in less required rework. However, it could also contribute towards achieving the most optimum and efficient design. Imagine if AI technology was able to look at completed designs and categorise what worked well and what didn’t; taking this existing data and using it to improve the new. Collaborative platforms could take this even further, potentially feeding fabricator and construction information, including costs and time, into this. The result would be new BIM designs that are driven by, not only design, but fabrication and construction. What was easy to fabricate? What was easy to install? What was most cost-effective? What was most successful?

Ultimately, however, the success of AI in these complex environments, such as BIM, depends greatly on acceptance. There has to be a sense of trust – trust and confidence in the solutions that such automated and machine-learned software suggest – if the industry is to benefit from such technological advancements. Only then can we truly reap the rewards of our technological advancements. For more information visit: Images: 01-03. The future potential of AI on the construction industry is huge





With decades of offsite experience to draw on – and an early contributor to this publication – Cogent Consulting is hugely busy advising on a wide range of offsite delivery issues across the UK and overseas. We asked Managing Director, Darren Richards, about the present state of the market. DR: Without doubt the offsite industry has changed significantly over the past 5-years or so – mainly down to the numbers of new entrants into the manufacturing space and the consistency of messaging from Government. I am concerned that many of the new players in the sector do not really understand the magnitude of the challenge that our offsite manufacturing industry faces in scaling up and transitioning from ‘cottage industry’ to key player, and we are yet to see many significant successes at scale. Q: So much of the offsite conversation surrounds developing new systems to deliver residential projects – what other sectors can offsite provide a better and more sustainable built environment?

1 Q: 24 issues ago you described a radical vision for the way new homes to be built with offsite playing a leading role. Is that vision still radical? Or has offsite entered the mainstream of clients and specifiers minds? Darren Richards (DR): Whilst the industry has made significant progress there is still an abundance of manufacturers in the offsite space that are not embracing digital engineering and design for manufacture and assembly (DfMA) principles at the pace required. The concept of common digital front-end configuration and optimisation software entering our everyday work is quite some way off.


Naturally, there are always exceptions – pioneers and trailblazers – but these companies on their own will not create a big enough impact to bring the housebuilding and offsite manufacturing industry collectively in to the 21st century. I think that ‘radical vision’ could still be another decade away but I am determined to see it mainstream in my working lifetime. Q: How have you seen the offsite industry change and develop over the last 4-5 years? There seems to have been a change in tone in how offsite is perceived at the highest levels since the publication of Mark Farmer’s ‘Modernise or Die’ review?

DR: Offsite technology is adaptable and capable of providing solutions across all vertical markets from housing to infrastructure and everything in between. We have seen significant uptake of offsite techniques in education and now healthcare – infrastructure has embraced offsite techniques for decades and now with major projects such as Hinkley Point, Heathrow and HS2 we will see even greater innovation and upscaling. Retail, leisure, hotels and student accommodation sectors have all been huge consumers of offsite technology too and offsite methods are now the norm – not even debated but now assumed. One of my biggest frustrations is the lack of technology migration and knowledge transfer from some of these vertical markets across to housebuilding, so we end up seeing a lot of ‘reinventing’ the wheel instead of ‘evolving’ the wheel.


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COGENT CONSULTING Three – don’t skip any steps in the establishment process. Make sure that the prototyping and pre-production phases are not short-circuited, as these are the most valuable part of the process. The danger is that you develop a technology that is fantastic in-situ but very difficult to manufacture, and the key is to find a blend that suits the business objectives.

2 Q: Volumetric modular seems to have become a popular system of choice above panelised systems in the housing sector. Is that true? DR: Volumetric modular techniques do grab most of the headlines. My view is that this is because people ‘get it’ without too much requirement to look under the bonnet. They understand the level of completeness and see the process of module installation as being relatively straightforward, whereas understanding panelised approaches requires a much more detailed understanding of the technology and the design co-ordination and logistics processes involved. In terms of volume, the numbers of homes delivered using offsite techniques is still dominated by panelised approaches – timber frame, SIPS and light steel frame – in a magnitude way above the numbers of volumetric modular homes being delivered at this point in time. The danger in making comparisons is that you are tempted to play one offsite technology or system off against another, when the real question should be ‘how much total market share does offsite technology have of the housebuilding sector’?


Q: You advise many across the construction industry on developing businesses at all levels from the creation of factory facilities to product development – what are your top five pointers when advising clients on entering the offsite arena? DR: Firstly – do not underestimate the task in hand. Regardless of the technology, a new initiative or manufacturing investment requires deep pockets and specialist skills. Too many new entrants into the sector are ‘men of straw’ attracted because of the obvious groundswell of interest and the theoretical money-making opportunities at hand. Entering the offsite manufacturing sector requires time, money and resource to be planned accurately and significant contingencies need to be allowed for – especially around areas of testing, validation and certification. Secondly – not over-complicating the manufacturing operation from the beginning. The key is to get the offsite system right and then to consider mechanisation and automation once the product/system concept has been embedded.

Fourthly – when looking at DfMA focus on the ‘Assembly’, as there is a massive and indigenous component manufacturing supply-chain in the UK with skills and expertise to support many of the new offsite manufacturing businesses. So there is no point in bringing processing, cold-rolling, laminating, finishing processes inhouse when it is often more efficient to tap in to the expertise and resources that is offered by the supply-chain. All too often we see an obsessive approach to ‘bringing it all in-house’ and in many instances that just serves to create a more complex operating model and a much higher demand on finances to fund all of the Capex required. Finally, engage the best expertise that you can to support you on your offsite manufacturing journey, to avoid making the same mistakes as those that have gone before you. Cogent has been advising the offsite manufacturing sector for over a decade and most of our team have worked around the world in offsite manufacturing for over 25-years – this pool of expertise should not be underestimated. Q: There have been many new entrants to the offsite market since 2015-16 and they are now rubbing shoulders with some familiar names and legacy firms – what can they learn from each other in a small but competitive market? DR: Knowledge sharing and collaboration is key to the future success of the offsite sector. The real competitor is ‘traditional’ construction not necessarily the next manufacturer down the road. The offsite sector has low double-digit market share of the total construction pot, so we have a long way to go before we need offsite manufacturers to directly compete with each other. Yes, there will be tenders and frameworks to compete for, but many in the offsite sector realise that



3 to collectively create a game-changing environment for the industry to prosper, then collaboration is key. The offsite technology trade associations have a significant role to play in facilitating this, and many of the new entrants in to the offsite manufacturing sector need to be nurtured so as not to unintentionally damage the industry with product or system failures, poor quality systems etc. The key is to get the Associations to set the entry level high and to help bring new entrants (and some old laggards) up to the minimum acceptable level of operational and quality standards. Q: Albeit stymied recently by everything surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic – what can we expect to see in the next 4-5 years in the offsite arena? The integration of digital tools seems an obvious growth area. DR: The integration of digital tools is definitely a game-changer, but much of this is often seen to be out of reach for many offsite manufacturers, on the basis that there is a requirement to embed and mature much more fundamental operational processes and procedures before getting too

carried away with digital tools. Digital tools are a fantastic means to an end – they permit external architects and engineers to access and work with offsite manufacturing details, but often the fundamentals are missing or inadequate. These fundamentals include a robust approach to Bill of Materials generation, labour time planning and lead time analysis, stock control systems (ERP) and basic production capacity planning tools that are the spine of any well-run manufacturing or assembly operation. No matter how forward-looking we are in terms of digital tools – BIM, AR/VR, AI etc – unless we get the fundamentals right it is a futile exercise. The key is to ensure our offsite manufacturing base in the UK is world-class in its adoption of reliable and robust manufacturing operations and repeatable processes, before getting too carried away with the front-end digital tools. My view is that our industry has a long way to go to get the basics done well and to move away from the ‘construction’ mentality to the ‘manufacturing and assembly’ mentality and culture. If we get the basics right then the adoption and rollout of the more sophisticated digital

tools will be much easier and will come at a pace. For the next 5-years? I would say lots of mergers and acquisitions, supported by an increasing influx of ‘outside cash’ as some of the leading offsite manufacturing players begin to show decent financial returns and the venture capitalists and well-heeled private investors begin to see the medium to long-term potential of the sector. I hope we will see much greater migration of personnel from the automotive and aerospace sectors to the offsite manufacturing sector – bringing with them an abundance of knowledge and skills around worldclass manufacturing processes and protocols – this will be the real gamechanger for our sector. Whatever happens, I am certain that we face an exciting future and that our industry will continue to flourish. For more information visit: Images: 01. Darren Richards, Managing Director, Cogent Consulting 02-03. The offsite market has seen a boom period over recent years with many new players entering the market. Courtesy EOS/ilke Homes





As you will notice from our silver front cover this is the 25th edition of the publication. Over the next few pages Editor, Gary Ramsay has picked out some memorable moments from across the back catalogue plus a few quotes and common themes from our roundtable events.

The construction industry by its very definition is always changing shape and since Offsite Magazine was first published in March 2016, no part of the construction industry has changed or developed more rapidly than the offsite sector. The construction industry is full of vagaries that are often very hard to predict. After a mini-boom period in the 2000s, where prefabrication and factory-based manufacture was on the cusp of going mainstream, the 2007-10 financial crash and resulting recession pushed offsite methods back into the long grass. Now in 2020, the profile of offsite manufacture has never been higher – so what has changed? The debate surrounding the dearth of housing provision across the UK has underpinned much of the change. All those 300,000 homes we are told are needed per annum, aren’t going to be delivered via the usual building routes. But it is more about the increasing requirements of reliability, quality and better industry productivity and performance across the board – clients


and customers are tired of mediocre results but still paying top dollar for them. Poor site-management practices and the pressures of material use and environmental impacts are now under the spotlight more. The themes that drive the circular economy have never been so important. We need to treat the planet and its finite resources more carefully. Certainly the generational change in using and understanding digital technology everywhere – never mind just in construction circles – has been mammoth. The thought of immersive realities and ‘data-centric analytics’ as central to building design was the stuff of science fiction not that long ago. For me this grasp of technology has been emblematic and created a sea change in perception of what offsite manufacture can provide. The weatherworn habits of ‘traditional’ construction just look old and tired, dirty and inefficient. There has also been an admission, or at least an acceptance, at government level that offsite construction is a

serious proposition. Mark Farmer’s ‘Modernise or Die’ report was commissioned and published at just the right moment and has focused minds across all levels of the built environment. As a personal aside – back in 1998 – one of the first people I interviewed as a construction journalist was Sir John Egan on the back of ‘Rethinking Construction’ (now commonly referred to as the Egan Report). In it he expressed deep concern that the construction industry as a whole was underachieving, saying: “It has low profitability and invests too little in capital, research and development and training. Too many of the industry's clients are dissatisfied with its overall performance.” He followed this up in 2002, with the less well-known ‘Accelerating Change’, that for me is far more interesting. Anyway, the short of it is that sadly not much is fundamentally different. But with more offsite methods being adopted I think the built environment will undoubtedly deliver some of that change Egan wanted to see and Farmer echoed. It is sometimes the Editor’s burden to decide what to include and what to leave out. Over 25 magazines we have attempted to provide a detailed overview of the offsite sector in all its many facets, materials, systems and industry developments – which on behalf of the team here isn’t as easy as we may make it look. Outside of the offsite bubble you can be easily forgiven for not quite understanding what makes the sector tick and how it can excel beyond ‘traditional’ construction and the daily murk of the building site. I hope over all those issues that we have succeeded in explaining the reasons why that is the case more than we have failed. Gary Ramsay, Editor


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25 ISSUES BEST OF OFFSITE MAGAZINE ISSUE 1 Think Different – Build Different

Our first issue saw Urban Splash’s new residential concept featured as the first front cover story, explaining how it was going to revolutionise the UK’s attitudes to housing so buyers can configure their home exactly as they want it – not have it forced upon them. HTA’s Rory Bergin explained more about where offsite was heading – mostly upwards as became clearer over the following issues. We also reported on then Head of Construction in the Government’s Cabinet Office Dr David Hancock, visiting the Northampton headquarters of Fusion Building Systems. A fact-finding visit that was an opportunity to see why ‘alternative’ approaches were becoming more important in meeting the housebuilding challenge facing the UK – a challenge that still seems tough to solve. This issue also saw the very first Offsite Awards showcased and why The Cube was getting the industry pat on the back.

ISSUE 3 Smarter Construction A coup for the magazine was hearing from Mark Farmer pre-publication of his landmark Modernise or Die. He made it very clear that after 27 years in the construction industry: “I have never before seen the dysfunctional behaviour and poor performance that I have witnessed in the boom period of the last 2-3 years…the fundamental problem we have always grappled with is change inertia and the lack of strategic level initiators for wholesale process improvement. Modernisation is not just about offsite construction it is about a much wider ‘design for manufacture and assembly’ ethos which brings lean thinking to construction” Much more was to come later in the year and in the next issue. We also heard more about the Essex Business School – the UK’s First Zero-Carbon Business School and the launch of Osco Homes – delivering affordable houses constructed offsite at a factory based in HM Prison Hindley, Wigan.


ISSUE 2 Box Clever Still a mystery to some: ‘To BIM or not to BIM’ was the question from the Offsite Management School and BSi that laid out some key reasons why digital data and the route to BIM Level 2 was crucial. Celebrating their tenth anniversary EOS told us why partnering, better collaboration and getting involved right from the beginning of a project was, still is, and always will be the best policy. We also reported on a major new entrant to the offsite world with Legal & General’s strategic £55million investment in offsite manufacture with cross-laminated timber (CLT) at the heart of its volumetric plans for new housing. For many this was seen as a confirmation that offsite should be taken seriously. And as time has shown with the many changes at the base in Yorkshire – not least in personnel – that even with deep pockets offsite is a seriously difficult business.

ISSUE 4 Reaching a Modular Milestone Taking its place alongside the reports of Latham and Egan, Mark Farmer’s ‘Modernise or Die: The Farmer Review of the UK construction’ was scathing in its view of the industry and pulled no punches in where many of the answers rest – fundamentally, saying the modernisation discussion should start with the embracing of DfMA principles. A key moment and for many where offsite methods began to be thought of as a more mainstream solution than previously. Mark Farmer has now gone on to become the Government’s MMC Champion. Overcoming the barriers to change was also discussed at length by Dr Robert Hairstans, who highlighted some areas where work is still required for offsite to climb into ‘prime position’ to change the way construction is perceived and delivered. We also started to report more on the circular economy and the need to reduce, reuse and recycle more.


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25 ISSUES BEST OF OFFSITE MAGAZINE ISSUE 5 Set Your Sights On Offsite A restored interest in offsite construction was further boosted when the then Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid told the House of Commons. “Our housing market is broken.” The Government’s White Paper – ‘Fixing our Broken Housing Market’ – was published promising ‘radical, lasting reform’ on the ways homes are delivered – those reforms included more offsite construction and the use of more ‘reliable and faster building methods.’ Sir Edward Lister spoke to us about rebuilding communities with the Homes & Communities Agency (soon to become Homes England) at the centre of change. Swan Housing Association also announced they had officially taken the keys to their new factory anticipating the delivery of over 500 new homes and 40 new jobs for the area plus a new facility geared towards the exploration of innovative systems opened called the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC).

ISSUE 7 Offsite Construction: Your New Habit The very first Offsite Magazine Roundtable took place in London and saw EOS hosting our soon to become regular panel discussions analysing offsite trends, progress and future direction. A major project under the spotlight was the huge scheme to redevelop Broadmoor Hospital by Kier Construction, proving what precast concrete used in a hybrid solution with steel can really deliver. The secure mental health environment needed absolute attention to detail and execution becoming a multi-award winning project. Constructing Excellence held the inaugural meeting of its new Offsite Forum and as Sarah Beale was appointed Chief Executive of CITB, she outlined how things were set to change under her leadership – CITB’s direction and structure has been under pressure for many years about its overall industry effectiveness. We also heard from across the Atlantic on Amazon’s first foray into housebuilding with the Seattle start-ups plans to create modular Blok living.


ISSUE 6 Offsite Skills Are Your Business Teesside University launched a suite of ground-breaking new courses in partnership with architect and TV presenter George Clarke, through his Ministry of Building Innovation – still going strong. With skills under the spotlight, Brexit reared its head for the first time in the magazine as Theresa May triggered the UK’s leaving process, with specialist recruiter ARV Solutions, highlighting a range of issues surrounding recruitment and the future of a skilled workforce outside the EU. We also reported on Apex Tower in Wembley which took the title of Europe’s tallest modular development – rising to 28 storeys and taking just 12 months to complete. This symbolic development proved that offsite construction can deliver massive benefits at speed and at scale. And at height. We also took a look inside the precast concrete vision behind changes at Liverpool’s famous Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.

ISSUE 8 Vision Thing

Maggie’s Oldham – the world’s first building made from hardwood CLT – was the star project. The first ever structural use of engineered tulipwood for an entire building from what would become a familiar name in ZÜBLIN Timber picked up several awards. As construction tasks become more digitised we heard from one of the leading facilities in the UK helping manufacturers to become more competitive and attuned to advanced technology. The University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) told us about what the construction industry can learn from this cutting edge institution in adopting innovative ways of thinking and exploiting digital technologies such as AR and VR. For a London view of high density living and the issues surrounding offsite, Nicky Gavron AM spoke to us, as the London Assembly Planning Committee published its milestone report into the contribution of offsite manufactured homes as a part of the solution to London’s housing problems.



ISSUE 9 Get the Knowledge President RIBA Ben Derbyshire said: “Offsite technology… is capable of delivering quality and speed beyond any other construction method and it is also capable of delivering variety and interest through ‘mass customisation’ in a way many people don’t yet understand.” Derbyshire also hinted at the work to introduce a universally applicable, post-occupancy evaluation tool as an overlay on the RIBA Plan of Work – that was soon to arrive to great acclaim but mixed response. We also saw the first offsite accommodation units for Hinkley Point C Workers Campus delivered to the Somerset site. The delivery marked the successful start of a £50million contract awarded to Caledonian Modular Ltd. This issue also had a special pull-out section dedicated to the creation of an Offsite Zone at Ecobuild and the NHBC hosted a key roundtable discussion at the BRE Innovation Park on understanding how warranty and accreditation can better reflect offsite products.

Now regularly grabbing headlines across the offsite and housing sectors, we spoke to ilke Homes and its first CEO, Björn Conway. Originally established as a joint venture between housebuilder and regeneration specialists, Keepmoat Group and Elliott Group – ilke Homes quickly took to ‘revolutionary thinking and disrupting the construction norm’ to help solve the UK’s systemic housing shortage. Swan Housing Group also told us more about what they were doing to produce a new range of highquality, offsite manufactured homes using the NU build system. This issue also saw the first of our Inside Offsite Factory Tour programme reports, where Fusion Building Systems invited architects, contractors and developers to a special open day at its Northampton HQ. Key project case studies included the fantastic Stephen Perse Foundation in Cambridge showing why CLT is such an aesthetically pleasing and flexible structural material.

ISSUE 12 Untapped Potential

ISSUE 11 How to House the UK Something of an unknown Conservative MP at the time, Minister of State for Housing, Dominic Raab wrote for the magazine outlining how the Government was taking steps to stimulate and encourage the greater use of offsite methods, saying: “Since I became Housing Minister, I have been struck by the enormous opportunities to be far more innovative in the way we build new homes. For too long, productivity and innovation in construction have lagged behind other industries. So, modern methods of construction (MMC) are a chance to change that.” We also reported on a special intensive European three-day Study Tour, organised by Radar Communications and Cogent Consulting that took a group of Barratt Developments main board, senior management team and key UK suppliers, to Germany and Holland to study offsite manufacturing techniques and housebuilding technologies. And as both shedkm and Geraghty Taylor architects told us – ‘homes are different to housing.’

Dame Judith Hackitt released her final report for overhauling building regulations and improving fire safety in the construction supply chain post-Grenfell. With many positives, it drew a mixed response from construction stakeholders: some praising its focus and some seeing it as a missed opportunity to correct decades of poor performance. For the first time we included the ARV Solutions Salary Guide for the Offsite Construction Sector, handy for checking staff salaries and recruiting tips. A review of hotel developments and what it means to be ‘stackable and repeatable’ concentrated on the New Hampton by Hilton hotel at Bristol Airport, the 50th Hampton to open in the UK, with the success of the scheme largely down to the use of volumetric bedrooms and containerised technology. We also heard about the new passenger facility at Dublin Airport – home of the largest single span modular building delivered to date in the UK and Ireland.




Precast concrete was under the spotlight with Creagh Concrete revamping central Birmingham with the Arena Central development, a collection of high and low-rise shops, offices and residential buildings that emerged around the existing Alpha Tower, a Grade II-listed office built in the 1970s and one of Birmingham’s most well-known architectural landmarks. Balfour Beatty also spoke to us about its pioneering commitment to reducing onsite activity by 25% by 2025 and how it intends to bring a new generation of industrialised construction methods together to transform the way the industry operates with offsite a key element. We also took a good look at the global trend for tall timber buildings with the help of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat – something that as of going to press (Sept 2020) may be a UK development that has sadly been stopped in its tracks.

ISSUE 15 Platform for Change Tim Hopkinson, President of BESA highlighted some key issues surrounding MEP – one of the offsite sectors slightly unsung success stories – saying building engineering services will have to take a leaf out of the manufacturing industry’s book to deliver an increasingly challenging workload. The Modular & Portable Building Association launched its new Volumetric Homes Group to cater for the increased interest in the delivery of modular homes. Plus we took a look inside the developments at the Active Office – the UK’s first energy-positive office – at Swansea University. Not just meant to be a high performance modular building for its own sake, but also to demonstrate how well buildings can perform when packed full of cutting edge, commercially available technology to generate, store and manage energy for the building. A key project case study came in the shape of the National Theatre’s fine new ‘craned in’ rooftop pavilion.


ISSUE 14 An Emerging Reality In toasting timber, we looked in detail at the Macallan Distillery. Quickly becoming an iconic, award-winning building, it showcased engineered wood via the most complex timber roof structure ever built in the UK. The flagship £140million Macallan Distillery’s undulating timber roof structure comprised of 380,000 individual components. Mike Chaldecott, CEO of Saint-Gobain UK and Ireland and Chair of the Construction Leadership Council, spoke to us at length about ‘emerging realities in the construction industry’ and we paid a visit to one of the UK’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities. Laing O'Rourke has long spearheaded change in the construction industry through design for manufacture and assembly (DfMA) at the pioneering Explore Industrial Park. Over £100million has been invested in the Park, with the aim of 70% of the projects the company directly controls to be produced through DfMA. This unique self-delivery capability has led to greater levels of design standardisation in the UK.

ISSUE 16 Champions & Challenges Social housing is a key area where offsite delivery can provide a raft of positive changes. As one of the most innovative housing associations in the UK, we heard from Dr Chris Handy, Chief Executive of Accord, long at the forefront of promoting offsite solutions through its successful LoCaL Homes business, whom illustrated why offsite construction is an essential way to creating homes where people want to live and build their lives. Brexit came under the spotlight with coverage of ‘Building After Brexit: An Action Plan for Industry’ that detailed the specific steps the construction industry and government must take to lessen the impact of Brexit – something that nobody is much clearer about? This issue also saw the launch of AIMCH and another key trade association underpinning the scope and success of the offsite sector within the wider construction industry with the unveiling of the Light Steel Frame Association.


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With an international flavour, we reported on developments in Spain, with AEDAS Homes, with a largescale modular development on the Cost del Sol. As part of the Inside Offsite factory tour programme, we spent some time at the York manufacturing facility of Portakabin – a name synonymous with modular construction since 1961 – and although well-known for the hire and relocatable arm of the business, is now a central player in the supply of modular building systems across the UK. We also reported on the influx of huge sums of money entering the offsite sphere. Financial giant Goldman Sachs announced a £75million capital investment into modular housing manufacturing with TopHat, Japan’s Sekisui House – one of the world’s leading housebuilders and pioneers of offsite construction – striking a multi-million deal working with Homes England and Urban Splash and Project Etopia saw Lord Stanley Fink ex-Chief Executive of mega hedge-fund The Man Group, joining the firm’s board.

ISSUE 19 The Search for New Answers The Construction Innovation Hub is set to play a pivotal role in transforming construction across the UK and help the industry to build smarter, greener and more efficient buildings faster than we currently do. Keith Waller, Programme Director, Construction Innovation Hub, explained more about this is going to happen. With £72million from UKRI, it will change the way buildings and infrastructure are designed, manufactured and connected within our built environment with the help of the Manufacturing Technology Centre, Building Research Establishment and the Centre for Digital Built Britain. As zero carbon targets and energy efficiency are of increasing importance across the globe, David Russell, Director at Carbon Futures, outlined how offsite construction can deliver far-reaching thermal improvements for new UK housing. A key case study came from FP McCann on how best to employ architectural cladding with a new office development on Shoreditch High Street, London.


ISSUE 18 Digital World – New Normal First mention was made of Seismic, describing how this pioneering consortium will transform the way primary schools are designed, procured and built offsite with key innovations including an open source app and a universal connection solution and standardised structural frame. Graham Cleland, Director at Berkeley Modular, spoke of the intricacies of ‘controlling flow in a digital river (more in this issue p24) when dealing with the task of capturing the now golden thread of information. We looked to the USA to report on the world’s tallest modular hotel nearing completion in New York City at the 6th Avenue Marriott AC NoMAD, plus we featured progress at 101 George Street, Croyden – with Tide Construction and Vision Modular using 1,524 modules to deliver more world topping offsite developments. It’s speed and sheer scale will make it a genuinely ground-breaking and iconic example of what the offsite industry can do.

ISSUE 20 Vision On Amy Crick from Barclays Corporate Banking, outlined a few key considerations when seeking finance for modular developments, with many things to bear in mind including: ‘title, vesting and monitoring’. Lanre Gbolade, Production Innovation Lead at L&Q, spoke to us at length about how, as a housing association developer and long-term asset holder, the implications of what is built now will have long standing impacts for generations to come, so getting offsite right from the outset is of utmost importance. The lifting of pods and modules is a critical process in the manufacture and installation of offsite units and a technical consideration of huge importance – on and offsite. Anthony Culshaw, Technical Director at Britlift reminded us about the practicalities of lifting pods or modules, plus we heard from SES Engineering Services as it relocated its innovative PRISM facility from York to its new home in Coventry.


25 ISSUES BEST OF OFFSITE MAGAZINE ISSUE 21 Prepare to Perform Better A landmark timber project and multi-award winner at the 2019 Offsite and Structural Timber Awards, the new Cambridge Mosque combined Islamic principles with European sensibilities to form an iconic engineered timber structure employing the best of offsite principles. As offsite skills are under constant scrutiny, we heard from Nigel Ostime from Hawkins\ Brown Architects, who as part of a new wave of industry specialists changing the way we design buildings, have collaborated with Oxford Brookes School of Architecture to develop a one-year module in DfMA and MMC for their post graduate diploma course. We also caught up once again with Mark Farmer on his appointment as the government’s MMC Champion, primarily allowing him to act as a bridge between government and industry and to advise on potential offsite-related policy interventions in the housing sector – stating dryly: “There are lots of people in the sector with lots of opinions on what needs to change.”

ISSUE 22 Keep On Keeping On Launched at Offsite Expo 2019, we heard from the Construction Futures Research Centre – part of the School of Architecture and Built Environment at the University of Wolverhampton – and one of the many centres of excellence offering expertise in how best to deliver offsite construction. Another pivotal facility operating in the sector is the Manufacturing Technology Centre – in the midst of moving from Associate Director for Construction and Infrastructure at the Centre to Impact Director for Manufacturing at the Construction Innovation Hub, Trudi Sully predicted exciting times ahead as the construction industry begins to change the way it thinks and performs with the ‘Platform Design Programme’ central to that. And with a mission statement of ‘purpose beyond profit’, Willmott Dixon has long adopted innovative techniques to improve the built environment and provided a key case study showcasing work on the Town House at Kingston University.


ISSUE 23 Design for Life

What is the New Normal?

As COVID-19 became a part of everyday life for everybody in 2020, we covered in detail how offsite methods are helping the healthcare sector. Alongside repurposing existing facilities to create the NHS Nightingale Hospitals, offsite construction was central to supporting NHS Trusts and healthcare providers to increase capacity with new wards: e.g. Darwin Group manufactured emergency hospital wards for more than 150 new beds using their advanced modular design system to help combat the virus. We had a Q&A session with Jeremy Sweetland, Project Director of the Bristol Housing Festival talking about how it is acting as an incubator to road-test and explore smart technology and offsite manufacturing. This is being done in a ‘real-world scenario’ with a view to developing innovative solutions to accelerate the delivery of quality, affordable housing: so far to huge success. Plus with brownfield land still undervalued for its building potential – Atkins subsidiary EDAROTH are hoping to change that attitude.

Ok, only the last issue and only a few weeks ago. But as with half the planet we continued life online and held our first virtual roundtable over Zoom, with Siniat and Promat hosting a discussion on the Build to Rent market and its value to the offsite sector. As you will have read earlier in this issue in more detail, we heard first about NHBC Accepts and how this new service will help to build further confidence in innovative construction and enable offsite systems to be fast-tracked for NHBC warranty. With the COVID-19 pandemic receding (or not as we went to press) across the UK, we have entered a new phase of working. Infrastructure is key to a robust economy and with ambitious targets and huge sums of money required to improve the nation’s key infrastructure, we caught up with Will Varah at Infrastructure and Projects Authority, to find out how offsite can help? Contact us if you want to contribute to future issues of Offsite Magazine email:





Way back in Offsite Magazine Issue 7 (Sept/Oct 2017) we began to run a regular roundtable discussion session hosted by a specific company playing a central role in the offsite sector – either as a product or system provider in partnership with our facilitator Cogent Consulting. Some hosts have been drawn from particular parts of the construction industry, work with a particular material or just want to better understand how they can provide an improved and more user-friendly service.

Each panel has comprised of a range of experts from all four corners of the construction industry – not just those involved on a day-to-day basis with offsite. From architects, structural engineers, product designers and system providers to clients, contractors, educationalists, warranty providers and housing associations, all have been represented by individuals from Board level of the business. We have now run 16 events over the last three years. In that time a lot has been said and written in these pages about how the sector has shaped up in, what can fairly be seen as a boom period for offsite construction. There has been many issues raised and many problems flagged up for further


investigation. But each discussion with its own theme and industry slant has thrown up many reoccurring themes and insights into where the sector is heading, where it is succeeding and maybe above all, where it needs to improve.

This is not exhaustive but over the next few pages we have pulled together some common themes and panel comments about offsite manufacture’s current progress and its future direction.

Many thanks to all of our attendees – over 150 assorted experts – and special thanks to our Roundtable hosts: ARV Solutions, BBA, Catax, EOS, ETEX, Hadley Group, NHBC, RCM, SIG Offsite, Stewart Milne Timber Systems and the Structural Timber Association.





















A K in t rr M he iv ar al ke t




Over nearly 50 hours of offsite discussion many issues have been raised, with the following coming up in conversation as factors driving forward the offsite sector – and in some cases holding it back – more than once. “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.” Clare Harrison, Project Director, Grosvenor Group

More Evidence-based Data – for the offsite sector to prove its wholelife costs and long term value more independent proof is required. If performance is not being measured how can the sector know how well it is performing? More needs to be done to provide statistical evidence and hard data to prove the benefits and cost advantages of offsite manufacture. Attractive Tech-industry – using digital/ AR/VR and the connected world to make the construction industry more attractive and bring a younger generation and different thinking into the industry, with lifetime transferable skills extending careers beyond the building site.

“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.” Karl Wilkinson, Operations Leader, Building, Laing O'Rourke


Technology Cultural Shift – using immersive reality and grasping the huge benefits of the global technology cultural shift – fast becoming the common ground to make client – manufacturer – customer integration easier. Rewarding Offsite Investment – the offsite sector invests heavily in processes, accreditation and factory design, workforce training with output data measurably showing better performance. There should be a positive price point differential in premiums for the use of offsite. Offsite Terminology – collective thinking is required on what ‘offsite’ means and decide on a standard definition to clear confusion – also applicable to certification, testing, standards, insurance, assurance, warranties, validation and verification – what does it all mean? Standardisation & Harmonisation – better collaboration is required when dealing with common elements of design and construction outside of the ‘competitive edge’.

Quality Marks – creating a more unified approach to appraising offsite systems – BOPAS, NHBC, LABC – less duplication of effort and less cost – the certification sector needs to speed up its processes and testing to keep pace with the huge amount of innovation taking place as they can impede innovation. Procurement Behaviour – this needs to change. Organisations are still trying to procure new products and systems with an old traditional mindset. All levels of the construction industry need to improve its working knowledge of how offsite manufacture works and what it delivers when arriving onsite. Trade Associations – a need for trade associations to talk to each better and create a formal singular message surrounding offsite to lobby government in unison. Knowledge Transfer & Factory Manufacture – better appreciation of factory production methods and establishing clearer linkage between main contractors, architects, engineers and suppliers. Manufacturers have a lot of specialist knowledge to pass on to clients, main contractor and sub-contractors but need to be engaged early.


25 ISSUES BEST OF OFFSITE MAGAZINE Early Engagement – the offsite mantra. Speak to your offsite supply chain, system provider/manufacturer early in the design process and agree appropriate ‘design freeze’ stages for maximum efficiency. Schemes are still switching mid-project from traditional to offsite making things very difficult and costly. Training Provision – there is a lack of capacity of trainers to spread knowledge to all aspects of the construction industry. Architects need to know about the variety of solutions available. More skills development is required with more ‘manufacturing construction’ professions geared towards logistics, process engineering, digital engineering and capacity planning. The Big Challenge – Government could help more by unlocking some of the barriers to growth such as land release for new developments. Traditional construction can’t deliver 300,000 homes a year without offsite playing a part. Planning & QS – more education for planners to understand what offsite construction actually means. Along with planners, quantity surveyors as a profession needs to get to grips with offsite manufacture more, what it can do and better translate data and figures into the building cost model. Ask Questions to Drive Demand – clients/developers and contractors need to question offsite manufacturers and suppliers more and decide exactly what they want. On-site construction teams need to realise that offsite systems are different to traditional methods.

“We make it quite difficult for ourselves and for many investors, funders and clients. The raft of different acronyms and trying to keep pace with what people are actually describing and talking about is hard. We must ensure that we are talking the same language and understand what we're talking about. Don’t make using offsite feel harder than it means to be.” Jamie Hillier, Pre-Construction Director, Kier

Sustainability – not enough is said about the green credentials, embodied energy, energy consumption and performance standards that underpin offsite – this is appealing to tenants and the general public. Offsite has huge potential as a cleaner, less waste and energy efficient way to build.

“There is a gap in data to prove the benefits of offsite. The offsite industry needs to a lot more of that measuring and monitoring – providing statistical evidence is a sensible approach to reducing risk.” Oliver Novakovic, Technical & Innovation Director, Barratt Developments

Onsite Challenge – can the factory quality be maintained to the same level of control through assembly, install and handover? Does the product do what you think it’s going to do? There is a disconnect between what the traditional construction industry has to prove and what the offsite sector has to demonstrate and corroborate. Communicating the Concept – understanding how best to blend standardisation and customisation into factory thinking and explaining to clients what this entails. There is an assumption of inflexibility with offsite design and delivery – offsite is a process not a product. Money Markets – institutional lending and mortgage providers are becoming more comfortable funding offsite developments. Creating confidence and expanding offsite knowledge around the surveying, finance, lending and insurance sectors.

Collaboration – offsite technology manufacturers, developers, contractors and investors need to develop a closer relationship and understand each other’s building requirements plus build and maintain smarter relationships with like-minded organisations. Selling Offsite – overcoming the ‘front of house’ issue and having better client-facing teams that understand offsite manufacture and deliver a convincing proposition to the marketplace. Communicating with the public and consumer sector better about what a factory-produced home means and the ability to configure their own homes. Standardisation and Interoperability – a fractured nature of the industry and multi-component marketplace can be confusing and produce poor performance. Better interface education to develop products to a highly descriptive level and give installers the rules on interfaces associated with deployment through a flexible, intuitive approach.

“Digital technology delivers information and production details to operators when they need it, so when we have looked at some of these processes with construction companies that ‘make things’ the use of digitisation probably gives them a 50% increase in productivity and huge reduction in errors.” Allan Griffin, Head of Construction & Infrastructure Strategy, AMRC



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: 2020 20 Oct

Modular Matters

Returning 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. 18 Nov

Tall Buildings Conference

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

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 and will highlight design and building technology innovation in the UK high-rise sector.

2021 11 Mar Tall Buildings Awards 2020

2020 Tall Buildings Awards

2020 Tall Buildings Awards

23-24 Mar

Tall Buildings Awards 2020

Tall Buildings Awards 2020

Structural Timber Awards

The Structural Timber Awards is a celebration of innovation, best practice and expertise in timber technology. Taking place on 11 March 2021 at the National Conference Centre, Birmingham - the Awards will showcase innovative solutions and ground-breaking developments from across the UK timber industry. Explore Offsite Housing

To gain insight from those who are shaping the future of the offsite housing sector, Explore Offsite Housing Conference brings together technology leaders to discuss the growing opportunities that the housing shortage presents for offsite construction.

All event information and schedules correct at the time of going to print - please check relevant websites for latest details.

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Hadley Steel Framing has proven experience in understanding complex engineering structures and provides full design, manufacture and installation packages. We take complete control, project managing every aspect. This is why our clients appoint us and retain our services time and time again. Achieving fast-track construction schedules - here we define our supportive services, including full ownership of the process, to demonstrate what we can deliver!

HANDOVER At the end of every project there is a comprehensive handover process encompassing final ‘as built’ drawings, Q&A documents, detailed warranties, all operating and maintenance information together with a forthright 360 degree review of the design, manufacturing and installation programme which also highlights where improvements can be made in future projects.

CONTROL 8 Hadley take complete ownership and management of the project - from engineering and manufacturing right through to onsite installation by our specialist teams which even includes cranage, AP and slingers within our inclusive packages. Via Trimble Fieldview we track and monitor every aspect – taking complete control.



Our unparalleled rollforming expertise is underpinned by the manufacture of all panelised systems and components within the same advanced factory facility. This ensures rapid and efficient builds with accuracy and controls built in at each stage of the process. We optimise our own offsite manufactured sequence, bringing all elements together to improve your project delivery - the true definition of Modern Methods of Construction.


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Hadley maintain vertically integrated processes – controlling and optimising every aspect. All detailing takes place within the Group to ensure alignment with the original intent. We have the expertise and ability to scope, design, detail, verify, validate and deliver a fully engineered steel framing system.



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EARLY ENGAGEMENT Crucial to the success of all offsite construction projects, engagement from the initial stages facilitates an integrated design where for example, facades, windows, balconies, entrances and roof structures can be incorporated into the engineering calculations and design of the structural steel framing system. Our expert team ensure we add efficiency and structure to the process right from the outset.



Full collaborative working at the tender stage maximises design, materials and manufacturing efficiencies. Layouts and sequencing can be optimised by developing a full understanding of our client’s requirements – to ultimately achieve vast programme and cost benefits. Our early engagement ensures no unwelcome surprises.


CONTRACT AWARDED Now we are officially part of the team. We grow our established links to offer commercial, design and engineering support. Through close collaboration we work as a delivery partner to your team – managing the entire process from the early design stages right through to the project completion.



PROCUREMENT Hadley Group is the UK’s largest procurer of pre-galvanised steel – we have significant capability and capacity to achieve even the largest and toughest build requirements. Included within this manufacturing scope are the stairs and all complementary works.

CONTINUITY Offering total synergy and continuity – the same Hadley team, the same communication channels, the same plan, the same detailed approach – will be maintained throughout the design, manufacturing and installation process. Our teams will oversee the entire process through to issue of our warranty.