Offsite Magazine - Issue 10 (March/April)

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SWAN HOUSING GROUP Disrupting the housing market with the volumetric NU build system


OFFSITE AWARDS 2018 All the winning projects and people from this year’s packed event


STEPHEN PERSE FOUNDATION Robin Dryer gives an architect’s perspective on CLT and offsite manufacture


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PEFC 16-33-576 paper stock by Buxton Press PUBLISHER: Offsite Magazine is produced and published by Radar Communications: ©Radar Communications Ltd. Radar Communications Ltd, 5 Darwin Court, Oxon Business Park, Shrewsbury, Shropshire. SY3 5AL T: 01743 290001 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.

DAWN OF THE DISRUPTORS Welcome to the latest edition of Offsite Magazine. Hopefully everyone will have recovered from the exertions of ecobuild 2018 and the Offsite District and congratulations once again to all those that came away from the Offsite Construction Awards as worthy winners.

customisation is only possible because of the offsite factory-based approach.

You will be able to see the winning projects in all their glory in our special dedicated Awards section in the middle of this issue. The judging panel found it tough to separate the shortlisted entries in each category which reflects the levels of expertise and innovation being extremely high across all aspects of the offsite industry.

In this issue we also feature another of our roundtable events – hosted by recruitment specialists ARV Solutions. Talk surrounded the many ways that the offsite sector – and construction industry in general – is having to think carefully about the changing landscape of skills, training, staffing and retention of talent. We also report on the latest of the recent Inside Offsite factory tours that saw delegates shown around the Northampton facility of light gauge steel specialists Fusion Building Systems.

Housing is a subject that is never far away from any construction conversation and we have comment from two newer entrants into the offsite housing sector, both of whom – in the current fashionable jargon – can be described as ‘disruptors’. Swan Housing Association with its NU build system and ilke Homes are the types of organisation that are going to make a genuine, high-impact difference to the housing delivery model that the UK desperately needs, if the nation is to get anywhere near building the numbers of homes that are desperately required. Buyers of Swan’s modular NU homes will be able to custom-design their new home, using an online configurator to choose from over one million options – this level of

As we went to press, ilke Homes were on the brink of the official ‘launch’ of its factory in North Yorkshire and as Björn Conway, CEO of ilke Homes told me, is one of the UK’s only modular homes businesses currently set up to operate at scale with the target of delivering 2,000 homes a year in two years.

Amongst our material-focused case studies and coverage, we also hear from architect Robin Dryer, a partner in the practice that used cross laminated timber (CLT) for the first time to deliver a stunning new education facility for the Stephen Perse Foundation in Cambridge. As always special thanks to all our contributors, advertisers and supporters.

Gary Ramsay

Consultant Editor Email:

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28 | Setting the Vision of the Future





The definition of collaboration is the situation of two or more people working together to create or achieve the same thing. Ryan Simmonds, Sales Director of Metsec Framing, describes how this approach in offsite manufacture promotes efficiency and project success.

Revolutionary thinking and disrupting the construction ‘norm’ is at the centre of solving the UK’s systemic housing shortage. Swan Housing Group explain what they are doing to produce a new range of high-quality, offsite manufactured homes using the NU build system.



32 | Driving Forward Steel Frame Construction

CLT is now well-established in the UK as a lightweight engineering solution with high levels of prefabrication and excellent credentials as a sustainable material. Robin Dryer, Director at chadwickdryerclarke studio, successfully used it for the first time at the Stephen Perse Foundation.



08 | Industry News

24 | ARV Solutions Roundtable

News and developments from across the UK offsite industry and wider construction arena including: a new Lloyds Bank survey highlights housebuilders’ move to offsite, planning granted for a 21-storey modular block of homes in Croydon and Laing O’Rourke Stanhope and Network Homes form ‘game-changing’ offsite partnership.

The construction industry is changing and needs a workforce that is trained in new and innovative offsite methods to meet the sector’s future needs. ARV Solutions recently hosted a Roundtable Event to discuss future skills challenges in the industry.

ilke Homes was originally established as a joint venture between housebuilder and regeneration specialists, Keepmoat Group and offsite construction specialist, Elliott Group – here Björn Conway, CEO of ilke Homes took part in a quick Q&A about exciting times ahead.

50 | Building Confidence in Modular New Homes


A special section devoted to all the winning projects and people from the 2018 Offsite Awards that were held during ecobuild earlier this year. The independent judging panel had to make some tough choices to separate the truly stunning examples of offsite manufacture, construction and delivery.

Fusion Building Systems recently invited architects, contractors and developers with an interest in the use of light gauge steel (LGS) and offsite construction for Private Rental Sector (PRS) projects to a special open day at it’s Northampton headquarters.

42 | Primed for Efficient Delivery


ecobuild 2018 has been hailed as a triumphant return to form, with the three-day event hosting over 26,000 visitors exploring solutions to some of the biggest global issues facing the built environment – including the hugely popular Offsite District.

Graham Sibley, NHBC’s Market Development Manager, sees a momentum growing for offsite construction with NHBC working with offsite operators to maintain the quality, durability and resilience of finished new homes.

86 | Maximising Offsite

The Queensferry Crossing project is Scotland’s largest infrastructure investment in a generation and SES Engineering Services (SES) played a pivotal part with the delivery of mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) services.

88 | Modular Housing: the performance gap

Contemporary technological developments are changing perceptions on what modular buildings can provide and the massive benefits that can be gleaned from factorycontrolled manufacture.

94 | Creating a Digital Platform for Offsite Construction

Change is happening. Building Information Modelling (BIM) is gaining momentum and Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) is becoming the new norm. Jaan Saar, Head of EC&O Development at INTELSYS outlines the software challenge ahead for offsite.

The Oculus University of Warwick






solution is selected by a commercial team, basing decisions on cost rather than a full integrated review. The irony here is that selecting a solution based on price rather than how closely it fits the vision by the end client invariably means that elements are changed as the project progresses, which alters the cost of the project each time.

The definition of collaboration is the situation of two or more people working together to create or achieve the same thing. Ryan Simmonds, Sales Director of Framing at voestalpine Metsec plc, describes how this approach in offsite manufacture promotes efficiency and project success.

The Farmer Review of the UK Construction Labour Model explores poor predictability as a major industry failing, but more worrying is the fact that this failure and under performance is accepted by both the industry and, begrudgingly, by clients as well. The design phase of any project – big or small – is vital, however this is often the stage that, in retrospect, the parties involved accept that they did not spend enough time on or engage with the right stakeholders. Partnering in Planning Stages So, communication is clearly the weak link in the chain. It’s at the initial strategic and briefing stages that end clients and those appointed to deliver the project should engage with groups such as installers and manufacturers to collectively review and critique the design. This lack of collaboration, according to the Farmer report, is at the root of the industry’s change inertia.

1 Within the definition of collaboration sits key elements for success. Co-ordination with other team members or those working on a project is crucial to ensure nothing is missed, as well as making sure there are no unnecessary duplications. Co-operation is another important area, and one where teams can often fall down through a lack of communication or sharing of vital information. Together, co-operation and co-ordination help to contribute to true collaboration, with all parties working together to achieve a single goal. Ultimately, collaboration is not 6

only mutually beneficial to everyone involved, but promotes efficiency across projects being undertaken and can better control project costs. Budgetary costs on major construction projects rarely match up with the final cost at handover of the project. In fact, one study estimated that as many as nine out of ten high profile projects go over budget. (Typical) Planning There can be a number of reasons why a project exceeds its budget. Project delays, issues with land, materials or financing problems. However, it is often the case that the original budget is set too low by the client, or that the


With all parties working on the project plan together and adopting digitisation through media such as Building Information Modelling (BIM), any issues that are recognised can be resolved while still in the design stages. Without this engagement, projects often progress to the technical design or even the construction stages before stumbling blocks are identified and, by this stage, they are already time-consuming and expensive to rectify. Additionally, engaging with experts such as structural engineers, fabricators and manufacturers, the end client is able to take account of the advice of specialists at the point where their input is of most value. Like Metsec, many of these stakeholders will have their own design capabilities that they can utilise and BIM allows for this work to be done collaboratively. Benefits of Collaboration in Construction Projects Collaboration is a method that the

COVER STORY METSEC FRAMING construction industry has historically struggled to adopt, but one that has been consistently demonstrated to greatly benefit the industry as a whole. Collaborating on a project from the initial stages brings numerous benefits including reducing time delays and the need for contingency funds. The appointed design team, contractors, manufacturers and installers all working collaboratively means designs, issues, priorities and construction methods are all agreed upon in the initial stages and fully understood by all parties. Whilst the theory of collaboration can seem abstract, it is a very real requirement for successful projects. If co-dependent elements of a project are executed in silos with no communication or co-ordination, projects can hit stumbling blocks. For example, if the installer of the framing solution on a project has not communicated with the main contractor as to when they are required onsite, the project can either be delayed as the installer is not ready, or alternatively they’ll turn up onsite but not be able to gain access and begin the installation, resulting in wasted days and money. Similarly, if the framing manufacturer and installer have not co-operated and communicated, the project could be delivered before it’s required, taking up valuable space onsite, or be delayed – again resulting in lost days. BIM as a Collaborative Method However collaboration needs to go deeper, and this is where BIM is vital. A structured, measured and comprehensive approach to team working, BIM has a fixed set of processes and procedures to guide users and participants how best to employ collaborative methods. Design co-ordination is an in-depth and involved process and BIM’s regular data exchanges ensure that the whole team is working on the same, and most up-to-date, model. The notion of BIM is the process of designing, constructing or operating a building, infrastructure or landscape asset using electronic information. In practice, this means that a project can be designed and built using data sets and images digitally, even before the first spade goes in the ground. Detecting conflict at early stages means they are addressed and

2 resolved promptly and still during the planning stages. Without BIM, issues are often only picked up at major project milestones and at this point they can be difficult and expensive to rectify. The objective of BIM is to satisfy the three components of a successful project – namely time, cost and quality, by managing the project using an efficient, collaborative and reliable method of work. Sharing a 3D model with all parties communicates the planned end result in a clear, concise and fully comprehensible way – helping the full project team to understand the requirements and see what they are working towards. However, another crucial element of BIM is the promotion, and adoption, of collaborative working. The digital designs are shared with all parties to outline the work planned and gives everyone the opportunity to fully understand what is proposed and all the requirements. The BIM Execution Plan (BEP) is a critical document as it underpins project integration and is a written plan to bring together all of the tasks, processes and related information. The BEP should be agreed at the outset and defines what BIM means for the project. It outlines the standards being adopted, outputs required, when these should be supplied and in what format, plus any supporting documentation. As a working document, the BEP is regularly reviewed and evolves throughout the project ensuring design teams, suppliers, manufacturers and all other stakeholders have all the relevant information, promoting collaboration between all parties. The BIM Implementation Plan (BIP) is the blueprint for integrating BIM into

3 an organisation’s working practices. This should align to the objectives and aspirations of the organisation, its business partners, its skill base, levels of investment and the nature and scale of projects that it wishes to undertake now and in the future. Hosting both of these documents in a centrally co-ordinated Common Data Environment (CDE) means they can be updated, accessed or extracted at any time throughout the project. Adding all other BIM documents including the 3D drawings gives all of those involved in the overall project full visibility and input, promoting a collaborative approach throughout. Talking about collaboration and delivering a fully collaborative project through the use of BIM are two very different things, and will have very different outcomes when it comes to a construction project. Whilst there have been moves to adopt a more collaborative approach, using BIM ensures that all stakeholders are consulted at all stages throughout the project and that the most up-todate documents are hosted in one central location, reducing errors in file versions or timing plans. In addition, the use of BIM means that a design and build is fixed from a certain, agreed point onwards, removing the need for additional contingency budget or project delays due to unplanned changes caused by a lack of communication, co-ordination, co-operation or collaboration. For more information visit:

Images: 01. Smithfield Square 02. 66 Queen Square 03. East Riding Leisure Bridlington. All images utilised BIM design



UK INDUSTRY NEWS Urban Splash Acquire SIG Building Systems

Award-winning regeneration company Urban Splash has taken control of modular construction specialists SIG Building Systems and also recently announced two major investors into the business – Urban Splash Modular Ltd. The company, which is headquartered in Manchester but operates across England, has agreed terms to acquire certain trade and assets of SIG Building Systems, the modular offsite construction business of SIG plc, the acquisition includes SIG’s modular factory in the East Midlands, all the IP and patents of its modular housing system and around 70 staff. A second announcement saw two prominent figures join the Urban Splash Modular Ltd business – as both architect and Channel 4 presenter George Clarke and North West tech entrepreneur and founder of, Noel McKee announced their investment in Urban Splash modular operations. Urban Splash Chairman Tom Bloxham MBE said: “We are pleased to have agreed terms on this acquisition with SIG. Urban Splash is committed to expanding its offsite construction capacity and this purchase is a way to vertically integrate our business and give us control of the production of our Houses. It is a testament to our commitment to, and investment in, modular housing. “SIG has been a great company to work with, but as the factory gradually filled up with Urban Splash product, it became clear to all that its natural home was with Urban Splash. We will continue to work with


SIG’s excellent supply chain and welcome our great new colleagues from SIG into the Urban Splash team. We are committed to delivering these homes, because we know that the accelerated use of modular will help give this country more much-needed homes and will help meet Government aspirations and targets.” Having established itself as a leader in regeneration, Urban Splash has been developing its modular portfolio for the past 10 years. The company’s first foray using offsite technology was at its Moho development in Manchester’s Castlefield, since its initial development of the House concept in 2012 however – it has turned its attentions to the rollout of its customisable Town House. The first Town House scheme was completed in New Islington in Manchester in 2016, with two further sites underway in Manchester and North Shields with a fourth site in Birmingham also receiving planning permission. As well as acquiring the House factory, the company has brought in the knowledge and expertise of investors George and Noel to further extend its modular reach. “I have known and admired George and Noel for a number of years,” added Tom. “They are both great entrepreneurs and it’s fantastic they have come on board as investors in and advisors to our modular housing business. “Noel disrupted the used car market with his invention of In housing, we’re challenging another traditional market – new homes – so Noel’s


wealth of knowledge is crucial for us as we look to move innovation forward in this sector. George will give us a brilliant design counsel. He shares our passion for the way architecture can transform our everyday lives and believes that houses are the single most important pieces of architecture – and that everyone has the right to a decent, well-designed home. His award-winning housing projects are testimony to his love for design quality and innovation. George’s fascination with housing combined with a grasp of public tastes, architecture trends and marketing making him a great asset to the Urban Splash House team.” “I have known the talented Urban Splash team for many years,” added George Clarke. “I’ve been working with them very closely on my new Fab House design at Smith’s Dock in North Shields. The values and ambition of Urban Splash are second to none, so I had no hesitation investing in the company. I am very much looking forward to the exciting journey ahead as we embrace 21st century manufacturing technology to change the way we design, build and deliver better quality housing in Britain.” Source:

UK INDUSTRY NEWS Portakabin Gives Schools Modular Boost

CrossReach, the Church of Scotland’s social care arm, has announced ambitious plans to open a ‘first class’ education campus in Renfrewshire. The campus is being delivered by Portakabin Scotland. CrossReach chief executive, Viv Dickenson, broke the ground at the site at Erskine Waterfront to formally start the building work. She said it was an exciting day for the Church’s social care arm, which provides cradle to the grave services across Scotland, employing more than 2,000 people and scores of volunteers. Viv Dickenson said: “This is an exciting day for CrossReach as work commences on our new education campus at Erskine Waterfront. Our existing staff team and their pupils are looking forward to moving into bright, modern classrooms containing all the facilities they need to make it a first class learning environment. We have been delighted with the welcome already extended by the local community and look forward to building on the good relationships already in place as we develop the outdoor areas and explore ways of working together.” The groundbreaking event was attended by pupils, teachers, CrossReach staff and representatives from Portakabin Scotland. Gregor Hood, Regional Hire Manager for Portakabin Scotland, said: “We’re delighted to be working with CrossReach to provide a modular solution at Erskine. Portakabin has been building nurseries, schools and colleges across Scotland for 30 years. The building will provide a supportive and safe environment for up to 30 children and young adults within the local community. Constructed entirely offsite, the modules will be delivered and craned into position in April of this year. This is a process which will take a matter of days,


reducing much of the disruption which would normally come with a traditionally constructed build.” Students from Kensington Aldridge Academy also recently visited the Portakabin manufacturing facility. Following the tragic events in June 2017, at Grenfell Tower, Portakabin were chosen to provide a new school for the pupils of Kensington Aldridge Academy, which is located at the base of Grenfell Tower. Working closely with the Education Skills and Funding Agency (ESFA) and Mace, engineers at Portakabin designed an interim six block building and built it in just nine weeks. Since completing its largest ever emergency response project in September 2017, the Portakabin team pledged an important promise to the students to help them understand the science and technology behind the fastest school ever built. Six students with a keen interest in product design and engineering were invited to York to learn more about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics or STEM subjects. Nick Griffin, Head of Regions at Portakabin arranged the visit with the school and was keen to introduce the students to the science of building: “It was fantastic to welcome pupils and teachers to our International Head Office. As well as a learning environment; the school we built offers routine, structure and a safe place for the students to develop. “Delivered in time and to budget, these types of builds are what we do, day in, day out – the scale and speed of this (along with the tragic reason behind it) were the exceptional elements of the project. Hopefully this insight into the science of building could potentially help shape the students’ future vocation.” Source:


DATE FOR THE DIARY: a new event focusing on volumetric modular construction. Modular Matters – will be held in Birmingham on 30 October 2018 hosted by the Modular and Portable Building Association (MPBA) in collaboration with Explore Offsite. For more information visit: If you would like to express your interest in presenting at the event please email: amy.pryce

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UK INDUSTRY NEWS FMB’s Report Underlines Need to Increase Offsite Volumes

A report by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), highlighting the fact that the shortage of construction workers has hit its worst ever levels, is the latest sign that offsite housing volumes must be increased to help tackle the housing crisis. The assertion comes from pan-European insulation specialist Actis, a long term advocate of timber frame as a speedier method of construction with no negative effect on quality. The FMB in its quarterly report on the state of the industry, found that small and medium sized companies are struggling in particular to recruit bricklayers and carpenters and that demand for skilled plumbers, electricians and plasterers is also outstripping supply. Actis UK and Ireland Sales Director Mark Cooper said: “This latest report highlights yet again that the construction industry is desperately short of skilled workers to help build the hundreds of thousands of homes this country desperately needs. As well as needing to ensure we increase skills training for the longer term and find a way to ensure we don’t lose our best tradespeople after Brexit, we must urgently embrace ways in which we can build those homes in a shorter time, thus necessitating fewer skilled man hours. Homes created offsite can be built up to 30% more

quickly than their brick and block counterparts and costs can be reduced by as much as 25%. Actis also recently launched the latest in its series of in-depth ‘how to guides’, with the new addition aimed at helping architects and specifiers use the right products for their projects. The 36 page ‘Actis Reflective Insulation Guide’ looks at the factors involved in maximising thermal performance, explains the Fabric First approach to construction, and examines how to avoid thermal bridging and ensure airtightness without encouraging condensation. Actis UK specification manager Dan Anson Hart explained: “The generally accepted Fabric First approach means the best way to create a thermally efficient building focuses on reducing heat loss through the fabric elements in the first place. The average thermal efficiency of a building is made up of 45% thermal transmittance, or U- value, 30% air tightness and 25% thermal bridging. With those figures in mind it is clear that insulation should be prioritised before looking at using more sophisticated building services such as mechanical ventilation and heat recovery and renewable energy systems.” Source:

Site Check Timber Frame Guidance Now Available Two of Britain’s leading timber associations have joined forces to publish: Site check: The timber frame pocket book – the definitive guide to best practice in timber frame construction. TRADA and the Structural Timber Association (STA) have combined their expert knowledge to update and merge individual timber frame publications to produce a single-source ‘best-of both’ guide to on-site construction. Site check: The timber frame pocket guide is an invaluable tool for all those responsible for high quality workmanship, imperative when the burgeoning timber frame sector has grown at almost twice the market rate in one year alone. TRADA’s Rupert Scott said: “We are delighted to collaborate with the STA to provide the timber industry with a single source of timber frame advice. Site check: The timber frame pocket book equips site managers and other construction professionals with a handy aid to supervise and check that subcontractors’ work is done to a high standard. “The timber frame market is enjoying spectacular growth, providing a golden opportunity for those operating in this sector. And with the Chancellor recently committing £44 billion for the largest house-building drive for decades, this growth shows no sign of abating.” 12

Written as an illustrated guide that can be easily consulted by on-site management, this spiral-bound pocket book gives construction professionals the competitive edge by helping them to ensure subcontract work is carried out to the highest standard. “With a shared objective to enhance the standards within the structural timber sector, our collaboration with TRADA brought together the technical expertise of two of the timber industry’s leading organisations,” said Andrew Carpenter, Chief Executive of the STA. “Quality management should be an end-to end process - from the sourcing of raw timber and offsite manufacture in well managed factories - to the final onsite installation. The Site Check pocket book will be a valuable asset to site managers and although concise,


the information will play an important role in refining onsite quality controls.” From timber frame delivery and storage to installing a breather membrane, insulating and damp-proofing to masonry cladding and roof framing, Site check: The timber frame pocket book is packed with high quality guidance and diagrams, as well as handy check-lists for onsite inspection. Site check: The timber frame pocket guide is available to buy at TRADA Bookshops visit: A discount of 35% is available to both TRADA and Structural Timber Association members.

UK INDUSTRY NEWS Planning Approval Granted for Craigmillar Homes Planning permission has been granted to build a further 194 affordable and low cost homes at Craigmillar Town Centre, a major regeneration project in South East Edinburgh. The approval for the new homes follows on from other new housing developments in the area being built by construction firm CCG (Scotland) Ltd, including 74 new affordable homes as part of the Greendykes Masterplan for City of Edinburgh Council and the creation of 111 affordable homes at Craigmillar Town Centre on behalf of Dunedin Canmore. Glasgow-based construction firm CCG (Scotland) Ltd has been appointed to develop the new properties by City of Edinburgh Council as part of the Craigmillar Town Centre Master Plan. The development will be a mix of flats and houses and comprise 108 homes for affordable rent and 86 for market rent. The new homes will be spread across a series of twelve blocks with residents having access to amenity areas and a large public green space at the heart of the development. Cllr Kate Campbell, Convener of the Housing and Economy Committee, said: “The regeneration of Craigmillar lies at the heart of our aim to ensure prosperity reaches everyone in every neighbourhood. We are building 194 homes in Craigmillar and this

decision by our Planning Committee means more people struggling on low and middle incomes can live in a home they can afford. Work will start on site within a few months and this is a very welcome contribution to our delivery of 20,000 new affordable homes in the city.” CCG Director, Calum Murray, added: “CCG is delighted to be working in partnership with City of Edinburgh Council on what is a hugely important project that greatly contributes to the city’s affordable housing

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UK INDUSTRY NEWS Ecobuild = Futurebuild

Triple Offsite Partnership Announced

Laing O’Rourke are forming a ‘game-changing’ offsite partnership with developer Stanhope and housing association Network Homes to deliver hundreds of homes across the South East. The agreement will see Stanhope which has £22 billion in completed projects, and Network Homes which owns and manages 20,000 properties across London and the South East, sign a £200 million joint venture deal to complete 550 homes in Southall, Ealing. The 350,000 sq ft Southall development will include a mix of Build to Rent market sale and around 180 homes for shared ownership and affordable rent, alongside 20,000 sq ft of retail and commercial space, as well as flexible workspace for local small businesses and start-ups. Core elements of the scheme will be digitally designed and manufactured at the Explore Industrial Park.

Following a hugely successful ecobuild 2018 – which saw tens of thousands of industry professionals flood London ExCeL to explore the freshest thinking and latest innovations in the built environment – new owners Futurebuild Events made a major announcement about the future direction of the event. The show will change name and from next year Futurebuild 2019 will continue to be the industry platform for the fresh thinking, new innovations and leading partnerships and exhibitors that made ecobuild so well-respected for over 14 years. Martin Hurn, managing director of Futurebuild Event Ltd, explains: “Futurebuild 2019 represents everything we set out to achieve. It will be an event for the industry, by the industry, and 100% committed to championing innovation and sustainability for the future of the built environment. After all, unless the future is sustainable, and unless we think beyond the status quo, we won’t have a future at all.” Central to Futurebuild 2019 be a new, dedicated ‘ecobuild’ conference. The ecobuild arena will see industry experts, academics, community leaders and politicians come together to debate and explore cutting-edge thinking around the most critical social and environmental issues. A series of curated exhibits will immediately surround the arena, acting as a discussion point for key sustainability topics. “Over the years, the ‘ecobuild’ name has become synonymous with the event’s industry-leading conference programme,” adds Martin Hurn. “So


ecobuild will be an ideas forum which acts as a centre point of the event and which is dedicated to shaping the agenda and making recommendations across all aspects of sustainability.” Positioning ecobuild at the heart of Futurebuild will allow the conference and neighbouring showcases to firmly focus on sustainability and help drive real change in this field. It will also give the rest of Futurebuild the flexibility to focus on wider construction issues as defined by industry feedback and input, including the skills gap, digital adoption and procurement. This will take place through six ‘Futurebuild Hubs’, which will bring industry together to flesh out the big thinking and facilitate practical delivery. Each dedicated to a crucial aspect of the built environment, the Hubs will host cutting-edge exhibitors and deliver comprehensive content and educational programmes, including evidence-based seminars, onsite products, and in-practice demonstrations. The Hubs will be: Buildings, Energy, Offsite, Materials, Urban Infrastructure and Interiors. Concluding, Hurn said: “We’re hugely excited to be able to announce our plans for Futurebuild 2019, however, it is still early stages and we are keen to work as closely as possible with representatives from across the built environment to ensure it truly is the most stimulating, memorable and ‘must-attend’ event possible.” Source:


Laing O’Rourke Chief Executive Ray O’Rourke said: “We are delighted in our appointment to deliver 550 new homes at Southall, Ealing. Using Laing O’Rourke’s DfMA 70:60:30 offsite manufacturing capability, the project will see efficiency and certainty of delivery that is needed both here and to get a different result for the housing market across London and the South East.” David Camp, chief executive of Stanhope, added: “This alliance between a major private developer like Stanhope and a leading provider of quality homes like Network Homes is the only way we are going to solve London’s housing crisis by delivering high quality new homes cheaply and efficiently outside the conventional structures, which have failed. We need to disrupt the market to achieve the ambitious goals for new and affordable housing set by the mayor of London and the government.” David Gooch, commercial director at Network Homes, said: “This joint venture is an exciting opportunity to transform a large, poorly used site into high-quality housing for local people, including a range of affordable homes. The development is also an important step forward in our strategic partnership with Stanhope, one of the UK’s leading developers.” Laing O’Rourke will precision-engineer the homes using offsite manufacturing with construction expected to start in early 2019. Completion is set for mid-2021. Source:

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UK INDUSTRY NEWS Flying Start in Wales for Western Building Systems

Specialist construction company, Western Building Systems has clinched their first contract award under the Welsh Procurement Alliance’s (WPA) £1 billion modular buildings framework. The procurement framework is available to public sector organisations in Wales and forms one of the WPA Construction, Extension and Refurbishment portfolios. Western will be responsible for the offsite manufacture and on-site construction of a brand, new, state-ofthe-art modular building that will become the new hub for the ‘Flying Start programme’ in Penyrheol, Caerphilly. The Flying start programme forms part of a wider Welsh Government funded initiative available in targeted areas to provide support to families with a child under four years old. The programme promotes language, cognitive, social and emotional skills, physical development and early identification of high needs in families. The new purpose-built centre will consist of large childcare space with plenty of room for the children to interact and play, hygiene facilities designed specifically for young children as well as regular bathrooms, storage, a kitchen, office and large meeting room. Neil Barker from WPA commented: “We are delighted to see the WPA framework in action, helping to build relationships between quality modular suppliers and public sector bodies. Frameworks like this help make the procurement process much more streamlined,

resulting in public sector bodies getting construction projects off to a start much quicker – a benefit for the supplier, client and the wider community making use of services once in place.” Rory McGuigan, of Western Building Systems added: “We are thrilled to have been awarded this particular project in Caerphilly. The centre will provide some crucial services to the surrounding community and hopefully help give young children in the area the best possible start to life. “Our modular building option is especially useful in projects such as this where there is an expectation that the site will remain operational for as long as possible – this particular site will remain open to visitors Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 right up until the new centre opens. “Western’s unique Single Source approach means we manufacture all of the building components offsite in a strictly controlled factory environment before constructing onsite in a much shorter time frame compared to traditional building methods. “We are very much looking forward to getting started with the project and working alongside our new client Caerphilly County Borough Council.” Source:

Containers Ideal for Emergency Homes Sheffield-based Panel Systems, developer QED Sustainable Urban Developments and offsite manufacturer CargoTek, have worked together to alleviate the level of homelessness in Ealing, with homes built from former shipping containers that also feature facades manufactured from Aluglaze panels. The development of 60 units, known as Meath Court, Hope Gardens, provides safe, comfortable accommodation for nearly 290 people in Ealing. The joint project between QED and the local council is the latest step to address the need for emergency housing in the capital. Ealing Council has 2242 households residing in temporary accommodation and a steady decline in the availability of suitable options. Hope Gardens was previously an underused brownfield site which has been identified for long term redevelopment post 2024. QED has invested £4.3 million in the construction of Meath Court, whilst Ealing Council covers the rent costs. The units were built offsite by CargoTek, the specialist subcontractor of shipping container buildings, to meet a strict deadline. As well as the temporary homes, Meath Court also includes a communal space, onsite management office, laundry and refuse storage. All aspects of the development were constructed in 24 weeks.


Specified by QED, Panel Systems supplied 144 Aluglaze panels with externally projecting trays. The manufacturer fabricated the panels with a high performance insulation core to achieve a 0.35 W/m2K U Value. Ross Gilbert, Managing Director of QED Sustainable Urban Developments said: “We originally looked at using opaque coloured glass to achieve the rainbow effect, however these would not provide the U Values required to ensure the homes were energy efficient. The extensive range of Aluglaze colours and finishes, along with Panel System’s fabricating capabilities, meant we were not only given a better choice of


shades and a more premium finish, but the panels also provide better insulation and energy efficiency.” A spokesperson for Panel Systems said: “Aluglaze panels are popular for use on a number of applications, but we haven’t seen them specified for anything quite as unique as the Meath Court development. However, there is demand from offsite manufacturers for insulated panels and we expect to see specification of the material rise within this sector. Aluglaze panels are an ideal choice for the units at Meath Court as the powder coated surface can withstand harsh exterior elements, such as UV light and wind driven rain.” Source:

UK INDUSTRY NEWS McAvoy Announces Record Year The McAvoy Group has announced a record financial year, achieving a 10% growth in turnover to £60 million. The business is on track to achieve its target of £100m turnover by 2020 and its £10 million investment programme is now well underway. McAvoy has also announced it is working on over £20 million of new projects which includes office schemes in Northstowe, Cambridgeshire and projects for two pharmaceutical companies. The Group is also progressing new building contracts at Eden Girls School in Walthamstow and King Alfred’s Academy in Wantage, Oxfordshire. Commenting on the record financial performance this year, Eugene Lynch, Managing Director of The McAvoy Group said: “We have further strengthened the business in a number of areas – from new board appointments to our skills growth training programme. We have continued to increase staffing levels to support our expansion and are building on our marketleading success in the education buildings sector with diversification into offsite solutions for transport and infrastructure, student accommodation, housing and healthcare projects. These factors have all contributed to a record year in both revenues and profit and are testament to the hard work of our teams across the business.”

“We wholeheartedly support the Government’s commitment to prioritising the use of offsite manufacturing and modern methods of construction to improve the cost effectiveness, productivity and speed of construction delivery. There is still a clear need for transformation in the construction sector to make it more efficient, faster, and more sustainable and to apply better use of technological advancements such as digital construction. Despite numerous calls for change, the construction industry is still fraught with financial instabilities, delays, budget overruns and substandard quality.”

“What is very reassuring for our business, our customers, and construction partners, is just how far offsite has come – an example being the awardwinning £20m Lynch Hill Enterprise Academy, one of the UK’s largest secondary schools to be built offsite. The early delivery and build quality of this scheme demonstrates how we are already well on the way to meeting the Government’s 2025 targets and we look forward to playing our part in helping the building industry maximise the opportunities for change.” Source:

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UK INDUSTRY NEWS Croydon Gets 21 Storey Go-ahead

Yorkshire Water Take Interest in Offsite Methods

Yorkshire Water has announced the major appointment of Stantec (previously MWH) as its sole Strategic Planning Partner (SPP) in a deal worth £50 million, as the water firm prepares supply chain arrangements and contracts for the period 2020 – 2025. The major seven-year contract will commence in January 2018 until March 2025, with the potential to extend by an additional five years. Stantec will provide a range of services to support Yorkshire Water’s strategic plan, working closely with the firm’s own highly skilled and innovative in-house team. This will involve driving innovation in the approach to resolving risk, exploiting new technology, partnership working and use of markets and a commercial model arrangement will incentivise the delivery of results.

London is to get its first 21-storey modular block of homes that will be constructed offsite. The development in Croydon will be one of the tallest schemes of its kind and provide homes that will be affordable. London Mayor Sadiq Khan approved the development at Addiscombe Grove in Croydon, over 70% of which has been secured as affordable for first time buyers to buy at a discount below the market price. The developer, Pocket Living, has further agreed in principle to make the remaining homes available for shared ownership, making all 153 homes genuinely affordable. “Tackling London’s housing crisis requires bold new approaches,” said Sadiq Khan. “We know turning things round will take time, but offsite construction is an innovative way to speed up building the affordable homes our city needs. I invested in Pocket Living to help them build genuinely affordable homes that are sold to local people first.” Marc Vlessing, Chief Executive of Pocket Living, said modular homes can be built faster and provide genuinely affordable housing: “We are proud to share City Hall’s vision for housing in the capital. A vision that we can help realise thanks to the recent £25 million investment from the Mayor that will see over a thousand genuinely affordable homes for Londoners started within the next three years.”


The homes being delivered by Pocket in this scheme for discounted market sale are affordable with a 5% deposit to households with a salary of £39,000, and they can only be sold to residents and workers in the borough. The innovation involved in the development has been welcomed. “The new draft London Plan has set an ambitious target of 66,000 houses to be delivered per year,” said Richard Brown, Research Director at the Centre for London. “With limited funding and limited land, we urgently need innovation in construction methods and delivery approaches to scale up and speed up delivery. “Manufactured homes are often more talked about than built, so it is positive to see how they can contribute to taller buildings on complex urban sites. We hope this announcement will help to shift preconceptions about off-site construction.” Centre for London is researching how they can realise the potential of housing innovations such as offsite construction and new delivery models to improve the speed, scale and quality of housing delivery across London, and will publish a new report this summer. Source:


Nevil Muncaster, Yorkshire Water’s Director of Asset Management said: “The appointment of Stantec demonstrates the first of a series of exciting changes. Innovation is a key driving force, allowing delivery of more while keeping costs down and helping meet the challenges of climate change, population growth and economic pressures. Future supply chain partners will also need to support the development and delivery of low carbon solutions and enhance our use of standard products and solutions, offsite construction and modular build.” Stantec UK Managing Director Cath Schefer added: “I’m delighted that Stantec has been selected by Yorkshire Water to be its Strategic Planning Partner. We look forward to working in an integrated partnership to support the delivery of benefits to Yorkshire Water’s customers and the wider community.” Yorkshire Water’s partnering arrangements involve an investment of around £1.5 billion and supply chain partners will need to demonstrate the highest standards of process safety and innovation. A Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) approach is becoming better understood and widely adopted with the water industry as a way maximise efficiency, reduce costs and improve the nations infrastructure. Source:

ARE YOUR PRODUCTS AND SYSTEMS APPROVED? As part of our warranty application process, developers and builders must ensure that the products and systems they use on site are approved by us in line with the requirements of our Technical Manual. Using products and systems that are not approved by Premier Guarantee may lead to lengthy delays on-site and could result in the development being rejected for structural warranty cover. Our product and system approval process has been developed to help manufacturers gain accreditation under our technical requirements, allowing them to be promoted as an approved system provider, giving customer’s confidence in using their products and systems on sites registered with Premier Guarantee.

construction, giving developers and lenders the confidence and trust in your product. As a leading provider of Structural Warranty in the UK, being approved by Premier Guarantee would: • Enable your product to be approved for use to over 2000 Premier Guarantee registered Developers and Builders throughout the UK.


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ISG has been named preferred contractor on a £65 million residential scheme for Prosperous Global China (PGC) Capital in Birmingham. The Lunar Rise scheme, which is located at 75-80 High Street, will reinvigorate the Digbeth area, and consists of one newbuild 25-storey residential tower and two 10-storey blocks, containing 517 apartments and will utilise modular technology. It will be known as Lunar Rise, in recognition of the city’s Lunar Society, a group of 19th century polymaths who used to meet in Birmingham on the Monday nearest to the full moon. The scheme, which requires the demolition of the existing Renault car dealership on Digbeth High Street, also includes ground-floor commercial units and parking. The project is a direct result of the major redevelopment work taking place across Birmingham,


with Birmingham City Council preparing the region for the arrival of HS2 by implementing one of the largest urban regeneration schemes in Britain. Architects Corstorphine & Wright, with whom ISG has worked on a number of projects, designed the scheme. Francis Cole, PGC Capital’s UK president, said: “This iconic development will be at the vanguard of Digbeth’s transformation and will establish a new 21st century look to the area. We are pleased to announce ISG as the preferred partner for delivery of our flagship scheme in Birmingham.” ISG’s Midlands’ regional director, Wayne Flannery, said: “This major regeneration scheme is expected to act as the catalyst for further redevelopment in this strategic location to the east side of central Birmingham, which


is close to the planned HS2 hub. With such a busy and logistically challenging site, it’s essential that we maximise efficiencies in the build programme to minimise the impact of the development during the construction phase. “To achieve operational efficiency, much of the structure for the three cluster buildings will utilise off-site manufactured components, which are simply lifted off delivery wagons and craned into position. This gives us the quality, safety, speed and overall efficiency to deliver this major scheme far more quickly than traditional construction methods.” Construction is expected to start mid-2018. Source:

UK INDUSTRY NEWS Lloyds Survey Highlights Housebuilders’ Move to Offsite More than two-thirds of housebuilding companies are investing in some kind of modular or prefabricated housing, according to a 2018 survey from Lloyds Bank. The third annual Lloyds Bank Housebuilding Report, which surveys housebuilders and their supply chain, assesses the state of the industry. It found that 68% of firms are already investing in modular housing techniques and 56% reported investing in panelised systems. Reported motives include improved efficiency, ease of build, better construction standards and increased margins. Investment in new building techniques has increased year-on-year from 20% of current annual turnover to 24% over five years. The report states: “The housebuilding sector is proving eager to adopt innovative new building techniques, which hold the potential to address challenges around the supply, quality and affordability of new homes, as well as boosting productivity and profitability. Modern techniques are centered on building ever bigger components, and even entire homes, offsite for delivery

and assembly, but there are even more futuristic solutions on the horizon, from robot bricklayers to 3D printed homes. “In this period of rapid innovation, it seems that UK firms are currently testing the waters by trying a wide range of new methods. They reported that they are already investing in numerous new building techniques, led by modular housing (68%). Site-based modern methods of construction (MMC), where components are brought together to be assembled on site, are being employed by 61% of respondents, along with panelised systems (56%), sub-assemblies and components (54%), 3D volumetric construction (39%) and pods (38%). David Cleary, Regional Director and National Head of Housebuilding at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “The housebuilding industry remains upbeat despite issues that have weighed down the sector for some time, including Brexit uncertainty, which is contributing to a skills shortage and inflating the cost of raw materials. It is reassuring to see the sector confronting these challenges head on by investing and planning for business growth, prioritising staff

training and looking at more innovative new building techniques. This has the potential to boost productivity and, more importantly, increase the pipeline of new homes that the nation badly needs.” The report can be downloaded from Lloyds Bank at:

2337.17 ELITE SYSTEMS ADVERT_QA_EDUCATION 2018_March_April_half.qxp_Layout 1 24/01/2018 15:32 Page 1

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LIVING FOR OFFSITE Can offsite construction solve the housing crisis conundrum? Kim Vernau, CEO, BLP Insurance, outlines what needs to be done.

1 Despite multiple government initiatives such as the recent formation of the National Housing Agency, the UK is in the midst of a chronic housing crisis with an acute shortage of supply. It comes at a time when the average age of the construction workforce is increasing, potentially leading to a reduction of 25% of the workforce within the next decade. An industry-wide skills shortage is being witnessed as the sector struggles to attract new talent and replenish the dwindling workforce. Construction firms in the UK face a huge shortage of skilled workers and are being forced to double the wages for tradespeople from abroad, increasing the cost of traditionally built homes. Quality is suffering with a rise in construction defects and buildings failing to perform according to their design, highlighted by findings in reports such as the All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPG) ‘More Homes, Fewer Complaints’. Embracing offsite or non-traditional forms of construction also known as ‘smart construction’ can provide the solution. This will require wholesale modernisation, both to increase the allure of the industry to new entrants and to boost output through increased productivity and less labour. The benefits of offsite construction are clear: speed of build, reliability of materials and manufacture, improved performance, and a potential reduction in construction costs if units 22

2 can be delivered at scale and through repeatable design. Buildings in the UK currently fall short by up to 30% in terms of design performance versus actual performance. Precision engineered buildings constructed in a factory environment, where elements such as unfavourable weather conditions are not a factor, improve the building performance over time, which in turn should translate into lower energy and maintenance costs. A reticence to invest in a cyclical market has stymied the level of innovation and modernisation in an industry which also suffers from a myopic outlook and low levels of capitalisation. To bring offsite construction to the mainstream, the UK housing sector requires coordinated action from both Central Government and the construction industry. Although the benefits of smart construction are obvious, concerns within the industry remain around systematic failure, and fire spread and water ingress resulting from offsite techniques both during and after construction. Addressing these concerns, Buildoffsite Property Assurance Scheme (BOPAS) seeks to provide long-term assurance to mortgage lenders, valuers, funders, landlords and homeowners that properties built using non-traditional forms of construction will be robust for at least 60 years, without requiring


disproportionate maintenance. Launched in March 2013, BOPAS was developed by Buildoffsite, Lloyds Register and BLP Insurance with the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the Council of Mortgage Lenders and the Building Societies Association. The BOPAS process gives an independent assessment of quality and reassurance from inception through to construction for investors, developers and owners. To maintain the momentum of the offsite manufacturing sector, governmnet support is vital. In its residential policy paper, RICS urged ministers to support non-traditional construction and endorse BOPAS. Though London Mayor Sadiq Kahn’s recent London Plan has proposed some ambitious and visionary policy changes for the capital’s spatial development, support from the Mayor in endorsing quality assurance schemes such as BOPAS is key in promoting confidence among lenders, funders and developers. The housing crisis remains a major issue for the government, construction sector and the wider society. All stakeholders would benefit from an inclusive and collaborative approach where further policy is developed with the aim of nurturing smart construction. Demonstrating a long-term commitment to supporting innovative forms of construction will provide assurance to potential investors and manufacturers that there is a sustainable pipeline of future developments, ensuring a tangible step can be taken to solve the UK housing crsis. For more information visit:

Image: 01. Chapter Living, Lewisham, student accommodation 02. Battersea Development, Battersea, marketing suite

Congratulations to all winners at the Offsite Construction Awards BLP helped develop BOPAS which addresses the perceived risks associated with innovative construction and is recognised by the principal mortgage lenders as providing the necessary assurance underpinned by a warranty provision.

Building LifePlans Ltd (BLP). Registered Office 90 Fenchurch Street, London EC3M 4ST. Registered in England No.3871048 BLP is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) ref: 311894


BUILDING SKILLS FOR OFFSITE CONSTRUCTION The construction industry is changing and needs a workforce that is trained in new and innovative offsite methods to meet the sector’s future needs.

1 Having recognised the challenges facing the offsite sector, Dudley College has invested over £12m in Dudley Advance II – an education Centre for Advanced Building Technologies. This was the fitting location chosen to hold a roundtable event to debate the skill challenges generated by the groundswell in the offsite manufacturing and the emerging digital construction technologies. Sponsored by recruitment specialists in engineering, construction and offsite manufacturing - ARV Solutions, who are facing a significant recruitment challenge attracting new skills to meet the demands of the construction industry, Managing Director, Jim Roach called together a carefully selected group of key figures from both the offsite industry and education sectors, to discuss the challenges and debate the solutions. Chaired by Darren Richards, Managing Director of the leading offsite experts, Cogent Consulting – the group focused on five key questions around keeping pace with the forecast growth, 24

the key roles that are likely to change, what factors are holding back skills development and how the industry can attract new talent to meet the future requirements. The debate expanded to encompass engagement with educators and the best way to go about developing a curriculum designed specifically to produce a new skills base for the offsite technology sector. Faster, Smarter and More Efficient To kick off proceedings, Darren Richards tabled the CITB report Faster, Smarter, More Efficient: building skills for offsite construction commissioned by attendee Ben Lever, Future Skills of Innovations Lead for CITB. Published in April 2017, Ben Lever explained that the scope of engagement for the report was broad and covered the horizon of needs across five to seven years – as beyond that, the industry cannot predict what is coming. The findings of this report have been heavily influenced by industry consultation. CITB issued an open invitation to contribute but many who came forward reflected a ‘building site in a shed’ approach.


Ben highlighted the need for CITB to bring ‘other voices’ to the table to future-proof standards and to optimise the mechanisation of production lines. Looking to the future Ben said new roles are required such as Automation Technician, DFM Process Manager with digital design skills, together with hybrid manufacturing roles, for example a Digital Construction Manager, who will take ownership of the product end to end.

On the ground, Darren Richards said Cogent is seeing a different perspective to what the survey has shown, with most manufacturers creating a better version of a ‘building site in a shed’ and not automating and mechanising in an L&G style - simply because the confidence is not there to support the massive investment required, which could run into tens of millions. Confidence to Invest Ben Towe, Managing Director for Hadley Group said there needs to be more maturity in the market before automation becomes realistic, saying: “It will come, but rather than being two to three years down the line, I think it is much further away than that, there are elements that are automated to some extent but to bring it all together, in my opinion, will take time and we’re not there yet.” The timber frame sector is one of the more advanced offsite industries and Mike Perry, Sales Director for Stewart Milne Timber Systems, who made a £12 million investment in an automated plant -supported this view, saying: “It is an exciting time for us but volume is critical, we can go banging on the doors of our major clients, however the largest house building programme is going to be delivered by the government but they need to confirm committed volumes to the likes of the people sitting around this table to generate a climate of confidence for investment. This will stop major companies thinking about

ARV SOLUTIONS ROUNDTABLE a 12-month business plan and have the assurances to commit to a five-year investment strategy.”

That fact that government funding is allocated to specific housing schemes, was raised by Simon Underwood, Managing Director of Elements Europe - he stated that more government investment should be targeted at supporting the investment in offsite manufacturing. Darren Richards agreed that for the industry to have the confidence to invest, a committed housing pipeline was required from the government but said this should be taken a step further to offer greater economies of scale and instead of buying as a single programme – the government should aggregate demand across sectors and regions. Groundswell Towards Apprenticeships Simon Underwood then brought the discussion back to people and attracting new talent into the industry by highlighting the career path chosen by his own son and how he reached this decision, saying: “The CITB report set out many ways for new entrants to access the sector. My son was not attracted to the offsite industry, he wants to be a property developer. As there are no courses for this, I encouraged him into the sector and he is now working and training on day release at college. There is now a groundswell towards apprenticeships and this is a great opportunity to engage with fresh young talent. No longer is there a stigma attached to these courses and the pendulum is swinging the other way with more students preferring to join apprenticeship training schemes which offer excellent career prospects, than to go down the university degree route.” With a 40% growth in apprenticeships at Advanced II - Shaun Hunt, Assistant Principal Curriculum & Standards for Dudley College upheld this view by highlighting the career progression of one of their students who entered the college at Level 1 and achieved a degree. Now at the age of 22 years, Shaun explained that he is earning £40,000 a year. Shaun puts this down to the type of apprenticeship courses with the introduction of Higher and Degree Apprenticeships.

2 Ben Towe concurred: “Apprenticeships are not capped and the conversations we are having is that students want to start off on an apprenticeship scheme and then move onto a degree. This presents a real opportunity for them but equally as employers, we need to take this into considerations as part of our recruitment strategy, or there could be a disconnect between student expectations and our business need. We take on an apprentice to do a job, they join to get a degree.” To be successful, Mike Fleming, Director of Glosford SIPS, said: “Students need to be taught present day thinking and understand the bigger picture. The crucial aspect for an employer is to appoint a young person who is trainable - colleges can give apprentices an excellent grounding to an entry level point, so they have a good general knowledge and understand construction industry roles - then it is down to the business to develop their skills. Dudley Advanced II is a massive step forward to a career in offsite.” At this point, Jackie Maginnis, Chief Executive of the Modular and Portable Building Association (MPBA) - raised the benefits of CITB’s Trailblazer apprenticeships. Taking a multidiscipline approach, Trailblazer is an employer led scheme where companies specify the requirements of the training programme. Jackie highlighted that there is nothing in place within the current college curriculum that has the multi-discipline skills sets that the volumetric modular offsite industry needs.

ATTENDEES Chair: Darren Richards, Managing Director of Cogent Consulting Mike Fleming, Director of Glosford SIPS Jackie Maginnis, Chief Executive of the Modular and Portable Building Association (MPBA) Jim Roach, Managing Director of ARV Solutions Simon Underwood, Managing Director of Elements Europe Ben Lever, Future Skills of Innovations Lead for CITB Shaun Hunt, Assistant Principal Curriculum & Standards for Dudley College Ben Towe, Managing Director for Hadley Group Mike Perry, Sales Director for Stewart Milne Timber Systems Dan Leech, Managing Director of TDS Group. Wayne Morgan, Managing Director of F1 Modular

Shaun Hunt discussed the need for a change of mindset in how colleges are developing curriculums to address the needs of a rapidly advancing market. “This is not rocket science,” said Shaun. “How Advanced II started out, was by asking the industry if we set up a centre of excellence – what would it look like? We focused on modern methods of construction and developing career pathways which then lead to specialisms. We had to ‘kiss a lot of frogs’ along the way to gain a better understanding of the problems the offsite industry is facing,



ARV SOLUTIONS ROUNDTABLE to provide the right kind of training to get to where we are today.”

College – if he had experienced any problems.

Developing a Collaborative Culture A more radical and proactive approach to training has been taken by Dan Leech, Managing Director of TDS Group. Dan shared the details with the roundtable contributors: “We don’t just need to talk about the problem, we know what it is - we need to do something to actively change the situation. Because of the skills shortages, we set up our own academy – the Construction and Design Centre of Excellent (CADCOE) and formed a partnership with Dudley College and shared the funding. We currently have 20 apprentices in Dudley Advanced II, on a sixteen-week course – when they finish, they will be industry ready.”

Shaun dismissed this suggestion: “Collaboration between Black Country colleges is great – we work together, not in competition, as there is more than enough business to go around. Only this morning I had a meeting with other colleges and we are happy to share our business plans and details of how Advanced II has been set up.”

Dan also highlighted another major problem – how to attract the right people to upskill and teach the next generation of construction industry professionals: “The fact that construction salaries are much higher than pay scales in the education sector, presents a major challenge in securing the right people with industry experience to teach. There is a big shift that we need to make, we need to collaborate to overcome this issue the only way to get the skills we need, is to partner with the colleges and codeliver the training - this is what we are doing here at Advanced II.” Darren Richards then raised the point of competition between the colleges and intellectual property issues surrounding training courses and asked Shaun Hunt, Assistant Principal Curriculum & Standards for Dudley

“The biggest challenge we are facing is finding the right staff. Dudley College has taken people from the industry – in fact half of the teachers have come from the sector. We have construction professionals on the team right now, on an hourly rate who are earning more than me, but that is what we have to do to attract the right people to make this work.” Shaun spoke with passion and pride about achieving an Outstanding Ofsted report and put this down to employer engagement. He also highlighted the challenge of responding to the changing needs of the industry and claimed that ‘never have employers had so much control’, as the Apprenticeship Levy is theirs to draw down and now we have apprenticeship training schemes that are unique to an employer.” Darren Richards asked the participants for their thoughts on the Apprenticeship Levy and if it is an outdated mode of funding?

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Much debate surrounded the benefits and pitfalls of the Levy and Dan Leech made it clear that if employers do not spend the Apprenticeship Levy, then it cannot be banked. Attracting the Right Skills The debate was then steered towards looking to other sectors to acquire the skills the offsite industry needs. Darren Richards asked what other sectors have world class manufacturing standards and the digital design skills we need and if it this is viable route to ‘poach’ new talent? Wayne Morgan said some of the top jobs in the world are in the construction industry and highlighted the training offered by Nottingham University in international project management and how these students are heading off to lucrative careers in Japan and Hong Kong. He stressed the need for the offsite sector to present itself as more engineering based, to reflect the construction industry as it is today. Ben Towe said on the digital engineering and building information modelling front they are seeing cross pollination from the gaming industry – they do not have the exact skills but have transferable skills and this is even more the case with virtual and augmented reality which is now being used by architects. So how do we make the construction industry more attractive?

Dan Leech stressed the need for a cultural change saying: “Three years ago we ditched the word ‘construction’ from all our marketing materials and changed to ‘engineering’ - we started to attract a different calibre of applicants.” Ben Towe explained that Hadley Group are finding new recruits from the aerospace and automotive industries because there is much uncertainly around these sectors and also the slow pace of aerospace developments is not as an attractive proposition as the fast-moving construction sector. As a former aerospace engineer, Darren Richards wholly endorsed this view, explaining that he left the industry purely for that reason, as he would have had to wait 10 years for the project he was working on to come to fruition.

ARV SOLUTIONS ROUNDTABLE Jim Roach acknowledged that the relentless pace of change within the sector is proving to be a challenge for employers and that more companies are turning to specialist recruiters, such as ARV Solutions - to help them overcome this situation and find suitable candidates. Key Drivers The discussion then turned to where the responsibility lies and who is going to deliver - does it rest with those in the offsite sector, the government or big investors from oversees such as China, who could potentially be the disruptors who will eventually raise the bar across the construction industry? The consensus of opinion from all the participants, was that the offsite industry does need to play a major part, but it is crucial for the government to offer both certainty and clarity of the public sector pipeline, particularly with regard to social housing. A guaranteed pipeline would have a ripple effect which will generate the confidence for major investment from the offsite sector in a greater level of mechanism and most importantly – investment in developing a workforce that is trained in new and innovative construction methods to meet the industry’s future needs.

LESSONS & OUTCOMES Changing Perceptions Outdated opinions of construction no longer reflect the industry as it is today. Offsite manufacture needs to be positioned as a ‘clean engineering product’. More engagement is required with education providers and students to accurately promote the breadth of career opportunities. Communicating the Need Employers need better links with apprenticeship providers to enable them to have a greater understanding of the specific requirements of the offsite industry, to develop training programmes to meet sector specific needs. Greater Collaboration The skills issues can be tackled through greater collaboration with education providers. Offsite industry professionals have the skills and need to partner with colleges to co-deliver the curriculum. Certainty of Demand Key to generating a climate of confidence is certainty of demand. The government should aggregate demand across sectors and commit to a guaranteed pipeline, which will stop major companies thinking about a 12-month business plan and have the assurances to commit to a five-year investment strategy. Funding Model The current government funding model is allocated to specific housing schemes. More should be targeted at supporting the investment in offsite manufacturing. Productivity The Government Industry Strategy outlines the needs for greater productivity. As a key driver in delivering enhanced productivity, there should be greater alignment between the offsite industry and productivity.

Many thanks to ARV Solutions for hosting the Roundtable Event and thanks to all participants for their time and contributions to the discussion.

Adding Real Value in Recruitment Specialists in offsite manufacturing, construction and supply chain With a passion for offsite construction, ARV Solutions are the UK’s leading recruitment consultancy for the offsite construction sector and it’s supply chain. Our valueable relationships with our clients means we have access to unadvertised job opportunities. Our team have a genuine passion and love of the offsite industry, experts in their field they are dedicated to matching candidates from trainee through to management level.

Images: 01-03. Participants at the ARV Solutions hosted Roundtable event at Advance II in Dudley.

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



SETTING THE VISION OF THE FUTURE ecobuild 2018 has been hailed as a triumphant return to form, with the three-day event hosting over 26,000 visitors exploring solutions to some of the biggest global issues facing the built environment – including the hugely popular Offsite District. industry, for implementing change to ensure that better regulations are in place in the future. Offsite Highlights One of the central futurebuild districts, which surrounded the event’s sustainability showcases and main conference arena, was the Offsite District in partnership with Explore Offsite. The exhibition included framing systems in concrete, timber and steel, modular and volumetric systems, bathroom and kitchen pods, offsite roofing technology, pre-engineered building services as well as many other complementary offsite technologies and prefabricated building components.

1 The central conference programme certainly delivered with its opening session on day one (6th March 2018) focusing on delivering the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), the New Urban Agenda and the Paris Agreement. Speaker Paula Caballero, Global Director of the Climate Programme at the World Resources Institute, talked frankly about the challenges that lie ahead and stressed the need for an alignment of currently disparate agendas around climate action and development in order to succeed. Lord McConnell, co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on the SDGs, called for everyone in ecobuild’s Canary Wharf Conference Arena to take responsibility for delivering the goals.


Housebuilding and placemaking were also a big focus of the conference with James Lidgate, CEO of Legal & General Homes, asking for urgent action to tackle the: “unsustainable intergenerational inequality,” that we see today. Tackling the big issues head on, the conference programme also included a session focusing on ‘Construction quality in a post-Grenfell world.’ Lynne Sullivan, chair of the Good Homes Alliance, described the fire as a “huge wake-up call” and as being “symptomatic of systemic failures” across industry which need to be dealt with. One of the key outcomes of the session was a call for government to take on real responsibility, alongside


A series of full-scale builds were also on show in the Offsite District, which brought together the most innovative, exciting and inspiring brands in this rapidly developing sector. This included a complete three-storey home constructed by property development company, Brooke Homes. It offered visitors a unique opportunity to experience the full benefits of this revolutionary approach to housebuilding. The threebedroom home can be completely constructed in just five weeks. The structural insulated panels (SIPs) for the home are pre-assembled in a factory in Kent, complete with windows, doors, finishing joinery and an undercoat of paint. These homes have increased energy efficiency and greater sound insulation, which means homeowners benefit from lower bills and greater peace and quiet in their properties. AppiUK also exhibited a full-scale build in the form of a complete twobedroom house. Appi is a totally new concept in housing, driven by demand. The Appi range of apartments and


2 houses have been designed for manufacture with the primary focus on speed of construction both in the factory and onsite. The properties utilise a light steel frame, combined with various existing, as well as some new, composite materials. They are precision built and high insulation values mean low operating costs are assured. The target market for these homes includes local authorities, the private rented sector (PRS) and private developers, and discussions are already underway with these groups. AppiUK was keen to use this year’s ecobuild as the launch platform for essential final feedback before full production starts mid-year. The company’s overall offer will include innovative ideas on customisation and all homes will be covered by type approval. Sean Eley, Managing Director of Appi UK said that ecobuild provided a great platform to challenge the existing misconception that volumetric modular homes lack design and appeal, saying: “The last time the UK managed to reach its housing target was when we saw mass prefabrication, and we’ve fallen behind ever since. Our vision is that our manufacturing team will be earning a real living wage, creating homes that they will be able to afford. Collaboration between offsite and councils could provide an answer that sees both parties reap rewards of economy of scale with standardised modular housing, while at the same, providing much-needed employment.” Another of the full-scale builds, the ZEDfactory’s ZEDpod situated in the

3 sustainability showcases area around the conference arena, was a huge attraction for visitors, with people regularly queueing out of the door to explore the space standard compliant, zero carbon home. Seminar Programmes Alongside the extensive conference programme, ecobuild hosted seminars in each of its eight futurebuild districts. These seminar programmes were particularly popular, with many at capacity and standing room only, as they addressed key issues, invited industry debate and highlighted new and innovative solutions. The Offsite District was home to the Explore Offsite Masterclasses, a free CPD-accredited interactive platform to gain the latest insights and best practice direct from the experts. This was delivered in association with the Offsite Academy. The masterclasses featured carefully chosen guest speakers and each examined in depth a specific sector, technology or related topic, with real-life case studies bringing the subject to life. An open forum offered the opportunity for attendees to ask questions and gain insight into others’ experiences and solutions. Offsite Buyers Forum ecobuild’s Offsite District also hosted the exclusive Offsite Buyers & Specifiers Forum, offering a structured and effective way for buyers and specifiers to meet with new and existing offsite industry suppliers exhibiting within the Offsite, Timber and Concrete Districts. The forum facilitated tailored and private one-to-one meetings in the Forum

Lounge. The Forum team organised bespoke programmes of handpicked supplier meetings to help facilitate attendees’ immediate and longer term project needs. Some of the buyers who took part include the Chief Buyer for Persimmon Homes, Project Co-ordinator at Barratt PLC and Strategic Procurement Manager at Sir Robert McAlpine. Trevor Richards, Director with offsite build specialists Cogent Consulting, was also a part of the Offsite Buyers Forum, and commented that he believes the opportunities for offsite are enormous, but collaboration is key. “No one business has the full and complete answer to the housing crisis or affordable living,” said Trevor. “Events like the Offsite Buyers Forum help us to have conversations with businesses to help them overcome their specific barriers to introducing offsite building into their housing schemes, or working more closely with suppliers and like-minded business.

“Offsite construction is growing exponentially and there’s a real momentum building right now, the industry still has to prove its quality to some but that’s happening and collaborations that can deliver high quality dwellings in high numbers with specialists included in every step of the process to deliver quickly and efficiently will be the turning point for the offsite industry.”






New Initiatives The event also saw the launch of numerous high-profile initiatives, using ecobuild as a platform to stimulate discussion and encourage further industry collaboration. RIBA used day two to launch its consultation for the Building in Quality initiative, in its RIBA Bookshop and Meeting Space. The initiative aims to encourage better collaboration, improved procurement and to introduce new methods to improve the quality of the built environment for the benefit of all society. The BREEAM UK New Construction scheme was also officially launched on day two. This revision of the world-leading sustainability method for real estate follows the organisation’s most comprehensive industry consultation to date. The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), working with the World Federation of Engineering Organisations (WFEO), announced that it is bringing together the world’s civil engineering organisations for the first time in a generation. The Global Engineering Congress, which will take place in London in October, will determine how to make the delivery of the SDGs a reality. Forging Ahead The event closed with a bang, as the organisers revealed details about Futurebuild 2019 – the fulfilment of the bold vision to give the event back to the industry and to reaffirm its commitment to innovation and sustainability. Futurebuild 2019 will continue to be the industry platform for the fresh thinking, new innovations and leading partnerships and exhibitors that made ecobuild so well-respected for over 14 years. However, under the new banner, it will have even more focus, impetus and purpose.


6 Martin Hurn, managing director of Futurebuild Event Ltd, explains: “From the very start we set out with a bold vision to take an entirely new approach for the event. Futurebuild 2019 will be an event for the industry, by the industry, and 100% committed to championing innovation and sustainability for the future of the built environment. After all, unless the future is sustainable, and unless we think beyond the status quo, we won’t have a future at all.”

of buildings, and my colleagues at the TRADA stand were inundated with enquiries. Our Timber Frame Consultant, Lewis Taylor, had people queuing up to talk to him about timber frame detailing and building performance.”

Futurebuild Events have said feedback on the 2018 event has been overwhelmingly positive. Robin Lancashire, TRADA’s Senior Timber Frame Consultant, and author of Site Check: The Timber Frame Pocket Guide, said: “Congratulations to ecobuild for a fantastic event. I chaired several seminars in the timber district theatre and every session has been packed, with people standing in the walkways to listen – even at 5pm!

For more information on next year’s show and to be part of the future of the industry’s most forward-thinking event, visit: or get in touch via email:

“Attendees seemed keen to explore the environmental and aesthetic benefits of using timber, in all kinds


Hurn closed ecobuild 2018 by calling on the industry to help shape next year’s event, saying: “We’re hugely excited about Futurebuild 2019, however, it is still early stages and we are keen to work as closely as possible with representatives from across the built environment to ensure it truly is the most stimulating, memorable and ‘must-attend’ event possible.”

Image: 01-05. 06.

The Offsite District alongside the Timber and Concrete Districts were constantly buzzing throughout the three days ZEDfactory’s ZEDpod was a huge attraction for visitors

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DRIVING FORWARD STEEL FRAME CONSTRUCTION Fusion Building Systems recently invited architects, contractors and developers with an interest in the use of light gauge steel (LGS) and offsite construction for Private Rental Sector (PRS) projects to a special open day at its Northampton headquarters.


2 The event was organised through Explore Offsite as part of its Inside Offsite Tour programme. Around 60 delegates joined two sessions held over the course of the day to find out more about Fusion’s production process and experience in designing, engineering, manufacturing and building bespoke LGS superstructures for a wide range of building sectors including the burgeoning PRS. 32

Since its formation in Ireland in 2000 through to its acquisition by Salvesen Insulated Frames in 2010, Fusion has garnered a reputation of high quality steel products and forward thinking approach to digital technology and reliable offsite manufacture and delivery. Now based in Northampton, the success of Fusion has rested with its LGS superstructure solution that delivers a high performance building. The unique feature of the system is Fusion’s patented pre-insulated external wall system (ThermaShieldTM), which integrates wall and floor panels, insulation and cladding support in a single factory process – the insulation is effectively ‘baked in’ to the steel frame panels. Fusion’s extensive experience of over 15,000 structures has enabled the business to evolve to incorporate varied superstructure


solutions for walls, floors, stairs and roofs. Delegates attended a series of presentations by Fusion, their digitisation team, software and design specialists including StrucSoft and Dalux, alongside one of Fusion’s clients – Brindley Construction. Phil Farnworth, Managing Director of Brindley Construction, provided an overview of the Fusion ‘experience’ working on a contract to provide a private 46-apartment scheme in Birmingham with a four-storey Fusion frame. “From our point of view it works very well with simple shapes, it’s fantastic, quick and easy and provided you have repetition it flies. With offsite manufacture we have no bits of metal lying around that we have to move around taking up space. Pre-insulation means one less


3 trade onsite, it’s lightweight and speed is very important.” Visitors were then taken on a tour of Fusion’s manufacturing facility to see how a roll of light gauge steel is transformed into a bespoke, fullyinsulated panel, ready for installation onsite. The Fusion system lends itself to a wide variety of different sectors but student accommodation and PRS are expanding areas of interest.

“Housing is very important,” said Robert Clark, Fusion’s Head of Business Development. “PRS is something that has exploded in the construction market in the last three years. We have done 15+ PRS projects so far. It’s huge and will be a major contributor to the changes in the way the UK housing supply is delivered.” Mike Fairey, Fusion Director, said: “PRS is a rapidly growing category in the housing industry and we held this open day to talk about opportunities in this sector. We wanted to engage those who are influential at the start of the supply chain, helping them to understand more about the efficiencies and innovations which can be enjoyed through using Fusion’s offsite solutions.” Robert Clark also spoke of the critical factors driving the expansion of offsite manufacture including the importance of digitally enabled thinking that is both transforming Fusion but transforming construction completely. “With the Fusion system we can design and manufacture in a precision controlled environment. That ability to design and manufacture to exact

measurements and interface with other components – also made in a factory environment - enables us to manage the construction process differently.” Along with the increased addition of ‘smart modular principles’ and digital technology is Fusion’s JEDU approach – something that is considered “utterly fundamental to the success of high volume offsite construction.” Basically the concept revolves around the shift from ProJEct thinking – where every project is a one-off with limited R&D, rising costs and quality only ever ‘just good enough’, to ProDUct thinking – the world of manufacturing, investment in R&D, reduced costs and improved quality.

4 At the heart of successful offsite manufacture is the integration and use of digital technology within a BIM environment to drive forward product and project efficiency and long term supply chain value. “We are trying to use BIM as a catalyst to digitise the company,” said Toby Bolt, Fusion’s Technology Manager. “We have pieced together a suite of digitally-linked software solutions and BIM-focused software to create a Central Database of standard costs, rates and information and streamline data management throughout the company.” The software systems include Exactal CostX, , Autodesk Revit, StrucSoft MWF, Elecosoft Asta Powerproject and Dalux Field – see box out.

PRS HORSFORTH MILL, LEEDS With private investment as the main driving force behind the growth of PRS, there is as keen interest to see a rapid return on investment. Developments therefore need to be well-designed and with an integrated supply chain in place. Offsite construction processes can help deliver this. A Grade II listed corn mill dating back to the 1770s, Horsforth Mill had been neglected for years. When planning permission was secured to transform its shell into residential accommodation, Fusion engineered designs with developer Landstock to create a luxury apartment building, which would sympathetically link to the former mill.


As a perfect example of how modern methods of construction can interface with a historical building to extend its life into the 21st century, the end result was highly desirable apartment living for the PRS market and the preservation of part of our industrial heritage. PRS is a relative newcomer to the housing market, but it’s a sector which is growing fast. In fact it’s now the second largest tenure type behind ‘owner-occupier’ and is expected to account for around 48% of England’s housing stock by the mid-2020s. Fusion design, engineer, manufacture and erect light gauge steel panelised superstructures. They work alongside project architects to develop designs and manufacture the steel frame system at its own quality-controlled facility. The system arrives onsite fully insulated, ready to be erected by its own qualified team. The system is delivered on time and in a fraction of the timescale that traditional methods would take and produces virtually zero waste and is completely recyclable.



INSIDE OFFSITE FUSION BUILDING SYSTEMS TECHNOLOGY DISRUPTORS – FUSION & DALUX FIELD Fusion Building Systems was the first company in the UK to use exclusive, interactive site management software developed by Danish company, Dalux. Already in use on three of its developments in Durham, Leeds and Birmingham, Fusion invested in the Dalux Field app after seeing the unique way in which it enables projects to be managed and snagging issues to be raised and recorded in 3D, whilst onsite. Toby Bolt, Fusion’s Technology Manager, said: “We design in Revit and have been using BIM technology for some time now for the same reason that everyone else in the construction industry is moving towards it - clarity, speed, insight, accountability, etc. But we hadn’t seen anything like Dalux Field before.”


By simply marking their position on a plan, site managers can click into a 3D BIM view of a project to provide accurate information there and then about any issues they’ve found. By working in this way, a full auditable history can be developed of communication, issue rectification and close out - and everyone on the team has an immediate visual understanding of what’s happening on site, build delays are reduced and lines of communication are kept crystal clear.

“It’s fine for us to sit in an office and make adjustments to project designs,” adds Toby. “But if issues are found on site, the accuracy of communicating them was always going to be compromised, because the technology wasn’t capable. Now it is, as an offsite manufacturer, we can provide our clients with even more confidence in our ability to deliver a quality product, on time.” Michael Romero, Dalux UK Manager, said: “On our home turf in the Nordics, Dalux has a leading position and a reputation for creating innovative and user-friendly applications for the Building industry. With close to 1,000 ongoing projects in 14 countries, and more than 33 million sq m handled across our applications, we’ve seen a lot of interest from all over the world. When we were first approached by Fusion, we soon realized we were dealing with a highly innovative and BIM-savvy company. Their focus on streamlining their processes and bringing BIM onsite, to people who have never worked with BIM before, made it a great match.” Fusion is also working with Dalux to develop a cloud-based document management system. The purpose of this is to provide version-controlled drawings, associated with specific 3D BIM models, to give site managers confidence they have access to the latest, approved information. For more information visit:

the genuine interest delegates had for assessing the feasibility of using a system such as ours in their future projects. And our answers to each of the questions above were: through early and clear communication with our client with regards to tolerances to optimise our structure, together with the provision of indicative line and point loads, and the resource of our dedicated team of in house engineers. For the second question, we would look at the structure of the building to optimise the use of hot rolled steel throughout. And with regards to height, in 2015 we went up to 11 storeys for a project in London – totalling almost 33m high.” For more information visit:

7 After the presentations and tour, a panel Q&A session was held with Robert Clark, Fusion Head of Business Development, Peter Rigby from supply chain partner Cellecta and Phil Farnworth from Brindley Construction taking questions from delegates. These included: How do you co-ordinate with 34

groundworks? Can your system work when heavy items such as plant rooms will be located on the roof? What’s the tallest height you’ve built to so far? “The questions put to the panel demonstrated the thirst for knowledge in the room,” said Robert Clark. “And


Images: 01-04. Delegates were shown the Fusion process of production by Director Mike Fairey and Operations Manager Steve Alder 05. Fusion light gauge steel frame installed at Horsforth Mill, Leeds 06. Dalux Field technology in use onsite 07. Courtyard at Cathedral Road student accommodation, University of Derby


BE ON THE FRONT LINE OF THE HOUSING REVOLUTION The shortfall in housing stock is an emotive subject which calls for a bold and radical approach to fundamentally change the way that projects are delivered. You will be able to hear a variety of approaches, in-depth analysis and discussion at Explore Offsite Housing, taking place at the NEC, Birmingham 10 & 11 April 2018.

Offsite manufacturing currently accounts for around 10% of the total construction output but is on a steep upward trajectory, as offsite methods have been identified by the government and the wider construction industry, as a catalyst for change. Strong drivers for growth are the availability of new technologies and an appetite to extend the benefits these contain – all underpinned by the need for significantly more housing of all tenures. To gain insight from those who are shaping the future of the offsite housing sector, Explore Offsite Housing brings together technology leaders to discuss the growing opportunities that the housing shortage presents for offsite construction. The two-day event will demonstrate how migrating construction from the building site to a


quality-controlled factory environment will accelerate the building process, increase productivity and create a new generation of high quality housing stock. The official figures released at the end of 2017 show that the number of new homes in England increased by more than 217,000 in 2016. This represents the highest level of net additions since the recession and it is the first time in almost a decade that the 200,000 milestone has been reached. Without doubt, some progress is being made. Experts have hailed offsite construction as the only way to respond to the huge demand for new housing. The challenge is to continue expanding supply in the highest-demand areas to improve affordability. The alignment of market need and political will is clear and compelling


– signaling a real opportunity for a step-change in the adoption of offsite construction methods. Moving the construction of houses into factories enables the build to take place both efficiently and economically, making the national shortage of traditional site-based skills, less of a concern. There is now a real impetus and need for change in the housebuilding industry. For those in the sector with fresh ideas and innovative technologies, the nationwide housing crisis has the potential to change the norm which governs the ways new homes are built. With the resurgence of the offsite construction, the industry is moving towards factory-based manufacturing methods and the continuous innovations within this sector, demonstrating that a revolution in the way houses are being delivered is here.

EXPLORE OFFSITE HOUSING Explore Offsite Housing brings together industry leaders and pioneers to discuss the latest innovations in offsite technologies and the growing opportunities that the housing shortage presents. Speakers include: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Sir Edward Lister, Chair – Homes England Michael Williams, Managing Director – ModularWise Andy Bellerby, Associate - shedkm Peter Andrew MBE, Deputy Chairman – Home Builders Federation Brian Ham, Executive Director of Development – Home Group Jenny Coombs, Project Director – Local Partnerships James Walsh, Creative Director – Studio Anyo Paul Williamson, Managing Director – Modular Construction - NU Build Matt McColl, Associate – Pollard Thomas Edwards David Jones, Modular Integration Director – Legal & General Modular Homes Val Bagnall, Managing Director – Apex Housing Group Bjorn Conway, Chief Executive Officer – ilke Homes Gwen Beeken, Managing Director – Osco Homes Jon Sawyer, Head of Custom Build Housing – Igloo John Smith, Director – CityZen Aiden Wilkie, Deputy Director for Housing Diversification – The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government Michael Kimmer, Head of Business Developement – Caledonian Modular Brendan Geraghty, Director – Geraghty Taylor Architects Neil Magner, Regional Sales Manager – FP McCann Gareth Mason, UK Business Development Manager – Stora Enso Ross Gilbert, Director – QED Sustainable Urban Developments Dave Lomax, Senior Associate - Waugh Thistleton Architects

For the full speaker programme or to enquire about exhibitor opportunities at forthcoming events, visit the Explore Offsite website: or contact the team on 01743 290001 or email: julie.richards

HOUSING CONFERENCE & EXHIBITION NEC, Birmingham 10 & 11 April 2018 This two-day conference and exhibition will create a platform for housing clients and their professional advisers, contractors and project managers to network with industry experts and discuss the latest offsite construction solutions.

To book your place go to

Tickets cost just £225+VAT for a two-day ticket and £125+VAT for a one-day ticket Includes entry into the conference and exhibition, free parking, lunch and refreshments.


BREATHING NU LIFE INTO UK HOUSING Revolutionary thinking and disrupting the construction ‘norm’ is at the centre of solving the UK’s systemic housing shortage. We hear from the Swan Housing Group, that are doing both to produce a new range of high-quality, offsite manufactured homes using the NU build system.


1 Swan Housing Group has already been using innovation and partnership working with the Mayor of London and Homes for England to get more highquality homes, of a range of tenures, built more quickly to meet housing need. That innovative approach includes their ‘NU build system’ which they are delivering from their 75,000 sq ft facility in Basildon, Essex. Their factory will be capable of producing 400 to 500 homes a year, using cross laminated timber (CLT), when at full capacity. Taking a volumetric approach, Swan are using the factory to initially deliver 550 homes to Swan’s £130 million regeneration of a 1960’s estate in Basildon. Known as Beechwood Village, these homes will add to the 400 homes, community centre and retail space already completed by Swan, working in partnership with Homes for England. Of these new modular homes, 270 will be for private sale, and, perhaps uniquely, buyers will be able to custom design their new home, using an online configurator to


choose from over one million options. This level of customisation is only possible because of the offsite factorybased approach Swan are taking. These homes, designed by PTE Architects, have already won admirers for their stylish design and innovative approach and with the NU living sales launch planned for early April, Paul Williamson, Managing Director, NU living Modular Construction, is confident that having delivered the prototype modules successfully, the move to full production will enable Swan to really harness the benefits of offsite construction: “The construction industry is facing huge challenges as we seek to keep up with unprecedented demand for homes,” says Paul. “Even without the uncertainties of Brexit, there are more people retiring from the construction sector every year, than enter as trainees, leaving labour shortages as an additional issue on top of construction costs and uncertainty. Swan had already set up NU living, our


3 own in- house developer which has completed over 1000 starts onsite, but were clear that to deliver the scale of homes needed, an innovative approach was necessary. This resulted in us investing £3 million in our own factory to build high-quality modular homes using CLT.

“We are confident that, having taken the time to develop both our designs and production processes, we are now able to move into full production of between 400 and 500 homes a year. With Swan’s secured development pipeline of 6,500 homes, we can manage supply to harness the benefits that offsite construction can bring – namely time savings of 50% to 60% and cost savings of 10% - 15% against traditional construction. All this innovation is taking place in a precision engineered factory environment, where we can deliver a high level of quality control.”

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4 For Swan Housing Group, Beechwood is just the start. Offsite will form a key part of their construction programme, whilst the NU living team will continue to build traditionally too. As Geoff Pearce, Swan’s Executive Director of Regeneration and Development explains, to Swan, offsite is part of the solution to the housing crisis: “Whilst we will continue to build traditionally as part of our housing programme, for each new project we will consider carefully if offsite is the right option. With the Mayor of London promoting offsite construction and ambitious targets to deliver 50% of new homes in London by 2021 with 50% offsite components, we can only see demand for all forms of offsite construction growing. “However, it’s not just about delivering many more new homes more quickly, it’s about delivering homes that people really want to live in. When we began looking at offsite, we read an ‘attitudes to home buying survey’, which found about 80% of buyers would not buy a brand-new house because they all look the same. Hence our approach which is giving buyers a ‘Grand Designs’ - type experience without the hassle of doing the build themselves. It also gives us the chance to upsell – underfloor heating, wine fridges, enhanced finishes and so on. The experience will be very similar to buying a new car, easy for the buyer, but also great for the community as it will create a neighbourhood which is diverse, with no two houses exactly the same. As ever with Swan, all profits made on these private sale homes


are reinvested in affordable housing - £65million so far, helping us build great mixed tenure communities that people really want to live in.”

Swan have a target of delivering the home to the buyer 16 weeks after the order is placed. They plan to launch their customisable homes in April and are confident that they will raise the profile of offsite manufacturing still further and demonstrate how this way of manufacturing can make a big impact. Swan have experienced much interest in their approach and their team have taken part in many thought leadership events around the topic. “There’s been a real shift since we first began talking about an offsite approach,” adds Geoff Pearce. “Initially people asked us why we would do this, and perhaps were sceptical that offsite could make a real impact but now they are more likely to ask how we are doing it and how they can get involved too, as the sector itself realises that offsite – whatever form it takes, can and must take a role if we are to meet the Mayor’s challenging targets around the delivery of new affordable homes for London. It’s great to see real collaboration going on, with the GLA supporting this approach and learning being shared. “From Swan’s perspective, it’s all about working together to deliver more high-quality homes that real people


really want to live in. We are confident that offsite manufacture will be a key part of our construction activities going forward and will help us generate over £250 million in gift aid from our commercial activities which will be reinvested in more affordable homes to meet housing need in London and the South East.”

SWAN HOUSING ASSOCIATION Swan Housing Association was first formed in 1994 and provides high-quality and affordable homes to rent, buy and operate in Essex and East London and locally manage over 11,000 homes, with plans in place to deliver over 1,000 new homes as part of an ambitious three year strategy. Swan are one of the UK’s leading regeneration housing associations and boast a host of award-winning schemes and deliver new, high-quality housing across all tenures.

For more information visit:

Images: 01-04. Beechwood Village is an ambitious scheme that will see delivery of 550 modular CLT homes to Swan’s £130 million regeneration of a 1960’s estate in Basildon

Benefits of membership

As reflected by our rapidly growing Association, with currently almost 500 members - STA membership brings genuine commercial benefits through technical insights, new business referrals, networking opportunities, access to unique training schemes and industry recognised, independently audited assessments. Due to our quality, training and technical excellence initiatives - some businesses have publicly stated that they will only work with STA members.

Access to unique training and technical insights including: • Competency Scheme for Timber Frame Designers and Manufacturers • Timber Frame Erector and Installer Competency Award Scheme • Fire Safety Seminars • Health and Safety Workshops

STA Assure Membership and Quality Standards Scheme Mandatory for all our supply chain members including manufacturers and installers - the independently audited scheme has received formal recognition from six of the industry’s leading structural warranty and building control bodies.

• Technical Development Seminars • Business Management Seminars • Commercial Awareness Seminars

Contact Bob Davis Membership and Quality Manager on 07889 702 559 or


PRIMED FOR EFFICIENT DELIVERY ilke Homes was originally established as a joint venture between housebuilder and regeneration specialists, Keepmoat Group and offsite construction specialist, Elliott Group – here Björn Conway, CEO of ilke Homes took part in a quick Q&A about exciting times ahead. rise housing and apartments (initially up to four storeys) rather than highdensity, high-rise apartment blocks. In line with our strategy to provide homes to those who need them most, we’ve developed a range of property styles for families available to local authorities, housing associations and developers across the UK. Our culture is very collaborative. The product development, design and manufacturing engineering teams are extremely hands on, working with our partners, as well as the assembly teams in the factory to deliver a product that is truly cost effective and high-quality.


2 Q: What have been the drivers behind the creation of ilke Homes? Björn Conway (BC) Both businesses recognised the need for an innovative solution to meet the increasing demand for affordable housing in the UK. They created ilke Homes to address the challenges the construction industry is facing – including a lack of skilled labour, limited access to raw materials and the need to deliver new homes on time and within budget.


By leveraging Keepmoat and Elliott’s many years of experience in the design, manufacture and installation of quality residential and offsite buildings, we are able to deliver desirable, highquality homes at scale. Ilke Homes is now an independent organisation with its own manufacturing facility in Yorkshire. Keepmoat and Elliott have both stayed on as strategic partners, providing the business with additional support. Q: What is the ilke Homes approach? And how does it differ or improve on existing volumetric modular technology BC: ilke Homes is one of the UK’s only modular homes businesses currently set up to operate at scale, with the target of delivering 2,000 homes a year in two years. Unlike other players currently operating in the industry, our focus is on medium-density, lower-


Q: Why was volumetric modular chosen as a housebuilding method – as opposed to other offsite systems – e.g. timber frame? BC: The construction industry is under immense pressure to meet housebuilding targets fast. In response to this need, we chose to use volumetric modular methods so we could scale up easily to achieve our core objective of delivering affordable homes to thousands of families across the UK. Due to the factory-build quality control, the properties we delivered guarantee consistent high-quality, energy-efficient homes which are typically built in less than half the time of traditionally built houses. As the modules are near fully finished internally and externally in the factory, by the time properties arrive onsite, the homes can be fitted in a single day. We have the capability to install up to six properties per day. This means the timeframe from installation to families moving in can take just two weeks and provides a reliable and

HOUSING predictable timeline to work towards for our partners. For a medium sized site, this could speed up build times considerably – leading to a build programme that is six months faster than a traditional site. Additionally, steel frames have a number of benefits that appealed to us. They are lighter than traditional construction and timber framed units, which is an important consideration for us when developing and transporting the modules and minimising concrete required for foundations. Q: What feedback and lessons have been learnt from the Gallions Reach homes? BC: Our show homes and sales suite are located on Greater London Authority (GLA) land at Gallions Reach, East London. At the site, we showcase examples of both open market sale and affordable rental properties. These homes demonstrate how a common modular platform that is efficient to manufacture can be personalised to meet the Nationally Described Space Standards (NDSS) and the requirements of open market sale, with a wide variety of internal layout and external treatment options. The homes are attractive, energy-efficient, and demonstrate durability equal to that of traditionally built houses, offering partners and investors an idea of what they can expect from future projects carried out by ilke Homes. The Gallions Reach show homes have a contemporary urban look, and we had feedback in the early stages from some partners that they would like to see a selection of homes that could blend easily into the existing housing mix in their areas. We took this into consideration when designing our full portfolio, by developing a full suite of housetypes that are inspired by regional vernaculars and the typologies of cities, whilst updating them with a contemporary look. We also received some questions about the roofs and the possibility of altering some of the original designs to accommodate higher pitched roofs. We have taken on board and can now offer pitched roofs, building them as separate roof modules in our factory. The ilke Homes 2018 Housetype Portfolio showcases the range of homes we are building this year from our factory. We are due to release our apartment portfolio later this year, which will showcase our solutions for



5 low rise apartments, duplexes and bungalows. Q: What can ilke Homes offer in terms of housing options and tenure – is the concept applicable to private housing as well as affordable homes/PRS? BC: Absolutely, in addition to affordable homes, we are delivering properties for all forms of private sale and rent. Our range now includes seven NDSS (Nationally Described Space Standard) and M4-2 (Category 2 – Accessibility & Adaptable Dwellings) compliant housetypes as well as eight open market sale house types. Our designs and portfolio enable large developments to be built with a mix of private housing, affordable homes and properties for the private rental sector. Properties by ilke Homes are fully mortgageable with all the standard warranties available including NHBC Buildmark and BLP Secure. Q: The custom-build sector is a growing one – how can ilke Homes capitalise on this growing market? BC: Working within design guidelines, we believe ilke Homes will be an

attractive option for custom-build homes as well as more traditional open market sale properties, with significantly increased internal customer choices. We’re working with clients to create beautiful homes that work for modern lifestyles. The layouts and elevations of ilke Homes’ housetypes open up the opportunity for end customers to customise the layout of their future homes prior to manufacture, for example by offering the choice of open plan living or a separate living room. It’s definitely an exciting time to be in the sector, with new technological developments meaning we can be so much more flexible to the different needs of UK households. For more information visit: Images: 01 - 02. Gallions Reach 03. Bjorn Conway, CEO ilke Homes 04. ilke Homes have developed a suite of housetypes that are inspired by regional vernaculars 05. Andrew Jones (centre) Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party and MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough was recently shown around the state-of-the-art 25,000m2 factory




ADVANCED DESIGN: ADVANCED LIVING A recent winner at the Offsite Construction Awards for Product Innovation, Advanced Precision Homes (APH) are taking offsite construction to another level by developing a volumetric housing solution that is unlike any other on the market today.

1 This groundbreaking offsite housing system is the brainchild of the founder – an engineer who wants to transform the way offsite houses are manufactured and assembled and the strength and durability of his development goes way beyond regulatory performance requirements. APH’s volumetric hybrid system is LABC Accredited (Warranty) and unequalled in speed of construction with over 95% of the home completed in the factory including internal and external finishes, fit-outs which even includes flooring, tiling, sanitary ware and appliances. By taking an holistic approach to the entire building design and prefabrication, this system goes


beyond the Passivhaus performance, achieving wall U-Values of 0.07 W/m2K and less than two air-changes per hour. But it is not only the performance that is pioneering. It is structurally stronger than a traditional timber frame build and has a proven load-bearing capability of up to 11 storeys. APH’s objective is to build homes that are up to 20% bigger than the average newbuild house and they conservatively estimate that it will be 20% cheaper to run and will deliver fixed energy prices for 20 years.

The system gains its strength from engineered steel columns which go right up to the roof ridge and are encapsulated within the cavity wall – so are totally indistinguishable in the finished home. The factory fitted roof is supported by the steel columns therefore does not requires trusses –creating a habitable roof space. The roof is delivered complete with tiles which resemble Welsh slate, however they are made from an innovative system of recycled and reformed tyres which comes with a 60-year guarantee.

Based on an aluminium ring beam system, the hybrid volumetric solution is best described as a timber frame ‘box within a box’ with an injected foam layer of insulation in between.

The system combines the very best methods from offsite manufacturing and construction and requires minimal foundations.



2 5

3 The build system, which needs little or no maintenance, is one-hour fire rated and offers flexible design options. The designs include vaulted ceiling spaces and can accommodate doors and openings anywhere – together with accepting any external finishes. There are no party walls and each house is independently thermally and acoustically isolated.

4 Achieving wall U-values of 0.07 W/m2K and less than two air-changes per hour when tested at 50pascals pressure, the APH building system delivers a highly sustainable building with an energy efficiency and CO2 rating of 100 - the enclosed thermal envelope eradicates cold bridging, dew points and condensation. The engineering lead

design approach creates a high-quality product which eliminates the need for maintenance for a guaranteed period of 60 years, further reducing running costs. Adopting a design for manufacture and assembly (DfMA) approach, that facilitates greater offsite manufacturing, minimising onsite construction. As well as delivering projects faster and lowering costs, together with improving quality and sustainability, the use of DfMA techniques also results in better operational and in-use outcomes. This is of particular relevance in hybrid structures as projects require high levels of technical advancement, innovation and rigorous planning through a strict programme of works. Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology is used to ensure that structures are manufactured to exacting tolerances to guarantee the details of the connections are precise. Adopting an offsite approach supported by DfMA principles and harnessing the power of BIM technology – simply means design rationalisation, materials optimisation and just-in-time delivery planning in order to achieve high rates of productivity onsite. The output of the BIM design process, the IFC model - can now be directly imported into the fabrication software eliminating the time-consuming translation of engineer’s information into cut lists and assembly drawings. Further to this, it reduces the risk of errors in the process and the need for crosschecking. In collaboration with its construction partners, APH champion a common sense approach and are taking

housebuilding to the next level, using advanced methods suited to 21st century requirements. In partnership with Futures, a commercial development company - APH are delivering a rental project in Redwood Crescent, Beeston. In an interview with the Derby Telegraph Marcus Keys, Group Director of Business Growth and Transformation at Futures, said: “These will be our first modular homes and we are delighted that we are taking this first step with Advanced Precision Homes who offer something unique. Their design means they offer a reduction in energy bills and the fact they have been built in a factory means we have reduced the build time, reducing any disruption on site. We’re really excited to be able to offer these incredible homes as part of our growing portfolio of properties for rent, shared ownership and sale.

Derick Wilson, Director at APH, added: “What we do is radically different and this is the opportunity to throw the rule book out of the window and decide how we would like to see things done better. This is about providing homes that you can afford to live in, not just houses you can afford.”

For more information visit:

Images: 01-05. The APH volumetric hybrid build system is quick to erect and gives exceptional U-values.




MODULAR HOUSING AND THE PRIVATE RENTED SECTOR James Morris, Managing Director at independent, project and cost management consultancy, Tower Eight explains why modular construction is relevant to the Private Rented Sector (PRS) and how it can support daunting housing targets. From our experience of consulting on modular schemes, we would choose to highlight the efficiencies in the modular construction process that produce cost savings and increase speed to market. But from our perspective, there are also areas of the delivery model where there is an inherent risk, most notably at the preconstruction stage. And, in our view, this risk has not been adequately recognised among the industry clamour surrounding modular and the optimism that it might deliver the scale of housing the country so desperately needs. The PRS has its own very distinct set of challenges and a very different financial model – so, we would ask the question, can modular construction methods deliver for the PRS?’

1 To support its target of creating one million new homes by 2020, the UK Government wants to build more than 100,000 modular homes across the UK. This effectively means, that in just three years the government want to increase the current levels of modular homes by 55% - compared to the current supply levels of just 15,000 a year. Increasing the supply of new homes for PRS is also a central tenet of the government’s strategy to hit these numbers. However, can the current modular delivery model support the supply of homes to the scale that policy makers hope for?


Modular construction may in many ways look more expensive, however, it is speed of delivery which provides the cost benefit. It is the savings on the programme, on the capital costs by scale where money can be made. In the case of Silvertown, East London, 850 modular homes are to be built as part of £3.5 billion regeneration of the area, with residents moving in as soon as 2020. Modular housing should typically produce a 10-15% saving on time – the earlier finish date allowing the scheme to generate revenue at a much earlier point in the lifecycle of a project than conventional construction methods on small to medium sized developments. This is where the key advantage lies. The difference between additional revenue generation at the completion of modular construction and the period of uncertainty at its start dictates the profitability of this form of


building. The other key consideration is the risk around key decision making at this early point in the lifecycle of the project. To achieve the required return, the delivery model must be closely scrutinised and the necessary level of funding in place for modular schemes in PRS to prosper. However, the pre-construction elements of the model have not been given enough consideration in regards to the viability of these schemes. Lots of developers use a mix of traditional and modern methods, with bathroom pods being the most common example of prefabrication within new developments. However, developers still find traditional construction methods to be more commercially attractive, especially in an uncertain market. The success of modular PRS schemes hinges on its ability to deliver a large amount of product to market rapidly and to start generating revenue ahead of the conventional model. In time, with the development of better supply chains, a streamlined planning model and improved industry awareness will see the risks involved diminish. But, until that time, it is essential that those involved with the schemes go into the project with their eyes open and understand the strictures of the development timeline. For more information visit:

Images: 01. Modular homes need to be delivered rapidly to keep up with market demand. Courtesy Protect Membranes

Eliminating risks of offsite construction

Overcoming Risks

Overcoming Risks Adopting offsite exposes designers and clients to risk. Overcoming Risksthese Precast concrete overcomes concerns. Adopting offsite exposes designers and clients to risk. Adopting offsite exposes designers clients to risk. Precast concrete overcomes theseand concerns. Precast concrete overcomes these concerns.

reduces the risk to exchange rate fluctuation, Precast concrete is a local product with strong transport problems, communication problems and sustainability and performance credentials backed up by many years of experience. Typical difficulties in inspecting products prior to leaving factory.the risk to exchange rate fluctuation, Precastconstruction concrete is a local product with strong thereduces risks of offsite are addressed. sustainability and performance credentials

transport problems, communication problems and

Responsible Supply Chain Product Standards difficulties in inspecting products prior to leaving backed up by many years of experience. Typical A the factory.

risks of offsite construction addressed. Precast concrete has long establishedare standards for With the BRE BES 6001 scheme, the British Precast products through BSIStandards and many of these are Charters for Sustainability andChain Health and Safety, A Responsible Supply Product harmonised across Europe through CEN. Therefore can fully address risk by choosing from the Precast concrete has long established standards for clients With the BRE BES 6001 scheme, the British Precast many precast products areBSICEand marked asthese normal British Precast supply chain, with members products through many of are Charters for Sustainability and Health and Safety, practice. harmonised This enablesacross designers project responsibly sourced Europeand through CEN.teams Therefore providing clients can fully address risk by products. choosing from the to specifymany their precast offsite products productsare with greateras normal CE marked British Precast supply chain, with members Durability/Robustness During Construction practice. This enables designers and project teams confidence. providing responsibly sourced products.

Fire Resistance During Occupation Government statistics state timber frame solutions have a higher risk of more extensive fires. NonFire Resistance During Occupation combustible solutions reduce these risks.

Government statistics state timber frame solutions have Overheating a higher risk of more extensive fires. NonResilience combustible solutions reduce these risks.

Responsible developers and informed building Overheating owners such Resilience as Housing Associations are increasingly aware and of the major building risk of future Responsible developers informed overheating. With the right design owners such as Housing Associations are the inherent thermal aware mass of the precast is ideally suited to increasingly majorconcrete risk of future overheating. Withtothe right design the inherent absorb heat reduce peak temperatures. to specify their offsite products with greater Concrete does not require the sameConstruction protection fromthermal mass of precast concrete is ideally suited to Designconfidence. Codes Durability/Robustness During heat to reduceLong peak temperatures. weather and impacts as lightweight solutions do. It absorb Addressing Lead-in Periods The Eurocode suiteCodes of design codes by CEN with UK not require the same protection from Design is a Concrete durable does and robust solution. weather and impacts as lightweight solutions do. It National Annexes by BSI, have now replaced the Addressing Longhave Lead-in Periods Offsite solutions the disadvantage of requiring The Eurocode suite of design codes by CEN with UK is a durable and robust solution. British codes. Designers usehave these Eurocodes Longevity During Operation National Annexescan by BSI, now replaced the a longer leadhave in period. During this lead in period, Offsite solutions the disadvantage of requiring with offsite precast products. British codes. Designers can use these Eurocodes Longevity During Operation onsitelead insitu concrete works carried out; for in period. During thiscan leadbe in period, The precast concrete properties of durability and a longer with offsite precast products. example, foundations thecarried ground onsite insitu concrete works and can be out;floor. for Insitu A Robust Supply Chain robustness also deliverproperties a low maintenance The precast concrete of durability long and example, foundations and the ground can Insitu concrete and precast concrete designed and A Robust Supply Chain robustness also deliver a low maintenance long lasting offsite solution reducing risks during The membership of British Precast is extensive with concrete and precast concrete can be designed and constructed together seamlessly: same design lasting offsite solution reducing risks during The membership of a British many members producing widePrecast rangeisofextensive with operation. constructed together seamlessly: same design codes, same material properties and same jointing operation. producing a wide range codes, same material properties and same jointing products.many This ismembers beneficial at tender stage andof Fire Resistance During Construction principles. products. This is beneficial at tender stage and Fire Resistance During Construction principles. reassuringreassuring so that the project is not reliant on any so that the project is not reliant on any TheThe HSEHSE view is isclear framesolutions solutions pose one possible view clear- -timber timber frame pose one supplier. possible supplier. Non-Repetitive Elements higher risks and thatthere thereis isa duty a duty Non-Repetitive Elements higher risks andthe theHSE HSEadvises advises that Local Supply Local Supply of care to to reduce design.This Thiscan can most With of care reducerisk riskthrough through design. most With precast concrete solutions, the one-offs precast concrete offsiteoffsite solutions, the one-offs bebedone concreteand and effectively doneby bychoosing choosing concrete The of majority of precast UK is made The majority precast used inused the in UKthe is made in in effectively cancan be cost effectively created with onsite be cost effectively created withinsitu onsite insitu avoiding unnecessaryfire fire load. load. the materials UK from materials theThis UK. This avoiding unnecessary concrete as it as is wholly compatible. the UK from sourcedsourced in the in UK. concrete it is wholly compatible.

HOUSING people to consider using these offsite construction to meet the challenges of the housing market. Despite this widespread support for an increase in modular construction, our research shows that a fifth of the population think prefabricated housing is poor quality, with one in six claiming it is old fashioned. Nearly a fifth don’t think a modular home would last as long as a traditionally built house.


UNDERSTANDING MODULAR APPEAL Why does the UK population struggle to understand a key solution to the housing crisis? Martin Hurn, Managing Director of Futurebuild Events Ltd created a survey to find out why. It’s no secret that offsite construction is a sector which is experiencing significant growth, but at the moment it still only accounts for around 10% of the UK’s construction output. At this year’s ecobuild there was standing room only at many of the seminars in the Offsite District and exhibitors were inundated with inquiries, so why is this percentage so low when the need for affordable new homes is so high? Ahead of ecobuild 2018, we decided to look into whether public uncertainty or even scepticism about offsite could be the answer and the findings were enlightening. The survey, which was completed by more than two thousand people, shows much more needs to be done to educate UK consumers about the 48

benefits of modular housing and there’s still a great deal of confusion around the subject. In fact, half of respondents (49%) were unable to identify what the term modular home refers to. Yet two thirds (62%) were able to correctly identify a modular home from a selection of images. It takes around half the time to build a home using modular construction, compared to traditional methods. It’s no wonder then that with the government’s target of building 300,000 homes a year, offsite and modular construction are seen by many as an answer to accelerating housebuilding to required levels. In fact, Housing Minister Alok Sharma recently launched a working group of key stakeholders from across the housebuilding sector, to encourage


There seems to be public support for new approaches to housebuilding and more than a quarter of people who completed our survey called for more inventive ways to solve the housing crisis. At ecobuild this year we showcased some fantastic homes utilising the latest techniques in offsite and modular construction and visitors were queuing out of the doors to have a look around. One of the properties on display was from Brooke Homes. The company’s Managing Director James English, a chartered engineer, told me that: “People are increasingly more aware that offsite is the disruptive technology we need to rapidly deliver high-quality, affordable housing. The key for offsite construction to really deliver is collaboration. Councils and housing associations need volume, and quickly, which the traditional builders are not delivering. Manufacturers require volume to remain competitive against traditional build. “To address the housing crisis we need to see the likes of developers, councils and housing associations collaborate with offsite construction specialists, introducing them into their wider housing schemes, with offsite specialists being brought in far earlier in the design process, to provide quicker rollout without sacrificing quality.” With our research revealing that 75% of people think it’s either difficult or very difficult to buy a house or flat, now really is the time for us to shine the spotlight on offsite construction to help solve this problem and get thousands more people on the property ladder. For more information visit: Images: 01. To address the housing crisis developers, councils and housing associations need to collaborate with offsite construction specialists. Courtesy Brooke Homes

ADVERTORIAL CONSTRUCTION MEMBRANE DELIVERS THERMAL EFFICIENCY & INSULATION COST SAVINGS Protect Membranes, UK producer of roofing and construction membranes, has introduced Protect TF InterFoil, a highly reflective insulating breather membrane designed for use within a timber frame wall panel to enhance its overall thermal performance. Suited to offsite and modular construction, Protect TF InterFoil features a low emissivity, vapour permeable reflective surface, which can be installed either side of the insulation in conjunction with a 20mm air cavity. This means the building developer and fabricator can move from more expensive rigid high density boards to fibrous or EPS insulants without increasing panel sizes, thereby achieving material cost savings. When Protect TF InterFoil is used with Protect TF200 Thermo insulating breather membrane on the external

face of the sheathing board and Protect VC Foil Ultra insulating vapour control layer on the warm side of 100mm 0.032 lambda insulation within a typical 140mm deep timber stud section, the overall wall construction can achieve U-values as low as 0.18W/m2K. Protect’s Technical team can provide full U-value calculations to demonstrate how using Protect TF InterFoil can benefit the overall build. Established alongside the Glidevale range of ventilation and building products, Protect Membranes has benefited from over 30 years of

innovation, experience and technical expertise. All Protect membranes are designed and developed specifically for the UK and Irish market requirements under BS EN ISO 9001 quality standards and are CE marked to relevant standards. A division of Building Product Design Ltd, Protect Membranes is a member of the Structural Timber Association (STA), having recently achieved the STA Assure Gold Accreditation as well as being members of the Modular and Portable Building Association (MPBA). For more information visit: email: or call 0161 905 5700, quoting ‘Protect TF InterFoil.’



Aptus Fastener Systems have developed the most comprehensive range of certified fastening solutions for the modular housing market.

Power Clamp – lifting device for transportation of solid panels and beams. HECO-Topix Countersunk & Flange Head – German innovated CE compliant structural screws through ETA. Pitzl Connectors – certified wood connection systems manufactured according to the highest quality “Made in Germany”

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It was great to see so much interest and serious discussion around offsite construction at ecobuild this year, says Graham Sibley, NHBC’s Market Development Manager. Speaking at the opening masterclass, and then meeting manufacturers, architects, local authorities there was plenty of stimulating conversation and a sense of momentum behind offsite housing. checking the connections between modules (and their robustness) and checking the integration with cladding and other finishes – watertightness

1 At NHBC we are seeing increasing interest in the use of offsite components, from lenders and investors to developers, housing associations and Build to Rent operators. What they all have in common is a desire to build confidence in the quality and benefits of new homes using offsite components. It is an established expectation amongst homeowners, landlords, investors and mortgage companies that new homes will last a very long time. Reflecting this expectation, NHBC explicitly requires a life of 60 years for the structure. This means that materials and components need to be selected and assembled carefully so that a 60year lifespan can be achieved in reality, with the construction of the finished home having the durability and resilience to withstand the vagaries of the UK climate. In practice, homes designed for 60 years can be expected to last well beyond that time. The key question we are looking to answer for investors and lenders in particular is whether we can provide insurance on the finished home, rather than simply assurance that the components are robust and 50

2 manufactured to a consistent quality. Investors and lenders want to know that homes they potentially invest in or provide mortgages on will be of sufficient quality, so NHBC is working very closely with offsite component manufacturers, architects, developers and contractors to ensure that homes built using these components are of at least the same finished standard as conventionally built homes. The work NHBC has been undertaking with high profile entrants to the market such as Legal & General and ilke Homes highlights their commitment to delivering homes that meet the reasonable expectations of owners and residents, are mortgagable on normal terms, insurable and durable. Such companies are taking a rigorous approach to developing their products, with the long term durability of the homes at the heart of their thinking, adapting the product before going live with mass production. This demonstrates a real commitment to long term quality. In many respects we are learning together, from the design to final construction of the building identifying potential risks and finding solutions to improve final build quality such as:


I hear it said that NHBC has been seen as ‘stand-offish’ to new construction methods. In reality we have always taken a view on the potential risks associated with any construction methodology. We take a collaborative approach, reviewing building designs and components from the earliest stages – and certainly before designs are locked down. In so doing, NHBC is able to identify areas of potential risk and collaborate to mitigate that risk. That means reviewing designs before putting out to tender for contracts. There is nothing worse for a developer than having to change specification if risks are identified at a late stage. There is a lot of drive behind offsite construction, with continued Government support and serious new entrants to the arena. A consistent approach to assessing the quality of new homes using offsite components is needed and the working group chaired by Mark Farmer is bringing together terms that meet the expectations of warranty providers, lenders, investors and building insurers. For more information visit:

Image: 01-02. NHBC has been working with high profile entrants to the housing market such as ilke Homes. Courtesy ilke Homes

Modern Methods of Construction We work with industry to help deliver long-lasting quality homes. n From component materials and design, to onsite installation and connection n System appraisal and acceptance n Inspection of the whole building to NHBC Standards n Backed by NHBC Buildmark warranty and insurance

Talk to us... Call us now on 0344 633 1000 Email or visit NHBC is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. NHBC is registered in England & Wales under company number 00320784. NHBC’s registered address is NHBC House, Davy Avenue, Knowlhill, Milton Keynes, Bucks MK5 8FP.

M034 01/18


CELEBRATING EXCELLENCE IN OFFSITE Held during Ecobuild, it was standing room only at the annual Offsite Construction Awards. With the heightened interest in new and innovative building technology – we were expecting it to be a sell-out event and with over 400 industry leaders and innovators gathering to celebrate the great and good of offsite construction, it certainly was. This year we saw record entries and the calibre and quantity clearly demonstrates that offsite technology is pushing the boundaries of construction and manufacturing innovation. We are delighted to say that these Awards have proven to be a rich vein of stunning architectural design and engineering entries, reflecting the economic indicators for the industry and a growing confidence in the use of offsite technology within the UK construction industry.

A big thank you must go to the Offsite Construction Awards Sponsors – especially our headline sponsors; BLP Insurance, ecobuild and NHBC. These fantastic organisations have made key contributions to the success of the event and their ongoing support is greatly appreciated.

the very highest standards of integrity this event would not be possible.

We must also acknowledge the key contributions and efforts of the Offsite Construction Awards judges. Without their dedication and commitment to

Darren Richards, Managing Director, Cogent Consulting, Awards Host & Chair of the Offsite Construction Awards Judging Panel.




With over 200 exemplary entries packed full of pioneering projects, innovative products and inspirational people - this year’s independent panel of judges had an onerous job selecting the winners. 52


And finally, the biggest ‘thank you’ goes to the awards entrants – without whom there would be no event. We congratulate and profile the distinguished winners of this year’s awards.

OFFSITE CONSTRUCTION AWARDS 2018 The prestigious ‘Winner of Winners’ Award, which is given for the highest scoring entry across all categories - was presented to PCE for Project Capella - a biomedical research laboratory for the University of Cambridge. PCE also picked up the award for the Best Use of Concrete Technology for this project. Project Capella is an 18,000m2 biomedical research laboratory for the University of Cambridge (UoC). The main contractor was appointed very early in the project, during RIBA Stage 1 and collaboratively set about undertaking the design stages by forging a ‘one team’ ethos - driving design and procurement innovation throughout the supply chain. Project Capella is located within the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, where a £600million investment has been made in research buildings, which are being constructed concurrently. Working as one team the entire supply chain used offsite concrete construction solutions to address significant logistical and construction management challenges of the site. Eighty per cent of the frame and façade were built offsite, as high-quality pre-cast modules. This approach ultimately provided UoC with clarity and certainty of costs, quality and overall project delivery. Finite element analysis along with specialist vibration analysis software were utilised to model the structure and the stiffness of the floor plates to develop an appropriate composite slab arrangement. This was coupled with the benefits of constructing the superstructure in its entirety - including the façade, from base. Through early collaboration between PCE and Kier, the partnership realised the aspiration to prefabricate as much of the superstructure as practically possible. Never had a hybrid of precast and insitu been used in a bio-science environment where vibration control was the primary driver for superstructure selection. Adopting a conventional approach would have resulted in significant pressures on the site and local resources. Through the development of a hybrid solution, PCE was able to de-risk the construction phase of the project whilst providing cost certainty to the client. The superstructure is recti-linear in form with 6.4m grids longitudinally and non-symmetrical grids ranging

between 5.5m and 8.5m laterally. The laboratories are arranged through the centre of the structure with ‘write-up’ spaces adjacent to the façade, with natural light. The aspiration was to create clear, flexible spaces with no down-stands to simplify the complex services integration whilst taking benefit of exposed concrete surfaces wherever possible. Arranged over six storeys above a basement, the superstructure is principally configured from precast concrete elements, columns, stability cores, shear walls, stairs, landings and the lower portion of the floor plate. Edge beams are made of precast concrete to simplify interfaces with the façade whilst efficiently controlling deflection limits. The spine beams are a shallow composite steel and concrete beam which maintain support to the same depth of the floor slab. The team optimised structural efficiency, internal finish and the simplification of construction. This, coupled with the integration of reconstructed stone façade with integrated glazing, has created the perfect balance of quality, cost and programme. Bio-terrorism security requirements were easily accommodated within a hybrid precast

design by mixing solid reinforced core modules with a twin wall system. Precast concrete technology was utilised throughout the structural frame including, basement liner walls, structural frame components with shear cores and floors. Concrete columns and beams were also utilised for ninety per cent of the façade. The hybrid precast insitu frame includes the stability cores which were delivered significantly quicker and with huge reductions in on site man hours and site deliveries. The high quality reconstructed stone envelope, configured as a panelised system, with curtain wall sections, which were preinstalled at the precast works, was constructed with just eight men in four weeks without the need for any external scaffolding. PROJECT TEAM Fairhursts Architects Arup Curtins Consulting Kier Construction










With a passion for driving housing

can manufacture 15 three-storey

optimisation of offsite construction methods and structural timber technology - developing affordable, energy efficient, sustainable homes, fit for the 21st century and beyond is Brooke Homes’ core objective.

can complete three homes a CONSTRUCTION week for their Capstone Green project for L&Q Housing Association.

BEST USE OF STEEL USE OF TIMBER delivery in the UK through BEST the homes at any one time and





Cutting edge construction methods mean that Brooke Homes’ can offer the same design flexibility as traditional Brooke Homes has achieved BOPAS builds, which are not restricted when accreditation for their volumetric it comes to internal layout, façades or modular solution which is based specification. Modular volumetric SIP on Structurally Insulated Panel construction delivers huge benefits to (SIP) technology, LVL beams and homeowners, offering more internal engineered timber joists to form a floor space, habitable roof space monocoque structure that is both and excellent thermal performance. structurally and thermally efficient. The volumetric modules include the With an overall target of building 82 complete requirements of a finished houses and 28 apartments on the fitted-out house, including wall finish, Capstone Green site, the benefits of M&E and bathroom and kitchen fit-out, this method on this scheme are clear. with the desired goal being a fully Currently Brooke Homes’ offsiteBEST facility USE turn-key COMMERCIAL/RETAIL INFRASTRUCT OF delivered product solution.





With a passion for driving construction through the optimisation of offsite construction and structural timber technology - developing environmentally friendly, affordable, medium-rise sustainable homes, fit for the 21st century is our core objective.

Developing new homes that work for you...

Contact a member of our team for further information: T: +44 (0) 0207 290 8910 E:

Our cutting-edge construction method using BOPAS accredited volumetric Structural Insulated Panel (SIP) technology, delivers huge benefits to homeowners. Our modular homes offer more internal floor space, habitable roof space and excellent thermal performance.







Mapleton Crescent, a Pocket Living residential development, claims the title of Europe’s third tallest modular building. The project generates much needed new homes for first time buyers in Wandsworth town centre, which are sold at a 20% discount below market value. HOUSING PROJECT OF THE YEAR

With varying floor plans throughout building that is not recognisable as the storeys, wall openings and modular or different in any wayBEST from a USE OF COMMERCIAL/RETAIL locations change, as do the number traditional building. PROJECT OF THE YEAR MEP PREFABRICATI of modules making up each of the apartments but this is easily The building system at Mapleton achieved with this flexible system. Crescent is at the leading edge of this Standing at 27-storeys, the Mapleton technology. Once the engineering and Crescent residential development is buildability issues were understood constructed with up to 24 floors of and developed to a practical level, the the VMS wall supported system which teams at MJH & VMS set about refining was erected in a rapid seven weeks. the system at every level throughout This system is extremely adaptable fabrication, manufacture, assembly and in terms of layouts, with the loads erection process. Each element of the being distributed throughout the construction is inspected and reviewed loadbearing modules and is very to understand the requirements and economic from low rise into the mid determine where advancement could 20-storeys. be achieved. The system has been developed with a steel framed structure supporting concrete floor slabs, lightweight structural steel walls and a steel truss ceiling which results in structures that are lighter than their equivalent traditional buildings. The system is completely developed around a structural steel solution relying on the high strength to weight ratio to keep the walls to standard thicknesses. Standardisation of steel details allowing intense investigation and refinement to ensure the most cost-effective product both in terms of materials and work effort expended. The building is covered with bespoke and striking terracotta cladding fitted onsite - resulting in a completed

Construction in the factory ensured precise ordering of materials, fewer offcuts, less packaging, minimised heat loss through better detailing and execution and high levels of airtightness. Factory construction also reduced waste both in the factory and on site and what little waste was created, was segregated and recycled by specialist sub-contractors.

PROJECT TEAM MJH Structural Engineers Vision Modular Systems Metropolitan Workshop
















Using the combined expertise of the Elliott and Keepmoat businesses - ilke Homes has been developed to respond to the crisis in the UK housing market.



Initial analysis showed that a hybrid system was optimal in terms of delivering a precision engineered and durable housing solution in a cost-effective manner. Through the optimum combination of materials, ilke Homes are achieving finished units, both internally and externally - whilst retaining the aesthetic, design and finishing requirements of aspirational, yet affordable housing. The benefits of differing construction materials have been carefully integrated, including the strength and design flexibility of cold rolled steel; the cost effectiveness and sheer strength of structural timber together with an OSB stressed skin. The weatherproofing, fireproofing, acoustics properties and durability benefits are achieved using specialist boards and the compressive strength of insulation products.


The units offer different internal layouts with one completely open plan unit and one unit with a closed plan arrangement. ilke Homes can be factory clad in a wide range of façade, external wall and roof finishes. In line with the local street scape, a mixture of INFRASTRUCTURE PRODUCT INNOVATION brick slips and renders were selected PROJECT OF THE YEAR AWARD for Carr Lodge.

The award-winning Keepmoat Homes project at Carr Lodge, Doncaster is an evolution of the 2017 Offsite Awards ‘highly commended’ solution. To enhance manufacturing speed and precision, there is an increased use of cold rolled steel in the new design. However, a hybrid approach has been continued, with timber truss roofs integral to the top floor module, an OSB stressed skin and sections of timber studwork. ilke Homes manufacture and install offsite, low rise, medium density schemes for both houses and apartments. The homes are built using a hybrid steel and timber volumetric solution. The properties manufactured by ilke Homes for Keepmoat Homes’ open market sale site at Carr Lodge, Doncaster, represent a further step forward in efficiency and smart construction.


Prior to the module delivery, site works for the homes at Carr Lodge were carried out by Keepmoat Homes to an incredibly advanced stage to enable a rapid handover. This included the installation of a concrete precast services pillar and fitting the electricity supply, telephone, gas and water connections – all which enables rapid services connections and commissioning. The adaptability of the internal layouts has been designed in from the outset to allow residents to customise homes without compromising manufacturing or impacting on external elevations. The standard ilke Homes specification exceeds Building Regulations Part L by 12% due to inherent fabric performance from the thermal bridge free design and manufactured quality.

PROJECT TEAM Keepmoat Homes ilke Homes Architect: Curious Worldwide Structural Engineering: 3E

Established in 1938, the MPBA are the representative body of the volumetric and portable building industry.

The Association plays a critical role in the development of the industry and adds value to its members by providing: • • • • • • • •

Access to unique Training & Events Health & Safety Advice Technical Support Employment Law Service Regular Industry & Legislative Updates New Business Referrals Networking Opportunities Industry Wide Marketing Promotion

For more information visit:










Apex House is a purpose-built student accommodation scheme with an eight-storey and ten-storey wing connected to a 29-storey landmark tower.



It comprises 580 student bedrooms speed of a traditional build and the with state-of-the-art communal facilities fitted modules eliminate the need such as dining rooms, study areas, for wet trades such as plastering and common rooms and leisure facilities tiling onsite. External structural walls including a cinema room - all elegantly have insulation pre-fitted and with designed around an external courtyard their improved dimensional accuracy, INFRASTRUCTURE PRODUCT INNOVATION at basement level. The scheme has cladding progresses quicker. Post PROJECT OF THE YEAR AWARD been developed by Tide Construction completion acoustic and airtightness and Vision Modular Systems using their testing has demonstrated all rooms innovative, offsite modular system. meet or exceed requirements, The scheme was completed within demonstrating the improved quality a 12-month total construction control that can be achieved in a programme, with a total of 679 manufacturing environment modules installed in just 13 weeks, ensuring handover to the client in Once the RC core was complete, August 2017 for the new academic the modules were installed at a rate year. The development of the building equivalent to two floors of living caused minimum disruption and accommodation per week, over pollution to the area - given the offsite 29 storeys. This facilitated rapid construction methodology, waste was completion of the building sections significantly reduced, and the scheme to allow for follow on works to begin. received a BREEAM Excellent rating. The use of the VMS volumetric system results in excellent acoustic Apex House is acknowledged for not performance, achieving a minimum only being a technical leap forward for 5dB better than building regulations. modular volumetric offsite construction The concrete floor with the unique but also a catalyst in the dramatic party wall design consistently provides regeneration of Wembley. The two-hour fire resistance. volumetric solution was the only viable means of delivering Apex House in the The project achieved full compliance time available. The use of the Vision to regulations and a BREEAM Excellent system was the key means of ensuring rating and most importantly, no the design and delivery teams met reportable accidents from a total of these requirements. 977,691 man-hours worked on this site. The Vision modules are structural components comprising a concrete PROJECT TEAM floor tied to the module external walls Architect: HTA Design LLP which are formed from structural posts MJH Structural Engineers that carry the vertical loads. All are Sustainability Engineer: connected together and tied back to Vector Design the concrete cores for lateral stability. Tide Construction Ltd The structure is erected at twice the











At the heart of the Norwich Research Park, the contemporary and purpose-designed Quadram Institute will house research teams from the Institute of Food Research, the University of East Anglia, as well as the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. spearheaded by SES – on what was an £18m M&E contract for the business has not only produced unprecedented project outcomes and savings but also ensured the project met strict programme requirements. With its research and clinical departments set to open their doors in the middle of 2018, this was critical. In total, SES delivered 36 plantroom prefabricated AHU valve arrangements, four plantroom pump skids and 164 pipework and electrical containment modules. In addition, six ductwork risers, four pipework risers and three electrical risers were installed each complete with platforms four floors in height, which resulted in over 8,000-man hours taken from site.

SES, the UK’s first M&E contractor to achieve BRE accreditation for BIM Level 2, was brought on board at the design phase - a decision that impacted all stakeholders and ensured a smooth project sequence and truly minimised clashes. Full utilisation of BIM enabled SES to work with the MEP design team to maximise the offsite strategy.

match the initial bid target for offsite manufacture but to exceed this with the development of risers, plantrooms and service modules. To achieve this success, the SES team embraced a true collaboration and ‘one-team’ ethos led by SES Engineering Services, lead contractor Wates Construction and the end-user client universities and NHS trusts.

With this clear strategy, SES executed its offsite approach during the preconstruction period to not only

From start to finish, the outstanding level of trust, transparency and collaborative decision-making

This project has been delivered with offsite methodology at its core and, critically, the project sequence would have been far more challenging without it. From the outstanding accuracy and health and safety benefits, to major rework reductions which dramatically reduced the timescale for services tradesmen to be on site, this has been a fantastic success for SES. Offsite manufacturing also meant that there were considerably less people on the live site, carrying out work and taking up space in the corridors, making the environment much safer.





construction methods, the decision


HOUSING PROJECTwas made to trial the COMMERCIAL/RETAIL use of modular project. OF THE YEAR OF THE YEAR construction for thisPROJECT

The Weigall Road Urban Houses project is part of the Kidbrooke Village regeneration scheme in South East London and consists of fifteen terraced houses. Thirteen of the houses are the Berkeley Urban House typology, which is a patented design of back to back terraced houses developed to deliver high quality homes at double the density of standard terraced housing, therefore addressing the land inefficiency associated with traditional house design.


The Berkeley Urban House is a three storey townhouse with a rectangular ground floor plate, which is repeated at the first floor and reduced in depth on the second floor to accommodate a terrace. The design lends itself to modular construction, so, after building an earlier version of the Urban House design with traditional

Each house is composed of three pods, one for each floor, except for the end terrace units that are a different design and have an additional pod. The pods are steel framed, insulated and finished internally with windows, floors, skirting, door frames, kitchens, bathrooms and with service risers. The pods were delivered to site by Caledonian and lifted into place using a mobile crane. Onsite activities included completing the staircases and services internally, cladding the building with brickwork, completing the roof terrace and external access staircase and landscaping works. The main reasons for testing modular construction were to reduce delivery times, improve finished quality and reduce the environmental impacts of the construction process. The modular design of the building and the compact form delivered higher standards of energy efficiency compared to a terrace of traditional construction houses. The building was designed to achieve a 16-17% improvement on the Part L 2013 target carbon emissions rate by efficiency measures alone. This was the first fully modular housing project undertaken by the Berkeley Group and as such was a huge learning curve for all involved. Various hurdles had to be overcome mostly relating to successfully connecting the pods vertically and the pod manufacture achieving the required levels of quality. The lessons learned from the Weigall Road Urban Houses project have been documented in order to improve the efficiency on future modular projects. Despite these issues, Berkeley see modular construction as having an important role in the future of house building and as such are investing in the development of a modular manufacturing facility which is due to be operational by 2020.






The architect’s vision was to turn

structure in a confined existing space

fresh and contemporary, through the use of timber technology. Around the outside of the building, the retail units have been created by pushing out the envelope through the use of glulam beams and cross laminated timber (CLT) panels together with CLT stairs, which have been left uncovered. To show the natural beauty of wood, the covered public spaces by the water side, have been created using a visible grade CLT wall and roof slabs. Inside Anchorage House the nine-storey closed atrium has a glulam grid of beams and columns, wrapped around all sides which creates a new floor space on every storey. This project is an excellent example of how offsite solutions can create an amazing

the client and their team. All timber was pre-cut, drilled and machined in Wiehag’s high-tech factory in Austria. All metalwork was factory fitted which enabled a fast, safe installation which minimised disruption to the building’s occupiers as well as producing little waste or dust. Wiehag’s installation onsite was in phases and started end of 2016 and finishing late in 2017, with the atrium now open and occupied.

tired existing office buildingsCOMMERCIAL/RETAIL and - on time, RIDDOR free, on budget BEST USE O HOUSING PROJECT surrounding area into something and to a YEAR quality that delightedMEP both PREFABRIC OF THE YEAR PROJECT OF THE



PROJECT TEAM Main Contractor: Galliford Try Building Ltd Architect: Studio RHE Structural Engineers: HTS Installers for Wiehag: L & S Baucon GmbH

The UK’s leading supplier of raw, laminated & bonded panels to the offsite industry. From thermally-efficient cladding to pre-decorated plasterboard; we can deliver the products best suited to your needs. Whether you’re a construction company, a merchant distributor or a specialist contractor, get in touch to discuss your requirements and we will provide the solution.

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Maggie’s is a renowned charity providing practical and emotional support for people living with cancer. Maggie’s Oldham is the world’s first building made from hardwood cross laminated timber (CLT) - created from CLT manufactured and installed by ZÜBLIN Timber. The pioneering use of engineered tulipwood is a trailblazer for future CLT adoption. BEST USE


also provide rapid construction times with increased levels of accuracy throughout the build process. This comes as a huge advantage when constructing healthcare buildings where budgets and timescales are frequently challenging. It was an extremely efficient construction completed in a year, due BEST OFprocess, CONCRETE to the large amount of offsite timber prefabrication, eliminating the need for wet trades.


There is a direct correlation between the quality of an environment and human health and wellbeing. The best practice guidance, set out in BREEAM Healthcare and the Good Corporate Citizen Model (NHS), recognises this. A holistic design should also include measures to reduce energy costs throughout the lifecycle of the facility.

Supported on 4m steel slender columns, the building floats above a garden framed by trees. From a central oasis, a tree grows up through the building, bringing nature inside. On entering, the visitor is met with a space, light and unexpected views down to the garden below, up to the sky and out to the horizon. Designed by dRMM Architects, Maggie’s Oldham is constructed from 20 panels of five-layer cross laminated American tulipwood, ranging in size from 0.5m to 12m long. Some of the panels used in Maggie’s Oldham were curved and also included custom cut-outs and a routed recess detail,


Timber systems are designed to maximise thermal performance and minimise air leakage, resulting in so doors could close flush without well-insulated, higher-performance additional door frames. American buildings that do not require tulipwood CLT offers unparalleled expensive bolt on technologies strength and lightness and is one of to enhance the environmental PROJECT COMMERCIA the most sustainable speciesHOUSING because performance and will ultimately reduce of how fast it replenishes, through OF THErunning YEARcosts. The continuing savings PROJECT OF natural growth alone. The tulipwood made from increased energy efficiency CLT has been carefully detailed to can have a huge impact on budgets. bring out its natural beauty. It’s fine, variegated finish is more akin to furniture than a construction material. The slatted ceiling was created from wood left over from the CLT fabrication process, ensuring no waste. As well as offering aesthetically pleasing and calming elements, offsite manufactured timber systems


PROJECT TEAM Architect: dRMM, Main contractor: F Parkinsons Structural Timber Designer & Manufacturer: ZÜBLIN Timber Structural Engineer: Booth King




The Global Academy in London isEDUCATION the Advanced offsite technology allowed HEALTHCARE INTERNATIONAL OFFS first University Technical College to the project to meet a challenging PROJECT OF THE YEAR PROJECT OF THE YEAR PROJECT OF THE YE

be built offsite and one of the most energy-efficient modular buildings of this scale ever constructed in the UK. Designed, engineered and constructed by Portakabin with design partners Surface to Air - this state-ofthe-art hybrid modular building has not only challenged the perception of offsite construction but also created a visionary new academy with unique broadcast and digital media facilities. The Global Academy’s futuristic design creates an inspiring environment for learning. The spectacular roof-lit central atrium provides a dynamic focal point, as does the sculptural ‘crissBEST USE OF CONCRETE BEST USE cross’ feature staircase. A high level of natural light is achieved through the significant number of glazed walls to the classrooms.


programme on an exceptionally constrained site. There are extensive studio facilities for media broadcasting, flexible teaching spaces, a café and dining area, and learning zones for student interaction. The academy opened to students less than 12 months after the start onsite. This technically-complex building was designed to deliver a demanding acoustic specification, with triple glazing and specially-engineered air conditioning. Engineered and built by Portakabin and designed with architects Surface to Air, the 8,700m2 space has a forward-thinking design OF STEEL BEST USE OF TIMBE which reflects the creative ethos of the new college. The new building is on the site of the Old Vinyl Factory, once the EMI headquarters.



Giancarlo Torpiano - Arup Jonathan Roynon - Buro Happold

PROJECT Kelly Harrison - Heyne Tillett HOUSING Steel John Spittle - Wiehag




Nic Clark - KLH UK Gavin White - Ramboll Kevin Flanagan - PLP Architecture David Lomax - Waugh Thistleton Neil Eaton - Berman Guedes Stretton


The Oculus, University of Warwick

Pioneering Engineered Timber

Daniel Kreissig - ZÜBLIN Timber Peter Wilson - Timber Design Initiatives Darren Richards - Cogent Consulting Robert Hairstans - Edinburgh Napier University

Solid Wood Solutions will shine a spotlight on pioneering projects through informative case studies presented by those who conceived and developed the buildings

Tickets cost £125 + VAT Offsite Magazine 15% discount code OSMAG15

To book your place, visit:

that are gaining global attention. This event presents a great opportunity to gain insight and network with those who are shaping the future of the engineered timber industry.






The Holiday Inn Express in Trafford, Manchester, is the first ‘Generation 4’ in the UK to be built using a modular construction process. All 220 bedrooms have been constructed under factory conditions by manufacturing steel-based, volumetric modules - complete with fully factory-finished interior furniture and fixtures and fittings - including carpets, curtains, wallpaper and full-height windows. offering peace of mind and even more time efficiency.

The decision to choose offsite technology as the central construction method for the Holiday Inn Express was a straightforward one for the developer – as the client had undertaken a volumetric, modular building project previously and was aware of the benefits. The most notable element resulting from the use of offsite construction was the speed at which it happened. The factory-fitted container modules were programmed into a sequence of batches - scheduled to arrive ‘just-in-time’ to site. Each module consisted of two bedrooms and a section of corridor, with all the 220 bedrooms placed on site in less than three weeks, ready for external cladding to commence. 64

This meant that the client could begin trading ahead of schedule, achieving a 40% reduction in construction time and cost when compared to traditional construction methods. Cost predictably was greatly enhanced by using this method, with modules already designed and in place for delivery. The finished quality was also a major element justifying the use of offsite construction. The fixtures and fittings, having been produced and installed in a controlled factory environment, were of a very high standard – inspected and signed off before being delivered. This meant that quality assurance was in place before the modules were installed –


The environmental impact of the build was substantially reduced because of the use of this technology. There were fewer deliveries to site and also less waste generated because factory assembly involved the use of clean technology and more efficient working practices. The use of off-site technology requires design and installation to be precise to the millimetre, which has the benefit of ensuring that the building has fewer gaps and is much more effectively insulated. This means lower day-to-day running costs, particularly in terms of energy expenditure, and a very high environmental performance. In addition, the quality of the finished product is far higher than with traditional construction methods. PROJECT TEAM Client JV team: Topland, Marick, Mill Lane Estates Architect: Chapman Taylor, Main Contractor: Bowmer & Kirkland Module Contractor: CIMC Structural Engineer: Capita


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INFRASTRUCTURE PRODUCT INNOVATION Civil Contractors joint venture PROJECT OF THE YEAR comprised Kier, Samsung C&T and AWARD FCC Construcción. A key feature in KIER INFRASTRUCTURE the delivery of the Mersey Gateway scheme was the approach taken by MERSEY GATEWAY the team to design and construction - resulting in £250m savings in procurement. Environmental benefits As a landmark that is recognisable throughout the North included making 1,423,250 tonnes of contaminated soil, made acceptable West and beyond - Mersey Gateway is one of the largest for re-use.



infrastructure initiatives in the UK. It has been referred to as a ‘bridge to prosperity’, delivered on time, within budget, as well as exceeding client expectations.

Mersey Gateway involved significant offsite elements including: • Ditton Junction – a two-span bridge; • Freight Line Bridge: A 99m-long skew bridge spanning a double track freight line • Widnes Loops Viaduct: A high-level road crossing • Trestle Access Bridge: A 1km long temporary trestle bridge • Mersey Gate Bridge: The first continuous concrete cable stayed bridge with three pylons in Europe • Bridgewater Junction: Part of the new 9.2km link road • Lodge Lane Junction: A preassembled structural steel bow-string arch footbridge • Clifton Road Bridge: Six precast concrete staircase units weighing 32 tonnes each

This £600m scheme involved the design and construction of a new six lane cable stayed toll bridge over the River Mersey, along with upgrades to 9km of the adjoining road network and associated junctions. The landmark structure is 1km in length and has created more than 4,600 permanent jobs. Concrete was specified as the primary structural material for a number of infrastructure elements. Extensive use of precast, high-strength concrete, permitting rapid construction cycles, has resulted in low maintenance and durable structures that were built within a very ambitious programme. By standardising the design of


major structural components of the scheme including pylons, piers and the deck and by using high strength precast concrete for the Freight Line Bridge, Clifton Road Bridge and the Bridgewater Junction – Keir Infrastructure maximised potential for the highest quality, safety, and streamlining of the construction programme. Opened in October 2017, Mersey Gateway involved the construction of a new six-lane bridge over the River Mersey, with upgrades to 9km of adjoining road. It took three and a half years to build and it is expected that 20 million vehicles a year will use the new bridge. The Merseylink


• M56 Junction 12: A re-modelled junction featuring precast concrete panels Prefabrication allowed the team to reduce disruption to the local area via speed of installation and just-in-time deliveries. Meticulous and extensive planning was required to coordinate the complex logistics of delivering some of the colossal concrete units. PROJECT TEAM Client - Halton Borough Council Merseylink Consortium • Kier Infrastructure • FCC Construcción SA, • Samsung C&T Corporation




housing solution that is unlike PRODUCT any The system gains its strength from INFRASTRUCTURE INNOVATION on the market today. The system AWARD engineered steel columns which go PROJECTother OF THE YEAR


Advanced Precision Homes claim they are ‘bringing house building out of the mud’ by developing a volumetric

is the brainchild of an engineer who wants to transform the way offsite houses are manufactured and assembled.

The strength and durability of their system goes way beyond regulatory performance requirements. Their system is achieving wall U-Values of 0.07 W/m2K and less than two airchanges per hour. But it is not only the performance that is ground-breaking - structurally stronger than a traditional timber frame build, this system has a proven load-bearing capability of up to 11 storeys. Based on an aluminium ring beam system, the hybrid volumetric solution is best described as a timber frame ‘box within a box’ with an injected foam layer of insulation in between.

right up to the roof ridge and are encapsulated within the cavity wall so are totally indistinguishable in the finished home. The factory fitted roof is supported by the steel columns therefore does not requires trusses – creating a habitable roof space. The ground was broken on the Redwood Crescent, Beeston development on 08 January and the four homes will be completed and ready of occupation at the beginning of April this year. This is achieved by over 95% of the homes being completed in the factory. Advanced Precision Homes require little or no maintenance and come complete with a 60 Year Certification.

For more on Advanced Precision Homes see p44

Construction work on building sites involves a huge amount of product and materials checking to make sure everything meets the exacting requirements of building regulations. This can be stressful at the best of times and a helping hand is always welcome. That’s why more and more people are coming to the BBA for off-site certification of their products. • Assessment of new systems including insulated concrete formwork, SIPs and framed systems. • Assuring compliance with Building Regulations in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. • Ensuring systems are waterproof, warm, structurally sound and durable. • Factory visits to check system documentation and control. • Site visits to see units being offloaded and installed. • Huge benefit to architects, decision makers and manufacturers.

A site for sore eyes The advantages of BBA Certification

Our assessors have decades of experience evaluating Off-site Construction, and BBA Agrément Certificates are regarded as the best assurances you can get for your off-site products. With BBA’s 50 years of unrivalled expertise in building and construction certification, it’s easy to see why. 01923 665300






shedkm has more than a decade of experience of innovative offsite construction, dating right back to the award-winning MoHo (Modular Housing) - the first private sector housing scheme in the UK to embrace volumetric prefabrication.



open-plan or cellular layouts, as well as a range of kitchens, bathrooms CLIENT and finish options to customise OF their homeTHE in overYEAR 130,000 possible configurations. Designing for manufacture requires a different approach from the team. Tolerances and movement influence the choice of materials and wet trades are largely eliminated. The production process itself influences the design of the houses too, for example small changes to the bathroom design allows these to be constructed as pods on a separate production line then craned into the main pods, speeding up the process. Landscaping and external works are now completed before the houses arrive so sequencing, delivery access and crane locations need careful consideration from the outset. Their CONTRACTOR skills as ‘place-makers’ are invaluable OF THE YEAR as the arrangement of houses to create terraces, streets, squares and courtyards - is an important differentiator giving a unique identity to each development. Each of the available Town House layouts has been digitally modelled using BIM software to generate a full range of possible configurations. These models allow materials and components to be called off for manufacture as required and with minimal waste.

Their latest volumetric project, Town House is a new concept for mass housing that is a direct challenge to the established typologies of the major housebuilders. It exploits clever modular planning to create spacious, flexible and modern customerdesigned homes that are factory-built and delivered to site fully finished. Four years of research and prototyping have gone into developing the product which is now in production


on a dedicated assembly line. Following completion of 43 houses in Manchester, a site on Tyneside is nearing completion and work is progressing on a 72-unit scheme in Salford, with the first phase already occupied. Customer choice is the driving concept behind Town House. The design offers purchasers a choice of sizes, garden focused or loft-style living space and



Town House will continue to evolve in its construction, external appearance and range of customer choices on offer. Lessons learned are already being applied to refine Town House as well as to develop a family of House products for Urban Splash, including a small apartment block - Mansion House; Row House – a smaller house type aimed at a lower price point and Kit House - a larger and more flexible offering which separates simple spaces for living and sleeping into one module with a separate pod containing stairs, bathrooms and services.









The Mid Group was founded in late 2014 to deliver the Construction 2025 agenda. CEO, Andrew Shepherd was a major contributor to Construction 2025 and is acknowledged for his contribution in the report. Mid Group was established to deliver projects quicker, safer and more efficiently. The result is a new, dynamic business that has quickly established a foothold in the UK construction market. The business has secured over £100m of new projects in a period of less than three years. These projects are being entirely developed using offsite construction solutions. Furthermore, Mid Group was one of the first UK contractors to achieve BIM Level 2 and is using BIM on 100% of its construction projects. The Mid Group approach is benefiting offsite manufacturers in the UK, who are now partnering with the company in developing new projects. This is resulting in significant benefits for their clients, including 50% reductions in programme and 33% lower costs. On a recent school project, Greatfields School, the Mid Group team worked with the offsite manufacturer and managed to deliver a scheme with a programme that was almost half of any other tendered. In addition, the price was significantly cheaper than the Client’s QS estimated. Initially this made the authority particularly nervous and time was spent reassuring the authority and advisers that it was deliverable.

Greatfields School was delivered in seven months from starting on site and for less than £2,000m2 - against local benchmarks of closer to £3,000m2. The number of deliveries to site was circa 50% of the amount envisaged under a traditional approach and the number of man hours on site was less than half. Against every metric, it has been identified that the Greatfields School has significantly outperformed when compared to other local school projects. The project was successfully delivered, even ahead of the original programme and to an exceptional quality. This resulted in Mid Group being invited to review another school project. This was a large school project that had gone to the market and been tendered at circa £49m and 30 months on site.

Offsite solutions are being considered and evaluated, ensuring that they will meet the clients brief, right at the initial stage of the project. The offsite contractor is then being engaged throughout the design development phase to ensure that the design and the solution continue to be compatible. The Mid Group has been appointed by a number of local authorities and private developers who are keen to realise the benefit of offsite solutions. This wide range of engagement ensures that the Mid Group team is keeping abreast of latest developments.







Prior to the publication of the Government’s Industrial Strategy and the Farmer Report - the Education Funding Agency (ESFA) had already started to investigate offsite construction as a solution for the delivery of its future schools estate. The Agency had been keen to establish whether the widely promised efficiencies in cost, time and improvement in quality were deliverable in the context of a schools building programme. INSTALLER OF THE YEAR


three new modular frameworks one for new build primary, one for primary BEST block replacement USE OF and one for secondary schools - with a total POD TECHNOLOGY value of around £500m, generating significant market interest from offsite specialist contractors and tier one contractors. As a result of the successful outcomes from the current procurements, the ESFA have established a new Modern Methods of Construction team, their role going forward is to: • Manage the existing modular frameworks and benchmark against key KPIs, including health and safety • Increase the client’s understanding of modular • Work with the MMC market to develop capacity and improve performance


• Look at how new schools are OFand THE YEAR funded to look at changes to improve efficiency

• Deliver further standardisation, and improvements in quality, speed of delivery and increase value

• Investigate economies of scale of individual components and whether the ESFA can procure by type • As a client, set the approach to the next generation of schools including manufacture and assembly

The EFSA has developed its offsite framework procurements with the focus on efficiency rather than cost. Most construction clients procure their projects regionally which suits the traditional construction market and gives them an advantage over offsite and fragments the market making it inefficient, the EFSA feel this hinders the ability of the market to drive efficiencies in the process. After analysing the offsite market for some time and running a number of frameworks to enable learnings to be captured. The EFSA now procure their offsite work on the basis of type of school rather than by geographical region. This enables 70

them to aggregate the demand and provide volume for the market to drive efficiencies from the standardisation of components. It is also knowledged that the offsite market is relatively undeveloped to deliver complex projects at capacity, by batching projects by type and asking the market to deliver on a production line basis, it plays better to the industry’s strength and enables offsite manufacturers to invest and improve as they progress. The Education Funding Agency have now proved they are serious about offsite construction and already have 35 schools built or in the process of being built using factory-controlled methods. They have also procured


Establish a school specific BIM library by type to be used for engagement, procurement, delivery and maintenance of schools

• Liaise with other government agencies to improve cross government offsite understanding PROJECT TEAM Chris Dale - MMC Strategic, Programme Manager Kevin Crotty - Project Director Mark Nightingale - MMC Deputy, Programme Manager Bryan Evans - MMC Solution, Manager Richard Crosby - MMC Technical Advisor






Maggie’s Centres seek to provide ‘the architecture of hope’. They offer free practical and emotional support for people affected by cancer. Built in the grounds of NHS cancer hospitals, the centres are safe and welcoming spaces. They lift the spirits and set the scene for people to draw on inner strengths.


Maggie’s Oldham is a crafted manifesto for the architecture of health set in wood - reversing the norms of hospital architecture, where institutionalised environments can leave patients dispirited. Working closely with Architect dRMM, AHEC and Zueblin Timber - Booth King produced a structural design for Maggie’s Oldham which utilised sustainable hardwood cross laminated timber (CLT) for the first time in a permanent building form. The walls are exposed tulipwood CLT and the roof comprises glulam joists spanning up to 10m. The exposed structure provides an exquisite timber finish internally.


Booth King provided a highly original and elegant structural design including all foundations, steelwork and connections, structural timber and external works - the structural scheme fits perfectly with the superb architectural intent of dRMM. The excellent structural properties of tulipwood CLT minimises the thickness of the walls whilst ensuring that all structural connections were viable and still remain fully concealed in the finished building. Booth King used BIM technology to develop a 3D digital model of the building structure. The model was coordinated with the architect and



was used to assist other designers and key sub-contractors including the steelwork contractor and Zueblin Timber - to help them to understand the building structure and to develop their fabrication drawings with great accuracy and confidence. The model was also used to ensure that all builders work openings for service runs and drainage could be coordinated INSTALLER and incorporated into the offsite manufacture of steel and OF THE YEAR timber elements. Crucially the lightwell which passes through the building is lined by a complex-shaped, curved glass wall. Since the floor and roof structures would be in place before the glass arrived on site, it was essential that tolerances were very carefully considered to ensure that this very expensive glass element fitted at floor level and then could pass through the opening in the roof without clashes. Booth King were instrumental in resolving this challenge, exchanging digital models with the architect and specialist contractors to ensure fit-up on site and to determine a costeffective, adjustable and practical support system. PROJECT TEAM Structural Engineer: Booth King Partnership Architect: dRMM Main contractor: F Parkinson Structural Timber Subcontractor: Zueblin Timber Timber Advice: AHEC Wood Supplier: Mid Tennessee Lumber







Identity Consult are an award-

prelim requirements, warranties,

management of offsite developments. The company has been involved with the design and delivery of 233 modular units in the last three years.

processes and procedures.

OFFSITE winning Development ConsultancyMANAGER subcontractor engagement and PROFESSION INTERNATIONAL OFFSITE PROJECT WINNER and a national lead in the project general design management OF THE YEAR PROJECT OF THE YEAR OF THE YEAR



Identity Consult managed each project by using Project Management tools together with almost daily The company was first appointed interaction with the client and team. in 2015 by SIG Offsite to assist with Identity Consult instilled a sense project managing the award winning, of collaborative working, whilst Rogers Stirk Harbour ‘PLACE’ Ladywell amalgamating traditional construction project. This led to further projects practice with manufacturing to drive with SIG including YO! Homes in design detailing, that could not only Manchester and then Mansion Houses be factory produced but also delivered for Urban Splash. on site, as the offsite modules interfaced with the more traditional For PLACE and YO! Homes it was a elements of construction. Identity new world for SIG in that they were Consult have rolled out internal CPD not only the manufacturer but also the sessions throughout the business, principal contractor. Identity Consult so all consultants understand how to TIMBER BESTtoHYBRID BEST USE OF VOLUME therefore acted as an extension go about managing and delivering a CONSTRUCTION PROJECT TECHNOLOGY SIG’s management team to offer successful offsite process. guidance on contractual terms,

Our internationally patented UltraSTEEL® process is a cold rollforming technology that has enabled customers from different industries around the world to improve product efficiency, save weight and reduce the use of raw materials.





Introduced in 1982 and awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Innovation in both 2006 and 2014, it continues to shape the use of cold rolled metals across a huge range of applications.








John Fleming is the Chairman and inventor of the Vision Modular System (VMS) - one of the most established and robust offsite systems in the world. John has over 40 years’ experience in the construction industry, utilising both traditional and modular construction and has been committed to the offsite sector for many years. Vision Modular Systems is based in Bedford and is a 180,000sqft2 modular manufacturing facility employing approximately 200 employees. VMS specialises in 3D volumetric modules for the construction industry that can be used across a range of market sectors including residential, PRS, PBSA and hotels. At all times he is able to keep full control over the process, understanding how changes may affect cost, speed and difficulty. In short, John has been the ultimate driving force behind the offsite system he has invented, and by extension, the whole sector. Here are just some of the buildings he has delivered. • PBSA, Wolverhampton, 2009 – Tallest Modular Building in the World He has pioneered offsite techniques constantly by refining, advancing and developing the system and has spent considerable time and effort on R&D for offsite manufacturing. John has experience building an offsite contracting business from the ground up, learning what is required at each stage of the process. From a very practical knowledge base, and with an exceptional level of interest and attention to detail, he has created a modular system that is leading the industry and delivering beautiful, 74

high-quality buildings. He has set up each stage of the fabrication and manufacturing process from a first principals approach, understanding the technology and machines involved, breaking down and reinventing processes where beneficial. John encourages others around him to think creatively about modular and provide solutions. He is prepared to consider all possibilities, often congratulating his factory employees for solutions and improvements to the system.


• PBSA, Apex House, 2017 – Tallest Modular Building in Europe

• Residential, Mapleton Crescent, 2018 – Tallest Residential Modular Building in Europe

• PRS, Croydon, Onsite now / Completion 2020 – Tallest Modular Building in the World Quite possibly one of the biggest accolades to John’s name is the 44 and 38 storey modular towers which have just commenced onsite and will be the world’s tallest modular buildings.





James Paul Services (JPS) were INSTALLER responsible for the installation of several packages OF THE YEARon a student accommodation project, across 15 individual blocks, encompassing 638 bedrooms, located in the centre of York. The scope consisted of loadbearing steel frame systems (SFS), cementitious boarding and celotex to the external face of the SFS, metal decking, reinforcement and concrete with reinforced fibres to create floor slabs, partitioning, ceilings and plastering works to complete the internal works. Working with the main contractor Wates Construction - JPS were involved from the design stages of the project right through to completion. Many of the specialist JPS management team and operatives were onsite from the outset of the

CONGRATULATIONS to all 2018 Winners & Highly Commended


project until the handover of the Vita CONTRACTOR Student Village in York.


Site constraints such as archaeology findings within the ground, adverse weather conditions and working with and around other trades made the project more difficult. Due to these issues there were delays and the programme duration was also reduced. To resolve this situation, the JPS onsite team had to revert to additional labour and working longer hours to recover time lost. The project was completed in September on schedule as detailed in the construction programme and the installer, James Paul Services - received commendations for their works throughout the project from the main contractor’s Regional Construction Director.




CLT is now well-established in the UK as a lightweight engineering solution with high levels of prefabrication and excellent credentials as a sustainable material. Robin Dryer, Director at chadwickdryerclarke studio, successfully used it for the first time at the Stephen Perse Foundation in Cambridge. was particularly attractive. Exposed CLT will invariably require a surface spread of flame treatment, and we specified a pale translucent stain that allowed the grain and imperfections of the timber to come through. The aesthetic of the exposed CLT drove the design choices elsewhere, from lighting to flooring to acoustic treatments. As we developed the building design, we kept returning to the need to be clear with the rest of the design team about which timber surfaces we hoped to expose and why.

1 CLT is well-known amongst engineers, and has been employed on various building types over the last few years, ranging from schools to residential blocks to hospitals. Indeed, working with Smith + Wallwork structural engineers and Kier Construction, we have recently used it on the new Sports and Learning Building for the Stephen Perse Foundation in Cambridge. This has been our first project using CLT, and as architects the design and construction process has given us some fresh insights into the possibilities of this exciting timber product. Contemporary Austrian architects – particularly referencing the vernacular of the Vorarlberg region – have long used timber in their buildings as a


structural solution, but also as a key part of the interior: timber finishes are honestly exposed, providing a visual and tactile warmth for their inhabitants. Modern European architecture has perhaps been particularly sensitive to this quality, and many buildings have been constructed on the continent using CLT as much for its aesthetics as its engineering capability. Edged crisply against clean contrasting surfaces, it is showcased as a premium finished product. At the Stephen Perse Foundation, the design team proposed CLT for various reasons, not least its light weight and ease of erection. But for us as architects the idea of exposing the spruce flanks of the walls, and washing the timber soffits with light,


The honesty of CLT as a structural solution is something that can be architecturally celebrated. The tectonic arrangement of exposed floor slab edges propped on walls is easily understandable and enjoyable – the means of construction can form a key part of the expression of a CLT building. The thickness of the panels is also sometimes a satisfying thing to reveal, as are the half-lap joints. And where the timber meets other elements – such as steel or concrete – in a hybrid structure, the junction between these elements can be equally demonstrated. But it is important to choose the junctions to display – cleat brackets between wall and floor slabs are perhaps best concealed in floor build-ups unless clearly specified. CLT enjoys many benefits over other structural solutions, but at the Stephen Perse Foundation, its relatively ‘quiet’ erection was an important factor during construction on an occupied school site. The fact that it could arrive to site fully pre-fabricated and erected swiftly (and safely), and be reasonably weathertight quickly was another key factor. Cost is always an issue with any building project, but during the tender process some contractors proposed to value-engineer the superstructure towards a steel-framed solution with



2 timber panel linings. They didn’t win the project partly on the basis that they had not understood the importance of CLT to the proposed building, from its aesthetic qualities through to erection. Specifying CLT has to be planned and carefully considered from an early stage, and will always be in the sphere of the structural engineer. However, it is critical that all members of the design and construction teams fully understand the impacts of the CLT superstructure on their related design work. Where surfaces are exposed, the grade of the panels will need to be considered – how ‘knotty’ a finish will be acceptable? This will need to be clearly co-ordinated with the architect but sit within the structural specification. If slab soffits are exposed, the airborne and impact acoustic treatments of the floor build-ups will need to be designed to accommodate the relatively light mass of the floor panels. And, critically, maintaining adequate fire compartmentation and protection to elements of structure will also need to be developed between the building control officer and the architect’s dry lining specification, with reference to the thickness of the CLT panelling. But perhaps the biggest impact of all is to environmental design. If soffits are exposed, containment for power, data, lighting, fire systems, pipework, ducting all need to be carefully routed and designed to be similarly exposed, or concealed in floors and walls. Power


and data points on exposed CLT walls will need a strategy for cabling to – this may demand exposed conduit, for instance, unless the CLT thickness is designed to accommodate channels. And there are wider impacts too. Light reflectance will differ to a painted plasterboard surface, the thermal mass of CLT should be acknowledged in environmental modelling software etc. All of these aspects places a great degree of focus on the design and co-ordination of the building services. At the Stephen Perse Foundation, our use of BIM software greatly aided the engagement of the design and construction teams, and this smoothly fed through to KLH’s manufacturing process and their erection team. CLT superstructure erection requires planning early on in the design process. During the pre-construction design phase, the design team for the Stephen Perse Foundation building undertook studies to ensure that CLT panels could be safely delivered to the site via the tight one-way road system around the site. And given the proximity to neighbouring buildings and the rest of the occupied school site, the design team consulted the STA’s ’16 Steps to Fire Safety’ guidance to ensure that temporary works and sequencing could be addressed by the contractor. For us as architects, however, this is all worth it. We strongly feel that use of CLT has been key to the success of the building, and its character and warmth

5 is in no small part due to the exposed spruce panels. We have specified highquality grade CLT for non-structural uses such as bay window reveals and benches, which continues the theme. We have learnt a great deal from this building, not least how fragrant a building site can smell during construction! Where it is suitable, we hope to specify CLT on future projects. For more information visit:

Images: 01-05. CLT has provided a stylish and sustainable building that has delivered a stunning building for the Stephen Perse Foundation.





CLT TOPS OUT AT HIGHPOINT account in the holistic design and analysis of the frame. Details where wall panel meets slab were dealt with by an innovative ‘saw tooth’ detail which mitigates the risk of cross-grain compression without the need for wet trade methods such as grouting.

2 1 Highpoint is currently one of the UK’s tallest private rented sector (PRS) developments and a flagship aspect of the wider Elephant and Castle regeneration project. The 45-storey building comprises both structural precast concrete and cross laminated timber (CLT). The scheme provides 470 new mixed-tenure apartments from PRS and shared ownership in the tower, to intermediate rent and affordable in an eight storey podium block. A number of innovative construction techniques were considered for the development. The tower employs a bespoke structural framing system of precast concrete wall panels which all work holistically with all elements contributing to the lateral stability system as well as providing vertical support. Conversely the eight storey adjacent podium is constructed from CLT providing the project with the quality control and programme advantages of timber. The ‘Newington Butts’ project began as a research-based proposition back in 2003 between client Firstbase, Architects RSH+P and AKT II as structural engineers. The brief was simple – to create a new residential typology which was lean, flexible and driven by a standardised and prefabricated approach.


Testament to the flexibility achieved through this early design logic was then when the client and architect changed in 2011 along with the market and tenure, the structural logic remained robust, and the inherent flexibility of the system meant that the floor plates could accommodate a change of mix and tenure. The eight storey podium block was a key part of the original scheme from 2003, providing affordable accommodation at different densities. The internal logic was defined by a linear system driven by the form of the block and the mix, which lends itself to loadbearing structural walls and thus prefabrication opportunities. The question was always whether this system would be the more traditional concrete solution or structural timber or something else? The timber option was preferred given its inherent sustainability benefits, lower weight, reduced transport movements, speed and quality control. However pre-recession in 2006 CLT construction was not so established in the UK, and a traditional panelised system was concluded to not be viable. However, the post-recession supply chain and confidence meant that a conversion to CLT was achievable and the benefits described above were thus realised. CLT construction was used for the majority of structural elements with spans being pushed beyond traditional limits necessitating detailed vibration analysis. As there are no reinforced concrete (RC) elements, the timber frame performs all structural functions including strength, stiffness, fire and robustness, all of which re taken into


All members of the design and construction team have breadth of experience (and thus data) from across the housing sector, so along the way the project has been continually tested against the more traditional product. The cycle times for the structural frame exceeded expectations and was measured as being 25% faster than an insitu RC equivalent. There were also significant advantages in terms of logistics and site management, given the accuracy of manufactured panels and that fact that the majority of walls within the development were CLT, thus reducing packages and package interface. Similarly overall costs resulted in a 12% saving, primarily due to the effect of the economy of the CLT package providing more than one function, i.e. structure, party walls, cores and facade. Further benefits which exceeded client’s expectations include simplification of thermal break issues and an improvement in both thermal performance and robust detailing for airtightness. Now complete, data collected and evaluated during the build has concluded the environmental credentials as half the embodied carbon as opposed to RC equivalent (not including sequestered carbon, which would produce a carbon deficit) with a 25% saving in terms of programme. A fifth of the transport movements as compared to an equivalent precast concrete frame. The lighter structure delivered a 30% saving on foundations and excavation plus a significant reduction of site waste, traffic, temporary works and personnel in comparison to RC frame. For more information visit:

Images: 01-02. The CLT elements of Hightower created a highly strong and sustainable build. Courtesy AKT II



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UP-CYCLING CONSTRUCTION tailored to maximise the containers inherit attributes of being structurally strong, being flexible and adoptable by stacking or combining containers to create spaces, easy to transport by road and easy assemble using a mobile crane. This approach ensured that all aspects of the design and construction were resolved before site works began.

1 Located prominently on the A13, the Marketing Suite at SEGRO Park, Rainham acts as a gateway building for this new business park and is constructed from recycled shipping containers and fitted out offsite on a slender steel podium frame. The building provides a management office for the new business park – SEGRO Park, Rainham – and a marketing venue for this and future SEGRO developments along the A13 corridor. The design needed to embody the ethos of the regeneration that inspired it and its location not only to market the commercial regeneration of the entire Beam Reach business park, but also to provide the client with a building that could be relocated at some point in the future to a similar regeneration development. These aspirations inspired the use of upcycled shipping containers to create an industrial

elevated office/marketing floors. The office/marketing floors themselves are formed from six 12 metre long shipping containers stacked three wide on top of each other which are held up by a podium frame lifting the building 10 metres in the air. Upon entrance to the building a bright red solid steel stairwell greets visitors and provides a strong contrast to the grey painted metal enclosure. The story of the recycled shipping container continues internally where areas of the container’s original corrugated walls meet new smooth white plastered walls.

The starting point for the building was the use of recycled shipping containers, providing a 100% steel envelope which was then punctuated with windows. The building is formed from 18 recycled steel shipping containers.

The nature of up-cycling old shipping containers is inherently sustainable and appealed to the client immediately on suggestion as not only did it fulfill their commercial brief but also allowed the possibility to construct and demountable and reuseable building for future relocation. A local design and construction company specialising in reinventing old containers were also brought onto the design team early on and their expertise ensured cost planning was extremely accurate from the outset. The client were then able to fix a budget and the design and construction team developed a design to meet that exact budget and quality expectation.

Stacked pairs of six metre long containers form space for the stair and lift which provides access to the

The building was created using a readily available and inexpensive base components and the design was



Using containers allowed the contractor to effectively build and fitout the entire building offsite before dismantling it and transporting to site for it to be reassemble with guaranteed accuracy. The basic container provides airtight envelope and once factory insulated and lined this provides very effective and efficient building envelope to minimise future energy costs The overall installation of both the podium frame and the building (all offices and circulation) was complete in three days, with the final internal connections and lift install being complete within the following eight weeks. The client wanted a building that could ultimately be picked up and relocated to another development site. The use of modular offsite container construction allows this to happen as the containers are simply stacked on top of each other. The supporting podium frame has also been designed to allow easy dismantling which means the building can be relocated unlimited times and continue its useful life indefinitely. The frame that the elevated component sits on has also been thought about carefully and has been kept as minimal as possible. The building has given old shipping containers a new purpose and their lightweight nature has minimised the environmental impact of other construction methods. The building is already being considered a success and has received positive feedback from the client and several users. For more information visit:

Images: 01. The shipping container and steel podium construction provide a striking building. Courtesy Richard Hopkinson Architects

Providing civil engineering and groundworks services across the Midlands We undertake contracts ranging from £500k to £30m and carry out all aspects of: • Site clearance

• Road surfacing

• Bulk excavation

• Paving works

• Enabling works

• Earthworks

• Deep drainage

• Land remediation

• Service installation

• Foundations

• Road construction

For further information call: 0121 554 2108 or email



HIGH DEGREE OF CERTAINTY and external finishes in one system – minimising onsite labour costs and eliminating scaffolding and working at height risks.



The £48 million student accommodation scheme at University Locks is part of the Birmingham City University (BCU) City Centre Campus and encompasses 659 student rooms in the form of cluster flats.

and vertical sections were designed for ease of build, linking together with hidden tie rods, thereby speeding up the installation process onsite. Joints are finished with a high-strength non-shrink grout, fully conforming to Building Regulations.

With a main southern tower standing at 19 storeys high – the scheme was developed with an innovative process where walls, floors and ceiling slabs are linked together to form a unique crosswall construction. FP McCann’s precast concrete modular RoomSolution was chosen and the modules provide a strong, durable, energy-efficient, fire-resistant composite system that offers excellent acoustic and thermal mass properties associated with precast concrete.

Commenting on the use of the modular precast concrete system, architects Glen Howells said: “The construction method of the building offered significant savings compared to traditional build methods. The modular system removed the need for external scaffolding thereby minimising the potential health and safety risk factor associated with people working at height.”

In total 3,500 individual precast units have been installed to form the structural frame and decorative cladding envelope. The five panels framing each pair of bedrooms consist of walls, 180mm thick and floor slabs 175mm thick. Window and door openings have been pre-formed and each bedroom has four conduits cast into the walls for electrics and communications networks. External facade panels are of a preinsulated sandwich construction, either 525mm or 725mm thick. The inner leaf is 195mm with an external thickness of 80mm. The insulation between the concrete faces is either 250mm / 450mm PUR. The outer 80mm skin of the Portland coloured concrete facade panels has been cast with white cement and a selected decorative aggregate. All horizontal


The construction method of the building offered significant savings compared to traditional build methods – especially in the delivery programme of the building due to the primarily ‘dry’ construction process, thereby eliminating delays due to inclement weather conditions. All aspects of the production processes were undertaken in an offsite quality controlled factory environment, thereby enabling achievement of the highest possible quality finish and removing wet-trades from the project critical path. The precast concrete modular RoomSolution is one of the most rapid forms of offsite construction, offering the ability to adopt a ‘just in time’ approach to site deliveries - eliminating the need for onsite storage. The fully integrated loadbearing structure and skin system provides both structural support


Onsite waste is minimised, thereby reducing the impact on the local environment, whilst reducing the disruption to local services with minimal vehicle movements due to rooms being delivered as ‘kits’. The controlled construction process and tolerance ensures accurate and tight building assembly, improving airtightness, eliminating thermal bridging and providing excellent energy efficiency. The external walls are of a ‘sandwich’ construction, with the insulation layer sitting between the inner and outer concrete faces. This combination of materials and grouting on-site ensures excellent airtightness and minimises solar gain. The thermal mass of the building is used to minimise heat gain and to stabilise the buildings internal temperature, thereby minimising the environmental impact due to less energy being consumed in service. The structure is robust, low maintenance and designed to withstand the rigours of student accommodation. Combining the supply of all key building elements – staircases, bathroom pods and precast wall panels within the FP McCann portfolio ensured minimal supplychain interfaces, thereby minimising deliveries to site, and positively impacting on the reduction of carbon emissions created by haulage vehicle movements. University Locks raises the standard of student living in Birmingham by providing a superior level of accommodation that reflects the City’s status as a centre of academic excellence. The University Locks building has achieved a BREEAM ‘Very Good’ rating. For more information visit:

Images: 01-02. The use of precast concrete and offsite manufacture has delivered a landmark student accommodation building for Birmingham University. Courtesy FP McCann


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De Vere Grand Connaught Roo ms, London

FP McCann’s precast concrete crosswall construction is a fast and convenient way to produce multi-unit structures such as hotels, student, secure and residential accommodation in a fraction of the time of traditionally built structures. Our architectural and structural precast units are manufactured off-site at our state-of-the-art Grantham and Byley depots and delivered to site, ready for final preparation and decoration. BYLEY OFFICE: MIDDLEWICH ROAD | BYLEY | MIDDLEWICH | CHESHIRE | CW10 9NB | 01606 843500 LONDON OFFICE: HAMILTON HOUSE | MABLEDON PLACE | LONDON | WC1H 9BB | 020 3905 7640


OPTIMISING OFFSITE DELIVERY What can the offsite industry do to address issues of quality assurance and provide confidence in the use of new construction technologies? Darren Richards, Managing Director of leading offsite experts, Cogent Consulting, discusses the changing face of the construction industry.

We can all be seduced by the proposition advanced manufactured building systems offer. Most of us, faced with the normal vagaries of the construction site, find this particularly appealing, with a vision of perfect control over the weather, deliveries, materials, labour, skills availability and work instructions. But how feasible is it for the manufacturing facility to deliver these specific repeated procedures where practice can really make perfect? Optimised Offsite Manufacture Manufacturing facilities can provide the sort of environment that the average construction site manager can only dream of. Add to this the use of sophisticated jigs and fixtures that are routine in the modern factory process and operatives can achieve repeat procedures that are accurate and fault free. In the more advanced factories this is translated into semi-automated assembly production processes where the operator is assisted by mechanisation that further enhances the quality of output. 84

This machinery can be computercontrolled to record set-up data, detail work instructions specific to the task and traceability information that can be used to trace components or materials in the event of a latent defect issue or premature failure. There is no reason why the visions that are regularly portrayed in the automotive sector should not become commonplace in the building sector. Robot manufacture of complete building elements is a plausible reality where the human interface is limited to material input and product takeoff. The quality in this production environment should be exemplary and make zero defects a real possibility. This is the panacea that we all strive to create. The Challenge of Change Many past problems with the adoption of offsite techniques were created because an inappropriate system was employed, or the different offsite products were mismatched on the one project. While offsite knowledge


will one day be common place and a standard tool within the design team’s armoury, at present this expertise generally needs to be brought into the design team at an early stage to ensure that a suitable and projectwide offsite strategy is in place and is followed – permitting optimised offsite manufacture via dynamic DfMA protocols. So, what does the future hold? For certain we will see the manufacturing supply base continuing to grow to meet the quite incredible demand for these factory-based building methods. This growth in supply will bring with it some manufacturing companies that have the problems we have experienced in the past, but in the majority case we should see those professional organisations already serving the industry growing both their capacity and their capability to offer enhanced quality and proven product ranges. These companies will continue to invest in sophisticated manufacturing plant and advanced quality management systems that are essential to deliver modern standards of product performance. The future is construction in the factory and we are on an exciting journey there.

COGENT CONSULTING As leading experts in the field of offsite manufacturing and construction Cogent Consulting offers independent advice on exploiting innovative offsite techniques. Cogent’s multi-disciplinary approach delivers more efficient manufacturing and construction processes, with new ways of tackling built environment challenges. Through an unparalleled breadth of skills, Cogent can help harness the power of offsite technology to dramatically improve project delivery and performance. As sector specialists, Cogent work with offsite manufacturers, clients, architects, contractors and project managers to ensure that any project embracing offsite technology,is optimised and involves minimal risk.

For more information visit:


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Sidey partners with offsite construction companies, builders, developers, local authorities and housing associations to deliver projects both big and small. Sidey’s impressive track record spans 85 years. Today we are Scotland’s strongest fenestration manufacturer providing innovative solutions on and offsite. You can rely on Sidey to find the best solution for your project, in Scotland and across the UK.








01738 634 803 INFO@SIDEY.CO.UK






1 The Queensferry Crossing project is Scotland’s largest infrastructure investment in a generation and SES Engineering Services (SES) played a pivotal part with the delivery of mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) services. The longest three-tower, cablestayed bridge in the world forms the centrepiece of the Scottish Government’s unprecedented £1.35 billion upgrade to the cross-Forth transport corridor in the east of Scotland. Officially opened by Her Majesty The Queen in September 2017, this new iconic structure has been designed to complement the existing road and rail crossings and safeguard a vital connection in the country’s transport network. Working for client Transport Scotland, the project has been led by the Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors (FCBC) consortium, consisting of HOCHTIEF Solutions AG, American Bridge International, Dragados S.A. and Morrison Construction. Given the 1.7 miles (2.7km) structure’s critical economic importance, FCBC’s decision to appoint national engineering specialist SES, to its first ever bridge project, underlined the outstanding quality and ambition of the M&E contractor’s innovative offsite approach. During this two year project, SES’ role was to deliver MEP services to


the new replacement road bridge’s North and South approach viaducts, the cable stayed bridge itself, its three towers and abutment buildings. Offsite working on this project was not just a consideration, it was a necessity. With each 800-tonne deck section completed onshore then manoeuvred by boat from the port into place under the bridge, the use of offsite methods impacted every stage of SES’ project. SES’ main delivery strategy on this project was to maximise the amount of M&E services that could be installed within the individual CSB deck sections whilst remaining onshore. In order to achieve this goal, SES established its UK-first, project specific offsite prefabrication facility in Rosyth to manufacture the containment and pipework service modules. As the first MEP services contractor to achieve BRE Accredited BIM Level 2 Certification, SES and Prism provided true digital manufacturing functionality by marrying digital processes to limit waste, with the ability to create lean modules easily installed by engineers’ offsite in Scotland. With the Scottish Prism facility up and running, the York base ‘flat-packed’ shrink-wrapped modules as lean as possible, reducing the logistical need for 60 lorries and 24,000 miles to just two lorries and the number of miles to 500. Pre-packing these modules within trays specifically enabled SES to easily


3 slide each into position within a road deck section on the shoreline. This overwhelming commitment to offsite engineering dramatically reduced the need for working at height and saved more than 25,000 hours of labour, making the comparison to out-dated onsite methods almost immeasurable. Initially manned by a team of Prism staff, over time the factory was handed over to an SES team of locally upskilled labour breaking new ground for cost and time efficiency savings. SES’ Business Director North and Scotland, Steve Joyce, commented: “The crossing represents leadingedge, 21st Century civil engineering. It’s a rare opportunity to be involved in building a new major infrastructure project of international significance. We knew this was the perfect opportunity for us to showcase the true capabilities of offsite technologies; and as part of a truly collaborative approach, this is a once-in-a-lifetime project designed with M&E at its core.” For more information visit: Images: 01. The Queensferry Crossing project could only have been completed so efficiently by using offsite manufacture

Images courtesy of Transport Scotland

Creating smarter, better environments

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

Above all, it’s about people

To find out more about how we can work together, please call: Steve Joyce, Business Director North and Scotland T: 07801 742210 E: Our locations: York | Birmingham | Bristol | Glasgow | London | Manchester | Newcastle



Contemporary technological developments are changing perceptions on what modular buildings can provide and the massive benefits that can be gleaned from factory-controlled manufacture.

1 Traditionally – in the eyes of the general public – modular housing has often been seen as a temporary, inexpensive and poor performing option. This perception came from the historic post-war prefabricated housing boom between 1945 and 1955 when 20% of the housing stock, around 500,000 houses, were built using modular construction – a further 750,000 were built between 1955 and 1970. After only a short period of time, some of these post-war houses started displaying problems. Of particular note was the inadequate thermal and noise insulation, as well as condensation, which in turn created mould and caused deterioration to the fabric of the building. This gave rise to the Housing Defects Act of 1984 which listed 26 different house designs as ‘defective’. Although this Act was put in place to allow council funded grants to be awarded to enable refurbishment, it effectively meant that these houses were stigmatised and


unmortgageable. This set the scene for the public conception of modular housing and its association with poor quality, which to some extent still abides today. Modular housing manufacturers and builders are changing this perception. Proving the performance of the design in the test laboratory environment is one step, however this needs to be endorsed with in-situ data. Where system testing at the design stage is crucial to obtain approval and to allow the system to be taken to market, the actual product performance once built is frequently neglected. Modular construction is only as good as the installation. Measuring the performance of a building once installed allows the manufacturer to assess the actual performance of the finished product against the expected performance, thus facilitating changes to processes or designs if required. There are currently no specific standards or schemes available


that the end performance can be compared to. Building regulations give minimum design requirements, but there are no specific site-based tests to prove real life function. Schemes could be employed to check the critical performance of the building: thermal adequacy of the finished build (using thermal imaging cameras), acoustic performance, watertightness of the reveals, joints and any penetrations, and airtightness of the entire building. The results could be compared against the performance of a similar size traditional brick-block masonry build. Moving forwards, the industry must specify their own standards and requirements, which should be over and above any values set by building regulations. The public needs to be confident that the house they are buying will still be performing on completion of a 25-year mortgage period. If they can see a saving in the cost of the building and improved energy efficiency, both of which a modular house can achieve, this will ensure that the modular housing sector will continue to grow. Lucideon develops customised testing programs for both the design and site performance stages of modular houses to help manufacturers increase the confidence of both the insurance warranty provider and the potential purchaser. For more information visit: or contact Joanne Booth, Business Manager for Construction at Lucideon:

Images: 01. Modern modular housing is a quantum leap away from legacy developments of the past






Lucideon can help you at all stages of the design and construction process for offsite and modular buildings, from materials selection and manufacturing to installation and verification. Our wide-ranging testing, process and verification capabilities cover every aspect of your products, so you can create a comprehensive, reliable solution.






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EXPLORING THE POTENTIAL OF SMART TECHNOLOGY From robotic bricklayers to augmented reality – the recent Explore Offsite Outlooks event offered delegates insight into the future of construction and the role digital technology will play in offsite manufacture and delivery.

1 Over 100 delegates braved the ‘beast from the east’ to make the trip to BRE Watford to hear from a select group of pioneering speakers, who are at the forefront of creating and delivering smart technology. Smart technology is changing the face of construction and although the construction industry has been slower out of the starting blocks than other sectors – the pace of change and varieties of ways that digital and information technology is changing habits and attitudes is huge. In partnership with BRE, Explore Offsite Outlooks helped construction professionals get to grips with the latest innovations and what impact these are having. Simon Cross, Director of Building Futures Group at BRE started proceedings focusing on the Construction Leadership Council’s (CLC) smart construction


mission. John Eynon, Engagement Lead from the BIM Alliance followed by presenting a case study on Mayfield School and demonstrated how BIM played an integral part in delivering the project in just 18 months, including planning. John firmly believes that construction will be an industry driven by data and he likened BIM to a ‘really big goldfish bowl full of data’ saying: “BIM will bring transparency and accountability to the construction process. By imposing rigour and discipline to all that we do, the data contained within BIM, makes us professionally accountable, which eventually I believe, will enhance the quality of projects for our customers and develop a better built environment for ourselves, our children and future generations.”


Under the heading of ‘Possibilities, Probabilities and Opportunities’, John Adams, Senior Industry Strategy Manager for AutoDesk had the delegates astounded by the futuristic content of his presentation. From robotic bricklayers to fully automated factories and massive modular buildings shipped to site via barges – the videos within his presentation clearly demonstrated what the industrialisation of construction could look like.

To create a better world, fit for the future, John Adams said: “We need to understand what’s coming our way. Imagine 10 billion people will live on earth by 2050 – that’s over 40% growth in our current population! These new demands on the planet will require design solutions. Autodesk is providing the tools and support for the coming era, using design to create positive change and solve epic challenges like climate change, resource scarcity, healthcare, development and education.” The event was not without controversy – with two of the speakers challenging the status quo. In the main, BIM has been portrayed in a positive light but although Andrew Orriss, Sales Director at SIG360, discussed the collaborative benefits, he also touched on a more negative aspect which is starting to emerge – what he termed ‘confrontational BIM’. According to Andrew, some construction professionals are under the misapprehension that if information is shared via BIM, they somehow lose their intellectual property rights. Under the heading of: ‘You are not having my 3D model, it’s my IP’ – he discussed how there is no basis for this and explored the law of unintended consequences. Virtual Reality (VR) has been the subject of much media attention. An artificial, computer-generated simulation of an environment which has transformed the way that architects

OFFSITE FUTURES present their vision. It immerses the user by making them feel like they are experiencing the simulated reality first hand – allowing clients to play an integral part of the design process and ‘virtually’ enter the building and validate the layout. Oliver Lowrie, Director at Ackroyd Lowrie, ruffled a few feathers by stating that his fledging architects practice has: “never understood why the construction industry is the way it is and that it does not make any sense to him.” With a mission to build an inspiring world, Ackroyd Lowrie are looking to reinvent the process of how buildings are designed and delivered. By using a virtual reality to test and sign-off a design – Oliver is making sure he has ‘buy in’ from his clients and that a design is fully optimised before it gets to construction. “Virtual reality puts humans at the heart of the offsite process,” said Oliver. “The automotive industry is manufacturing cars tested via prototypes which have gone through many variations and we are trying to do the same, using virtual reality to digitally test our designs.”

2 A thought-provoking day was summed up by event Chair, Darren Richards, Managing Director of Cogent Consulting, saying: “Explore Offsite Outlooks gave the delegates a taste of things to come. The offsite sector is changing and changing fast. Advancements in virtual reality, digital fabrication and an ‘internet of things’ will continue to be major disruptors. This has profound implications for the future design of buildings and those who build them. Tomorrows building engineers and architects will need to master the new software programming MODULAR MATTERS is a one day CONFERENCE and EXHIBITION creating a platform for construction clients and their professional advisers to explore the latest advances in volumetric modular technology, providing a dynamic and interactive learning experience for all visitors.

3 skills and learn to co-work with automated technology.” For more information on future Explore Offsite events visit:

Images: 01. John Adams, Senior Industry Strategy Manager, AutoDesk 02. Oliver Lowrie, Director at Ackroyd Lowrie, 03. Delegates were able to question some of the sector’s leading thinkers

Image courtesy of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

30.10.2018 NEC Birmingham



According to new research from Accenture, construction companies could unlock an estimated £89billion in value over the next decade and significantly lower the cost of housing by harnessing digital technologies.

1 The study found that by investing in digital technologies, the UK construction industry could create value equivalent to 7% of industry GVA over the next decade. On top of £6.1 billion in new revenue opportunities, the industry could reduce costs by more than £82.8billion and pass on significant savings to housebuilders. Accenture’s analysis used the methodology developed in partnership with the World Economic Forum to understand the value of digital transformation, for both industry and society. The research identified several ways in which digital technologies can transform the sector and boost productivity. Offsite construction sales can be increased through virtual reality marketing, project design costs can be reduced by using 5D building information mapping to visualise the impact of design alterations in real time, and artificial intelligence and machine learning can diagnose maintenance problems and autonomously order new parts. “Most construction companies we work with recognise that digital technologies can drive transformation and growth, but many aren’t yet realising this potential. This research quantifies the potential prize for industry, individuals and society if they get this right,” said Ben Salama,


Managing Director at Accenture Digital. “The solution is what we call Industry X.0, an action plan for embracing profiting and profiting from technological change. More than just transforming into digital businesses, construction companies must look at how to reinvent operating models, production and value chains.” Industry X.0 is how Accenture defines the digital reinvention of industry, when businesses use advanced digital technologies to transform their core operations, their worker and customer experiences and ultimately their business models. Simon Bentley, Senior Manager, Accenture Product Lifecycle Services, has outlined what the future success of businesses in the construction industry requires and that it comes down to meeting three imperatives: Re-engineer processes. Construction firms must move from today’s sequential and iterative operating mode to one where projects are more collaborative, and teams and resources can be mobilised at the right time to agree what needs to happen for a project to progress smoothly. Standardise components. The standardisation and modularisation of capital projects components are essential to accelerating construction processes and reducing costs. Critical to this is the better exchange of design information through the supply chain, as it can foster standardisation, collaboration and the synchronisation of delivery. Digitise engineering. Digital Engineering and advanced Project Controls capabilities enable ‘smarter’, faster and more efficient construction. Digital tools allow companies to simulate the build before building, and


open all possible fields to optimise costs, schedule, performance and overall intelligence throughout the whole lifecycle of the project. “This is where Industry X.0 comes in,” says Simon Bentley. “Industry X.0 provides construction companies the overall framework they need to meet these three imperatives and transform to a more data—centric, insights—driven approach to capital projects. “Industry X.0 construction companies build their core engineering and production systems around digital to drive new levels of efficiency. They ensure that physical machines, buildings and software systems are synchronised, and that data is made accessible right across the end-toend value chain. This access to data at volume provides companies with unprecedented views into their operations, machinery, people and processes that allow them to unlock previously – unseen cost efficiencies, and drive up investment capacity. “By transforming the core, Industry X.0 construction firms are enabling more agile, intelligent operations where people, machinery and processes are in complete alignment and working together optimally at scale and across the entire supply chain ecosystem. What’s more, the digital core means they’re ready for whatever future technological disruption occurs in the industry and able to exploit it immediately. If your business has not started on its Industry X.0 transformation, then now is the time to start.” For more information visit: Images: 01. BIM is at the centre of efficient digital construction

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CREATING A DIGITAL PLATFORM FOR OFFSITE CONSTRUCTION Change is happening. Building Information Modelling (BIM) is gaining momentum and Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) is becoming the new norm. Jaan Saar, Head of EC&O Development at INTELSYS outlines the software challenge ahead for offsite. BIM provides the quantities of raw materials, ERP figures out the costs and plans the production based on the time it takes to produce each subassembly and construction element. ERP manages the production and delivery process, inventory, project invoicing, and all financial reporting for the project and the company.

1 The design process has changed dramatically and as a result we now have a structured data model of the entire building that includes all the components needed for fabrication. The task of integrating prefabricated systems into a construction project is becoming increasingly a ‘digital’ management proposition. But how to harness the full potential of new technologies and deliver projects more efficiently? Offsite construction companies have the upper hand when it comes to digitisation. Due to vertical integration they can avoid the pitfalls inherent in the fragmented construction industry. Having control over the entire supply chain opens up the possibility for integrating processes and data flows in one system. This is the challenge we accepted and set out to develop a digital platform to manage the end-toend process of design, manufacturing and installation of prefabricated buildings. What we usually see in construction companies is a very scattered landscape of software solutions without a clear process or integration between them. Single-point solutions are a great way to solve specific tasks but if you apply this approach 94

to every process then you quickly lose transparency and cannot track overall project progress or material flow without extensive manual work. Industrialisation of the construction process requires a high level of automation which is nearly impossible to achieve with a heterogeneous software landscape with limited integration possibilities. Enterprise Resource Management (ERP) software is often used in manufacturing companies. However, most ERP systems don’t fully support the project centric construction business and have no way of integrating collaborative BIM software. In our view the key to overcoming the challenges of digitising offsite construction is putting BIM at the heart of all business processes. The evolution of BIM and ERP technologies has reached the point where it’s now possible to integrate the two without any additional middleware. Starting with collaborative BIM-based design we wanted to link the BIM model data with all business processes needed for project execution. The BIM model contains the layout, mark number, size, volume and the bill of material items for each piece.


To solve the problem, we did not want to reinvent the wheel and develop everything from the ground up. We wanted to leverage existing technologies that are scalable, have a proven track record and a visionary future roadmap. In our case we integrated two industry leading technologies – Autodesk BIM 360 and SAP S/4HANA Enterprise Management. The result is a unique platform that brings together the best of both worlds – state of the art BIM technology from Autodesk and rock-solid business processes from SAP. The preconfigured solution for offsite construction companies can be implemented in weeks either in public or private cloud. When it comes to digitising the offsite construction business then you have to start thinking bigger. You should not focus only on the quick-wins and low hanging fruits but instead look at long-term goals and leverage the vertical integration of off-site construction. It’s no longer just about what specific pain-point this or that app can solve – it’s a question of strategy and choosing the right digital platform for future growth and innovation. For more information visit: Images: 01. Offsite manufacture is primed to make the most of digital technology at all levels


EXPLORING THE POTENTIAL OF DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY Transformation is happening all around us and whilst other industries have been quick to make the digital leap - the construction industry has been slower than most. Steve Thompson, Managing Director of EOS Facades, shares his views on the positive impact technology can have on construction.

1 Steel framing system (SFS) designers and offsite manufacturers are leading the way in changing the face of construction - the rate of advancements in our sector is accelerating at a relentless pace. The combination of offsite manufacturing and digital construction technology presents a compelling proposition. Building Information Modelling (BIM) is at the forefront of the latest digital revolution. There is now almost a universal recognition of BIM within the construction industry, but some are still slow to fully implement its use – even in the offsite sector. The discipline and collaborative working that BIM facilitates, are ideally suited to the needs of pre-fabrication in terms of early coordination and three-dimensional design information – particularly when using steel framing systems. The output of the BIM design


process, the IFC model – can now be directly imported into the fabrication software eliminating the timeconsuming translation of engineer’s information into cut lists and assembly drawings. In terms of procurement, BIM is a powerful tool that allows construction companies to quantify the requirements of their projects. This enables control of spending and time management resulting in the reduction of wastage in these areas. It is essential that BIM is used in the early design stages of a project to ensure that there is capacity to not only clearly identify the elements of the project but through the use of BIM, we are able to anticipate when to procure materials or structural elements – saving both time and money. It is extremely difficult to transport the appropriate knowledge across all construction partners at the


same time without the use of BIM, this can lead to the teams procuring the wrong materials at the wrong time, in different volumes. Way back in 2011 the government committed to the use of BIM Level 2 on all centrally-procured government projects. More recently government announcements, underpinned by a number of industry reports and major investment declarations - is advancing the offsite sector. Driven by the demand for more predictability throughout the construction process, the resurgence in the offsite construction has resulted in increased levels of market activity and innovation. Whilst the housebuilding industry appears to be grabbing many of the headlines - offsite construction is also rapidly expanding in other sectors.

OFFSITE FUTURES BIM is a key enabler for integrating offsite technology into construction practices – this is something crucial within government projects as there is an acute need for time efficient construction, as well as a vital responsibility for our industry and government to reduce our carbon footprint through the application of low energy buildings – resulting in lower costs for the end user. The digital age is evolving. We are constantly adapting technology in order to enhance all aspects of the modern world. Our own state-of-the art manufacturing facility has changed beyond recognition, with further expansion planned for next year. EOS has extended our section capability with a significant investment in new advanced roll-forming machinery that has been specifically commissioned. But BIM is only the start of this transition. Virtual Reality (VR) – an artificial, computer-generated simulation of an environment – has transformed the way that architects present their vision. It immerses the user by making them feel like they

2 are experiencing the simulated reality first hand – allowing clients to play an integral part of the design process and ‘virtually’ enter the building and validate the layout. Augmented Reality (AR) on the other hand, provides more freedom for the user because it does not need to be a head-mounted display. AR takes the real world and adds something to it – for example a new extension could be digitally superimposed onto an existing building. This has profound implications for the future design of buildings and

3 those who build them. Tomorrows construction professionals will need to master the new software programming skills and learn to co-work with automated technology. For more information visit:

Images: 01. The ‘digital age’ is delivering massive changes to the construction landscape

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY If you are interested in learning more about offsite construction and the associated manufacturing processes then choose from some of the following offsite events in 2018: DATE




10 & 11 April

Explore Offsite Housing

NEC, Birmingham


Explore Offsite Housing is a two-day conference and exhibition which brings together offsite technology leaders to discuss the growing opportunities that the housing shortage presents for offsite construction solutions. For further information, go to page 36.

22 June

South West Construction Summit

Ashton Gate Stadium, Bristol

Returning for 2018, the South West Construction Summit will bring together the regional construction industry and its supply chain to explore opportunities, major projects, client commitments and procurement best practice. The awards will also be taking place in the evening. 05 July

Solid Wood Solutions

The Oculus, University of Warwick

Solid Wood Solutions will feature case studies on some of the major solid wood projects which have been delivered recently throughout the UK and Europe and this is supported by an exhibition of CLT and Glulam suppliers as well as complementary component manufacturers. 11 July

Explore Offsite South West

Sandy Park, Exeter

The conference and exhibition will bring together a range of offsite technology supply chain specialists and industry leaders to discuss the uptake of offsite construction in the South West region and will focus on the key themes such as regional offsite supply chain resources and opportunities. 18 September


20 September

Explore Offsite Public Sector

NEC, Birmingham

Showcasing the very best of what is being delivered under the Healthcare and Education frameworks, this event demonstrates exemplar schemes with good supply-chain integration, design for manufacture and assembly, digital integration and offsite construction strategies. Inside Offsite Factory Tour: EOS Facades

County Durham

The tour will include demonstrations from the estimating team of how the EOS ‘lump sum’ quote is generated, of EOS’ design software, the new Howick FRAMA machine plus quality control, labelling, floor coding and traceability processes. 10 October

Structural Timber Awards

NCC, Birmingham

The Structural Timber Awards are back for 2018, celebrating it’s fourth year rewarding the very best in structural timber construction. Over 500 construction professionals will gather at the prestigious ceremony to celebrate the great, the good and the simply outstanding. Entry deadline: 31.05.18. 30 October

Modular Matters

NEC, Birmingham

New for 2018, Modular Matters will be showcasing exemplar projects across commercial offices, public buildings, hotels, airports, sport stadiums, hospitals, universities and schools and debating how far this innovative technology can push the boundaries of design and manufacture. 04 December


Explore Offsite Futures

Inmarsat, London

This one-day conference and exhibition will create a platform for construction clients and their professional advisers to network with industry experts and discuss the latest offsite construction solutions. The event format provides a dynamic and interactive learning experience for all visitors!





showcase and champion the latest thinking and innovations – including

all aspects of design and delivery – in this growing area of interest for the construction industry.

Be part of the future



Trevor Crawford +44 (0)20 3011 2548 #futurebuild




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